The Sum of Us Won the Aurora!

Spent last weekend at V-Con to attend the Aurora Awards, and The Sum of Us won for Best Related Work! Two years in a row! AND, one of our short stories, “Gone Flying” by Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, won in the short fiction category! YAY! Finally the wins are sweeter because the fields were very strong.

Talking to another author, David O’Keefe

Got in touch with author, David O’Keefe about his research into conditions underlying Canada’s raid on Dieppe. His book was a gold mine of information and inspiring for my novel, but what I wanted more on was the living conditions for the French in Occupied France—again, the tips he gave me were amazing. Little things like looking up the 1939 Yellow Pages from the archive at the hotel de ville in Dieppe to find out the addresses of all the local businesses. Even if the businesses aren’t there now, I can walk the streets where my characters would have visited the baker, the butcher, and so forth. Wonderful!

Background research close to home

So I thought I’d interview my sister and brother-in-law for their memories and past research (both are non-fiction writers) about early Alberta, and came up with another gold mine. I was interested in RCMP investigative procedures for a missing person in 1942, and of course, both having been National Park Wardens their entire careers, my sister and her husband had worked a lot with the RCMP. I’ll want to do further follow up (just learned through another source that the RCMP were also Canada’ spy agency in those years, and so infiltrated Communist and fascist groups), but its amazing where you can get information!

Research at the University

This week I interviewed Dr. David Bercuson, professor of history at the University of Calgary. Wow. What a ton of knowledge he has, and he was able to quickly grasp the intent of my questions and narrow his vast understandings to a comprehensive background and clear answers. AND he gave me some perfect resources to follow up, and invited me to come back for a longer interview. Wow. Just, wow.

Research at the Rodeo

Today I went to a rodeo to get a sense of western culture in support of my next novel, and I managed to get into a conversation with a couple of contestants about what it was like “in the old days.” One told me about a fellow who was born and raised (3rd generation) on a ranch nearby who might have stories to tell me. She was willing to take my card and pass my request on to him. Yay! Not sure if the rancher will be interested in following up, but if so, this could be a wonderful source of primary research!

Productive Writers’ Retreat

Very productive writers’ retreat: in 5 days I outlined 2 novels, to varying levels of detail, and got 2/3 of the way through editing a third. Also, during our writerly discussions, I waylaid the others for a critique of my magic system, and they found lots of holes in it—but provided suggestions for improvement as well. This helps tremendously!

Invited to Writers’ Retreat!

Yay!! Mike invited me to Whitefish along with 3 other writers for the long weekend in September. Looks like 6 days of intensive writing, and very inexpensive: gas, groceries, meals. I have SOOO many projects that can use a good chunk of time. Excited to dive in!

When Words Collide!

Yes, another awesome year at WWC. Got to be liaison to Guest of Honor, Sam Morgan, and went with him, and GoHs Tasha Alexander and Andrew Grant to Banff after the event. And, I sold a painting at the Hidden Art Show! Connected with tons of old friends and new, attended excellent panels and sat on a few, too!