Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Post-Festival Post

Photo credit to AJ Proc

What a wild and wonderful weekend! 

From finally shaking hands with Sam Hiyate of The Rights Factory (my agent Olga's boss) at his seminar on Thursday through to a last meal with friends from far away at Sunday suppertime, it was one ever-flowing meet-and-greet with eager readers and other writers. all  passionate about their work and their genres. 

There were many more panels and presentations than I had a hope of getting to, and many great authors I either didn't get to meet or only nodded to as we rushed past each other in the hallways. This really is an amazing festival-slash-conference-slash-freewheeling party; one person can never see, let alone participate in, everything. 

My fun with panels began with a hilarious set of mysteries plotted from audience suggestion at "Who Killed this Character" ably moderated by Mahrie G. Reid of Calgary Crime Writers. Tying together parakeets, goats, blackmail and an air traffic controller with a victim and a murderer in under 15 minutes was no easy feat!
Photo credit to AJ Proc

Presenting this season's books with other Tyche Books authors was a blast. Time travel and kidnapping, ghosts and baseball, deep-dark Noir to light-bright Steampunk, Tyche has reading for every taste and age. Check out Axel Howerton's FURR, EC Bell's DYING ON SECOND, Simon Rose's TWISTED FATEPat Flewwelling's upcoming HELIX: SCOURGE OF BONES   and of course MADDIE HATTER AND THE GILDED GAUGE.
Pat Flewwelling setting up her reading from her second HELIX book.
Later Saturday afternoon I had a howling good time debating all aspects of writing paranormal mystery with fellow panelists EC Bell, Erin Lindsey, and SG Wong: Ghosts and Fae, mythical and mystical dangers, magical systems and their limitations, and how to throw a challenging obstacle in the path of a character who can throw a fireball back. The audience of mainly mystery writers asked great questions and kept us on our toes. Panelists' personal ghost stories had us on the edge of our seats and shivering with the chill of the unknown.
SG Wong's latest!

Sunday's Elements of Suspense panel - featuring members of Sisters In Crime Canada West - was a real thinker. Old WWC hands SG Wong and Eileen Bell and me, along with newcomer Merrilee Robson, wrestled with the differences between suspense and tension and how to express them through our characters, plots, and settings. 
EC Bell, hiding her wicked wit behind a pale, cool facade

We all threw out examples of writers who do it well, and how we think they manage it. And we gave a collective whoop of delight at learning that the inimitable Deanna Raybourn will be coming to When Words Collide in 2018. #fangirling 

Photo credit to Constantine K
At the end of the day, Sisters in Crime Canada West presented Women of Mystery, moderated by the sparkling SG Wong (our chapter's president). We fabulous four presented our new books, told jokes, threw candy and gave away prizes. 

Look for SG Wong's  DEVIL TAKE THE HINDMOST and Merrilee's MURDER IS UNCOOPERATIVE as well as my second Maddie Adventure and Eileen's Marie Jenner mystery series (4th one, DYING ON SECOND, is coming out in September). 

The Maddie Hatter Adventures and I would also like to thank all the people who threw their coins and bills into my collection box for Girls Not Brides. The weekend total came to nearly $200 over just 4 panels, adding to the money raised at my Calgary and Edmonton book launches.
 Girls Not Brides empowers young women everywhere

Since Maddie herself was a runaway to avoid being pressured into marriage, it seemed fitting to collect for this very reputable organization that helps girls all over the world stay out of early/forced marriage and in school, learning whatever skills they need to become healthy, productive, independent citizens. I am thrilled that so many wonderful attendees at When Words Collide supported the cause, and wish to shout out to fellow crime writers SG Wong, Eileen Bell, and Erin Lindsey, who amplified my meager effort in word and in deed.

All in all, it was a marvelous weekend, one I'd happily repeat a lot sooner than this time next year. For now, farewell and happy reading/writing/listening to stories of your choosing.

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

When Words Collide 2017 - August 10-13 in Calgary

It's August again, and you know what that means: it's time for When Words Collide, Calgary's wildest wrangling of genre-crossing literature, a Festival for Readers and Writers.

The convention has been sold out since June but there are a few areas open to the public. Check the website at When Words Collide to learn what events you can access from outside.

I'll be appearing on several panels to discuss the amazing alternate-Victorian world of Maddie Hatter, how to plot the perfect crime, who my favourite paranormal authors are, and other topics of interest to readers and to writers of crime and/or speculative fiction.

My Schedule:

Friday, August 11th 

* at 7 p.m. in the Canmore Room (Atrium Building): When, Where, Why and How Would You Kill This Character?  Audience participation as writers brainstorm. With only a setting, character, and motive, how will each panelist kill the character and hide the body?

* at 9 p.m. (room TBA)  Tyche Books Ltd and Steampunk Arts & Sciences Society (SASS) present their annual  absinthe and Scotch tastings. Learn about malts from true aficionados  and watch a perfect absinthe drink created from the fountain manipulated by the Commander's experienced hands.

Saturday, August 12th
(all in Tower Building from here on unless specified)

* 12 noon in the Fireside Room:   Tyche Books Presents their annual book social with editors and authors presenting the 2017 collection. Panel discussion and Q & A. 

* 2 p.m. in Bonavista Room: Paranormal Mysteries by subtype and style. How much woo-woo is too much? What authors do it well?

* 8 p.m. in the Parkland Room: Mass autograph session, where I'll be signing my two Maddie Hatter Adventures, two Enigma Front anthologies, and whatever other anthologies or old magazine stories of mine readers bring along.

* 10 p.m. in a semi-secret location: Bundoran Press's combined party and triple book launch. I'm just going as a spectator and cheerer-on of the authors.

Sunday, August 13th

* 2 p.m. in the Parkland Room: Elements of Suspense (a Sisters-in-Crime panel), in which we discuss what keeps readers turning the page and sleeping with the lights on.

* 4 p.m. in the Fireside Room: Women of Mystery (a Sisters-in-Crime panel), in which 4 long-time mystery writer/readers discuss their favourite new and established female crime writers, and reveal a few secrets of our own.

Looking forward to seeing lots of friends old and new!

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