Savoring that sweet exhausted sensation after the intensive weekend at Bloody Words (BW). First was really grateful that my decision to stay at Wildside for the weekend spared me transit nightmare and second: happy that I managed not to get caught in the rain. The rain stopped pretty much as I was stepping out to go to either the hotel or back to my bedsit.

BW as held at the Toronto Hilton – just south of Nathan Phillips Square. All events on the same floor made this simple. My manuscript evaluation with Lou Allin was excellent. She suggested a solution to one of my sticky style points plus turned into a comma blood-hound. I followed that with a a shift on registration till 7. Doing registration is an excellent way to meet people at the conference. I handed out the loot bags – each of which had at least 8 paperbacks plus other goodies: magazines, bookmarks, pens & the like.

I did my pitch at 7:15 and as expected Lazarus Kiss wasn’t for her list. It would have been great if she want to see more of it but after my meeting with Lou I knew I’d need time for serious edits. I really want to workshop a few more of the scenes at the Aubert Workshop too. I dashed from the pitch to the panel on ebooks – sort of a brief ‘how to’ – now that I find more appealing. I followed that up with ‘Finally A Bride’ the first novel panel.

The next morning, after a stop at Tim Ho’s for coffee & a lump they call a egg & cheese breakfast sandwich, I got back to BW around 8:30. Socialized a bit, got my paddles to be time-keeper for the ‘A’ is for Agent’ panel. Needless to say there was an endless repeat of the same ‘paddle’ joke. Who knew that spanking was so mainstream?  Next I sat in on ‘Nine Secrets to Writing Thrillers’ presented by Gayle Lynds. I followed that up with another hour on registration.

paddles for fun

Got out of the hotel for lunch and came back for ‘Short & Deadly’ rapid/quick reads. The crime novella market is growing. Last panel I took in was ‘The Historical Mindset’ about research. The book I’m working on now involves lots of period research.

I went back to my bedsit to relax a bit, shower & change for the banquet. Good food, good company at my table too. Even manage to get some sleep that night so I was sort of fresh for the final workshop on Sunday morning: Social Media Workshop Donna & Alex Carrick. A how to look at blogs, twitter, linked in etc. Currently many publishers include social media as part of the contract – authors must have an internet presence.

One thing that became clear over the weekend is the balance between agented & self-published is changing. Once it was a great boost to your work that an agent would represent you and to self-publish meant you weren’t quite up to scratch. This is shifting to where if you need an agent it means your work isn’t strong enough for self-publishing.



Here’s the short story I included in my elaborate business card:

The Petition

We had driven through Haysville many times on our way to Stratford. It was one of those small towns with little for tourists to do except maybe stop at the Happy Pie Shop and Family Restaurant. There wasn’t even a service-station with a Tim Horton’s.

The village became a bit of a joke because of the sign on the edge of town:

In the years we’ve driven through we’d never seen a child, or an adult for that matter. Never seen anyone go in or out of the Happy Pie Shop and Family Restaurant. The only car we ever saw in either direction was our own. Once I did notice some clothes drying on the line. All white, gently undulating in the afternoon sun.

We joked that if we stopped we’d never leave. We always stuck to the child-suggested speed limit then floored it when we got past the village limits.

This time there were yellow plastic streamers wrapped around the trees on either side of the road. We drove slower than usual. Stapled to a plywood board tied to one of the trees by the Happy Pie Shop and Family Restaurant was a large piece of paper.

We stopped and got out of the car to see what it was.

It was a petition to halt an expansion of the highway to allow for larger trucks. A widening to extend the road on either side that would result in destroying the many hundred-year-old trees which had been marked with yellow.

We signed the petition. The Happy Pie Shop was closed for the day, so we got back in our car.

The car wouldn’t start.


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