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Surrey With No Fringe On Top

(And yes, I am a musical fan. Big. Huge. Love ’em. So the first thing I think of when I hear the word surrey is ‘Oklahoma!’ Is there a twelve-step program for that?)

I spent last weekend at the Surrey International Writers Conference in British Columbia. This is not my first rodeo – I’ve been to SIWC five previous times, though my last visit was in 2007. This year was different for many reasons, but the big change was that two of my lovely critique partners were presenters at the conference. There isn’t enough squee in the world to describe how COOL this was!

Ginger presenting ‘Writers Butt’.

Ginger Calem presented ‘Writers Butt’ – how moving your body and keeping yourself in shape can help you be the most creative person you can be. The mind-body connection, as it were, and how important it is. Since most of us spend hours and hours in a chair, this workshop helped us realize that our brains need more than heavily caffeinated beverages to function properly. (Sorry Starbucks, it had to be said.)

Linda presenting ‘Four Act Structure’.

Linda Gerber presented ‘The Four Act Structure’. She decoded and melded the Michael Hauge, ‘Save the Cat’, and Pixar plot structures – giving examples of each and how they work for a novel. People really enjoyed her workshop, and I think they took away a great tool for their writers toolbox.

Okay, that was the serious and presenter-ly stuff. Now I’m going to get to the real stuff. The fun stuff.

We have a little tradition of smuggling our own ‘creamer’ into the ballroom for after dinner coffee. Sure, it’s creamer. Really. You don’t believe me? Okay, it’s actually Bailey’s and it’s delicious in coffee. I make no apologies. Jen McAndrews started this tradition many years ago, and now we do it because a) we love it, b) it gives us a great reason to text Jen at all hours of the night and c) it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than the hotel bar.

Because Ginger was a presenter, she got a table for signing books. Not just any table – she was up in the section with Anne Perry and Diana Gabaldon. Even though her book wasn’t quite ready this year, we jumped all over the chance to take pictures of her at her author’s table. It was squee central for about ten minutes. Or maybe it was just me.

Linda did have books to sign – I think there were nine or so there for people to buy. She was lovely and gracious to each and every person; she is always lovely and gracious to everyone but saying ‘she acted like Linda’ seems a little blah. The girl on the right side of the picture was actually squeeing when I took this shot. I think that’s why Linda is smiling so much. How cool to have someone else squee over your work?

There we all are, plus our friend Trish from the Bay Area. Trish has been busy writing non-fiction and freelancing for the past few years so her kids could go to college, and now is revisiting her works of fiction. It was great to see her after all this time, and I think we will hear great things from her.

As for me, being a finalist in the short story contest got me a lot of attention and many accolades, though a part of me still wonders if my darling husband bribed the committee with his good looks and charm. Or extra googly eyes. (No, of course he wouldn’t do that – it would involve a trip to the post office and *gasp* international postage.) My writing and critique partners continue to amaze and delight me, and everyone else they encounter, too. Truly some of the finest people ever to grasp a pen (or hover over a laptop), I feel incredibly blessed that they invited me to join their group six years ago. *sniff* Now I’m all emotional. *sniff* There’s only one way to end it…



4 Responses

  1. Ha. And I always think of Stoned Soul Picnic when I think of Surrey… Surrey… Sur-rey! It was a magical weekend. I’m already plotting (get it?) for next year. : )

  2. Hooray! I’m plotting too, in many ways! 🙂

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