Turning Points

Last weekend, Jason and I spent the weekend in Calgary for the When Words Collide conference.

Somewhat bleary-eyed as we left home.

Somewhat bleary-eyed as we left home.

Well, I attended the conference. Jason made appearances at key events like the Saturday night banquet and raced two Spartan races (one on Saturday, one on Sunday).

This is my fourth year attending. My first year was in 2016, and marked a major turning point in my career, giving me many of the tools and information and, essentially, the belief I needed to succeed as an author. But the most significant blessing I gained that year was friends.

Friends who lift me up when I’m down.

Friends who “get” what this whole author gig is really like.

Friends who go through ups and downs with writing, but still get back up and brush themselves off and get back in the ring to do it again another day.

These people are amazing.

This year marked some other turning points, both for me and for some of the people in my life.

  1. This was the first year I focused way more on teaching than on learning, blessing others with the knowledge and experience I’ve gained. I presented classes for four hours and spent three hours on panels. It was exhausting, but totally amazeballs.

  2. This was the first year that there was a contingent of new attendees (aspiring writers, as opposed to my sister and husband who have both attended with me before) there because of me in some way, shape, or form. I had so much fun watching them have the fun and wonder of their “first year.” I can’t wait to see where their careers go from here.

  3. This was the first time EVER that Jason and I left our boys home alone for overnight. Or rather, five nights. When we touched base with them the first day as we approached Calgary (so about six hours after we left them that morning) about how it was going, this was what they sent back:

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King Jude

That didn’t take long…

Jude and Noah.

Jude and Noah.

Life as a footstool is no walk in the park…

Life as a footstool is no walk in the park…

Jabin presents the king’s food.

Jabin presents the king’s food.

I’m not sure if we’ve done something very right, or very, very wrong while raising these kids.

Some other memorable moments from the weekend:

This was one of the classes I taught this weekend. Incidentally, the notes for this class are free over on my  Editing  page. It was a full house! Hagrid and Dumbledore weren’t nervous, though. :-) Photo courtesy of AJ Proctor.

This was one of the classes I taught this weekend. Incidentally, the notes for this class are free over on my Editing page. It was a full house! Hagrid and Dumbledore weren’t nervous, though. :-) Photo courtesy of AJ Proctor.

Editing Live Action Slush - Romance with Sandra Fitzpatrick, Shirlee Smith Matheson, and Faye Holt. Photo courtesy of AJ Proctor.

Editing Live Action Slush - Romance with Sandra Fitzpatrick, Shirlee Smith Matheson, and Faye Holt. Photo courtesy of AJ Proctor.

Hagrid and Dumbledore got around a bit. I introduced them to some of my favourite people, and we all made some new friends, too:

Sander was a good sport about holding some dolls for the camera.

Sander was a good sport about holding some dolls for the camera.

This was a “Quick! Take a photo!” shot with  Winston Pei  on the elevator between floors. (He was dressed as a wizard. It seemed obligatory.)

This was a “Quick! Take a photo!” shot with Winston Pei on the elevator between floors. (He was dressed as a wizard. It seemed obligatory.)

Joshua Pantalleresco  was totally cool about it.

Joshua Pantalleresco was totally cool about it.

I was thrilled that my friends, author  Jessica Renwick  and book blogger Corrie DeWolfe ( Fae’s Finds on YouTube ), were among the “contingent” who came this weekend.

I was thrilled that my friends, author Jessica Renwick and book blogger Corrie DeWolfe (Fae’s Finds on YouTube), were among the “contingent” who came this weekend.

A.J. Proctor  made sure the event was well-photographed, and was one of the few volunteers for a photo op with our dynamic travelling duo.

A.J. Proctor made sure the event was well-photographed, and was one of the few volunteers for a photo op with our dynamic travelling duo.

My lifelong bestie Candace Marshall got to come for the first time this year. She decided that Hagrid and Dumbledore had earned a kiss for all their hard work as con mascots. Seriously my favourite photo of the weekend. Photo by Candace.

My lifelong bestie Candace Marshall got to come for the first time this year. She decided that Hagrid and Dumbledore had earned a kiss for all their hard work as con mascots. Seriously my favourite photo of the weekend. Photo by Candace.

I’m already planning what I’ll be doing for next year’s conference…

Oh! And did I mention that I have purple hair now? (My birthday gift to me! My birthday was on Saturday.)

I think I better wrap this up, but before I do, I need to brag on my kid a little bit, and someone else’s too. (The oldest this time.)

Jude has really been blooming with his art skills over the last year, most of which are self-taught or learned from online tutorials. (He has an Instagram account where he posts his amazing art, mostly anime-inspired, which you can find here: https://www.instagram.com/the_judeman_/)

Yesterday, he came and told me that one of his friends had released his first single, and had asked Jude to do the art. Apparently, it had been top-secret, so he couldn’t tell me about it until it was public. Jude did a great job of the cover art, and I’m doubly proud, since I got Ethan started with piano lessons when he was only five. (I only got to teach him for a year, but I’ve played with him often on worship team at church.)

You can find the song “Who Am I?” by Ethan Mundt on iTunes or Google Play. Follow Ethan’s Instagram account here: https://www.instagram.com/ethan_mundt_music/.

Now that I’m home from the con, I’m working on getting back into routine and getting caught up on some things. BUT I’m also really excited about a new idea I have for building community on Patreon, and I’m trying to work in research on that around everything else. I’m super-stoked about it, you guys, and can’t wait to find out more.

You could help me out by telling me what type of Patreon rewards would most inspire you to be part of a Patreon community?

  1. Personal interaction with me exclusive to the community

  2. Fan recognition

  3. Digital or physical freebies

  4. Exclusive merchandise

  5. Exclusive content

  6. Early access

  7. Classes and tutorials

  8. Behind-the-scenes peeks into my routine, daily life, project creation, etc.

Let me know in the comments. Every bit helps!

Happy Wednesday!

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This year's WWC book haul was modest (except the cover of Jim Jackson's book, haha!) but diverse. I'm not sure if I've ever read pulp fiction before, so this will be a fun change. I heard Jim read from book 2 in this series at the Taste of Local Authors event in May, and it was so fun that I was tempted. . My editor, Ellen, who was also the sales rep for the Myth Hawker Book Store in the vendor hall, recommended Overture so emphatically I had to get it. And even though I've had the first edition of the Emotion Thesaurus digitally for years, I'm looking forward to having the expanded version in the "flesh", so to speak, on my desktop. . I'd meant to get other books. Laura VanArendonk Baugh's new "Shard and Shield", for example. But I didn't because that's what happens when you're too busy teaching and catching up with friends to go shopping, lol. It's okay, I know where to find those books. . And even though I know all these authors personally, did I get any of my books signed? Um. Nope. Sigh. . Still, I look forward to diving into them as my schedule permits. And I'll let you know what I think, of course. (Well, I can tell you already that the Emotion Thesaurus is something I believe every fiction writer should own. So if you don't, go get it. Now.) . Now back to work. . Happy Wednesday! How's your week going? . @ellens_mic @writers_helping_writers_angela @rebeccahuggins @jacksontron @jmlandels @lauravanarendonkbaugh @mythhawker #wwcyyc2019 #whenwordscollide2019 #writercon #bookstagram #amreading #bookish #reading #igreads #bookworm #booklover #booknerdigans #writerscommunity #writerslife #writersofig #amwriting

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