When Words Collide 2019

I’ve been going to When Words Collide for 7 years and the knowledge I’ve gained has taken me much farther in my writing than I would have ever gotten on my own. I attended this year’s festival (check out #wwcyyc2019 for highlights) I was really surprised how many new and different panels there were, ones that I had never seen before so of course I had to go see them. Unfortunately that meant I didn’t make it to enough publisher events but I bought enough books to make up for it. I’ve just started The Dame was Trouble edited by Sarah Johnson (published by Coffin Hop Press) and it’s off to a delicious start with a tale of a shrewd woman looking out for herself even as she holds her hand out to help others.


Dwayne Clayden’s presentation on “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” had tears flowing (I refuse to acknowledge that any tears touched my cheeks or that my nose was running) and surprised quite a few people, in a good way, with its heartfelt tenderness and fresh honesty. His presentations are always interesting and he’s got a wealth of knowledge from years working as a police officer and as an emergency medical technician (EMT).

Dave Sweet’s presentation on “How to Sell a Life Sentence” was relevant to my own work and so I had to go. I’m never disappointed when I go to his presentations. They are often filled with sad stories of those who have suffered, but his gritty lived experiences give writers and readers a glimpse into the city outside of our house, our car, our workplace where people are experiencing the most powerful stories when their loved ones don’t come home, or their own choices catch up with them. Characters and books and adventures and the theory that we explore at such festivals can often feel disconnected from people out there who may be experiencing their own trials and bridging that disconnection, for those who see that suffering every day, can bring a story to life.


Next year will be ten years for this fantastic festival! The organizers have done a phenomenal job building a bigger and better festival every year, one where new people arrive with fresh faces and repeat attenders can’t help themselves and gush.

A lot of people give their time and effort to make events happen – presenters, editors, agents, volunteers. I have to give another big thank you and shout out to all who volunteer their time.

#wwcyyc2020 looks like another promising festival. In the meantime, time to put my new knowledge to use. Happy reading and writing!


When Words Collide, #wwcyyc18

Wow! It’s done already?  How could a weekend go so fast? The weekend flies by because it is jam packed with panels, people, book launches and parties!

I may have a book buying problem

I can’t give you an idea on the parties because they happen way too late for me. A lot of networking and deals happen at the parties and Coffin Hop Press’s The Dame was Trouble, according to the publisher Axel Howerton, began at the Noir at the Bar event at #wwcyyc 2017. Axel talked to the editor, Sarah Johnson and now we have a unique anthology celebrating women! Unfortunately, my book budget was already blown by this point so I couldn’t pick it up. If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought.

The other launch party I went to was Tyche Books. When I heard there was a book involving a werewolf stripper, I had to buy it – Furr by Axel Howerton. Once I’ve read it, I will put up my thoughts on one of the characters, hopefully the werewolf stripper.

I picked up Where the Stars Rise from Laksa Media. They launched it last year and at that time, I wasn’t interested in it. This year, the cover reached out and grabbed me so it’s now in my hands. I’ve started it already and I’m glad I picked it up for its unique and interesting speculative fiction. Stay tuned for my thoughts on that one. Their newest one is Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders and that one looks particularly compelling given the current political climate.

I received feedback on Burnt, mainly telling me more editing. One person said that it looked promising and I should keep going. I may kill the book entirely due to structural problems that could end up requiring a re-write but I will give it a few months before I make that decision. An editor’s insight will be helpful so once I can get that money together…

I attended Sam Hiyate’s workshop on agent submissions and it opened my eyes to the high demands on authors, agents and publishers when it comes to getting a book out. I’ll be using his tips for my own query letters.

The funniest presentation I went to was Adam Dreece’s about world building. His use of voice and willingness to make off the wall examples entertained while he also provided help for those who world build too much. That isn’t something from which I suffer but the information was still helpful.

I’m already looking forward to When Words Collide 2019 #wwcyyc19!

What Happened?

Okay, where have I been? This blog is sorely neglected! But an early baby for a first time parent will do that to a person. Time for a revamp, hence the introduction of The Active Writer! I aspire to write active characters and to write actively but I also love being active, whether it’s lifting weights, running or walking with my dog or hiking up the hill. I will include short monthly posts about my physical activities.


I will still write about the characters I love in this blog but those characters will expand to include fantasy fiction and whatever else I might read or have read along the way.

Burnt is ready for an editor!  Being on maternity leave, my pocketbook is not going to allow me to welcome one. Once I return to work, I will begin saving again for editing. Until then, it’s look for an editor and start a new story!  This one will be fantasy and that’s all I have for you now.

So I had hinted in my tweets last year that I was going to write about a character from Terry Brooks’ fertile mind. I am not going to write about Terry Brooks’ characters because it has been too long since I read those books and I won’t be able to give them the justice they are due. Once I’ve had a chance to re-read those books, I will return to this post.

My next post concerning writing and reading will be about When Words Collide, 2018 which takes place from August 10-12, 2018 in Calgary. #WWCYYC18

After that, I will write about Victor Stromboli from Transient, written by Al Onia and published by Bundoran Press.

In the meantime, stay tuned for a post about physical activity.


When Words Collide 2017

WWC Program Guide 2017
2017 Program Guide

Another edition of When Words Collide wound down and I left the conference with renewed energy for reading, writing and everything books! A genuine melding of book lovers, this conference is for readers and writers. Authors read and editors gushed.

Laksa Media launched two books, The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound and Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy. Other publishers which held readings and/or introduced line ups included Coffin Hop Press, Analemma Books, Five Rivers Publishing, Edge Publishing, Evil Alter Ego Press, and Pulp Literature, among others.


For those who can’t help themselves but write, there are up to 11 sessions each hour that include:

  • pitches to editors and agents
  • presentations on plot, character, and world building
  • the business of writing such as social media, hiring editors, and publishing
  • live action slushes
  • blue pencil cafes where authors and editors provide feedback on a portion of your manuscript
  • question and answer sessions with authors
  • and so many others!

At When Words Collide, I can’t stop myself from buying books. This year, I was going to buy one, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglosi. Hahahaha!  That was never going to happen. What I actually bought was The Emotion Thesaurus along with:

Books from WWC 2017
So many books to buy…how to choose?

Publishers and editors were even kind enough to listen to writer after writer pitch their manuscript. My first pitch two years ago was nerve wracking but this time I found myself less nervous and able to talk without a script. Three even asked for a look! Now I must put my manuscript through yet another round of editing.

Lady luck had me in her sights and I attended a workshop with David B. Coe to improve my writing. What a great workshop! It was a Clarion style workshop where my fellow participants read my work and provided feedback. Now, I have direction and an outline for what I need to do to improve my first chapter. How could I not love this conference? #wwcyyc17  I can’t wait for #wwcyyc18!