This past weekend was special for me as I attended an online interview hosted by Bloody Scotland between Stephen King and Linwood Barclay. As you all know by now, I am a huge King fan – his ability to immerse his readers into a story immediately is such a skill. You become invested in his characters and their plight.
This interview is one of many I have watched with Mr. King, and in all of them it is his sense of humour that makes them such a delight. Obviously, his words of writing wisdom are also gratefully received too. In this interview, Stephen did mention a slight revision to his latest work, Billy Summers, as the book was originally set in 2020 and we all know what happened then! So he backtracked a year to avoid difficulties in the protagonist’s journey.
I read half the novel over the weekend! It is really good and not the ‘horror’ that many believe is all Stephen can write. It is a character study of an assassin and his last ‘job’ and the unexpected events he finds himself coping with.
In other news my publicist, Creative Edge Publicity, has been spreading the word about me and my novels. I have been highlighted in these places, if you care to take a look.
As writers and authors, learning new skills, keeping ahead of genre evolution, trope changes and writing methods is vital for our continued improvement as a wordsmith. With the industry changing so quickly, we need to be ahead of the game.
The best ways to do this are:
Join a writing group
Read articles on the book industry
Take courses and workshops
Attend writing conferences
Subscribe to industry newsletters
How do you keep current with the writing industry?
This past weekend, I virtually attended When Words Collide and attended as many sessions as I could, while also being a co-presenter and panelist. Although, there was information I already knew, there were also those little nuggets of wisdom, insights and knowledge that made each session a gem. My notes were prolific and my follow up to action each gem will take several weeks.
There is always something to learn, whether you are just starting out on your writing career or have years of experience. We can have tunnel vision and ease into a ‘comfort zone’ so easily, when there are so many other calls on our time.
Some things can be scheduled monthly, such as updating your website or blog with current information. We don’t want a visitor to read upcoming events from 2018! Modify your bio to include your latest book, current WIP progression and appearances etc. Don’t leave your blog stagnant – post content regularly. (This can be once weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or even quarterly – just a known routine, so followers will know when to expect you to post).
We all have several social media accounts, so make sure they reflect the latest news, images etc. so they are in line with your current activities. This makes your author platform current. Also check links to ensure they are working properly or direct to a new site, if a change occurred. Refresh content and images so your platform doesn’t look dated or tired. Renew your copyright dates for all content across platforms on 1st January each year – this is one that can be missed very easily.
Can you share tips on what you do to stay updated and improve your writing skills?
This will be a busy week! I attended Word on the Street on 21st September in Lethbridge. It is my fourth visit to that particular location for this event and as always have so much fun meeting readers and new authors. My publisher, Dream Write Publishing attended and I assisted with their table.
There were several authors, I wanted to catch up with from last year: Krysta MacDonald, Jenna Greene, and Bianca Rowena. I was pleasantly surprised to find another author, Natasha Deen, whom I had not seen in quite a while.
We were fortunate that the weather was a balmy +21 (unlike last year when we froze!) as it is a outside canopy event. There was lots to see and many presentations and speakers too.
With that event over I could not sit on my laurels, as I have another event this Saturday 28th September – Words in the Park. So it was home late Monday night, unpack and reorganize. You can imagine my excitement when I found a box of books waiting for me. These are the long awaited sequel to The Rython Kingdom. So many readers wanted a sequel and I spent quite a long time (to my readers frustration) pondering what that story would entail. Now it is here: Rython Legacy – the sequel.
I hope to see you this Saturday – Agora, Community Center, 401, Festival Lane, Sherwood Park, Alberta. 10 am – 4 pm Free admission with local authors galore, music, story telling, treats, games & interactive sessions and prizes too. A family friendly event with something for everyone.
Tuesday is my Writers Foundation AGM – so as secretary I am compiling the agenda, and will take the minutes.
Wednesday I am excited to join several other great authors for a book signing and reading. Audreys Books, 10702 Jasper Ave, Edmonton, AB T5J 3J5 Please come down for hot & spicy and romantic readings and lots of treats!
Thursday evening I will have my President hat on for the Arts & Culture Council Board meeting and on Friday another meeting with my freelance client for the ghost writing project.
In all a super busy week but fun all the same.
What are you up to this week?
In Calgary, AB, Wordfest takes place from October 9–15, with Canadian authors including Michael Redhill, Linda Spalding, Nick Cutter, Lindan MacIntyre, Claire Cameron, Heather O’Neill, Ron Sexsmith, and many others.
The Knowlton Literary Festival runs October 12–15 in Brome Lake in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, with featured authors including Douglas Gibson, Ian Hamilton, Donna Morrissey, Heather O’Neill, and Kathy Stinson.
The Whistler Writers Festival runs October 12–15 in Whistler, BC, with Caroline Anderson, Gail Anderson-Dargatz, Gurjinder Basran, David Chariandy, Barbara Gowdy, Jane Eaton Hamilton, Teva Harrison, Helen Humphreys, Lee Maracle, Suzette Mayr, Lenore Rowntree, Doug Saunders, Michael Redhill, and more.
October 12–22, the non-fiction festival Litfest takes over Edmonton, AB, with Janice MacDonald, Kit Dobson, Merilyn Simonds, Scaachi Koul, Britt Wray, Chris Turner, Kamal Al-Solaylee, Jen Agg, Jessica Kluthe, and more.
Family festival Celebrating Stories is back in Milton, ON, on October 15, with Sharon Jennings, Patricia Storms, and Vikki VanSickle.
My week has a mixture of events including a meeting with my client regarding my ghost writing project, the Volunteer Fair on Wednesday and Authors for Indies on Saturday.
Monday evening will be spent reviewing the book draft I have been working on for my client. We will utilize our local library for this meeting. It is such a wonderful space for working, reading and meetings.
Wednesday I will be doing double duty at the Volunteer Fair as secretary of my writers group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and as President of the Arts & Culture Council of Strathcona County. I was able to request the tables were side by side so that will help!
On Saturday I will join other local authors for Indies for Authors at the Sherwood Park Bookworm, a wonderful store full of all genres of books and a book readers dream place. I will be reading from 1-2 pm come down and hear wonderful stories, meet the authors and find your next favorite book.
What events do you have planned? Care to share?
The Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal, QC, runs April 24–30 with programming for readers of all ages. http://bluemetropolis.org/
The Ottawa International Writers Festival takes place April April 27 to May 2, with details still to come. http://www.writersfestival.org/authors/spring-2017
Do you have a local event to share? Put it in the comments.