Posts

Surrey International Writers’ Conference

It’s all about the people you’ll meet. That’s the power of the Surrey International Writers’ Conference.

I’ve been attending the event since 2011 and this still holds true.

Yes, in the end it will all be on my shoulders. As much as I don’t like this fact, it’s the truth. If I don’t write the book and put it out into the world then nothing will happen.

All the wishing and hoping and yes, even praying, are for naught unless you step up.

You must write it.  You must finish it.  You must pitch it to get a book published.

SiWC gives you that chance and can make the journey much easier… or at least make it feel possible.

I’ve learned more about my craft and even more about myself at the conference. I’ve begun to appreciate what I know and what I still need to learn. The process can feel relentless.

The weekend can feel magical.

Again this year, I got to have dinner with Anne Perry. We both tend to arrive at the hotel at the same time and sharing a meal and a good chat is a great way to start the weekend. I cherish her words and perspective.

The reason I had a new book to pitch this year is because I volunteered as the conference’s Sponsorship Coordinator. During one of my meetings with SiWC Board Member, kc dyer, she suggested I write something from a fitness professional perspective. That conversation led to an idea that has morphed into a book.

The next step was talking to Donald Maass. Only at a place like SiWC would you have the chance to pitch to someone of his caliber. (Or in my case, the opportunity to request an impromptu meeting.) His encouragement has given me the motivation to keep moving forward with this book. Priceless.

There were so many other moments that cemented my love of SiWC.

One fact still remains the same and the reason I will always return to Surrey each and every year.

Some people I’ve met there have become the best of friends.

And that is almost better than writing a bestseller.

Almost.

 

This Day We Write / This Day I Sell

When you receive a rejection letter from an agent you’ve set your heart and hope on, it helps if you’ve been to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. Not because they taught you all the ins and outs of getting published. Not because they’ve given you the tools to pitch again. Not because they showed you how to write a better book.

It’s because they understand what it is to be a writer and they have your back.

Yes, they have your back.

It was at a conference lunch three years ago when I bared my soul about a rejection I’d received that morning. The rallying embrace was enough to help me carry on. It made me carry on.

I still feel that embrace today.

I’ve met people at SiWC that have become my greatest friends.

During those days I’ve cried and laughed and been scared shitless.

I’ve also been inspired.

Surrey

So now it’s time to give back.

Once you arrive at the conference you’re given a brochure. It’s a map to everything that will happen. A guide to help you through the overwhelming maze of overwhelming moments.

My first year I don’t think I put it down once. It was my safety net and helped me decide what I should do next. I love looking back at the notes in the margins and stars beside the must attend workshops!

2016-04-27 17.16.092016-04-27 17.17.54

This year I’ve been asked to assist in getting people to advertise in the 2016 brochure. OK, not the type of job I usually do, but when you think about it, I’m a person who knows how precious the pages are. And as I said, it’s a way for me to thank the SiWC Board for all the brochures that have shepherded me through the conference.

2015-10-22 16.08.02

Let’s be honest… I love to talk about things I love.

You can ignore my musings on penguins and Dairy Queen Blizzards… but if you’re a writer or want to be around writers you shouldn’t ignore my chatter about the Surrey Writers’ conference.

In fact, I bet you’ll be like so many others and thank me.

Just imagine you’re sitting across the table from Diana Gabaldon or Anne Perry or Jack Whyte. They’re about to read something you’ve written….

If you’re not brave enough for that, they always have time for a quiet little chat.

Everyone at SiWC is there to help you be a better writer.

And you will be.

Now I just wish they’d given a course in how to sell advertising in conference brochures?

2016-02-24 14.51.42

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Fraser, finding kc

Why is it so surprising when someone is kind and generous?

Back in January 2015 I got an email from kc dyer asking for my help to find a man in a kilt for a photo shoot. Well of course I know many men with kilts, but the one I thought would be most appropriate was Robert MacDonald. He even makes kilts.

Jump forward to kc self-publishing a book with a cover picture of a man in a kilt. (As you can see, Rob wears a kilt very well!)

2016-02-24 14.41.52

It’s called Finding Fraser and it’s a story about a young woman that reads the Outlander series and goes to Scotland to find her own Jamie.

I saw the book for the first time at the official launch party and was floored to see kc had thanked me for connecting her with Rob in the acknowledgments!

2016-02-24 14.47.57

Finding Fraser went on to become an Amazon bestseller.

If this story ended here it would still make for great reading. You would know how gracious and kind kc is.

But I need a longer blog post so I’ll add a little more to this story. And then tell you the best part…

kc is just one of the amazing people I’ve met at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference and my life is much richer for it. I’ve attended the conference for the last five years. When kc is leading a workshop I’m usually in the front row. Her “Beginner Intensive” master class not only gives you all the information you need to start your writing career but kc also inspires you with her enthusiasm, candor and hilarious attitude.

2016-02-24 14.51.42

Even more shocking… kc is surrounded by some pretty incredible people at the SiWC… Kathy Chung, Camille Netherton, Crystal Stanaghan, Eileen Cook, Jared Hunt, Jennifer Browne and Jennifer Striemer.

These people are the reason the Surrey International Writers’ Conference is famous for being so welcoming and generous. They make it happen.

And the reason I’m telling you this story today?

Yesterday kc announced that Finding Fraser will be published by Berkley (an imprint of Penguin Random House).

This is HUGE news! It’s rare for a self-published book to be picked up by a big publisher and kc and her agent, Laura Bradford made it happen.

I was thrilled to hear the great news as the tweets started bouncing around. Then I clicked on the link to find out the details.

And that’s when I started to cry.

kc has listed the names of the people that helped to make this happen. She included mine.

How can you not LOVE someone like that?