NaNoWriMo 2017 – Prep

Yup, I prep for NaNoWriMo. I am not a pantser. I can write a couple thousand words off the top of my head. But after that I am lost. I need a plan, a cunning plan.

So what am I planning for this year’s NaNoWriMo? I am glad you asked. Today at this moment, the book will be an origin story about the first magic users that survive and how they grow into the College of Greater Magic.

On the good news side I sent out my magic system notes to get some feedback. This will help the book.

Other decisions that I have made about this work:

  1. Work on better description, I suck at description. Suck is an understatement.
  2. It will be an ensemble story of some sort. Most likely an adventure.
  3. People will die, I have a hard time letting characters die or be killed. Time I grew up as an author.
  4. There will be a wise-ass dad joking character.
  5. There will be bad people.
  6. I will have an outline and plan.
  7. This book will fit into a Fantasy Series.
  8. I will update the blog. (Stop laughing)

This afternoon, I will start working on characters and their story arcs. There may even be a second blog. Two blogs in one day! INSANITY.

Thank-you #wwcyyc17

Trying hard to understand how charmed my life is right now. When Words Collide 2017 being yet another event that brought joy to me. A big thank-you to the volunteers, organizers and guests for this amazing event. Below is the list from the program for the volunteers and organizers. Send your thank-you’s to

These people are the wonderful group who worked hard all year to bring you the best festival they could. Please take a little time to shake their hands.
The One to Blame (Chairman) Randy McCharles
Who We Begged for Money (Finance) Cheryl Cottreau, Mahrie G. Reid, Cliff Samuels
The Person Who Organizes Our Agenda (Secretary) Michele Lisiecki
She Who Reached Out (Affiliates Liaisons) Val King and Kyera Lea
The Person Who Wrangles Authors (Guest Liaison) Cliff Samuels
The Man Who Makes Things Beautiful (Artist) Steve Swanson
The People Most In Need of Rest (Programming) Randy McCharles, Susan Forest. Suzy Vadori, Susan Calder, Sarah Kades, Mahrie G. Reid, and Darlene Louka
The One Who Arranged For Things to Purchase (Merchants’ Corner).Marzena Czarnecka
The Person Who Found Us A Place to Gather (Hotel Liaison) Randy McCharles
Pre-Festival Workshops Susan Forest
The People Who Managed Our Saturday Night
Banquet Randy McCharles, Nola Sarina, and Darlene Louka
Mass Autograph Session Kim Greyson
The Ladies Keeping Track of Everybody (Registration)
Pre-festival Sandy Fitzpatrick
At Festival Kyera Lea

The People Who Kept You Informed
Web Site Gary Renshaw
News & Notes, E-Mail Monitor, Statistician Randy McCharles
Podcasts  Tony King
Program Book  Cliff Samuels
Restaurant and Area guide Cliff Samuels
Promotions Distributor, Calgary Public Library Liaison Stacey Kondla
Facebook Ron S. Friedman
Twitter Suzy Vadori
Media Relations Tony King
The Person Who Cracked the Whip (Volunteer Wrangler) Kim Greyson
The Person Who Remembers Who We Were (Archivist) Val King
The People Who Deal with Government – Grants  Catherine Saykaly-Stevens
Siona Gunn-Graham, and Susan Forest
Those We Have Insufficient Space to List And Many Others
There are many volunteers to thank

The biggest moment for me was meeting my literary hero Guy Gavriel Kay. Not only meeting him and getting a selfie but listening to him talk about writing and his writing process. I will share more on that in a coming blog.(HINT:There is no magic bullet) But here is the fan boi picture. It’s hard to explain the impact this had on me. At 57 years old I held little hope for meeting people I respect as heroes. I doubted the chance that it would happen. This year I have met two, one Andy Mckee the finger style guitar player and now Guy Kay. And yes you do get goose bumps at my age. You check to see if it’s rash first, but you still get them. When the first example he used was your favorite scene, it gave the word ‘surreal’ new meaning. This can’t be happening. It is not possible. Transcending.

“In this world, where we find ourselves, we need compassion more than anything, I think, or we are all alone.”― Guy Gavriel Kay, Tigana

Be Well – dcd

Cover Reveal…drum roll please!

I met Suzy Vadori at the Rocky Mountain Writer’s Retreat two years ago. Over the weekend several discussions about writing with her and others occurred including an extended discuss on relationships and romances in YA. She also took the time to explain her method of plotting stories. She described herself as a quilter. Which made a lot of sense to me. I learned to enjoy YA lit raising my three boys. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl,  you know the list. So I bought her book and read it. Gave it to my sister, she loved it. Wonderful story, well written, with one of the evilest antagonists ever! I kid you not!

What drew in me in the most was the weaving of the plot elements. Seamless and intriguing. I generally only read series and when I found out there was no sequel nagging began.

Book Two in the series, The West Woods is coming out soon, not soon enough for some us, but at least she’s not writing at a G.R.R. Martin pace. Here is  a short blurb and the cover of the new book – quite a mystery.

Magic, sacrifice and the quest for freedom.
Courtney Wallis wants nothing more than to escape St. Augustus boarding school. After uncovering a well-kept secret about the school’s founder, Isaac Young, Courtney turns to the school’s magic to convince her dad to let her leave. Things take a turn when she meets Cole, who lives in the nearby town of Evergreen. He gives her hope that things might not be so bad. However, the school’s fountain has other ideas, and binds Courtney to her ambition, no matter the cost.
As Courtney struggles to keep the magic from taking over, she and her friends get drawn into the mystery woven into the school’s fabric. Everything seems to lead back to the forbidden West Woods. Together, she and her friends seek out the spirits of the past to ask for help, and find themselves in much deeper than they’d bargained for.  If they succeed, Courtney could be free of the magic. If they fail, she may never be the same.

Add To Good Reads

The West Woods Cover Reveal - Suzy Vadori Aug 8 2017        the fountain


About the Authorsuzy vadoriSuzy Vadori is an Operations executive by day, Writer by night. The Fountain is her debut novel for Young Adults. Suzy is an involved member of the Calgary Writers’ community, service as Program Manager for Young Adult at When Words Collide (a Calgary festival for readers and Writers) since 2013. Suzy lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband and three kids.

Author Links: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

I was not compensated for this: good people, good authors need all the help they can get. A big thanks to: The gang at Evil Alter Ego Press for signing Suzy and YA Bound Book Tours for letting me part of the cover reveal. Nagging works.

YA Bound Tour Button

As always, be well


PS – be ready for the onslaught of When Words Collide Posts.


Two Years an Author – What’s it Been Like?

I met Suzy at a Writer’s Retreat. Wonderful discussion on her method of writing. So interesting that I bought the book, and was totally hooked. Book Two in the series is coming out this month! Her reflections on being a author are well worth the read.

Suzy Vadori

This week marks two years ago that I sold the manuscript for The Fountain to Evil Alter Ego Press, finding myself in the ranks of Author overnight. How time has flown! As I’m preparing for the launch of Book 2 in The Fountain Series, (THE WEST WOODS), people keep asking me, “How’s it going?” So, I thought I’d share with you all how it’s going, and what it’s been like.

It’s going GREAT! I love being an author.

Here’s some stuff I’ve learned…

Writing a book is just the beginning. Becoming a writer is much like starting your own business – no rest for the wicked. There’s writing, there’s editing, then… there’s sales, marketing, promotion, events, media, and more writing. Phew! Luckily, I like it all. No complaints.

So many people are writing a book! It never ceases to amaze me how many people I meetareworking on writing their ownbook…

View original post 376 more words


One week or so from now I will be at When Words Collide 2017. A tremendous opportunity for me to learn more about the craft of writing, to get inspired about my writing and lastly, face the music. (A little melodrama never hurt anyone)


You may wonder what ‘face the music’ means. This past year one of the writing groups I participate in committed to submitting to the editors, publishers and other authors offering free critiquing sessions. These people do this with little or no chance of gaining from the sessions. It’s part of what makes this conference great, people giving of their time and expertise. Like a fool, I thought, sign me up. To that end I requested three slots at the conference to give an editor samples of my work and receive feedback. I have no aspirations other than to learn from people on how to improve my writing.  Depending on the slot(s) I will be submitting different pieces. Having requested the waiting is underway.  And winner winner, chicken dinner – three slots!

Anticipating a busy three days, I am trying to prepare better for the grind of the conference. What does that mean? For me it means healthy snacks, regular meals and letting myself enjoy the conference. I will try and not worry if I am at the “BEST SESSION”, but rather enjoy where I am. If it is horrible, I will not worry if I offend anyone and get up and leave. More than ever this year I want to seek the opinion of others. What sessions did they enjoy?

One session I have put my name in for is a 50 minute sit down with Guy Gavriel Kay. There are 12 spots to be determined by a draw. The exquisite beauty and personal pain he can give to a reader through his characters is magical.  Hence the excitement. What does one ask of a literary hero?

Until then



Be well…dcd



My last exchange with Robin Young

I knew him as a writer only. He passed this last week.


A man with his own style. A character in some ways . His excellence at wordplay and pinpoint, acerbic wit endeared him to me, and others. I also enjoyed his critiques of my writing. As a struggling writer, which is what I am, his crisp, on point, reviews of my stories changed my prose.

He was in for his second battle with cancer. When I visited him, he still had good color, a clear mind and was writing.  His passing was sudden and surprising.  I have no details at this time. Perhaps one of his creations came to life and took him to a better place.

As promised in the title, my last exchange with Robin:

doug [2:04 PM]
Where do they have you now?

robin [5:07 PM]
Robin spat the stinging dryness of the high desert sand out of his mouth and realized his was no a good place to beta-test the latest DragonDictate.

doug [5:07 PM]

You would have to retrain the entire profile for speech recognition

robin [5:13 PM]
“They spirited me out of that nasty Bucharest ‘mental hospital’, stuffed me in the back of a rattling aluminum box with a couple of Mousafah’s bully boys and tossed me out on the street in front of a down on its heels named “Cross Cancer

doug [5:13 PM]
You so need to write this

So you are at the U of A?

robin [5:14 PM]
Two wordsCross Cancer

doug [5:14 PM]

robin [5:14 PM]
Room 3142

doug [5:14 PM]
Roger Roger

robin [5:15 PM]
That was fun – thanks!

I leave you and myself with the words The Great Poet:

Be cheerful, sir:
Our revels now are ended 
These our actors,
As I foretold you were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all of which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind:
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
~ William Shakespeare

A Good Man, I will miss him.
Be Well


The Great Ponoka Write-In!

On July 8th 2017 the ‘We Will Publish’ (WWP) writers and editors group trekked to Ponoka for a mini-write in. By all accounts it was a huge success. Why Ponoka? One of our members, @stammcanada ‏ hasn’t been able to attend in person for several months and the second reason – ROAD TRIP!

Big shout out to our drivers, Lou and Courtney for hauling the team out. And thanks to the Tim Horton’s for letting us hog the single outlet in the restaurant. What we didn’t know is that it was the favorite table for the Local RCMP. (OOPS)

At the start we shared our goals for the day:

  • Melissa – Version two of her story for an RPG game that she has a affinity with.(they asked her write a short story for them so they must have an affinity for her too!)
  • @sharlene_engel ‏is doing a re-write of Book One of her Epic Fantasy series.  She is liking her main character more now. This makes us all happy.
  • Courtney is working on her novel(revising scenes), whose idea I have to keep secret because it is that amazing of an idea. She has dialed in the style she wants to write in and has most of work scenes on Index Cards ready to write.
  • @LouWSytsma is editing a short story for submission to Writer’s of the future.
  • Moreena wrote chapters for her online serial story  and work for her Epic Fantasy, Book 2.
  • and @dcdeartweets is cleaning up his first draft of the The Poorly Title “Einstein Fallacy” to send to Melissa and Sharelene for a substantive edit pass.
  • Why yes we are a collection of Sci-Fi and Fantasy writers and editors. The editors are Sharlene and Moreena, but we critique each other’s work as best we can.

You may ask why a write-in? Writing by its nature is a solitary pursuit. This allows for us to socialize as writers and to write. This group keeps one another motivated and checks in on each others progress. Where possible we read each submission twice, once as a reader and once for our critique. We also post links, to writing tips, contests, meme’s and events that will help us as writers. We use a free app called “Slack” for this. Slack permits private groups like ours, but let’s us have all the features. We can also post files for critiquing.

Our current format is write for 20-25 minutes, check in and repeat. This worked well until Doug and Melissa decided to discuss the flammability of space suits across the table. They may have gotten dirty looks from everyone who was in the ‘flow’ at the time.

Some 4 hours later the Edmonton portion of team headed back. How did we do?

Better than expected. Every single one of us got work done and may have enjoyed the process. Will we do it again? You bet – this fall.

Be Well…