When Words Collide – A fantastic weekend at the WWC in Calgary, Alberta, CA

WWClogo-356x100Here are my key words for this past weekend’s experience at the WHEN WORDS COLLIDE Convention. Fun, Informative, Surprising, Invigorating, Enthusiasm, Refreshing, Inspiring, and did I mention FUN?

If you are a writer and did not attend this past weekend’s convention, don’t make that mistake again. Are you listening? Good. Mark your calendar –


Delta Calgary South, Calgary, Alberta

Sign up at:


I’ve just returned home from the convention and I’ve already registered for next year’s event. This year’s convention’s registration tickets were sold out. Register early.

Exactly what was so terrific with this year’s When Words Collide? There’s a lot to cover but I will endeavor to be succinct.

  • Venue (Carriage House Inn) very accommodating and comfortable, great food and service
  • Incredible speakers / panel discussion (intelligent, fun, experienced, sharing, open)
  • Lots of opportunities to ask questions during sessions and between sessions
  • Great session topics in every time slot, from 10 am to 4 pm
  • Sessions for all genres
  • All aspects of publishing, marketing, writing, editing
  • Unique topics such as Online Etiquette, Free the Muse, Japanese Folklore and Mythology, etc.
  • Eight sessions PER hour; choose your favorite, go to the room, and enjoy (no hassles of pre-sign ups)
  • Speakers stayed on track, subject and welcomed questions and discussion
  • Convention well organized, simple and easy to follow

Some of my favorite sessions:

  • The slush pile: In this session writers submitted the first page of their manuscript to the panel. A member of the panel read the page out loud to the audience and panel members. The four panel members listened. They would determine if there were significant errors or anything that would make them turf the manuscript. At that point the panel member would raise their hand. If three members raised their hand, the reading stopped. The panel members then critiqued the page. The audience learned what editors pick out as red flags as well as what made the first page a success.

I’m so proud to say that when my first page of Forbidden was read, none of the editor panel members raised their hand. Whoot! I received great reviews, everyone saying they would continue reading the manuscript (if this had been an actual submission to their office). Heavy duty sigh of relief.

  • Marketing Your Book: I learned so much from Jodi McIsaac. She talked about mistakes she had made in her earlier years of marketing her books. She covered numerous strategies that will get readers’ attention. The key word – MAKE CONNECTIONS. With her enthusiasm and confidence I felt inspired and eager to implement her advice. The possibilities are enormous. Thank you, Jodi.

iStock_000014665836_ExtraSmall (2)My ‘OMG’ experience: I had an opportunity to present a five minute pitch to Adrienne Kerr, Chief Editor at Penguin / Random House.  What an incredible woman. I had done my research in the week prior on how to pitch your manuscript (no, not throw it across the room, LOL). The one warning that had me nearly dizzy was that editor’s don’t appreciate a writer who throw’s up on the editor’s shoes. No kidding!

Talk about nerves. All of us who were scheduled for the pitch session sat in a line outside the room. My heart raced in the my throat. I decided perhaps it was not best to shake her hand with my sweating paw. When I heard my name called, I did my best to not pass out. Breathe, just breathe. I shook her hand. Damn!

Not to worry. Adrienne is a professional and smiled away my nervousness. I made that all-important eye contact and carried on. She was pleased with my pitch. In fact, she complimented me twice, “good pitch.” Sadly though, Forbidden is not what she is looking for.

However, all was not lost. My pitch session with Adrienne Kerr came in handy – a practice session for what happened the next day. The leader of our local writing group suggested I talk to a publisher she admires. I cornered him, presented my five minute pitch. He appeared pleased when I offered him Forbidden’s full length synopsis.

Am I holding my breath? Hell, yes!

There’s so much more I could report. Suffice to say I had a grin on my face the entire weekend, met wonderful publishers, editors, writers and readers, sold a few of my books (The Guardian’s Wildchild), and came away inspired and rejuvenated.


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