Lit Fest New West Almost Here!

Hello Fellow Fans of Reading and Writing,

I’d like to invite you to Lit Fest New West! All events at the Douglas College location on Saturday, April 14th are FREE to the public. This includes workshops for both the amateur and experienced writer, readings, and an evening performance featuring dance, music, spoken word, poetry, and comedy.

Featured speakers, authors and poets include CBC’s Bob Robertson and Linda Cullen, CBC’s fashion editor, JJ Lee, whose book A Measure of a Man was a 2011 finalist for the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, Erich Rautenbach, author of The Unexploded Boer, New West’s Poet Laureate, Candice James, and many more.

See the links at the bottom of the page for more details about each day’s events.

lit fest flyer

Dead Poet’s Slam at the Heritage Grill on April 12th.

Reserve for A Night of Mystery at the NWPL library for Friday the 13th:

Detailed programme info for April 14th’s free workshops and readings:

Written a book? Involved in the publishing industry? Consider booking an exhibitor’s table:


Showcase, art show, and additional info:

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Pearls 31 Book Launch!

Photo: Amy Schwartz

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LitFest New West

LitFest New west“LitFest NewWest was created to celebrate the literary arts, writers, authors and their accomplishments. We are proud to be a venue for the Lower Mainland leg of the BC Book Prizes Tour. This all day event features speakers, authors, workshops, readings and much more.”

To my friends and colleagues,

I am volunteering at LitFest this year and have been put in charge of finding children’s authors/publishers/illustrators, etc. So here I am, putting my money where my mouth is!

LitFest New West will be held all day on April 14th, a Saturday. There might be some satellite events within the week before the 14th as well (ie) spoken word held at the Heritage Grill, possibly a reception on Friday at the public library, etc.

The BC Book Prize organization will be involved this year and we hope to get some of the nominees to read as well. The prize is after the Fest so we won’t know who won yet.

We’ve got some CBC celebs like JJ Lee lined up to do some presentations too.

There will be literary-inspired performances (spoken word, dance, poetry, choral, etc) in the Douglas theatre.

Douglas College Creative Writing Students will be participating this year as well.

So far, I found out that to rent a table is $25 and last year, readers were paid a $75 honorarium to read. I asked about workshops (45 minutes) but was not told yet how a workshop instructor would get paid.

If you are interested in reading and/or a table, please let me know and I’ll refer you to the folks who will set you up.

If you have any more questions (or suggestions!) please don’t hesitate to contact me via this website.

There’s more registration info for LitFest, below:


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Doodling on the Movie Set

Much doodling was done during the monkey mayhem

Did I mention I do extra work on the side?

Writing and illustrating can be such a lonely business at times. I’ve worried that if I didn’t get out once in a while, I’d end up talking to an old volleyball or something. Extra work seems to fit the bill for getting me out of the house and the nice part is that I can choose my days. If you like sci-fi, I have probably been on a TV show you’ve seen recently. Vancouver, BC seems to be the capital of sci-fi TV shows of late. This is thanks, in part, to the ol’ X-files (of which I am a fan). Some of the current shows where you could catch a blur of me in the background are Fringe, V, Secret Circle, Hellcats, Life Unexpected, and Stargate. I am usually an executive-type passerby, a scientist, a mom, and an FBI cop (several times and once with a gun!). I’m in a Campbell’s Soup commercial which I’ve never seen (let me know if you ever see me!). I’m also in several movies including The Big Year,  Spooky Buddies, 50/50, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and a few I can’t remember at the moment.
     While being on the set is somewhat exciting (ok, it’s actually rarely exciting except if they get you to do something fun like scream your head off or act hypnotized), it’s the long-long waits in the Extras tent that I enjoy most. For one thing, it gives me the opportunity to yak my head off to the poor soul next to me all day. I can also indulge in huge amounts of reading time. But the thing I love the most of all, is whipping out my sketchbook and doodling my head off. These uninterrupted hours of doodling have served me well, as evidenced by lovely cartoon (look at the top of this page!) of the kids hanging onto the yellow banner. I did this sketch over the course of a couple long days on the set of The Rise of the Apes. I had a lot of looky-loos peeking over my shoulder to ask me about my drawing. This is always a good ploy to draw fellow extras in for a nice chat. Some of my nicest Facebook buds are folks I’ve met while doing extra work. Many are very talented actors hoping for the big break, but there’s a whole whack of them, like me, who have other stuff on the go. I’ve met other visual artists, fashion designers, singers, and a master knitter (he loves long waits in the Extras tent!) A couple of the sketches I’ve worked on, while on set, include the illustrations you see below.
     By the way, I am the second monkey (I was CGI-ed) from the left, on the second level glass balcony, in the ‘scary discovery’ atrium scene in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Poor Grace is no expert on broom riding!

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Growing Up with Harry Potter

This Moaning Myrtle is off to haunt the bathrooms at the Deathly Hallows movie premier.

Last Thursday, my daughter and a group of her friends went, in costume, to the midnight movie premier, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2.

As my daughter Amanda and her pal Hannah spent the afternoon digging through old Halloween boxes from the attic and sewing paper Hogwarts crests to their costumes, it was poignant for me to witness both the final chapter of the Harry Potter books/movies and that of my daughter’s childhood. You see Amanda just graduated from high school last month and this September she’s off to explore her future in university.

Ok I know am getting sentimental here. But no wait, not about my daughter’s growing up; I mean Harry Potter. I LOVE those books. The first time I got wind of Harry Potter, was from a little seven year old girl I used to do after-school care for. Her name was Krista and, boy, was she a precocious reader. Most kids were just starting to figure their way through Junie B. Jones at that age. Anyway, Krista always had her nose in that book. After school, when my daughters wanted to play with her, she just blocked them out and kept reading (think Julian Smith’s I’m Reading a Book!). Because of this snub, my older daughter Amanda decided she hated Harry Potter. This of course all changed a couple years later.  Since then our family has all been mad for Potter.  This is evidenced in the family photos of all of us dressed in witch costumes for numerous Halloweens to come.

I, myself, read the first three books in rapid succession, and then got through many a gruelling Christmas craft fair season by listening to the voice talents of Jim Dale on the audio books while beading away. I even coerced my book group into reading Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. Bewilderingly, not everyone in book group appreciated it. “Come on,” I said trying to play the vocabulary card, “Are you not at least thrilled to have learned new words like gobsmacked and snog?” It’s hard to be a middle-aged Harry Potter fan.

So ok, my kids can own the claim that they grew up with Harry Potter, but I too have been under its spell all these years. An athiest recently asked me why I fancy myself an agnostic. The answer has to do with faith; “I want believe that there’s magic somewhere in the universe…and I want to believe there could really be a place out there like Hogwarts.”


(PS) Krista is a talented artist now. Check out her illustrations/art/crafts in the Get Thee to a Nunnery link

(PPS) Check out Julian Smith’s I’m reading a Book!


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