Events · Look At Her · My Book · My YA Novel · On Writing · Poetry · Poetry On Demand · Publishing · Writing Life




Organized by the Writers Community of Durham Region (WCDR), Bookapalooza book fair was held at the Durham College Centre for Food on Saturday, November 19, 2016 from 10am – 3pm. Writers from the Durham region, and some from farther away (like me!) gathered in a large room and set up camps to offer enticing reading options for folks of all ages.

I had a great time setting up my little table…it was a good opportunity for me to see how my table decorations got people’s attention. Many people came to ding the bell and touch the typewriter. One woman even said she loved the way I set my table up, which made me feel really great because how my table looked, and the feeling that I wanted it to emit is what it’s going to be like at Gertrude’s Literary Cafe when I open it. (Don’t hold your breath but please do hold this dream in your heart for me!)

I offered folks a chance to create some fun poetry with these word blocks. I started things off with these…funnily enough, no one asked me to get naked. Huh.

Each writer/publisher had unique ways of getting a reader’s attention with big posters, pull-up signs, book displays, and no shortage of Halloween candy! One table offered free magnets with book covers on them…a good idea. Many of the books were fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and speculative (or is ‘speculative’ what all those genres are called? I’m still learning all the labels!). There was, I believe, one other poet on the other side of the room. I made sure to mingle and see what others were selling and sharing.

I wrote some Poetry on Demand for several people who came by (in great thanks to Jennifer, the author beside me, who I wrote a poem for and who took it upon herself to tell everyone to let me write them a poem! It was awesome.)


Fellow Windsor writers Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen were a couple tables down. They were selling their short story collection and fiction, and did well in terms of sales and connections. I made sure to constantly distract them. Hee.

Ben, Christian and moi!

While I didn’t attend any of the workshops or panels, many people did, and by the amount of people milling about, it looked as though the third year of Bookapalooza was a great success. I sold one copy of ‘Look At Her’ and a set of Poetry on Demand books (thanks Jennifer!). This stop on the tour wasn’t about book sales (as most of them weren’t!), but really, I believe, an opportunity for me to see that we, the writers, are all working very, very hard to be the best we can be, and to be our own advocates, sales manager, publicists and #1 fans.

We all had the same eyes – sparkling with dapples of hope, determination, enticement and desperation. Some folks were really great at engagement – bringing potential readers closer to the table, holding up their books and offering a lookey-loo. We all wanted people to stop and look. Stop and feel. Stop and buy. The writer beside me was at Bookapalooza last year, and since then had published another book in a series. A reader arrived eager to purchase this next book, sharing her excitement with the writer at realizing she could come back to the fair to get this second book. The sale was made, but more than that, the writer’s day was made. Her week. Maybe her month. Knowing that a reader was waiting for her to finish her next book so she could read it?  That’s some outstanding energy to feel. This is the stuff that keeps us moving. Like getting stars on Goodreads or reviews on Amazon. This is the stuff that motivates us to keep moving forward when we feel like no one’s reading…

I thought a lot about Hangman (the YA trilogy I’m writing). A lot. Looking around at all the fiction, at all the determination and dedication to craft outputted into hundreds of books…I got very, very excited to know that my near future will include me returning the world of Hangman; the characters, their plights, their powers. There’s a novelist in me yet! She’s screaming to hit the keyboard and unleash…

Ben snapped this pic of me! Thanks Ben! Hooohaa. Look at me…wanna buy a book?

There have been many times over the course of this book tour that I’ve been frustrated with the system. In particular, book awards and recognition. I want an award sticker on my books! So, in an attempt to quiet my success-monster always scratching in my brain, I made one.

It’s catchy, ain’t it?

I put these beauties on my book covers and boy do they look nice. And they attract attention. What fun! It’s great to see people’s reactions when they look closer and realize that this is, indeed, not a real award sticker. We all have a good laugh!

In the end, I’m glad I attended Bookapalooza. After we packed up, Ben, Christian, Crissi (my travel companion) and I went to a restaurant to pig out and talk shop. It’s so very important to connect with other writers. To share stories of pain and pride. To break bread, literally and figuratively, and essentially feel in your writer’s heart that you are not alone in your endeavour to change the world, one book at a time.

The drive home was terrifying. I was white-knuckled and bone-locked as I drove through rain, fog, snow squalls and battered by a fierce wind making a statement on my windows. I drove past a car accident that I can’t get out of my head to this moment…and when I finally got home and walked in the door, I dropped to me knees and buried my face in Oscar’s fur to feel safe and warm and alive. I tiptoed to the back of the house and put soft kisses on all the cheeks…and got into bed…sleep but a blink away.

And so…the book tour journeyed forth.


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