Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Pilgrimage to Fluevog Gastown October 27, 2012

I discovered Vancouver’s Fluevog shoes just in the last year or so, and ever since I have been developing a collection of gorgeous shoes.  Fluevogs are very well made, beautifully designed, unique and interesting shoes.  I’m discovering that there is definitely a Fluevogian attitude that celebrates creativity.  People who wear ‘Vogs are people I enjoy meeting.

I have purchased all my ‘Vogs online, either through www.fluevog.com or eBay, but I dreamed of the day that I would be able to make a pilgrimage to the flagship, original store in Gastown.

When I went to Surrey for SIWC2012, I took the opportunity.  I parked Sheila the Bug at the hotel, and took the bus and Skytrain into Gastown.  55 minutes X 2 trips in order to spend a few minutes in a store that had originally been a car park.  It’s all glass front and roof, and log slices artfully display the most brilliant shoes on the planet in the abundant natural light.

Red and purple Fluevog K2s

I had two shoe styles that I wanted to try on.  The first was  the new Elizabeths with the ball and claw heel that mimics Chippendale style furniture.  So cool!  Unfortunately, the Elizabeths rubbed in a bad place, so I will have to wait for future shoes coming out with this amazing heel.

The second shoes were the K2s.  I have worn similar shoes (in boring black) and had them until they fell apart. I know Oxfords are a great, every day style shoe for me.  The K2s were a perfect fit, soft leather, fun vibrant colour combination, great heel height, and eye-catching, as well.  My kind of shoe!  They were an easy, “Yes!” and into the lovely paper bag they went.

After my shoe purchase, I headed across the road to The Coffee Bar to have dinner with Citieguy Paul Schellenberg who is a local impresario.  Paul and I were Rotary Exchange students together years ago.  He went to Belgium when I went to Finland.  It’s been quite a few years, and it’s fun to see where we’ve taken the skills we developed as exchange students!  It turns out that The Coffee Bar is a favourite haunt of my son, who works for 49th Parallel Roasteries,  which supplies the coffee that is served there.  The cashier raved about how wonderful my son is, and  I told them to tell him that they’d met his mother. <g>  Nothing like embarrassing your kid, right?

The visit with Paul was all too short, because I had a big night ahead of me!  The lovely Fluevog paper bag dissolved on the way back to the hotel, in the humidity of  the miserable rain, but nothing could wash away my enthusiasm!  I put my new shoes onto my feet and headed off to Chapters at Strawberry Hill to meet authors JJ Lee, Michael Slade, CC Humphreys, Mary Balogh, Jack Whyte, and Diana Gabaldon.

Like the finance minister wearing new shoes to present a new budget, my new Fluevogs set the tone for a weekend of creativity, exhuberance, and promise.  I was introduced to a lot of wonderful people who had to stop to ask me about my various shoes.  I wore Fluevog Bellevue Pearl Harts to the 1920s dinner for perfect vintage style.  My Fluevog Ice Blue Macchiatos made the SIWC Facebook page, and at dinner one evening, I was asked to come meet a table of ladies all wearing unique Fluevog shoes. Author CC Humphreys complimented my shoes, and pointed out that he, too, was weaving ‘Vogs!  The people at SIWC are clearly MY PEOPLE! <g>

Of course, besides helping to meet amazing new people, the best thing about having distinctive shoes, is that whenever I wear these awesome K2s, I will remember that I was wearing them when I met my favourite author, Diana Gabaldon!  <g>  It will remind me of her writing advice and generous spirit.

Creative shoes.  Creative people.  Creative spirit.  Creative life.

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hyper-ventilating October 16, 2012

I have met some ‘famous’ people over the years, and while I may be in awe of their talent, they generally turn out to be people pretty much like me. I know that. But at the moment, it’s rather difficult to BELIEVE it.

As you’ve noticed if you’ve read this blog for any time, I love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and I am amazed by her talent and her generosity to her fans and other writers. I have posted questions on her Facebook page and on the Compuserve Writers’ Forum, and she has provided helpful (and sometimes lengthy) responses.

For these reasons, I am hyperventilating as this week ticks by, because in less than 48 hours I will be meeting Diana Gabaldon (and J. J. Lee, Jack Whyte, Mary Balogh, Anne Perry and Michael Slade, not to name drop or anything) 🙂 at a fund raiser for the Surrey Writers’ Conference, and on Saturday I have the honour of sharing the scene that Diana had helped me with in a 15 minute blue pencil appointment at the conference.  I am nervous, excited, and slightly terrified of making a fool of myself.

My son said, “Just don’t be a fan, Mom. Be professional.”

Yeah. Easier said than done, kid!

 

pitching at a conference July 12, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:59 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

There are 99 days before the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, and I’ve just remembered I have to prepare for my pitch.  I’ve been so excited about my blue pencil appointment with Diana Gabaldon that I’ve completely neglected the fact that I have an agent to meet with.  I anticipate having Grace Awakening Myth ready to pitch, or perhaps Number Eight, a high interest, low vocab novel I have had ‘just about finished’ for two years.  (Seriously, it’s missing about 2000 words, but Grace was a bully and completely took over).

The last time I pitched at a conference, I ended up with a contract for Grace Awakening with a small Vancouver publisher.  This time I’m meeting with a big time New York agent, and I feel a little out of my depth!  Writers’ Digest features a post this week on how to pitch to agents at conferences.  I am eager for the tips, and perhaps you’ll be interested, too.  See you in the appointment line!

 

3 levels of story: Donald Maass workshop June 7, 2012

I am beyond excited to be going to Surrey International Writers’ Conference next fall (in 133 days!).   I attended SIWC in 2009 after I’d written Grace Awakening, and successfully pitched it there.  I was a walk in registration on the Saturday that year.  This year,  I registered and paid on the first day I could for the full conference.  As a result, I have appointments with agent Victoria Marini and with Diana Gabaldon!  I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

In the midst of my excitement, I’m feeling the pressure to be finishing up book 3, Grace Awakening Myth, and getting back to work on Grace Beguiling.  Beguiling is the book I was in France to research in 2011, and it has already had some help from Diana Gabaldon, as she responded to some historical questions about Roman Catholic practice that I’d posted on the Compuserve Writers’ Forum.   I was poking around the Forum today, looking for some interesting conversations and tips, and I came across links to this blog post that is the notes that L. S. Taylor  took at SIWC in a masters’ class by agent Donald Maass in 2011.    Maass handles some serious talent, and I’ve heard him speak before.  This workshop is so full of fantastic stuff that I thought I’d direct you to the link.   I’m going to be chewing on this for a while.  Taylor records, “Fiction that keeps us enthralled works on three different levels at once: the macroplot, the scene structure, and the line-by-line tension. A throbbing beat that keeps us dancing/reading, enthralled.”

Click here to read Taylor’s notes from Maass’s Master Class: Impossible to Put Down: Mastering the Three Levels of Story.  Thanks Laura for taking these great notes and posting them on your blog for us all!

 

 
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