When Words Collide was a fantastic weekend full of informative panels, inspiring speakers, fun parties, networking opportunities, old friends, and new acquaintances.
In recent years, conventions have been less about panel discussions and more about growing my network of friends. Disillusioned, I have been under the impression I wasn’t learning much. Maybe it’s because my choice of panels has been the same. This weekend, I stretched myself and sat in some discussions that are out of my typical comfort zone. ARWA (Alberta Romance Writers Association) had a fabulous panel on “Alpha vs Beta Heroes” where in the discussion discussed traditional and modern heroes. I’m of the opinion that blended heroes are realistic because they accurately reflect people. The true Alpha is a stereotype, and often people will exhibit Alpha and Beta characteristics. Personally I’m beta, but when needed I can step up and be Alpha.
I also had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite authors this weekend, Jack Whyte. We drank scotch with his fabulous editor, Adrienne Kerr, and a wonderful author,
Jacqueline Guest. Later in the weekend, I was lucky enough to have lunch with Kim Grayson, Jack and Adrienne. I think Jack and I may have gotten a little excited talking history, tactics, and armor. Oh, well.
At the keynote address, Jacqueline spoke at length about taking chances and traveling. Then we heard from, what’s his name?
Only the most popular guy at the event. Moderating panels, reading stories, or delivering a keynote address, Mr. Sanderson was incredibly engaging and equally friendly. Another powerful speaker, Mark Leslie, had a great message about ebooks removing barriers and allowing authors power they struggled to previously hold. By the end of Friday, I was so inspired, I ripped my laptop out at the con, found an empty table, and wrote while everybody else was upstairs partying.
As usual, the convention provided a great venue for visiting with friends, including those I was expecting to see, fellow IFWA members such as Adam, Erika, Craig, Jodi, Lesley, Janice, Clare, and the rest of the gang. Party in #RM864. There were also those who traveled to visit, such as Robert J. Sawyer from Toronto, Chadwick Ginther from Winnipeg, Sandra Wickham from Vancouver, and a surprise appearance from Jessica Corra and Simon Larter from Pennsylvania. I met them at World Fantasy back in 2012 learned they have just moved to Calgary.
The dealers room bustled with activity, and some rooms held open reading sessions. Congrats to everybody with new books out: Patrick Swenson, Mark Leslie, and Sherry Peters, just to name a few. I would hate to forget all the great people whose paths crossed for the first time, and those I’ve met before. I can’t even begin to name you all.
When Words Collide 2014 was one of the best cons I’ve attended, full of great times.
And to cap it off, we built a fort…Until next year.