Monday, June 8, 2009

Home Again

What a weekend! The Bloody Words Mystery Conference in Ottawa ended yesterday and it was terrific. Canada has a blossoming network of superb and masterful crime and mystery writers, worthy of international acclaim they have received! Name dropping will follow shortly. And Pam will be providing some photos.

The flight to Ottawa was less than an hour, or equal to my daily commute to work on the highway each day. We flew with West Jet and it was a good experience - nice to see a company live up to their advertising!

Ottawa weather was sensational and Pam and I took to the streets on Friday. Wandered the Sparks Street mall - with an unplanned visit to a local jewellry store which Pam can tell you about, and then over to the ByWard Market, which was established in 1826.

Stopped into a tea shoppe and enjoyed a delightful pot of Earl Grey and sinfully delicious scones sitting outside in the sunshine, watching shoppers and tourists (hard to tell the difference) pass by.

As we wound our way back to the Marriott we strolled the grounds of the Parliament Buildings, enjoying the scenery and appreciating the fact that we could even get that close to our icon of government and political history. No barricades or guards to impede your walk.

Back to the hotel to get ready for the registration and the start of workshops and panels, but lamenting the fact that we seemed doomed to the Starbucks facility within the hotel, not finding a Tim Horton's coffee shop within easy walking distance! (We are SUCH java connoisseurs!) As well, the hotel was situated in the government area of Ottawa so there is not much business activity after 5 fact the Starbucks in the hotel closed up at noon on Sunday!

The weekend found us mingling with established authors, newly published authors, and those like us who have finished their work and seek the means and venue to get it published! We received a valuable critique of Madelaine and agreed that the points and concerns raised need attention. So we will need to do some rework and polishing.

Our favourite Canadian author, Louise Penny, had an amazing interview which we sat in on. At the end of the interview Pam went up to Louise, who reached across the table to give her a hug, and then Pam mentioned that I was with her. Louise immediately rose from her seat and came off the podium to give me a hug and say it was wonderful for us to meet! She is a very classy lady...throughout the conference we often ran into her and her lovely husband Michael - in the lobby and the elevators, and she was always quick with a greeting and warm smile.

Other authors we met and listened to on panels include Anthony Bidulka , from Saskatchewan. I definitely will be looking for his Russel Quant series! Rick Mofina, from Ottawa, was also a treat to listen to and I have purchased one of his books, "Six" to read.

And so many of these wonderful writers are also incredibly funny....we attended a "Liar's Panel" first thing Saturday morning and I have not laughed so much in a long time. Great story tellers (of course), their task was to answer questions posed by the moderator and then the audience had to determine if they were telling the truth or not...all in aid of fundraising for literacy awareness. If their story was true, the attendee had to cough up a loonie ($1 dollar coin), but if the author had been rightfully deduced to be fibbing, their penalty was $5 or more. Great fun moderated by another wonderful and very funny Canadian author, Mary Jane Maffini

The international guest speaker was Denise Mina again I purchased one of her books. She is from Scotland and was an absolute riot to listen to...can't wait to start reading her work as well. Pam will likely tell you more about Linwood Barclay and Vicky Delaney to mention a couple.

Saturday evening was the Gala Dinner, good meal, and even better conversations.

The time went far too quickly and as we were checking out of our hotel room, I took one last look out of our 16th floor window. As my gaze wandered over the streets below, I called to Pam and asked her to look at the scene below. "Tell me what you see" I said. Puzzled Pam did so, but wondered what she was looking for. So the first clue - "Look for something red" resulted in her seeing a red car parked on the street. I asked her to look just past that red car; she still wasn't sure what she was looking for....until I pointed out the familiar red and yellow of a Tim Horton's coffee shop! All the time just up the street from the hotel! Obviously our attention to detail needs some fine tuning.

What a wonderful time we had, far too much information to even scratch the surface here, but it was well worth every penny (and lack of Tim's coffee) to be there.

I'll leave room for Pam to add more and look for more links to favourite authors to be added soon.



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