Category Archives: Conventions

I started attending conventions in 2008. I’m now hooked!

Fundraising for Kitties at Fan Expo

Are you planning on going to Fan Expo Vancouver? If so, a bunch of crafty friends and I will have a table in Artist Alley with amazing wares to sell. We’ll be at booth A108. All proceeds from my sales will be going to Katie’s Place Animal Shelter.

Benson-Featured Pet at Katie's Place Animal Shelter!

Benson-Featured Pet at Katie’s Place Animal Shelter!

Come buy cool stuff for a good cause! I’ve made hats, lots of hats, for adults, small humans and even smaller humans.



Small human hats!

Small human hats!

Even smaller human hats!

Even smaller human hats!

HUGE THANK YOU to my awesome friend Bo Buckley for making these equally awesome Game of Thrones Dragon Egg Wristlets/Dice Bags. They’re so fabulous.


GoT Dragon Egg Bags by Bo Buckley!

GoT Dragon Egg Bags by Bo Buckley!


Since it’s going to a cat charity, I’ve also got cat toys to sell! Big thanks to my mom for working hard to make a bunch of adorable, catnip filled toys for your furry masters, I mean, pets! These are highly cat nipped, I’ve had to lock them away from my cats who chewed through the bag to get at them!

Catnip cat toys!

Catnip cat toys!


Hope to see you there!



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Filed under Charity, Conventions, Crafts, Creativity, Needle Crafts

My VCon 38 Experience

I’ve always loved VCon. It was my very first convention back in 2008 when I had just started writing again. I was blown away by all the writing advice I received, the costumes and the fabulous people there. I didn’t know anyone, I sat in all the panels and scribbled as many notes as I could, attended readings and wandered the art show and dealer room in wide eyed wonder. This year was just as exciting, except now I know lots of those fabulous people, I’m giving readings and sitting on panels in hopes of paying it forward with advice for other new writers.

Panel on writing your inner villain. I think it's working for me.

Panel on writing your inner villain. I think it’s working for me.

This year I was especially excited about our author guests of honour, Dan Wells and Mur Lafferty. It was so great to have them both here and to sit on panels with them. My two favourite sessions of the weekend were the Writing Girly Women (with Mur) and getting to host the Q and A with Dan. Thanks to both of them for being so much fun.

Over the weekend I was on nine panels, hosted the SF Canada party, did a reading at the book launch and did a reading on my own. Phew! I really thought I’d get three people to my reading and told myself I’d be thrilled if I could get five people there. To my absolute surprise and delight, my reading was standing room only! Okay, it was a small room, but still, it felt awesome and thanks so much to all of those who came out. It was the cookies, wasn’t it? I had a blast and I appreciate the support.

Reading at VCon!

Reading at VCon!

Some of my American friends have wandered up to VCon lately and it was great to get to hang out with Tod McCoy and Keffy Kehrli. Please come back again! I also got to spend some quality time (i.e. drinks and/or food) with Katrina Archer, Katherine Wagner, Leanne Tremblay, Kristi Charish, Rhea Rose, Joseph Picard, TG Sheperd, and Joe Fulgham. Also, always great to catch up the epically cool Devon Boorman from Acadamie Duello (no, really, some day you may meet Devon and realize I am right). Huge thanks to my amazing friend Andrea Westaway, who acted as my mini entourage and helped with the SF Canada party. You’re the best! Of course, what’s a convention without making new friends? This year was a jackpot for that, I am so glad to have met so many great people, including Jessica Steiner, JP McLean, Lisa Voisin and many more old friends and new friends I’m forgetting to mention, but you know who you are.

With the lovely pirate Rhea Rose!

With the lovely pirate Rhea Rose!

Big props to everyone involved in putting on VCon, from the committee to all the volunteers. It really is a fabulous event and I’m so excited to have the Aurora awards included next year. Hmmmm. I wonder if I can get onto the ballot?

Thanks again to everyone I saw and talked to at the con for making it another fantastic experience.

With the VCon costume winner!

With the VCon costume winner!


Filed under Conventions, Random Wickhamness, Writing

My VCon Schedule

I’m excited for VCon 38 this weekend! I’ll be on several panels and I’m doing two readings, one at the book launch on Friday night and one on my own on Saturday. This year we have great guests of honour including Dan Wells and Mur Lafferty. There’s always lots to do at VCon, panels, discussions, readings, the art show, gaming, dealers room, crafting and much more.

This year’s theme is pirates!

You can see the whole schedule online HERE. VCon is using the great site, so you can choose lots of options for viewing. Say, for example, you wanted to find out when a particular guest was doing panels and readings (ahem) you can click on their name and see their entire schedule. To save you the trouble of clicking on my name, I’ve included my schedule below. The book launch is open to everyone, the panels and other reading I’m doing are part of the convention membership.

Come join the fun!


Friday, October 4

2:00pm  Marketing Short Fiction and Poetry 

 3:00pm  Publicity: The Good, The Bad and the Bonkers

4:00pm  TAURINE : Legacy of Jolt

7:00pm Book Launch (reading)

8:00pm Writing Girly Women

Saturday, October 5

11:00am  Interview with Dan Wells

1:30pm  Author Reading: Sandra Wickham

5:00pm  Drawing Out the Dark Side: Tapping Into Your Inner Villain

Sunday, October 6

10:00am  Pirates vs. Ninjas

11:00am  Writing for Fighting



Filed under Conventions, Inspiration, martial arts, Sandra's Writing, Writing

Phew! I Get Carried Away Talking About WorldCon 2013

I’m always impressed by people who can come home from a convention or conference and do a write up about it within a few days. It takes me a lot longer to recover from the convention (ahem, who needs sleep?) and to process the entire thing. Usually by the time I’ve done that, all the recaps have been posted and it feels like I missed that boat, but I do love it when I get mentioned in other people’s recaps! I’m also terrified I will forget to mention someone, or a great aspect of the con and that fear has held me back from doing any sort of write up.

No more! I’m going to shout it out that I had a blast at WorldCon this year and I am going to do my best to pay homage to it with this post.

Before leaving, I will admit to experiencing some con anxiety. Days before leaving, impostor syndrome hit me hard. I wasn’t going to this convention to promote anything, I didn’t have an agent or book coming out and I wasn’t on any panels. “Why are you going?” my brain screamed at me. Thanks to Christie Yant for her advice and for talking me down off that cliff of insanity.

How to recap such a fantastic trip? By mentioning the amazing people I got to hang out with. I was thrilled to get to hang out with my Taos Toolbox classmates (was calling them my Toolmates, but was told I’m not allowed to do that) Sara Mueller, Lauren Teffeau and Fran Wilde. Fran did a reading from her book coming out from Tor and it gave me shivers. I can’t wait until it hits the shelves. Much of the convention was also spent with my Rainforest friends, Nicole Feldringer and Kelly Lagor, as well as my new bestie and fellow SF Canada member, Kristene Perron and old bestie, Mark Teppo. (wait, that didn’t come out right, but Mark, you know what I mean!) A gang of us hit the Glitter and Mayhem roller skating party in style, as well as the Hugos and had a fabulous time throughout the weekend. Thanks to all of them for further enabling the party girl in me.

Roller Skating Party!

Ready to Roller Skate! Kristene, my floating head, Nicole and Kelly.

Pre-Hugos Dinner

The lovely ladies at dinner before the Hugos. Kristene, Nicole, Kelly, Fran, Me, Rhiannon, Lauren and Sara

I also got to spend quality time with my fellow Inkpunk, Galen Dara, which was fantastic. I may have jumped out of my chair and screamed when she won the Hugo for Best Fan Artist, and I may have WOOTED loud enough for her to hear me from the back when she thanked the Inkpunks in her acceptance speech. It was such a great moment and I see only fabulous things ahead for Galen’s career.


Me and my Galen. 🙂

With Galen and her Hugo award!

With Galen and her Hugo award!

The other great thing about WorldCon is that I got to see some of my favourite people EVER, including Howard Tayler. I got to do a workout with Howard, which was awesome, and also ran into him throughout the weekend. I also got to catch up with Lou Anders, where? In the bar, of course. I had an overwhelming happy moment (as I do at these things) when I realized I was sitting at the bar with Howard and Lou.

Selfie with Kevin Hearne

Selfie with Kevin Hearne, our first IRL meeting!

One of the best parts was getting to meet some authors in person who I’d only met online before. It’s crazy how exciting it can be to meet someone IRL and I was thrilled to finally meet Kevin Hearne. I was also on a mission to meet Tobias Buckell and I’m happy to report it was a success. Both are fabulous gentlemen and I will have to settle for harassing them online until I can see them again in real life. Highlight of the weekend was meeting Brooke Bolander in real life which was AWESOME!

Rob, Me and Tobias. :)

Rob, Me and Tobias. 🙂


Brooke, me and Galen! 🙂

The bar really is the best place to meet up with people. I found Carrie Vaughn there a couple of times and we got to sit and chat for a bit. She doesn’t know this, but she actually made my entire con when I went to say hi to her. She said (and I paraphrase) “oh good, you were one of the people on my list that I wanted to catch up with.” Mind, blown. Carrie is fabulous and I love any chance to hang out with her.

I also got a chance to talk to Mur “winner of the best dress ever worn at the Hugos” Lafferty. I’m excited for her to come be GoH at VCon in a few weeks.

Me with Patrick and Amy!

Me with Patrick and Amy!

The number of cool, awesome people at this convention is staggering and I had many of my overwhelming happy moments. (if you wonder what that looks like, imagine a kid at Christmas getting their favourite toy they never thought Santa would bring) I spent time with the lovely and amazing Amy Sundberg, as well as Rainforest Retreat founding father Patrick Swenson and my good friend Dave Bara. I was thrilled to hang out with the lovely trio of Nancy Hightower, Stina Leicht and Valya Lupescu and can’t wait to hang out with these ladies again! Though I didn’t get to use him as a test dummy for my black belt testing, I did get to hang out with Wesley Chu and totally photo bombed his photo with Galen and her hugo. I also tried to buy his book from the dealer’s room, but it was sold out. Nicely done, sir. I barely got to see Sam Sykes and Myke Cole (whoa, I just realized their names are extremely similar) because they were busy being the belles of the ball. Next time, guys, let’s sit and have a drink! It’s on me. I also got to see Patrick Hester (congrats on the Hugo!), Robert J Bennett (always a blast) Paolo Bacigalupi (winner of most amazing smile ever), John Klima, Rhiannon Held, Christy Johnson (aka Folly Bain, aka Trouble Maker) Alan Smale and his wife Karen and met so many new, amazing people. This is the part where I’m afraid I’ll miss mentioning one of my amazing friends and I’ll feel awful, but know it’s just post con brain still affecting me and that I love you.

Andrew and I photo bombing Galen and Wes. Love it!

Andrew and I photo bombing Galen and Wes. Love it!

I almost forgot about the story that made me squee so loudly in the bar, I think some of the glasses shattered. Galen and I were chatting with some lovely ladies in the restroom (as you do) and then I ran into them in the lobby later that evening. I went to chat with them (as I do) and we talked for a while about fashion, the convention and the hugos. One of the ladies asked about what people wore to the Hugos because she was handing out an award in her flight suit but was wondering what to change into afterwards. Yes. I think my jaw hit the floor. She handed me her card and it was Cady Coleman, NASA Astronaut! I carried her card around for the rest of the evening, telling the story and squeeing quite loudly about it. As she handed out the Hugo, her  speech was brilliant.

What else? Panels. There were panels? While this was mostly a bar con, I also made it to lots of panels and readings and as always, I picked up something from each of them. I learned a lot from Joshua Bilmes of the Jabberwocky Agency and followed him around to several panels. I learned from the QandA with Jay Lake that I really need to be producing more words. Lou Anders talk on scriptwriting for novelists taught me I do know what I’m doing most of the time, I just need to do the hard work of getting it done right. I’m sure there are other things I learned that I’m forgetting, but it’s okay. I took notes.

See? This is why I don’t do con wrap ups, there’s just too much goodness to put into words.  I’m sure I’m still forgetting things worth mentioning but I feel I should stop now or I could go on and on about the many conversations, meet ups, things I learned and fabulous people I got to talk to. Maybe next con, I’ll recap only with photos. Speaking of the next con, I can’t wait to see you there!

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Filed under Conventions, Inkpunks, Inspiration, Travel

When Worlds Collide

I’m attempting my first automatically scheduled post and for a great reason. If it works, this post will go up as I’m on my to Calgary for the When Worlds Collide Festival for Writers and Readers. I’ll be on two panels and doing a reading on the weekend, but even more exciting, before the Festival begins, I get to do a two day workshop with New York Times best selling author, (drum roll please) Patricia Briggs!

Yes. To say I’m excited would be a ridiculous understatement. Throughout the workshop I shall be attempting to keep the fan girl squeeing on the inside. There are twelve of us in the workshop, we’ve each shared a chapter for critique and I’m excited to meet the other participants to discuss their work. On the flip side, I’m nervous to hear what they have to say about mine. Not to mention, feedback from Patricia Briggs. Really? That’s going to happen? Patricia Briggs is going to read my chapter and give me feedback on it? I still can’t really believe it.

Wish me luck. I’m sure I’ll have lots to blog about after my trip to Calgary.


Filed under Conventions, Sandra's Writing, Travel, Writing

Is This the Story I Was Meant to Write?

Back in 2008, I attended the World Fantasy Convention for the first time and had the privilege of being at a workshop presented by David Morrell, author of First Blood (Rambo) and over thirty other books. His words impacted me a great deal and I was recently reminded of them in a post at Writer’s Digest of inspirational quotes from authors at Thrillerfest. David Morrell was amongst those authors and was quoted as saying, “Your obligation as writers is to distinguish yourself. … The ultimate result should be a book that you write that no one else could have written.”

This was a large part of his workshop I attended and when I saw that quote, it not only brought back the workshop to mind, it made me question my current WIP. David Morrell told us we better have a damn good reason for writing our book. Why are you writing it? Find the books that you were meant to write.

Was I meant to write the novel I’m working on? I’m really not sure. I did spend a great deal of time brainstorming different ideas, (thanks to Fran Wilde for her suggestions-I shall blog about that some time!) and polling any of my friends who would listen. My current novel idea was the one that rose to the top. Does that mean it’s THE book I was meant to write? Wouldn’t I instinctively know that? “Ah yes, this is the ONE!” I’m 75 000 words into this WIP and I am not convinced it is. Then I begin to fear if it’s not the right one, that means it won’t be the one anyone is interested in reading, representing or purchasing.

Am I alone in questioning this? Are you currently writing or have you written the book you were meant to write?

When I get into these conundrums, dull-drums, the self doubts, I turn to my Mom who always encourages me to keep going. When I brought this all to her attention in a frenzied panic, her words of advice? She said, maybe this is the book you’re meant to write right now. So write it.

Best advice ever? Maybe. I’m sure David Morrell would approve. I guess I have a novel to finish. Thanks, Mom.


Note: I have blogged about David Morrell’s workshop in the past, if you’re interested you can read about it in more details HERE.


Filed under Advice for Writers from the Pros!, Conventions, Sandra's Writing, Writing

Too Distracted to Blog

The Hugo Packets are available! I received the email about it this morning, so when I should have been working on a lovely blog post about writing, I’ve been downloading all the Hugo nominated works!

If you’re not familiar with WorldCon and the Hugo awards, here’s a blurb from the WorldCon 2013 website. “The Hugo Award® is the leading award for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy. The Hugos are awarded each year by the World Science Fiction Society, at the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon).” Hugos are given out for Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette, Best Short Story, Best Related Work, Best Graphic Story, Best Dramatic Presentation “Long Form”, Best Dramatic Presentation “Short Form”, Best Editor Short Form, Best Editor Long Form, Best Professional Artist, Best Semiprozine, Best Fanzine, Best Fancast, Best Fan Writer and Best Fan Artist. Phew! That’s a lot to vote on.

What this means for lucky people like me who are attending WorldCon, is that we get to receive a lovely packet with all the nominated works so we are able to read them all before voting. All the Hugo nominated works! Given to us in one easy download! That’s worth the WorldCon membership right there.

Now you can see why I don’t have time to blog today. I have to get all the award nominated works onto my iPad and then it’s time to read! Good luck to all the nominees.


Filed under Conventions, Random Wickhamness