2013 Junior Authors Writers Conference Richmond, BC


Saturday, October 19, 2013
Sandman Signature Resort
Richmond, BC

Thank you to the young writers, speakers, parents, and my assistants (the A-team) who were part of the 2013 conference. The highlight for me was having you all sign my copy of Polly Wants to Be a Writer and share some cake with me at the book launch party. See you again in 2014. – Laura

What We Did at the 2013 Conference

The A Team

  • Six workshops on the art and craft of writing (Please see our line up of wonderful speakers below)
  • Personalized certificate of participation
  • Goody bag which included a copy of speaker Lois Peterson’s book 101 and More Writing Exercises to Get You Started and Keep You Going. (Thank you, Lois!)
  • Door prizes
  • Morning snack – coffee, tea, juice, pastries
  • Catered lunch – soup, salad, sandwiches and wraps, fruit, dessert squares
  • Afternoon snack – coffee, tea, juice, jumbo cookies
  • Parent workshop and Q&A session with Laura on how to support and encourage your young writer. This is included in the registration fee and attendance is optional.
  • 2013 Junior Authors Contest results announced live from the conference
  • Official launch party for Laura’s new book Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published


Meet Our 2013 Sponsors

Albany Books
Delta School District
Central Avenue Publishing


Meet Our Fabulous 2013 Speakers

9:30 – 10:15 am
What She Said: Writing Effective Dialogue
with Michelle Barker, Author & Editor

READ Michelle’s article on jaBlog!

Michelle Barker

What your characters say and how they say it can go a long way towards advancing your story. Good dialogue shows the reader (rather than telling them) who your characters are. In this workshop Michelle will share examples of both good and bad dialogue, and then let the participants practice writing some of their own.

Michelle Barker (www.michellebarker.ca) was born in Vancouver, BC. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of BC and went on to work as an editor and researcher before turning to writing full time. She has published short fiction, non-fiction and poetry in literary reviews, magazines and newspapers. In 2002, she won a gold National Magazine Award in personal journalism. Her chapbook, Old Growth, Clear-Cut: Poems of Haida Gwaii, was published by Leaf Press in 2012. Also in the same year, a mini-chapbook called Glimpsing the Stars came out with “The Centrifugal Eye.” Her poetry appeared in The Best Canadian Poetry in English (2011). Her first novel, The Beggar King is a young adult fantasy and has just been published by Thistledown Press.

10:30 – 11:15 am
How to Write a Great Article and Get it Published
with Deneka Michaud, Journalist & Communications Professional

Deneka_MichaudHave you ever had an awesome story idea that you want to write for your local newspaper, magazine or online publication but you just aren’t sure how to go about it? Deneka will cover the main components of a news article, including a strong lead, the inverted pyramid structure and article citation. Participants will also practice creating news hooks in order to successfully pitch their story ideas, as well as discuss ways to navigate the system to ensure your idea gets to the right person.

Deneka Michaud is an experienced journalist and communicator. For her undergraduate degree she studied at Carleton University in Ottawa where she received a Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) with a minor in political science. Following graduation she worked as a journalist for seven years, both in print and broadcast news. Deneka has had hundreds of articles published and more than a 1,000 television stories aired. In 2011, she made the switch from journalism to communications where her writing has shifted from articles to press releases, speeches, letters, employee communication items, and the like. She recently completed her Graduate Certificate in Professional Communication Management from Royal Roads University in Victoria.

11:30 – 12:15 pm
A Story to Learn, Tell & Share
with Lois Peterson, Author & Storyteller

LPheadshotsmLong before there was TV, books, newspapers, the Internet, movies, and comics, there were stories. Often told around a campfire as a way to lean more about the world, share information and wonder about the unknown. In this highly interactive workshop, participants will hear a told creation story, discover and discuss what elements help bring a story to life in the listener’s imagination as they learn about the basic elements of a good story.

Lois Peterson (www.loispeterson.blog.com) has published seven novels for children and youth with Orca Books in Victoria, BC, along with a popular handbook called 101-and more-Writing Exercises to Get You Started and Keep You Going. Her books have been nominated for awards in BC, Ontario and Saskatchewan are are included on many recommended reading lists. Lois works closely with teachers, librarians and community leaders to create presentations that help participants improve their writing skills.

1:30 – 2:15 pm
Writing More Than You See
with Darlene Foster, Author

READ Darlene’s article in jaBlog!

Darlene FosterThis workshop is about setting and how pictures can be used to write a scene. The importance of using more than the sense of sight to describe setting will be explored. Participants will practice descriptive writing by observing a picture of a place and describing it using more than one sense.  This will be a fun, interactive workshop with an opportunity to share writing with other participants and learn from each other.

Darlene Foster (www.darlenefoster.ca) is a writer of children’s stories, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, reading, shoes, cooking, sewing, music, chocolate, walking on the beach and making new friends.  Her grandson calls her “super-mega-woman-supreme.”  Darlene has always had a desire to write and has won awards for her short stories, one of which has been included in an anthology, Country Roads: Memoirs from Rural Canada. She has published three books for middle-grade readers, Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask and Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting and Amanda in England – The Missing Novel, recently released. She believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true!

2:30 – 3:15 pm
Move Your Body, Clear the Cobwebs, Become Inspired
with Jes von Henzke, (Laura’s Favourite) Yoga Instructor

JezVonHenzkeThis workshop will allow you to refocus on your project, simply by moving and breathing! After sitting for a long period of time, the mind becomes blurry and the body gets stiff. Getting up and moving in all ranges of motion, along with deep breathing, will help you revive your creativity and get your head back into the game of writing brilliantly! We will explore the power you possess to reignite the flame of inspiration for all of your writing projects.

Jes von Henzke (www.sadayayoga.com) explores her creativity through movement, breath, laughter, and connecting to nature. She has been teaching yoga to people of all ages and shapes since 2009 and believes that yoga can heal the mind, body, and soul, one baby step at a time.

3:30 – 4:15 pm
If You Were the Publisher
George Opacic, Past President Federation of BC Writers, Author, Publisher

GOpictureThe workshop will touch on important aspects of digital publishing, self-publishing, and main-stream publishing, focusing on their different expectations of an author.  A publisher’s understanding of the elements of professionalism are discussed so that participants will better understand the difference between yourself and writing for a large audience.

George Opacic is President of the Federation of BC Writers (www.bcwriters.ca).  During his writing career he has co-founded a magazine for builders of private aircraft and written numerous short stories and 12 film scripts. He is also a professional ghost-writer. His current project is an ambitious novel called The Antichrist of Stanley Park, which takes place in Nunavut and Vancouver.


For more information about the Junior Authors Writers Conferences, please contact Laura at laura@laurathomascommunications.com or leave a comment below.


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