- 2020 Program in Development
- Master Classes
- Guests of Honour
- Returning Festival Guests
- Confirmed Presenters/Panelists
Stay tuned for more information.
Click here if you would like to join us as a presenter or have ideas for things you would like to see.
2020 Festival Guests
Cathy Ace was born and raised in Wales, migrating to Canada at the age of forty where she turned her back on her previous life in marketing and turned to a life of crime…fiction. She is the author of eight Cait Morgan Mysteries (traditional, Christie-style mysteries), four WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (cozy, quintessentially British mysteries) and, in 2019, the standalone psychological suspense novel The Wrong Boy – which became an Amazon #1 bestseller and won an IPPY Award. Shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery three times, across both her series, she won in 2015 for The Corpse with the Platinum Hair. She’s published two collections of short stories and novellas, and has been shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story. She was Chair of Crime Writers of Canada 2016-2018. Her latest release is Good Cause, another standalone novel of psychological suspense set in her native Wales. She lives on five rural acres in beautiful British Columbia. Website: http://www.cathyace.com/
Vicki Delany is one of Canada's most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She is the author of more than thirty-five published books so far: from clever cozies to Gothic thrillers and gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House, the Tea by the Sea mysteries for Kensington and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series, for Crooked Lane Books.
Vicki lives and writes in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario. Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards. Vicki is the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. Website: http://vickidelany.com/
Steena Holmes is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with over 2 million copies of her titles sold world wide, including The Forgotten Ones, Saving Abby and The Memory Child. Named in the Top 20 Women Author to read in 2015 by Good Housekeeping, she won the National Indie Excellence Award in 2012 for Finding Emma as well as the USA Book News Award for The Word Game in 2015. Steena has been featured in various newspapers and magazines, websites such as Goodreads, BookBub, RedBook, Glamour, Coastal Living and Goodhousekeeping. To find out more about her books and her love for traveling, you can visit her Website: http://www.steenaholmes.com/
Fonda Lee is the author of the Green Bone Saga, beginning with Jade City (Orbit), which won the 2018 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and continuing in Jade War. She is also the author of the acclaimed young adult science fiction novels Zeroboxer (Flux), Exo and Cross Fire (Scholastic). Fonda’s work has been nominated for the Nebula, Andre Norton, and Locus Awards, and been named to Best of Year lists by NPR, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, and Syfy Wire. She won the Aurora Award, Canada’s national science fiction and fantasy award, twice in the same year for Best Novel and Best Young Adult Novel. Fonda is a recovering corporate strategist, black belt martial artist, and action movie aficionado residing in Portland, Oregon. You can find Fonda online on Twitter @fondajlee. Website: http://www.fondalee.com/
Dave has been the Associate Category Manager, Local Authors – Western Canada for Indigo/Chapters/Coles since January 2016. Dave started with Chapters as a bookseller in 1997 and has held various positions in the stores and Home Office since that time.
Before becoming a bookseller, Dave received a Diploma (Hons.) in Film & Video from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Dave has written original short & feature length screenplays and has also directed and produced several short films. In his spare time, he likes to travel by bicycle. Website: https://www.indigo.ca/
Morgan Rhodes is the New York Times bestselling author of the Falling Kingdoms series, which has been described as "Game of Thrones for Teens." As Michelle Rowen, she is the prolific and award-winning author of over two dozen novels. She has written for Penguin, Grand Central, Harlequin, and Bloomsbury, as well as dipping her toe into indie publishing.
A former president of Toronto Romance Writers, Morgan lives in Mississauga, Ontario, where she refills her creative well by watching trashy reality TV and drinking a lot of delicious coffee. . Website: http://www.morganrhodes.net/ and Michelle at www.michellerowen.com
Returning Festival Guests
Vanessa Cardui is an outlandish and daring musician with an alarming tendency to swing between the whimsical and the tragic. She has written hundreds of songs in various genres, including rock, folk, filk, and choral music, plays nine different instruments, and has a special love of historical and mythological subject matter. Her debut solo album, Thought Experiment, received high acclaim for its authenticity and bold emotional content. High on the success of Thought Experiment, Vanessa went on to release musical tributes to two Canadian subcultures: The Wine-Dark Sea for the pagan community, and Filk and Cookies for sci-fi/fantasy fandom. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, her 2017 album, Patience, represents a new level of sophistication and production quality. With two decades (and counting!) of songwriting experience, she savours every new challenge as a writer, and enjoys giving talks and seminars to help people crack the craft of songwriting. Website: http://www.vanessacardui.com/
Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in her novels. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. A member of many writing groups including the National Romance Writers of America (RWA), Kat enjoys promoting other authors on her blog. When she’s not busy writing, or marketing Kat volunteers her time to other aspiring authors.
She’s been published in numerous periodicals throughout her career, and continues to write for blogs and online magazines. A bestselling author, Kat’s books are available all over the world. The BRANDED TRILOGY is Kat’s award-winning series. With seven books published, Kat continues to write two novels a year.
Find her on Facebook: Kat Flannery, author
Follow her on Twitter: @KatFlannery1
Get Kat’s Newsletter
Mark Leslie Lefebvre
Mark Leslie Lefebvre's lifelong passion for writing and his love of reading led him to the book industry as a bookseller. His journey began in 1992, the same year he sold his first short story. Twenty-five years later, he has published books in print, ebook and audio formats and has worked in virtually every aspect of the book industry, and has been the Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations at Rakuten Kobo since 2011. A hybrid author, Mark self-published his first book One Hand Screaming, a collection of previously published short fiction, and he continues to firmly embrace both indie and traditional publishing. He has edited the anthologies Campus Chills, Tesseracts Sixteen and Fiction River: Editor's Choice and writes a series of non-fiction paranormal books for Dundurn Press that include Creepy Capital, Tomes of Terror and the August 2018 release (co-authored with Rhonda Parrish), Haunted Hospitals: Eerie Tales About Hospitals, Sanatoriums and other Institutions. Website: https://markleslie.ca/
Erin Lindsey has lived and worked in dozens of countries around the world, but has only ever called two places home: her native city of Calgary and her adopted hometown of New York. She is the author of the Rose Gallagher series of historical mysteries, the Bloodbound series of fantasy novels and the Nicolas Lenoir series of paranormal detective novels. Her latest Rose Gallagher mystery, A Golden Grave, hits shelves September 2019. She divides her time between Calgary and Brooklyn with her husband and a pair of half-domesticated cats. Website: http://erin-lindsey.com/
Shirlee Smith Matheson
Aviation adventures are featured in eight of Shirlee Smith Matheson’s 21 published books (14 nonfiction books for adult readers and seven young adult novels), as well as short stories and stage plays. She is an alumnus of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and has participated in (and instructed) writing courses and workshops at various schools and organizations. She is a member of The Writers Guild of Alberta, CANSCAIP and Young Alberta Book Society (YABS) as well as several aviation museums and organizations.
Awards include The 99’s Canadian Award in Aviation; Athabasca University Distinguished Alumni; Emerald Award finalist (environmental writing); and Alberta and BC nonfiction awards. Shirlee was employed for a number of years at The Hangar Flight Museum, and also completed a project as Historian for Calgary International Airport.
This Was Our Valley, the ongoing saga of hydro-electric dams on the Peace River, was published in 2019 by Frontenac House). Photo credit: John Chalmers. Website: http://www.ssmatheson.ca
Robert Runté, PhD, . Dr. Runté took early retirement as a professor to become a full-time editor so he could work with authors for longer than a semester. He has edited over 30 traditionally published SF&F novels and collections. His own short fiction has been published in Exile Literary Quarterly, Pulp Literature, On Spec Magazine, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, Strangers Among Us, Prairie Starport, Playground of Lost Toys, Polar Borealis, Alberta Unbound, The First Line, and other venues. He has won three Aurora Awards for his literary criticism and promotion of Canadian SF, and in 2017, one of his own stories was shortlisted for an Aurora. The late Dave Duncan called him "the best editor I've ever worked with", and willed Robert all his incomplete manuscripts to finish. The Traitor's Son is the first of these, due out from Five Rivers, August, 2021. Website: http://EssentialEdits.ca
Jonas Saul is the bestselling author of the SARAH ROBERTS SERIES and has written and published over thirty thrillers. After selling more than two million books, he signed with the Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary and Dramatic Rights Management. His recent releases are, The Future is Written, published by pioneering media company Adaptive Studios, and The Immortal Gene, published by Vesuvian Books.
Saul has traveled extensively throughout the world to scout settings for his thrillers, spending several years between Greece, Italy, Denmark, and Hungary. He is regularly invited to be a guest speaker, teacher, or workshop presenter at international writing conferences. Website: http://jonassaul.com/
Robert J Sawyer
Robert J. Sawyer, a member of both the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, is the bestselling author of Hugo-winner Hominids and Nebula-winner The Terminal Experiment, plus Starplex, Frameshift, Factoring Humanity, Calculating God, Humans, Rollback, and Wake, all of which were Hugo finalists. According to the Locus, he has won more awards for his novels than anyone else in the history of the SF&F field. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Winnipeg and Laurentian University, and was one of the nine initial inductees into the Canadian SF&F Hall of Fame. The ABC TV series FlashForward was based on his Aurora Award-winning novel of the same name. Website: https://sfwriter.ca/
Confirmed Presenters / Panelists
My name is Alexa Blyan, and I am fifteen years old. All my life I was raised to be very proud of my culture and my traditions despite the things that First Nations people face and have faced in Canada. I feel the effects of residential schools, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, racism, discrimination, and other things as well. I suffer from anxiety, which has taken a toll on my life significantly. Up until the ninth grade I was scared to talk to anyone or put myself in social situations.
Now I am a motivated and passionate public speaker who speaks out about Indigenous issues and my own stories. My goal is to make the world better for everyone. Equality for all, that is the goal.
Beth Burnett wears a lot of hats. The Director of Education for the non-profit Golden Crown Literary Society, she also runs the GCLS writing academy. Beth teaches college English and early British Literature and is a doctoral student at Murray State University. She has published five books with Sapphire Publishing. Her sixth book, Coyote Ate the Stars, won first place in fantasy in the Writer’s Digest Self-published book awards. She has won two Rainbow Awards, but her claim to fame is writing her books with a twenty-pound cat on her forearms. Beth lives in BC with her wife and pets.
Alison Clarke is a writer/artist who is also a creative writing instructor. Alison is the author of The Sisterhood, a young adult fantasy novel about Oppie, a sorceress’ daughter, and her best friend, Aurie, who is a dragon, and the journey they go on to save the universe. The Sisterhood is Book One of The Sisterhood Series, for which Alison won the award 2016 Writer Of The Year by Diversity magazine. The second book in the series is Racine which was nominated for Book Of The Year. The third book in the series is Circle.
Christine Emelone is an author and university student from the UK. Originally from Manchester, she now lives in Sheffield and is currently studying Journalism. She loves talking to people about God and hearing their experiences. She has written one Christian book about God and relationships and would love to produce more work in the future.
Sandra Fitzpatrick is bilingual in financial and English. She's been helping artists, writers, actors and other Creative People with their taxes, both Canadian and US since 2006. Many have not known the deductions available as self-employed people and she does several seminars each year to bring this information and more on the basics of financial planning to them. Coming soon is Financial Sh*t for Creative People. She has been writing fantasy and science fiction for over ten years and is a long-time member of IFWA. As Lee F. Patrick, her novel Alter Egos and several short pieces came out in 2017. Her thriller The Alanyo Heir was published in 2018.
Rachelle Kanefsky is the co-principal of Behind the Book. She and her partner have over 25 years of book publishing experience and have worked in some of Canada’s most esteemed houses, including Macmillan Canada, HarperCollins, Raincoast Books, and ECW Press. Today, they help authors across Canada self-publish award-winning books.
Rachelle has written extensively on the topic of self-publishing, including a recent article in the April 2019 issue of Business in Vancouver. Website: http://www.behindthebook.ca
Randy McCharles is a full-time author of speculative and crime fiction. He is the recipient of several Aurora Awards (Canada's most prestigious award for speculative fiction) and in 2013 his short story Ghost-B-Gone Incorporated won the House of Anansi 7-day Ghost Story Contest.
Randy's most recent publications include the 2016 Aurora Award shortlisted novel Much Ado about Macbeth from Tyche Books, the short story Murder at the Mall from Coffin Hop Press, and the 2017 Aurora Award shortlisted novel The Day of the Demon. He is currently developing the Peter Galloway soft-boiled detective series.
In addition to writing, Randy organizes various events including the award-winning When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers. Website: https://randymccharles.weebly.com/
Kenneth Neufeld is the author of Heartbreak and Rage: Ten Years Under Sun Myung Moon, A Cult Survivor's Memoir (2002), as well as Prophet and Loss: Tales of Extreme Beliefs (2018), . He is the author of many newspaper articles, short stories and opinion pieces about cults that have appeared in publications such as the Vancouver Sun, First Things magazine, and The Windsor Review. Mr. Neufeld resides with his family in upstate New York. Prophet and Loss received an honorary mention from the 2018 North Street Book Prize. Website: http://www.neufeldbooks.com/
I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist--words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I'm also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.
Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle--it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!
Mahrie G Reid
Her published books are The Caleb Cove Mystery Series: Came Home Dead, Came Home to a Killing, Came Home too Late. And Came Home From the Grave. The Left-Behind Bride, a historical women’s fiction, Book 10 in the Canadian Historical Brides Collection for BWL Publishing came out in April 2018. She’s also published articles, poems and short stories. Her presentations cover all areas of the writing craft and focus on mystery writing. Mahrie is a graduate of Calgary’s Citizen’s Police Academy and Private Investigation 101. She lives north of Calgary, Alberta with her hubby and a cat called Kotah.
Simon Rose is a Calgary author of sixteen novels, eight guides for writers, and more than 100 nonfiction books for children and young adults.
Simon served as the Writer-in Residence with the Canadian Authors Association and is a member of the Calgary Association of Freelance Editors. Simon also provides services for writers, including editing, coaching, and ghostwriting and offers programs for schools. He is an instructor for adults with the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, and Chinook Learning Services and offers online workshops and courses for children and adults. Website: http://www.simon-rose.com