Yukon Writers’ Conference: Deadline March 15th

Hey Everyone, just wanted to note the upcoming deadline for the Yukon Writers’ Conference happening April 3,4,5 here in Whitehorse.  If you are thinking of NOT going, let me give you some reasons to come.

We don’t often get to hear and work with writing professionals here in the North. Normally, you would have to go south to get this convergence of writing instruction.  The conference brings up six people you would never get to talk to otherwise.  I would never have ten minutes alone with Shawna McCarthy in Toronto or Vancouver.  She would be surrounded by other writers more important to Canada, and her time would be scheduled to meet the needs of hundreds of people.  Here, we can chat.  I can even buy her a Cranberry Wheat Ale.

This is not to discount in any way the professional writers we have here in the north–including Lily Gontard, editor of Yukon: North of Ordinary, who will be a speaker and participant in the conference.  I’m only highlighting the fact that she and other editors will be together pooling their knowledge in this conference–a rare occurence.  You can still, of course, get great writing instruction from any of the professional writers who live here—but you have us every year!  hehe.  And we’re gonna be there learning at the conference too!  We want to take advantage of this conference made to help writers in every stage.

Sure, you say, this conference is for people who are going to make a living writing.  I just want to write for myself. Actually, this conference, with its seminars, is aimed at a broad audience.  You will pick up many writing tips from these editors who have seen writing in every stage imaginable.  You will pick up tips to help you where you are.  While they do know the market and know how to get people ready for publishing, they are here for all writers to help you make your writing into what you want it to be.

If you are at all interested in possibly publishing, this is YOUR conference. While the conference accommodates a wide audience, these editors and publishers have expertise they want to share with writers in the North who seek to move their writing to a public level, who want to share their writing and Northern sensibilities with folks down South.  Highlighting a collective experience of over 70 years in the publishing industry, these seven voices (six from the South, one from the North) have a wide range of insight and a diversity of opinion on what makes a work publishable and how to make a story or article most effective.

We have 40 people–at least– in the Yukon working on novels.  You have completed a first draft.  Revising can be difficult–and editors know how to revise. I love hearing writers talk; they know how to create–but usually have experience with only their texts (discounting those who teach–who have seen a lot of other writers’ stuff too).  But editors and publishers can tell you what to do after you’ve created.  Their experience with thousands of manuscripts lead them to a wider knowledge of how to get different stories moving, how to motivate different writers.

It’s 90 bucks, which covers a weekend full of learning.  Hearing any one of the six editors from down South could cost you much, much more–just in travel expenses.  Contact Marcelle Dubé at mdube@northwestel.net or come hear her and Mitch Miyagawa read Thursday night a Whitehorse Public Library at 7:30 and ask her more about the conference there.

I hope to see you there.  The Deadline is March 15th!  Go now.  Sign up.

2009 Yukon Writers Conference, April 3-5

scribo book cover by Kater CheekNorthern Writes is pleased to announce the 2009 Yukon Writers Conference, taking place at the Westmark Whitehorse, on April 3 through 5, 2009. The 2009 Yukon Writers Conference is an opportunity for Yukon writers to meet with and learn from six North American editors and one publisher representing a variety of genres.

The conference will include workshops, a panel discussion, individual pitch appointments and an open critique session.

The conference fee of $90 also covers an opening reception, lunches on Saturday and Sunday, and coffee breaks.

The following publisher and editors will present at the event:

Claire Eddy, Senior Editor, Tor/Forge Books, New York

Paula Eykelhof, Editor, Mira Books, Toronto

Lily Gontard, Editor, Yukon, North of Ordinary, Whitehorse

Shawna McCarthy, Editor, Realms of Fantasy and Agent, New Jersey

Lynne Missen, Executive Editor, Children’s Books, HarperCollins, Toronto

Kathleen Scheibling, Editor, Harlequin Books, Toronto

Howard White, Publisher, Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park, BC


Registration deadlines as follows: February 28 if submitting a writing sample/proposal March 15 if not submitting Registration forms and information sheets will be available at the Whitehorse Public Library starting on February 9, or by contacting Marcelle Dubé at (867) 633-4565, mdube@northwestel.net. Please feel free to share this information.


This conference is not to be missed if you live anywhere near the Yukon. You can’t see these people up close and personal in other venues in the States or in Canada. But here, in Whitehorse, you have a chance to talk with them personally, submit writing, receive critique, and get to know them.

I’ve said before that it was in the Yukon that I met and really got to know some amazing authors/editors from Outside. These meetings were all through conferences like this one that Barb Dunlop and Marcelle Dubé engineered.

If you believe in that Latin phrase on the book above–“I write”–then you’ll want to prepare for this conference. Have ready a manuscript by the end of February to submit to these editors. Come and join us for a chance to develop your writing and all Yukon writers.


Photo above is from my good friend, Kater Cheek, whose amazing art can be found here at www.catherinecheek.com

Yukon Fantasy/Science Fiction Writer Profiles: Marcelle Dubé

Marcelle DubéThe Yukon is home to more than just one science fiction/fantasy writer. In fact, there’s quite a few, so I’d like to profile them. These will be based on my experiences with them, not just interviews, though I’ve linked and excerpted sections of an interview Marcelle did with Joanna Lilley in What’s Up Yukon.

I first met Marcelle during the first Yukon Writer’s Conference in 2002. She was instrumental in bringing up Canadian sci-fi guru, Robert Sawyer, and for co-organizing a writer’s conference here that would do any university proud. We had six major writers, across genres, editors and agents, each giving multiple seminars. It was a three day event, complete with contests, one-on-one sessions with editors and agents, and food. I remember how shocked I was that this major operation was run by two people. Marcelle was stuffing bags full of free On Spec magazines, pens and pads of paper, in the Westmark when I ran into her for the first time. She didn’t seem like she was running amok–so I had no idea that she didn’t have a staff of twenty with her somewhere in the hotel.

We became friends, writing colleagues. She was part of the growing science fiction/fantasy community here in Whitehorse. And she wanted to provide writers here with the same advantages that writers down south would have. Not to mention, i think, that she wanted to bring up some people that she wanted to meet too!

Marcelle describes her work in this interview with Joanna Lilley:

I always like a plucky heroine who finds herself in a situation and needs her brains and her courage to get herself out.

Her stories often have well-conceived, elaborate cultures. I remember one of my favorite stories of hers, “Jhyoti“, that concerned how women prepared the dead for burial. Vividly detailed, well written, the story ended up in Challenging Destiny. Richard Horton, of Locus, recalls her story and two others (out of 14) in his end of the year review of Challenging Destiny:

From #25 I really enjoyed a rather traditional story — but very well done — by Marcelle Dubé: “Jhyoti”. The heroine is a low-caste woman trying to make it in the Academy. Doing some research, she finds evidence of terrible abuse and murder of a low-caste woman by a higher-caste person — can she risk her career, and disappoint her patrons, by investigating this? There are no surprises here, but it was quite satisfying.

Marcelle also got her work published in Julie Czerneda’s anthology of Polar Science called Polaris. She is just starting to sell, like me, and she has an excellent critical eye for story. I value her critique on my work. She attended World Fantasy with me and Claire Eamer (another writer you will get to meet on this blog soon) and made several more contacts. I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more from Marcelle in short stories to come. She has attended a Master Class workshop in the short story from Dean Wesley Smith on the Oregon Coast, and will be attending another this year.

But Marcelle is not satisfied with just growing her own career. She wants to help all of us. This generosity of spirit has made her invaluable to the writing community. Since 2002, she has helped host two other conferences, that I can think of, and one coming up in 2009. She and Barb Dunlop invite writers, editors and agents that span every genre–romance, literary, mystery, science fiction–so that everyone gets helped up here. Because of these conferences I have met more science fiction writers than I ever did in Texas (cause none of them came to Lubbock, Texas ) and all the writer’s conferences were done by AWP or MLA or SWPCA and had hundreds or thousands of attendees, which meant that authors, agents and editors were swarmed by people, who had much higher clearance than some refugee from Texas Tech. (I met Ray Bradbury in Lubbock–which is another story.)

Because of Marcelle and Barb–and the moneys granted to them by the Advanced Artist Awards and other Yukon agencies for the growth of the Arts–I was able to meet, dine with, and learn from Robert Sawyer, Matt Hughes, Candas Jane Dorsey, Terrence Green, and editor, Diane Walton of On Spec–as well as authors, agents and editors in othe genres. Yes, in the Yukon. Taking classes from Terrence Green moved my story “Lemmings in the Third Year” to publishable quality and his suggestions on places to send it helped it get published quickly in Tesseracts Nine.

See, we are never alone as writers. We are always beholden on the community around us to lift us up, connect us, encourage us, critique us, kick our asses. I’m glad Marcelle is up here; she’s a great colleague and friend and I hope to see more of her unique vision in all the fantasy and science fiction magazines. I also hope, for the Yukon’s sake, she and Barb continue to organize these conferences which bring the world of Publishing to the Yukon.

See you all in April for the 2009 Yukon Writer’s Conference!