News | 2018 | #CIF2018

There it is, my first ever hashtag. To be honest with you, it took me a while to figure out what hashtags were--I always thought their brevity was exclusionarily opaque and I've consequently felt both alienated and a little dumb in my inability to decipher them (and I'm not on Twitter, which is where I always thought they belonged). However--after some admonitory encouragement (I'll explain shortly)--I figured I should try out a hashtag to promote something I'm both excited about and grateful for and which is the exact opposite of exclusionary: #CIF2018, the Creative Ink Festival.

Speaking of first evers, this year was also my first ever at Creative Ink as an author, and while I've come away from the festival in the past both inspired and rejuvenated, my experience this year has been so much more. I'm very thankful to Sandra Wickham, Creative Ink's founder, organizer, and host, for allowing me to participate. Not only did I join in the Friday Night Group Reading (with 17 other fantastic festival authors, some of whom delivered the best readings I've ever heard), but I also gave a presentation (How to Build a Story), took part in two panel discussions (Best Advice I Ever Received with Adam Dreece, Brenda Carre, C.C. Humphreys, and Jonas Saul; and Great Dialogue Breathes Life into a Story with Brie Wells, Linda DeMeulemeester, and T. G. Shepherd), did an hour's-worth of Red Pencil critiquing (with some truly promising writing), sat in on the Group Autograph Session, had my book included in the festival's Kindle giveaway, and did about five and a half shifts at the co-author table (where I even sold some books).


#CIF2018
Adam Dreece, Brenda Carre, C.C. Humphreys, Jonas Saul, and John Mavin.
Photo courtesy Kristene Perron.

However, it's the people I met which made my experience so rewarding. I was a little worried going in to the festival that I wouldn't fit in. After all, Rage, my collection of dark short stories is literary fiction and Creative Ink, while more a mix of a conference and a convention than a traditional festival, is geared toward genre writing (which impressed me greatly when I first attended Creative Ink in 2015). Looking back now, I realize I shouldn't have been worried at all. Everyone I met was open and welcoming and encouraging and supportive. Not only did I make new friends and contacts over the weekend, but I learned so much. Everyone I met seemed more than happy to share their experience and help each other along with this writing thing we all seem to love so much. And some--such as Jim Jackson--even went so far as to facilitate an e-introduction between me and a publisher concerning my current work-in-progress (thank you), and I was even approached not once, but twice, about maybe becoming involved in writer's groups. So, to say I had a rewarding, inspiring, and rejuvenating weekend is almost understating it.


#CIF2018
John Mavin, Jim Jackson, and Michele Fogal at the co-author table.
Photo courtesy Kristene Perron.

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned part of my inspiration for using the #CIF2018 hashtag and writing this post was some admonitory encouragement. That admonition (in the positive sense of an urge to duty or reminder, not the negative one of a scolding reproof) came from Adam Dreece at the festival's close. Adam suggested if each of the festival attendees were to spread the word about Creative Ink, then in a short time the festival could grow exponentially, and #CIF2019 would be an even bigger success than I believe it already will be. So, here's my challenge to you: I fully intend to return to Creative Ink next year and I invite you to join me. If you're at all interested in either reading or writing, it will most definitely be worth your while.

#CIF2018

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