Serendipity At Its Best: INSPIRE! TIBF and the Inspiring People I Bumped Into

The first time I ran into an inspiring person was Thursday, pre setup.  My husband, Kevin, dropped me and all of the paraphernalia for the weekend at curbside as he was only allowed to park for a few minutes. Maddy Curry, Executive Director for the International Book Fair (who I had been emailing back and forth with), was there and she helped to move my trolley and cut-out characters Blue Eyes and Sasha Grace inside. What are the chances of that? Thank you Maddy for your kind support. She also offered words of encouragement for our success, J.R. Once inside, I set up our table and was thrilled to meet the authors on my aisle in the Hub. From Elvis Deane, Elvis Deane author of Pistachio the Tyrant!author of Pistachio the Tyrant!, Periwinkle author Lina La Rocca, Marilyn Philips of The Daughter We Didn’t Know We Had, to Jen Frankel author of  Undead Redhead and more, to Veronica Tanzen author of LOL 🙂 Living Out Loud. Excitement was in the air as we put the finishing touches on our tables and left to dress for the Inaugural Gala for INSPIRE! TIBF. It was an exciting first night with jazz playing on the main stage, champagne and hors d’oeuvres for the attendees. George Stroumboulopoulos was in the building though we did not see him. Three Amigos at INSPIRE! TIBF GALA: Husband Kevin, Lee, sister Lynn

Over the course of the weekend, as I sold copies of the Paige Maddison Series to fans of fictionalized ghost stories, an amazing thing began to happen. I met Mark Leslie Lefebvre, author of non-fiction ghost stories, Director of Self-Publishing for Kobo, and the author of  Tomes of Terror, which I had won in a Goodreads Giveaway. Very nice man and he offered many tips to me in the world of bookselling. Thank you Mark for your support and encouragement. I watched Anne RiceAnne Rice at INSPIRE! TIBF Main Stage talk about life as an author. I mean she was right there, on the main stage, for all to listen. She speaks eloquently and is a wise, kind soul. Another adventure was stumbling upon Elaine Lui of LaineyGossip from TV. She was announcing her book club pics and smiled at me as I snapped her picture. She was merely ten feet away.

There was one word in Destiny’s Gate that I had been struggling to pronounce – Anishinaabe! I decided to go to the First Nations booth and ask for assistance. Lucky for me Lisa Bird-Wilson was there signing her book Just Pretending and helped me. She did it kindly in a non-judgemental way. I thanked her profusely and said I would return to talk to her. When I did, she was speaking in the First Nations, Metis, Inuit Literary Circle. I’m sorry I missed you Lisa. Thank you for your kindness! On Saturday, right before my talk at 3 pm on the Hub Soapbox, I ran into Margaret Atwood in the ladies room. She smiled at me and I decided to say nothing. Just feeling her presence and her energy was enough for me. Two other ladies walked in behind me and were gasping at spotting Margaret, too. It was serendipity to bump into the famous speaker on the Main Stage, around the corner from the Hub, Margaret Atwood. Thank you to my family members who attended my book reading. And as I looked at each one of them sitting in the audience feeling quite proud, I noticed while reading about Grey Owl, an older gentleman with a camera man. They stopped abruptly in the aisle. He tapped his camera man on the shoulder and pointed at me. I was filmed for probably 5 minutes during my reading and wondered if I’ll ever know who they are? Afterwards, we caught a few minutes of Margaret Atwood and she was addressing darkness in books. She merely stated, “Oh, it’s been around for centuries. Think of MacBeth.” The audience members laughed. Point taken, Margaret.

Later that day, I was approached by a Rogers Cable TV producer who asked if I would consider being a part of a future show. My motto is yes as I go through this writing  journey of mine. He smiled and took my business card and book information. Next thing I know, another man walked quickly towards me and asked, “Are you Lee Bice-Matheson?” I answered, “Yes.”  He responded, “I am putting together a new show and I would like you to be a part of it. Would you?” I said, “Sure.”  He took my Author Information Sheet, my business card and said he would look over my social media and be in touch.

I heard there were librarians in the building and seeing as that is my former career, I wanted to meet them and discuss books and how great it was to be in the building with so many and the people who love them. I was introduced to Maria. A very special lady, energetic, and loyal employee of the Toronto Public Library. She shared it’s only been in the past six months that ebooks were added to their collection. She highly encouraged me to get my books on Smashwords so they could get them in the system. Plus, she encouraged me to submit the print book information. Thank you, Maria. Did I mention she said, “We love JR Colombo!” who has endorsed the Paige Maddison Series, and is my mentor, along with his lovely wife, Ruth.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting fellow FriesenPress authors from Roland of R.J.R. Books and M.D. Heathers of The Kilted Lover. Lovely to connect with FP self-published authors. I also met the ladies of the Canadian Authors Association, and they live in and around Orillia! What a wonderful invitation to join their amazing group.

Then Sunday hit. The last day of the book fair and by this point most authors were tiring. It is a lot of work to sell and market your own books. I had the pleasure of working next to Elizabeth Hirst of Pop Seagull Publishing, and her mother. They were a breath of fresh air as they are like me – excited and passionate about promoting fantasy fiction and marketing the books themselves. On my left was author Marilyn Philips. Marilyn came up from Virginia and she made many great contacts for her book and sold daily. Across from me was Elvis Deane. He had many children drop by his table and pick up copies, as Lina La Rocca experienced too. Did I mention Lina has porcelain figures that will be available online in the next month or so? When young children came by and looked at our series, my husband Kevin and I happily directed them across the aisle. The minimum age for the Paige Maddison Series is 11 and I am upfront about this. At the end of the weekend, Elvis approached me and informed me he is a documentary filmmaker about planes. However, he wanted to do a mini documentary on self-published authors. Imagine my shock and amazement! Elvis interviewed me and it was my first time on film. It has always been a fear of mine to be on camera but Elvis, I thank you. You’ve laid that fear to rest.

Serendipity hit on the last day of the book fair. We met a wonderful gentleman, Dennis Martel. He happened by our table and I asked him if he liked ghost stories. We engaged in a long conversation that led into this life. When he found out we are originally from Sarnia, he told us how he helped with the Ipperwash standoff in 1995 while Premier Mike Harris was in office. When we mentioned we now live in Orillia,  Dennis mentioned he helped smooth negotiations for the building of Casino Rama and he knew the previous Chief Steve Payne of Rama quite well, and, recently retired Chief Sharon Henry. Small world! He read the dedication to the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and knew many of the people and smiled. His business card reads Consultant – First Nations and Metis Relations. Very interesting and wise man.

Susan Chamberlain, this narrative goes out to you! There was one author I had really wanted to meet when I first saw his name written on The Book Keeper chalkboard. Edmund Metatawabin, author of Up Ghost River. His book signing was 2 days after mine in September. It has bothered me that I was unable to be in Sarnia and listen to him speak. I first saw Mr. Metatawabin on Friday, dressed in colourful clothing, hair braided. He looked striking. I couldn’t stop as I was late for an appointment. I thought the opportunity was lost until I looked up from my table, on Sunday around lunchtime, and there he stood looking at my books. My eyes widened and I said, “There’s something you might want to read.” I opened Destiny’s Gate to the dedication page for the

Marion Waters with Author Lee Bice-Matheson after Dedication to her family & Aamjiwnaang First NationsWaters family and the Aamjiwnaang First Nations. Edmund read it and smiled. We had a long talk afterwards. What a kind, wise man he is. He also spoke of his home in Port Albany and it sounds beautiful. I hope we make it there someday but it’s quite secluded and not so easy to get to. How does Mr. Metatawabin make it to all of these public appearances?

Drum roll, please…And the winner is Kat from Missadventures won the Kindle Fire 7 HD from J.R. and I. She was overjoyed as Kat had always wanted a Kindle. Follow her on Twitter @katdoingstuff  She has an amazing story.

Something happened to me over the weekend that I did not expect. As I spoke to interested book lovers about the Paige Maddison Series, I realized I am not a horror author. I am a spiritual, fantasty-adventure author with a very unique message. I write for tweens but people of all ages who are young at heart are reading the Paige Maddison Series. I love to help others in their journey. Ask my neighbours at the fair. I’m not afraid to ask for help as I did ask Lisa Bird-Wilson. I love books and being in a room full of people who love books as well. It was my first book fair, after all. And finally, I realized: Tweens love the Paige Maddison Series,

Ben was excited to receive his copies of the Paige Maddison Series.

Ben was excited to receive his copies of the Paige Maddison Series.

Lee Bice-Matheson with tween dressed as a fairy at the Orillia Youth Centre Halloween Spooktacular, 30/10/14

Lee Bice-Matheson with tween dressed as a fairy at the Orillia Youth Centre Halloween Spooktacular, 30/10/14

teens challenge it, and adults adore it.  Just google Lee Bice-Matheson and you’ll find the bookstores that are picking it up and ordering in the paperback editions. Ebooks are doing well on Apple ibooks. It is a slow but steady process in promoting books and one I am in for the long run. Elvis asked me a question, that surprised even me when I answered. He asked, “Would you go with a large publishing house?” “At this stage in the game,” I replied, “YES.”  To date I’ve enjoyed the autonomy of self-publishing from the book cover design, to the print version and everything in between. Now I’m ready for the big leagues. I want to be on the Main Stage next time I attend INSPIRE! TIBF. 🙂 Thank you to all of the organizers of the biggest book fair in years! It was a smooth ride for this author and one I will never forget. The people and their stories touched my heart, forever. And last but not least, I missed my co-author, J.R. Matheson. He has promised in 2015 to come along on the book tour. 🙂

The Hub Authors with volunteer Vic at the end of INSPIRE! TIBF

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