Category Archives: kids

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


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Writing:

Apart from the freelance project, I did have time to write a Xmas themed short story for my writing group’s Xmas party, which was held yesterday.

WFSC Xmas Party

Letting my imagination take control and spin a story is always fun. I had thought the story would go in one direction but it veered off into another, again giving me a welcome surprise. I find this aspect of writing to be the most delightful and rewarding, as the characters or plot take control.

This was my story:

Joy’s Joy

The heavy snow slowly slid from the porch roof, Joy watched its gradual cascade and delighted at the thump it made on the frozen ground. Her thoughts turned to childhood memories of building snowmen and snowballs fights with her brother and sisters. As the youngest she was often the brunt of the jokes and teasing but no matter what she loved them but of course there were plenty of times when she was cuddled and coddled by her older siblings.

Now many decades later they were spread out across the country. The older they became the more infrequent were the visits even on special holidays. Joy was sad that this Christmas there would be no family to celebrate with. Again she felt she should have married again after Arthur, she had been young enough to have started a new family but her heart had been broken and as the years past, she became accustomed to her solitary life. But now she realized, she always looked forward to those special days each year with Frank, Gail and Bobbie-Jo, they were her hope for next month or next year, it kept her grounded and forward thinking. She would plan for months ahead of time – planning excursions, cooking cakes and biscuits and making gifts. With no visitors this year the house felt as despondent as Joy.

A knock on the door brought her out of her musings. A dark figure loomed on the other side of the frosted glass door. Joy made sure the security chain was in place before she opened the door cautiously.

                  “Hello, I have a delivery for Miss. Dashing.”

                  “Well that would be me.”

                  “Can you please sign here, the box is rather heavy so do you want me to carry it into the hallway?”

                  “That would be very kind, thank you.”

                  Joy unlatched the chain and the man picked up a large box from the porch floor. He set it down beside the entry table and then turned away, while arching his back.

                  “Thank you so much, you should take care of your back. Have a merry Christmas.”

                  “My pleasure, yes it’s not easy work. Have a good Christmas.”

                  Once the front door closed and the cold evening air shut out, Joy looked at the box. A label showed her name and address and the return address was one she was familiar with. It was from Frank. Excited to see what was inside she went to the kitchen to find a pair of scissors. With the packing tape cut, Joy pulled at the box to open it. Inside was a lot of packing and Christmas wrap. Her heart leapt – he sent me several gifts for Christmas!

                  The sight of the gifts made Joy happy. She was determined that now she would decorate so they could be placed under a Christmas tree. Two hours later the front room looked festive and Frank’s gifts were in pride of place under the small artificial tree, placed in the bay window. She ate a late light supper and went to bed. Her dreams were of frosty mornings and the four of them opening their gifts on Christmas morning, she smiled in her sleep.

                  In the morning she read her brother and sister’s letters again asking not to send gifts to them this year as they were spending time with their children and grandchildren and would be away from home. Joy had been disappointed as she had spent several months creating their gifts. ‘We will get together in the New Year and exchange gifts then’ – was the footnote on all three letters. Joy wrapped the gifts with extra care and placed them in a basket on top of her crafting shelf. Another knock on the door brought her to open it to the same deliveryman, his grey beard frosted with icicles

                  “Well hello again.”

                  “You must be very popular with all these parcels. I have two for you today, just in time for the big day. Shall I carry them in?”

                  “Oh yes please, that is kind.”

                  As the man turned to leave, she stopped him.

                  “Wait one moment I have something for you.”

                  “I’m not supposed to take gifts, I’m afraid.”

                  “Really that is not a very festive outlook and it is only a day to Christmas. It is some of my special cookies; surely you can have a few?”

                  “Well, I wouldn’t say no, I will be delivering until late tonight. It is a busy time of year as you can imagine and I don’t usually get time to stop and eat anywhere.”

                  “That’s settled then one moment.”

                  Joy placed several different kinds of cookies and sweet treats in a small tin and gave it to the driver.

                  “I hope you enjoy them and drive safely, there is a weather front coming in. It’s a good thing you don’t need to drive out to me again, that track can be treacherous.”

                  “I’ll be careful and thank you so much for these they smell incredible. I only have one run left and can go home, it is a favour to my old boss. He was short handed so I volunteered.”

                  “At least you have sustenance now. Take care.”

                  Joy excitedly opened the two boxes to find more gifts and took them to the tree. It would be nice to open them on Christmas morning but she really wanted to have her siblings with her even more. With the house locked and the Christmas lights twinkling she sat to watch a movie. As the clock struck midnight she yawned and rose to go to bed. A tapping sound stopped her steps on the stairs. What is that? She looked around the front room, the kitchen and the hallway but the tapping had stopped. Joy shook her head and went to bed. She could hear the blizzard thundering outside, lashing the roof and trees. As she drifted off to sleep a nagging feeling gripped her but she knew she was alone on the side of the mountain, her house surrounded by fir trees and knew the track would now be under a lot of snow. She told herself to stop being silly and snuggled under the covers.

                  A loud bang brought her from her slumber. Oh my goodness is that a tree fallen on the house? Wrapping her toweling robe around her and putting her soft plush slippers on, she walked to the window. There was a sheet of snow obscuring everything. One after the other she went into each room fearing a damaged window or wall but there was none. What banged so hard then? As she crossed the hallway to go back upstairs she heard a thud on the front door. Oh no is it my lovely porch that is damaged? Joy unlocked the door fearing the worse. What she saw was a huddled dark figure covered in snow and crystals of ice on eyelashes and beard, and a pair of pleading eyes.

                  The man crawled into the hallway his breathing laboured and his whole body shaking.

                  “Goodness, where have you come from? Can you walk come into the front room I’ll light the fire again it will still have hot embers hopefully.

                  The man tried to speak but his lips were blue and his teeth chattered. He stumbled to the front room and collapsed on the sofa.

                  “Cold, so cold. Crashed on the track. Crawled back on the track, it took hours.”

                  “You poor man. Let me get some blankets.”

                  With several blankets heaped on top of the man, Joy stoked the fire. There I will make a hot drink and then call for an ambulance.”

                  After giving the man a mug of steaming coffee with plenty of sugar, Joy picked up the telephone but there was no dial tone. Oh no the line has most certainly come down in the storm, what do I do now?

                  “I’m afraid the telephone line is down I can’t call anyone.”

                  “I don’t have a cell signal up here either otherwise I would have called someone. I need to get warm and then maybe walk back to the highway.”

                  “You shall do no such thing! The storm is in full force out there and you will certainly lose your way. No you must stay here, once you are missed they will come to find you. Your route is on a schedule I assume?”

                  “Yes, my routine is tracked. I feel so bad imposing on you like this but your place was the nearest.”

                  “Quite understandable and I am glad you made it here, you could have frozen to death out there. I am going to run a hot bath for you and dry those clothes.”

                  “Thank you, I am so grateful. I am feeling a little warmer now.”

                  Joy ran the bath and guided the man to the bathroom. He slipped his damp clothes through the door for her to put into the drier then sunk into the warm water with a sigh. He could feel his flesh warm.

                  After putting the clothes into the drier, Joy made herself a drink and yawned. It was the early hours of the morning, in fact Christmas morning. She went to her craft room and unwrapped two gifts she had made for Frank, then put them outside the bathroom door.

                  “Your clothes will take some time to dry so I have put a dressing gown, pyjamas and slippers outside the door. I hope they fit.”

                  She heard the man thank her and returned to the living room to build up the fire again. After few moments later the man came down the stairs looking flushed but happy.

                  “I feel much more human now not an iceberg. These fit perfectly – thank you, are they your husbands?”

                  “Actually no I made them for my brother as Christmas gifts but as we will not see each other until the New Year I thought your need was greater. I can always make more. Come and sit the fire is roaring. Can I get you some food now?”

                  “I think I have imposed more than enough.”

                  “If I can’t offer a stranger a hot meal on Christmas Day when can I?”

                  “Oh my I forgot it is Christmas Day isn’t it. Well then I accept your kind offer but please don’t go to much trouble.”

                  “Nonsense the dawn should be breaking any moment, if we see it through that white out of course. An early, hearty breakfast coming right up, then I think we should both rest.”

                  Joy busied herself in the kitchen, smiling to herself as she thought how nice it was to have company on this of all days. With breakfast cooked and served, they both sat in front of the fire eating contently in silence.

                  “That was a most enjoyable meal, thank you once again for helping me and showing such kindness. It has been a long time since I has such a meal with good company.”

                  “Well it is my pleasure. May I ask why you have not enjoyed good food? If I am prying please forgive me.”

                  “I think you are owed more than an explanation for your hospitality. I am a widower and to be honest find myself eating TV dinners most of the time. Rachel was the cook that was my wife. She has been gone now fourteen years and I never remarried. You become accustomed to being alone but it is still lonely.”

“I feel exactly the same I’m up here alone in my parents old house and like you I lost someone fourteen years ago. I delayed making a decision on his marriage proposal maybe a little too long and then he was gone. Working across the country and we lost touch. There have been moments of regret of course but you just get on with life – right?”

                  “Yes I agree, I could not sit at home alone all day. That’s when my old boss suggested the part time shifts as it turned out those shifts gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

                  Joy stifled a yawn the heat from the fire and a good breakfast filled stomach made her tired. The man looked at her and smiled.

                  “I need to sleep too I am happy to sleep here on the couch.”

                  “Well maybe a couple of hours and then we can decide what to do about getting you home.”

                  Joy locked her bedroom door although she felt quite safe in the man’s company. It was odd but he had not offered his name and she had not asked, as she fell asleep she told herself to ask upon waking.

                  The smell of coffee and toast woke her, for a moment it disorientated her and then she remembered her visitor. She quickly dressed and went to the kitchen.

                  “Good morning, I hope you don’t mind I made coffee and toast. Let me pour you a cup.”

                  Joy sat at the kitchen table enjoying the attention.

                  “Thank you, you make good coffee. I forgot to ask your name all last night.”

                  “Oh that is funny yes I should have introduced myself properly, my name is Blyde, it means Joy. I’m always asked.”

                  “It is? Well what a coincidence my name is Joy.”

                  They laughed together and a chink in the clouds sent a ray of bright sunshine across the table.

                  “I think the storm has finally passed us by, I might be able to get a cell signal now.”

                  “Of course but please finish your coffee first, its nice to have company.”

                  “It is isn’t it? Yes there is no hurry. I’m sure the snow ploughs are busy clearing the main highway but I don’t suppose they come up here do they?”

                  “Actually my best friend’s husband drives a plough and he swings by after his shift so I can drive back and forth. He will be up later this afternoon I should think.”

                  “Well plenty of time to chat then.”

Epilogue:

A year later Joy and Blyde married, her brother and sisters attended the wedding and everyone joked about Joy’s Joy. To Joy she had met her joy in more ways than one. Blyde was kind, generous and loving and best of all was happy to live in her house rather than his small townhouse. Days were no longer empty, Blyde had been her very best Christmas gift.

Do your stories stay on track or do they morph into something else?

My hope is to finish my YA novella by mid January so I can send the manuscript to my illustrator with suggestions for the chapter header images. I will also submit it to my publisher for editing and review. This story is set on another planet with four friends discovering and battling an intruder. I’m not sure why this YA novella and my previous one, Clickety Click both have ‘aliens’ in them but that was where both stories took me. There are similarities but also totally different settings, one on earth and the other on another planet. Both narratives have a message to young people, which I hope will encourage them to accept and care for each other and their environments.

Books: I am enjoying this novel set in Edmonton and have come to know the characters easily in the first few chapters. I am looking forward to following their journeys.

Dreamland

Writing Tips:

Create a inspiration list and find images for your story’s setting and characters. Make up a board, either physical or digital that you can have in front of you as you write.

Don’t edit as you write – let the process flow. There is plenty of time to edit and revise later on. For now let your imagination take control and write without a filter.

Do you have a tip to share?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

As this past weekend was a long weekend here in Alberta I made good use of the time to mock-up my display for Words in the Park. As I now have five books to promote I had to decide on how best to give each one a ‘showcase spot’ without making my tables too crowded. The first table is for my two children’s books, Rumble’s First Scare and Ockleberries to the Rescue and my YA novella, Clickety Click. I do have ‘props’ for these books so reduced the displays a little. I have other promotional items as well but will keep them to a minimum. This is the kid’s table.

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I bought coloured card to stick summaries of each book to reflecting the book cover colours, I think it gives them a more professional look? For Ockleberries I am using a handmade ‘door’ I found in an artisan store and have animal figurines reflecting some of the creatures in the narrative. For Clickety Click I found a couple of ‘claws’ in the Halloween section and stuck them to a card above the book. And lastly, for Rumble’s First Scare the soft toy I made of Rumble. He is always very popular with the kids and adults alike!

Promotional items include Rumble pins, toques, T-shirts and bookmarks, Ockleberries has animal quizzes for the kids and Click has specially made toques and ‘monster’ colouring pages.

click hatWOTS set up Sept 2014

For the adult books I found a really nice tablecloth, which is gold in colour. This reflects the golden beast in The Rython Kingdom and the golden light of Italy for The Twesome Loop. The Rython has bookmarks and a glowing orb, which is in the narrative. For The Twesome Loop as it is my book launch I purchased a table easel and have made a larger summary page for it. I will make bookmarks as well. My next task is to make up a draw basket, which will include a signed copy. As the narrative is set in England and Italy I will have to select items carefully. I will probably use a couple of balloons to attract people to my table as well.

The display still needs work but this is the mock-up. I have to wait for the physical books of The Twesome Loop but should have them soon.

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Books:  I have been rather busy so have not finished this novel although should do this week. I’m really enjoying the characters and the author keeps me guessing who is the perpetrator.

Mind of the Phoenix

My friend, Marilyn gave me a lovely book, which is next on my TBR pile.

A Desperate Fortune

What are you reading?

Do you have a particular genre you enjoy?

Writing Tips:

Keep it simple.

It’s easy for your message to get buried in the language. So speaking of revisions, one of the best tools in your review toolbox is always the question, “Can this sentence be simplified?”

If it can be simpler, make it simpler.

Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly.

Regardless of what you’re writing, verbs are your power words. Make them do your heavy lifting, and keep the lightweight descriptors like adjectives and adverbs scarce.

Do you have a  writing tip to share?

 

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This week I have my writing group sharing meeting on Tuesday. I always look forward to this monthly meeting, as you never know who will attend – sometimes a few, sometimes a lot! The meeting begins with announcements on upcoming events and then a call for submissions for our Muse newsletter and our special newspaper page, Never Been Better which is aimed at the 55+ demographic.

We then have a writing prompt of some sort to energize the writing muse and then share our responses. It is always intriguing to hear how other writers respond to the same prompt – it is how our minds work I suppose. Discussions on the responses follows and then we share part of our current work for constructive critique.

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

What format does your writing group meeting take?

Planning for our Words in the Park event is still in progress. We had to close registrations as we are full. A floor plan has to be devised so all the registrations have a space to display. A plethora of authors are attending but as we co-host with the Arts and Culture Council we also have artisans and performers. With a clown and children’s activities, interactive sessions and food it will be a fantastic day. Event at: Spark Gallery, 2257 Premier Way, Sherwood Park. 10 am – 4 pm  Free admission. The event is also a ‘pop up’ event for Alberta Culture Days.

Web site banner WitP 2017_0

My group will also be launching their Canada 150 book project, Postcards from Canada at the event so doubling exciting. It is an anthology of short stories, poetry and images celebrating Canada.

postcards from Canada

Other events:

Jaspreet Singh “November” Book Launch
Tuesday 5th September at 19:00–21:00 Audrey’s Books

November

Kat Trimarco “Self Approved” book signing

Wednesday 6th September at 12:00–13:00 Audrey’s Books

Self

What events are coming up in your area?

Upcoming (& Past) Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This past weekend, I joined other local authors for a reading. The title was ‘Back to School Author Reading’ and the stories were fall/autumn or child related.I relayed a chapter from my children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue, about a beaver with a split tooth. http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/products/ockleberries-rescue

It was a good afternoon, with spellbinding tales and great companionship. Our generous hosts, Social Grounds Coffeehouse as always had delicious treats to enjoy. The beautiful equine pictures are from a local artist.

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I am also attending this event tomorrow with a dear friend, Marilyn – should be entertaining and enlightening.

Spillious (the Ridiculous One)

soillious

Spillious (the Ridiculous One) is a Trans-feminine poetic creature from Vancouver Canada. They are sometimes loud, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and always brutally honest. They touch on what it is to be queer, Trans femme, a father and an educator all at the same time. Spillious is also a musician, father, high school music teacher, workshop facilitator and academic. They have been performing spoken word for over a decade and have been featured in venues all over Canada and in the US.

When was your last author reading? How did it go?

Other Events:

Wade Sorochan “Fastest Tone Arm in the West” Book Launch

29th August  19:00–21:00 Audreys Books Ltd.

10702 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3J5

Wade

Loren Olson “Finally Out” Book Launch

30th August Wednesday at 19:00–21:00

Audreys Books Ltd.

10702 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3J5

out

Dale Leckie “Rocks, Ridges and Rivers” Book signing

31st August  Thursday at 12:00–13:00

Audreys Books Ltd.

10702 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3J5

rocks

Care to share your local events?

Jot them down in the comments.

 

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This week I will be preparing for an author reading on Saturday. With the theme ‘Back to School’ I will probably read from my children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue. As each chapter revolves around a particular animal, I will more than likely choose one chapter that has a fall/autumn related theme.

Ockleberries_book cover

http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/products/ockleberries-rescue

What events have you got coming up?

Are you attending any events this week in your area?

Other events:

AUG 22  12:00 – 16:00

Fantasy and Horror Book Signing

Chapters Strathcona
10504 82 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T6E 2A4

Konn will actually be attending our Words in the Park event on 30th September, so if you miss this opportunity, you can find him there!

Web site banner WitP 2017_0Spark Gallery, 2257 Premier Way, #116, Sherwood Park. T8H 2M8   10:00 am – 4:00 pm  Free admission.

 

picnic

 

Public Art Picnic – Borden Park
24 August at 17:30–20:00

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Borden-Park/216893458341432

Author Reading

Social Grounds Coffeehouse, 975 Broadmoor Blvd #36, Sherwood Park, AB T8A 5W9

2:00 – 4:00 pm – Everyone welcome.  I will be reading at this event.

back to school

Please feel free to add your own events in the comments, regardless of the location.