This week’s events for me are mostly Board meetings. The first is tomorrow – Writers Foundation meeting where we will be planning our annual conference among other things. The conference is a major event for the foundation and we are always delighted to welcome prestige presenters. The event is open to members and non-members and is always an enjoyable and informative day.
On Wednesday I will be chair for the Arts & Culture Council board meeting and again there will be planning to commence for our 150 year Canada celebration in the summer.
Both boards enable me to indulge in the arts and spread the word in and around our locality.
Do you belong to a board? How does it help you and your community?
Gallery 501, Sherwood Park – Exhibit
“Canadianisms: A Half Decade Inspired by Canada” by Brandy Saturley
January 6 – Feburary 26, 2017 Saturley paints Canadian Contemporary Realism. Making art for over thirty years, and painting in acrylics for fifteen. Saturley gained national attention with her paintings inspired by Canadian culture and sport including goalie masks, Canadian athletes, the Canadian flag, the Montreal Canadiens, Alberta Rockies, and Canadian wildlife.
Other writing events:
The Galiano Island Literary Festival, which will kick the new season February 17–19 with authors including Gail Anderson-Dargatz, Carmen Aguirre, Janie Chang, Anosh Irani, Jennifer Manuel, Heather O’Neill, Bev Sellars, and Yasuko Thanh.
Our road trip this weekend actually started early on Thursday morning, 7 am to be precise. We stopped to grab breakfast and made our way to Jasper in the Rocky mountains. A place we have visited before but still has the ability to inspire awe at the magnificence of the mountains. Their ever changing faces in sunshine, cloud, rain or snow make each visit unique.On the road through Jasper National Park we saw these sheep in the middle of the road licking salt, they were not deterred by large trucks honking horns, driving so close we thought they might hit them or these huge vehicles driving around them.
Arriving just after 12.30 pm we set up our table to promote and sell books published by Dream Write Publishing. With so many books already published we could only bring a selection and hoped our choices were relevant for the venue and time of year. Our first sale came only minutes after we had completed our display. A good start to the day! Which concluded with several books being purchased for the Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts gift shop.
Once everything was packed up at 5 pm, we went for supper and to check into our hotel. An added bonus was an upgrade to a beautifully appointed and cozy room.
The next morning after breakfast we set up in a most unusual venue, a laundromat and cafe. A first for us. The SnowDome cafe’s friendly staff and customers made our time there enjoyable, connecting, answering questions and a potential client.
A celebratory supper at the hotel’s restaurant followed and an added bonus a herd of elk laying on the lawn of the hotel as we walked back to our room. Unfortunately, my cellphone is not good when it comes to taking photos at night. Can you see the bull, his antlers were spectacular and two of the doe’s had tracking collars on them.
The rest of our weekend was ours to do with as we wished. Saturday morning was a leisurely start, takeaway breakfast and a drive to Patricia and Pyramid Lakes. A walk onto the island at Pyramid where the dusting of overnight snow glistened and the water lapped gently. There was ice forming in thin layers on the shore edges and the air was still. Silence prevailed and we stood reveling in the peace of the mountain air as large snowflakes began to fall. It was Christmas card perfect.
Back into Jasper and a browse around a clothing store and then purchases for supper. Then seven hours of writing – a writer’s joy! I edited, revised and added 1000 words to my WIP, The Twesome Loop. With a brief excursion to refresh body and mind mid-afternoon. Once supper was consumed back to writing for a few more hours.
Sunday morning was begun with a leisurely brunch, then a trip to Athabasca Falls. The roar of water, the ice blue of the flow and the cavern walls decorated with huge icicles made this visit a wonderful experience.
It was difficult to leave but leave we did. Back to Jasper for a local crafts fair and then on the road home. We encountered several herds of elk & mountain sheep.
Our trip was successful on so many levels – books sold, connections made, extensive writing completed and nature enjoyed. Can’t wait for the next one!
We are taking advantage of another long weekend and traveling west to Wildwood, then stopping over in Drayton Valley. Then an early start to take in the sights via the Brazeau Dam, Lodgepole, Yoho National Park, Kicking Horse Pass, Abraham Lake, Crescent Falls and onto Golden in British Columbia.
We were not so lucky this trip with wildlife – only spotted a herd of elk, a couple of deer, and several wild turkeys as well as a few osprey nests with chicks and one bald eagle – but the scenery is absolutely speculator. Alpine like valleys bordered with massive mountains and pine covered foothills.Stops at some wonderful places like Crescent Falls as I love water!
Sunday’s trip was to Radium Hot Springs and through to Invermere, a lake side town with a large arts and culture presence.
As I am scheduling this on Sunday night, I have no idea which route our trip home will take but as always there will be plenty of stops for photographs and to drink in the beauty around us. Possibly toward Banff but who knows as long as we are on the road enjoying the splendor, who cares?
Last Saturday I attended a local author reading, it was at a new venue – a local coffeehouse, Social Grounds Coffeehouse. The cafe owner is welcoming all local artisan’s to display or perform giving the community a new place to enjoy the arts.
Although this is not my first public reading, there are always steps to take in preparation.
Firstly, you must determine what you are going to read. If you have several books, will you read from a new one or something you feel will grip the audience.
Will the audience be young or adult? Tailor your readings accordingly OR take two pieces to read just in case. (Which is what I did for this reading)
If there is a time limit to the reading, practice the passages out loud. It doesn’t work well to just read it. Practice inflection and if you are good at them, dialectics.
Make sure to mark the start and finish of the piece you are reading, this will ensure you stay within the time limit.
Remember to take promotional items with you including business cards, bookmarks and of course books. A small amount of petty cash too so you have change.
Props are a good idea for children’s books. I have a soft toy I made for my Rumble book. I did take a couple of ornaments with me just in case children were present and I did read from Ockleberries to the Rescue as well as from The Rython Kingdom.
Depending on the venue, there maybe a microphone, if not it is an idea to either purchase one or borrow one. Some venues have a lot of background noise so you want your audience to be able to hear you.
Remember to smile, look up while reading and engage your audience.
Be ready with answers to questions about your book and your writing.
The event on Saturday was an all adult audience which resulted in quite a long Q&A session.
What tips can you share about author readings?
Not the most flattering photo of Karen Probert and I – just wondering what we we discussing when the camera caught us! There will be another photo to add – hopefully!
Karen is a short story expert – her books and mine can be found at http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca – Karen’s: Fragments of Lives & Colouring Our Lives. Mine: Rumble’s First Scare & Ockleberries to the Rescue and also The Rython Kingdom.
New photo from SGC staff – I had to share – loved the captive audience even though you can’t see them all.
Yesterday I helped out at an event called Savor Strathcona, this incorporates local restaurants and artisans. There are numerous foods from across the globe to try and arts of all sorts, including pottery, painting, books and jewelry. The event also included live music and food demonstrations throughout the afternoon and evening, it was extremely popular, which seems to always be the case when food is offered.
I helped out at two tables – one with my publisher, Dream Write Publishing (where we also incorporated information on my writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County) and also with the Arts and Culture Council of Strathcona Council.
We saw friends, family and interested attendees and gave out postcards for our next big event Words in the Park – 1st October. Books were browsed and bought, connections made.
I feel that the more exposure to the public an organization or company gets the better. Many local people did not know about their local publisher, writing foundation or indeed their Arts and Culture Council.
My books are on the front edge of the table – Rumble’s First Scare, Ockleberries to the Rescue and The Rython Kingdom.
I am often asked why go to so many events, when they are not always a huge success in terms of book sales. My answer is that if I am not there, how will anyone know about me or the books I write? It is more about making connections and exploiting the event to showcase my work. On subsequent events people will approach me saying they met me before, bought a book before or they buy a book because last time they did not have a special occasion to buy it for. Being recognized helps as well as always being friendly and forthcoming and informative.
Do you attend events regularly?
What is your impression of them?
Is there a reason you limit or do not attend events?