Tag Archives: culture

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

 

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.

Writers Foundation Strathcona CountyWeb ACCSC Logo

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

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“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.

Please share your local writing events here.

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours…


events

After meeting the new Writer in Residence yesterday, I will send him an invite to speak at our next writing meeting of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County on 7th February. Richard van Camp is a personable, funny and engaging personality with a drive to help other writers succeed. I feel his residency will propel many writers to publication. I may send him a few pages of my current work in progress too – it is always good to get new perspectives of your work.

http://www.sherwoodparknews.com/2016/12/05/creative-writer-in-residence

My other appointment yesterday was with a new freelance writing client. An interesting concept that will take several months of collaboration.

This coming week I have two board meetings. The first is with the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and we will set out event dates and new programs/projects for the year. This will include the annual conference, a writing retreat and the annual Words in the Park.

The second meeting is of the Arts and Culture Council of Strathcona County – detailing plans for our Arty Party to be held on 21st January and planning for other events later in the year, which will include a summer BBQ celebrating diversity, culture and Canada’s 150 birthday.

https://www.facebook.com/events/407736716231777/  Arty Party

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What events do you have planned for January? Care to share?

 

Another Road Trip in Alberta…


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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?

 

What has been your favorite road trip?

Where did you go?

Mini-vacation Plans…


I have a mini vacation this week, so can spend time with family and friends doing whatever we feel like.On my list are a couple of things I have been looking forward to. Firstly, this exhibition –

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http://telusworldofscienceedmonton.ca/exhibits-events/international-exhibition-sherlock-holmes  We are lucky to have it locally and so my girls and I will test our observation skills, and walk around 221B Baker Street. http://sherlockholmesexhibition.com/

We may also visit the Muttart Conservatory as it is rather a long time since our last one!

Muttat

http://www.edmonton.ca/attractions_events/muttart-conservatory.aspx

I will also be escaping to the mountains for three days with my dear friend, Linda – to write, explore and enjoy the wilderness and to meet up with the coordinator of the  Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts. This facility will officially open in July, it is a wonderful center.

 

Other events on the list are two concerts – one at Spark Gallery with Sarah Smith and the other a classical concert with the Wye String Ensemble.

So all in all a wonderful week of arts, culture and writing – perfect if I don’t say so myself.

Alternative Living -Moving to Another Country…


Expat

As an expat myself, I know the trials and tribulations of moving to another country. I moved from the lush green of England, where I could easily travel to the sea in a mere forty minutes. Days of dull and grey weather were the norm and we were used to the rain! However, my family, the centuries old history, and the glorious countryside are what I miss the most.

I now live landlocked in Alberta, Canada, where the winters are long and extremely cold but the summers are hot and we have sunshine a large amount of the time year round. It was so unusual to wake up to sunshine seven days running that my body was in shock. Now when we experience a dull cloudy day, we refer to it as “English’ weather! To get to the ocean requires a flight or several days driving.Canada has enabled me to pursue a passion for writing; given my children an advantage in life and the people have warmly embraced us.

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Let’s look at the Pros and Cons:

Pros

A new country means new experiences for you and your family, such as different cultures, customs, laws, and often languages. You will taste unknown foods and get to experience day to day life that may be a polar opposite of what you are used to. Meeting new people from other backgrounds will broaden your horizons and give you an insight into their culture.

Language may initially be a barrier, although it is best to learn the language before moving. It will make the transition easier and lessen misunderstandings. It can also enable you to find work quicker and benefits your resume/CV when relocating.

Financial benefits can be an incentive to move as many countries have a lower cost of living enabling you to stretch your finances. Although initially there maybe a financial burden due to the extra costs of moving, monthly bills and required purchases, such as vehicles.

A common reason to move is to have a fresh start giving the feeling of freedom and possibilities. You can also form new friendships and interests, which benefit you socially and emotionally.

Cons

Actually uprooting yourself from all that is familiar and comfortable is a stressful endeavor. It is best to research, investigate and meticulously plan everything prior to moving. This will lessen the culture shock to some extent while you find housing, and work.

There is an element of risk that must be considered. A job may fall through or you have not had confirmation of a position. You will probably have to sell all your belongings or spend a considerable sum on transporting them. Your accommodation may not be as expected. Again with careful planning these risks can be minimized.

The largest toll on you will be the emotional one. Living far away from family is the hardest burden to bear. You will miss the simplest of moments, like popping round to a family members house for a quick chat or taking part in seasonal celebrations. There is technology available although it is not the same as being there.

It will take some time to get accustomed to the new country and you need to be patient with yourself. Accepting the ‘new’ and embracing it will help.

I will give you a couple of instances of things I encountered and had not realized prior to moving to Alberta. One the price shown on the item you purchase is not the price you pay! There is 5% GST (tax) added at the check out. Also unlike the English 2-3 week’s vacation per year for each employee, here you do not automatically get vacation until you have worked one year with a company. When you change jobs you start again!

Expat-Living

What has been your experience of moving to a new country?

Did you stay or did you return?

Interview with my dear friend and mentor, Linda J Pedley…


Before we start, I would like to say without Linda’s solid friendship, belief in my writing ability and encouragement, I, for one, would not be a published author. Her constant drive to enable numerous authors to realize their publishing dreams is not only commendable but a reflection of her generosity of spirit and expertise in making a manuscript become a published work. Linda What inspired you to write your first book? Although other books have been published before An Elizabethan Affair was finished, I am going to speak of EA as my first novel length idea. It was inspired by my love for Shakespeare and deep longing for finding that perfect soul mate. I have always wanted to write a novel – it is on my list of life long goals and/or dreams written some time ago. As a writer, it was an obvious destination for my journey. Elizabethan Affair How did you come up with the title? It is inspired by my secret obsession of falling in love with that which or whom you cannot have… It refers to affair as in not only of the clandestine variety, but of or concerning the Elizabethan era. It puts forth the truth, yet alludes to the impossible, drawing together fact and fiction. Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?  I have contributed submissions (poetry, short stories, and essays) to a number of anthologies, co-authored history books, and contributed to a memoir writing instruction workbook. I am currently ghost writing a 3 book memoir for a client, and a business humor series. I have 2 novels published (An Elizabethan Affair, Power Struggle), 2 novellas of a YA series published (A Journey of Brothers, A Journey of Truth), and have several others in various stages, including the 3rd novella in the YA adventure series (A Journey of Desires). Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? With regard to An Elizabethan Affair – I guess the main message would be to never give up on your dreams no matter how big, how out there, or seemingly impossible they may be. Of course, we know we can never go back and have a time travel affair, no matter how much you wished for it, but the allusion to living for your passion is there. Do what you love. How much of the book is realistic? I did a lot of research and a lot of reading on Shakespeare and Elizabethan times – and based on that, it is my hope that references and descriptions are as realistic as they can possibly be. There are advantages to writing of something so distant that those things we know to be true are usually easy to find – the rest can be left to speculation with imagination playing a huge part in drawing the work together. Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? I based the book, obviously, on William Shakespeare’s life. The life of co-protagonist, modern day Elizabeth, is fictitious with real characteristics based on my own life – single mom, love of writing, love for the words of the masters of literature, and some of the references were based on my experience of living for a short time during 2005 in Toronto. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Nothing would change in this book. I used part of it to apply for a summer writing program in Toronto at Humber College. The author mentor I worked with suggested cutting all the description to clean up the manuscript. Like all good students, I took her suggestions to heart, but did not have the heart to cut it as suggested – it was the type of book I was going for and the way it is written suits the subject. Always be true to your own spirit in your work. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Thank you for reading and supporting writers/authors and the literary arts. It is this connection that encourages us to continue to share, although a writer will always write, whether publishing or not. Journey I What is your favourite theme/genre to write? There is no one favorite – I like to experience variety in my writing journey. Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it? Anything that exploits children. A recent challenge was to ghost write a book on the topic of abuse to the worst degree – a memoir – so you know it to be true. What book are you reading now? My own novella one to ensure there is continuity in the follow up editions. As an editor and publisher, I am always reading and am privy to new works to be released by my own company. Nothing else at this time from already published works. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Through my company I have read some amazing work and am so appreciative of the chance to share an author’s journey in that way. Do you see writing as a career? Definitely, yes. Part of my journey. In different ways. Where do you see yourself in ten years? Behind the lap top writing. The setting might change (hopefully to mountainous or nature inspired views) – but the passion will not go away. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Focusing on my own work while fulfilling responsibilities to client’s projects. But, a weekend retreat is always welcome on the agenda for writing. Have you ever hated something you wrote? Not really. If it is not for publishing or public, then private it doesn’t matter. I don’t write anything to hurt anyone and there are topics I won’t write on so I cannot end up hating if for one reason or another. What book do you wish you had written? I don’t. I love my own style and writing and never wish to have done what someone else has done – I love the vision that comes from others’ works, such as Shakespeare, Tolkien, poet Frost, et al., and hope that one day something I have created is used in a similar fashion – to inspire others to follow their own journey. What is your best marketing tip?

  1. Don’t sell yourself short.
  2. Don’t oversell yourself.

(Sounds contradictory, but it covers the range from: “be humble, appreciative, proud, and own your work” to “don’t constantly stick in others’ faces with buy my book, buy my book, buy my book…”)

  1. If you don’t know, ask.

What genre is your next project? What is it about? I have not decided what project will be next – I have a novel to edit written a few years ago. I have to format and release on of my novels on EBook, and another vice versa – in print. I have several ideas on file awaiting their turn, and other projects poking their heads into current business. Genre? Not sure. A Journey of Truth Can you tell us about your upcoming book? Novella II is just released, A Journey of Truth, which continues the story of Aaslan and his sister, Aisha, from A Journey of Brothers, released in 2012. Novella III, A Journey of Desires, completes the 3 part YA adventure series set in Turkey. (No, I’ve never been there… research!) How do we find your books, blog and bio? I publish through my own company Dream Write Publishing. You can find my books in print and online, POD and EBook. www.dreamwritepublishing.ca You can follow me on my blog “Freeing the Creative Spirit” for ongoing writing, projects, travel writing & photography, reflections on my writing life, poetry, etc. with links to my social media pages, and for more information about me. www.wildhorse33.wordpress.com

Idea Factory or Empty Void..?


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APOLOGIES this post should have gone out yesterday! I was reveling in my day off…

A recent comment by a writer I know stunned me into silence. What did they say you may ask? This is the statement :

I’m not sure I have anything to write at the moment.

If you are like me the the fact of this sentence is mind blowing. How can you have nothing to write I thought. I have so many ideas in my head I worry I may not get them all written before I go to MUSE central!

Maybe it was not a lack of ideas my friend had but the problem of deciding which one to pursue? Many of us have numerous story ideas bouncing around inside our heads.This may seem a good problem to have, however, too many ideas and no focus can be just as debilitating as staring at a blank page or screen. Symptoms can include indecision, procrastination, failure to meet deadlines, insomnia and anxiety.

The problem is how do we ensure these golden nuggets are not lost?  We endeavor to keep them by making frantic notes but musing over where they could possibly lead to can lead to devastating interruption to our current project. So how do we identify if this ‘new’ idea is worth pursuing?

There are many strategies we can employ to decide on which are best to keep  – here are a few to try:

a) Leave the chaos of your writing space with pen and paper or recording device and go for a walk. Once you are in a new environment the most exciting and prominent idea(s) will stay with you. Write or record them and let your imagination flourish with them for a while.

b) Restrict your time on musing about new ideas by setting yourself a time limit. Even a ten minute burst of inspirational writing will ensure you get the idea down but not ‘waste’ too much time on it. Once it is written put it to one side and continue with your current project, safe in the knowledge the idea has been dealt with.

c) Take some time to really dissect the new idea. Can you envisage the plot arc, the ending, the characters? If the majority of the narrative reveals itself to you, then mark it down as your next project. However, if the idea is vague, do not pursue it – just jot down the outline and file it.

d) Utilize your passion when defining whether an idea is worth reflection. If it excites you or is on a subject you feel passionate about then it should be considered in depth.

e) Get yourself an idea board. Organize each idea into genre or categories and when a new plot, character or scene comes to you place it with the other components of that particular story.

f) Bounce your ideas off a few trusted friends or members of your writing group.

It is thought a ‘problem’ to have too many ideas – they densely populate our minds. Crowding out each other and jostling for attention. It can be frustrating when we are embroiled in a current project. We hastily jot down the details of the new idea, too frightened to leave it to chance that we will remember it later. This removes our mind set from progressing with our existing work, if only for a short time. These ‘breaks’ can either be a good thing – returning refreshed and with renewed vigor or a bad thing – lured into the new project and dissatisfied with the WIP.

How do you handle the sparse and dense periods of your writing life?

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

new idea

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.  Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”          

Are You Making the Most of Your Memberships..?


Many of us have memberships to organizations but after the inital enthusiactic blush of newness there seems to be a decline in involvement.

Why is this?

We have paid good money for an annual membership, why not ultilize it for the whole year?

I volunteered at a local event both days of this past weekend. The Arts Expo is held annually and show cases local artisans. However, many of the members did not attend, whether as participants or visitors to support their fellow members. I find this extremely sad. Organizations strive to support and promote their members at every opportunity, so why does it fall on the same few members time and again?

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WFSC banner

A membership can give so much if we get involved. Not only it is an opportunity to promote our own work but also network and form new friendships. During the weekend, I got to know several members of my writers group, the Writers Foundation of Stathcona County a great deal more. It was an enjoyable two days and I am glad to help at all the events laid on for our group, my publisher, Dream Write Publishing and the Arts and Culture Council of Strathcona County (ACCSC) who promote all forms of the arts, from weavers to potters to authors and a good deal more. Don’t forskae your memberships – use them to your advantage.

DWP logo

The more we are involved, the more we get out of our membership. Consider your memberships and make the commitment to utilize them to their full potential, after all you paid for it!

We are lucky to have a proactive mayor, Rxanne Carr, who is commited in making culture accessable and promoted within our community. The more we do, the better the results.

Get involved.

Arts Expo 2014 WFSCArts Expo 2013Joe Arts 2014

We all want to be Acknowledged…


Acknowledgement – definition: 1. recognition of the existence or truth of something; 2. an expression of appreciation

best seller

It is human nature to want to be acknowledged whether for our day to day activities or, as we are writers, for our narratives. We can toil for days, weeks and years in our solitude, scribbling the next great novel. It is only when we share this work are we acknowledged by our peers and hopefully a wider audience. And that is the scary part! We nurture, refine and revise time and again to make our story ‘perfect’. The life lesson here is another person’s point of view will give us a new perspective, which may or may not be what we were expecting. In truth it is mainly, not. Being so close to the story, its settings and characters is a good thing when we are in creation mode  but we need to step back and let it ‘rest’ a while before editing. Fresh eyes and a certain detachment allow us to really ‘see’ the narrative without our mesmerized involvement in the project.

To cushion the blow, read excerpts to your writing group or trusted friends, who you know will be honest with you but not harsh in their review. Bear in mind the genre when you share your work as not everyone will enjoy fantasy, romance or sci-fi. That way you can receive a true reflection of your novel from people who regularly read that particular genre. In many ways you are benefiting from their ‘expertise’. Beta readers are also a good way to receive great feedback.

Acknowledgement may not come as a best seller but understand, if one or two readers read your narrative and enjoy it enough to contact you to say how much they loved it then you have recognition and appreciation. Your words are out in the world for future generations to delight in. That is priceless.

 

A similar blog post I found this morning – http://glynisrankin.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/wednesday-writer-wisdom-the-beta-reader/

Taking A Hiatus – A Widespread Epidemic..?


Hiatus – definition: a break or pause in the continuity of action

temporarily-closed

Have you noticed that there are more and more bloggers taking ‘breaks’ from their blogs lately. When I put the word hiatus into the’topic box’, it brings up a long list, and that’s just in the blogs I follow. Are we burning out? Is the constant pressure of having to blog, having an adverse effect on us? Has the first bloom of enthusiasm begun to fade?

Yesterday, I spoke about time management – but is it more than just time we are lacking? Is the need to write captivating and interesting blogs straining our creative minds? Shouldn’t we be using that creativity for our novels not our blogs?

Can we divide our creativity into sub-sections? Should we? Surely our creative energy should be focused on our current project(s), isn’t that where our real attention should be? Are our main projects suffering because of it?

As my 2013 commitment continues, I can attest to having worries concerning my current WIP’s, the draw of a post a day leads me to my blog first rather than my manuscripts. Sometimes I am ahead of the game with several blogs drafted but at others, I lapse and panic when I realize I have to write one. My only consolation is that I only have to post per day for 2013 and can reduce the amount of posts next year. I’m already on day 222 for 2013, only 143 to go!

What are your thoughts on blogging versus manuscript writing?

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