This coming weekend is not only a long weeked (whoop!) but also when I am spending four wonderful days fully immersed in my writing at Strawberry Creek Retreat. Anticipation is high for my fellow wordsmiths and I. My plan is to read through, revised and to some extent edit my current WIP – Willow Tree Tears. The novel is a cowgirl romance, with the heroine a champion barrel racer, enjoying rodeos and a ranch lifestyle. She finds herself having to choose between an old high school friend who lives a similar horse ranch life, or a suave, handsome wel- traveled Italian. There are numerous plot twists and several other characters and it does include adult content. Currently standing at 25 chapters (50,365 words) – I am aware it requires additional descriptions, dialogue etc. It was my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel so is rough to say the least! For an excerpt go to https://mandyevebarnett.com/current-project-2/
When we attend a writing retreat there are many personal aspirations and goals set – it is a time to have 100% focus on our work but we must decide on what our level of interaction will be within a group retreat. There are simple ‘rules’ that can be set out at the start of the retreat, such as a closed door means no interruptions, meals are taken together, prompts or short workshops will be available, exercise/walks can be taken in a group or solitary – no matter the format you should decide on what works for you.
Vital elements to the retreat are of course your means of writing! Bring your laptop, charger and memory sticks, notebooks, pens and pencils, research material, and any other related material that will assist you with the task in hand. Secondly, think about what you want to achieve within the time limits of the retreat. Make realistic goals so you enjoy the process but are not too exhausted to enjoy sometime away from the computer screen to refresh your mind, body and muse.
The title says it all – learn to take turns – this is a barrel racing saying. One of many I learnt while researching my current WIP, Willow Tree Tears. It was certainly a journey into a world I had no previous knowledge of. Isn’t that what makes writing fiction all the more exciting?
The barrel racing course itself is a series of sharp turns in a clover-leaf shape, as you can see from the diagram below. A figure-eight pattern was the initial barrel racing circuit but has been replaced by the favored clover-leaf course, which demands a higher skill level. When watching these events I marveled at the synchronicity of horse and rider at speeds that were astonishing.
To begin a barrel race, the horse and rider enter the arena at top speed, through the center entrance. An electronic timer beam records the horse and rider as they cross it. This timer runs until the beam is crossed again at the end of the run.
Modern barrel-racing horses need to be fast, strong, agile and intelligent. To maneuver the course in as little distance as possible requires physical strength and agility from the horse as well as the ability to follow commands from the rider. Horses that can “hug the barrels” and maneuver the course quickly show up by their consistently low times. The favored breed for barrel racing is the American Quarter horse. The history of the breed began in the 17th century with British thoroughbreds paired with ‘native’ horses, (Chickasaw), which in turn were descended from horses brought over by the Conquistadors. Such as the Iberian, Arabian and Barb and wild horses.
The Girls Rodeo Association, (GRA) was the first organization specifically developed for women, who wanted to compete in rodeos. It was formed in 1948 by a group of Texan women consisting of only 74 members and having a limited 60 approved tour events. The group officially changed its name to the WPRA (Women’s Professional Rodeo Association) in 1981.
In 2013 the WPRA celebrated sixty five years of women in rodeo. The WPRA . . . the past, present, and future of women in rodeo!
Subsequent to writing my narrative, I found out a new ‘reality’ TV program is on air – Rodeo Girls. However, the authenticity of its portrayal of women in rodeo is open to discussion.
Why does every show have to glamorize and falsify ‘real’ life?
I read many derogatory comments on a forum once the show was aired from barrel racers appalled at the depiction of their profession. I am happy to declare my narrative is true to the real barrel racers and their lifestyle.
Willow Tree Tears is a romance which follows my protagonist, Trinity, a champion barrel racing young woman. Trinity must decide between two men. A man she has known since high school and who lives the ranching and rodeo life and a suave globe trotting Italian. She is determined and focused in her sport and lives on a Quarter horse stud with her father. Can she resist the lure of the unfamiliar? Is marrying her ‘kind’ best for her and her father’s hopes for her future and the ranch?
The launch of Willow Tree Tears is still under negotiation but I will announce it as soon as a date is finalized.
What have you learnt about through novel researching?
Argumentative – definition: fond of arguing and disputing
I will take no argument – if you can possibly make it to the Arts in the Plaza today, please do. It is a free event and there is original work by authors, artists, potters, weavers – well you get the idea!
Pancake breakfast 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. Community Centre (401 Festival Lane)
Free pancake breakfast supported by Canadian Progress Club, Sherwood Park
Free family activities
Verve Salon & Spa Ltd. will help you show your pride at their hair zone
Stage entertainment from Cooper Pump Record Studios Inc. – stage schedule
“Strathcona’s pioneering spirit at 10 a.m.”
Official Key to the County Ceremony followed by Roll Past and Parade In front of County Hall (2001 Sherwood Drive)
Welcoming Tea 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. In front of County Hall (2001 Sherwood Drive)
Enjoy free refreshments and cookies
Entertainment provided by Crescendo Music Studios
Strathcona Mounted Troop Musical Ride 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Former Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School (160 Festival Way)
The Mounted Troop is reminiscent of Lord Strathcona’s Horse in the 1920s and 1930s. The 20-horse, 25-member Troop performs the Musical Ride. The ride is drawn from the Regiment’s traditions of the 1920s and 1930s.
Celebration continues with free activities for everyone 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. The former Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School (160 Festival Way)
Exhibition of both modern and antique military vehicles and meet the troops (Festival Way in front of Elk Island Catholic School Board)
Military activities by Navy League of Canada, 2551 PPCLI Army Cadets
Agricultural opportunities by Green Hectares
Aboriginal activities and performances
Experience life 120 years ago in Strathcona County by Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village and City of Fort Saskatchewan
Family activities by Strathcona County Museum and Education Station
Stage entertainment provided by Crescendo Music Studios
Face painting and much more
Please note: zipline and inflatables will close between 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. for the Military Musical Ride.
Miok-McCormack Memorial Unveiling 4 p.m. Festival Place (100 Festival Way)
Official military unveiling ceremony for The Miok-McCormack Memorial located in Broadmoor Lake Park. This memorial is dedicated to the memory of two Sherwood Park soldiers killed in Afghanistan in 2009. This is a community event and everyone is welcome to attend.
It is my great, great pleasure to introduce Linda Pedley, my dear friend and mentor. She is an inspiration to many. Today’s word is Principle – Definition: 1) a general or fundamental law 2) a rule of or code of conduct or devotion to such a code. Linda lives by a code and is strong in her principals.
a) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
Although one of my favorite characters is the portrayal of William Shakespeare in my WIP “An Elizabethan Affair” it would be unfair to claim him totally as my creation. So, in the interest of fairness, I would choose Udmurt ~ the rough and tumble Russian mountain man in the novella “A Journey of Brothers.” Although he is not the main character, his growth and change through the tale takes you on a secondary path to discover his story while you travel with the other characters.
b) Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I feel, as a writer, you should try your hand at everything there is… after all, to choose means you prefer one type over another, which it totally acceptable if you fancy writing and reading one over another. Experience is not a bad thing.
c) What do you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy the ability to go to places I have not gone; to do the things I might not do; to be the person I might not be… everything we write is part of us in one way or another even if it is just in the learning and research we can share it as if we own it.
d) Have you got a favorite place to write?
Why, yes please – a panoramic view of majestic mountains, pristine lakes, or a field of beautiful free running horses… since I have none of those unless we venture out to a writing retreat, I settle for my 4th floor apartment view overlooking a suburban street. It faces south and I welcome the sunshine. You have to make what you have your favorite or it will never be good enough.
e) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I have tried both: outlining and plotting on charts and story lines, drawing out maps and settings, inventing places and crafting time… I have also written pieces that have gone from beginning to end without one thought of how and why – it just did. Both methods produce the desired outcome – a written piece.
f) What inspires your stories?
It could be a word, a phrase, a thought… it could be an inspirational setting or the interaction during the company of other creative people. It could be a memory from deep within or a passing fancy that lights upon my creative muse. I am able to use the prompt writing tool with great ease. I have also written on ideas that I often wonder later, “where the heck did that come from?” I don’t question – I just write.
g) What are you currently reading?
Truth be told – book 3 of the 50 Shades trilogy J ~ I keep “several” choices on the bedside table and if I laid all the books I wanted to read, one after the other, they would take me until I die, surely. Anything Shakespeare has a good chance of being hurried to the front of the line.
h) Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?
In writing or in general? I’ll never tell. Writing – nothing odd just obsessive at times, but that’s a good thing, in my books. I have fond memories of being encouraged to be creative during my childhood that stemmed from school and home influences. Although known at the “artist” when younger, I became the “poet” and “story writer” in junior high. The most significant recollection, one that permeates my experience from early on to now, is the increasing awareness of creativity around me as I grew older ~ with my work as a volunteer in my community, and the connections on the Internet through social media, I am amazed at the number of creative people out there.
i) Do you have any pets?
I would love to have a dog. I would love to have a horse. But as a happy urbanite with an apartment, I am the co-owner of a black and white cat named Squishy. I use the term “owner” loosely because with cats it is apparent who “owns” who and who is indeed in charge around the apartment, at certain times. Other times he is a quiet companion lying nearby to share the moment with his roomie. He is a character; he is loveable; we are happy he is sharing his life with us.
j) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
I participate whenever I can in several groups – I am a member of the Get Publishing Society, The Arts and Culture Council of Strathcona County, and as soon as I get my submission together, the Professional Writers Association of Canada. But the most rewarding badge on my writing life achievements > I am a member of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County (WFSC); an organization I helped co-found with a mandate to support and promote the literary arts in our community. Over the years, we have become known beyond our own centre and this has opened the doors to many wonderful opportunities. The Strathcona County Writers Circle has been around for 11 ½ years now and is still going strong with old members, new members, and a renewed passion for the written work, ongoing. You can find out more about our group at http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com
k) What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I’m finding little tidbits here and there from when I was in elementary school. I loved to write verses especially for greeting cards to family. I have a collection of poetry written in Grade 9 – it’s packed away for safe keeping. It emulated back then the way I look at creativity now. We studied a written piece by a published author and then used our own imagination to create a similar piece. Imitation is the highest form of flattery and a valuable way to learn.
l) Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
I have two Ebooks published by my publishing company on Smashwords: the first, A Journey of Brothers, came out last summer and is dedicated to my late mother. The second is dedicated to all my fellow writers and was just released on line January 2013. “A Writer’s Life – My Ode to the Bard” recounts some of my own writing experiences the last few years. I give advice and tips to writers by sharing my journey and making suggestions.
Other books Linda forgot to mention that she is featured in are:
Writing Prompt Journey From A Solitary Drop
Writing Prompt Journey offers 20 unique writing prompts, and additional challenges for each, to “pump up the prompt.” Samples for each of the prompts are provided by 17 writers from the WFSC and 5 artists provide illustrated accompaniments to each of the prompts. Read them first or read them last… after you’ve had your turn – there is no right or wrong way to inspire your creativity.
From A Solitary Drop recounts the history of the Strathcona County Writers Circle from October 2001 – October 2011, as told by members of the group. The book includes not only the contributing authors’ visions of how the circle affected their writing over the years but includes interactions with others around them who share/shared their writing journey. The book also provides some points to consider if you are thinking of starting a writer’s group.
m) If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why?
Everybody is moaning – omg she’d go back there! Yes, William Shakespeare. I respect the contribution he made to our lives despite the unknowing questions and summations about the truth behind his works. There is no doubt in my mind, me thinks.
n) If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
I often thought it would be the mountains because of their grandeur and beauty but now realize that they are too close to snow. Then I fancied the ocean because the draw to water seems so natural even though I can’t swim. Historical places are an alternative and I would choose somewhere close to where greatness lies – Stratford Upon Avon. Now, as I stare out at the snow and shiver in the cold, I am saying it is anywhere… warm.
o) What’s your favorite movie of all time?
There are many wonderful movies and it really depends upon the criteria used to rate them. It’s a simple enough question if one is to consider one’s likes or passions. I love Viggo Mortenson, so would willing choose anything Viggo (Hidalgo, LOTR); Robert Downey Jr. is a fav and he has done so many I love, too. Anything horses. Anything “period piece” as long as it is a new version with all the advancements in cinematic artistry allowing one to be right there. Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers is a favorite of the trilogy masterpiece. Very close to the top of the list is… Shakespeare in Love or Passion.
p) Where can readers find you and your blog?
You can check out my blog at http://www.wildhorse33.wordpress.com – I’m on twitter @wildhorse33 and Facebook – Linda J. Pedley
q) Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?
I have a WIP (An Elizabethan Affair) that is chomping at the bit to be done and I have two other novels (Power Struggle and An Italian Son) to review and edit. I have several smaller works including a kid’s book (The Falcon and the Wild Horse) that I would like to tackle. There are always ideas mixing in there but the next to come out will probably be the two follow-up parts to my novella I, A Journey of Brothers. Parts II and III will follow each of the women in the story and continue the journey from their perspective.
r) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
Although it is with great sadness I accept that my #1 supporter, my late mother BJ, passed away in early November 2012, it is with happiness I report she is my writing angel muse. Also, with much happiness, I am so lucky to have a daughter, Kelsey, who is so close to me and a dear friend, Mandy: I could not imagine my writing life without her encouragement and sharing.
To all readers and writers, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey.