As many of you know, I commit to a blog schedule at the end of each year for the up coming year. In 2021, my twice weekly posts will continue to be divided between writing topics and delving into my books and writing life for my readers.
I hope you will find the content interesting, enlightening and fun. I will post every Tuesday and Thursday each week as follows:
Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday
Stories behind my published books and also from works in progress.
Update on events I will be attending – if possible physically, if not virtually in 2021
Glimpses at my current writing project.
Sharing short stories or poem’s I have written from prompts or workshops.
My book reviews
Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday
Special Interviews with authors from Creative Edge
Author Toolbox – once a month
Monthly Author Interviews (please sign up for one – first Thursday of every month.)
I will continue with my monthly newsletter, so please sign up when prompted. I hope we can develop a great relationship with this new venture – Sneek Peeks & Glimpses. Thank you in anticipation.
I was delighted to win a draw for a copy of Being Grateful, Being Thankful by Sarah Butland recently and she was kind enough to send two copies, one of which I gave to a friend.
We take so much for granted – water, light, heat, friends & family, homes, finances, transport and more.
But do we ever consider life without these? A power outage, a burst water pipe, no internet service – any of these things brings the realization that when it works we don’t give them a second thought. Then we are uncomfortable, sad and sometimes frustrated.
This unique book puts us into a mind set to be thankful for our world, our life, our luxuries. We are blessed and giving thanks is a way to give back to the universe. https://www.amazon.ca/Being-Grateful-Thankful-Sarah-Butland/dp/0993786413
Remember to keep your 2020 pledge and review every book you read. Even a sentence will do!
GIFT Presents: Intro to Screenwriting
I attended an event on 7th March by GIFT (Girls in Film & Television). This is an avenue of writing I want to explore, learn and master. After all every fiction author wants to see their story on the big screen. The workshop focused on secrets to the golden rules of screenwriting, focusing on short film format. Teaching us how to write full and dynamic characters, how to structure our story, and how to format our script like a pro.
Do you have a favorite book you wish would be made into a movie?
I finished editing one client’s manuscript and almost immediately dove into another manuscript but this time for a friend, who is part of the monthly workshop, I am participating in. This will allow other authors to read my work and comment and I will do the same for them.
Update on Steampunk novel: The Commodore’s Gift.
I had a brainwave when it came to incorporating more ‘mechanical’ elements into the narrative and will add a certain physical characteristic to the Commodore. Subscribe to my newsletter to find out what it is…Sneek Peeks & Glimpses.
Does writing energize or exhaust you? Writing energizes me unless it’s a really emotional scene and then I’m exhausted. Being a writer, being able to sit down and write each day, it fills my well. My husband knows when I haven’t found time to write…apparently, I tend to get slightly grumpy (lol).
What is your writing Kryptonite? This is a hard question to answer. Let me get back to you…(I’m afraid to admit to it because then it’ll be real, you know?)
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Absolutely. In fact, I’ve decided to create a pen name for a new series of books I’ll be writing and publishing starting this summer. But it won’t be a secret – I’ll be writing under J.M. Jack.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I have a community of writers that are near and dear to my heart. There’s a group of four that get together once a month and chat almost daily. Then I have a large online group that I meet up with every conference I can attend. The community of writers is amazing and I’m so glad to have a large group of peers I can call friends.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? I prefer to write standalones but I have written a few series. I find them harder to write – probably because when I began them, they weren’t series in my head.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? Signing up for classes with Margie Lawson. She has changed my writing! As well as purchasing Scrivener and Vellum.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? House by Ted Dekker.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A black sheep!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Probably around 5 that will never see the light of day.
What does literary success look like to you? Having a vast readership where people can name me as one of their favourite authors.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I tend to research as I’m writing. It can be in the form of reading articles, calling professionals…whatever is needed.
How many hours a day/week do you write? I write a minimum of 1000 words a day. Some days I can get those words in 2 hrs, some days it takes me 8 hours. I write 5 days a week. I take one day off on the weekend and then plot on the other day.
13. How do you select the names of your characters? I always ask my readers for names…they are the best resource I have!
14. What was your hardest scene to write? Every book has a hard scene to write. In The Forgotten Ones, it was when someone died. I bawled so hard I ended up with a massive headache.
15. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them? I write what I love to read and what I’m passionate about. I tend to focus on one book at a time so that it gets my full attention.
16. long have you been writing? Full time, since 2010. But I began back in 2005.
17. What inspires you? My family, my faith and my readers.
18. How do you find or make time to write? It’s not a matter of finding time to write, it’s deciding that writing is important to me and so I will write. If anything is important it will become a part of your lifestyle.
19. What projects are you working on at the present? I am working on my upcoming novel that will be out with my publisher in 2019.
20. What do your plans for future projects include? I have a new series that I’ll be publishing beginning this summer that I’m really excited about. It’s about a woman who helps to rescue abused women from cults.
21. Share a link to your author website. steenaholmes.com – I have a free book readers can download if they join my newsletter.
Commemorate – definition: to serve as a memorial or reminder of some event.
My writers circle – Writers Foundation of Strathcona County held their AGM & Writer’s Luncheon on Saturday. We were lucky enough to hold it in a meeting room within our Council building, with kitchen facilities included. Once the President began listing our events for the year, it occurred to me just how busy the foundation and its members are. As you can see there is something every month of the year.
Culture Days – featured weekend participation with interactive writing activities
Words in the Park hosted with Library in conjunction with LitFest
National Novel Writing Month – participants writing 50,000+ words in month of November
Member Christmas Party held at Second Cup, Summerwood
Committee planning for 2013 Conference begins
Arts Expo weekend participation
WFSC participation in Adult Learning at the Library – presentations by members – Writing Memoirs, Orchids, and Self-Publishing
WFSC participation in Active Living conference – presentation by member – Your Lifetime of Stories
4th annual conference “Chapter 8” celebrated WFSC 8th Anniversary in conjunction with kick off for Strathcona Celebrates
Display boards show history, projects, volunteers, and membership.
Regular meetings and Novel Workshops begin for editing NaNoWriMo and books to be published
WFSC participation at Senior’s Day breakfast held in Ardrossan
Members attend grant presentation at County Clothes Line
Participation in Savour Strathcona with table display
Participation in Arts in the Plaza – one day
Participation in Arts in the Plaza in conjunction with Strathcona Celebrates – one day
Writing the Seasons mini workshop at member residence
Here we are at our Annual General meeting 8 ½ years later
Board meeting each month with exception of July = 11
Novel writing workshop – 4 participants met at least monthly from May – August = 7 – 8
Writing Friends twice per month = 24
Writers Circle and sharing meetings = 24 * sometimes scarce of participants for the 3rd Tuesday
Committee Meetings – Words in the Park, Conference
Never Been Better celebrated 4 years in April – Bethany as editor in charge
Member collaboration to write and produce Your Lifetime of Stories Workbook to go with the presentation. Workbook was written over the summer and is at press – ready for release by Words in the Park event.
WFSC asked to administer Strathcona Connect online magazine until October this year due to election.
To make the day even better, the members brought pot luck dishes and there were writing games after the business part of the meeting had been completed.
With such a involved, encouraging and supportive group it is no wonder the WFSC is well known and celebrated. We are not limited to local authors either as our website enables virtual members – some as far away as Poland & Australia – to converse with our chat feature and receive critique with a personal blog and news page. And participate in the Saturday morning prompt and download the monthly newsletter – Muse. http://wfscsherwoodpark.com/
I had a dental appointment today – boo! Once back home and waiting for the feeling to return to my mouth a short story began to form. I used some writing prompt words from my circle’s newsletter and this is the result. Inspiration truly comes from anywhere at anytime and in any form. I may use Jennifer’s character in another piece of work or her situation but even if I don’t she was fun to create.
November and December Magazine Words. Clichés, tree, bus, school, detention, roadside
Hasty Trip to the Dentist
A quick glance at her watch confirmed Jennifer was pushed for time. She said a silent prayer that all the traffic lights would be green along her route to the dentist. She should have left that last phone call to go to answer phone but it was an automatic action to pick up the receiver. It had been a frustrated customer wanting printed details of their account – immediately. Jennifer had rushed to their account screen, clicked print and then tore the sheet out of the printer, quickly placing it on the fax machine to send it. She swore when she realized the customer’s fax number was on her computer screen not the print out. Back to her desk and after quickly making a note back to the fax machine where Sandy was busily piling in a thick pile of paper.
“I was using that, it’s just one page, please can I send mine first?”
“Well, really Jennifer why didn’t you do it before?”
“The fax number wasn’t on the print out, I had to go back to my desk to get it. Please Sandy.”
“Well as you have asked so nicely, go ahead.”
Jennifer sighed with relief but kept her thoughts tightly behind her teeth. Sandy could be such a jobs-worth, her attitude made Jennifer feel like a school kid again summoned to detention. With the fax sent Jennifer grabbed her purse and ran down the stairs and out into the parking lot. With all the rushing she had forgotten to start her vehicle and now she sat in a frozen seat with frost covering the windshield.
“Damn, damn, damn.”
A quick flick of the key had the car start. Jennifer got back out to scrape the screen, well at least a small hole to peer through. Shivering Jennifer cranked up the heater in an attempt to warm up the interior. She pulled out of the lot and waited impatiently at the roadside for a gap in the on-coming traffic. She saw her opportunity and pushed the accelerator to the floor, her tires squealed as the vehicle swerved in front of a bus. The driver showed his anger with a prolonged sounding of his horn.
“Yeh, yeh, yeh, whatever…”
Tension gripped Jennifer’s shoulders as she drove over the speed limit, hoping there were no police cars on route. As she approached the first set of traffic lights they turned amber. Should she chance it? Jennifer looked left and right both sides of the junction were full, no she would stop the way her day was going she was bound to have no luck. Fingers tapping on the wheel in anticipation, she waited for the lights to change. At last they turned green and Jennifer floored the pedal. Wheels spinning Jennifer’s main focus on getting to her appointment changed in the blink of an eye as the back end of her car swung to the right and then overtook the front end. The vehicle spun in a full circle, jumped the curb and hit a tree.
All thoughts of the dentist disappeared as fear gripped Jennifer. The sound of sirens broke her dazed thoughts.
“Now, Miss let’s take it easy.”
“I was on my way to the dentist, the tires didn’t grip.”
“In a bit of a rush were we? Maybe next time less speed and more haste but also driving to the road conditions would help.”
Jennifer ignored the cliché she really wasn’t in the mood.
Please feel free to comment or share a short piece of inspiration.