As I mentioned on Friday, tomorrow is my writing group’s Christmas party – it is an opportunity to share our current projects, reflect on the past year and reconnect with members who have been away. Part of the celebration is for everyone to read a seasonally themed piece of prose or poem. There are always a variety of interpretations to this prompt, which makes for an interesting evening. My submission this year is:
It sat under the Christmas tree tantalizing me
Its shiny wrapping paper and bright gold bow
Perfectly folded corners and sealed up tight
On the label written in script my name
As I pass, my eyes fix
Under the decorated Christmas tree
Its lights twinkle and baubles dangle
The box reflected a hundred times
When alone I sit beside the box
Smoothing its surface and guessing
The gold ribbon fastened tight
No tears or gaps through which to peek
Carefully I pick up the box
Giving it a gentle shake
There is no rattle or jangle
No noise to give a clue
The days pass slowly
My impatience grows
When will I be able to open the box
And find out what it holds?
Christmas morning arrives
My excitement wakes me at dawn
I creep down the stairs
To find the box gleaming
At last the family assembles
I burst with excitement
As the box is handed to me
I feel its weight again and gasp
With shaking hands I unwrap
The paper and bow discarded
A cardboard box revealed
No clue given still
Prizing open the flaps
Tissue paper rustles
Underneath my Christmas, wish
A perfect treasure for me to keep
Why not share your Christmas themed poem or prose here?
We all have different coping mechanisms when it comes to changes in our lives. Some changes are welcome, some raising curiosity while others are certainly not wanted or wished for. I experienced two smaller occurrences in the last couple of days and it began a line of thought I wanted to share. Do I resist change or embrace it?
As some of you will know I attended Words in the Park over the weekend. The hall was full of forty nine authors and nine vendors – all displaying books and accessories for the discerning book lover. In past years, I have been positioned close to my publisher, Dream Write Publishing and my writing group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. This has led to an enjoyable time overseeing these tables in rotation with others and conversing and chatting with friends and visitors alike. This year as I had booked a whole table instead of half, I was placed on the other side of the venue, away from my usual comrades. It may seem childish (especially considering my age!) but I felt excluded at first. I could see them talking and laughing but unable to join in. Then I realized that I should take advantage of the opportunity and be more proactive in my promotion rather than await passers-by. I surveyed my display and knew it was eye-catching so stood behind my table and greeted everyone, stating the age groups for each book and a short description of the stories. It was a successful day for sales and I also received lots of compliments on my table arrangement and each individual book’s themed items. Several friends did stop by for a chat and one looked after my table while I went to participate in an author reading. All in all I feel I made more sales because I was more engaged and not distracted to my goal.
Today was a day of change as well at my workplace. After nearly two years, my manager and I have a new work colleague. We have been comfortable in how we arrange our work days and the day to day routine is pretty much set. The new employee will bring her own ideas of regime and structure and it is probably not a bad thing. We can all get stuck in a rut so easily. We will embrace this change and see what it brings in the months to come.
What changes have you experienced lately that made you leave your comfort zone?
As writers and authors in the business of selling and gaining interest for our work, we attend many events. Some are local but others have a wider audience and scope. This is true of Word on the Street, which is hosted in various cities across Canada. The event gives authors the opportunity to expand their reach to new readers and I was only too happy to accept an invitation from my publisher, Dream Write Publishing, when the offer was made to attend the event in Lethbridge. It meant travelling over five hours to the venue but there was the added bonus of meeting another writing group that we communicate with, The River Bottom Writers, so a four day weekend was planned.
We took the scenic route from Edmonton to Lethbridge to enjoy the mountains and arrived early evening on Friday. After settling in, Linda and I took advantage of a mutual writing obsession and wrote for several hours.
Saturday morning we met up with members of the writing group for one of their routine meetings. It is always a pleasure to share your writing journey with others and discuss theirs. There followed another few hours of writing back at the hotel, working on projects and submitting articles. We broke for a late lunch and explored the river valley and trails in glorious sunshine.
Sunday morning we were up for an early breakfast and I rehearsed my reading of a chapter from Ockleberries to the Rescue. I was scheduled to read in the Kids Corner tent at 11.40 am. We arrived just after 8 am so we could park near the venue and unload the boxes and display items easily. The volunteers were busily setting up tables, signs and chairs.
Once we had signed in and received our exhibitor tags, we unloaded the books and began organizing our table display. With so many books published under Dream Write Publishing, it was a work of art to have all of them easily seen! Once we were happy with how the table looked we could sit back and watch fellow vendors arrive (we had 2 hours to wait until the official opening!) I took a walk around the venue and found the tent I would be reading in and ‘tested’ it out for size. At the entrance to the library it was a perfect site for library and venue visitors alike.
We had a steady stream of interested visitors to our table either to buy books or discuss publishing with Linda. At my allotted time, I took the microphone in the kid’s tent and enthralled my young audience with the first chapter of Ockleberries to the Rescue – Swift the Fox. (Pre-orders at http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/)
With any publication it is important to continue to promote them, even if you have subsequent publications requiring exposure. I read from Ockleberries but I also took my plush toy, Rumble with me from Rumble’s First Scare; not just because he enjoys all the attention he gets at these events but for my annual Rumble coloring contest. I handed out 30 entry sheets and Rumble was a great focus of attention for many – children and adults alike.
Rumble displaying his winner’s prizes – a custom made hat or a T-shirt for the coloring competition.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip and one I’m more than happy to do again.
Happy writing everyone and share your words no matter – near or far.
Update: Rumble made the Global news – 1.32 on timeline -http://globalnews.ca/video/1577115/word-on-the-street-festival
If you can make it, my writing foundation is hosting a conference. All welcome. There are plenty of nice hotels for those traveling to Sherwood Park, Alberta. Details here and Early ird Prize draw deadline looming…get in quick!
My 555 blog post – just saying!
Have a great week…
We got a mention on Danyelle’s Links – grateful for that – http://paper.li/DanyelleLeafty
Yesterday was the culmination of six months of organization and hard work. From an inkling of an idea, we changed the format of our writers conference entirely this year. Holding a two hour session in the morning, followed by a Q&A panel and then two separate presentations in the afternoon.
With a change in venue, we were able to set up a classroom style presentation room, which was conducive not only to the attendees but the presenters as well.
We were once again fortunate in our presenters. Each one not only gave excellent orations but were insightful in the Q&A panel utilizing registrants work as the basis of discussion, after critiquing the submissions. Yes we work them hard! But we are extremely grateful.
IPPY award winning Toronto author, Lisa de Nikolits flew in especially for our conference – quite a coo wouldn’t you say? Lisa is an absolute delight and a good friend of mine. Her presentation was 8 Components of Story Writing and it was incredibly helpful to established and novice writers. With only a short coffee break at midway, Lisa managed to enthuse her audience for the whole two hours.
The session after lunch was held by Judy Schultz, who is a nationally renowned travel and food writer, the author of ten books, and the winner of numerous awards including the Robert Kroetsch Book Prize for her fiction novel, Freddy’s War. She is also a very charming, generous woman and has graced our conference before. Judy’s presentation was Non-Fiction – 8 Guidelines, which was not only helpful for non-fiction but also fiction writers. Techniques of writing are interchangeable through any genre or style.
Our third and last session was held by Natasha Deen, who is currently our Writer in Residence. Natasha is hilariously funny and had the room in fits of laughter while giving great information on 8 Steps to Utilize Your WIR. I know that many of the attendees will be submitting work to Natasha, me included.
The Q&A panel included the presenters above as well as Karen Probert, who is a founding member of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and the author of Fragments of Lives. Karen continues to be a vital member of the Foundation as the Past President and the Library Liaison. Her insight into the writing craft is splendid.
Registrants and volunteers also enjoyed a wonderful lunch, browsed trade tables and bid on Silent Auction items. There were also displays celebrating the Writers Foundation’s timeline and another highlighting the members past and present. These exhibits were part of the Strathcona County 120 year anniversary celebrations.
With another successful conference under our belts we can breath a sigh of relief…for a short while anyway!
Thank you to everyone that attended and made it such an inspiring and enjoyable day.