Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dad's Visit to Ontario

Thanks for posting such great photos of our coffee at Coffee House with my dad. He enjoyed meeting everyone who was able to attend and wishes he had a group like our in Alberta. Maybe he'll end up starting one of his own.

I do still have CDs from JBR Music Studios (mine and my dad's) available for purchase in the New Year and will make sure to bring them to our next meeting. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. See you in 2010!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

DIANE'S FATHER - December 20, 2009

We missed you Sunday. We had a wonderful time conversing with fellow creative beings!
Keep writing if you can!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


The HWG Gang

Harry & his book featured at Booklore

Standing Room Only at Booklore

Can't wait for the next book launch.


Answers questions such as:

What is narrative distance?

Is it possible to have too much dialogue in a story? (Not according to me. I love dialogue.)

Why I write contest ... DEADLINE: DECEMBER 31, 2009

Why do you write? Please post a response here!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I often wonder if anybody actually reads our blog and whether it's worthwhile for me to post.

What we need is a counter or dare I say it, comments, otherwise, I question whether I should spend my time posting to a blog that nobody reads.

Please post to our blog suggesting what you would be interested in reading. Any suggestions, would be most helpful.

What about book reviews? Writers read, don't they? Anybody read a good book lately and would like to post a review?

As writers, we write, don't we? What about committing to posting to our blog say once a week, once every other week, or once a month?

Looking forward to your comments, suggestions, and reading your blog postings.

MERRY CHRISTMAS - happy writing!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blog Roll-Up: Best of the Week's Writing Blogs

Novel Writing

What Makes a Great Book? A Voracious Reader Shares her Insights. Nina Sankovitch read a book a day for a year and wrote about the experience on her blog Read All Day. Christine Baker Kline adapts her insights on her own blog, A Writing Life.

How do you know when you're done editing? A. Victoria Mixon, Editor explains the long process professional writers (i.e. published authors) do it, as well as an alternative: finding a really great editor in her post: Being in the Right Place at the Right Time.

Jane Friedman at There are No Rules shares A Big Mistake to Avoid in Story Openings.

Querying Agents
Should you send your query out to agents during the holidays? Some agents are taking a query hiatus: Rachelle Gardner at WordServe Literary (December 15th-January 14th) and Nelson Literary Agency is closed over the holidays (from December 18th until the new year). Five other agents weigh in on Holidays and Queries to Agents over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog.

Query Ninja joins the Query Shark in critiquing query letters.  This time, Kate Steps Up to the Plate with her query letter for a young adult novel.

C. Patrick Schulze offers some help in writing the dreaded synopsis with his post: 11 Elements of a Successful Synopsis.

The Social Side of Writing

Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent has updated his blog, which now includes discussion forums. His blog has always been a great source of information of all things writing (and probably more than you need to know about the show The Bachelor), but now it's even better.

Jane Friedman at There Are No Rules again brings you the week's Best Tweets for Writers which include the 14 bigggest mistakes even the best-selling writers make and a self-editing checklist.

Why should you go to conferences, tweet and blog? Janet Reid, Literary Agent tells you in her post 10 Things Crime Writers Can Learn From Paris Hilton.

Dreams and Writing
Are Your Dreams Trying to Tell You Something? Jeanie Franz Ransom at Storytellers Unplugged thinks so . . . and I think a couple members of our group might agree!

Member Blogs
Diane Bator had a busy blogging week despite being sick with pneumonia and hosting an art show. Check out her post about A Romantic Life for a bit of inspiration.

Weekly Laugh
Courtesy of the blog of Janet Reid, Literary Agent, this terrific parody of The 12 Days of Christmas, just for
writers: The Twelve Tips on Queries.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

4 Poetry Books Launch

Cheryl Xavier, our National Coordinator [Canadian Federation of Poets] wanted to invite you to the book launch of our own Federation of Poets members who are launching new books. This is a very exciting as CFP poets hit the publishingworld.

Here are the details:

Event: Book launch by In Our Words Inc., Fall/Winter catalogue

Swimming to the Surface: A collection of poems by Saskia Maddock
Musings of an Earth Angel: A collection of poems by Linda L. Dowd
On the Wings of Dawn: A collection of poems by Maria Pia Marchelletta
Moonlight Fairy Tales by Flavia Cosma

4 Federation poets launching at the same event!

Chief Guest is the Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
Mayor Hazel McCallion, Mayor of Mississauga

When? Friday, December 11, 2009, 5.30 pm—8.30 pm
Where? 730 Courtneypark Dr W, Mississauga, ON L5W 1L9

If you're in the area, go and congratulate Linda, Saskia,Flavia and Maria - and get to know our new National Coordinator - Cheryl Xavier - because she can help youtake your next steps. If you have any questions - contact Cheryl

NEW MOON - the book and the movie

When I read New Moon in the Twilight series, I didn’t like it as much as the other books. Laura and I conversed re the series and we agreed that Stephenie Myers, the author, needed to write New Moon in order to set-up the rest of the series.

The movie, New Moon is a good adaptation of the book. The special effects re the werewolves are outstanding. But the movie lacks the action of the first book and the movie Twilight. My husband, a non-reader, loved the first movie but fell asleep at the show watching New Moon. He complained, “There’s not enough action.” I enjoyed the movie even though it lacked action, as I’d read the book.

In New Moon, the characters are more developed. Bella is plunged into deep despair re the loss of Edward. Jacob’s friendship with Bella is prominent in New Moon. We understand Jacob’s longing for Bella. Some people might even root for Jacob to win but there’s no doubt that Edward is somebody special especially to Bella.

I, too, would have preferred more action in the book, as well as the movie. Writers should remember to keep the story moving, as it’s all about the story!

Keep writing!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Contests, Classes and Calls for Submissions!


Act quickly or this one will be gone: Grand prize is a free Sony Reader Pocket Edition, and second prize is an evaluation of 20 pages of your work by Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent. Check out the Words that Move Me contest on Rachelle's blog, Rants & Ramblings on Life as a Literary Agent. Contest Deadline: Friday, December 11, 2009.

Freelance Switch brings you this list of Holiday Giveaways, Freebies and More! Included are seasonal drawings and files and $7000 worth of giveaways from AppStorm.

Found on the Practicing Writing blog, the First Annual Spirit First Meditation Poetry Contest. Poetry submissions may be of any length and any style but must have a theme of meditation, mindfulness, stillness, or silence. First prize is $150. Contest deadline: January 31, 2010.

Do not forget to check out the Creative Writing Contests blog for lots more contests to enter.

Calls for Submissions!
Dream of Things is accepting essays on a variety of projects. Themes include holidays, awe-inspiring travel stories and role models. They will consider previously published essays, especially if they've never appeared in an anthology.

Linda Formichelli from The Renegade Writer offers a free writing teleclass every month. This month, the class will take place on Tuesday December 15th from 8:30pm - 9:30pm ET. The topic is Secrets to Essays that Sell with Amy Paturel.

Breadloaf Writers' Conference readings and lectures are available for free! on iTunes. If you don't have iTunes on your computer, you can download that (for free!) too. Thanks again to Erika at Practicing Writing for sharing this.

Not really a class, but still a learning tool: About Freelance Writing shares this video about writing by Natalie Goldberg.

Happy Birthday Ron!

You can run and you can hide but we'll find you anyway!
We'd like to wish Ron Lehman a very happy birthday on Dec 10.
If you bump into him, buy him a coffee and tell him to get back to work on that book!
Happy Birthday, Ron!


How was your drive into work today? If this had been Tuesday, December 9, 2003, possibly the first Headwaters Writers’ Guild session might not have happened.

The drive to Honeywood in the winter was horrendous and often the late Janet Bellinger and I would write at Coffee Way (now Duca). "It's too bad we don't have a writing group in Orangeville." Janet planted the seed for our group.

For almost two years, Janet Bellinger and I continued to take workshops from the late Ed Wildman. Janet and I would be up early on the day of the workshop, editing some of our writing to read at the group. Ed believed that it was paramount for a writer to read their work aloud. He followed Natalie Goldberg’s advice.

Ed would always serve us coffee and dessert during a fifteen-minute break. Sometimes I brought muffins and Janet brought cake, and occasionally we had a potluck lunch.

Michele joined Ed’s workshop in 2002, and J.C. in April of 2003. Ed’s last workshop was in early September 2003.

By the end of October 2003, J.C. missed going to Ed’s workshops and he begged me to start a new writing group in Orangeville.

We’d called the Grand Valley Library and they offered us a room for our sessions. But we didn’t relish the drive to Grand Valley in the winter.

In mid November, while I was in the process of starting the group, Michele emailed me complaining about withdrawal pains re the writing workshops. Another member of Ed’s writing group was supposed to join us but we had conflicting schedules. Finally, I emailed Michele, who had four children, to pick a date and J.C. and I would attend.

On Tuesday night, December 9, 2003, J.C., Michele and I sat at a long table upstairs at the Orangeville Library and began the first session of the Headwaters Writers’ Guild, although at that time we were nameless.

Ed was unable to attend our first writing session.


Pictures taken at our Christmas celebration at King's Buffet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Headwaters Writer's Guild 2010 Schedule

Headwaters Writers’ Guild 2010 Schedule
New Meeting Location: Tweedsmuir Presbyterian Church
6 John Street, entrance closest to Shell station

Sunday, January 10, 1:30pm - 3:45pm – Leader: Diane
Sunday, January 24, 1:30pm - 3:45pm – Leader: Judy
Sunday, February 7, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Richard
Sunday, February 21, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Harry
Sunday, March 7, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Nancy
Sunday, March 21, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Clare
Sunday, April 11, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Diane
Sunday, April 25, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Judy
Sunday, May 2, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Richard
Sunday, May 16, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Harry
Sunday, May 30, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Nancy
Sunday, June 13, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Clare
Sunday, June 27, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Diane
Sunday, July 11, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Judy
Sunday, July 25, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Richard
Sunday, August 8, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Harry
Sunday, August 22, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Nancy
Sunday, September 12, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Clare
Sunday, September 26, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Diane
Sunday, October 17, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Judy
Sunday, October 31, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Richard
Sunday, November 14, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Harry
Sunday, November 28, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Nancy
Sunday, December 5, 1:30pm – 3:45pm – Leader: Clare
Sunday, December 12 – Christmas Luncheon (subject to change)


The newsletter is available for a short time so check it out.

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING? Article Index by Topic

Which comes first character or plot? Writing tips from Donna Ippolito, Long Ridge instructor.

Suzanne Lilly is a writer, teacher, and graduate of the Long Ridge Writers Group. She blogs about teaching and writing at Her complete bio is at

Editor Unleashed Why I Write Essay Contest
December 31, 2009

For all of you creative nonfiction writers, here is a chance to strut your writing stuff. Editor Unleashed has teamed up with Smashwords, an Indie publisher, to host a second annual contest. This time, the topic is “Why I Write.” In 750 words or less, tell in a captivating manner why writing is your passion. Complete guidelines are on the Editor Unleashed Forum. All entries should be posted to the forum under a new thread. Last year, Smashwords published Flash Fiction 40, an anthology with forty of the best flash fiction stories in their contest. Winners of this year’s contest will be published in a new anthology, and the Grand Prize winner will take home $500, plus receive free publicity and online promotion. It will be exciting to see some Long Ridge Writers Group students and graduates in this anthology. Good luck!

NOTE: Laura posted this contest on our Blog previously. December 31, 2009 deadline.

To receive all the issues of the Long Ridge E-NEWS plus short updates and reminders simply click here and subscribe:! It's free and easy. Surely, you don't want to miss a thing.


Where were you on Saturday, December 5, 2009? If you weren’t with us, you missed an excellent time. Most of the members of the Headwaters Writers’ Guild attended a Christmas get-together at King Buffet’s in Orangeville. It was our fifth annual Christmas celebration. Our spouses, children and friends joined us.

Oh the stories that were told and the writers of course said, “Wow, there’s a good story to write about.”

Judy and I brought our journals and of course, our pens. When we passed around Christmas cards for Pat and Shirley (we purchased gift certificates from our Amazon Store to thank them) Judy and I also had pens. Writers without pens, who could ever imagine that?

Oh, I almost forget, Clare had his famous fountain pen. He drew pigs on his book The Hurleyville Taxi that he autographed for Anita. Clare’s book is an excellent read. If you don’t have a copy yet, please contact him by email .

We learned new information about some of our members.

Jayne writes murder mysteries and we suggested that she write one about killing off members of a church. We have a warp sense of humour. Jayne also informed us that she had a website, .

June brought along old photos when she wrote articles for her Downhome Magazines. She’s thinking about compiling pertinent articles and photos into a book. I’m excited, as I suggested this to June a copy of years ago.

Anita mentioned that she’s experienced success with her writing. Congratulations Anita.

I brought two prints of photos that I’d taken. I told Laura that when I first showed Judy (an excellent photographer) my first landscape photos, she put them back in the envelope only saying, “ Huh … huh. When I told Judy this story, she apologized, I laughed and said, “I’m only a beginning photographer but now if it was my writing …”

This time, I’m happy to report, Judy said, “Beautiful photos but I’d crop this one.” See with a little practice …

I shared the story of Glenn’s initial visit to our writing group. I said, “I’m surprised that he not only came to the group but continued to become a member.”

Glenn laughed and said, “I love abuse.”

I mentioned to Clare that I couldn’t read his writing when he autographed his book for me that Glenn said that there’s no way that Clare had written the word intellect about me. Everybody laughed. Are they trying to tell me something?

We were all disappointed that Diane and her family were unable to attend the function due to Diane’s pneumonia. Darn it. We hope that Diane is on the mend. Diane, you and your family were definitely missed!

You missed a great time and lots of laughter.

What’s with all the beards?

Thanks to everybody who attended especially family members!

We missed you! Hope to see you in January 2010 at our first session of the New Year! In the meantime, keep writing!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Blog Roll-Up: Best of the Week's Writing Blogs

I discovered two new blogs this week thanks to Creative Writing Contests and Storytellers Unplugged.

Writing & Editing

C. Patrick Schulze offers some advice about How to Increase the Pace of Your Writing and 8 Tips for Writing Compelling Imagery.

Write to Done discusses the Importance of Being Trivial. The post refers to using details in non-fiction writing, but it pertains to fiction as well.

Storytellers Unplugged made my blog roll with this post: Three Editing Tips. Originally written for NaNoWriMo writers, it's still good advice for any piece of fiction.

Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent invites us to take a look over at her side of the fence in her post/rant: Agent Query Policies: Stop the Griping!

Mixing Business with Pleasure
Quips and Tips for Successful Writers offers these 6 Ways to Promote Your Blog or Book With Your Email Signature (or even your bookstore?) while Jane Freidman at There Are No Rules posts 10 Fun Things at Writer's Digest.

Member Blogs
Diane's added a pic of one of her paintings on Pens, Paintings and Paper. She still has a houseful of sick kids and is sick herself, but still managed a post: Let it snow, let it snow in which she mentions Clare's successful book launch.

NaNoWriMo is over and you can read my thoughts on the experience over at The Three-Ring Circus: NaNoWriMo winner? There are also some great Market Directories for both fiction and non-fiction, and hopefully you'll find a secret Quick Tip by day's end.

Do you have a favourite blog that you'd like to see included in the Blog Roll-Up? Send me a link!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thoughts Writing Group

It’s Thursday at 2:04 P.M. and I don’t have a clue what I’m going to post to the Blog today. I made a commitment to post at least three days a week. We asked for people to volunteer and only three of us were crazy enough to say yes.

But a commitment is a commitment, isn’t it? If I neglect to post today, will I fall by the wayside? To me, life is based on two things—practice and habit. If I neglect my writing (practice) then when I want to write will the muse desert me? So far, I’ve made it a habit to post at least three times a week. I know once I stop any habit, it’s difficult for me to start again.

Right now, I made a commitment to my husband and so far so good. Without commitment from our members to attend writing sessions/meetings we wouldn’t have a group. Do some of our members loose the habit of attending? Or have they stopped writing practice?

Whatever it is, we welcome back lapsed members. Come join us for another session in January 2010. We miss you! Remember the joy of having written.

The late Ed Wildman said, ”You’ll never have writer’s block again, if you use Natalie Goldberg’s rules for writing practice."

DON’T FORGET: Headwaters Writers’ Guild’s Christmas Celebration at King’s Buffet, Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 1:00 P.M.



(This is an example of writing practice or going where the pen takes you.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Contests and Markets


Career Transition Story Contest: Write a story about changing careers for a chance to win $500 from WorkLifeGroup. Deadline: January 30, 2010.
Discovering the Undiscovered competition for Novels & Memoirs: Grace Notes presents this new annual contest. Winner will have their manuscript published plus either a $1000 cash prize or a $500 prize plus a standard royalty agreement. Early Bird Deadline: January 1, 2010. Final deadline: April 15, 2010. Save $5 on the $35 entry fee if you enter by the early bird date.


This one's an older link, but still worth a look. It's from Writers' Digest: Get Inside the Top 30 Short Story Markets.

Integrative Ink offers this directory of markets for your short stories, conveniently separated into paying and non-paying markets.

Here's another directory with guidelines for over 300 Short Story Markets.

Happy submissions!

QUOTE - Vincent van Gogh

"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together."– Vincent van Gogh

“We spend our whole lives in unconscious exercise of the art of expressing our thoughts with the help of words."

More quotes at

At around twelve I went through a phrase of reading about the masters. I loved Lust for Life by Irving Stone. It’s the story of one of the greatest painters, Vincent van Gogh. I realized that Vincent van Gogh painted for creativity’s sake as he only sold one painting during his lifetime, Red Vineyard at Arles.

Writing is a lonely profession and sometimes I think what the heck am I doing? Who do I think I am? Then, I remember Vincent and I sit my butt back on the chair and practice my art hoping that one day I will become a best-selling author. Another part of me remembers the joy I experience after I write and I do it for the joy of it.

Writing practice (where you allow yourself to go where the pen takes you) is a gratifying experience. And quite possibly, you might become the writer of your dreams.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Last meeting of 2009

Yup, you read it right. November 29 marked our last official meeting of 2009. We had a bit of discussion about where our group will meet next year. The Orangeville Library insists we should pay $2o per session if we want to meet there on Sundays. We are thankful we've had this space at no charge for 5 years now. In order to continue meeting at the Library, we would have to institute a Membership fee in 2010. This is something we've never done before.

BUT...enter Jayne Self who is looking into getting us a room at the Tweedsmuir Church up the street at no cost. Jayne is the minister's wife and a long time member of the group.

Another bit of business is the reminder of our Christmas Luncheon on Saturday, Dec 5 at 1 p.m. Hope to see you all there! Please let Nancy know if you are coming.

Last night was Clare's book launch for The Hurleyville Taxi. It was nice to see such a great turnout by our group to support him. I, for one, did my Christmas shopping while waiting in line! Book Lore was bursting at the seams with fans and well wishers. Congratulations again, Clare. It was a long time coming and we're all very proud to see it in print! Check out for more dirt on the Hurleyville Taxi.

The prompt Clare gave us at the meeting was a clustering activity. We each got a word and brainstormed words related to it on a large sheet of paper. Clare mixed up the sheets later and we used the words we got to do our prompt. Lots of poems flying around after that one! Great idea, Clare.

We'll update everyone once January's schedule is sorted out!
Happy Writing!



Writing tips from Donna Ippolito, Long Ridge instructor on what to write.


Winners and awards pages

REMEMBER: The newsletters only stay up for a short period of time. (The early bird catches the worm.)


Even after five and a half years since Ed Wildman died, it’s still difficult for me to write about him and how he inspired me. I miss him and his mentoring.

In the Hills, a local magazine, included an article about Ed’s writing workshops. In the article, Ed spoke about writing poetry even though he wanted to write a novel. At the time, I was writing poetry although I’d always dreamed of writing novels. I cut out his telephone number and pasted it in my journal.

When I tell that story, people asked me, if I thought he would fix me. I didn’t consider it a problem, but I thought Ed would understand the way I wrote.

Since my second near-death experience, I’ve related to incidents in my life differently. I realized that if it weren’t for a bad review of my poetry, I wouldn’t have taken Ed’s workshops. What seemed bad at the time turned into something I consider miraculous. I would never have wanted to miss knowing Ed.

On October 25, 2001, I awoke with a bad migraine. The rain pelted my windows and I wanted to stay home. Only having dial-up, I called my husband and he faxed me directions. I asked the Universe for a sign that I should attend these workshops hosted by the Dufferin Arts Council.

While driving there, when I reached the building, the rain stopped, the sun shone, and a rainbow hung over the structure. Everybody at the workshop commented about it. Like the rainbow, Ed was magical. He could always find something good to say about everybody’s writing.

The first writing prompt inspired by his attendance at the Natalie Goldberg workshop that he took in Taos, New Mexico, was What I remember . . .

The next one was What I don’t remember . . .

If writer’s block has become your enemy, why not try these writing prompts?

He insisted that if you followed Natalie Goldberg’s writing practice as defined in Writing Down the Bones, that you would never be blocked again. He also read from Wild Mind another Natalie Goldberg book about the power of reading aloud your writing.

When I started to write the prompt, what I remember, I clenched my fingers. I knew I’d have to read my writing and I couldn’t believe it. Instead of writing poetry, I switched to writing horrible memories about my family. I could hear my mother’s voice scream in my head, “What happens in the family, stays in the family. If you tell, Children’s Aid will take you away.”

After fighting the urge not to write, I wrote about my family. I thought if I block it, I 'd experience writer’s block.

When we wrote the What I don’t remember is prompt, again my family history appeared on the page. When I read both these stories, people averted their heads and I felt ashamed.

Ed thanked me for sharing these stories. Later, he would tell everybody that once Nancy wrote her stories, it opened everybody. They felt free to go where the pen took them.

To be continued . . .