Saturday, December 25, 2010

HWG Christmas Luncheon 2010

I'll be darned if I know how to sort these pictures and put captions on them, but here they are. Many thanks to Diane for opening up her home to us.

Monday, December 20, 2010

HWG Anthology Now Available

A Walk In Fields of Gold - An Anthology of Prose & Poetry is now available at BookLore in Orangeville and at here: Get yours now for $14.95. Proceeds are going to purchase books for the Headwaters Healthcare Centre children's wing.

The book contains the writing works of:

Diane Bator
The Late Janet Bellinger
Mary Patricia Bird
Shirley Bray
David Chesterton
j.m. Crole
Ruth Cunningham
J.C. Dumas
Richard Goodship
Ashley Haworth
Marilyn Kleiber
Laura LaRocca
Ron Lehman
Clare McCarthy
Alberta Nye
Gloria Nye
Harry Posner
The Late Len Rich
Nancy Rorke
Jayne E. Self
Caitlin Smith
The Late Ed Wildman
Judy Zarowny

Get your copy today!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Luncheon

Thank you to everyone who made the Christmas Luncheon so memorable this year! And for all of the decadent treats you all brought. It was a wonderful afternoon and we'll have to share pictures soon.
Merry Christmas to Everyone!



Hello, My name is Kelli Curtis, I'm a published children's author, I'm 34 years old, I've lived in Dufferin County all my life (with the exception of college) and I'm a member of the Headwaters Writers' Guild. At the beginning of this year, 2010, my life changed and although it's a small blip in the scheme of things (one hopes), the reality and the utter frustration of it all sometimes gets to me. I wrote a blog about it and I will admit that I've felt a huge release of tension for doing so. Though I am still frustrated and scared about what's happened and where the future will take me, maybe by sharing my experiences, I can inspire someone else or at least let someone else know that they aren't alone.

Please follow this link and read my latest blog entry about my experiences and frustrations w/having seizures.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

6 Word Memoir

I've taken up the challenge.

Alcoholic Irish father. Bi-Polar Irish mother. (Enough said.)

You're turn!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Meeting Minutes December 5, 2010

This is the last time I'm posting meeting minutes for 2010. It brings a tear to my eye to think I'll have to wait a whole month to get to do this again.

Our last meeting of the year was a very small gathering of 6 writers. Some of the notable things that were mentioned were:
1) Sandy Diedrich hopes to come back in the New Year. Her brother died and she's been having a hard time dealing with the loss. We all send hugs and prayers her way.
2) Harry has a new job and has to work most Sundays. We're already missing him!
3) Glenn is moving to Cochrane, Alberta. We are even more amazed that he now has a laptop!
4) Ashley finished her 50,000 words and is a NaNoWriMo survivor. Way to go!
5) Ron sent a message to Anne-Marie MacDonald asking her to come talk to us in 2011. He'll keep us informed.
6) Ron also talked to a lady he knows named Ellen who offered to edit his book when it's done.
7) Clare mentioned that we are also acquainted with Kathryn Dean who led an editing workshop for the group in Feb/March 2009 at Meridian.

Pat read us a few Haikus that she's been working on. For those out of the loop, Haikus are short poems where the first line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 and the third has 5.
She told us the easiest way for her to write poetry is to write it as prose then take out the unnecessary words. She also brought up an exercise where writers write their lives in 6 words only. We all thought that would be an interesting assignment for either the Christmas Luncheon or a future meeting.

Ron talked about an assignment in his English class where he had to write a story then take out the extra words as well. You have to know which words to cut and which to leave that propel the story forward. His teacher said he wasn't a student, he was an "academic."
Ashley reminded us about the book Sin and Syntax that she brought before. It has interesting examples of decreasing your wordiness.

Ashley read another article from that talked about opening with dialogue as well as good dialogue. Good dialogue should sound natural. Casual conversations in a novel are not interesting to a reader and should be used sparingly. Profanity is the last resort of "little" minds. Show don't tell. Consider the character's socio-economic background when creating his dialogue.

Diane read a story about a baker and brought fresh gingerbread cookies. That'll teach you all for not showing up! LOL

Ron asked if anyone had ever gotten their mouths washed out with soap as a kid.

Clare read a story written from one of Richard's Halloween prompts about the severed hand clutching a rose. It was created using characters he saw on his trip to France.

Sorry, no prompts today. Clare had storyboards for us instead - large sheets of heavy paper with 6-7 photographs from his trip. There were some interesting ideas that came from them. They prompted discussions about Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince. And Clare to ask: What if you called God and got an answering machine? Ellen Degeneres, Bob Newhart and Tim Conway have done comedy routines regarding that question but we might save it for a prompt sometime. Like January. When I lead.

To wind up the meeting, Diane read a few pieces from The World's Shortest Stories an anthology of stories that are only 55 words long.

So, dear readers, if you would like a challenge, SUM UP YOUR LIFE IN 6 WORDS.
And have a MERRY CHRISTMAS and all the best for 2011!

And keep on Writing!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DreamQuest Cards

I see my name has prompted Amazon to pull up the DreamQuest Cards. I am amazed someone is selling a set for $74! I have to update that entry as they are only $19.95 new!

Book Covering Workshop

Diane suggested I post my upcoming workshop. I love books inside and out and it is fun to cover a special one in a unique way. On Dec. 11 you will have the opportunity to learn some techniques and skills on making a removable cover and some permanent ones. I will try to put some pictures on here but if I don't, go to to see samples. The workshop will be from 10 to 4 and held at Eramosa Eden Centre in Eden Mills. $40 fee for the day includes all materials. Bring a bag lunch. Coffee, tea, water supplied.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Meeting Minutes November 28, 2010

Twas the night before Monday and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring except for that louse.
That was tapping away on her laptop and humming,
So she didn't have to hear the Grey Cup announcers mumbling...

Big football fan, right?

Okay now that's out of my system, I thought I'd better get the meeting minutes posted seeing as how we have another meeting NEXT Sunday then a big party the Sunday after that. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We started off today's meeting by carefully arranging about 50 books on tables and couches at the back of the room then saved the actual buying for the time reserved for prompts. No idea how much money we actually contributed to the can, but I personally came home with some interesting reads. Two of which my son already had. The good news is, we found them a good home already.

Gloria passed around a sample of the bookjacket for A Walk in Fields of Gold. It looks great!
We introduced ourselves because we had a new member (actually, poor Mike joined us last week, but we had other things on the agenda and just did a quick introduction). Mike told us he is a former school principal, but we let him stay anyway. Clare and Richard switched names for the introduction. Not so careful about hiding their name cards.

A few people did readings this week. Clare had worked on a story started from one of Richard's Halloween prompts about a creaking floor upstairs in a house. Sorry, Clare, my favourite lines were Alice asking Ralph if he smelled anything odd. He replied, "Don't worry, Alice. It's just my socks drying out."  Clare did leave us all with an agonizing cliffhanger when he pause to turn the page.

Ashley entered NaNoWriMo this year. She has written about 44,000 words of her novel. Writers all over the world work on novels from Nov 1-30 without editing. The goal is to write 50,000 words in a single month. Way to go, Ashley!!!  She read to us from her novel-in-progress "Reborn."

David read a poem written as an apology to his wife's choir. He'll be missing her performance, but not Handel's Messiah.

Richard read part of Chapter 2 from Book 2 of The Ostiary. Nancy suggested that he should write screenplays since he uses so much dialogue. He told her that he has attempted to do so, but dislikes writing in that genre. He prefers novels which have more opportunities for both dialogue and description.

Nancy referred us to Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules for Writing which I will have to find and post one day.

Ron said that Harry contacted him about a reading at a Nottawasaga school by Hugh Brewster who writes a series for Scholastic called I Am Canada. Hugh has written a book called Prisoner of Dieppe and Ron not only attended the presentation, but became part of it!
He also told us that he is friends with Ann-Marie MacDonald and has asked her to come and talk to us one day. Ann-Marie is a Canadian playwright, novelist, actor and broadcast journalist. She wrote Fall On Your Knees (an Oprah Book Club pick) and I've Heard the Mermaids Singing. More to come on that in the New Year.

Nancy read a revised version of her short story Shadows of Guilt and Sorrow. Before reading, she advised that "if it bores you, you can leave." No one left. When she was done, Jayne asked if she intends to leave it as a short story or turn it into a novel. Nancy says it is a short story. For now. We discussed astral travel and other phenomena. Richard informed us that "Astral travel is what happens to you when you go to Mexico."

David had tickets for a Show and Sale at The Arts and Letters Club in Toronto for Dec 5, 2010. He is a part of the group and it is the only open house they have all year. All three of David's novels will be available at the show. You can check The Arts and Letters Club website for more details.

An advertisement appeared in the latest copy of In The Hills for our anthology! We discussed the need for keeping a separate account book for profits which will go to the Headwaters Health Care Centre for books for the children's library. All sales from Amazon will go to our acct. Those who haven't already placed orders for copies are asked to contact Gloria Nye directly.

Nancy told us that she cannot email anyone who is on Sympatico. Diane told her that Sympatico users paid extra for that.

Richard had brought up e-publishing and e-books at the Halloween meeting, but no one had time to do any research yet. This is something we will look into for 2011 since several members of the group are looking to be published.

Christmas Luncheon is December 12 at 1pm!!!!
Diane has offered to host this at her house (that's me!) Not that I have the largest house, but I don't want to see this annual even cancelled because King's Buffet (aka Fong's Buffet) has shut down. Several members vetoed having a Potluck so we decided on ordering in PIZZA. If anyone has an aversion to pizza (or food issues) please feel free to bring whatever it is you can eat.
DESSERT is always welcome!!! I will provide coffee and tea and will email everyone my address and ask for RSVPs.

Richard took the opportunity to put his hand up and tell us that "Somebody stole my prompt page."

Gloria handed out a notice for her "Book Covering Workshop" which will take place at Eramosa Eden on Saturday Dec 11 from 10am - 4pm. For more info go to her website at The photographs on the flyer are amazing.

Our regular prompt writing time was pre-empted by the book sale and Kelli drooling over Red Velvet Cheesecake (which forced me to come home and find a recipe! Not for the cheesecake, just for the cake. Yum!) Might have to try that one!

We read our prompts after adding an extra ten minutes of writing time (again due to the book sale) then Richard was volunteered by Nancy to start us off. Gloria wrote 3 Haikus and Kelli told us she wrote a Low-ku. (probably about cheesecake). Ron used the prompt list and added a few words here and there to make a short story.  Ashley took advantage of one of the prompts to add to her novel. David tackled his Inner Procrastinator. Nancy read about her father. Clare closed off the meeting by reading about what a mess his room was. We all packed up at 3:30pm.

The Prompts courtesy of Nancy:
1) Silence is a great healer.
2) Today I will . . .
3) It was the strangest question that I'd ever heard.
4) Bill tried to remember who had given him the key.
5) My old room was . . .
6) I'm already gone.
7) All my friends and family have died.

The next meeting is on Dec 5, 2010. Clare will be leading.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Birds of a Feather

We were leaving the meeting on Nov 14 and Ruth kept pointing at something over our heads. Gloria, Marilyn and I turned around and were greeted by the sight of the birds. Ruth told us she wished she had her camera. Luckily, I had my cell phone and snapped a picture. I sent her a copy yesterday and she asked if I'd put in on our blog and if she could use it in a future project. I also liked her response to the photo:

  I don’t know why I like so much, but it was a spontaneous scene that says something strange…  Maybe it’s because I’ve been hanging out at this exact spot where this picture was taken, with all these writers with dark talents, lately.

Thanks for the interesting compliment.
Keep on writing!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Meeting Minutes November 14, 2010

Despite a bout with a sinus infection, I showed up in body to this week's meeting. Harry was leading and his prompts are never dull! In fact, he started off the meeting with a bang when his chair fell over. Luckily, he wasn't on it at the time. Heavy coats and gravity do not mix.

We discussed the Christmas luncheon. Since Fong's Buffet - formerly King's Buffet - is no longer in business, we need a new venue and soon! We had a few suggestions: Kelli brought up Fionn McCool's which is new in Orangeville, Gloria said there is a King's Buffet in Guelph if we'd all like to go there and Marilyn reminded us that there is a cafeteria in the hospital. (if we get food poisoning, the location is convenient, but the price of parking is a killer!)
We are still looking for suggestions!

Gloria and Richard have been hard at work on the anthology. There has been a problem with matching the cover we had chosen into the template the publisher offers and they've spent two months trying to get it to work. She did have a mock-up which looked great.Once the cover is selected, we'll have our book within two weeks.

Several people brought things to read this week.
Clare went back to Richard's Halloween prompts and came up with a story called "Bushwacked" about a man trying to pull of murder. He borrowed Harry's famous line "ca-chunk, ca-chunk, ca-chunk..."
He's also come up with a label for his brand of murder mysteries - "Soft Gore"

Marilyn worked on her piece from Halloween called "Fashion Disaster". Harry asked her if she's going to expand on the story. We're 'dying' to hear more...

Kelli announced that she's finished "Amber and the Bully" and has submitted it to publishers! Way to go, Kelli! Can't wait to see Book 2 on the shelves soon.

Ron posed an interesting question to us all: Who is the most famous writer in the world?
The answer is Anonymous.

Ruth read her new introduction to her updated copy of "Mystical Verses: The Poetry of Self-to-Self Philosophy." Beautiful cover and two new introductions to help put the book into context. Ron wondered what the point of the intro was. Harry told her it was very well written.

Ron read us a short story called "Meeting of the Blind" about a rabbit and a snake that meet at an intersection. Anyone who wants to find out what happened can ask him later.

Ashley read to us from an article published on that pondered death and how to cause it.  She also told us that she's "finally 18, but not old enough to drink."
Pat told her that "at least you can write about it."

Jayne had a new short story that is a Fantasy! Judy said it reminded her of Angels and Demons. We were all hooked. Shirley suggested that she find a moment in the first page to pinpoint the era/world/etc that the story takes place in. Can't wait to see more of it.

David was back. This time he brought 20 ridiculous phrases. Some of which I managed to jot down.
     Is it possible to be totally partial?
     If a mime swears, do they wash his hands with soap?
     Why do they sterilize needles for lethal injections?
     Do watchmakers take time off to unwind?
     Does a broken window feel 'pane'?
Marilyn added one more: Why is there braille on drive-thru ABM machines?

Ruth reminded us that she'd sent a link regarding dedications and introductions in books. And at book signings. Another link for me to post!

Harry read from his circus book. He's planning to create 50 character sketches of people in the circus. This meeting he read "Lenny". Judy thinks he creates "alive, textured and beautiful characters."

Judy has finally put her book "Fat and Other F Words" in a binder. This means it's becoming a real book! She read a poem called "Finish" and said her book will be one you can keep in the bathroom. Diane asked if she has a poem called "Flushed."

Ron announced that Ruth Garrett may come to spend a Sunday with us in the new year. He will let us know when.

Very interesting prompts this week courtesy of: The Conscious Scribe: 100 Exercises for the Developing Writer By (drumroll please) Harry Posner. (That's right folks, he's been holding out on us!)

The prompts:
1) describe a game of baseball (or any other sport) from an erotic point of view.
2) Write a short story that evokes the same emotional landscape as a Japanese rock garden.
3) Describe a seance that takes place in the world of the dead.
4) Describe the preparation and eating of a dinner, referring only to the movement of hands.
5) Write a poem that breaks all the $$/%^@^#@ rules.
6) Create a dialogue between two people, one of whom is a compulsive liar, the other a compulsive truthsayer.
7) Describe a day in the life of a gargoyle.
8) On a battlefield, hundreds of dead soldiers are spread out in front of you. Describe the scene, but only talk about the vegetation.

A lot of the group used the gargoyle prompt. And a lot of pigeon poop. Marilyn had a great line about "birds are the only creatures who evacuate in black and white." Jayne resurrected Harry's woodchipper for her story. ca-chink, ca-chink... One of the other best lines was when Clare, in his school-teacher voice called out "In the name of Harry Posner, arise!"
Ashley wasn't "feeling the gore" today. Pat prepared a dinner, which left us all a little hungry and prompted us to end the meeting.

And now I'll be off to my own dinner... ca-chink, ca-chink, ca-chink....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wickedly Funny Blog

I've been following a blog called From the Inside Out and read a really funny one today about using the spell/grammar check on your work. Feel free to check it out!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Headwaters Writers' Guild 2011 Meeting Schedule

Headwaters Writers’ Guild
2011 Writing Schedule
Tweedsmuir Church, 6 John Street, Orangeville

Sunday, January 9, 2011 – Leader: Diane
Sunday, January 23, 2011 – Leader: Judy
Sunday, February 6, 2011 – Leader: Richard
Sunday, February 20, 2011 – Leader: Harry
Sunday, March 6, 2011 – Leader: Jayne
Sunday, March 20, 2011 – Leader: Nancy
Sunday, April 3, 2011 – Leader: Clare
Sunday, April 17, 2011 – Leader: Marilyn
Sunday, May 1, 2011 – Leader: Gloria
Sunday, May 15, 2011 – Leader: Diane
Sunday, May 29, 2011 – Leader: Judy
Sunday, June 12, 2011 – Leader: Richard
Sunday, June 26, 2011 – Leader: Harry
Sunday, July 10, 2011 – Leader: Nancy
Sunday, July 24, 2011 – Leader: Clare
*Sunday, August 7, 2011* - Leader: Marilyn
*Sunday, August 21, 2011* - Leader: Gloria
Sunday, September 11, 2011 – Leader: Diane
Sunday, September 25, 2011 – Leader: Judy
Sunday, October 16, 2011 – Leader: Richard
Sunday, October 30, 2011 – Leader: Jayne
Sunday, November 13, 2011 – Leader: Harry
Sunday, November 27, 2011 – Leader: Nancy
Sunday, December 11, 2011 – Christmas Luncheon

*Subject to Cancellation

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Hereafter - the movie

Ever since my first near-death or mystical experience at four, I’ve been fixated on the afterlife. In 1996, when I returned to heaven, death and the beyond became an obsession. I couldn’t wait to see the movie, Hereafter, directed by Clint Eastwood.

I hate to admit it but the reviews for the movie weren’t favourable but it didn’t deter Judy, her son Michael, and I from seeing it.

The movie concerns a woman who has a spectacle near-death experience, a reluctant psychic who doesn’t want to give readings anymore, and a young boy whose twin brother is killed. At the end of the movie, they all meet up at a book fair in London.

Judy said, “She realized that this meeting was for dramatic affect.”

I said, “The Divine can do anything.”

Judy nodded.

We both agreed that anybody who has ever lost a loved one would be drawn into this movie. Judy, Michael and I all identified with the movie.

Judy told me, that Michael who had never been able to articulate his grief at loosing his brother was able to identify with Marcus, the young boy. Michael said, “I was deeply touched by the story of the boy ‘cause I’ve lost my brother and it made me remember him.”

Judy said, “I am a firm believer in the afterlife and when my son Mathew died I was relentless in my pursuit of finding him and talking to him. I proved to myself that he still existed and was well.”

The movie was thought provoking. Eastwood accurately portrayed the after shock and isolation the woman felt after her near-death experience. I sympathized with her. I could also relate to the reluctant psychic.

The only complaint I had is that whenever they showed the spirit world it looked like an ambiguous place. The souls in the Hereafter appeared blurry like embodied spirits aimlessly wandering. It’s not the heaven that I saw or described by millions of near-death survivours.

I highly recommend it. And don’t forget to bring Kleenex.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Meeting Minutes October 31 2010

There were no prizes for Best Costume today, but about half of the group did show up dressed up. I'll add the group photo that was taken by Glenn today. Nancy took others which I don't have a present. Keep watching for those.

Marilyn had two copies of A Walk in Fields of Gold for all of us to do edits on. They were passed around while people read what they'd brought and Diane passed around candy. Some of the comments about the books were that it was a great layout, we can't wait to see the real cover (the proofs had a temporary one) and there was a discussion about whether the name of the group should be Headwaters Writers Guild or Headwaters Writers' Guild. We stuck with what is on the cover of the book: Headwaters Writers' Guild.

Diane started off reading with a kids' halloween story.
Glenn started off the barbs at Richard with "Show up or shut up" since he hasn't been at meetings lately.

Sonja showed up dressed as Little Red Riding Hood. She had a basket but no goodies. Good thing we were all sugared up by then! Ron leaned back to talk to her and the legs on his chair collapsed. No lawsuits are pending.

Clare read us another character study about someone he saw in a Tim Horton's in Orillia. Diane suggested he create a Tim Horton's anthology since so many of his stories take place there. He said he does sketches of people he sees in Timmies and calls them his "Coffee Mugs."

Judy read a poem about "Fritter". She didn't want to offend anyone with her poem "Fat" but we all encouraged her to read it an were NOT disappointed! It was excellent and we all laughed until we cried. Richard even gave her a huge hug. Wonderful job, Judy!

Marilyn read us her story about a demonic puppy. Really good story, creepy ending!

Ashley has rewritten her Chapter One and it is now more like a journal. She had us all hooked. Nice job.

There were lots of barbs being aimed at Richard today. Diane told him that he had dressed up today after all - as a dart board.

Jayne read a poem by Joyce Rupp called "Autumn Anguish" that she'd heard at a jazz vesper session (an evening prayer service) this week.

Pat read a Halloween poem that she'd written in 2004 and read since no one else had ever heard it but Nancy.

Harry read "King of Mediocrity" which prompted Richard to observe that he "must have some weird dreams." We were impressed, as always, by Harry's timing and pacing of his written word poetry. He told us that he'd only edited that particular piece twice.

Nancy read a revised opening paragraph of one of her stories. She also read about The Goal of Openings from Les Edgerton's book "Hooked". I've borrowed it to read and will give everyone some Coles notes - Diane's notes - later.

Most of us got right into the prompts this time around. Harry's prompt was about a wood chipper and the words chig-a-chunk kept echoing through our heads long after he was done. The best line of his piece was "Question. Am I insane?" I think that would make a great prompt all on its own. It was suggested  by Pat that Harry go last from now on since he's a hard act to follow. Judy told Harry he should write "The Woodchipper's Waltz"

There were a couple of prompts that seemed to be favourites. Numbers 1 and 6. Clare used #8.
Ashley wrote about a serial killer who left roses in his victim's hands. Glenn announced that we should chip in for a t-shirt for Ashley that says "Beware" as a courtesy to men everywhere. For his prompt, Glenn wrote about a "customer" in a soup kitchen. Hope he finishes that one since it has a lot of promise.

Marilyn gets the Best Line of the Meeting award for: "Anastasia Johnson was to fashion what Hitler was to gentle tolerance." Brava!!

Diane decided not to be restricted to one prompt and ended up using: 2, 3, 4, 7 and 11. She also posted her prompt story on her blog just for kicks. Feel free to check it out!

Once the prompt readings were done, Richard brought up something for us all to think about. We've worked very hard on this anthology and he thinks it would be good for the group to have a project to focus on each year. Something like a book on CD and publishing our own e-books. He has been doing some research and needs to do more, but pointed out that by self-publishing, we can retain all rights and republish our novels if they are picked up by traditional publishers.

A lot of books now are being released as e-books on iPhones, kindles etc and this is the way of the future. We need to be flexible and learn as much as we can about the technology rather than just holding out to be published on paper. Richard said he read an article in Writer's Digest about an author who has been published traditionally but chose to e-publish/self-publish to retain rights and earn more money from his creations.

We discussed how PayPal and ClickBank are important in on-line purchases of our books.
More publishers are moving toward Internet. Music, movies, etc are all being uploaded to the Internet and bought/sold. The days of hard copy publising are disappearing and it is harder and harder to get published in the traditional route.

We look forward to more posts concerning further ideas and information.

Almost forgot the prompts! Have fun with them!

1) His head lay in the ditch, his eyes watching...
2) A scream shattered the stillness of the night...
3) The severed hand still clutched the red rose...
4) The colour combination of her outfit was hideous.
5) The trail of blood led them into the cave...
6) She screamed, he screamed, they all screamed for ice cream but what they got...
7) "How many times do I have to tell you, 'Never run with a sharp cleaver!'"
8) The ceiling began creaking as if someone was walking around upstairs.
9) She watched in horror as the severed head rolled slowly down the hill toward her...
10) He pushed the red button and the wood chipper roared into life...
11) "Here's Johnny!"

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I crawled out of my sick bed and attended the meeting ‘cause Marilyn was to bring the proofs re the Anthology. As luck would have it, Marilyn had sent an email to the group explaining that she hadn’t received the proofs but it landed in my Spam folder.

We need to proof our own stories, poetry, and our bio.

We agreed at the meeting that possibly some members should meet with Marilyn to speed up the process. As per Marilyn’s emails the dates are as follows:

It's Here! It's Here! Oh Frabjous day!the following are my availabilities -
Thursday Oct 21 - 4pm or later - but since I am without car, it must be in Elora

Friday, Oct 22 - At this point, I believe I have the morning available - either Elora or Fergus

, Oct 25 - Afternoon only - Elora or Fergus

And, of course, I will bring the anthology (it's not in galley format, but in bound book format) to the meeting on the 30th.
Marilyn K

Diane was absent from the group. Did I mention that my brand new laptop died so I had to take handwritten notes? I digress. Diane you were surely missed!

Judy thanked the people involved with the anthology especially Gloria and Richard. She also thank Pat for her work in getting the anthology included for the year end special In the Hills magazine.

Marilyn will continue to look for sponsors for the anthology.

Kelli read a piece that she wrote in Brian Henry’s workshop. It’s about a journal by a 12 year-old girl. I suggested that she read Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney for ideas. Also there’s a movie. I told her that my granddaughter and I have been reading it.

Jenn read her poem Where are our hearts? Powerful poem and I suggest that you check out her Blog—address at the side of our blog.

Judy mentioned that she found the Writing for Children workshop interesting and constructive.

Ron is taking grammar with Barb Glassford at The Learning Enterprise. He read his essay that he written for class. It’s called Remembrance (on D-Day). Clare commented that Ron’s writing has improved considerably. Congratulations Ron, it’s a great piece of writing.

Ron said, “I’m encouraged to write more.”

Ashley has decided to go with Glenn’s suggestion that she move her story from the year 3000 closer to ours. She’s working on revisions.

Rosemary said, “Please bear with me ‘cause I’m ’s a work in progress.”

Ron said, “We all are.”

Rosemary said, “I’m really nervous reading.”

Ron said, “We all are.”

I mentioned that this is what this writing group is all about. It’s to inspire and encourage other writers.

Rosemary read her part of her fantasy chapter book and we all clapped.

Marilyn read her poem Cat, which she informed isn’t her normal genre. Excellent poem— that caught Glenn’s attention. Marilyn is one funny lady!

Glenn read the end of his short story that left a lot of us speechless.

Clare read some of his vignettes from France. He also mentioned that France had literally gone to the dogs. Clare was hilarious as always. You had to be there!

I’ve misplaced Judy’s prompts so I’ll post them later. Jayne and Sonja never got to the part where they were lost in the forest. Some of us used part of the prompt to take us on a journey. Clare used Judy’s prompt to reminisce. I’m always amazed at where the prompts take us.

NEXT MEETING: Sunday, October 31 – Richard is leading
DRESS UP if you wish


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Writing For Children and YA Workshop October 2, 2010

On October 2, HWG hosted a workshop by Brian Henry about writing for children and young adults. As well as giving us some instruction regarding the many different types of books there are, he also did a critique of samples we brought from home. I was the only one brave (or stupid) enough to stand up in front of the entire class to read mine aloud. It made my day when one of the other students announced, "I want to hear more" and Brian echoed her sentiments.

There are several formats for books that we discussed.
Board books - for babies, published on cloth, plastic, or paperboard
Picture books - 1,000 - 1,500 words,meant to be read to children.
Easy Readers - Pre-school to Grade 2, Usually 32 pages divided into chapters
Chapter books - Grades 2 - 4, About 4,000 to 20,000 words, divided into chapters
Juvenile novels - Grades 4 - 7, 100-150 pages or 25,000-50,000 words.
Middle-Grade non-fiction - about 40-100 pages or 10,000-25,000 words
Young Adult - grades 7 and up, about 175- 200 pages, 40,000-50,000+ words
"High-Low" books - high interest, low vocabulary for students with reading or language difficulties or new English readers.

We talked about how the writer of a children's book usually is not the illustrator - even if they are a professional artist. Most publishers keep a list of illustrators and use them to create the artwork for manuscripts.

Brian also gave us information about children's book publishers, a few books about writing for children, and some examples of query/cover letters to submit once your book is complete.

Several of the group that day were interested in Picture books. Personally, during our writing time, I started a Chapter book which may turn into a Juvenile Novel for my sons.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Local Orangeville Bookstore Celebrates

BookLore Celebrates its Coming-of-Age!

We're over 20, nearly 21 and to celebrate our coming-of-age we're having a party! Join us Saturday, October 16 from 9 am to 6 pm for a day of draws, prizes and a 20% discount on all in-stock books. Meet some of our authors and enjoy refreshments.

At 11 am, the local authors, illustrators and musicians involved with the Runley Read-Along book series will entertain.

Author Shelley Peterson will be reading and signing at 1 pm. Her latest book, Mystery at Saddle Creek, is the fifth in her horse series for teens.

At 2 pm, 2 local authors will be signing - Stacey Fokas with her cookbook, Freshalicious, and Mary Lazier with her book, Stars of Dufferin County.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I think it's always interesting to listen to other successful authors even if we only learn one new helpful tip.

J.K. ROWLING, Friday, October 1, 2010.

You never know . . . maybe it can unlock your writer's block or
maybe give you an idea for a short story or a novel.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Doesn't Literary Awards sound more impressive than writing contest?

Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Awards

The Kitchener Public Library is pleased to announce the 43rd annual
Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Awards Contest
Friday, October 1st to Tuesday, November 30th 2010.

The prose judge will be Michele Wan and the poetry judge will be Elizabeth Zetlin.

Read rules and guidelines carefully.


Call for Submissions

18th Annual Short Prose Competition

for Developing Writers

$2,500 PRIZE

The Writers’ Union of Canada is pleased to announce that submissions are being accepted until November 10, 2010 for the 18THANNUAL SHORT PROSE COMPETITION FOR DEVELOPING WRITERS. The winning entry will be the best Canadian work of2,500 words in the English language, fiction or nonfiction, written by an unpublished author.


$2,500 for the winning entry and the entries of the winner and finalists will be submitted to three Canadian magazines.


Writers Tarek Fatah, K.V. Johansen, and Sharon Pollock will serve as the jury.


This competition is open to all Canadian citizens and landed immigrants who have not had a book published by a commercial or university press in any genre and who do not currently have a contract with a book publisher. Original and unpublished (English language) fiction or nonfiction.


· Entries should be typed, double-spaced, in a clear twelve point font, and the pages numbered on 8.5 x 11 paper, not stapled.

· Submissions will be accepted by hardcopy only.

· Include a separate cover letter with title of story, full name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and number of pages of entry.

· Please type the name of entrant and the title of entry on each numbered page. This is not a blind competition.

· Make cheque or money order payable to The Writers' Union of Canada. Multiple entries can be submitted together and fees can be added and paid with one cheque or money order, $25 per submission.

· Entries must be postmarked by November 10, 2010 to be eligible. Results will be announced in February 2011.

· Mail entries to: WFC Competition, The Writers’ Union of Canada, 90 Richmond Street East, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M5C 1P1.

Results will be posted at Manuscripts will not be returned.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Diane was leading on Sunday and asked me to take the notes.

I would have posted them yesterday but Microsoft wouldn't allow me to cut and paste and I wasn't going to re-type the minutes. I just love Microsoft. When I win the lottery, I'm going to buy an Apple computer.

Rosemary joined us for the first time. She has been writing for a while. She writes poetry and she’s working on a fantasy book for children. She heard about our writing group from Richard and he forgot to mention that she needed a pen and paper. Shame on you, Richard! Just kidding.

Welcome Rosmary.

When Clare introduced himself he told us that he found it comforting to write when he was away.

Judy read her poem, Forfeit– from her upcoming poetry book Fat and other F words. We all loved it. Kelli asked if Marilyn was crying and she said no she had something in her eye.

Kelli – wrote about her health problems and she may post it to her blog. It’s called A Blimp in the Scheme of Things (great title). After she read it, Judy and I were curious about the cause of having seizures. Kelli told us that stress could be a factor or it could be if epilepsy is in our family. Please see the link to Kelli’s Blog.

Harry continues to work on his adult book about the circus. He’s going to have illustrations. He sent his twenty stories out using

Welcome back Clare. He was away for six weeks. He made a wise decision and he decided to sip beverages, enjoy snacks in cafes in France, and write. He wrote twenty-five vignettes and he read one of his vignettes. We all laughed. He felt that it was like having an extended artist date as recommended by Julia Cameron. Ron said, “Clare is now a ghost writer.” Clare said it was become the keyboard is different than ours. “I’m not a computer geek. If I can figure out how to send emails from Europe anybody can.”

Marilyn writes a column called, The Last Word. It’s about writing down goals. I asked her to post it on our blog. Thanks Marilyn for posting on our blog.

Ron talked to me about posting to the blog. Thanks Ron for the excellent post and yes I hope it becomes an addiction.

I didn’t mention it at the meeting – but it would be wonderful for volunteers to start posting on our blog.

Ron is taking a grammar course at The Learning Enterprise. Ashley recommended the book, Sin and Syntax – HOW TO CRAFT wickedly EFFECTIVE PROSE by Constance Hale. We congratulated him.

Ashely read from her Sci-Fi novel. It’s thought provoking and interesting. She read from her first chapter, a child asks, “What’s the sun.” It caught my attention. Harry asked, “You’re writing about the year 3,000, how do you build it for the reader?”
It provoked a lot of discussion.

Harry mentioned the he’d asked Linwood Barclay the secret to writing a novel. “Start writing and keep going until you finish.”

Diane is writing a new thing that doesn’t have a name. She read Chapter 1. Creepy, I tell you but I want to read more.
Ashley asked authors the question, how did you plan your book? And she read their answers that follow:

“The first book I had mostly in my head before I started . . .except that once you start, it kind of takes on a life of its own and goes places you didn’t expect.

The second book I planned sort of chunk by chunk and the third I actually had each chapter planned and summarized. So . . . they’ve all been different.”
Holly, author of Bone Bender

“I didn’t plane it at all. Once I started writing the characters basically took over.”
M. Trotter

“First, I have an idea. After, I do some research on the subject, and the end, at the end. I write. I usually write after everything is clear: I know my characters, everything.”

My books began with the history. I weave the fiction through the fact and write the story in the spaces we don’t know about.”
Personally, I think outline or NOT to outline—the choice is yours. What works best for you?

Clarke used the prompt Can you see me forty years from now? Clare read. “Fat Chance.” We roared with laughter.

Marilyn brought copies of Gloria's latest book - DREAM QUEST DICTIONARY, for us to purchase. I mentioned at the meeting that I am a dreamer and I only use two books and Gloria's book is one of them. It's an excellent book. Check out Gloria's website:

We look forward to attending the book launch.

Diane brought the following prompts:

Can you see me?
Fall means a lot of things to different people.
The windshield wipers squeaked against the window of the abandoned car.
I looked for an excuse to leave the room.

Ashley mention to check out

NEXT MEETING: October 17, 2010 – Judy is leading.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Collingwood Word Stock, workshop

September 10, 2010 was a banner day for any writer looking for
tips to sharpen their skills, and for me it was a workshop put on by
Ruth Garrett on that beautiful day in a beautiful town on Georgian
The town is historic for many reasons, the least not being ship
there's many others, but for today it was "Sweat, Blood and
by Ruth.
The literary festival took in Friday night and Saturday that weekend,
and from all accounts was a roaring success. It must have been because
we were acquainted to the best of speakers in some historic venues.
It was really COOL by contemporary language.
Ruth put on a one hour time controlled talk with audience participation.
Her presentation had to be timed because her bubbling enthusiasm
coupled with her great grasp of writing probably would have gone on
long after lunch. It was easy to see how much she loves her subject,
and telling it to an eager audience.
Let me give you some meat from her titled workshop:

"The Blood": writing from the depths of who you truly are.

1. Access your true writer's voice
2. Nurture your creative spirit
3. Develop and deepen your writing practice
4. Name your motivation and objectives

"The Sweat" developing and deepening my writing practice.
(share with the world in your writings).

Some headings from "The Sweat":
Commitment and Persistence.
Developing and deepening your writing practice
The "If Only" way of writing ....... or more correctly not writing
"The Fears"
F alse

E vidence

A ppearing

R eal

Ruth states: Feel the FEAR and do it anyway .......
all you have to lose are
inhibitions .....
what you gain are
your dreams.

There is much more that Ruth left me with, but at the expense
of plagiarism I will leave it at that, with the suggestion we invite
Ruth to our group to meet us at church one Sunday, under the
guise of a prayer meeting ....... maybe we can even coax her to
give us a workshop too, during the prayer session.

Keep writing bloggers.

This is my first ever contribution to a blog, and this could
become addictive.

Ron Lehman.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Is Acting in Spite of Fear Really the best Way to Go?

Over my lifetime I have taken thousands and thousands of dollars worth of courses in a wide variety of subjects, ranging from Accounting to Self-Growth, and many topics in between those two extremes.

For years seminar leaders exhorted me to plan, to set goals,to write down a plan of action and then finally, just like Nike they said “Just do it!”

I always found that goals were an interesting topic for me. I sure most of you have heard that Harvard Grads were tracked for a number of years and those who wrote down specific goals during their schooling were the ones that succeeded. I have begun to wonder, however, is it perhaps not the writing down of the goals, but the actual strong desire for an end result that set the successful grads apart from their fellow alumni?

One group of trainers insisted that the goals be attainable, while others were equally convinced that the goals had to be very big and very challenging.

So for many years I wrote down goals faithfully, but somehow they never came to fruition.

Ah, I was told, that was because I did not take the action required. So I began a period of research into the whole goal/action thing.

I discovered:

  1. Taking action in spite of fears (of failure or success) rarely, if ever, worked. I was continually tripping over rocks in the path;
  2. My strong desires came to a successful conclusion far more often than my written goals;
  3. When I was inspired, things seemed to fall into place effortlessly;
  4. The less I pushed for my goals and desires, the more readily they showed up;
  5. Desires that were very big, stood as much chance of coming about as ‘attainable’ desires. The key was belief that the desire was doable.

So now I operate on a totally different way of being:

  1. I take no action without inspiration;
  2. When I really want something, I spend some time thinking about the joy of achieving it and how it will affect my life, and then ...... I forget about it and let it simply show up;
  3. I do not write down goals, instead I write down all things in my life for which I have great appreciation;
  4. If I am fearful or procrastinating about an action I wish to take ... I examine my reasons and then I make a decision to either take the action or not take it. Whatever my choice, I become committed completely to that choice with an attitude that I have chosen wisely. Then there are rarely any regrets post mortem.

Life is much easier now.

And that’s my last word on the subject!