Wednesday, June 30, 2010


My mistake. I told you in the meeting minutes that Richard has a new agent, but I jumped the gun! Joyce Holland has asked him for an updated version of The Camera Guy and will let him know from there, he has not signed on with her. Yet.
My apologies, Richard!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Self-editing and other gems

"Most writers are not very good at self-editing—it is an incredibly rare skill. It's why most writers belong to critique groups, so they can get hopefully impartial feedback that will help them improve their work."

Comforting words. Self-editing for me is difficult.

Check out the rest of the article.


I admit it. Grammar and I hate each other. When I first posted to the blog, I worried that grammar snobs would point out my errors.

My daughter says, "As long as you tell a good story everything else can be fixed!"

I'd like to believe her!

Check out the above blog, it's priceless!

Monday, June 28, 2010

82 Year Old Gets First Book Deal

This is encouraging:

Keeping You Posted

Thanks to everyone for their enthusiastic support!

Caught Dead chapter 13 is now available. thirteen/

If you have missed any previous chapters they are still posted at:

Most recent chapters at the top so just scroll down until you find where you left off.

And finally, here's a link to CD's first book review!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Meeting Minutes June 27, 2010

We had a big crowd for this meeting, 17 including Ashley, our newest member. Ron brought her to check the group out and we hope she felt right at home. She's apparently seen most of us at the Tim Horton's where she works. She is the co-editor of the latest Westside Secondary School anthology due for release in Sept 2010 and is working on novels of her own. She will keep us informed of the book launch for Westside.

REMINDER...At the July 11th meeting, Richard will be taking headshots of all the authors submitting stories and poetry for the group's anthology. He took several at this meeting since some people will not be at the next meeting. Make sure you all look pretty!

Richard gave us a brief update on his meeting with Alan from the Orangeville Citizen. Alan is meeting with possible investors and Richard will look around for more. He will tell prospective sponsors that it will be an advertising expense and their logo will appear in the book. He asked Gloria to calculate how many copies we can get if we get a $1500.00 sponsorship. We need to arrange for a book launch at BookLore in October or November.

Authors can get copies of the anthology to sell and submit the money to Clare to set aside in our bank account so we can make our donation to the Headwaters Health Care Centre's Children's Library. Clare will keep a separate deposit book to keep track of the anthology sales.

Richard had a brainstorm while driving the other day. He proposed that we do a photo shoot in a canola field near Orangeville of the contributing authors walking in a canola field. He suggested the book's title be A Walk in Fields of Gold. It was decided the shoot would take place on Wednesday June 30 at 5pm in a field just north of Sideroad 10 and County Road 11. Author's will be sent directions.
After the shoot, Richard will photo shop cover ideas with a couple of different titles. If he can't figure out how to email them to the whole group, he will email them to me and I will try to get them out to everyone asap.

Gloria showed us samples of the bios she would like to use in our book. Rather than put them in order at the end of the book, she proposed to put them at the start of each author's section in the book. She plans to put everyone in alphabetical order. Richard will take black and white headshots and make them into squares that will go above the bios. Jayne laughed and said she expected glossy colour photos, not black and white.

So far we have 13 authors who have submitted items. The deadline for submissions was June 19, but there is still time. FINAL REVISIONS are due at the end of July.

Richard also told us that he has a new agent. He sent a simple query with a tag line that caught the attention of Joyce Holland at 4DEO Literary Agency. She asked him to update The Camera Guy. We wish him all the best. It is a great book and we look forward to seeing it on bookshelves everywhere.

That got us into a discussion about taglines and how simple they really are. Richard's tagline, for example: "This story was a result of my chief of police coming into my office and finding me in conversation with a skeleton . . . I am now a retired police officer."
We also talked about Jayne's tagline: "Sometimes congregational life can be murder."
Gloria and Ruth both came up with taglines for their own books.

In other news, I announced that I have finished a rough draft for my YA novel The Mural. Yeah, me.

Clare read his story about Billy Wilson that he read at the retreat at Eramosa Eden. He got the story from Billy's son-in-law, but his daughter has reservations about whether or not it should be published. Either way, Clare has a great character to fictionalize and use in other stories.

Caitlin read part of her novel and Jayne commented on her active and passive verb usage. She reminded us that we need to make them appropriate to the text they appear in. For a calm, quiet scene, the verbs should be passive. For action and more passionate scenes, use more active verbs.

The prompts for this week were:
1) The shoe lay in the mud beside the road.
2) Water rippled away from the rock.
3) Black clouds rolled toward the house.
4) The smell of wet earth heralded the rain.
5) Light poured through the window as the sun climbed over the mountains.
6) He wondered why a lime green brassiere lay in the busiest intersection in town.

Richard struggled to read Laura's prompt. It's always interesting trying to read someone else's handwriting. She talked about ideas creeping up when you stop paying attention. Richard told her she is a good editor, but her penmanship sucks. Laura replied that she felt like she was reading with her five-year-old. We all had a good laugh.

I apologize if I missed anything. It is difficult to both lead the meeting and take all the minutes! I kind of got lost in the Vortex of Voices. (Yes, I capitalized that for effect.) Nancy has kindly volunteered to take notes the next time I have to lead in September.

Our next meeting is July 11th. Judy will be leading.
Richard will be doing headshots of the anthology authors so come looking your best - at least from the neck up!
Keep your eyes peeled for emails from Pat regarding the photo shoot on Wednesday and keep writing.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


June 2004

Living in the country, I only had dial up and I never checked email on the weekends. Since my oldest daughter had checked her email, I checked mine that day.

I’d received an email from Frances, his partner. She told me that Ed had cancer but he’d been operated on and would be okay. I, who never cry, wiped away the tears from my eyes.

“It’s not good,” I told my husband. “We’ll have to visit him tomorrow.”

I explained that I had one of my "bad feelings." He nodded.

When I visited Ed on Sunday, June 13, the bad feeling intensified.

Outside in the hospital parking lot, I said, “He’s dying.”

“Don’t be crazy,” my husband said. “He'll be okay.”

My husband had joined Ed's writing workshops in April 2003 and he didn't want to loose Ed either.

June 17, 2004 - I wrote this in my journal.

I cannot explain exactly how I feel about Ed. I feel lucky that he calls me friend. You know that he has thousands of friends but you want to be his friend, too.

There’s gentleness about Ed when he speaks. He tells the best stories and I could listen to him for hours. He must have kissed the blarney stone and all Irish people would welcome him as a friend.

Ed visited me in my dreams and he shared wisdom with me. He reminds me of God. He’s nonjudgmental, caring, and he always knows the right words to inspire everyone. I view him as one of God’s angels quietly inspiring each person that he meets on the planet.

Ed listens to each one of us. He makes me feel as if he understands the real me that I hide from other people. It’s like he shares pieces of his heart and soul with you.

Sometimes Ed plays God in my dreams. When I told this to Ed, he laughed. I mentioned that whenever he reads his writing that I can hear his "voice."

“That’s the best compliment that anybody has ever given me,” he said.

I feel that Ed is more than a writer and more than a mentor; he’s somebody who has touched my soul and inspired me to aim for the stars. There’s an undefined quality about Ed that inspires each of us as writers and human beings. It’s like my daughter said, “We all want to wow him.”

Everybody gets Ed’s undivided attention. He gives us recognition, which a lot of us crave, and in turn our soul feels this love connection. He's one of the most pivotal person in my creative life. His influence has enhanced my writing.

I believe that Ed shares love from his soul each time we met at the writing workshop. We all desired to be his friend ‘cause there’s nobody on the planet quite like Ed.

Ed died on June 20, 2004 on Father’s Day. And the late Janet Bellinger said at the time, “Ed was like a father to all of us. The father that we wished we had.”

Ed, sometimes I wish that I could mentor the other writers like you but I can’t ‘cause I’ll never be YOU! I still miss you. Happy Father’s Day.

This week, Janet visited with me in my dream. I’d like to think she’s hanging out with Ed and writing novels in heaven.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Symbolism in Novels

An excellent article by Patrick Schulze.

Meeting Minutes June 13 2010

I'm baaaack....and I'm in a bit of a rush so read fast.

We had another small group this weekend, which was a shame because Clare had some interesting prompts. He used objects this week. A lacrosse ball with a hole in it, a snake head with feathers behind it, wooden spoons for making music, a raccoon tail, and a woman's ceramic spittoon. Yes, they have those! We had as much fun joking about the objects as we did writing about them!

We welcomed two new members this week. Amanda writes young adult fiction and is currently submitting a novel for publication. David Chesterton has self-published 3 novels and is working on 2 more. He is also the grandson of G.K. Chesterton, writer of Father Brown mysteries among many others. David is also a fabulous artist, but I'm biased since I know him fromt the Orangeville Art Group!

Ron announced that he is looking forward to a trip to tour Normandy with friends from England. He is getting closer to getting his book on the wars published! Stay tuned for more news.

Gloria announced that she was the First Prize winner at the Elora Festival on June 6th. Congratulations! She was also Honorable Mention at the Eden Mills Festival and at Words Alive in Sharon, Ontario in September.

Alberta introduced herself as the sister of the First Prize Winner. Ruth told us she is the friend of the First Prize Winner. Jayne added that she is sitting at the same table as the First Prize Winner.

Jayne also told us that she attended Bloody Words Crime Writing Conference on May 28 - 30 this year. She showed us the program which contained such people as Linwood Barclay, Ross Pennie and many, many others. Keep an eye out for this next year.

Richard had some good news regarding our Anthology. He has been in touch with Allen from the Orangeville Citizen. The newspaper will happily support us in our venture and is helping us to seek even more funding from the community. The Citizen will help us out with any book signings and publicity in In the Hills and Country Roads as well as the paper itself. Richard said he would write a proposal to send to Allen Monday since he would be meeting with a prospective supporter then.
We agreed that there would be no cap on the donations we would accept, but anything over and above publishing costs will be donated to the Headwaters Hospital for the Children's Library. Richard will contact Catherine Matzig to give her the heads up about our plan.

Our resident Camera Guy also volunteered to shoot us all. Richard plans to bring his camera to the July 11 meeting to take headshots of all the contributors for the book. And possibly anyone else who is in need of a good headshot. Put on your Sunday finery and look your best.

Retreat.... Just a reminder that the retreat is this weekend June 19 at Eramosa Eden. We only have a small group attending this year and will take any late comers. The cost is $10 and you have to supply your own lunch. Check the Eramosa Eden website for directions or email the group if you need a ride.

Patricia told us that there was a presentation of music scholarships in her father's name recently. While she was there, she met Barry Shainbaum who lives in the Dundalk area. He has written a recently published book about celebrities and would like to come talk to us about writing. It took him 200 submissions to get it published. So DON'T QUIT!!! You can check him out at

Richard reminded us that he was the winner of the ratings game on C. Patrick Schulze's blog. He will get a copy of Manuscript Submissions from Patrick. (And he will probably share if we all ask REALLY, REALLY nice...) Congratulations again, Richard.

Nancy read a new part of her story "Till We Meet in Heaven." Very powerful.

Richard talked to us about movie scripts since he does consultations for movies. He had a copy of one called Midnight Rambler by Frank Caruso. Richard told us that if you want to do good dialogue, write a screenplay. You have to be precise and not too wordy. At one point he had sold the movie rights for The Camera Guy, which has since lapsed. There is a partial copy of the screenplay floating around somewhere though.

Gloria told us that she has written 2 movie scripts. She and Alberta used to own a theatre for 5 years. She read her First Prize Winning story Seventeen Crows.

Nancy also reminded us that there is a Brian Henry workshop coming up Oct 2 in Orangeville. More details to follow. You can check out Brian's newletter the Quick Brown Fox.

Ruth read her poem Inspiration, which inspired us all to write!

Ron read a section from his book called Battleground, which talks about visiting Juno Beach 60 years after the war. He interviewed 17 Queen's Own veterans on the beach and had comments from them. We learned that the movie Saving Private Ryan is as close to real as any movie version has ever come. There is a lot of debris still on the beach and in the water.

Clare wrote poetry! He read a poem called Fool's Gold about the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

We had a lot of fun with Clare's interesting objects and everyone wrote some great pieces.

Our next meeting is June 27th. Diane will be leading. Oh, that's me. Better get some ideas together by then!
Keep writing!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

FRIDAY, JUNE 11, 2010

Friday should have been a Friday the 13th day. My niece’s husband died of a blot clot that travelled to his lung. He died with no insurance, no money, and six children. The youngest
child is six. It’s an unspeakable tragedy.

On Friday, the hospital discharged him. While he was getting ready to go home, just before he died, his oldest son said, “Daddy, don’t go and die on us. We’ll be screwed.”

Kenny said, “Don’t be silly. I’m not going to die.”

When I learned of Kenny’s death all I could do is think about my grandfather. In 1929, he died of TB as a result of consumption he acquired from fighting in the trenches in World War I. He left my thirty-four-year -old grandmother with eight children, no insurance and no money. I wonder how she survived especially the Depression years.

I’m sure she felt the same sorrow as my niece who wonders how she’s going to survive.

Thank you Diane for generously donated items for the funeral reception on Saturday, June 19th.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How I Joined The Writing Group: My 6-Year Anniversary

How did I find the writing group? Six years ago I went to the library and asked if they knew of a writing group. The woman told me a group met at the library but she didn't know whether they were open to new members or not. She took my name and number and said she would pass it along to them.

It must have been a couple of months before I received the phone call. It threw me off balance since so much time had passed. I became flustered and suddenly unsure as to whether I wanted to take this leap but deep down I knew if I put it off I would never go. I went to the next meeting.

As Nancy said, I wrote from the prompt "What I remember is..." What I don't remember is what I wrote about. LOL! Okay, I found the notebook with the sticky note still intact "Sunday, 1-3 Library". The first page is dated June 6/04 yet it doesn't say "What I remember is..." Hmmm... What I wrote was very personal, about my life, a previoius abusive marriage, being pregnant and alone, raising my daughter alone for two years and my belief that a month long bout of mono when I was 17 resulted in my current illness.

"Who'd have thought those things would have led me to the illness I have today? The chronic pain and fatigue I feel? The depression and loneliness? The inability to work resulting in a constant financial struggle. I'm not happy with the way my life turned out..." I wrote.

I didn't hesitate to read aloud what I had written. I have to admit I was stunned by Nancy's reading. The curse words that came out of that woman's mouth! LOL! I can only believe that was meant to make me feel at ease. The real message being don't hold back when you write, and what is said in the group stays in the group.

I then shared something I had written previously. Again, it was very personal. I wrote an article about my abusive first marriage. In fact, I wrote about an actual "fight", the last fight. The article is entitled "If I Had A Bullet" because that is what my EX said to me during that altercation. "If I had a bullet I'd shoot you!"

I am a shy person by nature and surprised myself when I was able to share these personal stories with people I had known a mere half hour. But I am a strong believer that my experiences may help other people. Keeping them to myself helps no one, especially me. And so it is with all our writing. As I have learned from the writing group, we must read our work aloud, we must share our writing and not keep it sequestered away never to be read again. Why do we write if not for people to read?

There is a second prompt dated June 6/04: Ten years from now where will I be? Ouch! I'm already six years into that ten years and nowhere near being financially secure, ready to travel, or sitting on a beach surrounded by palm trees. However,

"I want to hear my daughters' cheerful voices as they share with me their lives - of school, of friends, of boyfriends, of hope and dreams... I wish with all my heart that ten years from now that the walls my eleven-year-old has built around her will have been removed and instead of being her enemy I can be her friend."

I am happy to say that my life is exactly like that with my daughters. Many say that writing down your expectations will help make them happen. In this case they did. Thank you God. And heck, I still have four more years to make the rest of those hopes and dreams to come true. If I miss a meeting sometime in the next four years may it be because I am sitting on a beach in Hawaii.

So, six years ago I joined the writing group that was later named the Headwaters Writers' Guild (HWG for short). I have been the secretary for most of those years planning the meeting dates, sending out the reminder emails, and taking calls from prospective members. The writing group has become my life. I arrange my activities around the writing group. Apart from kids' soccer, I believe I have missed only one meeting in six years. When I had a bad cold I sat at a table by myself away from the group. Yes, I love the group that much. I have made some wonderful, wonderful friends. We have laughed together and we have cried together.

I have met some esteemed authors. I have attended workshops and seminars. I have learned a great deal about writing, editing and publishing. I look back at my writing from high school and cringe. I cannot even read it. Oh, how much I have learned and grown as a writer. This because of a decision I made six years ago. This because of the Headwaters Writers' Guild!

To all of you, my heartfelt thanks. You have indeed been a blessing to me.

HWG HISTORY - June 6, 2004 Meeting

The June 6, 2004 meeting was memorable for two reasons. First, I received an email from Frances, Ed Wildman’s partner, who said that Ed wasn’t feeling well and would be unable to attend our meeting.

I emailed her back and asked if I should pray for Ed. She didn’t think it was serious.

(The first three members of the Headwaters Writers’ Guild had attended Ed’s writing workshops in Honeywood. We didn’t have a name in the beginning but that’s another story.)

On Broadway on the way into the library, I passed by a woman with two children and wondered if she might be our new member. Down in the basement of the Orangeville Library, the woman introduced herself, as Pat Gallant.

We started with Goldberg’s recommended prompt, what I don’t remember is. And the second prompt was what I remember is. (We used to use this prompt for all new members.)

What I remembered the most about Pat is that she went for the jugular just as Natalie Goldberg suggested in her book, Writing Down the Bones. (Our meetings follow Natalie Goldberg’s workshop that Ed Wildman attended.) She didn’t hold back and she went where her pen took her and she read her writing.

I’ve never figured out why this prompt leads people to write dramatic incidents of their life. Maybe it’s our soul prompting us to remember the stories of our lives that we’ve forgotten.

New members often ask if they can pass and not read their raw writing. Often they say, “It’s too emotional.”

Pat mentioned that she’d completed her first novel. She also told us that she was encouraged to continue writing as her poem had been published in the Toronto Star when she was a young writer. Now we had three members with completed novels and a published writer.

Writing is a lonely life and I believe it helps to ease the loneliness when you spend time with other writers. From the first meeting that Pat attended, it felt like she'd always been a member and a friend.

Now, we had seven members. But it wouldn’t be long before the membership changed.

Monday, June 7, 2010

C. Patrick Schulze Blog Week Results

It's official, the results are in...

Gloria had 9 votes and rated 4.0/5
Richard had 6 votes and rated 4.8/5
Laura had 11 votes and rated 4.5/5
Diane had 19 votes and rated 4.5/5
Jayne had 12 votes and rated 4.1/5

Congratulations go to Richard who wins a copy of Manuscript Submissions.

Thank you to everyone who voted and read the blogs!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Glenn is back into town. Hopefully, he'll be at our next meeting!

GUEST BLOG - on C. Patrick Schulze Blog

Our members have done an excellent job as guest writers on

Gloria's article Two Reminders talks about show don't tell in dialogue. She gives us wonderful examples. It's a very informative article and well worth reading.

Richard's article Getting into Character - he compares writing with his friend who sits in front of chisel and stone tablet (it gives a new meaning to the saying Carved in Stone). Richard talks about how he imagines what his characters are feeling. Check out how Richard gets into character.

Laura wrote about Weeding your Novel. She compares writing to weeding. She mentions a friend's short story and that would be me. She kindly doesn't mentions that I didn't want to make the changes. Read about the result.

Diane's article Calluses and Capillaries compares rowing to writing. It's an excellent article. Imagine that we're flexing our writing muscles. Check out how.

Jayne writes about Realistic Characters. Her first line drew me in. She scared me when she confessed what was in Dean Constable's (her novel online Caught Dead) closet. Why not ask your character what's in their closet. Check out what's in Dean's closet.

I know that your support would be appreciated.

I can't wait to see their blog postings on our blog.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Guest Blogs on C. Patrick Schulze's Blog

Hope everyone took the time to check out all the blogs from HWG on C. Patrick Schulze's blog and rate them.
If you haven't, you can find them in the archives by selecting June 2010 and enjoying them at your leisure.

May the rain make all of your wonderful ideas grow like weeds! (no offense Laura!!)