Saturday, August 28, 2010



I have always enjoyed writing stories, but most of the writing I did in my earlier years was through English class assignments both in grade school as well as high school. English is my absolute favourite subject, but believe it or not, when I was a child, I had a very bad learning disability. I had tutors both at school as well as at home and both of my parents would sit with me and help me try to learn to read, but it just wasn’t sticking. I can remember during Library Time in grade school, I always chose to read the Beatrix Potter books, only I couldn’t read them; instead I made up stories by looking at the pictures.

One day, almost as if a light switch was flicked on, I was able to read and as well as spell, honestly, it was just like that. I was spelling out words I hadn’t learned yet for my particular age at the time that was considered beyond my comprehension. It certainly baffled many teachers that I was suddenly progressing further in English than the rest of my classmates.

Since then, English has been my favourite subject, as I mentioned above. So, I had this learning disability and when I was a kid, I felt as though most teachers didn’t treat me fairly and most of the teachers didn’t show support, even though my grades in English were in the high 90’s in high school, I again felt as though most of the teachers seemed to only notice that I was a student with a learning disability. I felt like I was treated like a lost cause. However, I chose not to listen or pay attention to those teachers because I knew that I was good reading and spelling and it was something that gave me great joy, especially spelling.


I did have one teacher in particular, in high school whom was very supportive of my writing skills and always encouraged me to stick with it and to never my gift. Once I graduated high school though, I never wrote any more stories or pursued anything in English, but the encouraging words from that one English teacher stayed with me for years. In fact, in 2006 I took a home study course to learn how to write children’s books and the assigned story I wrote for the program became the story I used to starting seeking publishing with. The name of the manuscript was called, Amber and the Fallen Bridge, which ended up being the name of my first published book. It’s a fun adventurous story about self-confidence and I’ve received a lot of positive response from it, from both adults and kids. I’ve read it to kids from Kindergarten to Grade eight and they all loved it.


This brings me to exactly how I got my book, my very first book published. Once I graduated from my home study program, I began looking online for a publisher. Some sites I found wanted me to mail my manuscript to them, while others wanted me to submit an online form. I received a lot of rejections. During my search I was noticing that a lot of the publishers were working through literary agencies. For thoughs unsure of that term, it’s an agent who edits manuscripts to the specifications of most publishers and then they basically send the manuscript around until a publishing firm shows interest in publishing the script. Well, I sent a few manuscripts out to literary agencies both online and via ‘snail mail’ and was rejected a lot there as well. Eventually, after a year I found a literary agent who showed interested and was willing to work with me. After working with the literary agency for approximately one year, they found a publisher interested in publishing my story.


The processes of getting my manuscript turned into a book were very lengthy; there was more editing, discussions about small changes and because my children’s book required pictures, there were a lot of discussions with the illustrators about each picture with regards to my vision and their interpretations, there were lots of approvals taking place on both sides and when it was finally all said and done, the whole procedure took approximately one year.

All together, everything from the moment I began my search to the publishing of my book took about three years (give or take). I have come across other published authors whose ventures took much less time, but for me on my first experience, it was a little longer. I don’t know if that’s average for a person’s first time.


As of September 2009, my first book, a children’s book was officially published. I was super excited, as I’m sure you can imagine.

I am Canadian and the publisher I found is American and they are a very small outfit. They don’t have a distributor, nor can I afford to pay for one myself. They released my book to the online bookstores; Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Chapters-Indigo. (I would like to make a clarification regarding Chapters-Indigo; a few people I have come across have gone to the Coles book stores to purchase my book and found out that it was not readily available on their shelves. As I understand from my publisher, not all books sold on the Chapters-Indigo online website are sold in the Coles book stores - I’m not exactly sure why it’s done this way, but there you have it). N.B. You can however, ask the Coles book stores to order my book for you).


So, currently my book is technically only available online through my publisher’s website @ AND through the major online book stores mentioned above (Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Chapters-Indigo). This doesn’t mean to say though that you can’t go into ANY book store and order my book – you most certainly can. The more people order books not readily available on store shelves, the more the stores will stock their shelves because they will see there’s a need for those books and that they can profit from selling those books in their stores.

Because I don’t have a distributor, it’s up to me and only me to do the promoting/marketing for my book and I’m happy to do so, it just means more work and time, that’s all. I go to the local book stores in my community with my book and ask them if they will sell it for me and those who have so far, have sold my book on consignment. In my experience so far as a new published author, stores tend to prefer to sell a person’s book on consignment before deciding to add it to their inventory. I completely understand this because as much as I believe in my book and think it’s the bees knees, the book stores need to make sure they’re going to profit from it before deciding to commit or not. I buy copies of my book from my publisher and then I take predetermined copies to the stores that have agreed to sell them.

My hope, no, my goal is to see my children’s book and future books sold in stores nation, even worldwide as a part of the stores own inventories. Many very well known authors before me have gone through what I’m experiencing with my first book, and that is to shop my book around to stores and talk to anyone who is willing to listen until the masses catch on to it.


I don’t have much money, so I’m doing things I can do to further promote my book as well as going to my local community. I have started a fan page on Facebook called, “Amber and the Fallen Bridge (Children’s Book)” and I am on Twitter @KelliCurtis1.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Meeting Minutes August 22 2010

Hello fellow Guildians. For those of you who are not aware, we now have a site on Facebook! Thank you to Richard for setting it up. He has sent the user address and password to anyone who wishes to make comments or post things.

Our meeting was a bit smaller than usual, but we still had ten people in attendance. And, more importantly, we had cake!

We did not discuss the anthology since Gloria was away.

Marilyn read from an article she wrote in Physicians Guide for Travel and Meetings, Summer 1986 and commented on how far her writing has come since then. She used to own a wholesale travel company and has written techical books, novels, articles and a health book. Impressive resume!

We do have a writing workshop on October 2 with Brian Henry. The course is on Writing for Children. Please contact Nancy if you would like to attend. She will collect money and let Brian know who is coming. Or you can peruse The Quick Brown Fox online and contact Brian yourself.

Glen saw Harry performing in front of the Zencha Tea Bar in Collingwood and brought back a handful of pamphlets regarding Word Stock in Collingwood. This event takes place Sept 10-11 and you can learn more about it on Our own Harry Posner will be there live!

Nancy recommended sci-fi author Robert J. Sawyer to Ashley, who read a very interesting piece from her novel. She said he was a great writer and had a fantastic website.

Kelli announced that she has a blog! Yeah, Kelli! So does Jenn and Diane. I'll dig up all the blog addresses and post them later.

Judy was about to give us our assignments when we had promptus interuptus - Nancy brought out birthday cake. Judy celebrated a milestone birthday in July, but has been away all month.

Pat mentioned that Sandy has not been at meetings lately because her brother passed away a couple of months ago. Anyone who would like to send their condolences can contact Sandy (our singing storyteller) at: sandra (dot)dedrick (at) yahoo (dot) ca.

The Prompts:
1) He suggested they should all live together in the same house.
2) "But darling, you're too old to get another man."
3) "You and I will always be together, one way or another."
4) "Whenever she cheated on him it took him two weeks to settle into a good temper again."
5) She was Tiffany's best friend, but never guessed that Tiffany's mother and "aunties" were prostitutes, and their cheerful white clapboard home with the red trim, was a brothel.
6) She would make lists of the facts of her life, so that when she read them back to herself, she wouldn't feel so small - at least to herself.
7) She threw down her heavy leather handbag, and continued the inspection tour of his apartment.
8) "Don't get into any more impossible marriages," she said, "I need a rest."
9) "You three-minute egg! You runny, puny, twelve-weeks-old, three-minute egg. You're underdone and overripe. What do you know?"
10) My mother had five cats, nine children and three husbands.
11) He tied a rope to the bag, and lowered it carefully from the window in the back bedrom of his brother's house into the darkness below.
12) He was lonesome, and he wanted somebody to love - somebody to say "That's all right" when the world treated him mean.
13) After his parents' divorce, he was sent to live with his maternal grandmother.

The funny thing about these prompts, was that all but two were used by the group in this meeting. For the record, it was #5 and #9.
We broke off at 3:30pm to eat more cake and chat.

Our next meeting is Sept 12, 2010.
I will not be there, nor will Nancy whose birthday is Sept 13. I know I'm early but Happy Birthday, Nancy!
Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Writing for Children" Workshop by Brian Henry

The Headwaters Writer Guild presents…

“Writing for Children” ~ And for Young Adults - the world’s hottest market ~
Saturday, October 210 a.m. - 4 p.m.Tweedsmuir Presbyterian Church, 6 John Street, Orangeville.

Whether you want to write the next best-selling children’s books or just want to create stories for your own kids, this workshop is for you. Learn how to write stories kids and young adults will love, and find out what you need to know to sell your book.

Special option: Bring a sample of your children’s writing - 1,500 words absolute max, but 800 or fewer works better. If you’re not currently working on a children’s story, don’t worry, we’ll get you started on the spot!

Workshop leader Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He is also the author of a children’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Tribute Publishing Inc).

Fee for members of the Headwaters Writers' Guild:
$35.40 + 13% hst = $40 paid in advanceor $42.48 + 13% hst = $48 if you wait to pay at the door

Fee for the general public: $38.94 + 13% hst = $44 paid in advanceor $42.48 + 13% hst = $48 if you wait to pay at the door

To register, please make out a cheque to Brian Henry and mail it to:

Brian Henry, 110 Reiner Road, Toronto, ON M3H 2L6
To reserve a spot now, email:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Caught Dead: A Dean Constable Mystery

Now available: two new chapters every week [at]

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hearing Voices and Finding Waldo

Hey, gang,
Thank you to Richard Goodship for all of his hard work on the fabulous cover for our anthology! We all know it was not easy to pull it off - especially finding the font! - and know it will be amazing in print! Take a bow, Richard!

I hope everyone got everything in to Gloria that they planned to put into the anthology. Can't wait to read it all. You are all such talented people and should be proud.

I have put up a new post to my blog should anyone have time to check it out.
Will work on something for our blog as well now that strep throat is leaving the building and I'm only working two more days before a bit of a break.

Time to get some writing done!