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entry will be the best Canadian work of2,500 words in the English language, fiction or nonfiction, written by an unpublished author.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 Original and unpublished (English language) fiction or nonfiction.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!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Introducing NaNoWriMo

Hello fellow guildians, writers, and readers,

I would like to share with you my yearly reason for carpal tunnel syndrome.
National Novel Writing Month
A daunting challenge for writers. For a very good reason. You have 30 days to write the minimum word length for a novel.(although it could be a poetry anthology, short stories, ect.)
The minimum word length:

Ouch. Factor in jobs, education, bathroom breaks, meals, snacks, dishes, laundry, feeding the pets, vacuuming, shopping, social time, gaming, inevitable wrist pain half-way through, writer's block, forehead bruises associated with writer's block and more and you've got one heck of a month.

It almost seems impossible, doesn't it?
Well, I failed my first year. approx. 8500 words
Succeeded(just barely) my second year. approx. 50,050 words
Succeeded 2000 words over the length the third year. >52,000 words
Finished the first draft of my novel by the start of the third year. >100,000 words

That first year of failure was a real slap in the face. It took me over a month to get over it. But it was also after that when I realized I was incredibly excited that I had failed. Because it was then that I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. No, I don't want to fail for the rest of my life. I want to write. And I wrote 8500 words that month. That was more than I had written between my story and essays combined over the past two years. and believe me, the essays took up about 90% of that word count.

So, I am extremely proud to be one of the many NaNoWriMo-ers that participate in this crazy challenge every year and spread it to anyone that will listen. This challenge is for everyone, new writers, young writers, old writers, writers of every language, culture and ethnicity that has a way to connect to the internet, and published writers.

All that is asked is that you don't edit.

So here's the breakdown (two months are obviously optional but are recommended):
October- Planning Month
November- The Challenge
December- Editing Month

If you would like more information and to sign up for the challenge this year then please go to:

The site is always interviewing different contestants and published authors. During the challenge you can sign up for pep talk emails done by well-known published authors such as Tamora Pierce. There are also other people doing weekly comics, blogs, etc. that you can check out for laughs and connect to when you're feeling down.

There's approximately 40 days left before the start. Are you ready?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Authors, Armchairs & Art

The annual Authors, Armchairs & Art session as part of the Headwaters Artists Festival is coming up very soon: Friday, October 1st from 7pm to 10pm. Tickets are $25 and are available at BookLore or the Festival office. This event takes place at the SGI Centre, 10 minutes down Porterfield Road. Refreshments (included in the ticket price) will be provided by Silver Thyme, the Wine Coaches and Mill Street Brewery.

Featured authors are:

Cathy Marie Buchanan: Cathy's debut novel, The Day The Falls Stood Still, pulls us into the maelstrom of Niagara Falls at the time when rivermen brought daredevils from the brink, the promise of hydro-electric power wooed the nation and only a few dared question our relationship with the mighty river. Powerful and eloquent, a love story, a tribute to the river, and a recognition that no choice is ever without consquences, this book will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about Niagara Falls.

Terry Fallis: Terry returns with his new novel The High Road, a brilliant follow-up to his Stephen Leacock Award winner The Best Laid Plans. This hilarious satire continues the story of Honest Angus McLintock, an amateur politician who dares to do the impossible: tell the truth.

Terry O'Reilly: Host of the award-winning CBC radio show The Age of Persuasion. Terry and his co-author Mike Tennant combine years of industry experience and insider information to show how marketing shapes our culture in The Age of Persuasion. The Globe and Mail heralds this witty and entertaining book as: "... an easy-to-read and often submersive primer on marketing, advertising and branding." Note: Expert on book marketing.

Kate Taylor: A Man in Uniform is a seductive new novel from the Globe and Mail's cultural affairs columnist and this year's Atkinson fellow. Kate artfully combines mystery and history in this page-turning jaunt through 19th century Parisian society: the attempt to prove the innocence of convicted spy Alfred Dreyfus through an investigation of the social and military conspiracy that framed him.

Come listen to the authors speak, meet with them, purchase their books (no tax here), have them autograph them for you, and view the art. Doors open at 6:30. This event is getting bigger and bigger every year so I suggest you arrive early to get a good seat. If you want to carpool, just ask. I will definitely be going. I would never miss this event. Hopefully we can get a good showing of members of the Headwaters Writers' Guild.

References: Headwaters Arts Festival brochure



I will admit that even from my early elementary days, I was always a year behind in school because I had a learning disability, that said; starting approximately Grade 5, I began to do very well in English. Since then, I have enjoyed writing stories, but most of the writing I did in my earlier years was through English class assignments, both in elementary school as well as high school (not at home on my own for fun). I can remember during Library Time in elementary school (before Grade 5), 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.

So, as I mentioned around Grade 5, I vastly improved in English, but not before lots of tutoring, both at school and at home. My learning disability was still evident though in most of the other subjects, like Science and especially Math. To this day, I still have a lot of trouble with Math.

As for grasping reading and spelling, it happened almost as if a light switch was flicked on; I was able to read as well as spell and do it rather well. Honestly, it happened just like that. I was spelling out words I hadn’t learned yet that were considered beyond my comprehension for the grade I was in. 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.

When I was in Grade 7, the principal called me into his office and offered for me to completely skip over Grade 8 and go right into Grade 9 (high school) when the new school year started. With a smile on his face, he told me that I would then be with students who were born in the same year I was. I remember replying to him something like,

If I’m having problems in school now, imagine the difficulties I’ll have with my studies if I skip over Grade 8 into high school”.

The expression on his face was most definitely that of,

I don’t care’.

He gave me a letter to sign that had two check boxes for agree or disagree to jump into high school instead of starting Grade 8 in the next school year and he actually wanted me to take the letter home and think it over. I did take the paper home with me and showed my parents who were in as much disbelief as I was. Well, I took the letter back into the principal’s office the next day before classes started and handed it to him; he looked at it and then looked back at me with great disappointment because I checked off ‘disagree. I headed out to the yard with the rest of the students before the bell rang. When the morning bell finally rang, I made my way into my classroom where I met eyes with my teacher who said nothing to me, but gave me the very same look of disappointment that the principal had bestowed upon me earlier. It was then at that moment I realized teachers weren’t interested in looking out for my best interests; that part was up to me.

A learning disability doesn’t mean one is stupid or dumb, even though teachers may certainly make one feel like a lost cause at times; it just means that one is slow to learn; a slow bloomer, if you will.

It didn’t seem to matter when I was in high school that I scored high 90’s in my English classes. I remember standing next to a teacher’s desk and I saw the class list. I saw the letters, LD next to my name. I asked the teacher what LD meant as I pointed to my name on the list. The teacher sighed slightly, paused and then answered,

Learning disability”.


I did have one teacher in particular, in high school who was very supportive of my writing skills and always encouraged me to stick with it and to never let go of my gift. Once I graduated from 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.


During my very last year of high school, there was a computer program in the library that answered what area of career one should go into after answering a few questions. I actually completed the program 3 times; not because I was having trouble, but because I felt the answer I kept getting was rather ambiguous. All 3 times, I received the same answer,

You should work with people’.

Pretty vague, right?

I left it alone and the next day, the guidance counsellors made an announcement over the PA that if the graduating students wanted further help with deciding a career to go into, they (the counsellors) would be more than happy to assist. I thought that was wonderful and it was just the ticket I needed. During my lunch break, I went to their office and both of the counsellors looked at me with shock. You know the kind of shock that says,

What on earth are you doing here?

I told them I was there because of the announcement they had made earlier about career help and I also told them about the computer program being very indistinct with the comment,

You should work with people’.

Both of the counsellors looked at each other and then looked around their office as if they had each lost something. They actually told me that they’d have to get back to me later and that they would call me at home.

That was fine with me; I was happy that I was going to receive guidance regarding what career I should go into and who better to help than career counsellors, right? After all, counselling is what they specialize in.

They did actually call me at home, but unfortunately I don’t remember the entire conversation. I do, however remember one comment one of the counsellors said to me over the phone, something along the lines of,

There really isn’t anything career wise that you’d be good at”.

Can you believe that? A teacher/counsellor actually said that to me.

I chose not to listen to those words; I chose to prove those words wrong. Just because someone is a slow bloomer, doesn’t mean they’re stupid and I understood that even back in Grade 5 when I all of a sudden began grasping spelling and reading, thanks to the encouragement from my parents as a child (my parents have always supported me in everything I’ve done; successful or not). My English marks from Grade 5 and on were in the high 90’s and I knew that had to be worth something, even if most of the teachers chose not to acknowledge it. I’ll admit that I did take general English classes every year in high school, except for one year when I tried advanced, but I found it to be too difficult.

Some people learn things easily and some people take a little longer to learn things; there’s nothing wrong with that. Since high school, I’ve tried out different types of careers (all working with people, as the computer program suggested), until I came across something that fit right into what I have enjoyed doing all along; I saw a flyer in the paper advertising a home study program to learn how to write children’s books. It was right down my alley and so I sent away for it. I thoroughly enjoyed the program and I did very well. I graduated in a matter of months and learned everything I needed to know, minus some real life experience. The story I wrote for the home study program was the same story from which I sought publishing for and co-incidentally, the title is the same; Amber and the Fallen Bridge. It’s a fun, adventurous story about self confidence and since publishing it, I’ve done readings to children from Kindergarten to Grade 8 and I’m pleased to say 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. A literary agent edits manuscripts to the specifications of most publishers and then sends 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 (this is common). Eventually, after a year I found a literary agent who showed interest 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 all finally said and done, that whole adventure 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 and I was super excited, as I’m sure you can imagine.

I am Canadian and my publisher is American and they are a very small outfit. They don’t have a distributor, nor can I afford to pay for one myself. Including my publisher’s website to purchase my book,, my publisher has also released my book to online book stores; 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 at the Chapters-Indigo online website are sold in the Coles book stores and vice versa - 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 in my book for you).

I have a strict deadline to encourage people to buy my book online or I will owe them (my publisher) a very, very large sum of money.


In my experience up to now as a new published author, stores tend to prefer to sell a new author’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 the book 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 on consignment in my community.

My hope, no, my goal is to see my children’s book and future books sold in stores nationwide, even worldwide as a part of the store’s own inventories. Many very well known authors before me have gone through what I’m experiencing with my first book now, 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 such as going to my local community stores and book stores, I’m on Twitter @KelliCurtis1 and of course I have my own blog @

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Birthday Greetings

Happy Birthday to Ruth on Saturday, David on Sunday and Sonja on Monday.

Belated birthday greetings to Nancy (last Monday). I didn't forget, I'm just lazy.

Wishing you all the very best in the years to come and success in all your endeavours.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 12, 2010 Meeting

No one took minutes at this meeting. We were given our proofs for the anthology to read over to make sure there are no errors. Corrections are to be submitted to Gloria.

Gloria's new book has been published. It is called Dream Quest Dictionary: Find the Meanings of Your Dream & Life Symbols. It retails at $19.95. A launch will be announced soon. If you would like to purchase a copy of Gloria's book directly through her, members of the Headwaters Writers' Guild may do so at a cost of $12.

Our next meeting is Sunday, September 26th. Diane will be leading.

Please don't forget about the Brian Henry “Writing for Children” ~ And for Young Adults - the world’s hottest market ~Saturday, October 2, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Tweedsmuir Presbyterian Church, 6 John Street, Orangeville.

Fee for members of the Headwaters Writers' Guild:$35.40 + 13% hst = $40 paid in advance or $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 advance or $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 2L6To reserve a spot now, email:

Please register A.S.A.P. We need the numbers and don't want to have to cancel.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 interview

To see an interview by Headwaters Writers' Guild secretary (moi) online promoting the group, our upcoming Brian Henry writing workshop and our upcoming anthology, check out . Please leave a comment. Thanks.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Own Blog

Well fellow Guildians.

I finally created a blog of my own. Just started posting a few things, (still getting the hang of it).
I'm still trying to figure out how to link it to our own blog page so if anyone knows the hows of it, please let me know.