Wednesday, September 28, 2011


First posted on Thursday, November 26, 2009

Linwood Barclay On Writing

Linwood Barclay joined The Toronto Star in 1981 and in 1993 he became the paper’s humour columnist. I always read his column.

"He's hilarious in person," my daughter said "we couldn't stop laughing.

On Monday, November 23, my husband and my daughter (an avid reader of Barclay’s books) attended his talk in Toronto at the S. Walter Stewart Library.My husband woke me up to tell me that Barclay is the best author he’s ever heard. My daughter raved about him and I asked her to share any writing tips that Linwood might have mentioned.


He starts work at 9:30 A.M., takes a lunch break, and works until 5:00 P.M. just like any other job. When people tell him that it took them seven years to finish a book, he wonders what were they doing?He’s always finished his book before his deadline. Once he wrote a book too fast, and his editor told him that he could write a book from scratch faster that you could edit that book.

His favourite novel that he wrote is Fear the Worst. He writes mostly thrillers.He won’t be writing another book in the Bad Move series (my daughter’s favourite books), as they weren’t selling. As a beginner writer he understood that this happens but he had to try something different.

No Time for Goodbye was the Number 1 Bestseller in Britain and they’re waiting to release the Bad Move series. When he writes he wants it to be popular worldwide. Lots of people get shot in his books but he never describes the shooting graphically. He’s not made for horror.

Linwood Barclay is at the Authors, Armchairs & Art at 7:00 p.m. SGI in Alton. Hope to see you there!

MINUTES OF MEETING - September 25, 2011

Now I have to try and decipher my notes . . . sigh!

Thirteen members attended our meeting. Awesome!

Judy mentioned that Nancy (me) and her attended a workshop reading of a new play called Bemused. The actors were amazing. David Narin and Lisa Petrie read. Judy and I had read it in The Banner. It was a pay as you can event. We were able to speak to the playwright and the actors afterwards. And I mentioned at least three times that there was food and wine. Possibly next year we could go as a group.

NOTE: Post it on our Blog next year!

Authors and Armchairs and Art Event – happens on Friday, September 30, 2011 at SGI in Alton. Lots of members are attending. We hope to see you there!


Shirley would like the following:
- Photo
- Bio
- Quote by an author or a quote by you
- Some of your work – short stories or poems -attach it in a word document or a PDF file
- She would prefer to have your work with links to your website & Blog as it would
encourage people to look at other writers on our website

Shirley's email address:

Website address:


Hi Nancy,
Murder In Hum Harbour: A Seaglass Mystery will be officially launched on October 15, 2-3pm at Booklore as part of their Independents' Day celebration.

There will be a brief reading, snacks, a chance to "meet the author" and a draw for a piece of seaglass jewelry.

Thanks for including this on the blog.

:) Jayne

Thanks Jayne for forwarding this info to me. Jayne gave everybody a bookmark of her book. I love bookmarks.


Marilyn showed her movie Thicker than Water on her new Ipad. Marilyn learned when you shoot the movie if the scene it’s supposed to be night shoot it at night. Marilyn’s movie doesn’t have much dialogue otherwise it would be a radio play. What's a radio play? I know I should have asked her ‘cause on Monday night I was told that I’d written a radio play.

Joe wanted to know if Marilyn had taken a screenplay writer’s course? Nope, Marilyn just writes. Joe is taking a screenplay writing in Guelph in October.

Nancy (that would be me) read her Only For This Moment poem and Judy commented that it’s great for writers to help them remember to write in the moment no matter what’s happening in their life. I also read my Shattered Dreams poem – it’s a line I woke up with from a dream.

Joe kept up up-to-date on his letter to Hydro One. He was published in the Guelph Mercury, Wellington Advertiser, and the Erin Advocate. He had a letter from McGuinty and is waiting to hear back from the Energy Minister. Keep your fingers crossed Joe!

June wrote an emotional piece about a little boy loosing his grandmother. It brought tears to my eyes. Welcome back June. We’ve missed you!

Ron read Enough is Enough. Why not use this prompt for your writing. When is enough enough?

Judy gave out prompts and also brought The Mysteries of Harris Burdick – a book of photos that Judy thought would make good prompts.

I hate to admit it but after eating chocolate chip cookies some people were just way too happy. And now Jen isn’t speaking to me anymore ‘cause I used a prompt and brought it into Jen’s reality. I spilled water on Jen’s journal. I think I was a little high from the cookies. Patricia suggested it might be a good idea for me to give up chocolate. No way.

Judy had to use her teacher’s voice twice at this meeting. Actually, I’ve never heard it before from soft spoken Judy. The things we learn . . .

Kelli wrote about a dream with a hidden secret. The child was going to take over the Universe. Judy mentioned the dream was perfect to use a children’s story.

June used Prompt # 1 and wrote to a friend in her past and shared may memories. Life is good for June.

Judy chose Prompt # 4. I like Hiram and hope to hear more about him and the orphan child.

Clare chose Prompt # 5 … and honest Harry wasn’t really a dirty old man.

Ron chose # 8 and provoked lots of thought which I believe is part of the writer’s job.

Marilyn’s Uncle Henry created unusual happenings after he moved in with lots of impending births. Marilyn, of course, made us all laugh! You should have been there!

Danielle chose # 11 and wrote about her first memory she had as a one year old. She wrote as a baby. Very interesting.

Patricia continued to make fun of me. I must be important or something.

Jayne’s Uncle Henry is a mystery. Imagine that a mystery writer wrote a mystery! Way to go Jayne.

Patricia chose what are you afraid of? Heartfelt essay – the thing she fears is want she wants the most.

Jen was creative she used the last four prompts. It was very touching.

Kelli asked me why I hadn’t posted the photos from the last meeting. I promised her I would.

We all laughed and Marilyn said, “I can’t wait to get out of the Twilight Zone.

Joe went back in time to 1935 when he was seven years old and went to a funeral for a two -year -old boy. It was his first encounter with death. An emotional piece touched everybody.

Ron said, “NEVER GIVE UP!” He received an answer to his email that he sent out in
April 2008. I’m going to post the email separately on the blog.

Judy said, “That’s a RAP!”

WE MISSED YOU! I especially missed Diane ‘cause I had to take notes at the meeting.

I think I got carried away.

NEXT MEETING: October 16, 2011 – Jayne is leading


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Armchairs, Authors & Art Part Deux

It seems a fourth author has been added to the Armchairs, Authors & Art event scheduled for Friday, September 30th at the SGI Centre (Caledon) as part of the Headwaters Arts Festival.

James Fitzgerald's memoir "What Disturbs Our Blood" is about growing up in an affluent respected family, but a family with great secrets. Fitzgerald's father and grandfather were both doctors, both accomplished leaders, both shadowed by mental illness and suicide. "What Disturbs Our Blood" is the recent winner of the 2011 Writer's Trust Prize.

This event gets bigger and better every year.

Doors open at 6:30. Tickets can be purchased in advance at BookLore in Orangeville.

Have you bought your ticket?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Meeting Minutes September 11, 2011

Although we are marking the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, the mood at our meeting today was jovial and we used it as an occasion to celebrate.
First of all, Harry had returned to the fold! We've missed his wonderful, witty prose and poetry.
Secondly, Kelli rejoined us as well. She's been away with health issues and is now weaned off her medications to control seizures. She is experiencing minor side-effects and hopes to have her driver's license back soon. We are all so excited for her!
Thirdly, Clare brought wonderful treats made by his wife Dorothy. We all told him that she's a keeper. Marilyn said that she was going to have to go to confession, Harry corrected that the proper term was "confection."
Fourth, Nancy brought cake to celebrate Diane (me) having an agent! Of course, I had to bring the plates, napkins and forks, but...the cake was delicious.

Now onto the News:

Marilyn and Danielle are both submitting short stories to the Writer's Digest contest.

Marilyn also reminded us of the Eden Mills Writer's Festival on Sept 18. For more details, go to the website:

Nancy told us that Mike Bellinger, husband of the late Janet Bellinger from the HWG, had emailed her regarding the bursary that we co-sponsor with the Bellinger family for a graduating student from ODSS (Orangeville District Secondary School.) Convocation is November 4, 2011 at 7pm. He wanted to know if we were adding more money to the bursary again this year and which members of our group were going to present the award to a deserving student planning to pursue writing in continuing studies. In the end, Nancy and Diane (me, again) volunteered. We'll let you know how it goes!

Shirley was not present, but had e-mailed me regarding our new website. We have a website at a cost of $7.99 per year and our new website address will be  She will be working hard to set it up and make it a site we can all be proud of.


Judy read three poems. One was "Fluctuate" that was inspired by Clare's question "What kind of water are you like?" When she was done reading it, Clare pointed out that she'd forgotten that water wears down rock and finds the smallest space to fill. It is flexible. Her second poem was called "Alexander Pope" because reading his works had her thinking in Iambic Pentameter. Her third poem, "Faith," will appear in the front of her memoir.

Marilyn had been inspired by contest information I had sent for the "Watching Paint Dry" contest. Riveting story with a great twist ending! Looking forward to hearing the finished product.

Clare had brought a copy of the Banner from Sept 6 which featured his article "Proposals from a Political Pundit." Marilyn told us that if we liked politics, we'd love books by Terry Fallis.

Harry read to us from his circus book. He has been querying agents and actually got some helpful feedback to streamline his work. He is working on a new draft, very inspired and excited. The chapter he read was about "a son trying to touch his father's ghost." Nancy told us about a book called "What Disturbs the Blood" which has a similar premise. Harry had a powerful chapter and we were all mesmerized! Looking forward to the book one day soon!

Judy also had a script for a 10 minute movie that she wants to make and needed some critiques on. It is a sci-fi/paranormal/spiritual story. The story involves re-incarnation and the "life between lives." She received lots of feedback and is looking forward to doing a re-write and making it more vivid for her audience. Can't wait to see the video.

The Prompts:
All of the prompts I used were borrowed from "Writing Past Dark" by Bonnie Friedman.
1) I spent this morning smashing flies.
2) I wanted to get everything in that room just right before my writing began.
3) You fall the way you do in dreams.
4) The things that disgust also fascinate.
5) We have an aversion to loss of control, as much as we love it.
6) We are afraid of writing, even those of us who love it.
7) I knew a man who believed a bee had been sent to earth to give him a message.
8) My dreams came true one day. It was just as I had always imagined it would be.

Our next meeting is Sept. 25, 2011, Judy will be leading.
Future meetings and leaders:
            Oct 16 - Clare
            Oct 30 - Jayne
            Nov 13 - Marilyn
            Nov 27 - Nancy
             Dec 11 - Christmas luncheon, place and time to be determined.

What else is new?

Sept 13 - Nancy's birthday
Sept 18 - Ruth's birthday
Sept 19 - David's birthday
Sept 20 - Sonja's birthday
Happy Birthday to all until we meet again!

I will not be at the next meeting. See you all in October!