Tuesday, August 8, 2017

what's your book about?

What’s your book [or story or article] ABOUT? Why do authors find this question hard to answer? Why is it important? Good article here: http://tinyurl.com/y9vr2ztb .


Monday, August 7, 2017

review of book A HOUSE WITHOUT WALLS by B. L. Jensen

The author has a unique tone, often humorous and serious at the same time. She intersperses heavy-duty scientific and mathematical discussion with poetry, stories, and autobiographical references.


I don't pretend to understand the more heavy-duty parts of this book. One thing I do grasp is the idea that the author is making extended comparisons between creation and geological eras, and between creation and fetal development.


Here are a few of my favorite quotations from the book:


-"Whatever we go in search of, either physically or spiritually, is probably what we're going to find. Consequently, if God isn't what's wrong with things, but what's right with them, then always looking at what is wrong with the world probably won't help us to find him." Page 36


-"If one of my young children asked me Mommy, where did I come from? I would try to tell the child the truth from my own perspective but in terms that the child could understand...and any God of mine would be expected to do no less. Why complicate the matter with DNA, dinosaurs, plate tectonics, etc. when the child wouldn't have a clue as to what I was talking about...or a need to know about it at that point in time, anyway." Page 49


-"I would be hard pressed to argue against an omnipotent being, particularly after having spoken to him." Page 165


Mennonites from Russia to Saskatchewan

I'm a child of Agatha & Peter Martens, Mennonites who emigrated from Russia to Saskatchewan as children in 1925 & 1926. They told many stories about Russia & their new life in Canada. My 1940s novel Consider the Sunflowers is partly based on these stories. It’s available from Amazon, Chapters Indigo, & the publisher, Borealis Press of Ottawa.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Writing awards won by Jacquie McNeil & Rita Dozlaw

Winners of the 2017 Dr. Robert & Elma Schemenauer Writing Awards were announced at the Interior Authors Group summer social held July 22. Congratulations to Jacquie McNeil of Savona and Rita Joan Dozlaw of Kamloops. To see their smiling faces & read their winning entries, please visit http://elmams.wixsite.com/awards/2017-winners .

Friday, July 21, 2017


The following review of my 1940s-era Mennonite novel CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS was written by Karen Burgess, who also made these sunflower potholders for me. Thanks, Karen!


This book, though based in the 1940 era, is very typical of the relationships of husband and wives today.  In other words, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s sadly lacking God’s grace.  This couple and their issues are often typical of misunderstandings between husbands and wives.  I could identify with many of their communication issues.


I really loved the abundance of similes and metaphors.  The author has such a unique way of portraying everyday events with the likes of:  he sure insults me, frowning at me like I’m a weevil in a wheat bin  (p.23); as aimless as the fog that swirled off the bay (p.36); Frank’s laugh was as sharp as a Russian thistle. (p.191);  that his dad’s storytelling was like a leaky faucet.  Once it started running, it was impossible to turn off.  (p.271) ;  I can just hear the gossip: That Gypsy – unstable as molasses (p.123) ;  They’re already busier than a one-armed paper-hanger with the chickenpox. (p.165)  These are just a few of the many vivid word pictures the author works into this homey story.  Positively delightful!


I appreciate the fact that in chapter 64, Tina herself (the obvious Christian) realizes her own sin and shortfall, and comes to a genuine repentance.  I appreciate the fact, too, that life does not automatically become a bed of roses once she invites Christ into her life.  But it’s easy to see that Tina’s decision to follow Christ wholeheartedly does make a profound difference in her life afterwards.  The fact that Frank doesn’t follow in his wife’s footsteps is a very realistic outcome.


I would gladly recommend this book for a realistic and down-to-earth read, and a good insight into the thinking of Mennonites in that day, and sometimes even today.


Big SiWC News!

The following message is from Kathy Chung of SURREY INTERNATIONAL WRITERS' CONFERENCE:


From: newsletter=siwc.ca@mg.siwc.ca [mailto:newsletter=siwc.ca@mg.siwc.ca] On Behalf Of Surrey International Writers' Conference
Sent: July-21-17 11:13 AM
To: elmams@shaw.ca
Subject: Big SiWC News!



From conference coordinator Kathy:


WOW! What a summer it's been so far here at SiWC Central. We've never seen a registration rush as busy as this year's, and we're incredibly gratified by it. Registration has been open a little more than a month, and we're already 90% sold out! Thanks to all who've registered!

If you haven't signed up yet, NOW is your chance. Currently, we still have basic packages and Sunday only available, as well as space in most of our master classes. We're taking wait list requests for all of our sold out packages and classes at registration@siwc.ca. Note that priority on our full package wait list will be given to those who are registered for basic packages. 

Don't forget that our scholarship applications are still open, as is our writing contest. Get those entries in! And ad space is now available in our conference brochure. Contact Tricia at siwc@triciabarker.com for rates and details.

Some of you have noticed that we've been dropping hints about something new and special for our 25th anniversary year. Of course we're working hard to make our 25th annual conference special, but a milestone like this seemed to need even more than a stellar SiWC in October. 

For years, one of the frequent suggestions on our conference evaluation forms has been to offer you MORE SiWC by giving you another chance to get together with your conference friends and keep the writing inspiration going year-round. We listened, and we decided that our 25th anniversary was the perfect opportunity to bring you a bonus event. SiWC will continue as always, every October at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel in Surrey, BC. But as a special treat for this special anniversary, we're also going to bring you

SiWC at Sea!

That's right. You wanted an SiWC writing retreat and more workshops. So we've planned exactly that aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean! How cool is that? Imagine writing on a lounge chair, staring out at the deep, turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, or having a brand new story inspired by a wander around Roatan. Sounds good, doesn't it? Add to that dinners with presenters, workshops, dedicated writing time, socializing and lots of fun, and you get some idea of what attendees will experience next April.

We'll sail from Galveston, Texas, aboard Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas. 

April 8, 2018 – depart Galveston

April 9 – Sea day – workshops and writing time!

April 10 – Sea day – workshops and writing time and fun!

April 11 – Port day – Roatan, Honduras

April 12 – Port day – Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico

April 13 – Port day – Cozumel, Mexico

April 14 – Sea day – workshops and writing time and more!

April 15 – Arrive in Galveston

On port days, we'll have some group excursions available, and we'll still sneak in writing time, dinner with the group including with presenters at your table (faculty to be announced), socializing, and more. 

Note that this event has limited capacity compared to SiWC, so register early to avoid missing out! Registration will open Wednesday, August 9 at noon. Check out all the info on our SiWC at Sea page at siwc.ca. 

Please join us on this amazing, special adventure. And, of course, at SiWC this October, too. Looking forward to seeing you!


Kathy Chung

SiWC Conference Coordinator


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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

story-writing contest: confessions from my summer vacation: FBCW

Interesting contest from the Federation of BC Writers, open to members and non-members:

http://www.bcwriters.ca/contest/ .