Thursday, November 15, 2018

giving thanks can make you a better [not bitter!] writer

Article here on giving thanks & its impacts on the writing life:  . (Ignore the ads if you wish.) 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

online articles for authors

The Independent Publishing Magazine has helpful articles for authors who self-publish & for those who are published traditionally--or seek to be. It's free online. Here's the link: .

Kansas author Karen Kressin's review of my novel Consider the Sunflowers

"We built our houses on the corners of our land so we wouldn't get lonely," my genealogist uncle was told when he interviewed older relatives about life in the early rural settlements in Wisconsin. Back in their homeland of Pomerania, a German-speaking region on the southern shores of the Baltic Sea, farmers were accustomed to living in villages and walking to their fields each day. Men, women, and children enjoyed daily contact with friends and neighbors in backyards, along village streets, and in each other's kitchens. That was generally the pattern throughout much of Europe. But in America a single farm could be a half mile on a side, and a house built in the middle of the fields would be too far away from the next house for there to be casual interaction with neighbors, a sure recipe for loneliness.


One of the characters in Elma Schemenauer's charming novel Consider the Sunflowers expresses a similar insight about farm life in the Prairie Provinces of Canada when she observes, "We Mennonites lived close together in Russia, not in the wilderness like here."


Mennonite farmers in Canada with recent experience living in Russia make up the society depicted in Sunflowers. As the story progresses, we get to know the protagonist Tina as a career girl in a coastal city and later as a young farm wife in a remote area of Saskatchewan. During the 1940s, she navigates the struggles of coming of age, finding a husband, and settling in to married life. Throughout, she takes refuge in her deeply held Mennonite faith. Meanwhile, her handsome husband Frank grapples with his own challenges. He experiments with working in a copper mine across the border in the U.S., chooses his best friends outside the Mennonite community, and takes a job off his farm where his wife and child still live. Underlying everything for Frank is his simmering resentment against mistreatment he perceives because of his mixed ethnic background. Frank's mother was a Russian Gypsy.


The author presents the story with a generous helping of local and historical detail that brings the home front of World War Two era Canada alive. With sparkling metaphors like "dill-pickle crisp morning," "snoring like a threshing machine," and "eyes as curious as a village matchmaker," Schemenauer helps us see, hear, and even taste the features of life on the Canadian prairie. Details about farming techniques and the rhythm of the days and seasons place us firmly in that environment, but the novel also gives us a glimpse, like a fading memory, of life as it was in faraway Russia. The book is peppered with humor and deftly drawn minor characters that delight at every turn. Schemenauer can convey a great deal about a personality with a small detail of a habit or a quirk. I came to care about the engaging and sympathetic Tina, and while I was reading the book, I always looked forward to my next opportunity to find out what happens to her around the next corner.


A useful timeline of Mennonite history in an Appendix helps place Tina and her people in the context of their church and the wider world.


Consider the Sunflowers will appeal to people interested in family life, relationships, love and marriage, farming life and rural culture, 20th century history, and the diversity that is Canada. The book is available through Amazon, Chapters Indigo, and the publisher, Borealis Press of Ottawa. More information is at .

Friday, November 2, 2018


Send news and events to! 
View this email in your browser
Special News Release:


November 1, 2018, 
For Immediate Release 

Submissions are now open for this year's Literary Writes poetry contest sponsored by the Federation of British Columbia Writers (FBCW). There will be two sections - a general category, judged by Fiona Tinwei Lam and a 19-and-under youth category judged by Renée Saklikar, both with the theme: "Who is 'The Other'?" 

"The Federation of British Columbia Writers is committed to supporting and inspiring writers and is very happy to be able to include an award for young poets this year," said FBCW president Ann Graham Walker. "We'd like people to please help us by ensuring that news of this contest gets to schools and libraries in their community." 

Fiona Tinwei Lam has authored two poetry books and a children's book. She edited The Bright Well: Canadian Poems on Facing Cancer, and co-edited Love Me True: Writers on the Ins, Outs, Ups & Downs of Marriage. She has won The New Quarterly's Nick Blatchford prize and was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award. Her poetry videos have screened at festivals locally and internationally. She has a new collection of poems forthcoming with Caitlin Press in 2019. 

Renée Saklikar is Poet Laureate for the City of Surrey, British Columbia. Her latest book is a B.C. Bestseller: Listening to the Bees. Renee's first book, children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections, about the bombing of Air India Flight 182, won the 2014 Canadian Authors Award for Poetry and was a finalist for the 2014 Dorothy Livesay (BC Book Prize) 
"The Federation of BC Writers is very honoured to have such outstanding writers helping us to nurture excellence through our contests," said organizer Cynthia Sharp, a Vancouver writer on the FBCW board. 

The FBCW is committed to supporting excellence in writing and, with funding from the BC Arts Council, runs three literary contests per year. In addition to the Literary Writes poetry competition in the winter, it offers a short story competition (the BC Short) in the spring, and a 650-word "Flash Prose" (Fiction/Non-Fiction) contest in the Fall. 

For more information, contest guidelines, and to submit, please go to the FBCW web page: The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2019. Winners will be announced on March 1, 2019. 

Please feel free to share this information with anyone who you believe would be interested. Thank you!
Please note:
The FBCW Membership Drive is on now! Join using the code WRITENOW to get 25% off your membership.

The Literary Writes 2019 Poetry Competition is open now! Read the guidelines, and submit.
Copyright © 2018 The Federation of BC Writers, All rights reserved.
Members of the Federation of BC Writers or people who have been invited or requested to be on this list receive WriteOn.

Our mailing address is:
The Federation of BC Writers
#412 – 1641 Lonsdale Avenue
North Vancouver, BC V7M 2J5

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp