Saturday, August 30, 2014

literary terms defined: Writer's Digest

What’s a new adult book? What does stet mean? Here’s a helpful glossary of literary terms:


Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books, editor of many others,,,



Thursday, August 28, 2014

writing in various points of view: Writer's Digest

It can be challenging to write from the perspectives of several different characters. Here are some helpful tips:


Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books, editor of many others,,,



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

calling indie authors who successfully market their books: Writers Digest

Calling all self-published / independent book & e-book authors: Tell us about the promotional strategies that worked for you, and you and your book(s) could get even more visibility in the pages of Writer’s Digest magazine.

We’re looking for the inside stories from indie authors who’ve developed successful strategies for marketing their own books. If you credit your self-made promotional strategy for your book’s popularity, profitability or sales, we’d love to hear the details of what you did, how you did it, and what you’ve learned. Your insights—alongside your bio and information about your book—could appear in the pages of Writer’s Digest magazine.

To be considered for a spotlight in WD, simply answer the questions below and show us why you and your book(s) make a great example for other authors to follow. Email your responses (in the body of the email) to with “IT WORKED FOR ME” in the subject line. Attach a hi-res cover image(s) of your book(s). In submitting your questionnaire, you are granting permission for your responses and cover image(s) to appear in Writer’s Digest magazine and other WD publications and/or on, and acknowledging that responses may be edited for space or clarity. Selected authors may be contacted for additional information.

Book/series title:

Genre (memoir, mystery/thriller, romance, mainstream fiction, etc.):

One-sentence description of the book/series:

Publication date(s):

Publication method(s) (specify print or e-book[s], and printing service or formatting service[s] used):

Distribution method(s):



Brief bio (beyond this particular book/series):


Social media handles:

My promotional strategy/philosophy, in a nutshell:

Why I decided to focus my efforts this way:

How I put my plan into action (specific steps taken, online and/or in person):

Which efforts worked best (including specific pricing, if relevant, and results, such as bursts in rankings or sales):

Other signs that readers were engaged (increased social media numbers, Goodreads buzz, etc.):

How much money and time I estimate to have invested in my promotional efforts:

Copies sold to date:

What I’d do the same with the next book:

What I’d do differently (or skip) with the next book:

Takeaways/lessons for my fellow writers:



Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books, editor of many others,,,



Friday, August 22, 2014

Elbow, SK history, geography, and archaeology: a review of Joan Soggie's Looking for Aiktow

I grew up halfway between Regina and Saskatoon, near what is now the resort village of Elbow, Saskatchewan. My little village, which seemed big to me then, was named for its nearness to an elbow-like bend in the South Saskatchewan River.

The river was important to me as a child. In the summers I attended Bible camp in a beautifully treed few acres of paradise on its bank. In the spring our family joined others in watching the ice break up. Great chunks of it rode the current, grinding and crashing against the bridge that joined the two sides of the river.

The bridge of my childhood is gone. The Bible camp has moved elsewhere. The former sites of both lie under the blue waters of Lake Diefenbaker, created by dams built in the 1960s. Also drowned in the lake is nearby Aiktow Creek, which once linked the swift-flowing South Saskatchewan and the calmer Qu'Appelle River.

The lost Aiktow Creek and its valley inspired the title of local resident Joan Soggie's recent book Looking for Aiktow. In it, she chronicles the coming of the lake and the changes and challenges it brought. But most of the book is about the geography, archaeology, and history of the area, known from early times as the Elbow.

I knew little about the Elbow's role in the larger story of Canada until I read this book. Imagine, the mild-mannered landscape of my youth was once considered dangerous. Vast herds of bison, or buffalo, roamed through, which meant hunting was good. However, Aboriginal hunters hesitated to venture into the Elbow because it was situated on the boundary between Cree and Blackfoot territories. These two peoples, longtime enemies, generally fought when they encountered each other, so the area was often a war zone.

Probably the first non-Aboriginals to visit were Hudson's Bay Company trader Peter Fidler and his travelling companions. They passed through in September 1800. Fidler's report gave non-Aboriginals their first description of the locale. He mentions camping in a low valley with trees growing close to the water's edge. This may have been the Aiktow valley.

In the mid-1850s, government explorer John Palliser arrived to document the area's land, water, climate, animals, and plans. Guiding his expedition to the Elbow was Maskepetoon, a Cree leader known for his efforts to make peace between the Cree and their longtime foes, the Blackfoot.

John Palliser didn't form a good impression of the Elbow. In fact, he turned up his nose at a huge chunk of what are now southern Saskatchewan and Alberta. This region came to be called the Palliser Triangle. The unenthusiastic Palliser described it as not suitable for settlement. In his opinion it was too dry, too flat, sometimes too hot, and sometimes too cold.

When I was growing up, my parents and other immigrants occasionally scoffed at Palliser's verdict. Weren't they living proof that his Triangle including the Elbow was a good place to make a new life for those willing to work hard?

Henry Youle Hind would have agreed. This government geologist explored the region in 1857 and 1858. His reports helped draw people's attention to its possibilities for pioneering.

The first known pioneer settler at the Elbow was James Middaugh. He started ranching near the Aiktow Creek in 1898. By the early 1900s, a number of other pioneers had joined him at the Elbow. They arrived from eastern Canada, the United States, and Europe. In 1909 the railway came through, and the village of Elbow was born.

I've mentioned only a few of the events Ms Soggie documents. She describes many others, from Aboriginals praying near a gigantic bison-shaped rock…to fire falling from heaven (possibly a meteor)…to the British Earl of Southesk's hunting adventures at the Elbow.

On the other hand, her book says little about the Elbow's settlers and their descendants. It doesn't chronicle the development of farming, or of businesses, schools, churches, roads, streets, telephone service, or municipal government. That's fair enough. Much of that information is found in community-produced books such as Homestead Days, More Memories, From Mouldboard to Metric, and Our Heritage: A View from the Butte.

Soggie's book is written in a serious, scholarly tone lightened by flashes of humour, occasional dialogue, and dramatic anecdotes. Occasionally she includes too much detail for my taste. As poet Maya Angelou said, "The facts sometimes obscure the truth." However, Looking for Aiktow is still a good read, and the aptly chosen maps and photographs add to its appeal. End notes and a bibliography appear at the back of the book. I would have liked to see an index there too. Perhaps this could be included in a reprint.

Looking for Aiktow is a 123-page $20 paperback available in stores including the following:
-In Moose Jaw, Yvette Moore Gallery, Western Development Museum, and Moose Jaw Art Gallery gift shop.
-In Regina, Royal Saskatchewan Museum gift shop.
-In Saskatoon, McNally Robinson Booksellers and Saskatchewan Archaeological Society book store.
It can also be ordered directly from the author. Send a note and cheque for $25 ($20 for the book, $5 postage and handling) to J. Soggie, P.O. Box 251, Elbow, SK S0H 1J0, or email her at

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

book-tour adventures

Selling one’s book on tour can be frustrating though amusing:


Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books, editor of many others,,,



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

misteaks writeurs make

Five mistakes writers make and how to avoid them. Good article at


Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books, editor of many others,,,



Monday, August 18, 2014

review of Destiny's Hands by Violet Nesdoly

"When Israel was in Egypt's land, let my people go, oppressed so hard they could not stand, let my people go."


Many of us know that old song. We know that God delivered the Israelites from slavery and led them into the desert, where they built a tabernacle to honor him. I've read the story many times in the second book of the Bible, Exodus. However, I view the narrative in a new way after reading Violet Nesdoly's book Destiny's Hands.


She presents it through the eyes of Bezalel, a young Israelite skilled in designing and creating artistic works from precious metals, gemstones, and other materials. The Bible first mentions him near the end of Exodus: "See, the Lord hath called by name Bezalel…and he hath filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship." Exodus 35: 30, 31.


Nesdoly, on the other hand, introduces Bezalel at the beginning of the story. We encounter him working for the Egyptians, helping to form the gods they worship. His life is fulfilling, enjoyable, and not difficult. His Egyptian masters treat him well because they value his talents. On the other hand, young Bezalel is well aware of how his fellow Israelites suffer, forced to spend long days making bricks under the blazing sun.


Then Moses and Aaron arrive with an astonishing message: Trust and obey Yahweh. He will deliver you from slavery.


Bezalel is caught between the Egyptian world and the new life promised by Moses and Aaron. Though tempted to stay in Egypt, he accompanies his family and the other Israelites out of the land. During their escape and afterwards, he experiences one miracle of Yahweh after another. Nevertheless he still struggles with divided loyalties. Bezalel's conversion is no instantaneous, once-for-all event.


At the heart of many of his struggles is his ability to create with his hands. He wears an Egyptian amulet that he believes he needs in order to continue to be creative. The problem is, his faith tells him he should remove the amulet because it's a symbol of the old life. Finally he decides to shed it, though in doing so he thinks he may be saying goodbye to his talents forever.


The young man's courageous action reminds me of a story told about the brilliant Canadian poet Margaret Avison. Her decision to follow Christ was difficult because she felt that if she did, she'd never write again. She thought she'd need to leave her brains and imagination at the door when entering the Christian fold. As it turned out, she produced some of her best poetry after her conversion.


Similarly, Bezalel finds his greatest fulfillment after surrendering his abilities completely to God. In the end, he and his friend Aholiab are put in charge of other craftspeople in creating the beautiful things required for the tabernacle.


The author of Destiny's Hands is a good plotter, skillfully presenting conflicts in Bezalel's personal life within the larger context of the Israelites' experiences. She knows how to pace a narrative. Action is presented with just enough detail. A masterful example is her description of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Yet she doesn't pile action on action without giving us time to think about it and its effect on the characters, especially Bezalel.


Nesdoly starts in his viewpoint and never strays from it. We as readers are there with him all the time, thinking his thoughts and experiencing his feelings.


I found the story inspiring spiritually. Nesdoly has a way of conveying big truths in small sentences. For example, regarding trust: "God has heard and will answer." Regarding commitment: "After I saw the power of Yahweh, I wanted to follow him alone." Regarding human responsibility: "God seems to require action on our part to bring his miracles to pass." Regarding the source and use of abilities: "Who created you with your talent? Yahweh has a destiny for your hands."


The prologue to Destiny's Hands shows us Bezalel at age ten. I enjoyed seeing him in the context of boyhood friendships and family. However, I think the prologue might have been omitted. It makes the reader suspect this is a story for children. It isn't. On the other hand, I'm not sure who the novel is aimed at, young adults or adults. There's something about its tone and sensibilities that make it seem like a young adult book. However, I as an adult enjoyed it and feel I'm a better person for having read it. That's no puny recommendation.





Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books, editor of many others,,,



Friday, August 15, 2014

Can tolerance of other cultures & beliefs go too far?

Australia says yes -- This will be the second time Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has done this. She isn't backing down on her hard-line stance and one has to appreciate her belief in the rights of Australians. A breath of fresh air to see someone lead with guts and determination. 

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were recently told to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks. 

Separately, Gillard angered some Australian Muslims by saying she supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques. Quote: 'IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT... Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture.
 Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians. 

'This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom. 

'We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language. 

'Most Australians believe in God.
 This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.'

'We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us. 

'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs,
 or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.

'If you aren't happy here then LEAVE.
 We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country that accepted you.’

IF we circulate this among ourselves in Canada & USA, maybe we will find the courage to start speaking and voicing the same truths. 


Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books, editor of many others,,,



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

for Catholic homeschoolers

Homeschool Connections offers an array of online courses for homeschoolers, from a Catholic perspective:


Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books published in Canada and the USA, editor of many more,,,


Sunday, August 10, 2014

need freelance proofreading, light editing, and/or research?

A Christian friend of mine, Sita Henderson, is seeking freelance proofreading, light editing, and/or research projects. She lives in the Toronto area [Mississauga] but with computer technology being what it is, she could theoretically work for anyone anywhere. Following is Sita’s impressive and inspiring resume. If you’re interested, please contact her: e-mail, phone 905 507-1734.




Working Philosophy:

To pursue excellence by developing my diverse skills while serving with integrity.





University of Waterloo:                                   Certificate in Keys to Effective Editing.

University of Toronto, Woodsworth College:                                         TESL Certificate.

York University:                                                              B.A., Sociology *Dean's Honour List.

Tyndale University:                                                          Certificate in General Studies.

Seneca College:                      Diploma, Accounting and Finance *graduated with Honours.





§  Computer/internet savvy.

§  Writing manuals and/or detailed job descriptions.

§  Writing/Light Editing/Proofreading.

§  Problem solving and research.

§  Data entry and record maintenance.

§  Ability to work independently with attention to detail.




§  Personal blog: Sita’s Sanctum (2007 to present).

§  Overseas worker’s blog: Vedya’s Tings (Mar.2012 to present).

§  Christian Reader, Jan./Feb.2001 issue, Filler, pg.12.

§  This Christian Life, Jan.2001, A Perfectionist’s Quest.

§  Crushed For Fragrance, Sept.2001, Virtual Reality Victory.



v  English, native proficiency in speech and writing.

v  Spanish, working knowledge.



v  Blogging/Writing.

v  Reading.

v  Table tennis.

v  Bible-study.








v  Proofreader/Editor. (Helping with newsletters and blog.)

v  Library assistant, checking-in/out books, re-shelving, coding books.

(Timothy Christian School.)

v  Small group leader assistant. (Rexdale Alliance Church.)

v  Private ESL tutor. (Self-employed)

v  Assistant ESL/Literacy teacher. (COSTI / North York Board of Education.)

v  Cross-cultural facilitator / Small Group leader.

U of Toronto/York U International Student Group-IVCF.

v  Treasurer.  (World Team Youth Fellowship of Trinidad & Tobago.)

v  Youth Camp Counsellor. (Victory Heights Youth Camp – Trinidad & Tobago.)






§  Finance Support - Accounts Payable - C&MA National Ministry Centre –          2004-2006.

**Key accomplishment: compiled manual for new customized ACCPAC A/P program.


§  Welfare Visitor - Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Social Services -   1992-94; 1994-96.


§  Accounting Assistant - Yorkville Bellair Ltd. -                                           1986-91.



§  Bookkeeper - St. Raphael's Nursing Home -                                               1980-83.
















Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Catholic film contest: Tuscany

Here’s a contest for films with a Catholic perspective. Deadline October 31, 2014. Entry fee $40.


Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books published in Canada and the USA, editor of many more,,,


worst ways to start a novel

Agents talk about baaad ways to begin a novel:


Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books published in Canada and the USA, editor of many more,,,


Monday, August 4, 2014

Abingdon Press pulling back

Abingdon Press is pulling back on inspirational fiction and Christian living titles. More at


Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books published in Canada and the USA, editor of many more,,,


Friday, August 1, 2014

how much do publications pay freelancers?

Some answers are at:


Elma Schemenauer, author of 75 books published in Canada and the USA, editor of many more,,,