Monday, October 31, 2016

resource for writers

This looks like a good resource for writers. It covers LOTS of topics. Ultimate Internet Writers Directory, .


Thursday, October 27, 2016

contest for published works by Canadian writers who are Christian

Are you a Canadian writer who is Christian? You may be interested in this contest. It includes a number of different categories for books and other works published in 2016. Deadline for submissions is January 16, 2017. .

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

writing opportunity: funny short stories 250 to 500 words

Have you written a funny short story of 250 to 500 words? Or can you write one? Or can you write a funny monologue that length? You may want to check out this website: .

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

want more reviews for your Christian book?

Have you had a Christian book published? Would you like to get more reviews for it? You might investigate the free service described at this website: . I don’t know anything about it but it sounds interesting.

poetry contest for people of faith, especially Catholics

Poetry contest for people of faith, especially Catholics: . Deadline is Nov 1.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

smiling speakers at Penticton writers festival April 2017

Hey, I’m in the smiling-speaker lineup for the Okanagan Valley Writers Festival in Penticton, BC, April 9-7, 2017: . I’m slated to give 3 workshops:

-Catching Readers’ Attention: Hooks and Bait

-Fiction Flaws: Find Them, Fix Them

-Fictionalizing Real Life

Please pass this info on to folks who may be interested.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

determining & working toward authorship goals

So you want to be an author. Why? What are your authorship goals? How can you work toward them? Good article here: .


Sunday, October 9, 2016

opportunities for writers: Spirit Fire & Indiana Voice

Spirit Fire Review is a magazine open to Christian poetry, creative nonfiction, visual art, and music, especially works celebrating the Holy Spirit:


Its sister publication, Indiana Voice Journal, is open to general works of various types: poetry, fiction, etc. These works don’t need to be specifically Christian:


Thursday, October 6, 2016

why we must not let newspapers die ....

This is funny, also contains useful lessons on how not to write.


On 5 October 2016 at 20:55, dennis drobot <> wrote:



subject: Why we must not let newspapers die ....


Why we must not let newspapers die ....

























And finally... 







Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Mennonite Child's Thanksgiving in 1940s Saskatchewan by Elma (Martens) Schemenauer

When I was growing up on the Saskatchewan prairie during the 1940s, Thanksgiving meant all-day church. We Mennonites called the holiday Erntedankfest since High German was our language of worship.


Before the morning service, several women of the congregation decorated the church. They arranged cabbages and baskets of other vegetables near the pulpit. They set loaves of homemade Bultki—white bread—on the pump organ, along with bouquets of sunflowers and other flowers. Some bouquets graced the windowsills.


The service started with a hymn: Nun Danket Alle Gott (Now Thank We All Our God) or similar. This was followed by Scripture reading and prayer, led by whichever man of the congregation had been asked to "have the opening."  Then came the main event: preaching by two or more visiting Prediger (preachers).


One preacher made a particular impression on me as a child. He began by telling the story of Adam and Eve. I knew it from Sunday School. However, this time, I didn't pay much attention because the preacher was using grownup language.


As the church grew warm, I leaned against my mother's arm and drifted off to sleep.


I woke with a start as the preacher shouted, "We are all children of disobedient Adam and Eve!" He pounded his Bible, his eyes bulging. "Like our first parents, Adam and Eve, we are sinners. We lie. We steal. We are unkind, jealous, greedy, selfish. Even little children wilfully disobey their parents."


I squirmed in my Sunday dress.


"God is holy," the preacher continued. "He cannot overlook sin. We all deserve His punishment."


He glanced at the clock, shut his Bible, and stepped down from the pulpit. Apparently that was the end.


A sense of doom clutched my heart during the closing prayer.


My father and the other men of the congregation didn't seem concerned. They began matter-of-factly lifting the benches aside and setting up sawhorse tables for the noon meal.


How could they act so calm? How could the women so cheerfully call to each other as they spread tablecloths on the tables and brought the food from the shady side of the church, where they had left it in tubs of cold water?


How could the teenage girls laugh and talk as they set out the food: sausages, ham, cheese, potato salads, jellied salads, buns, and pickles, aware of the teenage boys watching them? Why wasn't everyone cowering under the benches, trembling in expectation of God's punishment as announced by the preacher?


I might have asked my mother, but I doubt if I could have found the words. Anyway she and the other women were busy chatting, pouring coffee from the Thermoses, feeding the children, eating quickly themselves, and then clearing the tables and washing the dishes.


At last the tables were down and the benches were back in place for church. Impatiently I waited for the first preacher to finish so we could hear further news from the second, who had introduced the topic of impending judgement that morning.


Finally it was the second preacher's turn. He opened his Bible. "Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross," he said. "He took the punishment for our sins. If we tell God we’re sorry, He forgives us. He takes away our sins because of what Jesus did."


My heart stirred. It seemed there was hope after all. Actually I recalled hearing something like this before, but I had forgotten how it went.


"Jesus comes and lives in our hearts," the preacher continued. "He helps us not to sin. He helps us live in a way that pleases God and makes us truly happy."


My sense of doom lifted. If we wanted a way out, there it was. I'm not sure how much of the message I personally applied at the time, but it planted seedlings that bloom in my heart and mind to this day:


-There's no point pretending. Call the darkness darkness.


-Cry out in the darkness, reach out at the end of yourself, and there will be a crack of light. Follow the light.


-Out of despair, hope.


-Out of weakness, strength.


-Out of meekness, power.


-Out of death, resurrection.


-Ultimate answers exist.


Years later this incident and others from my prairie childhood inspired me to write my 1940s-era novel CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS. The story, set in Vancouver and rural Saskatchewan, is about love, Mennonites, faith, despair, and ultimately hope. It's loosely based on the lives of my parents and other Mennonite relatives from Russia.


CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS is a 299-page paperback available online from Chapters Indigo or the publisher, Borealis Press of Ottawa . Or ask in a bookstore or library. For more information, please see .








Tuesday, October 4, 2016

FINDING SARAH, FINDING ME: A BIRTH MOTHER'S STORY by Christine Lindsay, review by Elma Schemenauer

It's 1978 and Christine, a young woman in British Columbia's Fraser Valley, is a Christian whose unbelieving boyfriend has only a "skim-milk" love for her. When she tells him she's expecting his baby, he says it "doesn't feel like it has anything to do with me." 

It's heart-wrenching for Christine to contemplate giving up her baby, but she decides adoption would be the best option for the child. She asks an organization called Hope Adoption (since closed) to help her find suitable adoptive parents. Her one condition is that "the adoptive parents believe in Jesus Christ...must act like Jesus wants people to act." 

Bob Trainor of Hope Adoption presents several possibilities to the pregnant Christine. He doesn't give names or other identifying details, just general information. He mentions one prospective mother who "gave up her teaching position because she believes God will give her a baby this year." That woman's faith touches Christine's heart. She chooses the teacher and husband.

In February 1979 Christine gives birth to a beautiful little girl and gives her to the chosen couple, whose identity remains unknown to her. Later Christine marries an understanding and supportive man and has other children. However, she always wonders about Sarah, the little girl she gave away. Should she search for her or leave well enough alone? Every year around Sarah's birthday, Christine receives pink flowers in church or elsewhere. She takes this as a sign from God that she should try to find Sarah, who by this time would be twenty years old.

Christine eventually discovers where Sarah is, establishes communication, and arranges to meet her. Sarah arrives with a bouquet of pink carnations and her fiancé, Mark. The meeting is cordial and the young couple are evidently Christians, both studying to be nurses. However, Christine doesn't feel the spiritual, emotional, and psychological connection she had hoped for. She says "the bond I've carried in my heart for Sarah never existed for her....The little girl I've imagined all these years and loved was truly a phantom....She is my daughter, but not my daughter."

Sarah and Mark invite Christine and her family to their wedding. Christine, hurt because they're invited only to the ceremony and not the reception, doesn't want to attend. Finally she's persuaded to do so, along with some of her family. However, she doesn't identify herself to the ushers, so she misses out on the corsage and invitation to the reception that Sarah and Mark have arranged for.
During the first ten years of Sarah and Mark's marriage, Christine sees them occasionally but their relationship isn't close. It improves slowly, especially after Sarah announces that she and Mark are going to become missionary nurses.

These are the outlines of Christine Lindsay's moving memoir. She writes it well, as one would expect from a seasoned author of several successful novels. Throughout Christine's journey she is encouraged by the stories of Biblical characters including Hagar, Ruth, and Hannah. Sarah's adoptive mother, Anne Vander Bos, is also encouraged by Hannah's story. Interestingly Anne and her husband were considering the name Sarah before they knew they would receive a child whose birth mother had named her Sarah.

The story isn't all pink flowers and sunshine. There's lots of sadness in it, lots of puzzlement and disappointment, but Christine clings to the belief that God will work it out for the best. Her narrative will inspire and inform people personally touched by adoption, as well as general readers. 

Interspersed between segments of Christine's story are short accounts by others whose lives have involved adoption in one way or another. They include Anna of Oregon, Cathy of Bermuda, Levi of Manitoba, Susan of South Africa, and Sarah of the Fraser Valley (Christine's Sarah).

All profits from the sale of FINDING SARAH, FINDING ME: A BIRTH MOTHER'S STORY go to Global Aid Network's Women's and Children's Initiative, which focuses mainly on working with orphans and fatherless children.

FINDING SARAH, FINDING ME: A BIRTH MOTHER'S STORY by Christine Lindsay is 233 pages long and was published in August 2016 by WhiteFire Publishing of Cumberland, Maryland. ISBN 978-1-9390 23-82-7 (digital), 978-1-9390 23-81-0 (print). Available from,, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere.

Monday, October 3, 2016

CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS is in Central Butte, Saskatchewan

Bob & I enjoyed visiting Central Butte, Saskatchewan, in early September. Nice murals, up-and-coming restaurants, good grocery store. My 1940s Saskatchewan Mennonite novel CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS is available in Galloway's Pharmacy on the main street. As you can see in the picture, Joan Soggie’s historical book LOOKING FOR AIKTOW is there too.