Tuesday, April 25, 2017

using sensory language to make your writing come alive

Good article here including strong examples: http://tinyurl.com/mane9ju .

writing opportunity for Greater Edmonton Area seniors

Strathcona Place



Award prizes of $500 available for writers aged 55-plus


The Strathcona Place Seniors Society of Edmonton is seeking entries for the 2017 edition of the John W. Bilsland Award. Inaugurated in 2015 to celebrate and foster the creativity of older writers, this year the award is being expanded in geographical scope.


Writers aged 55 years and older who live in the Greater Edmonton Area are eligible to submit work to be considered for this year’s award.  Prizes of $500 will be awarded in each of three categories: short fiction, short non-fiction and poetry.


The deadline for award submissions is June 22, 2017.


For entry rules and regulations, and to download an entry form, go to www.strathconaplace.com. Entry forms are also available at the Strathcona Place Senior Centre, 10831 University Avenue. For further information email strathconaplace@outlook.com.


The late John W. Bilsland, MA (British Columbia), PhD. (Toronto), was Professor of English at the University of Alberta. In addition to his 30-year professional teaching career, as a volunteer he taught creative writing at the Strathcona Place Senior Centre for more than 25 years. During that time seniors who attended his classes produced more than 20 publications, including books.


Strathcona Place Seniors Centre has been serving older adults in south Edmonton for 43 years, providing a range of social and recreational programs.


Please publish in your newsletter and/or circulate to your membership.


Monday, April 17, 2017

can you write about an anniversary in 50 words or less?

On The Premises, an online magazine, is running another mini-contest. Here’s what they say about it: “Show, tell, or evoke a complete story in no more than 50 words in which the idea of some kind of anniversary plays a part. Remember we value creativity so the most obvious ideas might not be the ones most likely to win (unless they are REALLY well done, because we care about quality, too).

One entry per author. No fee for entering. Maximum length of 50 words.

Deadline: Friday, May 5, 2017, 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

Hyphenated Words: If the hyphenated word is generally considered a single word, it counts as one word. (Like "twenty-five" or "jack-o-lantern.") Otherwise each part of the hyphenated word counts separately.

Prizes: $25 for first, $15 for second, $10 for third. Honorable mentions get published but make no money.

To submit, go to https://onthepremises.submittable.com/Submit and follow the instructions. If you don't already have a (free) Submittable account, you'll be prompted to make one.”


Saturday, April 15, 2017

a couple of writing contests

David Greber award for freelance writers living in Canada and writing on topics relating to social justice. There’s a book award, also an award for a magazine article. Deadline for both June 16, 2017

http://www.greberwritingaward.com/ .


Mother Tongue novel contest for authors living in BC. $40 entry fee, deadline August 1, 2017  http://www.mothertonguepublishing.com/contest/great-bc-novel-contest.html


Want to beat writer's block? BookBaby advises.

Want to write but can’t make yourself do it? This article gives 21 tips for beating that discouraging condition: http://tinyurl.com/mdlt68c . [Picture courtesy of Pixabay.]

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Canada 150 BRAIN-TEASER 1

Canada 150 BRAIN-TEASER Canadian landscape artists formed the Group of Seven in 1920, three years after artist Tom Thomson's mysterious death. True or False? For the full story, see my book YesterCanada: Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure. It's available online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo, or the publisher, Borealis Press of Ottawa. [Photo of Tom fishing from the Library and Archives Canada]


Monday, April 10, 2017

Shirley Dodding's review of YesterCanada: Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure

I just want to write you a note about your wonderful book:  YesterCanada. 


We have just returned from California and I read your wonderful pieces on the plane going there and coming back.  I am extremely impressed with the facts, knowledge and expertise you showed in how to write non-fiction and make it come alive.


Each story was brimming with colour whether it be in the tale itself or in the trees, landscape or the emotional feelings of the people.  I could feel them, I could walk with them and I could see how they felt in every aspect of their life and journey.


Thank you, Elma, for such a rich tapestry of Canada, our heritage and

our proud lifestyle.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

grammatically challenged?

For anyone who feels grammatically challenged, there are short to-the-point grammar lessons at the following website. They seem to be free: https://www.englishgrammar101.com/

Monday, March 27, 2017

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, & Canada's past

Visiting the city of Moose Jaw was exciting for me when I was growing up on the prairie east of Elbow, Saskatchewan. I'm pleased to see the Moose Jaw Express publish this nice article by Sasha-Gay Lobban.

(Photo of Moose Jaw signs by Deb MacFadden, Flickr Creative Commons.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Sask. born author writes book for Canada’s 150th birthday
by Sasha-Gay Lobban

Saskatchewan’s own Elma (Martens)
Schemenauer has written a compelling
book that documents 30 historical tales
spanning this great land and the centuries
from the 1200s to the 1900s.

Born and raised east of Elbow, near
Davidson, Outlook, and Central Butte,
Schemenauer loves Canada and its his-
tory. She is especially interested in the
story of Finnish-born immigrant Tom Su-
kanen, who farmed near where she grew

Published by Borealis Press of Otta-
wa, YesterCanada presents 30 historical
tales that have intrigued people of the
province for many years. Schemenauer
has brought these tales to life.

Some of the mysteries you’ll find in its
pages are: Where in the icy Arctic is the
lost Vancouver-based ship Baychimo?
What strange power rang the chapel bell
in Tadoussac, Quebec one foggy April
night in 1782? How did painter Tom
Thomson die? Is the ten-armed monster
of Newfoundland real or imaginary?

In addition, you’ll also meet adventurers
like Dr. Elizabeth Scott Matheson of
Onion Lake, Saskatchewan; Ontario’s
daring Lady Agnes Macdonald; devout
Nova Scotia pioneers; gold-seekers of
Alberta; and a Manitoba Cree chief who
gave his life for the woman he loved.

Schemenauer says the City of Moose
Jaw was an exciting place for her that
helped to broaden her horizons. “When
I was growing up near Elbow, Saskatch-
ewan, the city of Moose Jaw was an ex-
citing place for me. I loved visiting the
Wild Animal Park and shopping with my
mother. My experiences in this vibrant
city helped expand my horizons. They
contributed to my identity as a Canadian
who is delighted to share my country’s
rich story-telling traditions. I’m especially
interested in Christian faith, values, and
the adventures they inspire.”

Schemenauer spoke with the Moose Jaw
Express and revealed what inspired her to
document these stories.

- YesterCanada’s 30 stories present as-
pects of Canadian history unknown to
many people. The stories appeal to the
senses and emotions. Reviewer Violet
Nesdoly says they put readers “right into
the various Canadian settings these sto-
ries inhabit, from the grassy fragrance
of the Saskatchewan prairie, to the bone
chill of the Arctic, to the salt spray of the
seaboards, east and west.”

- My father, Peter J. Martens of Elbow
(1914-2014), loved telling stories of the
past. He brought them to life, often acting
out the parts of all the characters includ-
ing the animals. His storytelling and his
love of Canada inspired me as a child.

As an adult I spent many years working in
publishing in Toronto. During those years
I had opportunities to write a number of
historical and partly historical books.

My husband, Robert S. Schemenauer,
born and raised in Prince Albert, was my
greatest inspiration. He is a scientist who
loves history, pre-history, mystery, and
historical puzzles. He found some of the
stories in YesterCanada, and helped me
chase down the details I needed to write

- I worked on some of the stories for
many years. In some cases, information
became available slowly over a long
period of time. For example, artist Tom
Thomson’s death is a 100-year-old mys-
tery that remains unsolved to this day.
People still investigate it and write new
articles and books.

- Usually I would notice a story or part
of a story somewhere, and become in-
trigued enough to look for more infor-
mation. I combed through history books,
biographies, diaries, old letters, books of
folklore and Aboriginal legends, periodi-
cals, museums, and Internet sites. When
possible I also interviewed people who
were involved in the stories. For exam-
ple, I had the privilege of interviewing
Laurence ‘Moon’ Mullin of Moose Jaw
(1910-2003). Mullin played a key role
in the story “Saskatchewan’s Dryland
Steamboat.” It’s about Finnish immigrant
Tom Sukanen, who built an ocean-going
vessel far from any ocean. His vessel is
now displayed at the Sukanen Ship Pio-
neer Village & Museum south of Moose

When possible I also visited areas
where the stories took place. For exam-
ple, I visited Old Wives Lake, setting of
the story “The Laughing Grandmothers
of Old Wives Lake.” It’s based on an Ab-
original legend.

- Knowing more about our country’s his-
tory boosts our sense of identity as Cana-
dians. It helps us understand what Cana-
da is all about, and who we ourselves are.
It helps us count the blessings we enjoy
today compared with the challenges peo-
ple faced in the past. We can also learn
from our forerunners’ faults, mistakes,
and misfortunes. Perhaps most import-
ant, reading historical tales is fun and

YesterCanada can be picked up at your
nearest bookstore or library or order on-
line from Chapters Indigo http://tinyurl.
com/jkuuje3 , Amazon.ca http://tinyurl.
com/jjq5uy3 , or the publisher, Borealis
Press http://tinyurl.com/hwn3m6x . Also
find out more Schemenauer on her web
-site http://elmams.wix.com/canada

why agents & editors may reject a good book: 8 reasons

Interesting article giving 8 reasons why agents & editors may reject even a good book: https://tinyurl.com/kgz9og8

Friday, March 24, 2017

Interviews and Reviews: Connecting Christian Readers to Christian Authors

Interviews and Reviews: Connecting Christian Readers to Christian Authors is an interesting website. Kelly Miller's review of my book YesterCanada: Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure is at http://bit.ly/2mE8i0R  .Thanks, Kelly.

White City Star [Saskatchewan] article about YesterCanada

White City is a relatively new community 10 min east of Regina, SK. The White City Star just published Robyn Tocker's article about my book YesterCanada. Robyn is an editor, reporter, and book author. Thanks, Robyn!

8 TheSTAR | Serving White City, Emerald Park, Pilot Butte, Balgonie & surrounding areas | Friday, March 24, 2017



Sask. author publishes historical

adventures of Canadians

Robyn Tocker


Elma Schemenauer has written over

70 books and her most recent release

celebrates Canada’s history, just

in time for Canada’s 150th birthday.

Schemenauer grew up east of Elbow,

Sask. She now lives in B.C., but she and

her husband frequently travel to Saskatchewan

to learn more about Canada’s

history and its people.

Schemenauer started writing in the

late 1960s. Since then, she has published

77 books, the majority children’s


“I always wanted to be a writer, but

growing up on a farm in Saskatchewan,

I didn’t have much idea of how

to be a writer. We didn’t even have a

newspaper in Elbow. There wasn’t any

idea of how you could actually be a

writer, so it took me a while,” she said.

Schemenauer became a teacher

instead and taught

Saskatchewan’s children. While on a

teacher exchange program in Nova

Scotia, she decided to make a career


“I thought, ‘If I’m ever going to be a

writer, I should just do it,’” she said.

Schemenauer went from Nova Scotia

to Toronto to find work in the publishing

industry. The move from rural

Saskatchewan to big city Toronto

wasn’t easy, but Schemenauer did it.

She found a job at a magazine called

the Canadian Chartered Accountant.

“It was a start; out of that I got hired

by a publishing company,” she said.

“That’s when I started writing and I

couldn’t believe I was actually hired

to write. I had this image of a writer

just being somewhere alone trying to

write and trying to get something published,

which is what most writers go

through. In my case I got really lucky.”

After eight years, Schemenauer became

a freelance writer and worked

on educational children’s books.

Schemenauer’s latest book, Yester-

Canada: Historical Tales of Mystery

and Adventure, tells 30 historical tales

about everyday Canadians spanning

from the 1200s to the 1900s. A few of

these mysteries include: Where in the

icy Arctic is the lost Vancouver-based

ship Baychimo? What strange power

rang the chapel bell in Tadoussac,

Quebec one foggy April night in 1782?

“I’ve always been interested in history

and my parents were interested

in it. My dad would tell stories around

the dinner table from history and I got

interested in it that way,” Schemenauer


“When I was working in

publishing in Toronto, I was having

to do a lot of work that had to do with

history, so it got me hooked into that.”

Schemenauer chose these 30 stories for

her latest book because they interested her.

“They are stories that grab me, mostly

because there’s a human interest. I

like ordinary people and most of them

are about ordinary people,” she said.

“There are some there about people we

all know, like John A. MacDonald.”

A lot of research went into this book.

Schemenauer said she read books, magazines

and newspapers; interviewed

people and traveled a great deal.

“I did a lot of research in libraries

in Toronto,” she said. “In some cases,

I was able to interview people who

were first-hand with the story, who

knew something about the story.”

Writing this book was an “emotional

adventure” for Schemenauer.

“I got really hooked into the stories.

I was very involved in them personally,”

she said. “My husband likes this

kind of thing too, so we did a lot of

driving around to visit the sites where

these things took place … We went to

see the sites of these places wherever

we could.”

Schemenauer said she hopes people

are entertained by her collection of

mysteries and adventures.

“I want them to get some sense of

what life was like in the past, what

people had to put up with,” she said.

“Some of those people – it’s incredible

what they put up with. They managed

to be brave and continued to do it.”

She hopes readers notice the strong

values prevalent in her book.

“I’m drawn to that kind of story.

There are lots of stories you could write

about Canada’s past, and some of them

the values in them would be pretty

bad, but I hope to instil good values

like courage and reliability and things

like that,” she said.

[YesterCanada is a 248-page paperback, $19.95. If you're interested, ask for it in a store or library. Or order online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo, or the publisher, Borealis Press of Ottawa.]