Tuesday, October 3, 2017

nervous about doing an author reading or talk?

Encouraging, funny article here by writer & cartoonist Bob Eckstein: http://tinyurl.com/y7sknv5t .

Monday, October 2, 2017

WAITING FOR MESSIAH by David Russell: review by Elma Schemenauer

"Nourish us with sacred story till we claim it as our own." In our church we often sing these words, which are part of the hymn "As We Gather at your Table." I believe the book WAITING FOR MESSIAH edited by David Russell can be a helpful resource in this regard. It's a collection of stories about Christ from a Messianic Jewish point of view.

 

The stories, written by several authors including Russell himself, are based on imagining the lives of known Bible figures who waited for Messiah. They reflect the heart cry that, in the words of Russell, "continues down the centuries from ancient Yisrael to modern Indiana and everywhere in between."

 

The word list near the beginning of the book is useful for people who, like myself, aren't terribly familiar with Hebrew. It includes terms such as Adonai (Lord God), Avraham Avinu (Abraham our father), Berakhah (Blessing), and Tehillim (Psalms).

 

The book contains eleven stories. These stood out for me:

 

-"A Mother's Tale" by Karen Hopkins. Scenes from the life of Miryam, mother of Yeshua. When taunted for getting pregnant before marriage, she says, "Every baby is a blessing... And this baby is a very special blessing."

 

-"One Glorious Night" by Ronnie Dauber. A young shepherd recounts the birth of "the ultimate lamb."

 

-"Free at Last" by Ugonmaeze Akandu. When the elderly Simeon meets the Holy Family in the temple, He realizes that God has kept His promise and will finally let His servant go in peace.

 

-"Yeshua the Rabbi" by David Russell. In Yeshua's hometown, Natzeret, many people reject him. The narrator of the story isn't sure what to think. He says, "We've got other possible messiahs running around, but Yeshua, there's something about him the others cannot claim to possess."

 

-"In Full Unity" by Donna B. Comeau. A woman weaves a seamless garment with no idea of who will wear it. She worries that she's acting foolishly. When she meets Yeshua, she knows that God led her to weave it for Him. I like this story's specific details about the woman's living conditions, for example, "Her roof had a beam that ran from wall to wall, and atop was a healthy crop of grass, barley, and the dying beginnings of a fig tree that wouldn't survive the summer's heat."

 

-"Redemption of a Thief" by Glenda Reynolds. A thief who murders a young man sees Yeshua raise him from the dead. The miracle impresses the thief, who says "I carried on with my life of crime, but I was not the same thief after that day." Eventually he is sentenced to death for his many crimes. As he hangs on his cross beside Yeshua, he says, "Remember me when you come into your kingdom." Yeshua's answer: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”

 

Brief notes after each story tell something about the author and where he or she may be reached. I think the book would be a good read for both adults and young adults.

 

WAITING FOR MESSIAH is available as an e-book for $3.89 American at this site: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=waiting+for+messiah

 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Jane Friedman on using social media to promote your writing

How do you feel about using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your writing? Confident? Terrified? Cautious? Puzzled? Good thoughts from publishing guru Jane Friedman here: http://tinyurl.com/y9jpe8hj .

 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Are you looking for an editor?

Looking for an editor? Consider Blazej Szpakowicz, a member of the Kamloops-based Interior Authors Group. Here’s his curriculum vitae.

 

 

Blazej Szpakowicz: writer, editor, historian, language nerd.

 

I'm a Kamloops-based editor and writer with a BSc in Computer Science and a PhD in History. It will be my pleasure to polish your writing until it shines, and to help you communicate your ideas in the clearest and most eloquent language. My main areas of specialization are academic writing and speculative fiction, but I copyedit across all fiction and non-fiction genres. Short story? The next great Canadian novel? Position paper? Scientific article? Doctoral dissertation? Whatever you need, I've got you covered!

 

I have a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Ottawa, and have also completed Editors Canada professional development seminars in copyediting. I spent over fifteen years in academia as a student, teaching assistant and professor, and have extensive experience correcting students' papers not only for grammar and spelling but also for clarity of expression and strength of logical argument. I have critiqued or copyedited an array of fiction and non-fiction writing, ranging from history papers to science fiction and fantasy short stories to economics essays to corporate position papers, and my interests include such diverse topics as the history of the English language, Japanese anime and manga, British television, video games, and professional wrestling. I have also completed TESOL/TEFL certification, and much of my recent editorial experience involves working with writers for whom English is a second language.

 

As a writer, I have over fifteen years' experience in academic writing, including an award-winning Master's thesis in History at the University of Ottawa. I've also been writing science fiction and fantasy for about as long as I can remember. As a writer of fiction, I've critiqued and been critiqued—so I personally know how painful it can be to put your work out there and how important it is to treat authors with tact and respect.

 

You can find me in the Editors Canada Online Directory of Editors at http://www.editors.ca/directory/blazej-szpakowicz-phd

 

Feel free to contact me at bszpak@editors.ca with any questions or to arrange a sample edit!

 

--

Blazej Szpakowicz, PhD                 zek@eecs.uottawa.ca

                             zciwokapzs@gmail.com

 

 

Monday, September 11, 2017

finding a title for your work of nonfiction

Good article on Jane Friedman’s blog here: http://tinyurl.com/yaxjsp2r .

Sunday, September 3, 2017

recipe lemon pudding

In the last few years, quite a few foods don’t agree with me including dairy products unless cooked and most grains. Here’s a pudding that works and tastes delicious.

 

1 cup water

1 egg

3 tablespoons starch [arrowroot or tapioca][Cornstarch doesn't agree with me.]

 

Whisk together and cook, stirring constantly till it reaches a boil. Boil and stir about 1 minute till fairly thick. Remove from heat and stir in:

 

Juice and grated peel of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Honey to taste [1/2 cup or more]

 

Let cool a few minutes. Put plastic wrap directly on top of pudding to keep it from forming a skin and refrigerate until serving time. Serve plain or with ice cream, pouring cream, and/or fruit.

 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Kamloops an "agreeable last stop for poet Robert Service

Thanks to the Kamloops paper The Connector, which published my article about poet Robert Service in their June 2017 issue. 1st photo shows the Service plaque in Kamloops. 2nd shows him about the time he arrived (credit Library and Archives Canada). Here's my article:

An "agreeable" last stop for Service

Submitted by Elma Schemenauer

Robert Service was a shy awkward thirty-year-old when the Canadian Bank of Commerce transferred him to Kamloops in July 1904. He was sorry to leave Victoria, but found Kamloops "even more agreeable."

In his autobiographical book Ploughman of the Moon, Service describes his time in Kamloops, which he characterizes as "a town in the heart of the cattle country, with a river running alongside."

He and other employees lived in rooms above the bank. At that time the Kamloops branch was located at the southeast corner of Victoria Street and First Avenue, where Brendan Shaw Real Estate now makes its home. A Chinese cook prepared meals for the "bank boys."

Service wasn't a natural banker. He was too much of a dreamer to concentrate on numbers. He wrote in Ploughman of the Moon, "I knew I was not suited for the job; yet I had no hope in any other direction, and I was intensely grateful for the safety and social standing it offered."

Banking was a welcome change after the years he had spent as a drifter, wandering minstrel, potato-digger, orange-picker, cowboy, and "cow-juice jerker."

Service was pleased with the bank's undemanding schedule. It gave him lots of time to ride his pony over the area's "rolling ridges, or into spectral gulches that rose to ghostlier mountains....like the scenery of Mexico." He reports "meeting Indians, superb horsemen" and "making friends among the cattle ranchers. They gave dances in their lonely homes, and we (Service and pals) would ride back in the early hours of the morning."

Service also played polo in Kamloops, though he wasn't good at it. He says he "never could hit the ball with certainty."

What was he good at? Poetry-writing had tugged at his soul during his years of poverty and wandering. However, he hadn't developed his poetic gifts to a great extent.

As it turned out, Kamloops was the last stop on Service's road to literary fame. In the fall of 1904, the Canadian Bank of Commerce announced it was transferring him to Whitehorse in the Yukon. When other bank employees heard the news, they envied him. They had heard exciting stories about the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896-1899. The rush was over, but the thrill and romance lingered.

Service was sorry to leave Kamloops. He wrote that "life there had been delightful." Yet he felt a sense of destiny leading him on. He travelled to the Yukon with "an idea that a new and wonderful chapter in my life was about to begin."

It did. In the Yukon, Robert W. Service's gift for poetry blossomed like wildflowers in the brief Arctic summer. One of his best known ballads is "The Cremation of Sam McGee." It begins:

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

By the men who moil for gold;

The Arctic trails have their secret tales

That would make your blood run cold.

This grisly but entertaining ballad was inspired by a true event. Both the event and the writing of "The Cremation of Sam McGee" are described in my new book YesterCanada: Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure. For more info about the book, which presents 30 historical tales spanning Canada and the years from the 1200s to the 1900s, please see http://elmams.wixsite.com/elma .

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

"The schoolgirl, the ship-builder, and the Siberia-seeker" in Folklore magazine Spring 2017

Here’s a historical/biographical article of mine that appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Folklore magazine, published by The Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society.

 

The schoolgirl, the ship-builder, and the Siberia-seeker

 

By Elma (Martens) Schemenauer

 

In 1925 my mother, Agatha, was a ten-year-old Mennonite schoolgirl in Russia. In that year she and her family, like a number of other Mennonites, started their long journey to Saskatchewan. The family left their village and made their way to Moscow, then Latvia. Here, in my mother's own words, is a description of their sea and ocean crossings.

 

"We boarded a small ship to cross the North Sea to London, England. It was a bit rough and cold. For me, it was a great adventure. There was a dock strike, so we were sent on to Liverpool. After a few days in that foggy city, we boarded the steamship Montclair to cross over to Saint John, New Brunswick.

 

 

 

"The ocean was calm and the voyage pleasant with no delays. For me, who could get around, it was exciting. For Mother, it was harder as Dad was very seasick, even delirious. He wanted to throw our visas overboard. There were other families we knew, so one of the men took all our papers for safekeeping.

 

 

 

"We were fortunate in that our parents had enough money for the fare, since they had sold all their belongings before leaving their home. Some families borrowed money from the CPR. This was hard to pay back."

 

 

My mother goes on to describe the family's early experiences in Saskatchewan. Like many other immigrants, they had relatives who helped them.

 

"After disembarking from the ship in Saint John, we had a long trip by CPR train to Rosthern, Saskatchewan. We were a little early, so there was nobody to meet us at the station. After we made some enquiries, a Mr. Ens, if to a relative, took us to mother's grandparents on a farm near Waldheim. They were Jacob and Elizabeth Epp, parents of my Grandmother Maria.

 

 

"My mother's Aunt Margaret (daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth Epp) and her husband, Peter Friesen, came to visit and took us to their farm at Laird, Saskatchewan. This was on December 17, 1925, a few days before Christmas. It was interesting to be in the lovely, large farmhouse. Going to a Canadian Sunday School concert was different, warm, and friendly.

 

 

"Sophie, the youngest child in the family of Margaret and Peter Friesen, was about five at the time. All that winter we played together—my two little brothers and Sophie and I. Dad and Mother worked for our keep."

 

 

Eventually Agatha and family headed out on their own.

 

"In the spring we were fortunate to move to a nearby farmhouse. While there, lightning struck the telephone wire, which had been cut and left bare. Mother tried to put out the fire with a wet cloth and received a shock. Then she threw water on the fire. I heard her pray for protection in this strange new land.

 

 

 

"I had missed school all winter. Stony Hill school was not far away, and this is where I walked with a neighbour's girl. To a great extent, it was she who taught me to speak English. School was not hard for me, seeing I had taken some subjects before.

 

 

 

"By the time we move to Glenside in 1927, I was the interpreter for the family. At least we could make ourselves understood among English-speaking people. Dad learned the language fairly quickly. Mothers stayed at home those days."

 

 

A horse named Slim was a useful, sometimes troublesome part of Agatha's school experiences.

 

"I drove a horse to school alone till my brother Jake started also. One morning when I was driving alone across a small neglected dam, the cutter (sleigh) got stuck and upset. Slim, the brown gelding, pretended not to hear my "whoa" and dragged the cutter to the top of the hill. Then he turned to watch me carry up his oat sheaf, the seat, my books, and my muddy sandwiches. We made it to school a bit late.

 

 

 

"Another time I got caught in a slough when the cracked ice kept the cutter from moving. Fortunately a neighbor heard my cries for help and came to my rescue. Slim and I had a few adventures. Dad said the horse was smarter than I was.

 

 

 

After a while we changed to a school where there was a better road. School was fun for me, even though the boys called me a 'Midianite' (their playful interpretation of 'Mennonite')."

 

 

Two years later schoolgirl Agatha and family moved to the Loreburn-Elbow area, near the South Saskatchewan River. Here's my mother describing this relocation.

 

"After two years, a friend advised us of a farm in the Bonnie View district, six miles west of Loreburn. In 1929 we moved there by wagon. It was a good district with very kind neighbours."

 

 

While Agatha and family were settling on the farm west of Loreburn, a less enthusiastic immigrant across the river was thinking of leaving the country. He was a farmer named Tom Sukanen. Tom had immigrated from Finland and wanted to go back. Nobody knows just why. The Great Depression, which started in 1929, probably influenced him. However, Tom seemed to have more mysterious reasons for wanting to return to his native land. Some people said he was afraid a great flood was going to cover the prairies. Others said he believed he had a mission to Finland.

 

Whatever Tom's motives, he chose an odd way of pursuing his goal. He had $9000 saved. This would have been more than enough for a train ticket and ocean crossing to Finland. Instead, Tom decided to build a steamship for the voyage. He planned to launch it into the South Saskatchewan River and sail it north to Hudson Bay. From there he would navigate across the Bay, out into the Atlantic Ocean, and on home to Finland.

 

Did Sukanen's ambitious but strange plan work? You can find out by reading his story in my book YesterCanada: Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure.

 

YesterCanada includes the story of another unenthusiastic immigrant. She was an enigmatic young woman named Lillian Alling. Lillian arrived in New York City about 1925, the same year my mother arrived in Saskatchewan. Lillian was Polish or possibly Russian. She got a job as a housemaid, but after only a short time decided she wanted to go to Russia.

 

Her employers didn't know why and Lillian wouldn't explain. They thought she might have received news about relatives or friends being exiled to a prison camp in Siberia. Maybe she wanted to try to help them. Or maybe her former home was in Russia and she hoped to return to it.

 

Whatever the reason, the young immigrant became obsessed with reaching Russia. She saved every penny she could but soon realized it would take a long time to save enough for a steamship ticket. At last Lillian made the astonishing decision to walk to Siberia.

 

She started in late fall 1926. On Christmas Eve she reached Niagara Falls and crossed from New York State into Ontario. From Niagara Falls the durable traveller trudged across Western Ontario, Manitoba, and into Saskatchewan.

 

Sometimes a kind-hearted motorist stopped and offered her a ride. Lillian almost always refused. Occasionally she stopped in a village to buy bread, tea, and perhaps a few vegetables or a chunk of smoked sausage. On these occasions she never spoke more than necessary. If a store clerk or farmer questioned her about her destination, she replied "I go to Siberia."

 

Did Lillian ever reach Siberia? The answer is uncertain, but you can read her story in my book YesterCanada: Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure.

 

YesterCanada presents 30 historical tales spanning this great land and the centuries from the 1200s to the 1900s. It's a 248-page paperback with 30 illustrations and a bibliography, ISBN 978-0-88887-650-8, price $19.95. If you're interested, you could ask for it in a store or library. Or you could order it online from Chapters Indigo, Amazon, or the publisher, Borealis Press of Ottawa. For more information, please visit http://elmams.wixsite.com/elma .

 

Elma (Martens) Schemenauer was born and grew up in the Elbow-Loreburn-Davidson area. She is the author and editor of numerous books published in Canada and the United States. Her latest book, YesterCanada: Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure, includes several stories set entirely or partly in Saskatchewan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, August 18, 2017

YesterCanada in WordWorks magazine

This is in the Summer 2017 issue of WordWorks, a magazine published by the Federation of British Columbia Writers. I'm pleased to see it, along with other recent books including Beyond the Floathouse by online friend Myrtle Siebert. Thanks, Shaleeta Harper, Ann Graham Walker, & others for what you do for BC writers through the "Fed."

Nice to see this in The Echo, one of our community newspapers here in Kamloops. Congrats, Rita. Keep writing!

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

Karen, potholders & CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS

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:

Hello!

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

Kathy Chung

SiWC Conference Coordinator
www.siwc.ca
@siwctweets

 

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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/ .

 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Robert Service, Kamloops, & YesterCanada

Thanks to the Kamloops monthly newspaper The Connector, which published my article about poet Robert Service in their June 2017 issue. Here's the article:

An "agreeable" last stop for Service 


Submitted by Elma Schemenauer


Robert Service was a shy awkward thirty-year-old when the Canadian Bank of Commerce transferred him to Kamloops in July 1904. He was sorry to leave Victoria, but found Kamloops "even more agreeable." 


In his autobiographical book Ploughman of the Moon, Service describes his time in Kamloops, which he characterizes as "a town in the heart of the cattle country, with a river running alongside."

He and other employees lived in rooms above the bank. At that time the Kamloops branch was located at the southeast corner of Victoria Street and First Avenue, where Brendan Shaw Real Estate now makes its home. A Chinese cook prepared meals for the "bank boys."

Service wasn't a natural banker. He was too much of a dreamer to concentrate on numbers. He wrote in Ploughman of the Moon, "I knew I was not suited for the job; yet I had no hope in any other direction, and I was intensely grateful for the safety and social standing it offered."


Banking was a welcome change after the years he had spent as a drifter, wandering minstrel, potato-digger, orange-picker, cowboy, and "cow-juice jerker."


Service was pleased with the bank's undemanding schedule. It gave him lots of time to ride his pony over the area's "rolling ridges, or into spectral gulches that rose to ghostlier mountains....like the scenery of Mexico." He reports "meeting Indians, superb horsemen" and "making friends among the cattle ranchers. They gave dances in their lonely homes, and we (Service and pals) would ride back in the early hours of the morning."


Service also played polo in Kamloops, though he wasn't good at it. He says he "never could hit the ball with certainty."


What was he good at? Poetry-writing had tugged at his soul during his years of poverty and wandering. However, he hadn't developed his poetic gifts to a great extent.


As it turned out, Kamloops was the last stop on Service's road to literary fame. In the fall of 1904, the Canadian Bank of Commerce announced it was transferring him to Whitehorse in the Yukon. When other bank employees heard the news, they envied him. They had heard exciting stories about the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896-1899. The rush was over, but the thrill and romance lingered.


Service was sorry to leave Kamloops. He wrote that "life there had been delightful." Yet he felt a sense of destiny leading him on. He travelled to the Yukon with "an idea that a new and wonderful chapter in my life was about to begin."


It did. In the Yukon, Robert W. Service's gift for poetry blossomed like wildflowers in the brief Arctic summer. One of his best known ballads is "The Cremation of Sam McGee." It begins:


There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold.


This grisly but entertaining ballad was inspired by a true event. Both the event and the writing of "The Cremation of Sam McGee" are described in my book YesterCanada: Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure. For more info about the book, which presents 30 historical tales spanning Canada and the years from the 1200s to the 1900s, please see http://elmams.wixsite.com/elma .

1st photo shows the Service plaque in Kamloops. 2nd shows him about the time he arrived (credit Library and Archives Canada). 







Tuesday, July 11, 2017

free photos

Kim Garst is an author, marketing strategist, business advisor, etc. In the following post she lists 31 places to find free photos on the Internet: http://tinyurl.com/y9em5uvg .

Monday, July 10, 2017

contest: 5-minute comedy quickie

If you’re quick & funny, this contest may interest you. Deadline Aug 15, 2017.

http://whistlerwritersfest.com/comedy-quickies/

 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

free periodical for authors: Opal Magazine

Opal Magazine for Canadian Authors & Writers is published in Calgary. It's free online! Lots of informative articles. July 2017 issue is here: http://www.opalpublishing.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Opal-July_spread-view.pdf . My article about memoir-writing appears near the end of this issue.

 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Consider the Sunflowers, YesterCanada, Saskatoon, & points north

North-of-Saskatoon, SK communities Warman, Martensville, Hepburn, Dalmeny, Langham, Rosthern, & others regularly appear in the paper Clark's Crossing Gazette. The Gazette just ran the following article about my most recent books. Thanks! The books are available online & in stores including Whimsy on 33rd Street in Saskatoon.

 

Prairie life and Russian past inspire love story

Posted on June 29, 2017

In “Consider the Sunflowers,” Tina Janz finds the guitar-playing half-gypsy Frank Warkentin much more exciting than the “boring as turnips” man her devout Mennonite parents want her to marry. She leaves her job in Vancouver to launch a campaign to get Frank to the altar. That done, life on Frank’s farm in the prairie community of Coyote, Saskatchewan turns bliss to loneliness.

Schemenauer’s grandmother, Agatha Siemens Martens some years after emigrating to Saskatchewan

 

Their love story was written by author Elma Schemenauer, who was born and raised in the Elbow-Loreburn area of Saskatchewan. Those prairie roots and the experience of some of her Russian forbears inspired Schemenauer to write the 1940s-era novel.


“As I was growing up in our little Mennonite community, I heard many stories from my grandparents and other Mennonite relatives,” she said. Those relatives were tremendous storytellers and when they got together, they told stories of what happened in the old country of Russia, what happened on the ship coming over, and what happened in their new life in Canada.

Schemenauer earned a B.A. at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Toronto. In Toronto, she moved into a publishing career and wrote 75 books including Yesterstories and Native Canadians Today. Today, Elma and her husband live in Kamloops, BC, where she writes and blogs.


Schemenauer started out writing her own memories. She began with a child’s point of view, but later wanted to look at those early years from an adult point of view. “My childhood meant a lot to me on the farm because we were very isolated out there. We were a long way from town and just being on the bald flat prairie made a huge impression on me in those early years.” Those memories and stories from Russia form the backdrop for Consider the Sunflowers.


Tina is crazy about Frank. “I know what its like to be crazy about somebody,” said Schemenauer. Tina’s parents want her to marry dependable and rich Roland Fast, a church-going guy with a good background, whose family had an estate back in Russia. Many Russian Mennonite immigrants left behind large estates to escape the Russian revolution beginning in 1917, and the Civil War.
The book traces the first seven years of Frank and Tina’s marriage. The influence of World War II is felt on the home front. Britain suffered from food shortages, and a lot of food – pork, beef, wheat – was sent over from Canada, Schemenauer said.


The unorthodox Frank has mixed parentage, a troubled background and doesn’t fit the mold. He was abandoned by his brother back in Russia and is haunted by the experience. The character grew out of Schemenauer’s knowledge of her father. “He never felt at home in the Mennonite community. I could never figure out why.”


Schemenauer’s mother went to work as a maid in Saskatoon in the 1930s, which was not uncommon for Mennonite women of that time, to earn extra income. She had an aunt there and when this aunt went to Vancouver, her mom went along. She enjoyed the nice weather, the fruit trees and always had a boyfriend in the back of her mind. The Tina character in the book is modeled after Schemenauer’s Mom. Tina moves to Vancouver and works as a secretary for a physician. She visits Saskatchewan periodically and gives up her Vancouver job to be with Frank. Schemeauer ends her novel in a realistic way.

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Elma Schemenauer drew on her prairie childhood and the stories she heard from Russian relatives who emigrated to Canada, to write “Consider the Sunflowers.”

“I’m after real life. I like to show life the way it really is. It’s not idealized.”


Schemenauer has given workshops and written an article on “Fictionalizing Real Life.”
She loves Canada and its history, and channeled that love into a book celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary, YesterCanada: Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure. From her ‘sagebrush-dotted’ hillside in Kamloops, she uncovers mysteries of Canada’s past and identifies adventurers like Dr. Elizabeth Scott Matheson of Onion Lake, Saskatchewan.


Interest in the Canada 150 book has generated renewed interest in Consider the Sunflowers, released in 2014. It contains a Mennonite history timeline in the back. Besides Russian Mennonites, some history of Swiss and Southern German Mennonites is also included.
Consider the Sunflowers can be found at the Waldheim library, at the Whimsy Store on 33rd in Saskatoon, and at the Station Arts Centre in Rosthern.

 

 

book swag

I just learned a new term, book swag. I gather it refers to objects, posters, etc. used to help sell books in a bookstore. I think it could be extended to things authors use personally to help sell books. For example, when I speak about my historical book/s CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS and YESTERCANADA, I sometimes bring along historical pictures, an old lantern, a washboard, old license plates, etc. This article discusses book swag from a booksellers’ viewpoint:

http://tinyurl.com/yckchvmd . It may give us ideas.

 

Monday, June 26, 2017

CITXW NLAKA’PAMUX ASSEMBLY Youth Multi-Media & Arts Conference - Summer School

From: Victoria Weller [mailto:vweller@tnrd.ca]
Sent: June-26-17 3:58 PM
Subject: CITXW NLAKA'PAMUX ASSEMBLY Youth Multi-Media & Arts Conference - Summer School

 

Hello Secwepemc & Nlaka'pamux First Nations stakeholders and Friendship Centres, TNRD Libraries, Arts Councils and for information, TNRD Directors, Filmmakers & Theatre Companies and other motion picture stakeholders,

 

Please print and post the poster, or share info in newsletters and social media.

Please distribute this email to persons who you believe may be interested.

 

2nd Annual Youth Multi-media & Arts Conference (summer school)

·       Tuesday, August 8 – Friday, August 18, 2017

·       Ages 10 - 18

·       Premiere of Films: Sunday, August 20, 2017

 

·       Where: Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (Dorm rooms available)

 

The Multimedia & Arts Conference is an outstanding opportunity for First Nation youth to engage and be mentored by successful artists, filmmakers, actors, writers, directors and elders in exploring and expressing their culture, history and universal themes through filmmaking, art and other mediums. A screening of youth films will take place after the conference, on Sunday, August 20.

 

For registration forms or further information please contact CITXW NLAKA'PAMUX ASSEMBLY at 250-378-1864 or go to www.cna-trust.ca

 

Friday, June 23, 2017

basic formatting issues in Microsoft Word

Some authors try to use a computer like a typewriter. This can result in some basic formatting issues discussed in this article: http://tinyurl.com/y97mbfxv


Deadline extended to July 22, 2017 for 55-pus writing award

Strathcona Place

A PLACE FOR ACTIVE SENIORS

 

 

 

Deadline now July 22 for award for writers 55-plus

 

The deadline for entries for the 2017 edition of the John W. Bilsland Award has been extended to July 22. The award was inaugurated in 2015 by the Strathcona Place Seniors Society of Edmonton to celebrate and foster the creativity of older writers.

 

Writers aged 55 years and older who live throughout Western Canada 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 July 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.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

first lines of a story

How do you capture reader attention with your story starter? This article gives many examples. Which ones do you like? Which give you useful ideas?  https://tinyurl.com/y9ssxfxf

 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

On memoirs & editors: Robert L. Bacon

I’m reading and enjoying TOO CLOSE TO THE FALLS, a memoir by Toronto psychologist Catherine Gildiner. That made me pay special attention to the following comments by a long-time online friend, editor/writer Robert L. Bacon, regarding his experiences with editing memoirs. I’m not sure about his contention that “memoirs are impossible to sell to a bona fide royalty publisher unless the author is a celebrity or a Holocaust survivor,” but his comments are still interesting and useful.

 

During the past year I've received a spate of memoirs to either edit or to critique.  Just recently, someone even phoned me to present material deemed worthy of the "life coaching" tag as a result of this person's "worldly" experiences.  I've often explained in my Newsletters that memoirs are impossible to sell to a bona fide royalty publisher unless the author is a celebrity or a Holocaust survivor, and I continue to stand by this contention.  My stance is not based on a bias against someone's wanting to tell the story of his or her own life, but the reality that this sort of narrative doesn't lend itself to much of any form of editing beyond correcting basic grammar.  To support this contention, I've also learned that memoir writers don't want their material revised beyond copyediting, so what is a developmental editor such as myself supposed to provide?  

To elaborate on that point, it's no different from when a character is "real" and I haven't been told this upfront by the author.  I edited a book some years ago in which a character was an absurdly despicable brat who was patently unlikable.  Yet this child carried a crucial story thread that ran throughout, and in the end was to "save the day."  The character was so unredemptive in every way that by the story's finish no reader would possibly care one way or the other.  I had no choice but to soften this child's rough edges.  However, the author was upset at my revision even though I'd discussed the suggested changes in considerable detail beforehand.  I later learned that this character was a relative whom the author always believed could do no wrong.  The writer ultimately "returned" this character to original form and, in my opinion, reduced the entire narrative to little more than pedestrian mishmash.

I've turned down memoirs by some really accomplished writers because of what I just discussed.  I had my first encounter with author "adamancy" when I changed the dropping of a plate of food at someone's feet to dropping the plate and the food on the other person's feet.  I was told in no uncertain terms that the physical plate had never touched Aunt Edna's feet, only the mashed potatoes.  (I altered this scene to protect the integrity of the client/author relationship even though in this case there is no nondisclosure agreement in force.)  I still laugh at this.  The primary issue involves what an editor can provide a memoir writer.  My answer is not much beyond correcting basic grammar and punctuation, and no one needs me for this.

Longtime editor Peter Ginna's book, "What Editors Do," is a compilation of material provided by more than two dozen respected editors.  I don't know if it's any better than what highly regarded editor Jerry Gross (who sadly recently passed away) wrote some years ago.  Any writer who's worked with a credible editor recognizes what the job entails.  In the simplest of terms, editing is the ability to make a story fluent from the perspective of continuity.  Accomplishing this, however, is anything but simple, and why I often spend a couple of hundred hours on a client's narrative.  Ignoring my drivel, Mr. Ginna's book might be worth a look, should anyone be on the fence regarding hiring an editor, and this has nothing to do with my being one of these unholy creatures.

 

Robert L. (Rob) Bacon, Founder

The Perfect Write®

http://theperfectwrite.com

http://theperfectwrite.com/home/

http://robertlbacon.blogspot.com/

 

Please contact me with any questions or comments, and let me
know if there is anything in the field of professional writing you
would like addressed in a future Newsletter.

For authors, The Perfect Write® is now providing
a FREE OPENING CHAPTER CRITIQUE and up to a

FREE 3-PAGE LINE-EDIT (if applicable).  Paste your material
(up to 5,000 words) to theperfectwrite@aol.com (no attachments).
 

For Authors, The Perfect Write® is continuing to offer

FREE QUERY LETTER REVIEW AND ANALYSIS.
Paste your query to theperfectwrite@aol.com (no attachments).
and visit the Sample Letters Page for examples of successful queries.

 

The Perfect Write® offers comprehensive editing services, from

manuscript critiques to complete revisions, including substantive editing,

line-editing, and copyediting along with query letter design and composition. 

For pricing, send your project requirements to theperfectwrite@aol.com.