Thursday, March 26, 2020


We were looking forward to President Alex McGilvery leading a panel about tropes at the April 8 Interior Authors Group meeting in Kamloops, BC. Sadly, the meeting is canceled because of VIRUS concerns. Hoping & praying we'll be able to have meetings again before too horribly long. Stay safe, everyone.

In the meantime, what's a trope & what can you do about it as a writer? Food for thought & maybe research.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

seeking agents & publishers who may be interested in your writing?

Looking for literary agents & publishers who may be interested in your writing? Here's a guide to searching a site called Manuscript Wish List. Also info on how to search using Twitter.

Canadian publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts. List compiled in 2018 so best to check any you're interested in before submitting to them.

Might your poetry, fiction, or other writing be suitable for publication by a small press? Here's a database of small presses. Lots of American ones, maybe some Canadian.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

catching reader attention from the beginning of your story, article, etc.

I look forward to speaking to writers & aspiring writers in Nakusp, BC on April 4, 2020. Topic is Hooks & Bait: Catching Readers' Attention. See attached poster. Attend if you can. Or maybe you'd like me to speak to your group about this topic or another (like writing, Canadian history, memoir, Mennonites). I'm always pleased to consider invitations. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Saturday, February 8, 2020

sci fi from the frozen north (Canada, eh)

AEscifi sounds like an interesting publication. They offer science fiction from the frozen north (Canada) & sometimes elsewhere. If they accept your work, they pay 10¢ a word. Lots of info on their website, including what you can submit and when. Follow the various links if you're interested.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

for Valentine's Day: love 1940 style

Frank eased his DeSoto along Dayspring's main street, his eyes

watering in the morning light. The door of Mah's Café

opened, and the usual gang of farmers filed out. They'd finished

their morning coffee, eight o'clock on the dot. Frank raised a

finger in greeting, too tired to wave. His whole body felt stale

with fatigue. But his mind was clear, so clear his nose hurt. That

was one thing about fatigue. It focused a man on what he

needed to do.



Frank turned left at the train station, then jolted his car

over the railway tracks and past the Lutheran graveyard with its

high iron gate. Beyond the graveyard he caught a glimpse of

dark-blue water. Knutson Lake, where Roland and Tina had

gone walking. What had they talked about? Had he kissed her?

She wouldn't let him, would she?



A few bleary moments later, Frank steered his car into her

parents' driveway. It was straight and narrow. Their front porch

was swept clean, its boards bleached by years of sun and wind.

"Frank, what's the matter?" Tina asked when she answered

the door. She stepped out onto the porch, looking crisp and

fresh in her green-striped dress. "How come your eyes are so

red? Are you sick?"



Frank blinked, so tired his eyes felt like they were full of

sand. "How come you're dating Roland Fast? Do you think

you're too good for me all of a sudden, going after a rich guy?"

She planted her hands on her hips. "How can you scold

me about Roland when you're practically engaged to Dorrie

Harms?" Tina's voice had a sharp edge, but Frank thought

he saw pain in her eyes.



A tide of fatigue dragged at his legs. He leaned against the

door frame. "What makes you think I'd get myself engaged to




"Adeline Epp says you'll be married to her before freezeup."



"I should wash that Adeline's mouth out with soap."



Tina's shoulders sagged, the stripes of her dress drooping

with her. "Why? Everybody knows you're fascinated with

Dorrie." Tears pooled in her eyes.



Something broke inside Frank, like an elastic band. He'd

been a fool, letting Tina suffer while he dithered over Dorrie.

Tina was the woman for him. She still loved him, didn't

she? He squared his shoulders. "Would you do me the honour

of accompanying me to the wiener roast tomorrow evening?"



Tina adjusted one of the combs in her hair. "Sorry. Roland

already asked me."



Frank imitated a smile. "I wouldn't go with Roland if I was

you. He puts lard on his hair."



"No, he doesn't."



"Of course he does. That's why the mosquitoes follow him

around like they do."



Tina laughed. "Frank, you're crazy."



"Yeah, I know." He paused. "That's why you're in love with

me." He studied her face, searching for evidence.



Her expression was as blank as vanilla pudding.



He cleared his throat. "So we'll go to the wiener roast,




Tina tucked a stray curl behind her ear. Was her hand

shaking or was that his imagination? "What about Dorrie?"



"I'm not asking Dorrie. I'm asking you."



Tina scrunched her mouth to one side. "I guess I could

break my date with Roland."



"Good. I'll quit haying early and pick you up around




What happened to the young couple? You can read more of their story in my novel Consider the Sunflowers. It's available online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo, or the publisher, Borealis Press of Ottawa. For more information, please visit .


for Valentine's Day: a story of love 1542 style

It was a sunny spring day in 1542. Marguerite de la Roche, a dark-haired girl in her teens, stood on the deck of her Uncle Roberval's ship. Her heart pounded with excitement as she watched the coast of France fade into the distance. Seagulls squealed and soared overhead. The air was filled with the smell of salt water and tarred rope. What an adventure! She was going to the New World.

As she gazed across the waves, her dark hair streaming behind her, she became aware that someone was watching her. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught the admiring look of a handsome young sailor who was standing near by, coiling an anchor rope. Marguerite blushed and lowered her eyes. Then she turned and darted away.

She spent the rest of the day exploring the ship with her faithful old nurse, who was accompanying her on the voyage. "Aren't you glad you came along?" Marguerite asked, looking down at the tiny stoop-shouldered woman beside her. "I'd rather be safe at home in France," the little woman replied. "I only agreed to come on account of your poor dead parents. I know they wouldn't have wanted you sailing into the wilderness without me to look after you."

Roberval's fleet hadn't been at sea for long before it ran into a driving rainstorm. No sooner had it weathered the first gale than another one struck. The constant heaving and tossing of the ship made Marguerite's nurse seasick. The little woman retired to her cabin. She spent the rest of the voyage there, too miserable to take much notice of what Marguerite was doing.

She didn't remain alone for long. The young sailor she had noticed on the first day began to find excuses to speak with her. As the days passed, their conversations became more frequent. Soon they were spending every spare moment together. It was an exciting day for both when the coast of the New World appeared on the horizon. They stood together on the deck, hand in hand, watching the rocky shore draw nearer. "Marguerite," the young man said, "I have something important to say to you." "Yes?" The girl turned her brown eyes on him. The sailor cleared his throat. Then he plucked up his courage and went on. "I love you," he said. "I know you come from a wealthy family while I am only a poor peasant. But perhaps in the new land such things won't matter so much. Will you please marry me? I'll do my best to make you happy." Marguerite's eyes shone as she confessed she was just as much in love with the young man as he was with her. "Tomorrow," she said, "we'll go and ask my uncle to allow us to marry."

What happened to the young couple? You can read more of their story in my book YesterCanada: Historical Tales of Mystery and Adventure. It's available online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo, or the publisher, Borealis Press of Ottawa. For more information, please visit .