Telling Tales Festival 2017

I wrote in my blog last week that I had submitted a micro fiction story to 50 Words Stories. Well guess what? I received word on Sunday that I was going to have my piece published on Monday! Yay! Click here to read my submission, which is called “Lost”. It’s been a while since I have been published, so this was certainly a confidence booster.
My next target is Commuter Lit. I am planning on revising and then submitting the story that I submitted to the WOW contest. For Commuter Lit’s submission guidelines, click here.
Now I know I wrote in my last blog post that this week’s subject would be books on creativity. However, I forgot that it was the Telling Tales Festival in Rockton last week, so I will push the books on creativity blog post to another week.

Melanie Fishbane introduces "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Avonlea"

Melanie Fishbane introduces “Anne of Green Gables” and “Anne of Avonlea”

My daughter and I arrived just in time at the festival to hear Melanie Fishbane talk about her novel “Maud”. “Maud” is a historical fiction about writer L.M. Montgomery, who is most famous for her book “Anne of Green Gables”. “Anne of Green Gables” is one of my favourite books of all time, so I can’t wait to read this novel about Montgomery’s life, although it is to a certain extent fictionalized. However, Fishbane certainly did her homework when she researched Montgomery for the story. It took Fishbane 4.5 years to write the book, and she used many primary sources including Montgomery’s journals. I was surprised to hear that Montgomery was actually very funny and satirical. That was never my impression of her. Was it yours?

Elizabeth MacLeod

Elizabeth MacLeod

Next we listened to a talk by Elizabeth MacLeod, who wrote “Canada Year by Year” to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. I was surprised at how much knowledge MacLeod imparts in her book. In her presentation, she talked about people from a wide range of history starting with Alexander Graham Bell and ending with Craig Kielburger. How was she able to research it all? MacLeod was very engaging and got the audience involved with her questions and props.

Melanie Florence

Melanie Florence

The final speaker was Melanie Florence. I loved Florence’s first picture book called “Missing Nimama”. At this talk, Florence was introducing her second picture book called “Stolen Words” . This story is based on a conversation she wished she could have had with her Cree grandfather. Her grandfather attended residential school and erased all records of his life before attending residential school. They don’t even know what his name used to be. Can you imagine? I admire Florence for her ability to make difficult topics accessible to younger readers. Both books are well worth a read. I look forward to reading her soon to be published third picture book called “My Blue Suitcase”, also about residential school.
What I most like about the Telling Tales Festival is that it is still small enough that many of the author talks feel like intimate gatherings. I really enjoyed my time there, and I am already looking forward to next year’s event.
Have you been to any recent book events? Are there any new books that you have read recently that you recommend? Leave me a comment below.

Writing and Life Update, September 2017

After a long hiatus, I have decided to start blogging again.
It’s been a busy time for me in the last few months. We had a great summer, going to several places including to Vancouver via the No 1 train, the Canadian. This is the trip I’ve always wanted to do, and I was not disappointed. We saw everything from the rocks and trees of Northern Ontario to the canola fields of the Prairies to the Rockies of the west. It’s an eye opening experience to the diversity of Canada.

My favourite part of the trip: the Rockies of Alberta

Besides the fun of summer travelling, there were couple of major changes for me. For one, I have been training to sell doTerra oils. I have always been interested in natural health products–having struggled with health problems most of my life–and I am impressed with doTerra’s ethics as well as the purity of its products. They have a great membership program. One of my favourite oils so far is a blend called “Serenity”, and you can read about it by clicking here.
The second change was a sad one for me, which was that my dad passed away at the end of the summer. I have blogged before a bit about my dad’s situation, and you can read about it here. My dad was 87, and although his life was challenging, it was also interesting. He was very responsible and respected, and I am touched reading all the sympathy cards that we are receiving. May you find peace after all the difficulties you faced, Dad.
Despite all the chaos, I continue to write. I am still working away on my ICL course, learning how to write magazine articles for children. But I have also gone back to writing for adults. Perhaps it is my way of coping with the grief of my father’s decline and death, as many of my adult stories deal with his illness. For example, our slightly fictionalized relationship was the subject of a story I submitted to a WOW contest. I didn’t win, but I got some great feedback. If you haven’t heard of WOW’s contests, head on over to this page. They have one for every season. As well, I just entered a micro fiction story based on my dad’s life to Fifty-Words Stories. I have always loved writing short stories, and the challenge of writing one in exactly 50 words appeals to me. Check out submission guidelines by clicking here. Read the 2016 winner, a subtle death story, by clicking here.
I intend to divide my time between writing for adults and children. I have already signed up for the Picture Book Summit, which is in October. This online conference is in its third year, and it has never failed to disappoint. This year one of the superstar keynote speakers is Tomie dePaola. I look forward to hearing what he has to say.
I am undecided as to whether I will attend the CANSCAIP conference, which is in November, this year. I may attend virtually this year. In the meantime, I am awaiting results of their Writing for Children Competition. I entered one of my picture book stories this year.
Finally, I continue to volunteer tutor a grade 5 student in writing. Stay tuned for my next blog, which will highlight several books that I use to spark her and my own creativity.
So what have you been up to? Please leave me a comment below.