Wednesday, February 29, 2012

#reading: Scammed by Ron Chudley


Blurb:  When Greg Lothian's mother and famous artist father are scammed of their life savings by cruel con men, his orderly life is torn apart. When the same criminals steal Greg's own identity, the normally law-abiding accountant turns his analytical mind to plotting revenge. This uncharacteristic decision plunges him into the strange and hoffitying underworld that lurks everywhere--even on peaceful Vancouver Island. As Greg prepares to find the perpetrators of the debilitating crime, he sets up a clever plan of entrapment and descends into a whirlpool of evil that puts others and Greg's very existence at risk.
(from the back cover)

The magnificent panorama of the Pacific coast, with its mountains, dense forest, fog-shrouded shores and swift, cold rivers, provides the moody setting for this tale of crime and punishment--and bravery.

Buy link:  on Amazon
***
Next Wednesday:  I'll share my thoughts about this thriller
Heads up, I loved it!
Next post:  the Sarah McLachlan concert
Happy leap day

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nia workshop

From my email inbox...
Nia Workshop
on Mayne Island
Saturday, March 3
1 - 3 pm
Community Centre

Finding a publisher for your short story

(google image)

Seeking the all-powerful wizard, I climbed the mountain. I confronted the ferocious dragon and won. All so that I could ask my question, “Oh, great wizard who will publish my short story?”

Great wizards

The New York Centre for Independent Publishers

‘Calls for Submissions’ is listed on the side bar to the left of your screen under the heading Writers Resources.

Canadian literary magazine

Call for submissions are listed on the homepage. ‘Contests’ is listed on the side bar to the left of your screen.

There are three types of submissions…
Traditional:  the publisher pays you so they may publish your story
Contest:  In most cases, you pay an entry fee—usually around twenty dollars. If you win the contest, your story is published.
Contribution: No money changes hands. Your story is published and promoted.

One publisher may accept one, two, or three types of submissions.

A word of caution:  ensure that the publisher is legitimate by purchasing their publication and, or inspecting their web site.

Monday, February 27, 2012

#knitting: easy children's sweater




Finished sweater measurements
Chest: 20/22/24 inches
Length: 10 inches

Sleeves length: 8 inches


Knitting needles: 4.50 mm/US 7/UK 7 or size to obtain tension
Yarn: worsted weight--approximately 400 yards


garter stitch
Row: knit
Repeat row for pattern





Back and Front (make 2)
Cast on 48/56/60 stitches
Work in garter stitch for 10 inches
Cast off





Sleeves
Cast on 40 stitches
Work in garter stitch for 8 inches
Cast off





Finishing
On cast off end, mark two inches from both ends, sew shoulder seams.
Attach sleeves.
Sew side seams.
Weave in ends.

***
Next post: Finding a publisher for your short story

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Please welcome the new publishing house Bono Bookstore

Decadent Publishing is adding to the family. Our new imprint, Bono Books, opens in 2012 and will feature Decadent's sweet romances, mainstream fiction, non-fiction, and young adult fiction.
We contemplated the addition several times during 2011, but the timing hadn't been right. Once we decided to take the leap, however, everything fell into place fairly easily (knock on wood--we're not done yet!).
After a bit of contemplation and research, Bono Books was named, and we're happy to have our baby imprint underway. Bono means 'good', and many associate the name with the iconic singer, Bono, from U2. That works for me, he's timely, classic, quality and cutting edge, not to mention generous and creative.
Decadent Publishing's sweeter titles will show on the new site, and we'll also be taking submissions for the imprint. If an author has a manuscript in one of the genres we're seeking, they can submit through our regular email until the Bono site is live. Guidelines are generally the same as our Decadent Publishing guidelines, with the caveat that the 'heat level' should be no higher than 2 on our scale. You can see our guidelines here.
http://www.decadentpublishing.com/index.php?osCsid=c4rv3kd0dloas1ieurftqc99i1&content=submissions Decadent has earned a reputation for quality, and that will definitely carry over to the new imprint. Readers can expect interesting and well-executed stories, and Bono will have the same promotion, support, and editorial staff behind it that Decadent enjoys.
We hope readers find something special on the new site, and continue to come back for more Bono reading!

Leanne adds: I'm very proud to add that The Sweater Curse is a Bono Bookstore book.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

#writing: Ponderings...


A writer's duty is to write and submit for the sake of those who will follow, for our readers, and for the power of our words.
***
Next post:  discussing Slow Dance

Monday, February 20, 2012

#knitting: Retiring from a career in knitwear design

(photo from Google images)

In January 2011, I had over twenty designs in my collections and my knitting needles were loaded with stitches. In fact, the only thing that had changed was that, with the publication of The Sweater Curse, I had become an ebook publishing house author.
So, why did I close my knitwear design business?
I can answer this with one word—focus. I was determined to focus on building my writing career.
Back in October 2010 I had made a pact—with myself—to submit one story every month. That strategy had helped me place The Sweater Curse. While I was scaling this mountain I continued to work on my knitwear design career. Serving two masters was exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally.
The decision to close my business wasn’t easy. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had failed. It’s silly what junk a self-conscious can feed you. However, whether or not I bought into this falsehood was up to me and—after giving my head a shake—I decided that I couldn’t afford to.
I didn’t fail, I told myself. I’ve evolved. I’ve grown from a knitwear designer who writes to an author who knits.
I’ve benefited from my years as a knitwear designer. I've amassed a fortune. These riches include...
-a supportive community
-knowledge about the field
-a popular website which has evolved with me
-ten years of knitting-themed writing
I hope you will to travel with me as I continue to evolve.
***
Next post:  Ponderings

Thursday, February 16, 2012

#photos: murals


I found them in Winnipeg, Manitoba


and in Eriksdale, Manitoba



 as well as on Mayne Island








They hang as a proud tribute to the place, the people and the artists.
***
Next post:  Please welcome author Lorraine Nelson

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

#reading: Slow Dance: A Story of Stroke, Love and Disability


Title:  Slow Dance:  A Story of Stroke, Love, and Disability
Author:  Bonnie Klein
Publisher:  PageMill Press (August 1, 1998)
Genre:  Creative non-fiction
Book Description:  In 1987, filmmaker Bonnie Klein suffered two catastrophic strokes. "Slow Dance" presents her candid, moving account of adapting to life with a disability.
Buy Links:
Amazon:  link
A friend of a friend lent this book to me. It was highly recommended.
 ***
Next Wednesday:  You're invited to join me in discussing this book
Next post:  ???

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Q's Modern Love contest update

I didn't win,
didn't place,
may have confused them
Oh, Q, I'm heartbroken
but still listening...

Q's six-word Modern Love contest


 "Enter our six-word Modern Love story contest," requested Jian Ghomeshi on Friday, February 3.
Jian is the host of Q--which "is Canada's livelist arts, culture and entertainment magazine" I listen to CBC radio one every morning. Q airs at 10 AM.
So, did I enter Jian's contest?
Yup...
She texted be mine. He replied.
Cool, eh?
How about this?
Facebook dates
Youtube vows
Email separation
Jian will announce the winner today.
Will it be me? Or you? I voted for you. : )
***
Next post:  #reading:  book:  Slow Dance

Monday, February 13, 2012

New! Artist in Residency Program on Gabriola Island

I received this in my email inbox and thought you might be interested...

The Artist’s Haven 
Gabriola Island, British Columbia – The Haven on Gabriola Island, BC has always been a place where artists have found inspiration and a welcoming place to practice and develop their craft. Now, with the announcement of their Artist’s Haven Residency program, artists will have an even better chance to explore their own creativity next to the ocean in one of the most artistic communities in Canada.
The residency is offered in partnership with the Gabriola Arts Council. “The Gabriola Arts Council has been the lead agency for the arts on Gabriola for the past 16 years and is thrilled for the opportunity to partner with The Haven in bringing new voices to the arts and culture of our island home,” said Kathy Ramsey, Chair of the Gabriola Arts Council. “The Council is convinced that the dialogue that starts between the artist and the island during this residency will be one that lasts a lifetime.” 
Starting February 1st, artists from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, Washington State and Oregon will be able to apply for a two-week residency program between Sept 17th and October 1st 2012 at The Haven’s Gabriola Island property. In addition to free lodging complete with kitchen and wireless internet access, successful applicants will also receive dinner every day, and discounts on all other meals. All this in a peaceful, rural setting close to the many beautiful places Gabriola has to offer.
The complete application package can be found on The Haven’s website at www.haven.ca/news/artist-in-residence.html.
Since 1983, The Haven has offered experiential programs for personal and professional growth and development, emphasizing self-responsibility, effective communication, healthy relationships, creative expression and integration of body-mind-spirit.  Haven programs help people live their lives more fully and with deeper awareness of themselves and others. A not for profit charitable organization, The Haven is located on Gabriola Island, BC, Canada.

Media Contact: Chris Finlayson
chris@haven.ca
Phone: 250. 735.3778

I thought you'd be interested. : )

#knitting: establishing your career in knitwear design


Congratulations you've reached the middle of your career.
By this time...
1. You've built or are building a website, blog and social network
By social network, I mean a twitter id and facebook community, etc.
2. You are doing at least one thing every single day to promote your business
3. You wear your own designs
Wearing your designs is important for three reasons
a)it's a good way to market your designs
b)it helps you find designs flaws
c)it helps you envision new design directions
4. You always carry a buiness card and distribute it freely.
5. You sell online
a)over your own website
b)a third party website (i.e. Etsy)
c)Your patterns are featured on knitting ezines (i.e. Knitty)
6. You've made connections with the editors of in print knitting magazines (i.e. A Needle Pulling Thread, Interweave knits)
7. You have a three-prong approach to your business
a)you sell knitting patterns
b)you conduct workshops
c)you sell your knitting through galleries
8. You're mentoring with a knitwear designer you meet at a workshop
9. You're assisting a local wool producer by developing designs with her wool
10. You're continuing to build your community of support
11. You do a montly assessment of your business to determine what's working and what isn't. (By working I mean you enjoy it and it makes you money.) After your assessment, you make necessary adjustments to your business plan.
*
If you enjoyed reading this post, you may also enjoy reading...
Beginning A Career in Knitwear Design
***
Next Monday:  We conclude our career in knitwear design
Next post:  Q's six-word Modern Love contest
Happy St. Valentine's Day

Friday, February 10, 2012

Please welcome Author Robin Spano

How/why did you start to write?

I started writing when I was a kid. I think it's always been my favorite way to make sense out of human traits that baffle me, like greed or pettiness or people acting out of short-sighted self-interest. Whether the confusing trait is in myself or in someone else, I've always found fiction a good way to explore it in a safe – and generally entertaining – way.


How did you become an author?

I wrote a book from start to finish – as in, I found a premise that compelled me forward and kept me at my desk, because it was fun to write. I then connected that manuscript with a publisher – a cool and quirky guy at the other end of an email in Toronto.


What was your first published piece?

Dead Politician Society. (My first novel.) I know you're supposed to start with short stories and literary journals and stuff, but I never got that memo. I was clueless about the writing industry until I had to dive into it.


Where was it published?

ECW Press – a Toronto publisher I really like working with.


How long ago?

September 2010


What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

I waitressed and bartended for years after dropping out of university. This was a good job for me – it got me out of my introverted shell and taught me how to interact with a huge range of people. To do the job well, you have to find real things to like about the people you're serving and working with – genuine points of connection go a long way toward making people comfortable. I credit this with helping me write multiple point of view characters with a range of ages and backgrounds.


What inspires you?

Morning. I wake up excited to get to my computer, to check in with my characters in that half-fresh, half-still dreamy brain state. I get pretty grumpy if someone gets in my path to my computer first thing. Though if my husband is around I will make him a latte first. He's worked hard to help me create this writing life; I like to send him off to work feeling well looked-after.


Please share one of your successful marketing techniques

Playing cards for Death Plays Poker. I give cards away at signings and events, and I'll mail packs to people who post honest reviews online.

They're a popular gimmick because they're both useful (people play with them) and relevant to the book. And they're a promotion that keeps on giving – ideally, when a reader cracks out the deck to play cards with them, their friends will say, “Hey, what's that book about?”


Parting words

If you're in Toronto on November 24th, consider yourself invited to the launch party for Death Plays Poker, hosted by ECW Press at Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay St. 6-8 p.m.

And if you'd like a pack of playing cards, feel free to get in touch!

Author links:

Twitter: @Robin_Spano

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

Much thanks to Laurie Buchanan (of Speaking from the Heart) for nominating for the Versatile Blogger Award.



The rules as they were provided:
Nominate 15 fellow bloggers
Inform the bloggers of their nomination
Share 7 random things about yourself
Thank the blogger who nominated you
Add the versatile blogger award picture to your post

My nominees in alphabetical order are
Anne K. Albert --a mystery and romantic suspense author's blog
Anne R. Allen --writing about writing, mostly
Bibliophilic Blather --writer/editor Karen Wojcik Berner shares her stories and encourages others to share theirs.
Creative Potager --come for the beautiful images--painting and photography--stay for the sprout questions.
Funny Girl Melodie --author Melodie Campbell's blog
Kristen Lamb's Blog --helpful advice to start and continue your writing career
Mystery Writing is Murder --author Elizabeth Spann Craig is a laptop wielding, mystery writing Mom and metes out murder on the keyboard
Once Written, Twice Shy --Rebecca J. Clark's blog for writers who are not natural extroverts
The Creative Penn --helping you write, publish and sell your book
The Write Type --multi author musings
Traci Bell's blog
Sandra's blog --one writer's journey to fulfilment...and stuff
Sunset Cat --Stephannie Tallent blogs about her life in yarn
Women's Fiction Writers --a place for writers of women's fiction to connect
Yarn Harlot --Stephanie Pearl-McPhee goes on (and on) about knitting

7 random things about me
-I live on a small island
-I'm a cross genre reader
-I like to knit with acrylic blends--oh, yes, I do.
-My favorite weather condition is a sun shower
-I love almond milk
-I like wearing dresses, but I'm not a girlie-girl
-I go for a long walk each day (or try to)
***
Next post:  Please welcome Author Robin Spano

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

#reading: starting our book club


I'm concerned that what I wrote yesterday could be misinterpreted. I didn't write with a view that by trying dyslexia can be overcome. I don't need to be cured. Although it took many years for me to realize this, I now see, there's nothing wrong with my brain. It doesn't need to be fixed.
What I did mean was that, as a young writer, I felt my ability to write or even to navigate through life was reliant on someone else. I didn't trust my own abilities to find solutions or to adapt. This is ironic because problem solving is where dyslexics excel.
Dyslexia isn't a disease--it's a way of thinking. We have abilities and limitations. An area of frustration is language, are words. It takes me, on average, about three months to read a paperback.
Why do I bother?
I read because...
-I love stories
-I enjoy exploring concepts and ideas
-I like meeting and getting to know characters
-I like connecting the dots of plot
As I can comprehend language more easily than I can process it, I enjoy listening to audio books. However, I prefer to hear my own voice reading so I usually choose to savour books. There is nothing more glorious, for me, then the discovery of a well-written, captivating story. That's what I will seek out and bring to you here--every second Wednesday. I will continue to blog five days a week.
How reading Wednesday will work...
1st week:  I will supply details about the book such as title, author, publisher and blurb. This will allow you to purchase, begin to read or--if you're like my husband--finish reading the book.
2nd week:  I will share what I discovered between the covers.
Occasionally, Wednesday will hold other treasures. I hope you will join me on this adventure.
Other words on reading:  link
Canadian book readers love it:  Canada reads
"And seriously what? Voting off On A Cold Road--what?"
***
Next post:  The Versatile Blogger Award

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

#writing: Geist's postcard contest

From my email inbox...

Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest
One Week Left!
Dear Leanne,
One week remains until the deadline for the 8th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest. Contest deadline is February 15, 2012, 11:59pm PST.
Entering is even easier this year with our contest submissions guidelines and our Postcard FAQs.
Submit your image-inspired microfiction online here or snail mail entries to:

Geist Postcard Contest
210-111 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4
Best of luck and happy writing,
Chelsea Novak
Managing Editor
PS: Visit the winners' circle for inspiration!
The First, Second and Third prizes in the 7th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest are available online at geist.com.

#writing: How do you spell disabled?

As a young writer, I would often ask, "Mom, how do you spell ___?"
She'd happily spell the required word.
It wasn't until I meet my husband that I learnt most words were spelt, 'd-i-c-t-i-o-n-a-r-y'.
He wanted me to find my own solutions. He believed I could.
***
Next post:  #reading:  Wednesday

Monday, February 6, 2012

#knitting: beginning a career in knitwear design

Recently, I led a discussion regarding The Beginning, Middle and End of a career in Knitwear Design.
Where did I acquire my knowledge on this topic?
Well, my career began in August, 2002 and ended in January, 2011. During this time I was a member of the Canadian Knitwear Designers and Artisans as well as the Knitwear Designer Association. I have over 25 designs in my collection. I sold patterns to knitters from Canada, USA, the UK, Japan, Israel and Australia. Designs were featured in A Needle Pulling Thread craft magazine, Accord Publishing's Knitting Calendars and Knit Together (a knitting magazine no longer being published).
Some tips for beginning a career in knitwear design
think of yourself as an apprentice
-learn as much as you can about the craft from a variety of sources
 online
workshops
one-on-one from other knitters/knitwear designers/yarn producers
-develop a system for recording and collecting your design ideas
-gleam inspiration from a variety of needlecrafts
-assemble resources (books, websites)
*
as you attend workshops
 -network with knitters/knitwear designers/yarn producers/magazine publishers
-have a 'community building' or win-win mindset
-take note of the most popular workshops
file this information away for the future when you will be offering your own workshops
*
When you begin to write your patterns seek the assistance of knitters. They are invaluable resources to proofread your patterns.
Feedback (questions, comments, etc.) is very gratefully appreciated.
***
Next post:  writing:  how do you spell disabled?
Next Monday:  we continue with our discussion (A career in knitwear design)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Please welcome Author Mary Sharratt


How/why did you start to write?

I was just out of college and living in Innsbruck, Austria, teaching English at a girls’ boarding school run by Ursuline nuns. It was very Sound of Music: alps, nuns, kids, and me. Alas, it was very quiet in the evenings and I didn’t have a television and I soon ran out of books to read, so I started writing the first draft of my very first novel longhand in a spiral notebook I kept in my sock drawer. Twelve years later, the much edited draft was published as my first book, Summit Avenue, in 2000.

How did you become an author?

I fell in love with writing and I couldn’t stop. It took over my life. I’m not happy unless I’m writing. If you do something long enough, with enough passion and commitment, you will reach your breakthrough. It was a long hard road to publication but I’ve never looked back.

What was your first published piece?

I wrote short stories for the feminist journal Hurricane Alice, which has sadly ceased publication. Lots of my early fiction was published in these “little magazines” that flourished before the internet took over everything.


What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

I taught English as a foreign language in Austria and later in Germany, in the Munich area. I worked very odd hours, teaching at firms like Agfa and Siemens very early in the morning and then teaching evening classes at the local adult education facilities, so I had this huge gap in between when I could write and dream. Living in a foreign country helped, too. As an expat, everything was always new and strange and it made me very mindful about all aspects of life and human behavior.

What inspires you?

Social history, how ordinary people lived in the past, how they related with the landscape they lived in, what mark they left behind. A lot of historical fiction centers on lords and ladies, kings and queens, but I want to write a more inclusive historical fiction, about common people and their lives and yearnings.

In writing Daughters of the Witching Hill, about the Pendle Witches of 1612, I wanted to take these maligned women who suffered and died on account of other people’s ignorance, turn the tables around, and allow them to tell their own story. I wanted to give these historical cunning women and healers what their own world denied them—their own voice.

I truly believe in story-telling and historical fiction as a conduit for ancestral memory.

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques

Blog tours have been successful. I also love going on old fashioned book tours and meeting people live and in person in real brick-and-mortar indy bookstores. I love going out and meeting my readers face to face. Visiting book clubs in person is really fun, much more intimate and interactive than the average reading. You get to hear what readers *really* think and if they get behind your book, it’s the best advertising you can get.



Parting words

If you want to have a career as a published writer, never give up. The only failed writer is the one who stops writing! Love what you do. The process of writing is everything and no one can take that away from you.

Mary Sharratt is an American writer living in the Pendle region of Lancashire, Northern England. Her acclaimed novel of the Pendle Witches, Daughters of the Witching Hill, is now out in paperback. Illuminations, her new novel exploring the life of visionary abbess and polymath, Hildegard von Bingen, will be released in 2012. Visit Mary’s website: http://www.marysharratt.com/ and don’t miss her six minute video docudrama on the Pendle Witches, shot live on location around Pendle Hill. 


Link to six minute video docudrama about the Pendle Witches, shot live on location around Pendle Hill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT-In065-gA



Book description:

“What an original voice Mary Sharratt has. She brings a haunting, ancient story — part of the local legend and history of where she lives — into life with vivid characters and a gripping plot. Old, lost, long-ago ways are made real.”
—Karleen Koen, author of Through a Glass Darkly and Before Versailles



Daughters of the Witching Hill brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching account of a family sustained by love as they try to survive the hysteria of a witch-hunt.
Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow living in Pendle Forest, is haunted by visions and gains a reputation as a cunning woman. Drawing on the Catholic folk magic of her youth, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future. As she ages, she instructs her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft, as well as her best friend, who ultimately turns to dark magic. When a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate, eager to make his name as a witch finder, plays neighbors and family members against one another until suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights.
Sharratt interweaves well-researched historical details of the 1612 Pendle witch-hunt with a beautifully imagined story of strong women, family, and betrayal. Daughters of the Witching Hill is a powerful novel of intrigue and revelation.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

#photos: on the ferry

I continue to wheel my camera with abandon. Recently, my camera and I were on one of the BC ferries' smallest--the Mayne Queen.




I was heading home after a fun day off island. Where had I been? What did I do?
Ah, my friend, all will be revealed on Monday.
***
Next post:  Please welcome Author Mary Sharratt

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

#reading: The Sweater Curse chapter 3, page 3

Today I'll share the last page of chapter 3--and close the book on The Sweater Curse. If you'd like to continue reading visit Decadent Publishing or one of the many other ebook sellers listed on the side bar.

The Sweater Curse

Chapter three

"Grandma Hannah," they cheer.

She bends to scoop them into a warm embrace. They all smile and giggle.

Merrily, the group parades into the house. The youngest holds Grandma's hand.

"Grandma's home, Grandma's home," the children sing to a gaggle of adults.

One of the adults, an old guy--her new husband--is the first to greet her. "Welcome home, darling. I missed you." He wears a buttoned-down, baby-blue shirt and beige trousers. His hair is snow-white, and he sports a well-groomed moustache. He draws her close, and they share a kiss.

"Oh, you two are such love birds," one of the younger women coos.

Oh, look! She's pregnant.

Mother turns to the woman and rubs the swollen tummy. "How are you feeling, dear?"

"Oh, much better. Thank you for your advice."

They share a smile.

Oh, how sweet. I've seen enough.

Mother appears to have changed. She's mellowed, retracted her claws, and no longer sharpens her fangs by gnawing on young flesh.

Her life is full, happy, successful.

Well, hurray for her. It makes me sick.

There isn't a scarp of evidence of Dad's and my existence. No pictures in her office or anywhere in her house. I wonder if she's ever even uttered our names. Does she even think about us?

She didn't mourn. She moved on.

Earlier pages: 

Chapter One 

Chapter Two

Chapter Three, pages one and two
***
Next post:  photos: on the ferry
Next Wednesday:  All aboard for new adventures in reading