Sunday, April 30, 2017

Leanne Dyck and other authors reading on Mayne Island

I'm pleased to report that Mayne Island's literati is alive and well. In fact, we had a ball on Saturday, April 27, 2017, when local authors entertained a small but devoted audience. There was something for every reader from children's literature to romance to mysteries to...

Inspired by her granddaughter, Livia Wolfs, Dorothy Peters wrote the delightfully altruistic picture book Tomorrow, When I'm Bigger. Dorothy also read from her memoir for adults:  Daughters of the House of Jacob:  A Memoir of Migration.

 Prolific author D.R. Graham talked about her many titles and captivated us by reading from a manuscript she's currently working on. It's set on Mayne Island. I want to write more about it...but I won't.

Fans of Amber Harvey's Mary Magdalene Summer series (Magda's Mayne Island Mystery, Mayne Island Aliens, Mayne Island Skeletons, Magda's Mysterious Stranger) will be pleased to note that Amber is working on the next book in the series. She read from the opening chapters.


There was more 

Arlene Pare

her latest book:  He Leaves His Face in the Funeral Car 
(a book of poetry)

Grant Buday

Jack Schofield

but... Well, I have to admit it was all a little too much for this hermit. Inspired,  I had to leave early to return to my writer's cave.

Here's some of what I said before I left...

I'd like to thank the library for this opportunity to share my writing. What have I been doing since the last Festival Active Pass on Mayne Island in 2015?

My writing life is like watching a duck swim -- on the surface, very little is happening.

On the surface... 

In 'My Life with Letters' (included in the anthology From the Heart), I wrote about being an author with dyslexia. Dyslexia is an inherited condition that affects the way my brain processes written and spoken language.

From the Heart was published in 2015. Proceeds benefitted BC youth seeking higher education.

On the surface...

In 'Christmas with Family' (included in the anthology In the Moment) I wrote about how my desire to be with family for Christmas resulted in my husband and me getting stuck in the snow on Salt Spring Island. 

In the Moment was published in 2016. Proceeds were donated to Children's Wish.

To order, From the Heart and  In the Moment, please email publisher Gary Doi (

If you look into the water, at a duck's feet, you'll notice that they are paddling like mad. 

Hidden in my writer's cave, I've been writing picture books for children, a novel for young adults, and short stories for adults.

What led me to write picture books?

In the 1980s and 90s...

-I took a children's literature course at the University of Winnipeg

-as an Early Childhood Educator, I read scores of picture books to groups of children

-I owned a children's bookseller business

All of these experiences fuel my writing...

Bim has a new cozy bed thanks to Loving Care Pet Products

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Guest Post: Dr. Sigal Haber

Sigal Haber is a mother of three children with an extensive experience in education and teaching. 
Her love for literature and kids led her to the quest of writing for children.
As a University Prof. Sigal has taught and studied entrepreneurship for many years and had been involved with young entrepreneurs’ educational programs. Creativity and innovativeness, considered the core values of entrepreneurial behavior, are rooted in her thinking and writing. 
In her books she brings her life experience and knowledge in a creative and humours way to create a great reading experience for young readers.

How/why did you start to write?

Reflecting back I realize that I have been writing my entire life; whether for friends and family occasions, family trip diaries, for school purposes and even eulogies. I always found a way to connect the event to some moral in either a funny or serious ways. It has always been a part of me, one which I failed to recognize for a long time even when people around me encouraged me to. Once I started my academic career, I channelled this gift to a more professional aspect in my academic writing

How did you become an author who writes children's books?

I realize it may sound a bit like a cliché but I feel that writing found me and I became a recognized author at the right time of my life.

After a long academic writing career, I felt like I needed a transition in my writing style. I wanted to be able to adjust ideas and life experiences and write about them differently – So I turned it to writing for children. One thing that helped me with that was my own children. As a mother to young toddlers I used to read aloud for them all the time, so much that I have some books and songs memorized to this day. Naturally, the first reader of my work was my youngest son Jonathan, who was 9 years old at the time I started writing for children. He loves comic books and has a childish spirit. I must admit that initially I wrote for my own family, but once I have started to get encouragements from my surroundings, I decided to start the journey of publishing and have become a published author. So far, the responds I am receiving from my readers are incredible.

What was your first published piece?

My first published story was a picture book for children “Chuck The Rooster Loses His Voice”. It was published on Kindle / Amazon on June 2016. 

After many years as a U. Prof., teaching and researching entrepreneurship and management I asked myself how to introduce the concept of entrepreneurship to young children. I wanted to create a way for teachers and parents to discuss with their children what it takes to be a leader and take initiative in a community.
And no less than that I wanted to do it in a fun and humorous way. So I wrote this rhyming and funny story about what happens in a farmyard when the Rooster who supposed to wake everyone in the morning became ill. Obviously, life starts to go wrong. In an attempt to deal with the situation, the animals try to find a replacement from amongst themselves, to fill the Rooster's place. So they initiate and organize a singing contest. You’ll have to read it to find out will someone be found to take Chuck's place? How will the Rooster react to the idea? And will there be another "Farm Idol"?

The story highlights how situations seemingly problematic (i.e.: ill and not functioning rooster) can be seen as an opportunity for development of social ideas within a community (i.e.: a singing contest). It shows how leadership and self-confidence can help in promoting an idea regardless the difficulties involved. Furthermore, it shows that even if an initiative is not being completely realized, there are still ways to leverage the knowledge and experience gained during the process in order to improve it or to start a new one in the future. The book is directed to ages 5 and up.

A few months ago I published my second picture book for children on Kindle/ Amazon: “The Bear Barr Wants to Play the Guitar”. It is a cute story about a bear who wants to play the guitar but finds it difficult than he initially thought. The story shows how parents and friends can be supportive and help a child to achieve his goals. Also it illustrates the importance of perseverance for achieving life goals. For ages 3 and up.

Both titles are available on Amazon.

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

Before embarking on my writing career I was a U. Prof. studied SME in tourism industry, women entrepreneurs and family businesses. For years I have been active volunteer mainly worked with social and young entrepreneurs, gifted musicians and in my children’s schools. I think that the fact that I always kept writing and at the same time was involved in the community and engaged socially with people, enabled me to develop a creative way of looking at things and write about them.

What inspires you?

I love poetry. I love the way poets use and “play” with words to express feelings and thoughts. Writing is like a puzzle for me. It deals with putting the right words to express your idea and affect the reader emotionally and inspire him. It is a challenge. And I like it!

Please share one of your successful author platform building techniques

As a self-published author I use the social media channels. We are fortunate to live in an era where authors can reach to reader in various ways. Technology plays a huge roll in it.

Tell us more about yourself by answering the following questions:

What is your favorite word? 


What is your least favorite word?


Your favorite pet?


What turns you on emotionally? 

My children’s laughs

What turns you off?


What do you in your spear time?

I love playing sports especially bike riding. Biked 600 KM of the Trans Canada Trail and looking forward to the next 600…

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

A Singer and piano player

What profession would you not like to do?


If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

You did good! How about another round?

Chuck the Rooster Loses His Voice 
Its theme was inspired by my long career as a U Prof and researcher in the field of Entrepreneurship and management. I wanted to be able to discuss with children what does it mean to take initiative in a community and how important it is to help each other in a way that is adjusted to their own world of imagination. 
This is a rhyming story to be read also aloud for your children and adult can enjoy it too (Writing it I recalled myself reading particular stories to my daughter especially those that I could speak with her about their themes, language and keep reading it over and over again.)

Ages : 5 and up 

The Bear Barr Wants To Play The Guitar

Just published on Amazon 

This story is about perseverance and pursuing your personal goals even you encounter difficulties. 

For ages 3 and up. 

Dr. Sigal Haber's Amazon page where you can find more information and reviews

Author links...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Her Words (short story) by Leanne Dyck

Wise creatives remain open to inspiration; they welcome it. One way to invite it is to have new experiences. For example, a couple of evenings ago I read Byron did at an open mic night on Mayne Island. Early (too early) the following morning inspiration called. So I grabbed my pen. This is what I wrote...

Her Words

Open mic poetry night was the last Friday of every month. She went Friday after Friday until she found the nerve to share what she wrote. The lights were low; the bar crowded. She pushed her way to the microphone. She read her words slowly the way she'd reversed. It was all mostly a blur. But what a feeling; what a rush. Afterwards, he found her table, bought her a drink, and told her, "Wow, you're talented."

So she joined him in the cab. Later she wished it all had been a blur.

Happy Easter!

Next post:  Guest Post:  Please welcome children's author Sigal Haber
Published on Sunday, April 23rd at approximately 5 PM PT

As part of the Literary Festival Active Pass celebrations, I will be giving an author reading at 
11 pm
at Mayne Island library

I plan to arrive at the library before 9 am and leave at 4 pm. I don't want to miss a second of this special day.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Wind by Robert Louis Stevenson reviewed by Leanne Willetts

Robert Louis Stevenson writes with old fashioned charm. He takes delight in the simple and ordinary. This poem, in particular, views the wind through a child's eyes.

He wonders as to the nature of the wind:  'Are you a beast of field and tree,/or just a stronger child than me?'

The poem has a way of pulling you back to childhood when you had time to sit and wonder.

The poem draws upon all your senses. You feel the wind push at your face. You hear it's windy song. You see it merrily dance with the kites, birds, and grass.

The poem too talks about the sadness of not being able to find the unapproachable. The mystery always seems to be around the next corner:  'I saw the different things you did,/ But always you yourself you hid./ I felt you push, I heard you call,/I could not see yourself at all-'

I wrote this review on September 15, 1987, for a children's literature class I took at the University of Winnipeg.

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky,
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass--
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all--
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song

Next post:  Sunday, April 16 (5 PM PT) 
Her Words (short story)

(click on image to embolden)

"I have a story to tell"

Leanne Dyck's Author Reading
Sunday, April 23rd 11 am
Mayne Island library
Festival Active Pass

"Looking forward to seeing you there."

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Byron did: in praise of poetry by Leanne Dyck

Byron did. So did Shelley and Yeats and Burns and Cohen and Atwood and Browning and...

'Let me count the ways' wrote Elizabeth Barrett Browning

But my ways refuse to be counted. My brain can't think like that. My pen won't write like that.

Lord Byron wrote:  'She walks in beauty, like the night' -- and women swooned.

Poetry is like French. It sounds pretty coming out of someone else's mouth. It pours out of someone else's pen. But not mine.

Metaphors as yummy as pettifor and language that would be swarmed by bees make poetry challenging to understand. Most of it sails passed my ears and over my head.

 A Coat by W. B. Yeats

I made my song a coat
covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat
But the fools caught it
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it
Song, let them take it
For there's more
In walking naked

We have poetry in our souls, they say. But I've checked. Mine has gone. If it was ever there.

Margaret Atwood wrote:  'We turned out the lights in the cellar and played Murder in the Dark.' Then she wrote, 'I heard that this game was once played at a summer cottage by six normal people and a poet, and the poet really tried to kill someone.'

I used to claim that my amazing dyslexic brain was to blame.

"People with dyslexia can't work with syllables," I'd say.

But then I read that Yeats had dyslexia.

Robert Burns wrote:  'My love is like a red, red rose.'

Maybe poetry is like a garden. Maybe it has to be seeded and carefully tended. Rhythm, rhyme, meter -- maybe if I studied... Maybe... But who has that kind of time?

It might be trite,
but it's also right --
I'm not a poet
And I know it.