Category Archives: Welcome
So NaNoWriMo was a complete wash-out. As in, I have not written a single word this month. Unless, of course, you count the 75,000 words of outrage I have shared with the universe via social media.
I have, however, been contemplating plays. There are things brewing…and I’m hoping to tap into them soon. I love plays. They’re like novels without the work. Dialogue is the candy of the novel, which explains my love of the play. There’s none of that pesky prose getting in the way…the space between the talking is non-existent. It’s rather blissful. It was W. Somerset Maugham who said, “Thank God, I can look at a sunset now without having to think how to describe it,” when he moved from the laborious novel to the stage. I so totally agree!
I’m okay with dying during NaNo. Something is coming down the ‘pike. I’m going to be ready for it. Because, for me, the play’s the thing…
While you’re waiting for my next novel to release, or my next play, you can check out the novel that was my favourite to write (god…it’s so hard to say that with a degree of firmness…they’re all a thrill to write!) THE REASONS is available at KOBO only. You can grab it by clicking on the book cover below and heading on over to Kobo:
Here’s the book trailer for The Reasons. Nahko of Nahko & Medicine for the People was kind enough to allow me to use one of my favourite MFTP songs (GHOSTS EMBODIED) in this trailer:
Discover Medicine for the People too. If you haven’t yet, you have no idea the beauty you’re missing out on!
Me? I’m just gonna sit here and await the next inspiration. My soon to be characters are chattering in the background. (-:
Walk in Hemingway’s Footsteps! PARIS is calling! The 2016 Left Bank Writers Retreat – Holiday Discount for the Writer in Your Life!
In June of 2014 I treated myself to one of the most remarkable journeys I have ever been on. Yes, it was Paris…and that’s always an amazing journey. But what made it special were the people that accompanied me on the journey. When you participate in the Left Bank Writers Retreat in Paris, you instantly become family with a handful of writers as you traipse together through the same Paris that Ernest Hemingway knew and loved. It is the opportunity of a lifetime to see Paris through the eyes of the LBWR facilitators.
And they are currently having a holiday discount!
Now accepting registration for summer session of the LBWR, June 19-25, 2016
As a past participant in the LBWR (June, 2014), I can tell you it was one of the highlights of my traveling/writing life. We lunched at amazing sidewalk cafes frequented by Hemingway, we wrote in the Luxembourg Gardens and in the Tuileries, we visited many museums, we took the Metro to Montmartre. We did it all. And the organizers–Darla Worden, Sarah Suzor, and, Travis Cebula–were absolutely incredible. There is not a thing about Paris that Travis Cebula does not know. He is just a non-stop wealth of knowledge. This is important when you have your evenings to yourself and you’re new to the city of lights. Travis was there with an answer to all inquiries when it came to mapping out our evenings in Paris. The three of them went well beyond all expectations, making my first experience in Paris a truly memorable one I will carry with me forever.
Honestly, beyond the tours of Hemingway’s haunts and the writing exercises in the most beautiful parks of the city, we all just connected. And it was certainly implied that every year makes up another special familial group of Left Bank Writers. With Darla, Sarah and Travis serving as the glue that holds each year’s group together…you really can’t go wrong.
If you’re a writer, allow the LBWR to show you a Paris you have never seen before while simultaneously kick-starting your writing to the next level. You won’t regret the experience. If there is a writer in your life and you’re looking for the perfect writing gift to help encourage their path…THIS IS IT. Give them Paris and Hemingway and Darla and Sarah and Travis! It’s a combination like no other. Beautiful City + Beautiful People = Unforgettable Awesome
Here’s the latest missive from the LBWR…you can read more about the program in their words:
Holiday Gifts for Writers: Paris Tops the List
Left Bank Writers Retreat in Paris announces holiday sale plus top-5 book suggestions
Denver, Colo. – Nov. 10, 2015 – The Left Bank Writers Retreat, a small-group six-day writing workshop and literary tourism experience held in Paris each June, has some great gift ideas for that writer on your holiday shopping list. “Of course you can’t beat a chance to find writing inspiration in Paris firsthand,” says Left Bank Writers Retreat founder and director Darla Worden, “so we have to suggest that as a starting point.”
As a holiday gift-giving incentive, anyone signing up for this summer’s retreat before Dec. 31 will receive a $200 discount off the $1,999 tuition for a reduced price of $1,799. The Left Bank Writers Retreat will take place June 19-25, 2016, and tuition covers all daily expenses during the retreat from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (breakfast, lunch, admissions fees and transportation around the city, as well as writing instruction). Writers are responsible for their own airfare and lodging.
Open to all levels of writers, the Left Bank Writers Retreat in Paris includes morning writing sessions, coaching and one-on-one time with the instructor for a maximum of eight writers, as well as lunch each day, admission to museums and area sights and a picnic on the banks of the Seine. Recommended by the Los Angeles Times as a chance to follow in Hemingway’s footsteps and cure writer’s block, the workshop includes a literary tourism experience that treats attending writers to many of the sights featured in the Woody Allen movie “Midnight in Paris” as well as some newly opened and off-the-beaten-track literary landmarks.
“If a trip to Paris is larger than a shopper’s budget allows,” says Worden, “books about Ernest Hemingway and Paris also make excellent gifts.” She recommends the following list of titles, old and new, to add to shopping lists:
1. Hemingway in Love: His Own Story by A.E. Hotchner
2. Hemingway’s Paris: A Writer’s City in Words and Images by Robert Wheeler
3. Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties by Noel Riley Fitch
4. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
5. The Nick Adams Stories (Audible Audio Edition) by Ernest Hemingway, read by Stacy Keach
The Left Bank Writers Retreat is named for the now-famous writers who lived on Paris’s Left Bank during the 1920s. Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald are some of the expats who wrote in Paris, congregating in the city’s cafes and bars to share ideas. During the June retreat, participants experiment with many of the Left Bank writers’ techniques.
Applications for the June 2016 retreat and registration information are online at www.leftbankwritersworkshop.com/register
Darla Worden is a writer who lives in Jackson, Wyo., Denver, Colo., and Paris. Worden has written widely for magazines and authored several books. She writes the popular blog Frenchophile and is currently working on a book about Hemingway’s Paris.
Now in its seventh year, the Left Bank Writers Retreat takes place on the historic Île Saint-Louis in the heart of Paris. Writers arrange their own lodging and transportation to Paris. For additional information, visit www.leftbankwriters.com.
Media Contact: Darla Worden, WordenGroup Public Relations, email@example.com, 303.777.7667
Make a decision that will change you or the writing loved one in your life. I promise…it will be incredible!
Some pics of my Left Bank Writers Retreat adventure!
It’s been a while since I listed. I think. So, I thought I would list a few ideas to make your upcoming NaNoWriMo experience an enjoyable one. NaNoWriMo itself is an exercise is productivity. I’ll leave that motivation crap to the experts. I haven’t had a motivating day in my life. I’m of the JUST KEEP SWIMMING variety, myself.
Before the list, the explanation for the newly initiated. If, indeed, there are any of you left out there in the big wide open.
NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month
I will take the very succinct ABOUT info from the NaNoWriMo site and direct you there for any further explanations and investigations about/of the yearly November event.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.
On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.
After I found my very first NaNoWriMo experience in 2003 so incredibly fruitful, I decided I would keep doing it every November. That first NaNoWriMo was the drafting stage of my first published novel:
Before my first NaNo I always tried to write here and there. That doesn’t work for me. In fact, NaNo is even a stretch now, since I’ve been doing the novel-in-72hrs Muskoka Novel Marathon (MNM). But I still do the NaNo. It gave me one of my favourite stories and it showed me that there are many ways to write a novel. I need a frenetic pace…NaNo taught me that. MNM cemented that. I just cannot do the novel in a year…or two years…or three.
Oh, a list! Right. Almost forgot.
How to Thrive & Enjoy Your NaNoWriMo Experience Without Losing Your Head or Knotting Your Shirt – Listed: Chillaxing the NaNo
- Do not make the 50,000 words a threat. We writers beat ourselves up over so many things. Let’s not take a fun productive endeavour and make it our enemy. The whole concept of NaNoWriMo is to get BIC (Bum in Chair). We aim for a fruitful November, filled with the joy of writing and creating and exploring our imaginations. Pure and simple. Don’t hold the loaded gun to your head and scream at yourself when you don’t meet a daily/weekly word-count goal. Just sit. Just write. Or dance when the words aren’t coming. Don’t pull the trigger. The favour you are doing yourself is participating in an exercise in productivity. The take-home should be a thoughtful introspection of your own process and perhaps a new regime of daily writing time. Not anxiety, self-hate, and mutilation. Enjoy this month of creativity.
- See #1. It deserves the top two places on this list.
- Find out where/how/when you write best. Ask yourself who you write for. Ask yourself why you write. This month of dedicated writing time should not be wasted on the mere task of writing. With myself, I felt that it helped to shape my future writing ‘career’. It was during my first NaNo that I discovered my magic hour. I wrote in the tiny hours of pre-6am for years after my 2003 NaNo year. During my NaNo, I set myself the task of finding a daily time to write…to stay on task and meet my 50K word goal. I had no time, so I made time. Much like the Netherlands found land where once there was none. That 5am hour is GOLDEN for a full-time person attempting to write on the side. And I found my creativity surged in that hour as well. While you’re finding the time, look for the place too. Hop from one place to another in your living quarters, in your neighbourhood, in your country. Find the nook(s) that most suit your writing requirements. Do you like silence or mayhem? Are you a coffee shop writer? Or a subway writer? Or a library writer? Or a kitchen table writer? You have a month…go forth and discover your prime writing land. How? Any damn way you please, actually. NaNoWriMo can be done in a sketchbook, on cafe napkins, in a laptop, on a tablet. It can be done with a pen, a pencil, a stylus, a crayon, or a keyboard. Discover your how this November. Whatever works for you. Permissions—that’s what NaNo is about for me. While you’re dealing with the other questions, it’s also fun to ask the WHO YOU WRITE FOR and WHY YOU WRITE questions. Just for, you know, fun. These questions are all about finding yourself as a writer. What better month to do that than during the month that celebrates writing?
- Remember that the end-goal is about writing. It’s about taking the thought, ‘I’d like to try to write a novel’, and making it a reality. Sure…there’s an end-goal of 50,000 words during the month of November. Yep. It’s there. But the real goal is to get yourself writing…to form a habit. Let me break down the monolithic word-count goal for a second. 50,000 words. Sounds like a lot, right? Wrong. That’s 1,666.666666 words a day. I always think to myself, ‘if I can write one page a day, that’s a novel a year’. If you break down the seemingly impossible it becomes not only probable but possible. And then it becomes doable. But still…keep your eyes off the word count goal and on the BIC goal. Just sit. Just write.
- Community. Get yourself over to the NaNoWriMo website and register. There’s an active FORUMS section where others the world over are trying to do the same thing as you. I discovered long ago that writing is as much a community thing as it is a lone venture. My days with the WCDR have taught me the value of community when you’re a writer. Don’t underestimate it. Join the forums, join in on the discussions…you don’t have to do this alone. Writers support writers.
- Have fun. Have fun. Have fun. Put the gun down. Don’t pressure yourself. Get into a healthy habit of writing every day. Use November as your jumping off point to the rest of your writing life. You’re writing because you like to create. No matter how professional you come in this endeavor, never make it a job…never make it a horrible chain around your neck. Despair is not needed to be a productive enthusiastic creator of worlds through words. Just be yourself and remember why you write. And BIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Chillax and have fun. Don’t lose your head or get your shirt in a knot. Sit. Write. Repeat.
So much going on of late! The fall is always a busy time when it comes to a writer’s life. A writer with an orbit in the Durham Region in Ontario, anyway.
The Writers’ Community of Durham Region just had its 20th Anniversary Gala last weekend. What a milestone. Together, we have been supporting each other for two decades. Some literary giants past, present, and future have been involved with this amazing organization. It is, perhaps, the best run community for writers in the world. I don’t say that in passing…it is a phenomenal resource for writers. And not just the acclaimed ones…the door is open for writers on all levels of the journey.
Hi-jinx may have ensued at the Gala. There’s a camaraderie in this organization like no other. When we get together we tell stories…on walls!
And there was, apparently, a crime committed at the event. I received an email from an offshore account with a picture attached. It seems somebody is attempting to ransom some doohickey things. They want me to let the organization know that they want $100,000.00 in unmarked bills dropped off at a garbage can in downtown Oshawa in exchange for the return of their tree tchotchkes. But I refuse to help bargain with thieves. I’m so above that kind of nonsense. I do, however, wish to share exhibit A:
Speaking of the WCDR…five more things to add on that front.
Their Phoenix WCDR Short Story Contest is now open! Top Prize is $750. It’s open internationally. Closes to submissions on Oct 25th! Submission fee is $20. Click on the image below to go to the site to see the FULL SUBMISSION GUIDELINES (which you must always follow to a tee).
Also coming down the pike for the WCDR clan is the next WORDS OF THE SEASON! This is a regular member reading event that takes place in Pickering. This one will be the Culture Days edition.
Date: Friday, September 25th, 2015
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: The Bear (A Firkin Pub) located at 1294 Kingston Road, Pickering (Liverpool and Kingston Road).
Admission: Free! Food and drink are available for purchase.
MEMBER READERS are already lined-up, but this event is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC and there will be an OPEN MIC session after the scheduled readings. SO, bring some work…come join us. Read for the crowd!
The WCDR will also be present at this year’s TORONTO WOTS! That’s WORD ON THE STREET…the cross Canada celebration of words. Rain or Shine. Come out to our booth to meet some of the WCDR people (MYSELF INCLUDED). You can find out just how vibrant this amazing organization is. You can see for yourself why we members keep drinking the Kool-Aid!
The WOTS is at HARBOURFRONT CENTRE on Sunday September 27th (11am-6pm). Come on down and look for the WCDR booth!
ALSO coming down the tracks is the next WCDR ROUNDTABLE MEETING! This is our monthly breakfast meeting. About a hundred of us get together and break bread and listen to the guest speaker and socialize. It’s a great event…the glue of the organization, really. There are also mini-workshops after each meeting for the eager to learn writer.
The Roundtable Meeting happens on the second Saturday of every month. They are open to everyone…not just members. And you will be warmly greeted and welcomed to the fold. The next one is Saturday October 10th. It’s not on their website yet…but will be shortly. Keep your eye out for it…the venue is changed for the October meeting.
Okay…so, NOVEMBER…the 5th thing to mention about the WCDR:
BOOKAPALOOZA 2015 takes place SATURDAY NOVEMBER 21st at The Durham College, Centre For Food/Bistro 67 at 1604 Champlain Avenue, Whitby.
I will have a table at this event and I will be selling a few of my books: SUMMER ON FIRE, BURN BABY BURN BABY, and, HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN. This is a great event to showcase local talent…and to discover resources for writers and readers. YOU SHOULD COME!
Saturday, November 21, 2015
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Centre for Food
1610 Champlain Ave.
On to other events!
Tomorrow I head to HUNTSVILLE, ONTARIO for the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON WRAP PARTY!!! I talk about the marathon non-stop to whoever will listen, but just to sum up…it’s a yearly novel writing marathon where 40 writers get together in one room and each attempt to write a novel. AND…more importantly…it’s a fundraiser for literacy programs in Simcoe County/Muskoka region. We have raised over $135,000.00 so far for literacy. No small feat! It takes place every JULY. The wrap-party takes place every SEPTEMBER. The writers get back together, celebrate each other…hand out awards, do readings, make merriment! It takes place tomorrow…and I can’t wait! (-:
That’s it. Not so much, really. (-: Oh…also…I’m writing. My agent, STACEY DONAGHY of the DONAGHY LITERARY GROUP currently has my 2015 Muskoka Novel Marathon novel on submission. It’s called PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE and it’s an LGBTQ YA novel. I will be reading from this novel at tomorrow’s MNM event, and at the WORDS OF THE SEASON event. I’m excited about this one…so much fun to write. We’ll see if it finds a home. (-:
I’ll leave you with a song, but first—
I always say that writing is absolutely a solitary and lonely endeavor. It is, well and truly. It is something one must do alone. BUT…if you choose a writing community lifestyle, as opposed to solitary existence as a writer, you will enrich your life ten-fold. If you’re not close enough to the WCDR community (AND TORONTO IS CLOSE ENOUGH…JUST SO YOU KNOW!), find a writing community in your area. It will change your life. Community is everything!
I leave you with my favourite writerly song: