This past week or so, I’ve taken part in the SPARK art from writing: writing from art project. Spark is a collaboration art/writing project. On day one, I sent a poem to my artist partner, Bonnie Lebesch, and she sent me a piece of artwork. We had 10 days to create response pieces from the work we shared with one another. Here’s a link to the poem inspiration piece I sent Bonnie and her response artwork: AND WE’LL DANCE Here’s a link to the artwork inspiration piece Bonnie sent me and my response poem: A UNIVERSE BORN

For writers and artists out there, please note that SPARK is an ongoing project. SPARK Rounds take place in February, May, August, and October. If you’d like to join in on the SPARK fun, you can contact the SPARK people here: GET SPARKED

To see ALL the SPARK10 pieces, you can go here: SEE THE WORK

Honest Scrap Award? Who, me? Let’s be Honest…

This week I was honoured to find out that a newly discovered mentor had chosen me as one of three recipients of her pay-it-forward Honest Scrap Award! Noelle Bickle is a writer, and writing instructor, I met through Facebook and the WCDR. She facilitated a WCDR After-Breakfast Mini-Workshop in October that I attended— 30-Seconds of Shameless Self-Promotion. I thought it was fabulous. I left it with a 30 second ‘commercial’ for my most recent novel. This was no easy task for me! I’ve always been horrified by the prospects of distilling my manuscripts down to easy ‘it’s about’ infomercials. I’d stammer and hem and haw and finally come up with, ‘you know…stuff.’ Noelle’s workshop helped me get a grasp on this impossible task. I found her exuberant energy extremely infectious. Great workshop! To find out that Noelle flagged me as an inspiration was beyond a compliment! Thanks, Noelle! I wish I could send the Honest Scrap Award back to you…but I don’t think that’s the way it’s supposed to work. (-:

With the award comes the requirement to reveal “10 Honest Things” about me. So…here they are:

  1. I am an extremely LAZY writer. It’s true. I feel embarrassed every time people go on about how busy I am and how many things I have going on at once. Because I really don’t. It’s all smoke and mirrors. I start submitting once THE END is written at the end of the first draft. I throw poems together without even thinking about what I’m writing. If I ever spent more than 5 minutes on a poem, I can’t remember doing so. I’m a hack. I toss everything together without putting any thought into it…and then I resent every second I spend editing. I hate editing. So much so, that I often don’t do it.
  2. I LOVE movies. I love going to the theatre to see them…and I almost love the previews and the dimming lights and the time leading up to the feature movie more than actually watching the movie. I’m a theatre going junkie. I still remember growing up in Toronto and being dropped off in front of the theatre on Saturdays with my brother and friends. The curtains, the smells, the punches in the arm, the popcorn tossing, the Canadian National Anthem (Yes…I’m that old). I love it. I always like a bad movie when I see it at a theatre.
  3. I’m madly in love with the WRITERS’ COMMUNITY OF DURHAM REGION and there is almost nothing I wouldn’t do for them. From the day I became a member, I have felt indebted to them. Just holding the membership makes me feel like an honest to God writer. I’ve been with them now since 2002-03. My first publications came as a direct result of attending their fabulous monthly breakfast meetings. I’ve met so many fabulous people through this community. It’s hard to believe it took me years to work up the courage to join and then months to work up the courage to attend a breakfast meeting. I had this never-ending mantra in my head I-AM-NOT-A-WRITER. I felt like they would see right through the façade. I was afraid that the second I walked through the doors at the first meeting the jig would be up! But they welcomed me with open arms. Amazing group.
  4. I married my best friend. She always makes me laugh even though she always says I’m laughing at her. “You’re mocking me, aren’t you?” NO. You really are that funny! Amazing too. 21 years this past July 11th!
  5. I LOVE MUSIC. I’m partial to all 80s punk, new wave, etc, etc. But I also love new music and 70s rock and punk and DISCO. Yes, even disco. I hate country. Hate is too weak a term, actually. I’ve been really getting into K’Naan. I got turned on to him when I was in Kenya last December. Originally, this had nothing to do with his music. I still didn’t know it last December. I have a tendency to miss new music because I listen to CDs. While in Kenya, whenever a Kenyan would discover a member of our group was American, they would raise a fist and say, “OBAMA!” There is MEGA Obama love there. And whenever they would discover that a member of our group was Canadian, they would raise a fist with just as much respect and awe and say, “K’NAAN!” Clearly I had to find out who this K’Naan guy was! Turns out I LOVE his music. I often write to it lately. You should seriously check out his FATIMA. Amazing song! Favourite bands/Artists: T-Rex, The Cure, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, The Beatles, Jeff Buckley, The B52s, Haysi Fantayzee,Tragically Hip (Gordon Downie is an absolutely killer poet!), Bauhaus, The Smiths, The Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Leonard Cohen, Michael Jackson, AC/DC, TheThe, Bjork, Yaz(oo), The Cult, Bob Marley, Paul Simon, Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode…this is ridiculous. I could go on forever!
  6. I have 5 favourite spots in the world. 1)Where I am 2)New Brunswick 3)Kenya 4)Cozumel 5)Huntsville. I’d love to split my year between these 5 places…2.4 months at each… of course, I will have to win that lottery first. I’m all set to camp out in #1 and wait.
  7. My favourite writing gig is TRAFALGAR24 Play Creation Festival. I love seeing my words come to life on stage less than 24 hours after I penned them. It is an experience that is unfathomable until it happens…and, frankly, just as unfathomable after it happens. The actors blow me away! They get the script down to an exact tee. So talented! I can’t believe they let me do this. I love it so much it hurts!
  8. One of my favourite memories is being at a Leonard Cohen concert with my daughter. We are such Cohen fan-geeks. You haven’t lived until you share a concert experience with your grown child. (-:
  9. I didn’t think it was possible to have more fun with my son than we have on our Friday Afternoon Golf outings. Then we drove a dune-buggy through the jungles of Cozumel together, and swam in underwater caves in the heart of those jungles. Floating in the darkness and watching the thousands of bats above our heads come to life is an experience I will never forget. It’s great to see your child enjoy life…even if he is a teenage dirtbag. (-;
  10. I LOVE helping other writers. Being given the gift of the love of writing is like no other thing. It makes you want to share that gift and spread that feeling. I’m not saying I have a writing gift…my gift is the love of actually writing. I know that I don’t have to be a good writer to love writing. It’s about the connection that writing gives me. Being able to help other writers connect with the love of writing is a gift unto itself. That’s why I’m so passionate about getting involved in the WCDR and about the ONTARIO WRITERS’ CONFERENCE. I love the writing community. I don’t see jealousy or pettiness in the writing community. Writers always seem able to put these things aside…to just enjoy each other’s successes and feel compassion and empathy in the face of each other’s failures. When I began to take writing seriously, I felt like I found my home. It’s almost too good to be real. Someone pinch me!

Being granted The Honest Scrap Award also requires that I recognize 3 fellow bloggers that I deem worthy of the award. This was an easy decision for me to make. One of these people, I know in the real world…she’s a lovely unassuming gentle soul who is also a wonderful writer. She’s also always generous to her fellow writers. The second, a writer I connected with around the internet…and whose novel, BREAK, I later fell in love with. Her blog is always filled with wonderful advice for fellow writers. And the third is a fellow MuseItUp Publishing author…whose blog always has great author interviews.

So, in the order of mention used above, here are my 3 choices. Go give their blogs a visit:




To the three of you…I bestow the HONEST SCRAP AWARD onto you for your enthusiasm, professionalism and clear desire to help your fellow writers! Thanks. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to post 10 Honest Things about yourselves on your blog and follow that with awarding the award onto others.

The Honest Scrap Award:
This award is about bloggers who post from their heart, who often times put their heart on display as they write from the depths of their soul. This means so much to me as that is the root reason of why and what I write about. I believe writing is your heart without a mask. My writing, whether it be a blog post, a poem, a piece of prose or a WIP is the truest part of my soul. To me writing is about honesty and truth-seeking. There is the saying that the pen is more powerful than the sword. I believe that writing is a way to challenge people and to speak often times for those who cannot speak.

Spark 10! It’s on!

…and I am so thrilled to be a part of it!

What is SPARK? I’m so glad you asked. You can click on the Spark 10 participant badge above to visit the Spark site.

SPARK is  a participatory creativity event that takes place four times a year. The rules are simple: Writers send their artist partners a story or a poem; artists send an image of their painting, photograph or sculpture. Musicians and video artists send either a link or a file of their work. Once all the creations have changed hands, the participants have 10 days to use their designated partner’s piece as a jumping off point for new work of their own.

The SPARK site will post the inspiration pieces, along with the response pieces, once the 10 day project draws to a close. It’s a collaborative art project! And SPARK site readers get to see how art begets art in such a unique and interesting way.

Keep a link to the SPARK site so you can discover the inspiration and response pieces, once the project wraps up. There are participants from all over the world taking part. It’s bound to be an exciting exhibit, once unveiled!

(I received a painting from a fellow participant, and I sent her a poem. Now, we are both leaping away from these pieces to create two new ones! Can’t wait to see what she comes up with.)

2011 Ontario Writers’ Conference!

It’s almost time for the REGISTRATIONS to open for the April 30th Ontario Writers’ Conference! Why am I so excited? I am looking after registrations this year! Also, I know how abfab the event is going to be. I’ve been seeing it take shape behind the curtain and it’s looking absolutely stunning! I can’t wait to see how this one unfolds!

We are a volunteer committee of 9 members and we really work hard to pull together a great conference experience for those attending. The Ontario Writers’ Conference is a non-profit entity. We do this for the love of writing and for the love of writers. Bottom line, we want our attendees to have a great time and take home a wealth of knowledge that they can later translate into writerly success! That’s what it’s all about.


EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION DISCOUNTS – From November 1st, 2010 to December 15th, 2010.

Some of the line-up:

ROBERT J. WIERSEMA will be teaching a workshop and he will also be our Keynote Dinner Speaker! Mr. Wiersema will be facilitating Slaying Your Darlings – Pushing People’s Buttons: Sometimes keeping the momentum going necessitates driving your story off a cliff! Learn how to push the reader’s buttons to keep them turning those pages.

RAY ROBERTSON will be facilitating the workshop Thou Shalt Not Tell: “Showing” is the foundation of all good writing with an active voice and ample use of all five senses. Exercises and examples will help you hone your craft and bring your writing to life in a whole new manner.

WAYSON CHOY, who is our honorary patron, will be facilitating a workshop this year! Mr. Choy will be facilitating Risky Business – Telling the Story You’re Dying To Tell No Matter What People Think: Who better than acclaimed Canadian author Wayson Choy to use dying, story and “what people think” in the same sentence! He’ll share experiences from his own life and how he turned this into great reading.

Genre Buffet Roundtable (Ziana de Bethune (Horror-Fantasy) | Chevon Gael (Erotic-Romance) | Neil Crone (Humour) | Barbara Fradkin (Mystery) ): Often wondered about writing in a different genre or not know what to do with strange characters that showed up in your head? This is your opportunity to question and discuss erotic-romance, horror-fantasy, humour or mystery with four successful Canadian writers in their fields.

Delayed Gratification – How to Build Suspense facilitated by Annette McLeod : Put a character up a tree. Add a thunderstorm. Then a villain with a chainsaw. Get the point? Learn how to create intensity, build suspense and keep momentum going to the bitter end.

And that’s just a fraction of our wonderful 2011 line-up. For a more comprehensive list, check out the Workshop/Presentation Descriptions

Check out the day’s SCHEDULE
REGISTRATION PAGE will go live on November 1st. Workshops are first come, first serve. Register early to guarantee your workshops!