Dame Daphne Sheldrick and the Legacy of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust…

I recently finished reading the fascinating memoir of Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the Kenyan woman of British descent who saved orphaned elephants in Kenya for decades. Her husband, David Sheldrick, was the founding warden of Tsavo, Kenya’s largest National Park. Dame Daphne was instrumental in setting up the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an organization still thriving today. Click here for the DAVID SHELDRICK WEBSITE. Individuals can foster elephants in the foundation’s care, either for themselves or as gifts for others. You can choose among the elephants in their care.

Dame Daphne, through a series of heartbreaking trials and errors, discovered the one formula that orphaned elephant calves can live on. Cow’s milk is incompatible with the elephant’s digestion system. Part of the fostering money collected goes toward purchasing the formula needed for the calves, which is brought in from the UK. By fostering an elephant, you are literally helping to save its life. And it’s only $50 USD a year.


Dame Daphne’s memoir of her time with the animals and her life with her husband, David.
The alternative cover for the same book.


I’m going to link a documentary that was made about the ivory trade and Dame Daphne and David Sheldrick. Before I do, however, I have to warn you that there are several instances of on-screen euthanasia of animals. Poachers would shoot elephants with poison darts that would cause them to suffer long and terrible endings… they could at times suffer for months before they would finally fall dead from the lethal dart injection. David Sheldrick and his team often came across wounded elephants that they would need to take down in order to end their sufferings. This documentary was made in order to force change and enact protections against poachers in Kenya. It is necessarily graphic. You will see dying and dead animals, and partial elephants that were taken down and destroyed for their tusks. Be forewarned before you click on the link that there is some graphic and disturbing footage in this documentary.

There are also some very touching scenes of Dame Daphne nursing animals, and of her menagerie of orphaned animals all shapes and sizes playing together alongside one another. Keep an eye out for the elephant running and frolicking with the ostriches!


If you foster an elephant with David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you will be allowed to visit your elephant at the orphanage. They open for visitors and anyone can go, but if you have a fostered elephant you get to stay behind when the public leave.

I visited the orphanage in 2009 when I was in Kenya for a writing retreat. It was magical to see the elephant calves at play. I took some footage… it’s not very good (I promise you it gets less shaky after about the one minute mark!), but it captures what you will see if you happen to find yourself in Nairobi and able to pay a visit yourself.

Here’s my footage of the orphanage from 2009…

You can meet the orphans individually (bios and photos) on the DSWT website at THIS LINK. For as little as $50 USD, you can foster one of these beauties! Sadly, they are still in as much danger today as they were when Dame Daphne was alive and out there every day bringing abandoned orphans back to life.

I highly recommend Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s memoir, Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story. It’s a touching heartwarming and heartbreaking read. The Sheldricks’ legacy is phenomenal…what they did for both elephants and rhinos is nothing short of miraculous and the world is eternally in their debt for it.


International Literary Seminars Fiction and Poetry Contest Now Open!

Why a lion photo for a writing contest? I went to Kenya with the SLS in 2009 on a partial fellowship after entering ‘this’ contest…

The International Literary Seminars Fiction & Poetry Contest is now open for entries!

A little backstory…

Once upon a time there was an organization called Summer Literary Seminars (SLS)(1998-2019). There is now an organization called International Literary Seminars (ILS). They list SLS as their parent. From their ABOUT page:

“Our mission as a not-for-profit organization is to amplify the literary and cultural visibility of Nairobi and Lamu within an international context and with a particular focus on showcasing the vibrant and complex voices of emerging East African writers.”

I entered the SLS fiction contest and went to the Kenya seminar in 2009 after being awarded a partial fellowship to attend.

Me and my two 2009 SLS retreat besties, Jennifer and Manjula. Lamu, Kenya, December, 2009.

You can click the link below to go right to the contest page for entry and prize details:


The prizes are substantial. First place will win full scholarship, which includes tuition, accommodation, and an airfare stipend. You can see the other prizes by clicking the above link.

The program is an excellent experience. The itinerary will be different than the one I had when I went through SLS, but it’s also essentially the same. You will go to both Nairobi and Lamu, which were the settings I experienced through SLS. This was a life-changing retreat for me in more ways than one. They have an excellent writing program, and it is perfectly balanced with the cultural experience of place.

Nairobi, as seen from a hilltop looking into the city.

You should enter this contest!

Lamu was such a wonderful laid back experience after the whirlwind tour I had of Masai Mara and Nairobi. We had writing classes on an open rooftop with views of the Indian Ocean.

For more on my own personal experiences on Lamu Island, visit THIS LINK: THE WHITE RABBIT OF LAMU AND TIME MARCHES ON

A baobab tree. And me.

Here’s a link to a detailed rundown of this year’s ILS program, which begins in Nairobi. It runs from DECEMBER 5th – 20th, 2023>>> 2023 PROGRAM

It looks like the entry fee is $19.00USD. ILS is a not-for-profit organization.

Other things to know: Submissions are capped at 1,000. They had over 450 entries last year. Fiction can be a short story OR a novel excerpt—unpublished at 6,000 words or less. Poetry is up to 3 poems. Entries are accepted until AUGUST 25th, through Submittable.

Good luck! May you fall in love with Kenya as I did!

With participants of SLS 2009 with some of the Masai on Lamu, Island.

Recovered Poem (Maasai Adumu at Keekorok) and The Tiny Book Fest Recording…

Every once in a while a publication that has published one of my pieces goes under. The reasons are various, but we know funding has a lot to do with death in the art world.

Message in a Bottle Poetry Magazine came through for me in 2010 and published my poem Maasai Adumu at Keekorok. I wrote this poem soon after returning from a writing retreat in Kenya where I made a side trip to Keekorok Lodge on the Maasai Mara National Reserve for a safari.

MiaBPM is now defunct. As first rights are now gone for this poem, I thought I would share it here so it doesn’t slip away to someplace where I can never find it again.

Maasai Adumu at Keekorok

Their voices lift
like gazelle in fright,
swell your insides
to heights that burst
and bleed in rivers red.

Their screeches
hit that place inside,
cracks it into pieces;
that place you did not know,
you did not dream you carried.

Their dance beckons,
screams your name
and you are left in tatters,
feeling loss of life,
your old life slips away,
you lift with every jump and neon yelp,
to stretch yourself complete.

Their red shúkàs sway,
entice ancient longing,
scream to all who are present,
“We are, we are,
we are Maasai.”

While you’re here, I did a panel for THE TINY BOOK FEST by INTERLUDE PRESS AND DUET BOOKS this past weekend. The panel was LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION and it was moderated by Sarah Penna of FROLIC MEDIA. Also on the panel with me were fellow pub-house authors Julian Winters, Lilah Suzanne, and Laury A Egan.
Apparently, if you missed it, you can still watch the Facebook recording:
The Tiny Book Fest continues next Sunday (APRIL 26, 2020) and you can tune in via Zoom or Facebook on Interlude Press’s Facebook page. Here’s the schedule:

The White Rabbit of Lamu and Time Marches On

I originally wrote this as a meandering Facebook post a year ago. When it came up in my Facebook memories, I wanted to save it and elaborate. Because there are always these little moments in your life that you keep returning to, little nuggets of time that are nothing more than freeze-dried moments that, if you blink, you miss. And yet, for some reason they stay with you forever and keep drifting back in the most unlikely of moments.

Whispers Cafe, Lamu, Kenya

I was just falling asleep when I thought again of the white rabbit.

Not the one from the song or the one who was friends with Alice. I thought of my white rabbit, the one who appeared from nowhere to join us at a reading by Catherine Bush on Lamu Island off the coast of Kenya.

The White Rabbit of Lamu

There’s a tiny bistro on the island of Lamu called Whispers. Its name is as silent as its seeming unassumingness. I say seeming because until you dig a little deeper and discover it’s a series of tiny buildings and outbuildings and breezeways and gardens, you really do think it’s just a tiny bistro.

Some of the hidden treasure of Whispers – Beyond the Cafe

When you walk through the labyrinthine part of the cafe for the first time, after spending several days in the un-secreted tiny dining space, you can’t believe your eyes. Fountains and porticoes and statuary and gardens and alcoves…yes, the alcoves. And then, after the last archway, the prettiest of gardens. And when you all gather there to hear the words of a great writer, and you sit in the grass, and on the steps, and in the chairs, and on the blankets, the world outside of Whispers dissipates and there are only words and listening. And then, out of the ethereal moment in which you find yourself, enters the white rabbit.

Catherine Bush, Canadian Writer and Summer Literary Seminars Writing Instructor – Kenya, 2009

And you know now, after nine years and more, that the poor white thing has long since passed. But that white rabbit will never die, because in the silence of the words and the listening, in your memory, it’ll scurry in… and perhaps you alone will notice the moment it stops chomping away at the grass and flowers because it hears a voice. Only you will remember the way it looked up at the reader in awe and listened. Only you will hear the Whispers it sends back up to the reader who has so enthralled it and made it pause from its nightly moonlight meal. Memory has a way of always bringing back that white rabbit. I so look forward to those future moments of silence into which it slithers…a gift, an oasis, an elegy of itself, whispering, “REMEMBER ME, REMEMBER ME, I’M THE WHITE RABBIT. I EXISTED. I LIVED. I LOVED!”

It’s been almost nine years since Kenya. Hard to believe it was so long ago. I look forward to a future with many visits from that white rabbit. His visitation gifts bring me back to the smells and the colors and vibes and textures and light of that beautiful island. Madonna was wrong. Time doesn’t go by so slowly. It marches on like a freight train. Hold on to your white rabbits…

“And if you go chasing rabbits…”

My Linktree links to books and such:


Kenya, Six Years On…Life Itself Is a Moveable Feast!

Ernest Hemingway famously wrote “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast” in his Paris memoir A MOVEABLE FEAST.

moveable feast

He was right. By God, was he right. But he also touched on something with that now famous quote…something in my soul. A truth. He was right in saying PARIS was a moveable feast. It is a rich city of love and light. It has come to represent the beauty of life itself. That’s why those cowardly inhuman bastards who like to think of themselves as a STATE (which is so completely laughable) took aim on our (the world’s) city. Those creatures are the least of the least…pathetic losers. Call them DAESH…because they hate the derogatory term. Don’t call them ISIL or ISIS. That’s what they want. They are DIRT. They are less than dirt. They are heathens and unholy dirtbags who are attempting to hijack a religion and destroy the world and the love within the world. Call them Daesh or call them nothing. I should not compare them to anything…because whatever I could possibly compare them to is BETTER than them. The puckered asshole on the back-end of NOTHING is better than these cowardly nothing pieces of shit (Oops…shit is miles above these creatures). What they don’t know is that the whole world is laughing at their sad pathetic asses and their attempts to destroy the love and joy and peace they can’t begin to understand. They are uncouth imbeciles, from the leader to the smallest of them. Religion?! Ha. Mayhem, destruction, apocalypse whores with Daddy issues. Losers.

OOPS! Me and my tangents. That’s not even where I was going. I didn’t mean to write that. I guess there’s no denying the fact that I have so much disgust for these creatures…as I love life and they abhor it. I think I’m just gonna leave that here. NOW…where was I?

Hemingway said that Paris was a moveable feast…but the more countries I’m fortunate enough to explore, the more I realize that the world in its entirety is a moveable feast. There is beauty in every corner. There are beautiful people in every corner.

It was six years ago today that I boarded a plane and took off for Kenya. I fell instantly in love with the country. It’s hard to believe it was six years ago. Hard to believe in a SIX WHOLE YEARS sort of way AND a ONLY SIX YEARS sort of way. I may have discovered a host of things in Kenya, but I think one of the most important things I stumbled upon while I was there was myself.

Masai Market – Lamu Island (December, 2009)

From Nairobi to Lamu…from Ngong Hills to Masai Mara…the country took my breath away. Its beauty and its people.

Captured while sitting at a sidewalk cafe on Lamu Island.

I went there with Summer Literary Seminars and I studied writing while simultaneously discovering the country.

I was fortunate enough to take a safari in Masai Mara, while staying at Keekorok Lodge.

I met amazing people, saw incredible things. I even kissed a giraffe.


Seeing Kenya made clear Hemingway’s words well before I stepped foot on the sacred soil of his beloved Paris. Everywhere we go, if we look, we will find a lovely and breathtaking moveable feast. The more we love, the more we take back the world from those who seek only to destroy it. For evil lurks in dark places…but love…love can be found everywhere. Love itself is a moveable feast…

When is a Poet Not a Poet?

No. It’s not a riddle. I’m not very good at riddles.

I have just been doing a lot of wondering lately on my status as a poet. It’s been a while since I’ve felt like one. Can you keep calling yourself a poet when you have abandoned poetry? I used to write it every day. I feel now as though I have forgotten how to write it. I think the last poem I had published is this one: WHEN VENUS TAKES A RIDE and I wrote it in December, 2009. That’s a long dry spell.

When is a poet knot a poet?

Okay, that’s knot funny.

I’ve been thinking about getting back into the habit of writing a poem every morning before I start prose writing. It really does seem to free something inside the creative mind. I used to write a poem before tackling ANY writing project. I called it WORD CALISTHENICS. It really did loosen the old word muscles too. But I let it slide. It takes 21 days to form a habit…but a lot less to break it.

So, I am publicly setting a challenge for myself. Write one poem every day. I’m not going to hold myself to any length, style, theme, etc. Just one poem a day. That should be easy enough…right?

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a blog post I created over a year ago now to keep track of my published poetry. Now that’s strange…I used to have publications coming out all the time. Not that I submitted everything I wrote. When you write poetry every day, though, the poems tend to pile up. I cannot remember the last time I submitted a poem somewhere. Now that’s sad.


Does a poet ever become Not Poet? Again, not a riddle. I think the answer is no. I think a poet sees the world as a collection of words. Whether or not he/she is writing…I guess that just depends on the way the words fall on any given day. This year has been a year of changes for me. I think my world of words has been in a bit of a windstorm. But I feel the storm is settling. Time to pluck those words from the whirlwind of chaos and start putting them into some sort of semblance of order.

From the website of the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada:

When Venus Takes a Ride
~For the Poet, Venus Thrash, who took a ride~

When the donkeys moan
and screech at night
I think of Venus shining bright,
her smile a child
cast in this strange exotic place.
Her eyes, like her namesake,
glowing in the dark canvas
of a rural midnight sky,
flush with constellations taking flight.

When the brays reach my sleepless sleep,
wake me from my Shangri-La dreams
of Lamu’s narrow streets,
it is Venus that I see,
sitting proud,
riding through the welcome arch,
swaying to the public square
and Lamu Fort.

When Venus takes a ride
we follow,
a parade of weary travelers,
wondering if this poet
is in a way our Mecca bright,
our Venus star in a midday sky.

When delivered to the square,
she dismounts her burdened beast
and mouths her tiny Venus prayers
as sleek and quiet
we slip inside the marketplace
and disappear into magic Lamu night.

Categorized as Kenya, Poetry

Masai Dance at the Masai Market – Lamu, Kenya – Dec. 24, 2009

Masai Dance at the Masai Market – Lamu, Kenya – Dec. 24, 2009.

Today, I just wanted to share an old post from my Kenya blog. Every time I think of the Maasai of Kenya it makes my heart hurt a bit. Seeing them dance was a euphoric experience that will stay with me forever. I WILL GO BACK TO KENYA!

No ranting today. No talk of writing. Just the sweet sound of Maasais dancing to the beat of their own music…under the beautiful African sun on the most gorgeous island on the planet.

Back to Africa – When Reality Becomes Fiction

I’ve been working on a new project lately. I say new, but what I mean is old. With a new twist. In 2007 I wrote a short novel called Sebastian’s Poet. I have to be honest, I’m dead critical of all my writing. I don’t usually see good in my words. And when I do, I immediately begin to feel guilty about it. And then Sebastian’s Poet happened.

I wrote SP during my first Muskoka Novel Marathon. I did the 48 hour session that year, and it totally emotionally exhausted me. I LIVED that story as I wrote it. It was pure catharsis. As I wrote down the entire last chapter, I was holding back tears…and occasionally wiping them. That chapter was very lively with celebration. My main character, Sebastian (Sebby) was just home from France with his new caregiver, Teal. Teal was taking to the stage with Gordon Lightfoot and the crowd was going crazy. That chapter was the sweet sigh after my denouement. It made me feel higher than a kite in autumn.

I can’t tell you how many times I went back to SP to try to expand upon it. It was only 42K words when done. I loved it, but I tried extremely hard to find a good home for it. To no avail. Having had other successes that I didn’t believe in as much as I believe in SP, I never really understood how this one kept getting rejected.

Nairobi SkylineThe Beautiful Staircase at the Nairobi National Museum

Well, then I went toAfrica. Kenya, to be exact. The second I touched down inNairobi, a kernel of an idea came to me. I thought, “Teal is here.” And that feeling never truly left me. As a writer, you have to listen to those urges and feelings that speak to you. Well, I do, anyway. I can’t ignore the voices in my head. And the loudest one was telling me Teal came to Africa…to die.

Rift Valley – KenyaGetting a Giraffe Kiss in Kenya!
Safari vehicles chasing the elusive cheetah!
A Lion in the Mara – Masai Mara, Kenya

Teal Landen was my main character’s idol and, eventually, caregiver. The story was set in the Beaches district of Toronto in the 70s-80s. But my mind kept telling me there was something missing. Then it hit me, the story begins inAfrica…in 2009. Teal is escaping the limelight to deal with cancer…and the uncertain future before him. But not only does he escape the limelight, he hides away from Sebby and his brother Renee. And that’s where I get to find out what kind of adults Sebby and Renee eventually became. I have them tracking Teal to a tiny little island off the coast ofKenya. Lamu…the place I fell so in love with, I had its coordinates tattooed on my back. (-:

Taking a dhow ride in the waters off of Lamu Island.
Manda Duty Free – Manda Airport, Kenya
The beautiful baobab tree!The Mangrove Super-Highway on the way to Takwa Ruins

Writers have to pay attention. When they travel, they need to listen to the places that speak to them. I’ve been to other places, but none have screamed that they wanted to become a part of my fictional world likeKenyahas. So, I went back toAfrica…in my imagination. I placed three of my all-time favourite characters of my own fiction into the beautiful setting I fell in love with. Teal disappeared off the face of the earth and my boys set out to bring him home.

A Dhow Sail – Lamu, Kenya

Use what you have. And when you’re finished with it, use it again. There is a whole universe in our memories. The places we’ve been, the people we’ve met, the events we’ve witnessed. Everything is up for grabs. Nothing is sacred. I knew, as soon as my feet touched the tarmac in Nairobi, I would return to Kenya. I knew it would become a setting for my future fiction, and I knew I would one day return in person. It’s in my heart. And now, it holds a place in Sebby’s heart too. And I have Teal to thank for that. He spoke to me in that deep burned out folksinger’s voice of his. As I was staring in wild wonder at my new surroundings, jet-lagged and nervous, I heard him say, “I’ve come back to Africa!” And being his creator, I had to make it so. I had to listen until he told me what happened to him in that land. And when I listened, it just all fell into place. Sebastian’s Poet wasn’t finished yet.

The End.

Lamu Town

(Originally appeared as PART THREE in a THREE PART SERIES in the WORDWEAVER.)

As our plane landed at the Manda Island airstrip, I was crazy with anticipation. Out the window, I had glimpses of the Indian Ocean and the tiny Arabic/Swahili island of Lamu!

Our first dhow (a traditional Arab sailing vessel) ride took us to Lamu Island. I didn’t know then that I would spend much of the upcoming week aboard these beautiful boats. We climbed from the dhow onto cement stairs that ascended right up out of the water. Lamu Town!

We arrived on a very special day: Islamic New Year, 1430—a day of festivities: donkey races, dhow races, dancing in the streets and vibrant reverent prayer. I was enamoured with everything I saw. Fellow traveller Venus Thrash was
offered a donkey ride upon our arrival. We followed her through the narrow streets of Lamu Town as she was escorted, like visiting royalty, to Lamu Fort and the town square. We were swept up and fully embraced in their celebration!

I woke the next morning at 4 a.m. to the gorgeous sound of Muslim prayer. It was so beautiful, I didn’t care about the early hour. I had too much to take in to waste time sleeping. The weekend was free time and only half of our group had arrived in Lamu. Eight of us had arranged for a special day trip with one of the dhow captains.

The dhow crew took us to Manda Beach, where we swam in the ocean while they made us a meal of fresh fish, coconut rice and tantalizing curry. After the meal, which was served under the shade of an acacia tree on beach sand-raked smooth by the crew, we lazed around while the crew cleaned up. Later, we piled into the dhow and made our way through an intricate mangrove forest waterway. As the path narrowed, we had to step out into the black waters and walk among the ancient mangroves to the entrance of the 15th-century Swahili trading town of Takwa. We walked the ruins with mouths agape. Crumbling walls of an ancient mosque, dinosaur baobab trees, wells, homes, a withering school and the burial site of a revered Imam…it all fascinated us. The air of Takwa was alive, abuzz—either with the voices of long dead ghosts or a mass of unseen insects. We didn’t know which. We only knew the peace of being there…the sacredness of the island.

Unfortunately, we only had half an hour in Takwa. Any longer and the waterway leading to the island would vanish. We’d be forced to spend the night within the island’s sacred hum. As much as we loved the ruins, we didn’t have to be told twice when it was time to leave.

One last surprise for the day… we emerged from the mangrove forest at the precise moment the sun touched the horizon and melted into the Indian Ocean. Perfect timing! We watched the sun melt into the ocean as we ate freshly cut fruit served to us by the crew.

That was just the first full day on Lamu. Every day was the same: perfection. We had our writing classes on the rooftop terrace of a hotel in the centre of town—a terrace with a 360 degree view of Lamu Town and the ocean surrounding it. We had sun, donkeys, dhows, sharks, weddings, Masai dancers, poetry readings on the beach, Imams, absolute joy in the face of abject poverty, a dancing/singing festive Kiswahili Christmas Eve mass in a tiny Catholic church, Rastafarians, children playing soccer, hennaed hands and so much more.

What a perfect place to end our Kenyan trip. I will never forget the people of Lamu. Their joy has changed me. Their remarkable radiance is something we could all aspire to. And writing. Ah, yes. I was there for the love of writing. My passion for words has never been stronger. The beauty of the world classroom…what a perfect place to dance with one’s muse!

September – ALWAYS a busy month! (Updates)

I don’t remember a September that wasn’t action-packed. Historically, it just seems like one of those months where everything happens at once. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! This September is no exception. Things started to roll today, and it’s looking like yet another exciting September for me.

September 1st – My poem WHEN VENUS TAKES A RIDE was posted on the website of the Parliamentary Poet Laureate. It was chosen as the Poem of the Month by the Parliamentary Poet Laureate, Pierre DesRuisseaux. It will be featured for the month of September, and archived on the site for two years. I wrote this poem after my first day on the island of Lamu, off the coast of Kenya. I went there this past December with the Summer Literary Seminars, as part of their Kenya writing program. We took a plane to Manda Island from Nairobi and then hopped a dhow over to the island of Lamu. Once there, the group was given a walking tour of Lamu Town. During this tour, one of the poets in the group, Venus Thrash, was given a ride on a donkey (there are no cars on Lamu, but there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of donkeys). The poem is about that experience.

September 11 – Just like the second Saturday of every month (except for August), the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR) hosts it’s monthly Breakfast Meeting. If you’re a writer in OR NEAR the Durham Region, these are NOT to be missed. The September Breakfast Meeting speaker is Neil Crone. Personally, I think he’s one of the funniest people in Canada. It’s a DON’T-MISS month! Neil will be talking about writing humour.

September 24-25Uxbridge Celebration of the Arts. It’s a 25-year anniversary celebration of the vibrant artistic community of Uxbridge, Ontario. And when I say vibrant, I mean electrifying. I’m constantly amazed by the artistic community in this small town just west of Port Perry, Ontario. I’ve been drawn there on several occasions for BIG TIME artistic endeavors. This time, I’m partaking in the fun. I’ve been chosen to be the playwright for the 25-year anniversary celebration. On the 24th of September I will be given a prompt and I will have 25 hours not only to write a one-act play, but to send it off to my director, Jessica Outram, have her run through rehearsals with the actors AND have it performed live on stage at the Uxbridge Music Hall at the 25th hour. So I’m giving myself about 5-6 of those 25 hours to actually pen the script…as I think they’ll need the bulk of the hours to rehearse. This is the kind of thing I absolutely love! I was fortunate enough to do this type of playwriting on two other occasions, for Driftwood Theatre, as one of the playwrights for their 2009 and 2010 Trafalgar24 Play Creation Festival. I can’t wait to find out what I will be writing about! AND…the best part…watching it come to life just a few hours after it’s written. I am constantly amazed by the talent of the directors and actors that I am fortunate enough to work with!

September 26th– I will be MUSKOKA BOUND! It’s the wrap party for the 2010 Muskoka Novel Marathon. This event, held every July, has quickly become one of my favourite writing related activities! You sit in a building with approximately 30 other writers and you write a novel—in either 48 or 72 hours. How amazing is that! It was a great group this year (as it is every year). We had a lot of fun, and it’s hard to believe at the end of the weekend that there was actually time to put together a manuscript between the fun. I wrote a Young Adult novel this year – HALF DEAD AND FULLY BROKEN. I’ve been editing it since July. The wrap party is on the 26th…all the writers regroup and award trophies for various different things–BIC AWARD for Bum in Chair, Most Prolific Writer, Spirit Award, Rookie of the Year Award and the Remy Award for most money raised. Most money raised, you ask? The marathon is a double-edged sword. It is a huge benefit to those writers brave enough to participate, but it’s also a marathon of hope. Each writer raises funs for the Muskoka Literacy Council…it’s writers helping readers. The marathon raises funds and awareness for the council—it helps them to spread the joy of literacy. Another prize awarded at the wrap party is the BEST NOVEL AWARD—awarded, actually, in different categories—Best Adult Novel, Best Young Adult Novel and Best Children’s Novel. The manuscripts are sent to 6 industry judges immediately following the marathon…and they read and judge them over the summer. The winning novels get sent to participating publishers for consideration. The benefits of this event are just neverending! I have my eye on the hands on favourite for Best YA this year—I’m not going to name names (she will not be mentioned here!), but I had the opportunity to read one of the manuscripts and I found it STELLAR. We will see what the Wrap Party brings us. I consider this wrap party the official end of summer, even though Huntsville is already quite in bloom with turned foilage by the time it rolls around.

Month EndMuseitup Publishing is preparing to launch! My Young Adult novel SUMMER ON FIRE will be published by Muse in July, 2011…but the publisher is launching in October. We’ve been talking excitedly about this launch behind the scenes. September is bound to thrive with chatter between publisher and cover artists and editors and writers. It’s a great family to be a part of! I’m really excited about the launch…and can feel the tsunami of its approach! September is THE month to be a Museitup member!

Not to mention! September is another month of busy planning for the 2011 ONTARIO WRITERS’ CONFERENCE. This is an ongoing labour of love that factors into every month on the calendar. We want to organize the best conference every year. To do this, we must be dedicated to putting in a lot of volunteer hours. It’s worth it, though…so rewarding to see the happy faces of writers on the day of the conference!

And I’m certain there will be more excitement along the way. Like maybe a reading from author friend Karen Cole  somewhere in Uxbridge, maybe! Or maybe some poetry read by friend Barbara Hunt!  (-;