WCDR Events, MNM Event, and Stuff of Goodness…My September Cornucopia Mash-Up Blog Post

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!

wallstory

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:

The nerve of some people! Seriously!
The nerve of some people! Seriously!

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).

Click to discover PHOENIX WCDR Short Fiction Contest!
Click to discover PHOENIX WCDR Short Fiction Contest!

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!

Culture-Days-version-2-300x294The 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:

bookapaloozaYep! It’s happening again!

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!

WHEN:

Saturday, November 21, 2015
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

WHERE:

Centre for Food
Durham College
1610 Champlain Ave.
Whitby, ON

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:

CULTURE DAYS — WCDR Words of the Season! September Event for Writers and Those Who Love Them…

Culture-Days-version-2

Further to the WCDR lovefest, I will be reading from my latest novel at the next WORDS OF THE SEASON. I will be test-driving Pride Must Be a Place, my new LGBTQ young adult novel.

This regular event takes place at the Bear and Firkin pub in Pickering, Ontario…just east of Toronto.

WORDS OF THE SEASON IN POETRY, PROSE AND SONG

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.

My friend Kate Arms will be emceeing the event for the first time. Really looking forward to Kate’s voice at the helm.

All the slots for readers are booked, but this is the first WOTS event where there will be an open-mic for poets. So, if you’re a GTA poet with a desire to read to the assembled masses…this would be an excellent event to show up to. You do not need to be a WCDR member to participate, either as an open mic participant or simply as an audience member. Hope to see you there!

Hey TORONTO, You Should See What’s Happening in Durham Region’s Thriving Writing Community!

In June, 2011, I wrote a blog post about just how dynamic Durham Region, Ontario is, when it comes to writing. It’s really quite unbelievable, the amount of things going on! And we are just east of Toronto…close enough to make the trip, and SO worth it!

I wanted to revisit that, as there are about to be quite a few events of interest to writers AND readers alike. As well as the theatre crowd!

Click here if you want to read my past post about THE WRITING LIFE EAST OF TORONTO

The first thing I wanted to mention today is something I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of for the past 3 years, and something I will be a part of again in about a week’s time.

Trafalgar Castle, Whitby, Ontario

For those who did NOT know, there is an AMAZING castle in Whitby, Ontario, just east of downtown and just off Hwy #2. During the rest of the year, it is an all-girls school. BUT during one wonderful weekend every March it becomes the haunted castle in which TRAFALGAR 24 takes place. This year, that weekend is MARCH 8-9. Trafalgar is a play-creation festival. On Thursday night at 10pm, 7 playwrights will enter the castle. When they are released at 6am Friday morning, they will be leaving 6 brand new plays behind (one of the plays will be written by two playwrights, the other 5 plays will be written by individual playwrights).

At 6am, the directors and actors will enter the castle. They’ll have 8 hours to rehearse the new plays. Once they are finished, the castle will be prepared for the evening gala. This gala includes an audience of some 350 people (split up into 6 smaller audiences who will travel together throughout the castle to view each of the 6 plays), a silent auction filled with WONDERFUL items AND a mile-long dessert table that would make any bakeshop close in shame.

Trafalgar isn’t ONLY a wonderful yearly event that takes place in the thriving creative community of DURHAM REGION, it is also a fund-raising event that allows DRIFTWOOD THEATRE to bring its own unique brand of community to locations throughout Ontario during the summer months. Driftwood has THE BARD’S BUS. Every spring, the theatre group boards the bus and takes SHAKESPEARE to the people! Trafalgar 24 is one of the ways they can do this. Driftwood is a pay-what-you-can travelling theatre group. Watch for them in your Ontario community this coming summer. Make sure you catch their show when it hits your town. You will NOT regret it!

Jeremy Smith is the man behind DRIFTWOOD THEATRE. This morning, he appeared on local radio station CKDO to talk about the Trafalgar 24 event. You can listen in here:

JEREMY SMITH OF DRIFTWOOD THEATRE TALKING TO TERRY JOHNSTON ON CKDO – FRIDAY MARCH 2, 2012

To learn more about Trafalgar 24, including ticket information, visit the Trafalgar 24 page of the DRIFTWOOD THEATRE website here: T24

Event #2 – This is an ongoing event and all are welcome. The WCDR (Writers’ Community of Durham Region) has a monthly breakfast meeting for writers. This event takes place at AJAX CONVENTION CENTRE, which is located just off the 401…and minutes east of Toronto. You can watch a video that showcases these breakfast meetings on Youtube:

WCDR breakfast meeting have guest speakers who are from the spectrum of the writing world. Every meeting is a must see for writers at any stage of their writing path. They meet on the 2nd Saturday of the month. EXCEPT for this month! The March WCDR Meeting will be held on Saturday, March 17th. If you live WEST of Durham Region…it is WORTH the drive to Durham Region to take in this event!

For full information, visit the breakfast page of the WCDR website.

Event #3, #4 & #5 – These three events all have to do with the Ontario Writers’ Conference. I am a board member of the OWC. This year I am looking after conference registrations. We have an incredible line up for the 2012 Ontario Writers’ Conference, but we also have events happening ‘around’ the conference date.

The 1st OWC event, I’ve already featured today on my blog. I’ll just quickly cover it here. GET YOUR GAME FACE ON – Agent Pitch Workshop – This workshop is sponsored by the OWC and will take place Tuesday April 3rd at Trent University, Oshawa Campus. This is open to EVERYONE…not just conference attendees. Full details on the GET YOUR GAME FACE ON page of the Ontario Writers’ Conference

The 2nd OWC event is the FESTIVAL OF AUTHORS! We are taking this to a different location this year. This popular event will now take place on the evening prior to the Ontario Writers’ Conference. This years authors include; MARINA NEMAT, EVA STACHNIAK & BRAD SMITH. Friday May 4th, from 7PM -10PM at Al Dente Restaurant, 1305 Pickering Parkway, Pickering, Ontario. ALL CONFERENCE ATTENDEES CAN ATTEND THE FESTIVAL FREE OF CHARGE. If you are not coming to the Saturday conference, you can still attend the festival, but you MUST register ahead! You can pay the $20 fee at the OWC Paypal page. Click here for full FESTIVAL INFORMATION.

The 3rd OWC event is the conference itself. This takes place on Saturday May 5th at the beautiful DEER CREEK GOLF AND BANQUET FACILITY in Ajax, Ontario. You can check out ALL speakers and workshop presenters here. Workshop descriptions are here.

For REGISTRATION information, click HERE.

There is an EXCELLENT assortment of Ontario Writers’ Conference videos to be found at the OWC Youtube page here. For your immediate viewing pleasure, here’s a look at last year’s guest speaker Andrew Pyper:

So, if you live in Toronto…know that you are missing out on an AMAZING thriving artistic community just outside your doors. Don’t be afraid to make the trip east. We’re JUST OUTSIDE Scarborough.

Ten Years of Community & Growth – WCDR

It’s official. I’ve been taking writing seriously now for TEN WHOLE YEARS! I found it extremely hard to believe this fact. During the WRITERS’ COMMUNITY OF DURHAM REGION January Breakfast Meeting, I was presented with a certificate of appreciation for being a member in good standing for 10 years. I was shocked when they called my name. I had no idea ten years had gone by since I first found the courage to admit to myself (and others) that I was a writer. When I mailed in my membership form to the WCDR I thought for sure they would send it back to me with a gruff little note on it stating something about them only allowing REAL writers to join their exclusive club. I was CERTAIN of it, in fact.

I stayed away from the organization’s events for the first few months. I was too afraid of being turned away at the door. What is it about some writers who just can’t seem to accept the fact that ANYONE can write. All you need is the desire to do so. I didn’t believe that was true. I imagined myself infiltrating this writing organization. I had to sneak into one of their events…unnoticed and unassuming. So…after several months of seeing their Breakfast Meetings being promoted in the local newspaper, I finally gained the courage to register. I would show up and if they grilled me too badly and discovered that I wasn’t a REAL writer, I would just quietly slither away and disappear into the dark crevice from which I had come.

It didn’t happen. I was immediately accepted. I was sat down with some newbies and some veterans. Everybody was so nice and inviting. I FOUND MY COMMUNITY!

When I returned to my seat last month with my certificate, I first experienced a bit of sadness. 10 years. On the trip back from the front of the room I kind of took an inventory of the accomplishments I made in those 10 years. It was a bit of a mood crusher at first.

Then I thought, “Shut the hell up!” I no longer want to listen to that negative voice that makes me miss out in the good things. Had I listened to that voice 10 years ago, I would not have found the friends I made through the WCDR. I would not have had the awesome experiences I had through WCDR events and networking. My life is RICHER because of this organization. I’m proud to be a member. They have helped me as a writer and as a person. I couldn’t imagine not being a member.

A community is as good as its people. There are so many beautiful people in the WRITERS’ COMMUNITY OF DURHAM REGION. I encourage anybody in the area to take the plunge. You will thank me. I thank myself all the time for finally gaining the courage to take those first steps. Walking into this writing community was one of the best things I’ve ever done. So, at this 10th anniversary of my membership, I say to myself, “many happy returns!”

Visit the WRITERS’ COMMUNITY OF DURHAM REGION today.

They have sister organizations too! If you’re in YORK REGION or SIMCOE COUNTY, check them out at WCYR or WCSC

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