Monthly Archives: February 2012

Young Author’s Conference, Kamloops, BC – 2012

Kate would miss me. So would Mom and Dad…and lots of other people.
I’m pretty sure of that….
What I’m not so certain about is whether they’d be better off without me.

From Darkness Between the Stars

I super excited at being asked to participate in the YOUNG AUTHORS’ CONFERENCE, being held on Friday, May 4, 2012 at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC, which is one of the prettiest places in our province. I drove there from Ashcroft a few years ago, got totally lost trying to find the airport and wished I could stay longer and go for a swim in the lake.

I will be doing two creative writing workshops with secondary students – it’s going to really fun – love working with this age group.

Thanks to the BCLCIRA 2011 conference for letting me attend last year’s conference, which is how I initially got onto the radar of the Kamloops/Thompson school district.


Darkness Between the Stars

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February 29, 2012 · 1:20 pm

Thanks for Nothing Christie Clark: Budget Promises BC Will Remain Last In Arts Funding

From the Alliance for Arts and Culture to my inbox:

“The BC government is making a long-term commitment to keep our province dead last in per-capita arts funding” said Alliance for Arts and Culture executive director Rob Gloor in response to today’s budget announcement.

“BC trails every other province in per capita funding of the arts,” said Mr. Gloor, “and the current budget, which projects a multi-year freeze in arts funding, is a promise to remain last in Canada.”

Budget details reveal frozen funding for arts and culture over the next three years, in spite of overall budget increases.

“With inflation, a frozen budget for the arts is equivalent to a multi-year decrease,” continued Mr. Gloor. “This results in a gradual decline in the capacity of the arts and culture sector to serve the community.”

One new tax credit appears to provide relief for families in the form of a $500 credit for enrollment in children’s arts programs. However, Mr. Gloor points out, the actual maximum benefit is just five percent of that figure — a mere $25 per child per year — and does nothing to facilitate participation among lower income families.

“Overall, a disappointing budget for the arts, cultural and heritage sectors” concluded Mr. Gloor. After so much work by so many in the arts community in recent years to raise public and political awareness of the importance of a healthy cultural sector, we had hoped for better.”

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Tell Amazon to Stop Selling Whale Meat! Get in Touch With Jeff Bezos (CEO) claims on its website that it’s “always looking for ways to further reduce environmental impact.” What’s not environmentally, or animal, friendly is selling hundreds of whale products — from endangered fin whales and whales killed in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary — on, its Japanese subsidiary.

Clearly, killing endangered whales doesn’t serve conservation, but it’s also terribly inhumane: These enormous animals can suffer for up to an hour or more after being struck with an exploding harpoon before finally dying.

You can help! Tell Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to do the right thing now: Ban the sale of all whale products on, and stop profiting from the cruel slaughter of whales!

There’s more. Whaling also undermines international treaties, AND it’s proven that many of these whale meat products contain levels of mercury higher than Japanese national limits — a danger to human health.

Enough is enough. As the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon and its subsidiaries have a significant impact, both in terms of the amount of goods sold and through influence on consumers and other businesses. A change in its policy on this issue could make a real difference.

Please take action today and help save whales! Tell to make the humane — and right — choice.
Thank you so much for caring about animals.

Andrew Rowan, President & CEO, Humane Society International

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16th Annual Writing for Children Competition: $1,500 Prize

The Writers’ Union of Canada is pleased to announce that submissions are being accepted until April 24, 2012 for the 16th annual Writing for Children Competition. The winning entry will be the best Canadian work of up to 1,500 words in the English language, fiction or non-fiction, written by an unpublished author.


$1,500 for the winning entry, and the entries of the winner and finalists will be submitted to three Canadian children’s publishers.


Writers Don Calame, Hazel Hutchins, and Rene Schmidt will serve as the jury.


This competition is open to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have not been published in book format in any genre and who do not currently have a contract with a book publisher. Original and unpublished (English language) fiction or non-fiction is eligible.


· Entries should be typed, double-spaced, in a clear twelve-point font, and the pages numbered on 8.5 x 11 paper, not stapled. Do not send entries that only have a few sentences per page.

· Illustrations are not accepted.

· Submissions will be accepted by hardcopy only.

· Include a separate cover letter with title of story, full name, address, phone number, email address, word count, and number of pages of entry.

· Please type the name of the entrant and the title of the entry on each numbered page. This is not a blind competition.

· Make your cheque or money order payable to The Writers’ Union of Canada. Multiple entries can be submitted together and fees can be added and paid with one cheque or money order, $15 per submission.

· Entries must be postmarked by April 24, 2012 to be eligible.

· Mail entries to: WFC Competition, The Writers’ Union of Canada, 90 Richmond Street East, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M5C 1P1.

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E-Reader Guilt? Get Rid of It and Enjoy the Story

I saw this on Twitter and wanted to pass it on: Humans Have the Need to Read, from the Guardian.

I think there is a lot of e-reader guilt going around these days. In some circles, having an e-reader feels a bit like pulling out a pack of smokes in a British Columbia – bad.

I love books, but I love my e-reader too. When I’m travelling, I’d rather not fill up my already over-stuffed suitcase with books, and I really like that I can make notes about passages or highlight interesting quotes without worrying about folding over pages or damaging the book.

I like my e-reader in the tub, too. So far. I have dropped many books in bathwater, but not the kindle, not yet 🙂

When I was a kid, I read anything I could get my hands on: cereal boxes, books, magazines, road signs – if it had text, I read it. Except for comics. My parents didn’t think much of comic books, but I had a secret stash of Archie which I was allowed to look at in the summers only. Perhaps if comics had been marketed as ‘Graphic Novels,’ things would have been different in our house.

Anyway, those comic books never did me any harm. When I’m speaking to kids or teachers or parents, I encourage the kids to read in any format that interests them and ask the parents and teachers to act, not as censors, but as advisers.

And now, I encourage readers to read in any format. Drop the e-reader guilt, if you’ve got it and enjoy the story – that’s what stimulates our brains and keeps us thinking.

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Filed under Give Me a Break, What I'm Reading

No Pipeline Through Paradise: Are You Listening BC Liberals?

The BC Liberal Party has been calling me lately. Mostly I just don’t pick up the phone, but I did last night, because they used a bogus cell phone number instead of a true caller ID – I guess I am not the only person who has been avoiding their calls.

Anyway, they wanted to know if I would support them in the next election. I said no. Before I could begin to explain why, the caller got into a big rant about how things were under the NDP all of those years ago. He sort of skipped over the whole Campbell era without a blink.

When he’d finished, I explained that I wouldn’t vote for anybody who was too cowardly to say no to the Endbridge Northern Gateway Project. He didn’t have much to say about that besides, “Thank you and Goodnight.” He may have flipped me the finger – that’s the feeling I got.

If you feel the same way, please sign the online petition, write to your local MP and talk to your friends.

This is a worldwide petition, because this is a global issue. Bears and whales and other wild things can’t fight the big oil companies, but we can on their behalf.

This threat is nothing new: Check this out: Anti-Kitimat pipeline 1977 letter from Tommy Douglas goes viral . It’s from Nov, 2011, but it’s worth reposting in case someone missed it.

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The Problem With Social Media

Bear With Me!

I did a little experiment and stayed away from all forms of social media: Twitter, FB, Blogging, for the last few months. I wanted to see if I would get more work done. In the end, I’ve missed blogging, but not FB and not Twitter and not Linkedin, either, for that matter.

That said, I am not willing, although I am tempted, to delete my FB account. It comes in handy as a writer to keep in touch with other writers publishers, launch announcements etc… My agent is on Facebook, as are many of my colleagues in CWILL, the Writers Union and other professional affiliations.

So, I’ve decided to keep on blogging – it gets the creative juices flowing, check my FB once in a while, not worry too much about tweeting, because honestly, I don’t always have something interesting to say on a daily basis and I don’t have time to discover and tweet other people’s viewpoints.

When I look at my blog stats, I realize lots of people are reading this, and I must be a big disappointment with my recent lack of posts. So apologies and bear with me – I plan to be more consistent, starting now!

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Illinois Woman’s Press Association (IWPA 2012 Contest)

It’s that time of the year already. The IWPA 2012 Communications Contest is upon us and once again, I have been asked to be one of the judges. Active since 1885, the IWPA acts as both an advocate and a voice for women in press and I am honoured to participate in this annual event.

So for the next week, the phone is off the hook while I read through the many entries that arrived in a big box late last week – everything from Feature Stories to News Reporting. If this year’s entries are anything like last years, I can look forward to passionate, interesting and engaging writing. What better way to spend the next little while!

If you want to know more about the IWPA, their website is a wealth of information, links and much more. From their site:

The past 126 years of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association c ombined with the 70+ years history of the National Federation of Press Women has been a powerful force in supporting literacy, women’s issues, the First Amendment and freedom of information. We have developed powerful partnerships with such organizations as the Council of National Journalism Organizations, the National Women’s History Museum and the World Press Freedom Committee.

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