‘Uncategorized’ Archives

Write now! Deadline for UofT School of Continuing Studies writing competition is almost here


"Geheime Korrespondenz," by Carl von Bergen, 1891 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

“Geheime Korrespondenz,” by Carl von Bergen, 1891 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)


Friday, May 24, 2013.

That’s the deadline for submissions to this year’s Random House of Canada Student Award for Fiction.

If you were enrolled in a course offered by the Creative Writing Program at University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies between May 15, 2012 and May 15, 2013 (today!), YOU’RE ELIGIBLE.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Successful National Contest for Emerging Poets Returns for Second Year on April 1, for National Poetry Month


“Poetry,” said English poet Thomas Gray, “is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.”

It’s time again to take up your pen, or juice up your laptop, and discover what’s inside you that longs to breathe and burn. The Aspiring Canadian Poets Contest, a unique initiative to encourage and identify this country’s promising new poets, returns for its second year today, April 1, during National Poetry Month.

Poet Shannon Bramer will judge this year’s contest and also mentor the prize-winners. I’m honoured to have been asked back as editorial/media adviser.

Read the rest of this entry »

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Things I Like (doin’ my bit for “1,000 Things We Like” by Rebecca Rosenblum)


Rebecca over at Rose Coloured has really started something. A feel-good something.

Actually, she began it 10 years ago, and now she’s building on it. She’s asking for help in creating a bigger-and-better-than-ever list, “1,000 Things We Like, 2012.” Here she explains how it works, and how you can participate:

“As I said in the previous retro post, I started listing things I like and exhorting my friends to do the same in Fall 2002. It was so much fun making that community list (boy does it take a village if you want to get to 1000) that it happened again 5 years later. And, now, to celebrate the decade anniversary of 1000 things, dare we go for 3000?

“I’m in. Fred, one of the best likers I know, is in. Are you in? If so, feel free to add to the list — either in the comments section or on your on own blog, with the link in the comments. If the numbering gets screwed up (it always does) I’ll fix and repost — promise! Your list contributions can be as personal or as general as you like, but do make ’em specific as possible — name the band you like, don’t just say “music” — we’ll need a lot of specificity to get to three grand! It’s ok if your likes disagree with someone else who previously contributed to the list — if for example you write summer and someone else already wrote winter! We don’t have to *all* like *everything* — just submit it as a thing that one *can* like!”

So, here are some of mine, in no particular order:

– endings to books that make me want to cry because they’re so perfect

– Leonard Cohen’s voice, no matter how husky it gets

– fresh mangoes, and don’t ask me to share

– freckles across the bridge of the nose (anyone’s but mine)

– driving alone with the radio turned up

– driving barefoot in summer (a no-no, I realize)

– the view of the lake from Loeb Boathouse in Central Park

– actually, everything about New York City

– writer friends, published or not


– taking photos, when no one’s telling me to hurry

– buying a new bracelet

– creating something yummy for dinner when there’s virtually nothing in the fridge

– ghostly tales

– sunlight on water, so sparkly I have to squint

– talking to others who love books and movies as much as I do

– amber

– Saturday morning coffee (fresh ground) in my pj’s

– planning a trip, or a writers’ retreat

– dry wit

– browsing bookstores, with nowhere else to be

– my husband’s laugh when he’s watching Seinfeld re-runs, no matter how many times he’s seen the episode

– jazz festivals

– the feel of a sailboat heeling over

– Elvis Presley

– colourful anythings

– messages from old friends

– messages from new friends

– crazy coincidences (life is full of them)

– writing

– the first bite of a cone when you’ve licked down to it

–  the things I learn from my book club that have nothing to do with books

– a new bar of soap in the shower

– my Morkie’s little head-tilt when he’s listening

– memoirs that go deep

– a field of cosmos

– terra cotta

– swimming a long way under water

– a foot massage when I’m least expecting one

– creative people and the way they think

– old limestone houses

– roller coaster rides

– just-washed hair

– teaching people who really want to learn

– dolphins in the wild

– friends who don’t check their cell phones while they’re with me

Battenberg cake

– Kingston’s waterfront

– Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl”

– my kids accomplishing something I didn’t realize they could do

– me accomplishing something I didn’t realize I could do

– finding something that was lost

The Great Gatsby

– chardonnay, oaked or un-oaked

– Facebook and Twitter (god help me)

– the Rideau Canal

– feeling giggly

– listening to my husband playing guitar

– people-watching

– roast lamb with garlic and rosemary

– a luscious teal on my toenails

– both “our” Ryans (Reynolds and Gosling)

– realizing I don’t have to go grocery shopping after all

– having my hair brushed and brushed, like my niece used to do when she was little

– the scent of snow

– strangers who smile (or smile back) at me

– cobbled streets

– being introduced to new music

– country music (don’t ask me why)

– dappled sunlight through leaves

– films that really make me feel

– hot, buttery toast

– the way a friend of mine signs off messages to me with “Zigzags” — there’s a story there

– Main Street in Unionville, day or evening, any season

– editing a wonderful manuscript

– remembering things my mother said, and knowing she was right

– sushi (and just writing that makes me crave some)

– houseboat holidays in the Thousand Islands

– having someone else clean my house — and that fresh smell after they do

– words I have to look up in the dictionary

– finding out my kids remember something about their early years that I thought they’d forgotten

– drinks on a patio in summer

– hiking in the autumn

– the way my husband’s eyes turn bluer when he wears a blue shirt

– enthusiastic people, whatever their passion

– singing “O Holy Night” at Christmas

– singing, period

– also dancing

– that weird connection that redheads have

– Greek food on the Danforth

– the scent of a wood fire

– hugs

– wearing sandals with a bit of a heel

– fresh cilantro

– horseback riding

– memories of my brother’s chuckle, so clear in my mind though he’s gone

– a new DVD arriving in the mail from Zip.ca

– spending time with a friend who’s known me forever

– disposable contact lenses

– the smell of  banana loaf baking

– zip-lining

– gentle (but strong) men

– strong (but gentle) women

– the light after a rain

– first time out with a new handbag

– canoeing

– goofy pratfalls in comedy

– pretty much anything chocolate with a glass of milk

– Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s crinkly-eyed smile

– achy-bright mornings

– rainy mornings as long as I don’t have to go anywhere

– my home office when it’s organized

– juicy peaches

– my kids making me laugh when I’m trying to be mad at them (sometimes)

– tropical breezes

– browsing celebrity mags at the hair stylist’s, guilt-free

– having a dog, because I never really thought I would

– the red rocks of Sedona

– a surprise invitation

– the chlorine smell of a swimming pool

– ticking something off my to-do list

– blue cheese

– Latin guitar

– that when we’re out, my husband notices cute babies before I do

– pretty journals with nothing yet written in them

– pretty journals with stuff written in them

– waking up to an adventure somewhere other than home

– wearing sunglasses

Architectural Digest

– fireflies

– photos of my kids when they were wee and didn’t know how cute they were

– Indian food with raita

– Thai coconut curry

– wearing my hair up on a hot, hot day

– strolling the boardwalk in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood, where I used to live

– the smell of fresh paint

– shavasna at the end of yoga practice

– good science fiction

– my dog nuzzling my toes

– riding a bike

– a short lineup at a checkout (or better yet, no lineup)

– Japanese pottery

– idea people, like Rebecca

Have some likes of your own? Of course you do.

Leave a comment below, or post on your own blog and add a link after the original post at Rose Coloured. I guarantee creating your own list will make you smile. And who knows —  it may even inspire a story.


Friday, September 7th, 2012

New Writers’ Organization Launches in York Region

Whether you’re a writer or aspiring writer, an editor, a publisher, or an avid reader—or several of the above—WCYR, a new writers’ organization in York Region, has something to offer you.

The Writers’ Community of York Region (WCYR) launches Sunday, October 2, in Aurora, with a workshop, luncheon and guest speaker. And while registration for this inaugural event is already full, don’t worry — WCYR has lots more coming up. (The second monthly meeting is scheduled for November 13, and as featured speaker I’ll be there to talk about the ins and outs of the author-editor relationship.)

Hyacinthe Miller, a member of the organization’s provisional planning committee, is encouraged by the enthusiastic response to its first-ever gathering and believes it’s a promising start for WCYR.

“I feel York Region is ready for a community like this,” she says, “a community that will bring writers of all genres and skills together in one place! The Region is enormous and has incredible resources to draw upon. We know of numerous small writing groups around the Region, but we want to be the place where lovers of the written word can meet periodically to hang out with other writers, learn, find mentors and celebrate their successes and the successes of their colleagues.”

This Sunday’s inaugural meeting features children’s author Richard Scrimger as luncheon speaker. The event will be catered by chef and cookbook author Deb Rankine, a.k.a. The Fridge Whisperer. And in conjunction with Culture Days, Susan Lynn Reynolds, past president of the affiliated Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR), will lead a free pre-luncheon workshop titled “Unleash the Writer Within.”

All WCYR luncheon meetings will take place the first Sunday of each month, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., at the historic Aurora Cultural Centre on Church Street in Aurora. Space is limited, so separate advance registration through the organization’s website will be required for the luncheon and any associated workshops.

WCYR offers opportunities for information-sharing, networking and support, education and professional development, Hyacinthe says. It also looks forward to being a partner with other organizations promoting writers and writing in York Region.

Annual membership is $50. Members will receive $5 off the $25 cost of monthly WCYR lunch meetings and discounts for WCYR-sponsored workshops, opportunities to promote their creative writing through reading events, weekly updates on calls for submissions, contests, and news about the writing world, opportunities to promote their books at meetings and book-related events, access to a directory of writing groups/circles and, for a nominal fee, opportunities to promote their workshops on the WCYR website.

No, you don’t have to live in York Region to join and benefit.

The Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR), founded in 1995, has mentored WCYR in the planning stages, and WCYR members will have access to all of the other WC organizations in the collective: Durham Region, Kawartha, Haliburton, Simcoe County, WHEN (Mississauga).

“WCYR wants to build excitement about the craft of writing,” says Hyacinthe. “We want people of all ages and skill levels to come together to develop friendships, to network, to go off on their own or establish new groups, feeling energized and  confident that they can do this … they can write.”

Check out the organization’s website at www.wcyork.ca.


Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Scholastic’s "Write It" Resources for Aspiring Writers

Scholastic’s “Write It” online writing resource for teachers and students in grades 9 to 12 offers a unit on memoir writing and includes several accessible, well-designed writing samples and lesson plans. Though developed for student writers, these are excellent for anyone wanting to write about life experiences:

The main site for the unit is

Write It: Memoir

Here’s a clickable link to the pdf of a short memoir by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and an exercise:

“Living to Tell the Tale”

Explore the “Write It” site for other tips, writing samples and exercises on memoir.

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Memoir Writing Contest Winners Announced

The winners of the Days Road Writers’ Workshops “Summer Days” Memoir Writing Contest were announced last night, September 17, 2008, at the Memoir Writers Social in Unionville, Ontario. There were 31 submissions in all, most from Ontario, a few from other provinces, two from the U.S. and one from England.

First-prize winner Mary McIntyre of Stouffville was awarded $75 plus an author-signed copy of A Memoir of Friendship: The Letters Between Carol Shields and Blanche Howard, for her beautifully descriptive story “Scugog at Dark,” a childhood memory of time at her family’s cottage.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thursday, September 18th, 2008