September 30, 2014

Mrs. Jones's Car - by Susan Barclay

magnetic poetry photo by Natalie Roberts
The best writers are always learning – whether from life experiences (their own or others’) or from books or teachers. Games can be instructive also, whether they be games like Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy or Scrabble and crossword puzzles.

When I was in junior high, I had a dusty humourless history teacher who spent time reading his dictionary every day. Once I had the opportunity to play Scrabble with him and he was an impossible opponent. Every time I challenged him on a word, he could prove its authenticity. It quickly became apparent that there was no point in dispute.

You’d think I’d have learned from this to spend time in my own dictionary, but it was an activity I viewed as a boring chore. Instead, my own vocabulary has been built over time through the more enjoyable act of reading. I may not always be able to give you a dictionary definition, but I can usually offer a word's gist.

This brings me to this month’s blog challenge: to find three words I don’t know the meaning of, look them up, and use them in a piece of writing. I’ll give you the piece of writing first. See if you can figure out which words I’ve chosen:
The accused squirmed in his seat to the left of the judge, whose gaze he felt most keenly. Under the fierce scrutiny of the prosecutor, he couldn’t keep his hands from trembling, though he tried to hide them from view. 
“Come, Mr. Jones,” the prosecutor thundered. “It’s a simple question: answer it. Why did you decide to replace the victim’s 1928 Ford Roadster with something more neoteric?” 
Mr. Jones’ insides quivered. He hadn’t, but should have, foreseen months ago that he’d be defending himself in a court of law. Was there a way of eliding the direct question while answering honestly? He was under oath, after all, and didn’t want to add perjury to his charges. 
“Please answer the question, Mr. Jones,” the judge prompted, not unkindly. “It’s germane to the case.”
 Blast and bother! Mr. Jones thought. It had all begun as what he thought of as an act of munificence. Apparently his intentions didn’t matter. 
He took a deep breath and exhaled it loudly. “Well,” he began, “The Roadster had a lot of problems, and I thought it was throwing good money after bad to continue getting it repaired.” 
“Was that your decision to make? The car wasn’t in your name, was it?” 
“No, but my wife and I had made similar decisions on one another’s behalf in the past. I wanted to surprise her.” 
The prosecutor looked from Jones to the judge with a laugh. “Well, you certainly did that.” He turned his back before rounding on Jones again with a scowl. “I suggest that it wasn’t just the cost of the car repairs that motivated you. In fact, weren't you jealous of your wife’s attention to the car? Hadn’t you been trying to ablactate her from it for some time?”
Jones sputtered and his face turned red. He hadn’t expected this line of questioning. His wife’s fixation on the car had certainly felt like negligence of him, but he didn’t realize his feelings had been so evident. His next answer would have to be carefully considered. He would not be emasculated in front of his peers.
Once I got started on the piece, it was hard to stop. But see if you guessed my 'mystery words' correctly. They were:
ablicate, meaning 'to wean'
eliding, meaning 'suppressing, omitting, ignoring, passing over'
neoteric, meaning 'modern, new, recent' 
Were any other words new to you? Is the dictionary a useful writers' tool?


For more of my writing, please visit and 

First photo credit
Second photo credit

September 29, 2014

InScribe Christian Writers' Fellowship Fall Conference 2014 - Ruth L. Snyder

InScribe Members Sheila Webster, Glynis Belec, Carol Schaefer, Ruth Snyder, Tandy Balson and Greg McKitrick at the ICWF Book Signing, The Fig Tree in West Edmonton Mall
Thursday night mixer

What a wonderful few days I've enjoyed! The fun and fellowship started on Thursday afternoon at the InScribe book signing at The Fig Tree in West Edmonton Mall. Six of us were able to participate. Although we didn't sell books that day, the manager invited us to leave our books in the store on consignment. He also set up a special InScribe Christian Writers' Fellowship section in the store! That evening we held our first ever Artists and Writers Coffee House Mixer. About 40 people came out and most attendees shared either a reading or a description of art. One attendee commented,
"This was a great way to meet others and share stories. I appreciated having the stories connected to the art piece."

Plenary session at Fall Conference
Attendance was up a bit for this year's conference, and before the weekend was over we gained 15 new members :). The extra workshops on Friday went over extremely well; in fact, people are asking for conference to start Friday morning next year. Attendees commented they appreciated the variety in workshops and the warm, welcoming atmosphere.
Keynote Speaker, Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway shared stories from his own writing journey and walk with God. On Saturday morning his session was called, "If Phil Can Write...So Can You!" He encouraged us to:
  1. Be talented
  2. Be a reader
  3. Be self-critical
  4. Be neat
  5. Be strategic
  6. Be focused
  7. Be knowledgeable about words & markets
  8. Be personable; Act like a Christian should!
  9. Be observant (Show, don't tell)
  10. Be persistent
  11. Be yourself
  12. Be prayerful; Ask God what He wants you to say
  13. Be a doer (Psalm 34:3-4
  14. Be faithful
"It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer. Those who do not do this remain amateurs." Gerald Brenan
Executive members for 2014 - Back (L to R) Bryan Norford, Tracy Krauss, Ruth L. Snyder, Glynis Belec, Gwen Mathieu, Eleanor Bertin. Front (L to R) Sheila Webster, Shirley Patterson, Sheri Hathaway, Sandi Somers, Janice Dick, Bobbi Junior

 I'm thankful we have almost a full slate of officers on our executive for 2014. We still need someone to step into the Vice-president role. Here's a list of our current executive members:

President: Ruth L. Snyder
Vice-president: (Vacant)
Secretary: Sandi Somers
Treasurer: Bobbi Junior
Membership: Gwen Mathieu
Website: Janelle Baldwin
Local Writing Group Coordinator: Tracy Krauss
Publicity Coordinator: Glynis Belec
FellowScript Editor-in-Chief: Sheila Webster
FellowScript Acquisitions Editor: Pam Mytroen
FellowScript Columns Editor: Joanna Dawyd
FellowScript Layout Editor: Bryan Norford
Contest Coordinator: Eleanor Bertin
Conference Convener 2015: Shirley Patterson
InScribe Writers Online Blog Moderator: Tracy Krauss
Professional Blog Moderator: Stephanie Nickel
Spiritual Advisor: Sheila Webster
Listserv Moderator: Sheri Hathaway
BC Rep: Tracy Krauss
Saskatchewan Rep: Janice Dick
Manitoba Rep: Addy Oberlin
Ontario Rep: Glynis Belec
New Brunswick Rep: Elaine Ingalls Hogg
NL/Labrador Rep: Beverley Nippard

One of our new members sums it up well:
"I’m very grateful for the effort put into the conference this year.  Glad to have met so many new friends."

September 28, 2014


What's the most important thing to remember when hearing anybody who claims to have a fresh revelation? Check it out with the Bible, that's what. Far too many Christians take the teachings of popular preachers at face value on the assumption that they know what they're saying. This is about as hazardous as a baby putting any object into his or her mouth. Like rat poison, Satan mixes tasty meal with enough cyanide to kill anybody foolish enough to swallow the bait.

Consider what Luke wrote in Acts 17:10-11 (KJV). "And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto  Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than  those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and  searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Since the Bereans checked out the teachings of the Apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, we must likewise challenge the beliefs of others.

How I wish somebody mentored me when I gave my life to Christ in 1969. Had I known how to discern biblical teaching from poisonous doctrines, I would never have joined a cultic house church a few years later. I would never have swallowed the blasphemous lies told by its lay minister. Knowing how to discern truth from error would have saved me from several decades filled with frustration and anger.

This is why I felt so strong about the vital need for discernment that I wrote my memoir of those days. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity walks readers through the wilderness of chiding which I suffered because my eyes never were healed. It shows how cruel those elders were in their criticism of my supposedly-insufficient faith. My testimony also demonstrates how the heavenly Father deprogrammed me of all the lies and misapprehensions I collected during those cultic years. I'm so much happier now that I know the true nature of the Trinity and how to read the Bible.

Additionally, I want to warn as many pastors as possible about neglecting the discipleship of new believers. I heard recently on The Bible Answer Man how Robert in Calgary had nobody who would answer his questions. The attendees at his church were too busy with their own concerns. He finally called Hank Hanegraaff's show for help. As far as I know, Robert was paired up with a mature believer who would assist him with his quest for the truth. May we all be open to mentoring new Christians as Christ has commanded us to do.

Twitter handle = ve6xtc

September 27, 2014

How To Accomplish God Inspired Works… Look at it as if it were cheese! by Melanie Fischer

Huh? What does this have to do with cheese?

God gives us dreams and desires. Often these are BIG ideas. They are big, because He is big. At first, when the undertaking is still a dream, it is thrilling. When we step up to the starting line though, we can easily become exhausted by all the details.

A grand ambition like writing a blog, a novel, or perhaps a series of novels has a lot of moving parts. How does one accomplish such tasks without becoming overwhelmed?

1.      Picture the project as a giant block of cheese.
Step back and envision what the entire piece will look like. Your destination does not have to be crystal clear in order to start. The key here is to understand the general direction of the works that the Lord is calling you to, and understand that it is part of a big picture.

2.      Take a bite.
You would choke if you tried to eat an entire block of cheese at once. And, if you just stare at it with a mindset that it is “too big and impossible to eat” it will remain a chunk of cheese forever. The only choice left is to take one bite at a time. Take a deep breath, trust God to direct each mouthful, then take a bite. God is honored when we step out in obedience and begin.

3.      Keep chewing.
Focus on ONE bite at a time, and do not stop until you swallow. Once the going gets tough it is easy to quit or assume that we are on the wrong path. Some steps are long, and hard. It is through this process though that the Lord shapes us. So keep at it!

4.      Savor each bite.
Sometimes we do not end up where we thought we were going. Perhaps this is God teaching us to rely entirely on Him and lean not on our own understanding. So enjoy the scenery because you may never be back.

5.      Digest.
If we are not cautions, we can get wrapped up in our own labor and miss God’s work. Be careful not to overlook the miracles along the way, and certainly do not miss out on opportunities to share them.

No matter the size of the block of cheese, keep stepping back to gain focus on the works that you have been called to. Take one bite at a time and keep at it to completion. Enjoy the journey and don’t miss the Lord’s hand in all you do.

Even if you are lactose intolerant, works done for the Glory of God is one block of cheese you can digest.

Photo by Patrick Hoesly - Photo Pin

September 25, 2014

Living the Dream by Vickie Stam

As a newbie writer I can think of a few 'How To' writing tips but there's one that always stands out. I hear it from writers who have years of experience that definitely trumps mine. 'Write what you know.' Those words are engrained in me.

I have to admit it feels a little strange to be offering up advice when most of my writing up until a few years ago landed between the pages of journals. Secret writing. Not something that was intended for an audience. In all of my journaling history I've never worried about spellcheck or poor grammar. And the daunting task of self-editing.... non-existent. No need to re-write. It's care-free writing.

Chapters, Coles or maybe even Staples are a few of my favourite stores where I go in search of that perfect journal. Each one has it's own unique cover. Trying to decide which one will come home with me can be a process. I like to run my fingers over the crisp blank pages that might soon house all my thoughts and cares.

On the odd occasion a silent scream rises in my chest when I spy the perfect journal without ever pressing my fingers against the grain. A cover instantly calls my name when I see its bright colour, read its poetic verse, or smell the bold scent of leather. Life is full of ups and downs. Journals are an anchor.

Then there's my need to sign up for a writing class. Three years ago I did just that. I enrolled in something of general interest. No pressure. No exams. Just writing for simple pleasure. Still, that class didn't come without digging up every ounce of courage I could muster. I was used to writing for my eyes only. The mere thought of another person reading my words was terrifying to say the least.

Amazing things happened since giving in to those fears. My confidence has grown. I'm encouraged to keep writing. And now I can honestly say, "I love it!" I look forward to signing up for more writing classes.

Here are some tips that motivate me:

  • Keep writing and don't stop.
  • Don't let negative feedback destroy your confidence.
  • Follow your dreams.
  • Find a writer's group or enroll in a writing class or program that will keep you connected to other writers.
  • Find someone who will encourage you on your journey.
  • Carry a pen and paper with you at all times.
  • READ! How to books, novels, magazine articles. Change it up sometime. Read something you never thought would interest you.
  • A thesaurus is a great writing tool.

Inside every person's heart lies a story.
"Writing is being able to take something whole and fiercely alive that exists inside you in some unknowable combination of thought, feeling, physicality and spirit and to then store it like a genie in tense, tiny black symbols on a calm white page." ~ Mary Gaitskill

I write because God opened the door to my dream.

September 20, 2014

Selling Paint to a Poet -- Jocelyn Faire

Purple proclamation, Angel's Kiss, Sunshine Day, Starry Night, Little Boy Blue, Himalaya Sky, Plum Preserve, Petunia Trail, Electricity, Periwinkle, Velvet Robe, Surf's Surprise, Sailing into the Horizon ... Fifty Shades of Blue.

The Home Hardware paint man barely raised an eyebrow when I said that I sometimes chose my paint colour because of the name. His fingers tapped when I asked him what the sale sign meant ... the Bold Take 40% Off was past due, but the sign and cans were still in the centre aisle. Premier paint, premier names, Yes, he would honour the sign's price. And then my suspicions are aroused. "Why is this paint on sale? Is it a lower quality?"

"No," he says with a shrug, "people weren't painting that much in August, too nice, we sold deck and exterior paint in summer."

Bargain-- bar·gain ˈbärgən/noun-noun: bargain; plural noun: bargains: an agreement between two or more parties as to what each party will do for the other. A thing bought or offered for sale more cheaply than is usual or expected.
I am wary of words that pitch a bargain, and at the same time a sucker for them. Drawn in by words, disappointed when they fail to deliver, empty flowery rhetoric.

Words, words, words, the essence of writing, and yet the combinations of letters, consonants can be magical or repulsive, beauty or beast, rich or poor .... salt or salve to a wounded soul. Poetry intrigues me because of its density of words. Poems do not spoon feed me, I have to think about the meaning ... although at times I give up, if the meaning is too hidden.

One of my favourite back to school bargains for new words is the on-line dictionary Word of the Day. It's free, and I just signed up this month. My time is valuable and I detest signing up to be inundated with ads.

So far, Word of the Day from, has lived up to its promise, every day an intriguing word enters my inbox, alongside four ever-changing word challenge links, if you want to eat words for breakfast. (Although Ellen DeGeneres' tear-streaked face has been bobbling in the side ad bar on several word days, and I wonder what she has done to tick off Cover Girl. Also catching my eye is the 57 year old mom that is pulling off a face mask to reveal a 35 year old face—you ignore the ads after a while.)

I have used words from the daily for the 3-word challenge, and being wordy, I added a few.

From word of the day—“geep” a cross between goat and sheep ... So, scripturally are these the sitting on the fence people?

Today my eye was drawn to the link 5 Fun Ways to Say Boring:

Ennui (Ahn-wee) not all boredom is created equal: some of it is fleeting or circumstantial, and some of it teeters on existential crisis ... derived from the French verb enuier meaning “to annoy.”
Prosaic (Is that what prompted Prozak?)
Platitudinous (I fear this is often mistaken for wisdom in the churches?) 

I had not heard of ennui, I feel the need for a slight French accent to say that word. Insipid Ivory is a paint colour I would not choose, perhaps Bromidic barn red, or Prosaic purple.

Words are the paint we use to colour our canvas. I wish you Happy Painting.

When Jesus was asked why he told stories, he said ...I tell stories to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. Matt 13: 12/13 The Message

Jocelyn also blogs at Who Is Talking. Her book Who is Talking out of My Head, Grief as an out of Body Experience, is available on and Friesenpress.

September 17, 2014

Older And Wiser? by Bryan Norford

The older I get the more likely the old saying, “There’s no fool like an old fool,” will apply to me. It’s too easy for a lifetime of learning, training, and experience to accumulate a formidable array of answers to the problems of life. We all develop a general idea of what life should be, a sort of matrix to lay over every life situation, but which rarely produces satisfying answers.

Although every life problem exhibits a stereotype of common symptoms, each one is unique. That’s why it’s always easier to solve other people’s problems—at least in theory—than fix our own. In fact, the older I get, it seems I have less answers to life. While I may accrue ideal guidelines for life events, the devil, as they say, is in the intractable details.

Ann and I face a particular irony. As we publish a second edition of our marriage devotional, Happy Together, some family marriages are falling apart. All our knowledge and advice is unlikely to save them. Here Paul’s words reveal some moderating counsel, “We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know,” 1 Corinthians 8:1–2

I’ve always maintained that the man who thinks he knows everything just doesn’t know what he doesn’t know; a sobering thought to an aging, arrogant mind. In fact, the more knowledge we accumulate, the greater the amount we realize we don’t know. This not only instils a deep humility, but our knowledge becomes increasingly deficient. So how can we respond to life?

This infinite unknown is true of life generally, but greatest when it comes to a growing awareness of God’s immensity. We know this instinctively, but it becomes real as we endeavour to learn about Him. The vastness of God himself, together with His attributes of love, mercy and grace, leaves us falling at his feet in speechless wonder and inadequacy.

Paul’s answer to our dilemma is love, on a number of levels. First, as most counsellors agree, we need to listen, not provide answers, even if we think we have them. In this sense a burden shared is halved, whether answers are apparent or not. Second, as long as we are all fallen creatures, we are always one with the other—whether their problems are of their own making or not.

Then we become spiritual comforters to the hurting and spiritual guardians alongside the fallen, not pharisaic advisors above them. The Bible heartily endorses the gaining of knowledge, but abuse of knowledge generates self-righteousness and superiority. Love provides the wisdom for its use.

I want to see “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10. Nothing in this life has meaning unless it contributes to this final destiny. So it’s important at any age for me to keep learning, but not just increasing knowledge. Love must be my teacher.

September 16, 2014

Back to School - by Loretta Bouillon

I love the summer. It can be busy—or should I say just a different kind of busy? With our family vacation, all three kids working at the pool, aquafit, friends visiting, school prep and trying to chip away slowly (very slowly!) at various writing projects - the summer has just flown by. Physical, mental and emotional energy has been poured into preparing our oldest son for leaving for university, along with several of his friends who make up our youth group. Many changes, exciting for those leaving, but harder for those left behind.

Our family has recently taken Maxx, our 18 year old son, to University of Northern British Columbia at the end of August. I know that it is inevitable that all my children will leave, but the day has arrived where the first is actually leaving the nest. As hard as it is, these are a few of the things I am certain of:

1) I will miss Maxx terribly. The sound of his guitar through the walls, his steadfast quiet spirit, his voice of reason when I feel a little bit crazy, and his willingness to pray for me when I need it.

2) He will be okay. He is a capable, responsible, amazing young man who loves God and will seek his guidance continually. He is on the meal plan in residence. He will eat.

3) I will be okay. I will go into withdrawal at first, maybe cry in his room for a bit, but then come to appreciate his room as MY extra space where I can retreat to do my writing, reading or watch a movie that no one else wants to watch. He also has a pretty awesome ensuite powder room off his room which will also become MINE!

4) We will adjust. God will see us through the changes. We will all miss Maxx terribly; dinner for four instead of five just does not sound right, however we will look forward to when he comes home: Thanksgiving, Christmas and reading week.

Life will go on! I am still homeschooling two other wonderful kids that bring me great joy. Back-to-school has begun and I am hoping to fall into a schedule for my writing as the kids do their studies. In October, I am looking forward to attending the Surrey International Writer’s conference with my seventeen year old daughter (who I believe is a better writer than I am!). It will be our first writer’s conference and a mother/daughter get-a-way. I signed up for this conference before I found the InScribe group so unfortunately, as much as I would LOVE to do both conferences, it is not possible. However, the Inscribe conference is on the agenda for next year!

I am new to the writing industry. It has been less than a year where I have actually called myself a writer (although I have always written). My work in progress includes a couple of children’s picture books, magazine articles, devotions and the hope to write a series of devotions and a parenting book for parents with teens.

In this season, I am passionate about writing about my life with my teens and hope to encourage other parents in this stage of the parenting journey. Over the years, when people ask me about my children, they sometimes seem perplexed as to how my kids can appear happy and accomplished, yet they do not party or date (casually). They also actually enjoy being with their family. This has inspired me to write a book about parenting teens. I ask God that the message would be humble and bring Him glory as not to portray myself as some super-mom. My journey has been completely reliant on Him.

As my life revolves around the school year, so does my writing. My prayer is that that I will find the balance between teaching, parenting, supporting my husband and writing. When God calls us to particular ministries, He will equip us. That is my prayer for all of you, my fellow writers, that you will be carried by our wonderful God as you pursue all God has called you to be in the months ahead.

September 15, 2014

I've Been Inscribed - Tracy Krauss

Inscribe's Fall Conference is just around the corner and I can hardly wait! Here is a little account of how I came to know about this wonderful organization, originally posted on my blog 'Expression Express'.

I came across Inscribe back in the summer of 2010 as I was searching the internet for ways to connect with other authors. Although I had been a 'closet' writer for many years, I was newly among the ranks of 'the published' and unfortunately, really didn't have a clue about building a platform, social networking, or book promotion in general. I suppose you could say, I came upon the marketing side of things through the back door. One of the suggestions I read somewhere was to set up 'google alerts' for topics that interested me, and that is how I found Inscribe.

You can't imagine my excitement when I discovered that there was a Canadian organization for Christian writers fairly near where I lived. (An eight hour drive... What's that in the grand scheme of things?) I was also thrilled to find out that they were hosting a conference that fall in Edmonton. I signed up!

That first conference was an eye opener for me. Rudy Wiebe was the guest speaker on Friday night and Sigmund Brouwer was the keynote speaker the next day. I was encouraged, challenged and inspired. I made my first, live connections with other authors who loved writing in the same way that I did. (As opposed to just online relationships.) I also found out there was a local writing group two hours from my home in BC, and I was introduced to the Inscribe Writer's blog and decided to become a contributing author.

After attending my second conference in 2012, I felt 'nudged' by the Holy Spirit to get more involved. I offered to help with moderating the website and was put in charge of the bookstore and membership pages. We now have a full time webmaster looking after the entire website - totally revamped and updated, I might add - so I no longer do that. However, I did offer my services as the BC rep and it is my honour to now serve on the executive as the 'Local Writing Groups' coordinator. In 2013 I also had the privilege of facilitating a workshop on blogging.

One of the things that I love about this organization is the humility and genuineness of its members, including the executive. There is no snobbery here. Published, unpublished, newbies, old timers ... everyone is welcomed and valued. People are willing to share their knowledge and  truly care about each and every member. Inscribe feels like 'home'. I'm so glad I found you!

Tracy Krauss lives and writes in Tumbler Ridge, BC. Visit her website for more about her many published books and plays.

September 13, 2014

House Moving by T. L. Wiens

This might sound an odd title for a post on writing. However, having spent days moving a house, I see a lot of similarities between writing a novel and moving and renovating a house. (And when I say moving a house, I mean my husband, myself, our children and a family friend moved the house—no professional movers involved.)

    1. Mapping out the plot
      • Moving a house requires a lot of planning. There are many factors to consider, some that just aren’t run of the mill every day things. Every tree, power line, the width of the road, the material used to build the house, the competency of the builder comes under scrutiny. The list is endless.
      • A novel requires very much the same amount of planning. You have to keep characters realistic, situations plausible. There are many obstacles to the author as they manoeuvre their way from start to finish.

      2. Be ready for adjustments
      • No matter how well you lay out a plan, it doesn’t take much to thwart the efforts. With house moving, there are things like weather, surprises when you lift the house like joists not running where they should. A power line may be lower than thought or the house higher once loaded on the beams.
      • Plots are very similar. As the author, you may feel you have the right to manipulate events but sometimes, characters just won’t co-operate. or as you write, the flow takes on a life of its own.

      3. This is a marathon, not a dash
      • You don’t want to rush a house move. That’s when bad things happen.
      • Novels take time. You need to get to know the characters intimately and no relationship is built overnight.

      4. End result lies in your attention to detail from foundation to decoration
      • There is no step in taking a house from one location and making it a home in another that can be ignored. If you don’t take the time to prepare a proper foundation, the house will collapse. If you take no thought into the way you’ll be using rooms and what you’ll need where, it won’t be a pleasant home.
      • A story is the same way. You have to do the legwork to start with a strong foundation. Setting, characters, conflict—they need to be carefully considered. But that isn’t enough. You’ll have to decorate your story with details that paint the picture for the audience.

      In the end, I’ve enjoyed the process involved with moving a house. It’s been a good reminder of the steps I need to take to produce good writing. And an even better reminder that hard work pays off in the end whether it’s a book or a home you get to enjoy in the end.

      September 11, 2014

      I am a Noob. Is that buzzworthy? by Connie Inglis

      I must be honest at the start of this post; I struggled with knowing how to respond to the prompt for this month. As one who just started writing seriously, I have no, 'How To' tips to share and no new resource that I wish I had when I first started out. But then yesterday I got a brainwave when I thought about selecting three words I didn't know (which I believe was the Holy Spirit helping me when I couldn't help myself).

      It has only been in the past four or five years that I've started to intentionally write, so I decided to look at new words that have appeared in the dictionary in the past five years and implement a number of them in a piece of writing. What fun this has been. It also helped me realize that resources in technology have definitely advanced opportunity in the writing world--exciting but also a little scary.

      The following piece of writing is also an example of the genre I love to write in: poetry. And in a continuation of my focus on writing sonnets over the summer, I have taken the sonnet, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and tweaked it to reflect life and relationships in today's day and age. (This is meant to be fun so I hope no one is offended by my use of this poem.)

      How do I meet thee? Let me count the ways

      How do I meet thee? Let me count the ways.
      I browse the web, its depth and breadth and height
      With laptop, smartphone, phablet all in sight
      The infomania shocks my mind--no grace.
      My drive to meet thee haunteth every day's
      Femtosecond, by wifi day or night.
      I scroll on facebook, as men strive for right;
      Looking for selfies, photos tagged in praise.
      I question friends with passion put to use
      From past loves and with ebullient faith.
      I tweet, twitter, retweet yet seem to lose
      All hope. Then bestie texts--I hold my breath,
      And laugh for lost is found; now I must choose,
      Courage to connect or dream unto death.

      September 10, 2014

      Moving Forward with Words and Ideas by Sharon Espeseth

      I enjoy when someone uses a common word, but gives it a different twist.

      At the beginning of my year at Covenant Bible Institute decades ago, then President Rev. Wendell Anderson was introducing the new Dean of Women, Clara Mae Adamson to the students and members of the local Evangelical Covenant Church. "Miss Adamson," he said, "is a young woman pregnant. . . (significant pause) with ideas." The collective holding of breath was audible at the use of the word "pregnant," but more audible was the burst of laughter that followed his completed sentence. We all enjoyed Rev. Anderson's speaking skills, his sense of humour and wit, for he too was a man pregnant with ideas.

      Sometimes I feel full of ideas, but sometimes I let those ideas get rusty and dusty, or they escape from my mind completely as other activities, events and distractions crowd into their space. I must keep that notebook for ideas handy and give these thoughts the time and attention they deserve.

      I like a good phrase that is new to me. I had never heard the term "deficiency list," until my husband and I, unaccustomed to being renters, had a meeting with our new landlord. We had presented him with a list of things that needed repair. The gentleman said he didn't like a "deficiency list." This was a new term for both Hank and me, so we were both frustrated with his response and amused with this new term. How were we to get things repaired to a suitable standard without a list of what needed to be taken care of? I'm happy to report that some of the items on that list are getting looked after even if our landlord isn't working from the written list.

      I'm glad God doesn't make a deficiency list for us, because I don't think we'd like that either. Our Heavenly Father loves us as we are, but he also loves us enough to want us to grow in faith. We can't be spiritual infants all our lives. Like the psalmist, I pray,

      "Investigate my life, O God,
      find out everything about me;
      Cross-examine and test me,
      get a clear picture of what I'm about;
      See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong--
      then guide me on the road to eternal life."
      (The Message)

      I get annoyed by phrases that are overused in the media, but maybe there's a reason. Nowadays we often hear broadcasters say things like, "Moving forward," or the double speak of, "At this point in time," when the speaker could say, "At this point" or "At this time." Is there anything wrong with saying, "Now"? Apparently these phrases are used to stress the immediacy of the "news" being given while it is still new.

      The writer of Ecclesiastes begins the third chapter by saying, "There's an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on earth." (The Message) But speaking "at this point in time," I need to write and get thoughts and ideas that have been laid on my heart out there.

      It's good to read, to listen to sermons and motivational speakers, to feel that our cups have been filled by God speaking to us through his word, through daily events, and through other people. Then it is our responsibility to use the inspiration that comes to us and share it in the public space.

      We don't know who is in need of the message we've been given to share. For some person or persons today might be the appointed time when that missive needs to be delivered. At this point in time, I need to move in a forwardly direction with my writing.

      September 09, 2014

      Three Witty Words - Shirley S. Tye

      While reading novels, I come across words that I either do not know or haven’t seen or heard in a long time. I jot them down into a little notebook and later search my dictionary to discover their meaning. Since my vocabulary is small, I keep the list thinking that I just might use some of those words in one of my stories.

      Some words that I come across make me smile. I don’t know why, perhaps they ring with a comical melody in my ears or they conjure up a humorous scene in my imagination. Here’s three that make me smile; highfalutin, tatty, and shenanigans. Highfalutin, an adjective, means absurdly pretentious according to the Oxford Canadian Dictionary. That same dictionary describes tatty, an adjective, to mean inferior, tawdry, or worn. It explains shenanigans, a noun, to mean high-spirited behaviour, nonsense, trickery, or dubious manoeuvres. Ah, there’s another funny sounding word; dubious. I like that one.

      At least, I can pronounce dubious unlike shenanigans. Somehow I manage to twist the letters with my tongue so that the word doesn’t come out quite right. In one play that I was in, that word was in a couple of my lines. During rehearsals, I slaughtered it which made the other actors, director, and stage manager laugh. Fortunately, by opening night I finally had the word down pat; if I spoke it slowly.

      Well, let’s see what nonsense I can write with those three funny words. Our shenanigans came to an abrupt halt when the highfalutin Mrs. White stepped into the room. She glared at our little group who had stopped in mid stream of their actions like a paused video. Slowly she closed the door behind her and found me cowering in the shadows. She sniffed once as she stared down her long skinny nose at me and my tatty outfit. I know my jeans were ripped at the knees and my tee-shirt was stained; a vast difference from her satin dress and string of real pearls about her long thin wrinkled neck. But I hadn’t been aware of any foul odour about me. I was sure I had applied underarm deodorant that morning. So why the sniff?

      There are so many words in the English language; some witty ones and some tongue twisters. What fun!

      September 08, 2014

      I Didn't Know That... by Carol Ferguson


       We are pleased to have Carol Ferguson as our Guest Blogger today.

      I am a member of the Hillcrest Church Tattered Edges Book Club. We meet once a month at the church and decide on a book or two that we will read the following month. Our choices are meant to widen our reading experience and can be fiction, non-fiction, historical, theology or biographies.

      We just finished reading I Am Malala and it has made a drastic difference in how I view women of the Middle East. We have also read Snow Child, Summer of Light, Friendship Bread and Orphan Train. Quite a variety and some that stretch our minds.

      At the beginning of this year, however, our leader had a new idea. She came up with a list of books for us to read during the year, in addition to our monthly choices. There were no titles on this list, only topics. A few of her suggestions were: a book about slavery; a book written because of 911; a book about Canada; a book about a place you’d like to visit; a book written before 1900.

      Quite by accident I found a book written before 1900 at a used book sale at the mall. I had never read and since it was only $2.00 I bought it. From my past experience with Charles Dickens, I expected it to be an interesting, fun and a fairly quick read. I was mistaken. Great Expectations

      It was unabridged, three-hundred and eighty pages long and each page double the average number of lines. I found it hard to keep track of all the characters and the plot was involved and convoluted. Then I also kept stopping to consider if a word I had just read really was a word or if Dickens was playing tricks on his reading public.

      Out of that book came this blog. Prompt: choose three words you didn’t know before, look up the meaning and use them in your writing. Now that I’ve finished the book it has been placed on my bookshelf with all my other books circumjacent (surrounding it). That word wasn’t even in my fat Gage Canadian Dictionary. I eventually found it in the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary. I am sorry to say that the reading of Charles Dickens Great Expectations has not given me a monomania (obsessive enthusiasm) for historical English literature. Perhaps in years to come I will confute (prove to be false) that statement as I continue to widen my reading experience.

      My habit is to write a book report on each book I read and it was difficult to decide exactly how much of Great Expectations to put in my report. Which one thread should I choose that Dickens had woven through the entire story? What was Pip's Great Expectation? I have no idea so maybe someone reading this would please let me know. J

      September 07, 2014

      Learning through Writers' Organizations – Ramona Heikel

      Although writing is a challenging task and the publishing world is in constant change these days, organizations are making themselves available to help writers at all stages and skill levels. Here I will list a few resources that have come up on my radar, most for children’s writing and for Canadian writers.

      SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators – Canada West, is a great organization to help children’s writers. Although I didn’t join the organization, I contacted them a few years ago for information, and they invited me to meet the local group at their monthly meetings. This connection led to me joining a critique group that met at one of the members’ homes near me. I met with them for quite some time and found the camaraderie, their talent and honest feedback to be key in my growth as a writer.

      Angela Ackerman, the organizer of that critique group, a generous mentor and an extraordinarily talented writer of young adult fiction, co-writes a blog for writers of all genres. Originally called The Bookshelf Muse, it is now called Writers Helping Writers, at . There you can find information and tips for various writing topics, and information about their books. The first one, which I was privileged to help launch, is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, which helps writers find words and phrasing to describe—show not tell!—their characters various emotions, and is endorsed by James Scott Bell. Two subsequent books are entitled The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes, and The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws.

      CANSCAIP is the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers. The page on their site I have used the most is their links page, which is a lengthy list of many helpful resources, ending with the list of Canadian children’s publishers, which has been guiding my own search for a book publisher. They also offer competitions, blogs, book trailers, mentorship, and information on library visits. The most fascinating part of their home page to me is that the organization has a traveling art exhibit of original illustrations created by 35 Canadian illustrators which have been published in children’s books.

      Some more quick mentions for lack of space: the Canadian Children’s Book Centre is another organization that helps children’s writers and authors via their website, which includes their Get Published writing kit, and their listing of Canadian Children's Book Publishers Accepting Unsolicited Manuscripts. The Purple Crayon at has been a long time favorite place for me to visit, and is run by a children’s book editor. Having taken the Children’s Writing course from The Institute of Children’s Literature, and having benefited from the great articles and information on their website for years before I took the course, I cannot help but point you to this quality organization. This was by far the best writing course I’ve taken, with excellent detailed feedback on everything I wrote.

      I do not doubt that many of you have also found these resources useful and hope you will share your experiences, and also add some resources of your own!

      Posted by Ramona


      September 03, 2014

      Never Stop Learning -- Steph Beth Nickel

      How to confound your family in one easy step . . .

      Curl up on the couch reading Lynne Truss’s Eats Shoots and Leaves and laugh uproariously while your family is trying to watch television in the same room.

      “Only a writer,” you say. And you’d be right. Or an editor, agent, or publisher.

      That scenario actually happened, by the way. Truss’s book is still one of my favourites.

      And who else would read The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style cover to cover and get excited when he or she came across the wonderful reference tool by Kathy Ide titled Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors?

      Would you consider an online subscription to The Chicago Manual of Style one of your best professional investments?

      Those of us in the writing industry think differently than others, but you already knew that.

      Two years ago, I sat in on literary agent Steve Laube’s continuing class at Write Canada. It was a great class, overflowing with so much insight. After all, he has been in the industry over three decades and has learned a lot over the years. One of the best takeaways was a list of books Steve considers must-reads for authors. I have been building my reference library based on his suggestions.

      When I saw Steve at The Word Awards in June, I suggested he add Don McNair’s book Editor-Proof Your Writing to his list. I would encourage all fiction writers to get a copy of McNair’s book. It is well worth reading and referring to often. In it he shares 21 ways to almost instantly make your writing better.

      I have quite a backlog of Web posts I would love to read by industry professionals like Jane Friedman, Jeff Goins, and Kristen Lamb. And I know there are countless others, many of which are tucked away in folders connected to my email accounts.

      Stacks of books. Piles of back copies of Writer’s Digest. Websites galore. It can all be very overwhelming. But I have to keep learning, and so should you.

      Life is all about maintaining tension (some say balance) and we must be careful not to spend so much time learning that we neglect doing. Writers must write. Editors must edit. Publishers must publish. (I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t work for agents.)

      Whatever our pursuit in the writing industry – and elsewhere – we must continue to do what we do to the best of our ability while continuing to learn at every opportunity.

      Here are six tips on how to expand your knowledge:

      1. Each day look up at least one word you come across that you can’t readily define. Keep a list of words and their definitions and review it often.

      2. Pull one of your favourite reference books off the shelf and re-read it.

      3. Purchase one new reference book and commit to reading it before the end of the year. I would suggest Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors or Editor-Proof Your Writing.

      4. Search the Web for webinars or blogs directed at writers. Read at least one post and/or “attend” one webinar per week – or one per month, if that’s more doable for you.

      5. Be humble. If you think something is right but aren’t 100 percent sure, look it up in a reference work like The Chicago Manual of Style. (As I mentioned, the online version is extremely handy.)

      6. Attend the InScribe conference in the fall.

      What is your favourite skills development book or website?

      Steph Beth Nickel invites you to contact her by e-mail . . . or visit her website,  blog or  Facebook page.

      September 01, 2014

      Choose Your Own Adventure by Sandi Somers

      With school starting this week, I think back to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books which my elementary school students loved. Readers could choose optional plot points leading to one of a number of climaxes and resolutions, or conversely to a dead end where they had to backtrack.

      In this month’s prompts, you choose your own adventure: Tell us your best ‘How-To’ tips. | Take the Dictionary or other reference and select three words you don’t know and write a piece using those words. | What new resource has you wishing you would have had that when you first started out? | Inform your readers about the genre in which you write.

      My first forays into “choose your own adventure” for this month’s blog post led me to brambles, mud holes and dead ends. Finally my meditation on the story of Joseph brought me to a satisfactory conclusion.

      The Forward Moving Strategy of God

      I have always been drawn to the Biblical story of Joseph, because it has spoken to me so often in so many circumstances. And as I’ve talked with other writers, I discover how his story has great implications for our writing.

      Joseph had a dream. Two dreams. Dreams of greatness. Dreams of stardom. Was he aware that the source was God?

      But then God took him on a circuitous route that contradicted the very idea of those dreams.

      His envious brothers sold him to Ishmaelite traders and he landed as a slave in Egypt. There in Potiphar’s house he developed managerial and leadership skills. He also developed faith—deep faith—in God. But Potiphar’s wife accused him unfairly and he was bound chained and thrown into prison.

      As a forgotten foreigner in Egypt, his life must have been at its lowest ebb.

      He must have wondered how the evil done him could have any purpose.

      He must have wondered if his prison time would ever come to an end.

      Yet his faith in God grew and strengthened his character.

      God was with Joseph, and these circumstances became the raw material out of which God was preparing him for his strategic role in Egypt. In time he was promoted to viceroy where he saved Egypt and his own family from famine. In Egypt, God formed his family into the nation of Israel.

      Joseph’s story challenges us to look deeper into our dreams for our writing.

      God is the source of our vision.

      He wants to use us strategically in the lives of others.

      He motivates us to move forward toward that vision.

      However, circumstances may contradict our plans—health concerns, family disruptions, a major move—any number of situations may come up to prevent us from writing for a time.

      At first they may seem like dead ends.

      We may feel nothing is being accomplished.

      We may even wonder if we have lost our way.

      But God is the God of detours, and he gives us signposts such as this: “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left” (Isa 30:21 ESV).

      So, like Joseph, let us be faithful in our current situation.

      Let us yield our detours and our future to God.

      Let us hold fast to any promises God has given us.

      A day will come when we will look back and discover how even these detours have been part of the “forward moving strategy of God.”[1]

      [1] Lloyd John Ogilvie. Lord of the Impossible. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1984, 55.