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April 2022 Muse

April 2022

“Read, read, read. Read everything  —  trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.” — William Faulkner

Editor's Note:

The Strathcona Writers Muse is a forum for members of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County to provide an opportunity for members to publish their works. Anything published in our letter is eligible to receive a publishing credit. We accept poems and short stories of 1000 words or less normally but longer pieces can be accommodated if they can be published in parts. We are always in need of new items for each month so don't hesitate if you have something we can put into our publication.

Send submissions to care of Henry Martell, editor.

Important Dates

Writers Circle Virtual Sharing Meeting online

Next date April 4, 2022

RSVP on the website and the link will be emailed to you prior to the meeting.

Next Board Meeting: April 11, 2022

Newsletter Submission Deadline: April 25, 2022

Poets in the Park

Poets in the park meets the third Wednesday of every month online.

Reply to the link on the WFSC website

Next scheduled meeting April 20, 2022

Children's Creative Writing Workshop

Second Thursday of each month

Next Meeting April 14, 2022

Reply to the link on our Website

This Month's Submissions

A Pirate’s Way By John Wheeler

Gather round children, and let me regale A seafaring yarn, of brave lads who sail. These men were pirates, scoundrels, and trickster. A treacherous bunch, a nasty mixture. But they had no ship, not even a raft. To sail the High Seas, they needed a craft. Took two days of sweat, and scheming and pain! It was decided, “We’ll steal one from Spain!” The plot succeeded; they came in the night. All hands made it out,with hardly a fight. The ship was now theirs, but hot in pursuit, The Spanish took sail, their mood ill repute. But Pirates are smart, and they sailed away. The Spanish lost them,the very next day. The pirate’s vessel, was renamed “Sea Beast.” On Spanish shipping, the Pirates did feast. Cruising the high seas, questing for treasure. Killing and maiming, gave them no pleasure. They just wanted gold, and things that glitter. The frantic Spanish? They became bitter. So,Spain put a price, on the “Sea Beast” crew. “Expecting answers!” The Spanish felt due. But nobody spoke, none would step forward. No whispers, no sounds,to drift in shoreward. The routing went on,for many a year. The “Sea Beast” was grim. Was something to fear. They sank many ships,slew many men bold. Ill-gotten profit? Put down in their hold. Then sadly one day, they’d just disappear. The “Sea Beast”, the crew, and all of their gear. Some said she’d been sunk, by Spanish gunboats. Or lost in a storm, to somewhere remote. Now comes to an end, this pirate tale told. Of galleon ships and Spaniard gold. Life as a pirate. There’s no easy day. Finding the treasure. It’s A Pirate’s Way.

Summer Road Trips

by Mandy Eve-Barnett

I long for the summer warmth to descend on Alberta, releasing its inhabitants both human and creature from the icy grip of winter and the dirty slush of spring. For summer is the time for road trips, allowing me to explore hamlets and ghost towns, forgotten historical sites, local artisan workshops and bookstores. Hidden gems bypassed by hurried highway drivers fervently heading from point A to point B. They miss the beauty; the conversations and the wildlife as the mile’s blur pass their vehicle windows. Not for me, a hurried drive, but the back roads and gravel tracks, the chance encounters of wildlife, a hidden stream, an old road bridge or an overgrown track. I relish the warm air, the scent of dark earth and wildflowers, or ascending a rocky outcrop to enjoy the view at its peak. I sit a while and enjoy a cold one with a local as they share stories of their community. This is the ‘hidden’ Alberta I find so fascinating, living stories of past and present. So slow down and turn onto that undiscovered track – magic awaits. Life is for gaining experiences, finding your soul’s joy and creating lasting memories.

Tied Up with a Valentine Bow By John Wheeler

Clair considered herself of high intelligence and good looks paired with drive and ambition. After high school she went to university and graduated in the top ten of her class. Her high marks opened doors in the workplace, and she found appealing employment in her chosen field. The pay was commendable, but it was the quarterly bonus money that allowed her to live worry free. She bought an older house on the edge of town and renovated it with extra attention paid to insulating and finishing the basement. With Valentine’s Day approaching, Clair decided to treat herself to a classic red short-sleeved sheath dress that fell to the knee. A pair of red stilettos completed the ensemble that surely her new beau, Ted, would appreciate. They had met when their respective employers were doing business together. It was over that period Clair became infatuated with the handsome, rugged man who checked off all her boxes. She boldly asked him out one afternoon for an evening of drinks and dinner. He hesitated at first, but then accepted since she insisted on paying. That had been three weeks ago. She sensed a sincere relationship blossoming. On Valentine’s Day Clair arrived home, decked out in her red Valentine’s dress. She knew he would be there waiting. Clair went straight to the bedroom and checked her reflection in the full-length mirror turning left then right, smoothing out any wrinkles. She wanted to look perfect for him. Satisfied, she pivoted and headed for the basement strolling by the shiny gray stainless-steel refrigerator to retrieve a bottle of wine. She flicked on the light to the basement and made her way down, her new stilettos clicking loudly on each wooden step as she descended. Clair, to no surprise, found Ted Downstairs right where he was supposed to be. Ted was on his back laying the length of the queen size bed that tucked precisely into the custom manufactured tubular steel bed frame Clair designed. It was a solid and costly piece of furniture. The bed frame legs were bolted to the floor, and the attached metal headboard screwed to the basement wall. No amount of lambasting would free the glossy black powder-coated frame. She saw he still had each wrist handcuffed to the metal headboard with a pair of sex shop fuzzy pink handcuffs. His ankles were similarly manacled to the foot of the bed frame. Ted was wearing only blue jeans and he looked tired and cold. “Well, well, what do we have here?” asked Clair, trying to sound sultry. “Happy Valentines to me!” She held up the expensive Cabernet Sauvignon, making sure to display the label and ran her free hand up his leg. “Care for a splash?”

Ted lost all composure and began thrashing about, yelling at the top of his voice. The handcuffs bit into his wrists and ankles, but the clasps held firm. The soft padding was beginning to fail, and red swellings had appeared on his wrists and ankles. Ted finally stopped due to exhaustion. “Please, darling. Please stop,” Clair began. “You’ll never get free. Let’s just take a...” He spat at her, not letting her finish the thought. Displaying the dexterity of a cat, Clair shifted, and the slobber missed the dress and her. For a second, anger took hold of Clair. This was not how Valentine’s Day should go. Then the depression washed over her. With tears emerging she decided to leave and come back later. Clair went up the stairs, switched off the basement light and put the wine back in the refrigerator. She went into her bedroom, kicked off the red stilettos and changed into a pair of comfy sweats. With tears running down her face, Clair sat on the edge of the bed and looked at her reflection in the mirror. The quiet sobbing eventually stopped. “He’ll come around,” she said quietly. “So, Valentine’s sucked again. There’s always Easter.” She began feeling better. She smiled at herself. “Yes, Easter will be good. You’ll see. He’ll eventually learn to love me. He will! You’ll see.” Then her mood changed to something dark. “And if he doesn’t learn? Well, he can die down there. Just like the others.”


Saturday, April 23, 2022 S. W. E. E. P. Stimulating - Writing - Evolvement - Engagement - Promotion The WFSC 2022 Writer’s Conference ONLINE!

The WFSC welcomes you to our selection of sessions to be held on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022 from 9:00 am - 1:15 pm - registration begins at 8:30 am.

Registration for sessions can be done online with fees of $25.00 for members or $40.00 for non-members for the whole day. Zoom meeting link for the conference will be emailed out to registered participants prior to the conference.

Four Sessions for one price:

  1. 9:00 am – 10:00 am Rayanne Haines

  2. 10:00 am – 11:00 am Katie O'Connor

  3. 11:15 am – 12:15 pm Susie Moloney

  4. 12:15 pm – 1:15 pm Jenna Greene

Watch our Facebook page during the day of the conference for book reviews, author promotions, prize giveaways, and other information provided by our conference host and emcee, Kelsey Hoople.

Authors! Want to get your book promotion included on our Facebook page the day of the conference? Send us your short book write-up--think ‘book blurb’-- front cover jpeg image, and a link to where it can be purchased.​ Prices TBA

'If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write' - Stephen King

What Are You Reading?

The Muse wants to know what other writers are reading! Are you doing research for a story? Are you reading a great book that you want to tell others about? E-mail the editor and let us know about your book.

TASTE: MY LIFE THROUGH FOOD (2021) by Stanley Tucci Review by Lana O’Neill Everyone loves Italian food! This was apparent when I hastily scanned the pages of Stanley Tucci’s recent memoir, Taste: My Life Through Food. Italian influenced recipes were scattered throughout the book and I couldn’t wait to see the standouts he chose to include and possibly try out for myself (maybe not the stiff drinks). It was like having dessert before the main course. Yum! But, as I immersed myself in this intimate telling of the foods that defined various stages of this actor’s life, I realized that I had merely sampled an aperitif, so to speak. Stories and food are a successful pairing and for good reason. Both can be enjoyed with family, friends and even strangers while imprinting everlasting memories easily and often times, unexpectedly conjured up by the faintest aroma connected to a moment in time. Tucci goes back to his childhood and through the years with astonishing clarity, deadpan humor and human insight resulting in an entertaining main course that left me wanting more by the time I finished the last page. I guess that’s what the recipes are for, including the Martini, Negroni and Old- Fashioned! Murder at the 42nd Street Library by Con Lehane Review by Mandy Eve-Barnett I really enjoyed the building tension, the red herrings and the characters within this narrative. Skillfully plotted and written with great twists to get the reader guessing.

The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve Review by Mandy Eve-Barnett

I really enjoyed this character base narrative. I was drawn into the story's characters and their internal dialogues. The format of living their lives backwards was a unique and novel way to write the book. The ending was very unexpected!

Publications available from our foundation. Anyone can purchase these works through our website at


We are excited to announce new publications through the Foundation.

The winner's of the children's creative writing contest in 2020 and 2021 have been compiled into a book. It will be at a special price until September 30th. Link:

“Creative Writing Workshop Facilitators Kelsey Hoople and Mike Deregowski challenge you to participate in national poetry month.” As part of Poetry Month for April 2020, the challenge was to write to the overall theme - The Great Escape. A different title posted each day provided inspiration for writing a poem a day for thirty days. It was a challenge worth taking up as many of the participants could no longer meet in person due to COVID-19 measures, but they could support one another online! This collection of poetry includes submissions from qualifying WFSC members for 2020. Challenge yourself! Enjoy!

“Creative Writing Workshop Facilitators Kelsey Hoople and Mike Deregowski challenge you to participate in national poetry month.” As part of Poetry Month for April 2021, the challenge was to write to the overall theme - When Life Changes. A different title posted each day provided inspiration for writing a poem a day for thirty days. Amidst the COVID-19 challenge, getting creative was an outlet for our writing group, which enjoyed connecting online and being inspired. This collection of poetry includes submissions from qualifying WFSC members for 2021. Challenge yourself! Enjoy!

Available for purchase:



DWP WFSC's publication prior to the Writing Prompts book shares stories of Canadian writers.

We write from the heart about people who are important and things dear to us.

We write with a spirit that leads us to explore and explain.

We write. We are passionate.

We are Canadian.

Postcards from Canada proudly features the words of members from the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County in celebration of being Canadian – during this 150th year of Confederation. Share with us as we take you on a journey across Canada with our words, our images, our verse, our prose… Postcards from Canada - Wish you were here! Get your copy for $14.95 through the following:


Amazon POD:…/…/

Amazon Kindle:

Available for purchase:




Writers Foundation of Strathcona County 2021 - 2022 Board Members and contact information:

Joe McKnight President Bethany Horne Vice President Never Been Better - Editor Linda Pedley Treasurer Web Site Administration 780-445-0991 Mandy Barnett Secretary Writing Circle Host/ Writing Prompts/ Newsletter Editor Karen Probert Past President 780-464-6632 Beth Rowe Director Your Lifetime of Stories Coordinator 780-718-7253 Henry Martell Director Newsletter Coordinator Pamela J. Winter Director Poets in the Park Co-ordinator Amanda O'Driscoll Director Instagram Coordinator Library Liaison

John Wheeler Email: Website: (

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Writers Foundation of Strathcona County All rights reserved.


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PO Box 57083 | Sherwood Park, Alberta | T8A 5L7

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