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April 2024 Newsletter

April 2024

April Writers Muse

Published by the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” -Thomas Mann

The Strathcona Writers Muse is a forum for members of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County to publish their works. Anything published in our letter is eligible to receive a publishing credit.

Important Dates

Writers Circle Virtual Sharing Meeting

Location in the Birch Room in the strathcona county Library or online

Next date April 2, 2024

RSVP on the website. If you choose the on line option, a link will be emailed to you prior to the meeting. You do not need to be a member of WFSC to attend a meeting.

Next Board Meeting: April 9, 2024

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 17, 2024

Children's Creative Writing Workshop

Second Thursday of each month

Next Meeting April 11, 2024

Reply to the link on our Website

This Month's Submissions

The Wedding                            by Karen Probert

Kenny threw his backpack in the trunk. His dress shoes were tied on the outside covered in old bread bags. "Let's go."     Cass asked, "That's all you have? No suit bag?"     "It's all there. No problem. Let's go."     Cass shrugged and got in behind the wheel. Her gown was draped across the back seat with her shoes and hose in a separate bag. Her other clothes for the weekend were in a carryon in the trunk. She'd left enough room for at least one suitcase from Kenny. He was her Plus 1 for the wedding and she wanted it to be perfect. None of her friends had met Kenny yet but she wanted them to see him, to like him and know that he was important to her. She wanted the same from her parents.     Cass pulled the small car onto the highway and relaxed into the drive. She'd done this hundreds of times. From the university downtown to the highway was always a crapshoot with Friday afternoon traffic. But the highway was more predictable. It would only take about an hour to get to Redding where she'd grown up. Kenny was a completely relaxed passenger who paid almost no attention to cars or places around them. He was totally absorbed in reading a textbook he had with him.     "Any things you want to know before we get there?" Cass asked.     "Don't think so. You've told me all about your friend Emily's wedding prep in the last few weeks. You'll be a bridesmaid. I'll be a bystander. Not much else I need to know I guess.  And don't sneak into your room in the night because it's an old house and your mother would hear. I think that's it." Kenny went back to reading his text but he was grinning.     Cass grinned too. That's one of the things she loved about Kenny - when she talked he actually listened and then remembered what she said.     The trip was uneventful so before five they pulled into Cass's parent’s driveway. Cass hopped out to run up the stairs to hug her mother. Kenny finished his paragraph, marked his page and opened the car door. "Pleased to meet you Mrs. Cable" was not met by a handshake but by a quick hug.     "Come in, kids, come in" was called out as Cass's father came out to enfold Cass in a huge hug. He shook hands with Kenny. "Hello young man, pleased to meet you. Trip okay?"     "Yes, sir. Pleased to meet you too." Kenny smiled. So far this had been easy.     An hour later they were all in Cass's father's SUV on the way to the rehearsal and dinner. Mrs. Cable said, "The rehearsal won't take long. The girls have all been rehearsing this for almost twenty years. The boys have to follow along and do what they're told." She laughed. Cass reached over to hold Kenny's hand. While they'd had a beer and some snacks at the house Kenny had asked Cass's mother if she could borrow an iron and ironing board in the morning. With her eyebrows raised she'd said, "Of course."     "My grandmother taught me how to iron things properly and how to roll clothes to be packed. It won't take more that about fifteen minutes or so"     "You can do that while Cass and the other girls are at the hairdresser."     The rehearsal was quick. Kenny met Cass's friends and enjoyed being accepted into the group immediately. He ate some of the dinner but avoided a lot of things due to his allergies. Cass had whispered, "There are lots of fruit and even chips at the house. Help yourself later. I told Mom what to have in the house."     "Thanks, love. I sure like your friends so far. Rob, the groom, is really funny. Everyone is so relaxed. Every other wedding I've ever been to was just tense with people all edgy, almost frightened."     "Not this group, Kenny. We all grew up together, well at least one of each couple. There’s no rivalry. Emily said that even as bridesmaids we all got to choose the colour and fabric of our dresses - she just sent us the pattern. We're all different but able to work as a group."     Sunday morning, in Cass's car on the way back to university classes in the big city Kenny went over the whole of Saturday in his head. Breakfast, ironing, lunch, a run along the river with Cass's dad, the wedding, the reception with dinner speeches and dancing. "Hey, Cass, when you came down the stairs in that gorgeous turquoise dress I couldn't believe how beautiful you looked. Did I tell you that before?"     "Yeah, you did. About fifty times yesterday", and she laughed as she dove. "I love that grey suit you wore too - great choice. You sure impressed Mom with your ironing skills too. Yesterday was so fun! And Mom said this morning that she was really surprised that I didn't sneak down to the basement room where you were sleeping." Cass's laugh burbled out as she pounded on the steering wheel. "I told her, 'Don't be tacky'."     Kenny was quiet. He loved Cass. He liked her family and friends. He felt included for the first time in several years. He'd told Cass that his parents had been killed in a car crash six years ago. She'd sympathized but not asked for details. He'd told her he had no siblings. Not even about the brother behind bars forever. He didn't know how to go on from here. It wasn't deception but it wasn't honesty either. He'd have to think how to explain to a loved one a full identity change for witness protection.



 by John Wheeler

The lit-up city stretched out before him displaying its sophisticated array of streetlights circuitous among the downtown skyscrapers, urban buildings, roads, and freeways. It was night and the daytime summer heat that cooked the metropolis had finally dialed itself back a few degrees. Yes, it had been a hot one and Police Lieutenant Jason Leung was glad the sultriness reflected off the buildings had somewhat dissipated.

A very young Jason had come to this city with his immigrated Asian parents. As he matured Jason took to the ways of western culture and joined the police force after graduating university with a Degree in Criminology. He advanced quickly from constable to inspector, due to his advanced education, and now found himself leading a special investigation unit. The unit was assembled to track down a masked vigilante who believed he was helping the police by doing things law enforcement could not. Unfortunately, while fighting crime, he caused more problems than solutions due to his methods of what the police termed, Dark Justice.

The last unit assigned to bring in the vigilante had badly failed and eventually shutdown. Special allocated funds and manpower had yielded nothing, and the vigilante remained at large, doling out his brand of due process. Months went by before another team was organized to bring The Paladin to justice and Inspector Jason Leung was in charge. The first thing Jason did was reach out, through the media, asking the vigilante to contact him. Two days later a box containing a modified cell phone and instructions arrived on his desk. Jason followed the written rubric and sent a text. A reply soon followed with a time and place to meet. Inspector Leung was to come alone!

So, here he was in a warehouse district that overlooked the twinkling city, waiting for …. “Do not turn around, Inspector Leung. Please remain still,” said a voice from behind the startled Jason.

The disguised voice had a synthesized timbre to it, so Jason didn’t bother trying to remember any fricatives or sibilants.

Jason remained still. “You have a flair for the dramatic,” he said. “I like it.”

“I am here, Inspector. What do want? If it is to cease my endeavours and turn myself in, that is not going to happen. The police are handcuffed with procedures and policies, and I am here, as a private citizen, to do what must be done. Lex silvestris. Law of the jungle.”

“Well, you are not helping, you are hindering. Most of the cases you … assisted with … are being thrown out once they make it to court. There are legal nuts and bolts you have failed to observe. You are not a police officer. You are not a lawyer. You are putting yourself, and maybe others, in danger and I can not accept that.” He paused. “I’m going to turn around and I want you to let me take you in.”

“I cannot do that, Inspector,” the modified voice replied.

“I thought you might say that.” Jason smiled and pressed the membrane switch under his shirt collar. “This is Leung. All units go.” Jason thought he and his men were fast, but the vigilante was faster. They chased him into a dead-end alley. They never saw him attach a cable coming from a nearby roof to his belt. When they closed to make the arrest, he was quickly hauled up the side of a warehouse, to the roof, by a high-speed winch. He disappeared over the gable. By the time the police made it to the rooftop, he was gone. Inspector Jason

Leung was furious!

The next day that modified cell phone the vigilante had sent Jason rang. The anxious inspector answered. “Do not speak, Inspector, just listen. You have proven you are untrustworthy and because of this I am changing my focus on crime. From now on my focus will be on the police and the rampant corruption that has wormed its way in like a cancer. Various media outlets are always hungry for proof when it comes to law enforcement malfeasance. Audio and visual evidence is all they need to bring dirty cops to their knees. Am I clear, Inspector Leung?”

Jason’s tongue was going dry.

“I am going to start with a certain drug house on the east end of town. You know the place, inspector. The one you and several other policemen profit from. I have pictures, videos, and audio recordings enroute to several media outlets both local and abroad. Quite compelling evidence. I was going to let your nasty business slide if you left me alone. But you turned on me and forced my hand.”

Jason was having trouble sitting still.

“Criminals are criminals, inspector. Whether they wear ratty blue jeans and hoodies or freshly pressed uniforms. You brought this on yourself. We could have been friends.”

The line went dead. Jason’s world was spinning. The vigilante had proof and was coming for him dispensing another harsh brand of … Dark Justice. 

Irish Lilt   by Mandy Eve-Barnett


Jacqueline toyed with the olive in her cocktail deep in thought. The general noise of the busy bar did not penetrate her solitude. Several men had approached her earlier in an attempt to engage her in conversation but she shrugged them off easily. The same old pick up lines, the same old offers of a drink with strings attached, she was sick and tired of the same old routine over and over again. There must be another way to meet eligible men of her age surely?

Over the past four years she has seen it all. The married men slipping their rings off their fingers as they walked in the door, the divorcees with pathetic ‘poor me’ stories, the self proclaimed studs stating no commitments for me, the over anxious to please and the ‘do you come here often’ – all of them so cliché and boring.

An elbow knocks at her back and a soft lilting voice apologizes. Now, there was an accent that would sooth her every day.

“Not to worry trying to get close to the bar is an art in itself.”

“It is so, my girl. A drink is what I’m wanting, but that idiot barman isn’t coming this way at all.”

Jacqueline smiled and raised a hand up, Brad the barman came over immediately.

“Heh, Jac, what’s your pleasure?”

Jacqueline looked at the dark haired man beside her with a questioning glance.

“It’ll be a stout if you have such a thing?”

“Sure, no problem, man.”

“Well there must be a trick to that I’ve had me hand up for ages and he didn’t as much as look my way. Thank you…umm.”

“The name’s Jacqueline, but it gets shortened to Jac and yours is?”

“Oh yes to be sure, I’m Colm. Am I to get you a drink there?”

“Thank you that would be very nice, a dry martini please.”

Jacqueline shamelessly gave Colm a once over. He was tall with an athletic build, dark curly hair that touched his collar and the most amazing clear blue eyes. However, it was the soft Irish lilt to his voice that made her totally enraptured with him. She could feel herself blush as he passed her the cocktail glass, a rare occurrence in her world.

Several drinks later their conversation was becoming more and more personal another surprise for Jacqueline, who usually maintained an arm’s length from any suitor.

“You be a right little darling, if you don’t mind me saying, Jacqueline. You’re the first person to make me feel welcome in this town.”

“Well how about I show you some of it tomorrow?”

“If it’s no trouble for you that would be grand, for sure.”

Parting at the bar entrance Jacqueline gave Colm her cell number and they agreed to meet at that exact spot the following morning at ten o’clock.

Jacqueline hadn’t felt so happy in a long time and walked with a smile on her face. Colm was not only very good looking, but extremely charming in an off hand sort of way. He listened attentively but also made good conversation, such a refreshing change from the frequent clientele of Rocky’s Bar.  What was that saying? Irish eyes are smiling…yes that was it, well Colm certainly had dazzling eyes and the softness of his voice made her shiver. Maybe this particular St. Patrick’s Day would be lucky for her.


'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.

Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

Review by Mandy Eve-Barnett


I loved being immersed into 18th century England and the myths of Greece as well. Two things I know a lot about. I took Greek & Roman Literature at school.

The story is well crafted, the characters have depth and the author kept me guessing on the outcome with many twists and turns.

A recommended read for sure.


The Promise Sisters by Marie Bostwick

Review by Mandy Eve-Barnett


Sisterly love is woven throughout the narrative as they are bonded by a tumultuous past, where expectations were paramount, but a secret kept hidden from them is too shameful to reveal. Their lives are altered, directions chosen in spite of a matriarchal influence culminating in unforeseen outcomes.

A delightful novel with a few surprises.

The Wishing Tide by Barbara Davis

Review by Mandy Eve-Barnett

The story has some unexpected twists and turns so I enjoyed that. Damaged people trying to maneuver through life, whilst hiding. It is a concept many will relate to, I'm sure. However, the truth will always find a way to reveal itself, even if we don't want it to.

A great read with emotional tension, and a setting we long for - an ocean side place to wash the world away.



Review by Lana O’Neill

Sarah James’ cozy mystery reads like a fictional who’s who during 1943 wartime Tinseltown with the added intrigue of murder and mayhem. The Hollywood Canteen, though, is a real place imagined by real movie stars doing their bit to support the war effort by providing A-list entertainment to the servicemen protecting the country. James’ protagonist, Annie Laurence gets her chance to shine among the stars only to be inserted into the middle of Hollywood’s newest scandal. The first-person point of view and a sea of red herrings keeps the reader’s detective skills at bay as the mystery unfolds. James’ second novel is a light but enjoyable read supported by witty dialogue, catty personalities and jokes worthy of a giggle or a groan.




Publications available from our foundation.

Anyone can purchase these works through our website at


We are excited to announce new publications through the Foundation.

A Creative Mind: Poetry Anthology III

The WFSC challenged its members to write a poem-a-day for 30 days and the poetry shared in this anthology are part of the results. Participants were allowed to submit up to five selections with others chosen at random to fill the book as needed. We think you’ll enjoy reading the as much as we did. We have selections from 14 poets offering 81 selections ranging in styles, voice, and direction, but all focused on the title / theme of the day

Contains the works of the winner's of the children's creative writing contest in 2020 and 2021

“Creative Writing Workshop Facilitators Kelsey Hoople and Mike Deregowski instituted a challenge 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!

From the Stars: Poetry Anthology IV

The newest edition is now available in Amazon:

“Creative Writing Workshop Facilitators Kelsey Hoople and Mike Deregowski continued their challenge from 2020 to participate in a second poetry anthology for 2021. 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:

Available for purchase:

Writers Foundation of Strathcona County 2022 - 2023 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 Amanda O'Driscoll Director

Coordinator Children's writing workshop Instagram Coordinator Library Liaison

Copyright © *2024

Writers Foundation of Strathcona County All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:

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

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