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August 2022 Muse

August 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 August 2, 2022

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

Next Board Meeting: August 9, 2022

Newsletter Submission Deadline: Aug 28, 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 Aug 17, 2022

Children's Creative Writing Workshop

Second Monday of each month

Next Meeting Aug 8, 2022

Reply to the link on our Website

Words in the Park ~ Author Fair & Book Sale****SAVE THE DATE**** Saturday, September 24th

9:00 am - 4:00 pm in the Sherwood Park AGORA. Watch our website and Facebook page for more event details coming soon. Interested in being a vendor? Submission form available soon!

This Month's Submissions

The Satanic Mountain Place by Mandy Eve-Barnett

Juan sat with his head in his hands, the dusty grit of the road covering his shoes and hem of his trousers. He gasped, as he struggled to catch his breath. From between his fingers he glimpsed the road he’d descended at breakneck speed. There was no one chasing him – not an animal nor a human – but he still felt pursued.

The day had started out so normally. A hearty breakfast, a kiss on his wife’s cheek and a sturdy staff to walk with when ascending the meadows to herd his goats. Now, he remembered the strange greenish glow on the top of the mountain at sunrise. He’d dismissed it as a trick of the light. It had been a portent of things to come.

His goats were the first to sense something odd, something wrong. They became increasingly skittish, running in different directions – wide-eyed and obviously fearful. Juan looked to the sky searching for an oncoming storm, a large bird of prey or the advance of another predator, to no avail. Why were his beloved goats, his livelihood so distressed?

Now, he knew and feared for his life and that of all the villagers...


By John Wheeler

When homicide detectives Griggs and Blake finally arrived on scene behind the bar, the “Crime Scene Do Not Cross” tape had already been strung around the site. Detective Paul Griggs, a grizzled veteran, had been with the police force for almost thirty years. He was accompanied by his new partner Detective Dennis Blake. Detective Blake had recently earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and was fast tracked to Sergeant. Shortly after that he was awarded his Detective shield.

“Come, let’s have a look,” said Griggs as he slid under the caution tape. Blake followed once his mentor was through.

What the pair saw defied explanation. On top a thin layer of ash a human skeleton in a risqué cocktail dress lay on its back. The head was tilted back, the mouth open as if to proudly display several top row missing teeth. A pair of dress sandals, allegedly worn by the victim, were lying next to the wall of the building.

“No purse,” blurted out Blake as he scanned the area.

Griggs squatted beside the remains. He removed a pen from his suit pocket and tapped one of the lower rib bones with it. The bone cracked and a small piece almost fell off. Blake bent down beside his partner.

“So, what do you think? Doused in some kind of accelerant before the attacker set her on fire?” he asked.

Detective Griggs never took his eyes off the remains. “No, there wasn’t a fire,” he replied. “If there was why didn’t the dress go up in flames, too?”

Detective Blake thought it over. His partner was correct. “Well, what do you think happened?”

Griggs rose and turned to his partner. Blake mimicked the homicide veteran.

“It was lured out here,” began Detective Griggs. “Probably by some weak looking guy the creature thought would offer little resistance. However, once in the alley a team of hunters sprang and put it down and then…”

“What do you mean…it?”Exclaimed the inexperienced detective as he barged in on his partner’s thoughts. “There’s a dead girl stretched out here!”

Griggs paused a moment to collect his interrupted thoughts. “She … died a long time ago. Turned by some unholy, dark monster. If you want to use the term …vampire …go ahead. When the M.E. finishes his report, the findings will reveal the skeleton is approximately one-hundred-fifty to two-hundred years old. When the creature perished it aged as time caught up with it. That explains the ash. Its dead skin and organs. The M.E. will verify this. Plus, did you notice the missing upper row of teeth? Those were taken by the hunters. Sort of a trophy thing, I guess.” He paused to let his partner process what he said. Then he added, “I’ve seen this before.”

Blake could not believe what his fellow officer just said. Then something clicked in his brain, a humorous deduction. He smiled.

“You’re joking. Right?”

“Wish I was partner,” replied the elder detective with a straight face. “All we do now is wait for forensics and turn the scene over to them. I bet the findings will get filed away somewhere faraway from prying eyes and we get assigned another case. Like I said, I’ve seen this before.”

Detective Dennis Blake was stunned, and his mouth dropped open. His partner was serious. The myth about Vampires was true. And they were in the city, his city where he lived and worked.

“So, this thing,” said Blake indicating the remains of the corpse. “It’s a …?

“Yes,” replied Detective Paul Griggs. “It was a vampire!”

The Purse

by Karen Probert

Marcia drove over into the pullout and got out. Her dad's car was so smooth and fast that she had lots of time. She had made the promise not to smoke in the car but she needed a cig so badly. Now was the time. Marcia needed to calm down.

The sun wasn't even up and she was already dressed in a soft black suit, hose and heels. Her hair was as tidy as possible after washing it three times yesterday to ensure the pink and green streaks were completely gone. Her makeup was subtle and pale.

While walking in the gravelly, dusty pullout she watched as the sun heightened over the eastern horizon. She had two hours to get to Edmonton, find a parking spot, head up the elevators to the sixteenth floor for this job interview.

"Geez. I want this job" she said out loud.

As she crushed the cigarette butt under her shoe and turned toward the car light from the sun glinted off the metal buckles of a large patent leather bag slumped on the ground by the front tire. Marcia looked around. No one else was there - no cars, not even an eighteen wheeler except blasting along the highway. Marcia called, "Is anyone here? You have left your purse." Then she felt like an idiot. She lit another cigarette. She realized that she'd very nearly driven over the purse. Looking closer she could see it was the same brand and style she'd seen in Winners last week when she went to buy the suit for this interview. It cost at least $65.00 or $70.00 there.

"Wow, and someone just left it here."

Marcia squatted. She slid open the main zipper. A wallet, some keys, Kleenex, business card case, lipstick, an emery board, half a Mars bar, a bottle of water. From the card case she took one card then zippered the bag closed. In her Dad's car she hauled out her cell phone and dialed the number. After four rings a woman answered "What?"

"Did you leave your purse beside the highway? Are you Anna Plunkett?"

"Oh, shit! No, I couldn't have. Yes, I'm Anna. I'm looking for my purse. Who are you? Where are you? Oh God!"

Marcia could hear the panic in Anna's voice. Then crying.

"Are you still there? Do you have my bag? Where are you?"

"I'm by the side of Highway 2 between Red Deer and Edmonton. Tell me what's in the purse so I'll know if it's yours."

"Oh, well. My wallet - brown leather with a snap closure. It has my driver's license in it...of Lord; I drove all the way here last night without my license. Look in the wallet - it'll say Anna May Plunkett."

Marcia picked up the purse and went back to sit in the car. She opened the wallet - the license said 'Anna May Plunkett' and showed a woman of about forty five. "What's your name? What's your birth date?"

Anna answered correctly and listed some other contents. Marcia was surprised that she even knew that her lipstick was Chanel brand number 114 and about half used up. She even told Marcia where to find her kid's photos and what they were wearing in them. Finally Anna said, "Are you headed north to Edmonton?"

Marcia blurted, "Yes. I have a job interview and I have to hurry now so I won't be late. I'll put the purse in the car. I'll call you when I'm finished the interview. Okay?" before she clamped the phone shut, turned on the car and edged into traffic.

By the time she found a parking spot and locked Anna's purse in the trunk, Marcia still had twenty minutes before her interview. Taking the elevator up to the lobby she asked the security guard where to find a washroom. She tidied her hair, peed, washed her hands, put on fresh lipstick, crunched a mint so she wouldn't smell like cigarettes and smiled at herself in the mirror. "Look confident. Look smart” she said to her reflection in the mirror.

After waiting a few minutes in the sixteenth floor reception area she was shown into a beautiful office where two men sat. They both rose and Arthur Reid who had done her initial telephone interview gave her a strong handshake and then introduced her to the other man.

"John may be somewhat distracted as he's just had another call from his distraught wife as she's lost her purse again."

John Plunkett shook Marcia's hand and said, "Please sit down young lady. Did you have an interesting drive from Red Deer?"

'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.

NOTES ON GRIEF (2021) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Review by Lana O’Neill

In the aftermath of a pandemic, our lives have been irrevocably changed in many ways. Of those

changes, death has been an ever-present thread pulling on our heartstrings like a rogue puppet master.

As the world comes to terms with so much loss, stories emerge from those left wondering why?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes a beautiful tribute to her beloved father in Notes on Grief. The writing

is achingly poetic as she relates her pain with raw honesty and asks the questions so many people have

posed during the past two years. Her father comes to life on the pages and the reader can feel her grief.

We learn how a simple ‘I’m sorry’ conveys much more than ‘thoughts and prayers’. Adiche’s shared

experience has given me pause for thought each time I put pen to paper when signing a condolence card

or conveying my sorrow for a loved one’s’ loss when attending a memorial. And now, with protocols

lessened or lifted, there have been several, each one unique despite the common thread of the

Pandemic’s effect.

The Smart One by Jennifer Close

A glimpse into a family's thoughts, their interactions and events that cause friction, reassessment and belonging. Well crafted characters that you will become involved with, finding some similarities within your own family dynamics, others far from your experience. Mandy Eve-Barnett

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: (

Copyright © *2022

Writers Foundation of Strathcona County All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:

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

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