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March 2024 Newsletter

March 2024

March Writers Muse

Published by the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County

“Writing is an act of discovering what you think and what you believe.” -Dan Pink

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 March 5, 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: March 12, 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: March 20, 2024

Children's Creative Writing Workshop

Second Thursday of each month

Next Meeting March 14, 2024

Reply to the link on our Website

This Month's Submissions


By John Wheeler

People don’t remember anymore how humanity and the world came to be like it is. Nobody remembers the horrors of a runaway science accidently released upon an unprepared world.  Generations later, it was never taught, or noted in anyway, that before the mighty world powers could react, it was too late.

Early symptoms of the deadly pandemic, that infected and took so many human lives, seemed to mirror that of a common cold. This upper respiratory infection would then shift into influenza, and then mature into pneumonia.  Once a person contacted the pneumonia, the poor soul’s immune system would slowly fail, and the lungs would fill up with fluid.  A lingering and ghastly death would follow.  Many brilliant scientists working feverishly on a cure simply ran out of time. Most of the world’s population died within a year.

     However, Mother Nature had a card up her sleeve.  There were those she had deemed immune.  Why some people were, and some people were not, nobody understood. Those immune seemed to be random. Skin colour, personal wealth, education level, persons of faith, or atheists had no bearing. It was this remaining population that should have kept the human race going by working together. 

Instead, the remaining people fought over everything and anything deemed necessary to survive.  Food, water, medicine, and housing became fair game. Of course, this added to the global tragedy.

     Generation after generation learned nothing but how to fight for the most rudimentary necessities, until those basic requirements would one day simply run out.  Food became scarce.  Since pharmaceutical companies no longer existed medicines slowly vanished.  There would be lots of old housing, but many were tainted with black mold leaving any resident sick.

However, not all was doom and gloom.  There was fresh water if you knew where to look.

With no education systems in place the human race, overtime, de-evolved and people became something akin to migrating cavemen breaking off into scattered tribes.

     One such person was Lark Bluewater.  Tonight, he was Lord of Mighty Fire.  As lord it was his duty to keep his mountain tribes mighty fire burning.  If the fire became low, he would add apiece of wood keeping the flames a certain height allowing those, sleeping around the blaze, warmth.  It was a very important duty.

A few days ago, Lark had lost an eye and now walked with a limp following a skirmish with a rival tribe trying to steal from their mighty fire. The thieves had come in force but were driven off leaving many of the intruders dead. Lark was certain word would spread that his tribe was not to be trifled with. Lark’s tribe were a fierce lot, and they were proud of it.

     A brother-in-arms approached Lark and sat beside him.  “Tonight, you Lord of Mighty Fire?”

     “Yes, I Lord of Mighty Fire.”

     “Lord of Mighty Fire.”  He bowed slightly. “I here to be Lord of Mighty Fire.  Rest.  Sleep.  I now be Lord of Mighty Fire.”

     Lark nodded he understood his shift was done and handed over a heavy wooden club only to be used in defense of The Mighty Fire. His replacement accepted it and waved Lark away. Tomorrow, when the sun moved to a certain position, Lark would return to his role as Lord of Mighty Fire.

He shuffled to a spot next to his wife and two children, not far from the warming flames, feeling secure he could rest while a new Lord of Mighty Fire watched over them.

Misjudged or Not By Mandy Eve-Barnett

Aiden sat trembling in the chair; he’d been roughly sat upon within the precinct’s suite of interview rooms. A broad shouldered, balding man walked in with an equally large and muscular coloured man, both in smart dark suits.

“Aiden Standford, my name is Detective Wilson and this is my colleague is Detective Miles. We have reason to believe you are able to enlighten us to the events that took place early this evening.”

Aiden swallowed hard without any saliva reaching his throat. “I wasn’t involved, I promise.”

Wilson put pen to paper and clicked a tape recorder button. “In your own words please take us through from the time you left your premises until you were escorted here.”

“I always run that route, like every night at seven o’clock. It’s a four mile loop from my house through the park and back along the top road above my house. Then I cut through the back alley to home.”

Miles speaks for the first time. “Every night, even weekends?”

“Yes, I’m training for the mini- marathon in July.”

The dark skinned man drummed his fingers on the desk top. “Why that route?”

Aiden felt sweat trickle down his back. “I measured it out on an online map months ago. It was the easiest route and I don’t bump into people on the main roads.”

Wilson jotted something on the legal pad. “Why would you want to avoid people, Mr. Standford?”

Now the sweat turned cold. “Dodging people would mess up my times, I needed a clear route. I needed to be consistent, right?”

The two detectives glanced at each other. Wilson spoke. “Wouldn’t you come across people on this route?”

“I do on occasion, but it’s usually quiet that time of night and there is enough room to run around anyone.”

Miles stroked his chin. “So when you entered the alleyway this evening what happened?’

Aiden clasped his hands together. “The streetlight only gives a half-light by the time I get halfway down the alley, and I literally didn’t see it...the body.” A reflux of vomit entered the back of his throat and he swallowed hard again. “I tripped over what I thought was a bag of trash. I got up and brushed at my knees.” He swung his legs around to show the gravel pitted skin and dried blood. “I went to pick up what I thought was a black bin liner and that’s when I saw the hand sticking out and I vomited. Please believe me; I had nothing to do with what happened to that person. You have to believe me.”

“What did you do next?”

Aiden looked at Wilson. “I sat down and called the police. What else would I do?”

“You didn’t open the bag, take a quick look? Poke around a bit? Touch anything?”

“Absolutely, not! Oh God, I was sick to my stomach, still am.”

Detective Miles pushed a photo across the desk. “Do you know this person?”

Aiden’s eyes widened, his body shook and his vision blurred. “That’s Mr. Carter my landlord. Oh, no that can’t be him.”

“We have had a formal identification, Mr. Standford. Do you want to tell us about the dispute you have – had - with Mr. Carter, about your apartment?”

Aiden’s whole body froze; his voice came out in a whisper. “You can’t be serious? I asked for repairs to the electrical outlets as they were smoking for God’s sake. He was taking too long and I told him I’d have to report him to the rental board for a dangerous lodging. I would certainly not harm him. It is something the board and courts would solve.”

The two detectives sat back in their chairs and Wilson asked. “Were other renters unhappy with the condition of the property? Would one of them take their grievances out on Mr. Carter?”

“I don’t’d have to ask them.”

“Oh, we will Mr. Standford, for now please go over your movements again between seven o’clock and eight forty-five.”

“I told you already, I can’t change what happened, or when.”

“Well, you see Aiden, the average time to run a four mile route is thirty minutes, so why did you call at eight forty-five, a full hour and fifteen minutes later?”

Aiden sat up straight, his mind spinning. Shit, why didn’t I time it out first?



(excerpt from Poets in the Park January 2024 homework)


Written by Lana O’Neill



In Thompson, Manitoba where north and nickel reside

Wild blueberry patches carpet a forest floor

Bulbous purply mouth-popping tang pouches

The kind that tattoos the flush of sugary freedom

Onto the tongue of an innocent

Into the forever of my tastebuds

And bobbing in my bowl of Cheerios

'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.

The Ladies’ Lending Library by Janice Kulyk Keefer 

Review by Mandy Eve-Barnett

This novel doesn't have chapters but three parts to it. The format is compressed into segments filled with descriptions and exposition. It takes a while to get into the flow and remember all the characters and their storylines. 



What’s Left Behind by Lorrie Thomson

 Review by Mandy Eve-Barnett

A loss of any kind is devastating and this tale of a single mother borne of a single mother herself, and the unexpected turn of events that literally crash into it, is enthralling, poignant and heart wrenching, as well as uplifting as life reenters the world.

Wonderfully written characters and landscape.



WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING (2018) by Delia Owens

Review by Lana O’Neill

Delia Owens’ 200-word prologue captures the essence of a North Carolina marshland so completely and poetically, that I found myself immediately mesmerized by what I had just learned and a bit jarred by what was to come. Story and plot are lyrically woven into the fabric of the mystery behind a gruesome discovery and the ensuing aspersions thrown on a young woman, a local outcast. Intriguing characters and thoughtful dialogue work seamlessly together to create a novel length ‘poem’ about loneliness, survival and the exhaustive, and oftentimes toxic, search for belonging. Where The Crawdads Sing is a page turner that should be read slowly and with patience in order to properly appreciate the nuances of humanity’s beauty and tragedy so expertly portrayed in Owens’ debut novel.

The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop

Review by Mandy Eve-Barnett

What a delightful narrative of lost friendships, misunderstanding, second chances, and renewed hope. I loved the parallel between two of the characters and their inner growth. A must read.

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 © *2023

Writers Foundation of Strathcona County All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:

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

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