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May 2024 Newsletter

May 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 May 7, 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: May 14, 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: May 15, 2024

Children's Creative Writing Workshop

Second Thursday of each month

Next Meeting May 9, 2024

Reply to the link on our Website

This Month's Submissions

Walking It Off  by Karen Probert

Cindy paces the corridor. Eleven steps to the nurses station, eighteen steps to the bank of elevators, twenty-three steps to the waiting room and fifty-two steps back. Each time she passes a nurse looks up - sometimes with a smile, more often with just a blank look before returning to her charts or computer screen. During the day there are usually visitors in the waiting room, even sometimes patients taking a break from their rooms and beds. They watch her. Cindy can't sit still. These fifty-two steps have become part of her exercise program. She's read that you are supposed to take 10,000 steps each day to keep fit. Well, if she did this walk two hundred times she'd be over that number.

Cindy has never counted her steps until now. Now she knows that from her bedroom to the kitchen is fourteen. Out the back door to the garage and her car is thirty-two. From the parkade to her cubicle at work is one hundred and ten plus two flights of fifteen stairs each. Because parking at his hospital is so costly she parks her car each day four hundred and eighteen steps away beside her friend Jayne's house where there are no restrictions. At the beginning Cindy'd taken smaller steps - icy sidewalks and winter boots had restricted her pace.  Through the gentle spring she'd lengthened her strides, even bought new sneakers which were advertised to give you better balance and straighten your posture while you walked in them. As an added advantage they were quiet on the hard hospital floors. In three and a half months she'd lost twelve pounds - just walked it off. Physically Cindy feels good, strong, adaptable.

Her emotional state is a roller coaster ride. If Darren is breathing easily, if the feeding tube hasn't become clogged up and he's being nourished, if the physical therapists say she is creating enough resistance while doing his exercises to keep his muscles from atrophying, then she's nearing the top of the high curved track. The problem with that, as we all know, is that the tracks take a sharp, speedy drop once you reach the peak. On a roller coaster that's what makes for excitement. In real life the bottom of that fast run feels like despair. Cindy only allows herself despair once a week. Sunday evenings she sits in her living room, reviews the week, makes notes on Darren's condition in the binder she has set up to keep all the records straight, then she makes a pot of tea and allows herself to cry. It has become a ritual. It's cathartic. If the phone rings, even if she knows it is her mother, she let's it take a message. She needs this time of release. When it's over, when she has blown her nose, had a shower, washed and dried her hair, then she calls her mother back. There are eleven steps to the shower from the bedroom but the seventeen times Cindy moves her feet to revolve in the shower to get the shampoo and soap off her body don't count. There are nine stairs and twenty-two steps to her laundry room where she completes her other Sunday chores - she makes the trip down and back up three times. Tomorrow, Monday, will mark the one hundred and twenty- second day that Darren has been in that bed.

When the phone rings Cindy is surprised as she has already talked to her mother so she picks it up.

"Cindy, this Dr. Chartwell. Can you come back tonight? Darren appears to be waking up." In her rush to get dressed and out, Cindy stops counting. 


Weed Removal& Boundaries


Letting go what does not serve

Invisible walls of protection made known

Self care Self love

Mindfulness Awareness

Breath in deep for the soul to be complete


Asher  (Submitted by Pamela Winter-Beattie)

The Sound of Silence


The sound of silence? All I know are squeals

No calming, soothing nothingness peal

When the world is all quiet and I am alone

All I hear is one long, sharp high pitched moan

My mind cannot listen, inner voices all hush

Concentration eludes me, my mind is mush

The sound of nothing, is unfathomable

Like the taste of air, it’s incalculable. 


But in the chaos, my mind reigns supreme

The high pitch tinnitus disappears like a dream

Music is pumping, my mind’s working in time

Concentration is now at an all time high

Any music at all, the louder the better

The birds, the dishwasher, loud children, red letter

The sweet disarray, cacophony, astounding

I find my solitude, and thus, find my grounding


by Alana Baker

(Submitted by Pamela Winter-Beattie)

Tissues By Alana Baker


Scrumpled up tissue

Stuffed up grandpas sleeve

For runny noses

Or tears they receive


Many tissues crammed

In pockets of clothes

Winter snot runs

Spring, allergy nose


First aid kits have them

All moms have them too

Helps dry small ones tears

Or fix up boo-boos


They dry tears of joy

At all celebrations

Sad eyes are wiped

And tears of elation


Crucial in sickness

They hold mucus too

China uses tissues

As napkins, it’s true 


Great in the bathroom

Makeup application

Yes, tissues are our

Great modern salvation



'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.

TWO DEAD WIVES (2023) by Adele Parks

Review by Lana O’Neill

This chiller thriller is the sequel to Woman Last Seen, written in 2022. Unfortunately, the first book was not on my reader radar so I have yet to enjoy the juicy details of how the unlucky victim got into the mess depicted in Two Dead Wives. Luckily for me, Adele Parks wrote her follow up as a stand-alone and I can attest that the narrative rings true. The reader must follow a trail of breadcrumbs dropped in first person increments of, not one but, eight characters, each with a personal stake in the results of the investigation. Despite the initial tension-building doses of inner exposition, the reader is soon busy turning pages in a race that comes together in one of my favorite settings, England.

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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