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Newsletter March 2021

Newsletter March 2021

Editor's Note:

Members, don't overlook a wonderful opportunity right in front of you to see your work published. Yes, that's right, we accept poems and short stories of 1000 words or less. Longer pieces can be accommodated if they can be published in parts. Works can be essays and opinion pieces as well as short stories and poems. The best part is any of your work published here can be included on your writing resume. We usually accept everything that we receive so it is a great way to get started in publishing.

Send submissions to care of Henry Martell, editor.

Important Dates

Writers Circle online

Next date April 6, 2021

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

Next Board Meeting: April 13, 2021

Newsletter Submission Deadline: April 26, 2021

Monthly online Creative Writing Workshops

Held last Saturday of every month at 12:30 to 2:30 pm

Go to the website to register - click the RSVP and the link will be emailed to you prior to the workshop.

The Wanderer by Dennis Wilson

Her name is Wanda. Lovely, friendly, not a mean bone in her body. But she carries a reputation.

Ladies in the herd invented several disparaging names for Wanda. Embraced by envy, they secretly desire to join her. Nerves sizzle at the thought of it. They settle for whispering. She is called the Wanderer or Wandering Wanda.

As far back as she can remember, Bullshot Bill, sounding like a broken record, repeatedly told her, “Always remember, grass is deliciously greener on the other side of the fence.” Sir Loyn Bulley, the patriarch of the herd always knowingly nodded his head in agreement. She believed them.

Wanda tried it the first time when she became a young lady heifer. She found a fence and yes, the grass looked greener on the other side. Three stands of sharp barb wire said, “No!”

Wanda knew there had to be a way. Lifting her head to raise the middle strand of barb wire, she placed a rear hoof on the lower strand and put some of her weight on it. A portal opened to the region of Greener Grass. She two-stepped past the barbed barrier without scraping her hide. Nothing to it. Intoxicating. She was found after three days of searching and brought back to Farmer Cydric’s place.

It happened twice more in just one week. Wanda was missing again. AWOL. Absent without leave. Found again, she was taken home and unloaded for the third time. The corral gate clicked shut. Confined!

Cydric declared to the curious herd crowd, “She’s a fence-crawler, that’s what she be!” Her reputation was sealed. “No more wandering, Wanda.” Cydric buckled a collar around her neck and attached a big brass bell. The bell would sing its ding-dong song with every step she took from now on.

They no longer call her the Wanderer or Wandering Wanda. And no one dares to brand her with the ugly moniker of “The Fence Crawler”. Too much respect.

To this day, everyone decorously calls her Wanda, the Bell-heifer!

From Thirteen Prompts By Karen Probert

I was given thirteen prompts and told to use as many as possible in one story. Here are the prompts: angel, business, visa, menopausal, shark tank, essentials, orange pen, marble, love shack, hysterical, my pants, Earl Grey and whimsy. I managed ten. How many would you have been able to use? Here's my story:

"Aware of Angels"

Aware of Angels was the name of Anna's business. She was trying to set up a website to ensure that title made sense to people somehow. She'd been on Shark Tank on TV but was too nervous so spoke too quickly. She hadn't convinced the possible investors to finance her business. It was a difficult business to market because it wasn't something you could sell on the Shopping Channel. She'd been reviewing all the input she'd already had from possible customers but it wasn't enough. All the essentials were on her website. Some of the information was written with an orange pen. She knew that orange is the favourite color of angels, so on a whimsy she'd used that color ink. Most people don't know that but one customer had written on the website "As a post-menopausal woman who was thought to be hysterical when I'd said I had seen a ghost, I had to write to you. I realized it wasn't a ghost. It was an angel wrapped up in an orange glow, like a sunset but softer, more like a fuzzy orange blanket with his wings tucked in. He was that smooth creamy color of marble but not a statue. He was really an angel with a booming voice. I've sent him to you. He'll arrive on Thursday at 10:00 AM. Please welcome him." Anna was waiting on Thursday by 9:45. At 10:00 an orange glow had permeated her front room. A presence appeared beside the couch. He said “Do not fear me. I'm here on a mission to support your business to let people meet real angels. The Angels Committee of Communicators sent me as their advocate. You can see angels, I know, but aren't interested in the little, fragile female ones who get all the attention of little girls and their grandmothers." Anna asked him if he'd like a cup of Earl Grey tea. He nodded before settling on the couch. "Do you know about websites?" Anna asked. "Oh, yes. We have all the latest technology in Heaven. In fact, we're quite a bit ahead of you in using it. This is lovely tea. Let's set a time for me to return after I've developed some clear ideas from my committee about your website." Anna had been discombobulated by his arrival but now felt safe and pleased by his visit. Later she added a note to her website: "Do not be afraid. Angels can be your friends. They can help you. Be aware of angels. Welcome them."

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 MIDNIGHT LIBRARY (2020) by Matt Haig

Review by Lana O’Neill

Have you ever wondered, ‘what if I’d chosen different?’ I’m sure we’ve all contemplated a crossroad from our past, the ensuing decision and its’ aftermath. Be it good or bad, to be human is to have regrets. How else can we look back on them during times of inner reflection and make judgments of ourselves? But let’s step beyond reality for a moment. What if you could go back, with your current knowledge, and choose another path at that crossroad? Robert Frost analogies aside, the idea is intriguing if not a bit intoxicating. The Midnight Library, by bestselling author Matt Haig, is a journey into this very idea. Haig winds this never-ending philosophical question into the story of Nora Seed, a young woman lost amid the regrets in her life. A fantastical library is the portal through which she can live that choice not taken in an attempt to fix her original mistakes. Reality may not offer second chances on such a grand scale and maybe it shouldn’t. But readers will surely find themselves looking inward as they follow Nora’s journey. Her ultimate decision will reward the reader with a sense of enlightenment and purpose.

by Sam Heughan & Graham McTavish Review by Lana O’Neill Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, actors who portray Jamie Fraser and Dougal MacKenzie in the Outlander TV series, take readers (and fans) on a journey through the Scottish Highlands. Their aim, ‘to find the real Scotland and what it means to be Scottish’, is merely the tip of the iceberg (or ‘munro’ if I’m allowed to change the metaphor in order to stay true to the theme). The history of the clans is violent, but storied while the land itself plays a major role in ancient conflicts and modern adventures. The language shines a light on a unique culture with words like "clatty," "thrapple," and "swally." And then there is whisky, which invokes language of its own. While Scotland’s weather may be described as "dreich" and too much whisky may leave you looking a bit "peely-wally," this ancient land and its peoples provide a colorful background to the funny, yet poetic narration in Heughan and McTavish’s book, Clanlands. Pour a wee dram and make a toast to this enjoyable read. Slàinte Mhath! The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish 2017 First Mariner Books This novel plays out between two time periods and involves one large house and the discovery of archival quality documents. The difference between 1600 and the early 2000s becomes evident as historians delve into the background of the discovered treasure of writings. Documentation of the find is a competitive pursuit within the university department. Working together, the two current era mismatched main characters develop a work relationship as they research together transcribing a series of letters to reveal a secret about the author of those letters and the identity of a young Jewish woman who scribes for a blind rabbi. In London during the mid-1600s, we get to know a community ravaged by the effects of the plague and its lasting impacts on their lives and livelihoods. But that is not the only disease that infects society – we see the disease of racism as it existed then. Both pandemic and racism are timely topics… and have we eradicated either of them today? Recommended interesting read of 575 pages. Linda J. Pedley

Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs 2017 Harper Collins Camille Adams is still not over the loss of her husband who died in an unspeakable accident while on vacation. Five years later, she still finds it hard to move on, but she must – not only for own sake, but for that of her teenage daughter who is experiencing a tough time at school and with friends. Together they both grow and heal while on a trip to her father’s native homeland in the south of France. The present is intertwined with the not-so-distant past where secrets were kept and passed down to be discovered in elusive photographs. As a photographer who recovers old film and photos, Camille uncovers answers to family questions she didn’t know existed. From the humble seaside home in Bethany Bay to the beautiful south of France, there is mystery, awakenings, acceptance… and romance. Good read with lots of historical details I found interesting through connection of past to present. Linda J. Pedley

City of Dreams by Suzanne Burkett (WFSC Member) 2019 I loved this story! As a reader it held my interest, and I grew attached and invested in what the characters were doing and where the story evolved. Good story plot that follows a handful of main characters in a period piece era rich with romance and mystery, complicated and conflicted by the pursuit for what others have out of greed. Unfortunately, I cannot separate my editor’s eye or publisher’s view when reading. The book needs some TLC with formatting, punctuation, and editing issues that should be addressed in a new edition to make this good story even better. Linda J. Pedley


Writers Foundation of Strathcona County 2020 - 2021 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 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 Guy Chambers Director Amanda O'Driscoll Director Instagram Coordinator Library Liaison Email:

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