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Newsletter February 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 March 2, 2021

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

Next Board Meeting: March 9, 2021

Newsletter Submission Deadline: March 23, 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 WFSC 2021 Writer’s Conference moves ONLINE!

The WFSC welcomes you to our selection of sessions to be held on Saturday, March 27th, 2021 from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.

Registration for sessions can be done online with fees of $15.00 per session or $50.00 for the whole day. Zoom meeting links to the sessions will be emailed out to registered participants before the conference starts.

Six Zoom sessions include:

1. 9:00 am – 10:00 am Blog Writing with Mandy Eve-Barnett

2. 10:30 am – 11:30 am Songwriting with TBA

3. 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Creative Writing Workshop with Mike Deregowski

4. 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Social Media with Glenda Sheard

5. 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Screenwriting with Susie Moloney

6. 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm Illustrations / Book Cover Design with Linda J. Pedley

Watch our Facebook page during the day of the conference for book reviews, author promotions, prize giveaways, and other information provided by our conference host and emcee, Kelsey Hoople.

Authors! Want to get your book promotion included on our Facebook page the day of the conference? Send us your short book write-up--think ‘book blurb’-- front cover jpeg image, and a link to where it can be purchased.

Your book promotion will be posted for $15.00 during the conference.

Have a book trailer or video? Promote your book for $25.00 for the day.

Children's Writing Contest:

Do you have a young one in your family who would be interested in entering our writing contest?

Do you know a young person who would like to enter our contest?

We are looking for entries from any and all who are interested regardless of where they live. The only conditions are age as they must be twelve or under.

Writing submissions will be judged based on originality, creativity, and content.


4-5 years - My Three Wishes - Draw a picture of wishes with an adult help put a caption with the picture.

6-7 years - Surprise, Surprise - In 25 - 30 words tell about a surprise you have had, such as a party, present or a visit.

8-9 years - The New Student - In 50 - 100 words write about a new student in your class. What would you do?

10-12 years - The Unfinished Spell - In about 200 words describe a spell. What happened? How was it unfinished? Why was the spell being made?

Submissions to

In body of text or as an attachment.

Deadline May 1st, 2021

Prizes will be given to the best submission in each category.

Open to all.

The Encounter by Karen Probert

"Do you live in these woods?" the small, shy voice asked.

My reverie was disturbed as I looked around. I thought I was alone. I was listening to the brush of twigs against the trunks of trees, the twitter of small birds finding berries on the leafless branches and nothing else. Silence was all I had looked for when I walked here to sit on a favorite stump. The blue sky filtered through the soft air between the trunks and branches. It soothed me. Calm. I needed to be calm, to allow my mind to slow its incessant clambering, to silence the noise of war. This was my spot, my safe place.

"Yes", I answered in a soft voice accompanied by a smile. "Do you? Are you a forest sprite, maybe a leprechaun, or an elf?"

"No, I'm just a kid. My Grandpa said, 'You can wander but remember how to get home again.' I think I know. Do you know my Grandpa?"

"Does your Grandpa live at the farm with the orange barn?"

"Yeah. He painted it red but it faded because he used cheap paint. That's what he told me. I've been visiting for Christmas. I was hoping for snow."

His small body was dressed for snow - a puffy red jacket, a blue scarf wound twice around his thin neck and mitts sticking out of his pockets. The jacket was open to show the blue sweatshirt above his jeans.

"I'm Adam." I held out my hand. "I live in the cottage by the river. The one with the yellow door."

The young boy stepped forward. "I'm Declan. Glad to meet you. I thought that place was empty."

"It was until I bought it and moved in. I've been here seven months. I love walking in these woods."

A heavy cloud blew in obscuring the bright sky. Declan looked surprised. Snow began to drift down so he smiled and stuck out his tongue. "I better go back to Grandpa's. Are you staying here?"

The trees started to sway as the wind picked up. Their branches rattled together. Leaves blew up from the ground while the snow began to swirl.

I lifted my crutches off the ground while saying, "We'd better be heading out now. Let's go this way as the road is closer."

"The road to Grandpa's? Is it easier to walk on the road for you?"

"It is. And we'll be able to see better. This snow is thick, surprising." Other than our voices all sounds had been silenced. Declan walked behind me as I led the way to the gravel road. As we cleared the last row of trees I could hear a voice calling, "Declan. You there sonny boy?"

Declan called out, "Coming Grandpa" as he started to run toward the orange barn. He leapt and whirled his arms around and then I heard him call, "Bye Adam. Happy New Year."

As I turned into the pathway to my yellow door I realized the cacophony in my brain had not restarted. Declan's bright eyes and calm manner, his joy in being in a snowy world had quieted my mind. Memories of horror had stayed away while I shared some time with a young boy.

I'll hold onto the look on his face as he tasted the snowflakes to reroute the demons in my head and allow memories of my childhood to flood back in. I can close my eyes to return to that joyful place. Declan will stay on as my snow angel.

A Ride

Above me, a beautiful white globe

Seemingly held in place

By dark twisted branches

Covering the round face

Bathed in cool moonlight

I see my route home

A long walk ahead of me

Gives me call to groan

I struggled in vain

Cell phone with no signal

Hindered by a flat tire

To drive out of the channel

Jacket tightly buttoned

Against the night chill

Discontent my companion

As I plod up the hill

Abruptly silence is broken

The wailing of an ambulance

Bright lights flash past me

I sway in the turbulence

Unnoticed by the medics

My shouts and waving

Any hope dissipates

A ride home was my craving

Mandy Eve-Barnett

Revenge of the Giant Moth

By Dennis Wilson

One summer evening while enjoying a nice, thick shake at my local “Dairy Freeze”, I had difficulty drawing up the last of it. I stirred the remaining contents of the shake with my straw and found the remains of a big bumble bee - dead as a doornail - at the end of my straw. (Thank goodness for small straws!)

One dark night weeks later, at the same place, I ordered fries and a hot chocolate. While waiting for my order to be filled, the biggest and most colorful moth I had ever seen landed on the glass window next to my elbow. Attracted by the bright lights inside the serving area, it rested there and spread its wings and showed off its five-inch wingspan of spotted colors.

Without thinking, I scooped it up and released it through the ordering window into the interior of the store. As it fluttered from one bright light to another, total mayhem broke loose –the young women and girls who were working inside began to scream and dropped everything they were doing. The owner came running from his office to catch the moth, but to no avail.

Total panic prevailed.

My appetite disappeared and so did I, even though my order was paid for!

Revenge, you say?

I still enjoy a good milkshake but not before probing the bottom of the shake with my straw to make sure nothing is lurking down there, waiting to be sucked up!

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.

BELGRAVIA (2016) by Julian Fellowes Review by Lana O’Neill For Downton Abbey fans, Julian Fellowes follows up with a Victorian era story in keeping with his trademark tale of two classes among British polite society. The real life 1815 Duchess of Richmond’s ball, on the eve of the battle of Quatre Bras (and the eventual battle of Waterloo) sets the fictional events in motion. Fast forward 26 years to the affluent district of Belgravia in London, where the reader is immersed into the lives of the nouveau riche Trenchard family and their working-class house staff as they navigate the world of the aristocratic Earl and Countess of Brockenhurst and their working-class house staff. The presumption that classes stay in their lanes is muddied by the inevitable struggles for success and status while observing the decorum of the time. The result is anything but straight and narrow especially when love is thrown into the mix. Everyone knows that love is blind and, in this case, immune to societal strictures. But, thankfully for the reader, it is not immune to gossip and innuendo. THE FORGOTTEN HOME CHILD (2020) by Genevieve GrahamReview by Lana O’Neill The appearance of The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham, on my front step, inside a Christmas gift bag with a card signed by my aunt, represents how families are still trying to understand the life of an ancestor who kept silent about their past. The historical fiction tale of Winny, a ten-year-old runaway, highlights the abject loneliness amidst harsh living conditions on the streets of 1936 Liverpool and then, later, under the auspices Dr. Barnardo’s Barkingside Girls’ Village. The added burden of a young girl being made to feel responsible and thus, shame for her circumstances would follow her to the shores of Canada as a British Home Child. This very real chapter in Canada’s history is rife with stigma and prejudice and creates the backbone of silence that would follow these children around for most of their lives. My ancestor was too old to be a British Home Child but her circumstances as a three-year-old orphan placed in a London workhouse were just as dire. The Forgotten Home Child is a story of history, realization, shock, and perhaps, catharsis. But as with most compelling stories, Graham’s book takes the reader to a place in time to experience the extremes of the human condition. THE CONFABULIST by STEPHEN GALLOWAY Review by Sharon McMullan-Baron If you are intrigued by the life and odd death of Harry Houdini, you will enjoy this fascinating novel by Galloway. Galloway takes us “behind the curtain” to the early days of the modern magic entertainment industry. It is set during the grit and the glitz of the 1920’s.

The story is revealed through the flashbacks of Houdini and Martin Strauss. They met in 1926 in Montreal. Strauss declares himself to be an unreliable narrator thus hooking the reader completely. Or is Galloway employing the classic magician tactic of misdirection? Hmmm?

Harry’s rise to fame due to his bold handcuff escapes, his wife/assistant Bess, the rich and poor they encountered, the charlatans and spiritual medium fraudsters are all in this captivating novel. And then there’s Martin Strauss and his story.

The Confabulist is another deft blend of fact and fiction by the noted Canadian author of the Cellist of Sarajevo. I hope you enjoy them both.

Sharon McMullan-Baron

May 02 2020

Publications for sale from our Foundation

Available for purchase:

Amazon POD:

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 from or or by contacting any member of the Board. $14.95

Your Lifetime of Stories - Workbook


From a Solitary Drop


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:

Copyright © *2021

Writers Foundation of Strathcona County All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:

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