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Freelance December/January 2011-12 Volume 41 Number 1

Ray Hsu - Vancouver poet and rockstar kicks off the SWG Signature Reading Series, January 19 at the Regina office.

photo: Claire Yow

Volume 41 Number 1 Dec 2011 - Jan 2012 SWG STAFF Executive Director: Judith Silverthorne Accountant: Lois Salter Administrative Assistant: Milena Dzordeski Program Manager: Tracy Hamon (Regina) Program Coordinator: Sarah Shoker (Saskatoon) Communications Coordinator and Freelance Managing Editor: Jan Morier Cover photo credit: Clare Chow

Freelance is published six times per year for members of the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild. Submissions to Freelance are welcome for editorial review. If accepted, articles will be edited for clarity. The basic criteria to meet in submitting materials are readership interest, timeliness, and quality and following standard submission format (see web site). Viewpoints expressed in contributed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the SWG. We do not accept poetry or prose at this time. Copyright for articles, reports, photographs and other visual materials or text remains with the creator and cannot be used or reprinted without permission. SWG pays for one time rights/use only. Payment for articles and reports is 10¢ a word (approx $80/published page). Photographs and other visuals are paid at a rate of $25 each. Deadline for Freelance copy is: January 9, 2012.

C ONTENTS President's Report ������������������������������������������� 3 Cathy Fenwick Executive Director's Report ������������������������������� 6 Judith Silverthorne Meet New Personnel.........................................9 Saskatoon News..............................................9 Sarah Shoker Aboriginal Facilitated Retreat............................10 Aaron B.Tootoosis Writing North: Writing the Extraordinary ............................... 14 Freedom to Read Week / Pen Canada ...............18 Profile Romance Writer, Mary Balogh ...............20 Shirley Byers A Book Has No Locks: Update on Copyright.......22 James Romanow Retreat Reflections - St. Peter’s Abbey..............24 Anne Pennylegion Memoriam to Gloria Sawai, Robert Kroetsch, Sally Crooks, Ken Probert........................................26 Book Trailers: The Modern Marketing Tool..........32 Sylvia McNicoll The Space-Time Continuum ���������������������������� 34 Edward Willett Books by Members ���������������������������������������� 36 SWG Member News ......................................38 Markets & Competitions ��������������������������������� 39

Freelance: ISSN 0705-1379 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Cathy Fenwick, President, Regina Lisa Wilson, Vice-President, Saskatoon George Khng, Treasurer, Saskatoon Darla Read, Secretary, Saskatoon Allison Kydd, Indian Head R. P. MacIntyre, La Ronge Scott Miller, Estevan Jarrett Rusnak, Regina Caitlin Ward, Saskatoon Ex-Officio: Judith Silverthorne

Mailing Address: Saskatchewan Writers' Guild Box 3986, Regina, SK S4P 3R9

Contact: Phone: (306) 757-6310 Toll Free: 1-800-667-6788 Fax: (306) 565-8554 Email: or Web site:

Regina Courier or Drop-off Address: 1150 8th Avenue, Suite 100 Regina, SK S4R 1C9

Saskatoon Courier or Drop-off Address: 205A Pacific Avenue Saskatoon, SK S7K 1N9

We gratefully acknowledge the support of SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund and the Saskatchewan Arts Board

P resident's MESSAGE Old voices echo; the ancient poetic memory of our ancestors finds home in our individual lives and allows us to reshape our experience so that we can interpret the world we find ourselves in. Neal McLeod, Aboriginal writer Our lives can be the bridge between the past and the future. Gloria Steinem, Feminist writer I think Bridge Over Troubled Water was a very good song. Paul Simon, Songwriter


ast year in my President’s Reports to the membership in Freelance, I wrote on the themes of teamwork, cooperation, managing stress, adapting to change, our multicultural society and the importance of embracing diversity. My training as a human being, as well as my formal training as an educator and a psychologist, has taught me to pay attention to individual differences and individual needs and wants, while considering the needs of the community. I have tried to walk the middle path and have often needed to seek ways to compromise in my personal as well as my professional life. To compromise is not the same thing as being compromised – the goal is to create a workable agreement. DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

Writers, like all humans, are complex beings. We are communicators, storytellers, sharers of ideas; we are verbal and vocal, which does not make things simpler. When this confluence of complexity forms a group, the complexity multiplies exponentially. Communication becomes more difficult in conditions of diversity when we must confront differing beliefs and customs. In order to create workable solutions we need to resist patterns that create blockages. To use an over-worked cliché, we need to build bridges not walls. Building communication bridges requires flexibility, courage, understanding and acceptance. We may need to accept things we don’t personally agree with, but we are able to come to a workable compromise and do “the right thing” and/or “go with the majority”. The ideal organization encourages personal growth and development of all its members. In this supportive environment all members feel valued, respected and recognised as full contributing members. The strength of the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild lies in its diversity and in the many talents of its members. This richness and inclusiveness makes for an interesting and well-rounded organization. In the March/April, 2010 Freelance I wrote that I’m grateful to be living in a multicul-

tural country. I believe that our diversity is our strength. Multiculturalism means we are open to experiences and to the ability to celebrate cultural differences – broadly defining culture as a set of shared attitudes, values and practices that characterize a group or organization. The SWG has a growing population of young writers (much to the delight of white-hairs like myself), aboriginal writers (to the great delight of people who value diversity) and writers that are new immigrants to Canada (diversity enriches us all). As a diverse and inclusive organization we consider the strengths and needs of all our members and strive to provide services and programs that will keep them engaged. We can best address the needs of our various communities by educating ourselves on cultural nuances that affect our interactions. A “highly inclusive” organization is aware of and responsive to these different cultural nuances. The SWG continues to develop internal systems to help build cultural bridges and to insure that all voices are heard. We recognise and respect the rights of various groups to maintain their cultural differences and ensure that all ages and backgrounds are supported and respected. All writers need to have a space that provides a sense



of belonging, nurturing and support in order to develop as writers. As any member of a writing retreat or writing group will tell you, it’s important to feel emotionally safe in that group. Cultural protocols are a necessary way to help people find a supportive space and a feeling of belonging. Our programs for youth are expanding and are well received. Our first Aboriginal Writing Retreat, summer of 2010, was a resounding success because people were made to feel welcome, safe, respected and included. Programs succeed when cultural protocols are followed. Respecting cultural protocols is a big step in building those bridges that were burned a long time ago and continue to smoulder. The 2010 Provincial Cultural Policy publication, Pride of Saskatchewan, page 13, states that successful cultural growth and development thrives on collaboration guided by the following principles (I present here the first three that are listed in the document): 1. Honour First Nations and Métis Perspectives, 2. Respect Diversity and Different Worldviews, 3. Support Community-based Decision Making. This important document is well written and worth a read. An excellent resource for anyone who is interested in welcoming Aboriginal members is Cultural Teachings: First Nations Protocols and Methodologies, published by the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre. On our updated SWG website check out the Links to Aboriginal (First Nations and Métis) sites.



It’s not good enough to say, “change schmange; leave well enough alone; keep things as they are; we’ve always done it this way”. Basically, what this means is “I’m good, thanks.” The SWG is better than that. The following motion was made and passed at our AGM on October 16: That the SWG should always open its conferences with an opening protocol of place, which includes someone from the Aboriginal community. If we are serious about making welcome Aboriginal members we will include a statement about “protocol of place”, which recognises and acknowledges Aboriginal peoples: the First Nations whose traditional territory we are on and the Métis who traditionally occupied the land and made it their home. This is a sign that we value everyone’s presence and that we pay respect to the traditional history and culture of Aboriginal members. An understanding of Indigenous protocol ensures the development and maintenance of positive relationships. The history of colonization is a stain on all our houses. Bridges are repaired and built through mutual respect and consultation. I welcome feedback from SWG members and potential members; I will read and give serious consideration to all points of view. I’m eager to read all kinds of good writing, even when I don’t agree with the thesis of the person writing it. I’m most interested in reading opinions that are well thought out and considerate of others. I assume the same goes for other members of the board and for SWG staff. Our

Guild staff and board of directors exist to serve all members and believe in the democratic process. We will be polling members on a couple of issues in the coming year using a tool called Survey Monkey. Please get involved and express your opinions. Yesterday I spent two hours perusing the SWG website and Links – following the Links makes the amount of information almost limitless – I will need a couple of days to fully check out the information on our site. Many thanks to our staff, who do a tremendous job. I found a few glitches, which I have reported to Milena. If you find other glitches, please let her know. The site is a continuous work in progress and will never be glitch-free, but we do our best. I want to say something about the dedication and commitment of members of your board of directors, who donate countless hours to the SWG. To speak for myself, the work I’ve done since being elected as board president a little over a year ago is equivalent to a half-time job. I knew that when I let my name stand and I knew that my own writing would be put on hold. I willingly volunteer this time because I believe in literature. I’m tremendously grateful to writers whose work has sustained me ever since I learned the alphabet, oh so many years ago. Thank you all for your involvement with the SWG. Wishing you many goods things in the coming year, Cathy Fenwick DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

mentorship Program Participants for 2012 We are pleased to announce the mentors and apprentice pairings for 2012 as follows: Apprentice Mentor Michelle Hatzel (fiction) Weyburn

Sandra Birdsell, Regina

Charlotte Garrett (poetry) Mari-Lou Rowley, Dundurn Saskatoon Lori Pollock (fiction) Harriet Richards, Saskatoon Saskatoon Gayle M. Smith (fiction) Clavet

Alison Lohans, Regina

City of Regina Writing Award Deadline January 30, 2012 The Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild is seeking applications for the 2012 City of Regina Writing Award, funded by the City of Regina. This competition is an award for literary merit in creative writing; it is open to writers in all genres. The $4,000 award is designed to enable one local writer to work on a specific solo writing project for a three-month period. The award competition is juried by professional writers from outside Saskatchewan. You are eligible to apply for this award if you are 19 years and older and if you have been a Regina resident as of January 1, 2011 and if you have not won the City of Regina Award in the past five years. Applicants may submit one entry to this competition per year. The recipient of the award must complete the three-month grant period by the end of February 2013. The decision of the jury will be final. Jurors may choose to not award the prize if they believe no submission merits it. For complete guidelines, please visit: Applications must be postmarked by Monday, January 30, 2012 or via email by midnight at For more information: Tracy Hamon, Program Officer, Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild; Phone: 791-7743; Fax: 565-8554; Email:




E xecutive Director's Report ‘Another year has come and gone and as a vibrant new one dawns, so comes our chance to carry on, not only what once was begun, but to achieve much more to come; fresh starts, new projects, adding on.’


lthough in development for some time, first on the near horizon is full implementation of the Guild’s new procedures outlined in the last issue of Freelance in reference to contracts, invoices and copyright. As noted previously, all of these materials and actions follow the SK Arts Professions Act legislation and also adhere to changes in accounting and auditing principles and practices for internal controls and reporting. Most importantly, they protect you, the writer, and your rights. With final legal vetting, Guild internal contracts for contributors to our publications, particularly Grain and Freelance, are now in use and posted on our web site in the Members section. Members will also find templates and samples for other types of contracts and links to find more information from related organizations. Additional associated information and answers to questions are available under the Professional Development section. If there is something you’d like to see there, please let us know.



What’s New To complement further the development of the written and online material, the Guild will be offering a variety of workshops on these topics and many others through our Business of Writing Professional Development series. In May, the Guild will hold four one evening per week sessions in Regina. One will feature Patricia Warsaba, Q. C. from McKercher, McKercher & Whitmore LLP law office. She will provide information about the basics of understanding contracts, including those between writers and publishers, copyright and permissions for using materials of others, and electronic rights. The Guild is fortunate that our Chartered Accountant Lois Salter has also agreed to do two income tax workshops; one for writers in Regina in February and one in early March in Saskatoon. Vastly knowledgeable and with many years experience as an accountant and auditor, Lois continues to keep informed about all types of professional development courses related to her career and in particular to assist the Guild, including new CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) practices, new charities rules and regulations, software program enhancements, and auditing and income tax procedure changes. She is also familiar with the non-profit cultural sector and runs her own accounting practice, so knows about

small business firsthand.


Presentations are being arranged for contract insights for freelance writers and photographers, as well as for creating book trailers and doing e-publishing. Jean Freeman will also be in our Regina space to provide insights on how to do more exciting book launches and give readings. A writer/performer/director/ stagehand, Jean is also coproducer of Bookworm’s Corner with the Guild, shown on Access Communications. On an even lighter note, the Guild is conducting a song writing workshop with Kim Fontaine, one of Saskatchewan’s most notable songwriters. Keep posted for more elucidating offerings in our Professional Development in the Craft of Writing series. Retreat Update As reported in the last issue of Freelance, the monks at St. Peter’s Abbey respectfully asked us to remove the Guild retreat library books and other ancillary items, as they no longer have space to store them since their renovation and expansion of programs for housing additional students. The Guild Board examined a number of possibilities to accommodate this understandable request and held various exchanges with the monks at the abbey and with our knowledgeable Retreat Coordinator Anne Pennylegion to seek a solution.


Without finding any practical or economical solutions for storage and transportation on and off site for heavy boxes of books and the many other bulky items that are exclusively used at St. Peter’s, the Guild board had to make some tough decisions. We are pleased that we were able to reach some compromises given the very tight confines at the Abbey where the monks have had to reduce their own housing and few possessions. The monks have agreed to accept the reference books in their Oblate library in the new Guest Wing where they will be available for everyone participating in the Guild retreats. (They are even building additional shelves there.) The Oblate library is not the main library and is therefore not open to all the students at St. Peter’s College, but only to those temporarily housed in the Guest Wing, such as retreat participants in February and to SWG retreat participants from Scholastica in the summer.

scrapbooks and potentially the gazebo. She will move them back and forth to the St. Peter’s retreats and to each retreat location throughout the year. The remaining items and others that participants leave behind each time, will be donated where needed and wherever is suitable. The Guild encourages attendees to bring their own supplementary items that they take with them when they leave. Over the past several years, wireless Internet service has become available in both the Scholastica residence and the Guest Wing, and they have provided us with 24-hour keyed access to the library. There is also a new computer lab with password protected computer and printing service.

The monks will also make use of the lamps in their newly renovated Guest Wing and will continue to store the rugs, and lawn chairs, which are in an outside building. We have an understanding with the monks that we will remove these items if further space problems develop.

Conference Date and Updates After careful consideration about timelines, the SWG Board has decided that in future the Guild annual fall conference will be the first weekend of November. If there is a problem in securing a hotel to hold the event on that date, it will be on the last weekend of October. This will be the case for the next conference, as hotels are often fully booked more than a year in advance. The 2012 SWG Annual Conference and AGM will be held Oct 26-28th in Saskatoon at the Park Town Hotel.

Anne as the Retreat Coordinator has kindly agreed to personally store and transport the remaining Guild items that are easily manageable, such as the first aid kit (which goes to every retreat), the bag of indoor games,

The structure of the conference will also see some changes with an opening welcome reception on Friday that will include newcomers, and at which there will be greetings from relevant parties, such as the President of the


Guild, municipal, provincial, and federal government officials, representatives from our major funding bodies, and an Elder to honour protocol of place. Although the opening procedure is not new, we have not been able to present it for the last couple of years due to provincial elections or by-elections, when there is a ban on public speaking by incumbents and those representing government agencies. Many people have asked for more ‘down time’ from sessions. We will be cutting back on concurrently-run sessions to give more people networking opportunities. The John V. Hicks Awards presentation will continue with a Saturday evening dinner; however the Short Manuscript Awards are undergoing a review and we will be exploring options for holding it at another time in the year. We are also going to make a concerted effort to promote and offer the Caroline Heath Memorial Lecture free to conference attendees and to the public. Watch for some more exciting developments in this area. What Does the Future Hold? Participation, response, support and meaningful interchanges are one area that the Guild hopes will be more of a trend this coming year. At the conference in the fall, and before this, members voiced their need to be consulted and to have a say in the process of decisions. A number of calls have gone out over the past year for members to join ad hoc committees, task forces, and attend meetings



to discuss various Guild programs. A couple of people have responded, but we need a few more. Please consider volunteering some of your time and talents to our Guild. In the coming months we will be going about gathering your opinions through online surveys and more targeted exchanges. At this time, here are some activities for which we seek input before we make changes: • review submission criteria for all SWG administered awards • review the Short Manuscript Awards criteria and purpose • review the SWG Author Readings Program • study the possibilities and implications of the Guild entering into trial reciprocity agreements with partners for offering writing related workshops A Board appointed ad hoc committee is being convened to look at Grain Magazine becoming its own entity. Other programs and services will also be reviewed, so members’ comments will continue to be invited. As always we are open to suggestions on currently run programs, as well as fresh ideas for additional ones. We especially welcome advice that comes with solutions, including recommendations on how to fund new activities or expand current funding levels so that Guild hired contract people will benefit. Jot us a polite query or note outlining your proposals and guidance on funding options.



This year, we hope to encourage more participation at Guild events such as at readings and award presentations, like the City of Regina Writing Award acknowledgement, mentorship readings, Windscript magazine launch, etc., and our workshops. Participation at public events, even though your closest friends aren’t featured, is a great way to be supportive of all writers and of Guild activities. This lets us and our funders know you want us to continue offering these programs. Collecting attendance numbers is our major indicator to proceed and we want to be able to count you. Also new on the horizon is continued attention into putting more efficient systems in place in the Guild office to support our members and make light work for staff providing services. Although a few glitches happened with our new Author Readings Program process in improving our database structure, we are pleased that it is finalized and now simplifies the work for at least three staff members. Project funding provided, in the new year, we will be integrating the bibliography of Freelance articles and our extensive photograph collection into a customized Access database that is searchable and also tracks contributor contracts, reprint rights and other functionalities to make operations more effective and manageable for staff. Behind the scenes at the Guild and Grain offices, all members of the staff work very hard to do their best, to

be receptive, professional and have integrity. They also work as a team, in fact the term ‘well-oiled machine’ comes to mind when I see how well everyone pulls together to get a job done, how they care about what they do and how they do it with enthusiasm and often with a sense of humour. It’s a joy to be part of this group of loyal and dedicated people. An integral part of the Guild is to have broad vision and to be inclusive. With the advent of hiring another term contract Aboriginal Program Coordinator, we hope we will be able to expand this position to a half-time permanent one and continue to make some progress in offering more programming for our Aboriginal members and do some outreach programming as well. We are also looking at having a Youth contingent look at programming. This spring the Guild will be applying for another threeyear annual global funding grant cycle. This means that the last year of the current three year grant will be over at the end of this fiscal year and perhaps some of the restraints that had to be implemented in the budget before I took over the reins can now be lifted, or at the very least shifted. Our intent is always to pay writers who do work for us at respectable levels commiserate with tasks involved, although fiduciary responsibility and economic restrictions also have to be taken into consideration. Finding that balance will be the challenge faced as we go DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

into the next three years. I’m optimistic however, and look forward to having a prosperous and productive 2012. I hope yours is too. Judith Silverthorne

SWG Welcomes Carle Steel

Carle Steel is a Regina-based writer and freelance journalist. She has worked for many years in the arts, most recently as grants coordinator for the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Most of her experience in culture has been in the literary arts. She was the first coordinator of the Association of English-Language publishers of Quebec, and served on the board of the Englishlanguage book awards there. She has also done freelance and promotional work with publishers like Coteau Books, Nuage Editions, Tundra Books, and McGill-Queen’s University Press. Currently, she is a core contributor to prairie dog magazine and Planet S in Saskatoon. Carle begins work on January 3rd in the Regina Guild office as the Policy Development Coordinator. DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

Saskatoon SWG News Saskatoon programming in 2012 features exciting new workshops and events. From January 20-21st we will be hosting, in partnership with several departments at the University of Saskatchewan, Writing North: Writing the Extraordinary. This two-day event features five prominent Canadian authors (Ray Hsu, David Bergen, Yvette Nolan, Kevin Loring, and Norman Nawrocki) who will be conducting free readings and workshops for the public. March is a busy month for the SWG in Saskatoon. Along with the Global Gathering Place, the SWG has created Weaving Words, a five-day creative writing workshop for women newly arrived to Canada and Saskatoon. Barbara Klar is returning to host this successful workshop, now in its second year. On March 3rd join our very own SWG accountant Lois

Salter as she talks about what writers need to know about income tax. Just in time for tax season! Also on March 3rd, the SWG, Saskatoon Public Libraries, PEN Canada and Sage Hill Writing, will be holding an event for Freedom to Read week. This free event will be held at Frances Morrison Library and is open to the public. On March 24th prominent Saskatchewan musician Kim Fontaine will be hosting “Making Your Words Sing: A Songwriting Workshop.” This is a full day, two-part workshop. In the morning participants will discuss song structure, form, setting up hooks and other important foundations to song writing. If you have any questions about Saskatoon events please call Sarah at (306) 955-5513. Sarah Shoker

Signature Reading Series

Reading by Vancouver poet Ray Hsu kicks off a new year!

Thursday January 19, 2012 7:30 pm at the SWG office 1150 8th Ave. Ray Hsu is a rockstar who happens to write books. Hsu is the author of Anthropy (winner of the Gerald Lampert Award) and Cold Sleep Permanent Afternoon. At last count, he has published over a hundred and twenty-five poems in over forty journals internationally. He taught writing for over two years in a US prison. He now teaches at the University of British Columbia, where he collaborates across disciplines, districts, and dinner tables.



boriginal facilitated Retreat report A Aboriginal facilitated Retreat


fter all the planning and writing of sponsorships and bridging together a network of many different individuals, the first Aboriginal retreat got underway on August 25th, 2011. This was the first retreat that was offered specifically to the Aboriginal members of the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild. I was very fortunate to be hired as the Aboriginal Program Coordinator and left with this responsibility of programming for the Aboriginal members. I honestly did not know too much about the Guild before I began working here. I did, however, learn quickly. I have consulted with the membership many times, taking on the traditional form of leadership that I have been taught and grown up with hearing my late grandfather and father converse many occasions and on many road trips to many places. I listened to what the Aboriginal members wanted and tried my best to make it happen. This worked very effectively for the planning of the retreat. We held a variety of meetings, individually on the phone, in person, emails, the SWG Aboriginal Membership Facebook group, and using the Mercuri telephone conferencing program. They made a lot of suggestions and have also indicated their appreciation for the work that I was doing in keeping them well-



informed. I tried very hard to keep in contact with them in the final days leading off to the departure day to the retreat. I wanted to have as many writers as the ranch could handle (in terms of accommodations, 8 rooms = one guest per room) and because I stayed in

Band. My dad borrowed one of the Band’s tipis and had it in his basement beside mine. I couldn’t tell which one was mine as they were both folded the same. So, I had to make a few repairs to that tipi before we finally got it up. Once the tipi task was completed, it stood up like a champ and everyone was exited to get in. A

...gathering in the tipi

enhanced bond strengthened circle




of members on the retreat.

my tipi, there was no charge for me to stay and I was not taking up space for the writers. I emailed everyone a map with directions and everyone knew how to get there despite arriving in two cars; one car from Saskatoon and my truck from Regina. Robert Lafontaine brought Simon Moccasin, Shannon Loutitt, and Jeff Baker from Saskatoon and I brought Connie Deiter, Dr. Jesse Archibald-Barber, and Dominga Robertson in my little truck. While waiting for Robert and the gang to show up, we were occupied with erecting the tipi that I brought and visiting with the elder from Nekaneet. It would be a lie at this point to call the tipi mine as I discovered that the tipi I brought belonged to my Reserve or

few minutes later, Robert and Co. showed up and we all entered the tipi with the elder, Gordon Francis. He led the prayer and that was the official beginning of the retreat. The first night at the ranch was more focused upon getting settled in and also meeting and greeting each other. Once the living arrangements were settled on the ranch, we gathered in the tipi after a great supper and had our first sharing circle around the fire. The following nights were spent the same way, only the sharing and communicating became more intense and really personal at times. This made the retreat, in my opinion, unique. Not only did gathering in the tipi involve sharing, this enhanced the bond and strengthened the DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

circle of members on the retreat. I was humbled to just be a part of this group and be witness to its obvious impeccable dynamics. If they had a few extra days left on the retreat this bond would have only intensified to the point where life-long relationships would be established. It’s not to say though that this did not happen anyway within the days they did have. I feel compelled to remain in contact with them as that bond extended quite greatly towards me. Friday, the writers got in their element and their presence on the ranch seemed nonexistent as they kept to their quarters and only came out at breakfast, lunch and supper. Dr. Archibald-Barber worked hours and hours with each of the writers on a one-on-one basis. Each writer expressed to me many times throughout the retreat as to how much they appreciated his presence on the retreat and how thorough the extent of his opinions, feedback, and critiquing applied to the various areas or genres the writers were working on. I’m not sure how jack-of-all-trades applies in the writing world, but that’s the best way I could describe Dr. Jesse Archibald-Barber. Saturday was an intense day for me as I had time to do a lot of thinking. Not that this is of any importance to this report, but I feel it fits as maybe in the future someone else who may get to fill my shoes as the coordinator for the Aboriginal retreat may have an experience like I did. As the retreat was ever progressing by the hour, a comDECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

mon trend of self-realization began to occur with all who were on the retreat. This was one of the things shared in the tipi in the campfire sessions. So many great stories of life’s tribulations and joys were shared those evenings which set the tone of thinking for me to really think about my future as well as my past. Saturday morning I set out on the property to take photos of the ranch and what it had to offer for future retreats and to just capture the beauty. There are so many tipi rings (stone circles left by civilizations approx 10,000 years ago) that are such a strong indication of the rich history that many and possibly my own ancestors have enjoyed throughout time. The realization as well as the discovery of these sites in this day and age provides me with a deeper connection to the Spring Valley Guest Ranch. Considering this history and possible link, I and others could feel a unexplainable connection to the land and to its past as well as a presence of the spirits (if you will) of our ancestors who have lived in the area in the past. The experience that I had there is unmistakably the beginning of a spiritual journey today in which I dreamt about three years ago. That dream came as a result of a Sundance ceremony that I danced at and fasted throughout. I did not know what the dream meant until I was at the retreat. The thought of this realization was so intense that I had to be alone at times because it had to do with the situation I am in today relationship-wise. This made the retreat an unbelievable experience for me. Others on the retreat may

have similar stories to share but I can only write about my own. The Spring Valley Guest Ranch is surely a diamond in the rough. At first sight it may not seem as though it would be very welcoming for an Aboriginal retreat. But after getting settled in, the comfort the place had to offer overshadowed appearances and the natural and rustic characteristics became more and more apparent and appreciated. For some of the writers, the ranch served as an extraction point where ideas came easily and steadfast throughout the retreat. Had they been elsewhere (at home, or in the city), the ideas and opportunity to connect with their work would not have been so great or worthy of publication, as they so felt. There were many mentions of the encouragement and the boost of esteem and confidence they had in their work that was given by just being able to do it on the retreat, also being reinforced by the feedback and opinions of Dr. Jesse Archibald-Barber. This group indicated that they wanted to have another retreat in order reconnect and to see where each other was at in terms of the projects that they were working on. I really enjoyed the experience of coordinating the retreat. I learned a lot about retreats, as well as learning about myself. This retreat and the experiences that I had on it will never be forgotten. I wish that I could have a job doing these retreats that are Aboriginal specific considering how well this one went and how well it suited both Métis and



First Nations. I know that if I was able to coordinate another retreat, it could be a whole lot better and will know before-hand how the group will come together. In saying so, I do not imply that this retreat in anyway was not good enough. I just mean that I won’t be flying with blinders on when working with a group of people who are older than me and who are all involved in writing. I did not know how I would fit within the retreat being just a coordinator. I did have a lot of duties and served the writers well

everyday from the little things to the big things as well as serving as the camp counsellor on a few occasions. I even taught Jeff Baker how to pick mint and gave him a great introduction to Indian herbal ways. I was more than glad to share what I knew about living on the land as most of them did not have the experiences I did. Big thanks from myself to the SWG for the chance to partake in this retreat that was an experience of a lifetime. Aaron B. Tootoosis, Summer Aboriginal Program Coordinator

SWG Thanks Our Sponsors For The Inaugural Aboriginal Facilitated Writers Retreat




Aboriginal facilitated Retreat

August 25 - 28, 2011

Spring Valley Guest Ranch in south west Saskatchewan

Fellowship and solitude to nurture creative expression

photos Aaron Tootoosis, SWG Aboriginal Program Coordinator DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012



M ANUSCRIPT eVALUATION SERVICE Professional evaluation at a sensible fee The Manuscript (Prose, Poetry, Dramatic Scripts - theatrical) Evaluation Service assists writers at all levels of development who would like a professional response to their unpublished work. The service is available to ALL Saskatchewan writers, and uses the talents of Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild (SWG) published members. You do not have to be a member of the SWG to use this program. The SWG offers this service with the generous partnership of the Saskatchewan Arts Board. What the service can do for you. You will receive a written evaluation that includes the following:  • An editorial assessment of your manuscript in progress. • A summary of the strengths and weaknesses in terms of publishability.  • Advice on steps that you may take to further develop your manuscript or advice on marketing and publicity.  • A response for up to 3 specific questions that you may submit with your manuscript separately. Your manuscript will be sent to a published author—either one we select who will then give you an anonymous evaluation, or one whom you select. If you want a certain writer to evaluate your work, you must obtain his or her approval. Please check the SWG database and indicate your preference. Your choice must be approved by our Program Officer. Depending on the length of your manuscript and the availability of evaluators, the entire process may take 6 to 8 weeks or longer. You may use this service only once every twelve months. The availability of this service is contingent on someone willing to read your manuscript. The Guild wishes to emphasize that use of its Manuscript Evaluation Service will not guarantee publication. Please also note this is an evaluation service, not a page-by-page/line editing service, and only overall comments will be made. Do not expect corrections or editorial comments on the manuscript itself. Always keep a copy of your manuscript for your files. How to Submit: Manuscripts must be submitted in the following manner: • submissions must be in English • all material must be typed in body-text fonts like Times New Roman, Courier, or Arial (not in display fonts like Monotype Corsiva) • font size should be 12 pt entries must be on white 8 1/2 by 11 inch bond paper of standard weight like 20-pound • entries must be single-sided • entries must be printed in black ink • pages should be numbered sequentially • double-space prose; poetry may be single-spaced • to fasten submissions, use paper clips (including fold-back clips) or rubber bands for bulkier manuscripts—avoid staples or any other fastener which goes through the paper (including binders, presentation covers, or coil binding) • do not fold sheets • you must have a cover page that includes the following: 1) your name, 2) the number of words in the manuscript, and 3) the type of work (e.g. science fiction, young adult novel, prose poetry, short story). Whether your name appears anywhere else in the manuscript is up to you.




Manuscript Evaluation Service


• we cannot consider manuscripts submitted by fax or email or on disk • to have your manuscript returned, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Send your manuscript and payment to the following address: Manuscript Evaluation Service Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild Box 3986 Regina, SK S4P 3R9 Full details & fees at For more information, phone 306-791-7743 or Email

MakingYour Words Sing: A Song Writing Workshop Workshop leader: Kim Fontaine Have you always wanted to set your words to music, but don’t know how? Whether you’re a beginner or someone who wants to improve on current skills, this exciting two-part workshop will focus on the tools that will help you become a stronger songwriter and musician. This is a full day, two-part workshop. In the morning participants will discuss song structure, form, setting up hooks and other important foundations to song writing. In the afternoon members will work in small groups as they set their knowledge to practice and write lyrics to melodies and chords. Put your best ideas forward and learn to analyze lyrics critically. Join us on March 24th in Saskatoon and March 31st in Regina. Participation in this workshop is limited. For registration, please contact Program Manager at 791-7743 or, or contact Milena at 791-7740 or info@skwriter. com. March 24:

Dance Saskatchewan Building, 205A Pacific Avenue, Saskatoon

March 31:

SWG Office, 1150 8th Avenue, Regina


10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Workshop Fee:

SWG Members $60. Non-members $75.

About the Instructor: Kim Fontaine has spent years honing her writing skills and is regarded as one of Saskatchewan’s most notable songwriters. She developed and instructed a series of songwriting programs for the University of Saskatchewan CCDE; has developed and co-facilitates an annual songwriting retreat for the University of Saskatchewan Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus; and has been a guest speaker/panelist/workshop instructor discussing various aspects of songwriting for organizations such as the WCMA’s, SaskMusic, the Saskatoon Jazz Festival and the Mendel Art Gallery. Kim is a performing singer/songwriter who has released four albums to date: “Morning Pages” (2004); “Life Happens” (2007), “Blue Sky Girl” (2010) and “Heartaches & Numbers.”




Writing North: Writing the Extraordinary Friday January 20: Panel 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Readings 7:30-11:00 p.m. (Reception to follow) Saturday January 21: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Place: Physics 107 - University of Saskatchewan. There is parking nearby in Agriculture Building Parkade. The English and Drama Departments of the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild would like to invite one and all to Writing North: Writing the Extraordinary. Our Plan is to bring writers we like into town and huddle together to listen to them read and talk about writing and the writer’s life. Our guest authors are acclaimed writers: Ray Hsu, Kevin Loring, Yvette Nolan, David Bergen and Norman Nawrocki All events are free, and everyone is welcome.

SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE: January 20 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Panel Discussion

7:30 - 9:30 p.m.


9:30 p.m.


with all the authors by all the authors

January 21 9:15 a.m.

Coffee’s On

9:30 - 10:20 a.m. Writer or Rock Star?

Ray Hsu

10:30 - 11:20 a.m. Staging Dreams: Exploring the Extraordinary in Contemporary Native Theatre

Kevin Loring

1:30 - 2:20 p.m.

Tricksters and Spirits and Medicine: making worlds out of myth, legend, and history

Yvette Nolan

2:30 - 3:20 p.m.

Out Stealing

David Bergen

3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Tall Tales and Creative Resistance from Urban Norman Nawrocki Badlands: how an anarchist aesthetic rocks it

For full biographies of guest authors, please visit for more info: Partnering and generous support of this event is through the Interdisciplinary Centre for Culture and Creativity, University of Saskatchewan, Canada Council, Saskatchewan Native Theatre, Saskatoon Writers’ Coop, SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Lotteries and the Saskatchewan Arts Board.




Taxing Yourself: Income Tax and Writers Workshop leader: Lois Salter Join SWG Accountant Lois Salter as she talks about income tax. This course is designed to teach the some of the basic requirements of personal income tax preparation in Saskatchewan, with professional writers in view. Saturday February 25, 2012 in Regina at the SWG office: 100-1150 8th Ave. Saturday March 3, 2012 in Saskatoon location TBA Workshop Fee: SWG Members $35. Non-members $45. About the Instructor: Lois Salter is a Chartered Accountant with over 18 years of extensive and diversified accounting, tax and auditing experience, of which over 12 years was spent in public practice. She has also taken a number of courses in taxation. She currently is the Accountant at the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild as well as owning her own accounting firm.

25 Years of Payments to Authors


or 25 Years the Public Lending Right Commission (PLR) has been making payments to authors.

Working quietly behind the scenes for a quarter of a century now, the PLR tracks public library holdings and distributes payments to Canadian authors whose eligible books they find there. Operated under the aegis of the Canada Council for the Arts, the PLR has a budget of $9.9 million from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council. From those funds they make payments to over 17,000 authors each year. SWG salutes the PLR for recognizing the value of our writers’ contribution to Canadian culture. For more information on the Public Lending Right Commission, and to learn how to register for payments, visit




Freedom to Read Week

PEN Canada

Freedom to Read Week is an annual event—this year it is being held from February 26th to March 3rd. It encourages Canadians to think critically about their commitments to intellectual freedom and freedom of expression. Even in Canada, considered a free country by global standards, books and magazines are banned from library shelves.

My good friend Mir Mahtavi is still driving cab in Hamilton. He was arrested by two regimes in Afghanistan for sedition and defamation for publishing his newspaper, Aftab. Fundamentalists who decried the fact that he still publishes his newspaper here in Canada recently beat him up.

Intellectual freedom is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Political, artistic and religious expressions are vital because they lead to debate, a vital component of any successful democracy. This year in Saskatoon, Freedom to Read Week will be celebrated on March 2nd at 2pm at the Frances Morrison Library in the Art Gallery (Second floor.) This year’s reception will focus on the impact social media has had on affecting change and how activists using social media have faced brutal challenges. Special focus will be placed on the Arab Spring and the Occupy movements. Join the Library and Writer in Residence Yvette Nolan, the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, Sage Hill Writing and PEN Canada as they present a thought-provoking program on censorship.



A Doctor of Jurisprudence and a Master of Law from St. Petersburg, Yar Sana struggles to keep his two children in university by folding boxes in a suburban factory. He escaped Afghanistan when the Taliban fundamentalist closed down his work and threatened his family. Sheng Xue gets arrested when she tries to go home to Beijing to visit with her ailing father. Her book on corruption is one of the biggest selling books in China: on the black-market. To be caught owning one is certain incarceration. Aaron Berhane is from Eritrea. He was the editor of the largest anti-government newspaper in the capital Asmara. Leaving his wife and two children behind, he fled one night across the Ethiopian border, a country that was hostile and at war with Eritrea. He lost all of his identification enroute. His partner was shot and killed. He contacted PEN International when he finally made it to Kenya. From there PEN was able to get him passage to Regina. Yes, this Regina. The city welcomed Aaron even if the weather did not. Should you have seen this African man walking along the streets a few years back, you would not have known his story, nor Ameera Javeria who was the University of Saskatchewan / PEN Canada Visiting Scholar in Saskatoon shortly thereafter. They are not people who live someplace else. They are the people in our neighbourhood. You will see these people when you walk down the streets. Now you know two of them by name. This is the work that PEN Canada does. We believe in Freedom of Expression and we practice freedom of speech. Speak up. Phillip Adams


Courtesy of Library News, Saskatoon Public Library




Catching up with romance writer, mary balogh

Profile: How to hit the NY Times Bestseller List. . . 19 times “When I started writing I wrote the book I wanted to write,” says Mary Balogh, Regina writer and author of 19 New York Times Bestsellers. “People at the time always used to say that I’d broken all the rules and I used to say to these people in great frustration, ‘Well, where are these rules? Who wrote these rules? I’ve never seen them. How can you break rules when nobody can produce these rules?’ ” Most of the 100 or so novels and novellas she’s written are Regency Romances. Regency romances are set in England during a nine year period between 1811 and 1820 when the Prince of Wales ruled as Prince Regent. They’re said to be a distinct genre with plot and stylistic conventions that derive from the works of Jane Austin, Georgette Heyer and Clare Darcy and from the fiction genre known as the novel of manners. Balogh’s first book, A Masked Deception, differed from the other Regencies on offer in 1985, in that it included explicit sex as did her others that followed. “Sex is a part of any romantic relationship,” she says in an online article by Liz French, for the Romantic Times, “so I have almost always included it in my books. I’ve often pointed out that if there was



Photograph courtesy of Mary Balogh

no sex in Regency England, Britain would be rather an empty island now. . .” A subsequent title, A Precious Jewel, features a rather unintelligent hero and a heroine who is his mistress. The Wood Nymph picks up the story of a rejected suitor from a previous novel. But Balogh refutes the notion that she was and is a rule

breaker and a trend-setter. “They were just a little different from most other people’s I suppose. I never had any sense of being a rebel or breaking the rules because there were no rules. I wrote my own novels set in historical periods.” Welsh-born Balogh discovered Regencies when she was on maternity leave from her job DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

as an English teacher at the Kipling High School in rural Saskatchewan. Reading her way through a list of suggested books for grade 11 she encountered Frederica by Georgette Heyer. “Totally enchanted,” she proceeded to read everything Heyer had ever written. “It was the whole world of the Regency era. I realize now it was her own particular take on the world, historically accurate but still her own. It’s what writers do; they make historical worlds their own. The Regency era is an enormously romantic era. It was sort of sandwiched between the Georgian and Victorian eras, a nine-year period when fashion and everything in life was totally different. I felt a huge nostalgia for that period as if I’d lived through it myself in another life.” She’d always known she wanted to write. Now she knew what she wanted to write. As to how she would write, “I more or less let the characters tell the story,” she says. “It is impossible for me to pull a story out of the ether. I can have a vague idea of the type of story I want to tell but I can’t plan it ahead. I have to let the characters grow through the first few chapters and very often I have to go back and change everything until I’ve got the characters right, got them in the right sort of conflicts or plot or whatever and then I let it hammer out from there. It means a lot of stopping and re-writing. I go in the wrong direction quite a lot but it’s the only way I can write. . . It would be so lovely to outDECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

line a whole story and then all I have to do is to write it. It doesn’t work that way for me.“

Usually the answer I give when people ask, do I have any advice is,

‘don’t take any advice.’

Balogh says she feels her style and themes have changed over the years. She realized this when she began re-reading some of her older books for re-publication. She was taken aback at how different they are from her current works. In the main I was much more. . . introspective? But I wrote much more narrative and interior life of my characters in long, long paragraphs. Much less dialogue, much less action. Quite honestly I’ve been a bit horrified by them. I don’t like them as much as what I’m writing now. I think I’ve improved. I do have some readers who say they much prefer my older books to my newer ones so there is an audience for both types.”

Her themes, she says, have also changed. They’re much less dark. “I used to touch on some very, very dark subjects like rape. Of course they’re love stories so they end happily but I really sort of tortured my readers and my characters on the route to that.” That doesn’t mean she writes fluff now, she hastens to add. She still likes to deal with real issues and real problems. She’s lightened her themes not the intensity of the emotions, and she’s added more wit and humour.

change — she’s not telling anyone else how to write. “Usually the answer I give when people ask, do I have any advice is, ‘don’t take any advice.’ ” “Because I’ve come across so many writers, usually unpublished writers, who are constantly going to conferences and reading books and doing seminars, asking questions, ‘How do I do this? How do I do that?’ If they are writing they’re giving their work to critique groups to get some feedback and I always say well, if you’re going to be constantly doing this, A: you never get to the end of a book and B: if you do your own voice has been so leeched out of the story that there’s nothing of you left in it. I always tell people, if you’ve got a book in you and you want to write, just go shut yourself up somewhere and don’t come out until you have a book in your hand. If you’re a writer you do what you want to do.” It’s worked for Mary Balogh. Shirley Byers is a freelance writer and author who lives in Kelvington.

One thing that probably won’t FREELANCE


A Book has no locks: An update on copyright


ny number of fuzzy headed thinkers, most of whom came of intellectual age in the 1990s believe that all information yearns to be free, and paying creators (other than themselves) is a gross infringement on their rights. Collectives across Canada have litigated this attitude extensively, and have almost uniformly won. Libertarian thinkers therefore are now working to change the law. As most readers will know the Conservatives have introduced a copyright bill to parliament, Bill C-11. It is essentially the bill introduced last spring (previously C-33) prior to the election. The Tories and the bureaucrats believe that tightening the digital lock provision, takes Canada into the 21st century. They are taking substantial heat for this from youth and Libertarians, and to hold that line they have widely broadened the interpretation of ‘Fair Dealing’ in C-11. This poses two problems: A book has no lock - to which bureaucrats respond “well just go digital!” Also, the bill is very vague on the widened fair dealing interpretation. The result of this last part is obvious: There will be lengthy multiple litigation, all of which will probably go to the Supreme Court. And if that weren’t a sufficient reason to worry, C-11 is a flat out



attack on all collectives. Access Copyright - your collective - is already living in this future. The provincial Departments of Education refused the Copyright Board ruling on the last K-12 tariff. They have pursued the case - and have comprehensively lost at every level so far - to the Supreme Court. The case will be heard on December 7, in a series of copyright cases that will last the week and include a variety of plaintiffs, including musicians. The ruling can be expected in the last quarter of 2012.

for a new comprehensive post-secondary tariff to cover digital uses (not covered in the last tariff and therefore extra costs) and to be a blanket license. Although the proposed tariff that would cost substantially more than in previous years, it will also cover a number of new rights, and miscellaneous rights that were previously transactional need no longer be paid. Furthermore, it would relieve the book keeping issue that seems to vex University Librarians.

This has not been inexpensive. Access Copyright is dealing with situation by controlling costs while pursuing litigation.

The Universities are claiming that they can manage the licenses by themselves. They have further built protection by telling faculty that it is their responsibility to get the permissions, or at least check to see if the University has permission to reproduce copies.

Following in the D of E footsteps the AUCC (Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada) has also aggressively litigated and propagandized against the latest attempt to arrive at a tariff for the Post Secondary sector.

My guess is the University is hoping C-11 will save them, and failing that, multiple lawsuits for copyright breach against teachers and professors (as opposed to institutions) will be politically untouchable.

So far, they too have been comprehensively defeated, most recently when the Copyright Board denied the AUCC attempt to enforce transactional licenses on Access Copyright calling their reasons for launching the suit ‘disingenuous.’

In short the current bill is an aggressive push by libertarian internet users (there is already a Pirate Party in Canada) and in particular by the Educational sector at all levels to be relieved of the nasty business of paying creators.

At the moment the goal is

I believe - and several other regional presses agree with DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

my analysis - that if this brave new world should come to pass, we can kiss Canadian content good bye. We can also give up on the small presses. What you can do It is imperative that you, a content creator (probably in more than one medium when you think about it) make the effort to write an email to

your MP and to your Provincial MLA. Each individual letter is a drop that fills the bucket. This tactic has worked in the past and will work again. It is disgraceful that all levels of governments talk about creating an ‘information society’ and ‘intellectual property’ while attempting to screw creators out of our intellectual property. Our only hope is to

do something a little more aggressive than clicking ‘Like’ on a social media site. The Writers’ Union (WUC) has prepared a letter you can mail to your MP; no postage is required, just print it and sign.) Or you can write your own. But if you actually think your work deserves pay, you need to act. For a book has no locks...

James Romanow is a freelance writer and author who lives in Saskatoon.

Reading by Jeramy Dodds Friday March 9, 2012 8:30 pm at University of Regina Thorn Hall (Luther College) Trillium Book award winner and Griffin prize nominated Jeramy Dodds will be reading as part of Trash Talking 2012: New Directions in Pop Culture and Contemporary Writing. Tickets will be available at the door and registration for the full conference will be available on www.




Retreat Reflections St.Peter’s Abbey Then and Now A Little History St. Peter’s Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Muenster, Saskatchewan has long been the major retreat venue for the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild Retreat Program (Colonies). For more than 20 years, writers and artists from Saskatchewan and beyond have come together to nurture their work, in an atmosphere that promotes quiet and mutual support. Throughout the years, writers and artists alike have extolled the benefits of the special atmosphere at St. Pete’s; many of them credit their work during retreats as an integral component in their artistic lives. Currently, the SWG holds a three week winter retreat, a four week summer retreat, and a facilitated retreat at the Abbey in November. St. Peter’s Colony was founded in 1903 by a handful of monks under the leadership of Prior Alfred Mayer and Fr. Bruno Doerfler, and by 1906 the colony was home to more than six thousand residents, as well as fifteen monks. By 1910, the population had swelled to ten thousand. A newspaper (St. Peter’s Bote, a German Catholic paper) and printing press were also established. The original monastery, a log structure, still stands on the site today. St. Peter’s Cathedral, situated north of the current Abbey site was completed by 1910, and enhanced by the



stunning paintings of Berthold Imhoff, a painter from St. Walburg. The cathedral is a very popular destination for writers who attend retreats. On request, Fr. Demetrius, the guestmaster, will guide visitors through the historic church, explaining its’ history, and the significance of the paintings.

Photo: Tracy Hamon

In 1911, the Sisters of St. Elizabeth from Austria arrived to help with domestic chores and the hospital. By 1914, the Ursuline Sisters had travelled from Germany to teach the colony residents. After a major fundraising campaign, a boarding school, St Peter’s College, was established on the site in 1921. Thirty six students were enrolled. Since 1926 the College has been affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan. From 1927 to 1960 the number of monks had risen to 67. After 1966, a decline began in

their numbers, and vocations dried up. Many of the writers remember Abbot Jerome Weber, who began his term in 1960, and who retired in 1990. During his tenure, the residential high school was closed, and the university classes began to grow. The university became co-ed, and enrolment increased to 200. During this time, many new facilities were also added, including a gym and arena. The Abbey grounds now also contain St. Peter’s Press, a large organic garden and the Muenster Post Office as well as numerous outbuildings used for workshops and storage. The current Abbot, Peter Novecosky joined the community in 1963, and was elected Abbot in 1990. Anyone currently attending retreats at the Abbey knows Abbot Peter who is highly regarded for his kindness and helpfulness as well as being a fierce badminton player. He has led the monks forward with his vision for the future, while maintaining their traditions and respecting their history. Into the Future Many changes have occurred at both the college and Abbey during the past decade. The college has undergone a major renovation to better serve the needs of rural students and the community. New classes have been added, and the college now houses state of the art classrooms, labs


and fitness facilities. The Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild also enjoys a rich relationship the college’s Writing Centre. Because of increased demand for more student residence space, the guestwing, formerly housed in Severin Hall, and the location of the SWG writers/artists retreats, was moved to the top floor of the Abbey. In the summer of 2011, a major renovation of the new guestwing was undertaken. The top floor of the Abbey had previously been the cloistered home of the monks, but as their numbers have declined, the space proved to be larger than their needs, and in the fall, the renovated space was ready for guests. Although private bathrooms are almost non-existent (private bathrooms would have cost the monks an additional $750,000), there are many enhancements that writers and artists will enjoy. The new kitchen and lounge area

are very large, with a view of the gardens and fields beyond the Abbey. Bedrooms are a little larger, and have new mattresses and pillows, and there are ample showers and facilities in the shared bathrooms. Wireless service is also available in the rooms for those who want it. There is also a convenient drop off entrance for luggage and an elevator. During the summer months, retreats are held within Scholastica Residence, an eleven room self contained building with a semi private backyard, a large lounge and separate kitchen. We enjoy many privileges within the college as well, including new quiet spaces, and keyed access to the college library. One cannot write about SWG retreats without mentioning the monks, and how much they contribute to our enjoyment of our retreats. Fr. Demetrius, the guestmaster, arranges details, provides conversation, guidance and

wisdom and solves problems during our stay. Brother Basil looks after the upkeep of the facilities as well as the farming operation, and is always willing and happy to assist with small repairs, and when time allows, shoot the breeze for a few minutes. Brother Kurt is well known to writers and artists for his cooking skill, artistic abilities, and generosity in lending his studio for artists to work in. Although these are the monks most visible to us, each and every monk contributes to the overall success of our retreats, and the comfort of anyone fortunate enough to stay with them. As their numbers decline (now just sixteen remain), the monks continue to reinvent themselves to prepare for the future. Next Issue: some biographical information about the monks, and a short glossary of monastic terms. Anne Pennylegion, Retreat Coordinator, SWG

Talking Fresh: “Projecting the Novel: Books and Film” March 2 & 3, 2012

MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina Featuring: Nino Ricci, Gail Bowen, Alison Pick Nino Ricci’s first novel, Lives of the Saints, garnered international acclaim, appearing in fifteen countries and winning a host of awards, including, in Canada, the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Books in Canada First Novel Award, and in England, the Betty Trask Award and the Winifred Holtby Prize. Gail Bowen’s series features Joanne Kilbourn, a university professor, sometime political columnist, and a wife, mother and grandmother. Kaleidoscope, the thirteenth novel in the series will be published in April 2012. Alison Pick is currently on Faculty in the Humber School for Writers’ Correspondence Program. Her novel Far to Go was recently long listed for the Man Booker Prize.




Memoriam Gloria Sawai, 1929 to 2011 One of Western Canada’s truly fine short story writers has just passed away. Not many remember that Gloria Sawai grew up in this province. Her father was a Lutheran preacher. Her parents brought her as an infant from Minneapolis to Admiral, then Preeceville, before the family moved to Ryley, Alberta. This period of her childhood was important to Gloria, as she imprinted on the Saskatchewan small town landscape. Some of you will know that her only book, A Song for Nettie Johnson (Coteau Books, 2002), won the Governor General’s award for fiction. The title novella, and

Gloria Sawai, Robert Kroetsch, Sally Crooks, Ken Probert some other stories, were set in the rural Saskatchewan of Gloria’s childhood. I first read her work in the late 1970s and early 1980s when her stories began to appear in Grain and NeWest Review. In fact, when I was Don Kerr’s fiction editor for NeWest, I accepted one of her first stories. I was quite taken by her amazing ear for dialogue and her gentle sense of humour. I remember one warm evening down at Fort San when Lorna Crozier read aloud from one of Gloria’s stories to great laughter among the writers, and on that night it felt as though I had met a writer of extraordinary strength

and power. Later, I met the woman herself at a reading in Edmonton, and we gabbed far into the night as though we had been next-door neighbours. As her daughter Naomi put it, Gloria “was a quirky, vibrant, loving soul, full of life and humour, who touched the lives of many.” Gloria taught high school English throughout much of her professional life, directed student plays (and wrote a few herself), and her students got to love her in the way that so many readers did. So long, Gloria. May you be remembered for your lively presence and in your book for a long long time. David Carpenter

My memory of Gloria Sawai: Gloria and I were at the Banff Studio in 1998, when it was still in the fall, when one could still participate in the glorious Hallowe’en dance. Though she was the oldest of us, she was the one with the most risqué costume—nothing but bathing suit, heels, and some sort of stole. I didn’t ask her who or what she was trying to be, because it seemed obvious that she was merely being herself. Gloria Sawai, 1985 photo courtesy of the Writers Guild of Alberta



Bernice Friesen


photo courtesy of Ken Mitchelll

Robert Kroetsch (1927-2011) was one of my mentors. More than any other writer in Canada, he created new directions in fiction and poetics, and influenced a whole generation of writers through his generosity of spirit and learning. Fort San, SK Summer School of the Arts, 1975 or 76 Robert Kroetsch, Ken Mitchell, Gertrude Story, ?, Byrna Barclay, ?, Reg Silvester, ?

Words for Eternity (For Robert Kroetsch) I would go to the place of belonging where once you were happy among the hills of our lessons in true believing I would call you as you called us to free ourselves from literary bit & bridle, & break down old traditions, giving us each our own clear voice. But how do you call a buffalo? Say bereft in Crow? You told me you were a redwinged blackbird perched on the boss of the bison, never a crow, your leaving harsh as the cry in winter. Now you are gone noone strolls along the boardwalk, nothing left but stones of the writers’ pavilion, & the steep of the Qu’Appelle hill where legendary lovers call, pale now in the dusk of your absence. Where stories were told & myths built in layers you took us daily in search of dialogue. In Lebret you found the world champion shuffleboard player, stormed a poem in the dead night of a Dysart bar. I would stay in the room where you inscribed for me your reading copy of Studhorse Man, your words of literary faith for me to live by, no forever farewell ever possible here where so brightly burned, now snuffed out the torch of your passing. Only this remains the snowy owl atop a log felled by the lake that echoes the memory of your last roaring: I love your loving. Byrna Barclay DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012



Sally Crooks, 84, Teacher, Musician, Actor, Writer

but the young woman would not be put off. She married Jim in a small ceremony in 1954, beginning a lifetime of deeply shared love.

From a straitened childhood in Scotland to Regina high school English classrooms, and the sets of Corner Gas and Tideland, Sally Crooks lived richly. She dared to pursue her passions, whether for music, literature, or love; and in so doing she enriched the lives of many others, right up to the day she died, age 84, on the threshold of yet another new adventure. She was born Sarah Adam Anderson on May 7, 1927 in Kilmarnock, Scotland. Just a few months later, her mother left an alcoholic husband and set out to support four children alone, as a seamstress. Many decades later, Crooks would write in a poem, “I know I have not said enough/ about love/the kind that/ stitched long hours of the night/with the fine white thread of light/under the sewing room door...” The poem was titled “Riches for a Lifetime,” and indeed, despite the poverty and social stigma that attended the family, there were riches. Her mother somehow scraped together money for lessons— dance, drama, singing, piano —for her talented youngest child; and always there was music in the home. BBC music programs poured from the radio, and her mother, who played piano by ear, would play and sing traditional folk songs and the popular ballads of the day. Crooks grew up breathing music like air, and relying on it for spiritual sustenance to counter what she FREELANCE


photo courtesy of Catriona Allen

would come to call the “absent presence” of her father. When she finished high school in 1945, she declined to attend university, because she was not interested in the teaching career it seemed to point toward. Instead, in 1947, she took a position with the British civil service in London, where she spent much of her salary on voice lessons, and worked to build her roster of contacts and performance credits. She studied at the renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and began to tour with ice shows, a popular form of entertainment in which performers on skates pantomimed a story while a small group of singers provided the sound track. She also fell in love. Jim Crooks, a fellow music lover, was also a Kilmarnock native, and had attended the same schools as Sally, but 17 years earlier. This age gap, together with the fact that he had previously been married, greatly displeased Sally’s mother;

The couple had two children, for whom Sally put her performing career on hold. Jim, a poorly paid physiotherapist, worked three jobs to make ends meet. It was Sally, browsing one of his professional magazines, who noticed that a physician in Regina was recruiting medical staff. Jim applied, and in the summer of 1965 the family traveled by boat and train a quarter of the way around the world to begin a new life. Once in Saskatchewan, Sally began to consider her future. Her voice, though beautiful, was quite light -- “not a concert soprano,” as her daughter Catriona said, so that, especially as she entered her 40s, her career options as a performer were limited. She decided to pursue the once scorned option of teaching, and enrolled at the Regina campus of the University of Saskatchewan, majoring in music. A required English class during her first year reawakened her longstanding love of literature, and she switched her major to English, with minors in music and French. Upon graduation in 1971, she taught for several years at at Herchmer Public School in Regina, then took a position at Sheldon Williams Collegiate, teaching there until her 1988 retirement. At Herchmer she had been involved in the school’s music program and pageants; DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

at Sheldon Williams she began directing plays and musicals. She was also active in the city’s arts scene, directing and singing in choirs, and acting and directing with the Regina Summer Stage, Little Theatre, and Lyric Light Opera Society. “Talk to anybody in this city who was in a musical,” says Catriona, “they all know Sally.”

through her memories and feelings and pondered life’s unanswerable questions. Eventually, some of this work became haunting reflections produced on CBC radio’s “Outfront” and “Ideas” programs, as well as the 2007 Deep Wireless Festival in Toronto.

appeared in an episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie. “She just had a great face for the camera,” remembers McCormick, as well as being dialogue savvy and “willing to come out and play.” The most indomitable among us grow old, however, and Crooks was finding her eyes, hands, voice, and most distressingly, her brain were no longer keeping pace. Following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease this past spring, she moved in August to an assisted living facility in Regina.

These connections led to an invitation to read poetry on CBC radio on Robbie Burns Day, and to other radio performances.

Also in 2007 she won the John V. Hicks Long Manuscript Award for nonfiction from the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, for a memoir eventually published as About Jim and Me: a love story.

Meanwhile, teaching literature had led her into writing it. Attending writing retreats and workshops, she began generating memoirs and poetry, some of which she published in literary magazines, and some of which became the book, That Saturday Night (2006). Jim’s death in 1996 pushed her writing to a new peak of intensity, as she wrote

Beginning in 2003, she found her way onscreen, landing a small role in an episode of Corner Gas, as well as parts in Just Friends and Tideland, among other productions. Casting director Brenda McCormick remembers auditioning Crooks for just about everything she cast for a few years in the early 2000s. Even as late as 2010, Crooks

She had recently enjoyed a family reunion, and was looking forward to joining the home’s music activities and book club, when death slipped in on September 18, 2011. Sally Crooks leaves two children, five grandchildren, and many friends and admirers.

My Memory of Sally Crooks

Sally read it! She wrote notations and comments on the margins.

My “manuscript”, with Sally’s penciled comments on it, still lies dormant somewhere here in my apartment. Maybe, in memory of Sally Crooks, I’ll dig it out, do what she told me to do, and, if it’s published, she’ll be given the credit for, posthumously, giving me that final nudge.

I knew Sally Crooks socially, however, my fondest memory of her came from a writing class she held at the Seniors’ Education Centre. I had just begun taking classes at the Centre. I have always dabbled in writing— now here was my chance to take a class from someone I knew. We were to write a story significant to our lives. The fact that I had left my abusive husband and found happiness living in a relationship with a woman seemed pretty significant to me. I wrote the story! DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

She found it to be a poignant and very moving story and strongly suggested I follow her suggestions to have it published. My partner, now 90 years old, is in Pioneer Village. I am 77 and live in Regina Village. Every afternoon I go over for our ritual of having 4 o’clock coffee together. When the coffee is finished she doesn’t remember she’s had it but she still remembers my name and all the wonderful times we’ve had in our past 37 years together.

By Chris Ewing-Weisz. Reprinted by permission from The Globe and Mail Oct. 5, 2011

By the way, Sally, I never did take you up on your offer to have tea with you in your historic apartment on 13th Ave. when you lived in the building that used to be the convent next to Holy Rosary Cathedral. Evelyn Rogers



Ken Probert 1948-2011 Yesterday was Ken Probert’s funeral. That the Speers Funeral Chapel was full; that the groups represented included a large family (the men wearing brightly-coloured Converse sneakers), many U of R faculty and students, Moose Javians, the Regina writing community, and old time friends and drinking buddies; that the word “generous” was on many people’s lips, but that we also said there were parts of his life that eluded us— speaks of his complexity and of a largeness in his life that I don’t think he entirely recognized or believed in. Nick Ruddick came the closest to admitting the mystery of Ken when he said that although Ken regularly dropped the Sunday New York Times or a bag full of New Yorkers on his front porch, although they were hired at the same time after spending a year teaching together at the University of Manitoba, although they worked together for 28 years, Nick didn’t know Ken particularly well. Nick read “regrets” from people like Joan Givner, who remembered Ken’s skills in the kitchen and his great recipe collection, and from Bela Szabados, who talked of what it was like to work with Ken on a collection of essays and of the myriad kinds of intelligence he brought to that task. A former student who became a close friend, Rebecca Gibbons, spoke of Ken’s generosity and insight as a professor. Ken’s U of S roommate, Rob Pletch, talked of their post-B.A. days seeing



Brenda Riches, Kathleen Wall, Rosemary Sullivan and Ken Probert. SWG photograph by Christiane Laucht Hilderman in 1991

the world together, sharing the fact that Ken had spent two weeks in a cave in Crete-something I certainly never knew. Rob also talked about how Ken would throw himself into projects at Rob’s Kenosee Lake cottage, but that he was also ready with a critique of the project—something that seemed more like Ken. So we glimpsed, in the former part of our celebration of his life: Ken the encouraging presence for creative writers; Ken the colleague who always knew what one was interested in and brought books, titles, newspapers to your door; Ken the cook; Ken the editor; Ken the guy’s guy who liked football, sailing, projects at the lake. When Ken retired in 2010, I was asked at the last minute to speak; this was no stretch because I’d long had two favourite Ken Probert stories. One involved a graduate student of Michael Trussler’s who needed an emergency loan for a hearing test. Ken

took $100 out of his wallet, handed it to Michael, and said “I don’t want this back, and I don’t want anyone to know where it came from.” This was vintage Ken: the generosity and the self-effacing humility. The other was frankly autobiographical, but describes an important facet of Ken’s personality. I walked into his office one day and said—not very articulately— ”Ken, I can’t do this.” Ken closed his door, seated me in his comfy chair, and said “Kathleen, you have to stop trying to be so perfect.” In spite of not giving him much to go in with my cri de coeur, Ken knew exactly what needed saying. I think Ken frequently knew how it was with us, his colleagues and his students. For some reason I can only guess about, he didn’t want us to know how it was with him. Ken loved beauty. In spite of his colour-blindness, it was clear from his conversation that he knew the great works DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

of art and the role their iconography played in our cultural lives. He loved music passionately and with a catholic taste I hope to be able to emulate when I’m eighty. (I’ll need the next twenty years to work on it.) He loved Bach’s music in particular, especially the Cantatas, and phone calls from Ken were often accompanied by the gorgeous sound of his carefully-constructed stereo system. He could suss out the beauty from a line of Yeats or Eliot; he grasped and revelled in the beauty of Henry James’s thick and complex world view. He loved the contemporary world of ideas; so frequently a Saturday or Sunday phone call came from Ken telling me about a Canadian author who was being interviewed on CBC Radio. And I think he simply loved having all this at his fingertips. Rob spoke of Ken’s pipe--an early affectation perhaps, for the man of culture? Yet Rob was right: he was never arrogant or elitist about what he knew. I’ve known about Ken’s death for five days now, and I still can’t take it in. It saddens me enormously, often when I’m in the kitchen doing something absolutely pedestrian like chopping vegetables with one of the several knives he gave me and think that Ken will never again be part of the beautiful, magical dailiness of life that is sometimes a matter of getting by and sometimes a celebration. At the end of her collection of poems, Men in the Off Hours, Anne Carson writes of thinking about her mother’s death at the same time she’s looking at some Virginia Woolf manuscripts DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

that have Woolf’s cross-outs and revisions. Carson writes “Reading this, especially the cross-out line, fills me with a sudden understanding. Crossouts are something you rarely see in published texts. They are like death: by a simple stroke—all is lost, yet still there. For death although utterly unlike life shares a skin with it. Death lines every moment of ordinary time. Death hides right inside every shining sentence we grasped and had no grasp of. Death is a fact....Cross-outs sustain me now. I search out and cherish them like old photographs of my mother in happier times. It may be a stage of grieving that will pass. It may be that I’ll never again think of sentences unshadowed in this way. It has changed me.”

“publish” on my blog if they knew who had taken it, and this came down to the very dated photo you see above. Ken was the host of the Signature Reading Series at the MacKenzie Art Gallery. I had been here only a year and was reading from my first book of poetry. I remember him saying that I already had a reputation as a fine teacher—words that encouraged me in some of the dicey moments we all have in the classroom. The other people are Rosemary Sullivan and Brenda Riches, who also died far too young, on the left. The photograph was taken by Christiane Laucht Hilderman in 1991. November 13, 2011 Kathleen Wall

Perhaps Ken had insight into my moment of angst because he was also hard on himself. Yet I’ve told the story of his comforting words to several graduate students who have gotten to that point in their writing where they’re convinced they have nothing important to say. The story almost always brings first tears and then relief. Our stories about Ken will remain the crossed-out words that are sustaining. Please add your own stories here if you wish. I called the Saskatchewan Writers Guild on Thursday to see if they had any photographs of Ken hosting one of the many reading series, offering introductions that were insightful, quirky, and always always generous. They could only give me a photograph to



Book trailers: the modern marketing tool Why a book trailer During author visits, I’ve often noticed that any mention of the word movie in conjunction with a book title brings on an extra wave of awe in the audience. “Have any of your books been made into movies?” is right up there with “Do you know anybody famous?” as a popular question. And when a wolf walks across the screen in my Last Chance for Paris presentation, kids perk up. I’ve always liked the idea of the book trailer on Youtube but wondered how to get kids to watch it once you’ve made it. Do you have to spend time and money on advertising your advertising? Then I saw Arthur Slade show his book trailer in the opening moments of his presentation and decided that the author visit slide show was a brilliant showcase for it. Sometimes the Publisher Helps Arthur Slade’s three publishers ponied up for his trailers with Audio Arts Café. Authors for Annick Press have trailers automatically produced for their work. Barbara Reid was also lucky in that Scholastic paid for her video with web designer and film maker Peter Riddihough, (http://www. htm) the same person who creates Ken Oppel’s. Most of us are on our own, however.



Services Available Many (Debbie Spring, Jocelyn Shipley, Deborah Loughead, Karen Krossing) have used Andie (Bev R’s daughter) Rosenbaum’s service: Air Book Videos. http://airbookvideos. Mahtab Narsimhan scripted and chose the images and music but turned her choices over to her webdesigner to put together. You can email her at mahtab.narsimhan@ if you wish her Creative Services division at Securicore Inc ( to put a trailer together for you. The fee will be dependant on what you want. Kathy Clark’s son also makes book trailers ( and his e-mail address is: timclark588@gmail. com Random Creations Some authors like Marina Cohen, O. R Melling, Eric Walters, and Kathy Stinson have trailers created for them by students or other fans. Cathy Ostlere’s daughter surprised her with a book review trailer as well as a follow up video for her book Karma. The advantage here seems to be the creators share the links with all their friends and the “hits” (views) soar into the thousands. The disadvantage is the lack of control. Some of the creators use non authorized copyright material

which means you can’t really sanction them by linking them to your own website. Creating Your Own Trailer Most CANSCAIPers call it a labour of love, and collaborate with a techie young person, usually a relative. I went that route as my son Craig McNicoll is a camera man and video editor for Emotion Pictures. His company allows him to borrow the high definition camera. You need a script, music, images and a method for putting it all together. How hard can that be? Most writers create their scripts, illustrators use their own images, or publishers share the illustrations if it’s a picture book. You can supply your own photos or buy some from stock sites such as Veer Stock Photos (veer. com). Your grandson can play his music on the piano (the way Peggy Dymond Leavey’s did) or you can download melodies from Stock Music (

Programs and Resources to put it together: Windows Movie Maker Windows Media Maker Adobe Premiere iMovie Photoshop/Flash/ Quicktime


How I did it for Last Chance for Paris From my year of screenplay writing courses at George Brown College I’d learned ways to externalize an internal story as well as how to write in basic script format. One page should equal one minute of video time and it didn’t take long to write the Last Chance for Paris script because I had a clear vision. My daughter Robin was the cover model for the book (my husband Bob the photographer). I pictured the cover coming alive for the viewer, a voice-over narrating some of the conflicts with the main character Zanna falling into a stream as the narrative hook to pull the viewer through the other visuals which were Bob’s photographs from our research trips to the icefields. What took longer was figuring out a day where when Robin and Craig, with his Emotion Pictures camera, could get together at Lowville Park, the scene of the cover. I provided the “mess tent” and lured the whole family with a picnic of fried chicken. We attracted as much attention as a real movie set. And we took photos and I blogged about it at q=Last+Chance+for+Paris +trailer. My son squeezed in the after hours time to edit the video. The editing shapes footage into the story so this aspect took the longest. When he finished, we posted it to my blog, website and our various


family members’ Facebook pages as well as inserting it into my Powerpoint presentation for schools. When my blog fed into my Facebook, there were “Friends” who assumed a Hollywood Blockbuster type film was in the works. You can view the finished product at How I did it for the Beauty Guide Puppy Trilogy For my Beauty Series (Bringing Up Beauty, A Different Kind of Beauty and Beauty Returns) trailer, I had a definite purpose. I wanted to show readers that there were three books in the series and I wanted them to hear Kyle’s Lullabye which I created for the third book and occasionally sang, with my non professional ability, at presentations. This time I drafted a two page script (two minutes) but my son insisted on reading all the books to understand my direction. The singer in the trailer, Angela Mackay, was my research go-to and inspiration for the character of Kyle (she was the one who told me step by step what it was like to go blind) so her major involvement in the trailer was meaningful to me. Video taping her singing the lullaby took a full morning as she would forget lyrics. She doesn’t use Braille and since I didn’t want to sing along with her, I couldn’t help cue her on the words. Listening to her sing the lyrics over and over was very moving for all of us. Trailers should be short but it

was more difficult to achieve this brevity and simplicity of message with three novels to showcase. In my script I used the song to tie the whole video together along with images of the future dog guides, always my inspiration for the stories, and voice overs to show the YA element. Lions Foundation representatives suggested we video during their open house day, so during the video taping of random foster guide puppies, we met a number of puppies and their foster owners who had a real connection to the story. Samantha Hobbes raises many dogs and works part time for Guide Dogs (she says) as a result of reading Bringing Up Beauty. She actually named one of her charges Beauty after my fictional dog. Beauty’s brother Buster (Litters of puppies are named for letters of the alphabet) plays the part of the chocolate Lab in the video. Jetson is the black Lab, no personal connection. While filming Torino who plays the part of Magic, the golden retriever in Beauty Returns, we met Amy Boyle, his temporary owner, another young woman who began fostering guide puppies after reading my books. Filming for two days, reading the books, and squeezing editing around a full time job and a new baby girl, took Craig a much longer time to bring about this final product ZRg2vw If you listen carefully you will hear Craig’s daughter Violet crying at the end of the video. She plays the part of



baby Teal in the series. Both these trailers are collaborations involving many of my family members. They mean a lot more to me than the number of hits showing and I know they will inspire readers in a different way than a catalogue entry. They weren’t meant as an advance advertisement, if anything they were intended more as a prereading exercise or booktalkbite. What I most liked about this platform is that I could decide what aspect I showcased. Some writers and illustrators create more than one trailer, often using one as a book teaser and another showing them reading a part of the story. by Sylvia McNicoll, author of soon to be released Crush. Candy. Corpse. (James Lorimer and Company, Ltd.) Reprinted by permission from Fall CANSCAIP News.

The Space-Time Continuum By Edward Willett


reviously, on Space-Time Continuum: intrepid Saskatchewan fantasy writer Edward Willett/Lee Arthur Chane (i.e., me) was heading to the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego, where he would moderate a panel discussion on the mixing of fantasy and science—specifically, whether making the magic in a fantasy story adhere to the laws of nature makes the story better, or worse. The cliffhanger ending of last issue’s episode: I promised to report back—a promise it would have been easier to keep had I actually, you know, taken notes, or remembered that I carry a futuristic pocket computer (a.k.a. iPhone) with which I could have easily recorded the whole thing. D’oh!

Here’s a page of trailers to inspire you! If you’re considering creating a booktrailer video, Sylvia McNichol has compiled a list of links showing what your fellow creators have done with theirs. SWG has placed the list on the website: -promotion/self-promotion FREELANCE


Fortunately, I do have a few notes from the panel, courtesy of Shauna Roberts, who blogs at Novel Spaces: a universe for writers and readers ( Interestingly, as it turned out, I wasn’t the only Saskatchewan writer on the panel, which was supposed to consist of myself, Gregory Benford, Yves Meynard, Brent Weeks and L.E. Modisett. Because Meynard was late arriving (a bus mix-up), we added Saskatoon’s Derryl Murphy— a natural choice, because Derryl’s acclaimed novel Napier’s Bones (ChiZine Publications)

is a fantasy that intertwines math and magic. Alas, Roberts didn’t stay to the end of the panel (she wanted a good seat at the animal show put on by the San Diego Zoo, and who could blame her?), but her recollections jibe with my own: in general, we all agreed that magic in fantasy does need rules. As Roberts recalls someone saying, “If magic is not given rules, explicit or implied, then tension and drama are reduced because anything can happen.” Of course, scientific principles don’t have to be the source of magical rules in fantasy. The rules can be entirely madeup. I can simply declare (as I have in Masks, my fantasy work-in-progress) that magic is attracted to and can only be extracted from a particular kind of stone, that only certain people have the Gift that allows them to use magic (and only a specific type of magic), and so on. None of this has any basis in the “real” world: they’re rules I made up out of thin air to serve the purposes of the story. But once I make them up, I have to stick to them: they become the natural laws of my imagined universe. The science fiction news site io9 ( just posted a chart comparing the magical rules from 50 great fantasy sagas, from A (A Song of Fire and Ice, by George R.R. Martin) to X (Xanth, by Piers Anthony). The rules are all over the map, but they exist, and they help make those stories memorable. DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

And ultimately, that’s what matters: that the story works. J.K. Rowling’s made-up world of magic doesn’t seem to have very many hardand-fast (or consistent) rules—but that doesn’t seem to have hurt anyone’s enjoyment of her fantastic tale.

... they become the

natural laws of my imagined universe.

All readers are different. Some really like figuring out rulebased magic, or enjoy the fact the magic adheres to physical law: for others, the point is the mystery and wonder. After all, as Lee Modisett put it, “magic especially appeals to people who wish things were other than they are.” We didn’t touch on it in the panel, that I remember, but it seems to me that this range of options, from strict rules to not-so-strict rules to completely made-up rules, applies to all forms of writing. One sub-genre of science fiction is “hard science fiction”: fiction which extrapolates science and technology into the

future but tries really hard not to break any known scientific laws in the process. One of my San Diego co-panelists, Gregory Benford, has famously said, compared to hard science fiction, all other forms of science fiction are “playing tennis with the net down”— in other words, breaking the rules. If that quote sounds familiar, it might be because that’s what Robert Frost said about the writing of free verse. Whether you write fiction, poetry or plays, you must decide whether the rules you write by will be hard and fast, a bit rubbery, or entirely out of your own rule book.

Is your story going to be perfectly mimetic, with nothing in it that could not happen in real life? Or is it going to be, perhaps, tinged with mystery? How much of a role will coincidence play? Coincidences certainly occur in real life, but in real life they are rarely so perfectly tailored to the needs of our personal narrative as in fiction. In real life, dreams don’t foretell anything; in fiction, they can be quite portentous. See, here’s the thing: fiction, poetry and plays of any kind are not real life. They are all fantasy, all set within a world imagined by the author. And every author must decide for him or herself just how closely to follow the rules of the real world, however he or she understands them...and how much to break, bend or even discard those rules. Really, there’s only one rule that must be obeyed: Thou Shalt Not Bore the Reader. Break that one, and nothing else really matters.

Playwrights Readings Series The Playwrights Reading Series 2011/2012, hosted by the Department of Theatre, University of Regina in partnership with the SWG presents Sharon Stearns, reading from her recent dramatic work.

February 29, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. ED 114, University of Regina Upcoming: March 7, 2012 8 p.m. Hannah Moscovitch ED 114 The readings are open to the public and free of charge. For more information please contact the Theatre Department at 585-5562.




BOOKS by MEMBERS The Books by Members feature is a promotional service for individual Guild members. To let others know about your latest book, send a copy and a description along with a brief autobiographical note. The book will also be displayed in the SWG library.

Love, Loss and Other Oddities: Tales from Saskatchewan Published by Saskatchewan Romance Writers Twenty stories of love, loss and strange happenings on the prairie from seventeen Saskatchewan authors. LOVE Back for a weekend in the city where it all went wrong, Emma has reservations about everything, especially him. LOSS A trip to her childhood home offers a Cree woman a chance to settle more than her late father’s estate. AND OTHER ODDITIES When Sam appears in human form, Litha must decide between dying to be with him and living without him. Foreword by New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh

“From historical fiction to paranormal romance, with stops along the way for contemporary adventures, suspense, and urban fantasy, this anthology is the one Saskatchewan road that won’t take you on a straightforward journey.” – Mary Balogh



Stories by Kat Aubrey, S. E. Berger, Doreen M. Bleich, Annette Bower, Joanne Brothwell, Teri Christine, Jessica Eissfeldt, Anne Germaine, Karyn Good, Clare Hurst, Hazel Milne Kellner, Hayley E. Lavik, Judy McCrosky, Carolynn McDougall, Lesley-Anne McLeod, Jana Richards and Carrie Anne Schemenauer The book is available now at: paperback/love-loss-and-other-oddities-tales-from-saskatchewan/18665997 for the price of $14.95. Available from and at bookstores around Saskatchewan. Also available as an ebook ($4.99) see for download links


Falling for Henry by Beverley Brenna Red Deer Press Saskatoon author Beverley Brenna’s eighth book Falling for Henry (Red Deer Press, 2011) is a Young Adult time slip novel which relies on historical fiction to tell the story of fifteen-yearold Kate Allen who escapes the trials of her own teen existence in central London by traveling back to the court of Henry VII at Greenwich Palace. Once there, she masquerades as Katherine of Aragon, the young woman who will become the first wife of the young and charismatic prince once he is crowned King Henry VIII. At first seeing her place in Tudor times as an answer to her 21st century troubles, Kate’s changing heart provides a strong rhythm for this close look at relationships. More information can be found at

One of the sub-themes of the novel involves wolves of 16th century England who, close to extermination, have found a way to thwart extinction. This related environmental theme offers the life force Kate has been missing, and as she discovers ways to put her different pasts behind her, she also finds ways to come to terms with the present, including the panic attacks that have been increasing in duration since her father’s untimely death. Will the young wolf pup she befriends in Tudor Times make it back to reunite with its mother in modern day England? Will Kate ever find someone to replace a lost soul mate? Only time will tell in this fast-paced adventure, rich with British history and modern-day coming-of-age sensitivity. For ages 11 and up.

Wretched Beast by Shelley A. Leedahl BuschekBooks The latest poetry collection by longtime SWG member Shelley A. Leedahl is a visceral and imagistic sojourn documenting a poet’s walk through prairie woodlands and forests (“moose tracks on the moose tracks”), down urban Canadian streets and foreign country lanes, and across significant life transitions. The poems bridge signpost personalities, destinations, intense phases of self-imposed solitude, and sometimes raw experiences , leaving a never-before map in their emotional wake. Ripe with birds and garter snakes, with awe for the unlikely (“skates slung over shoulders in the old way”), with whimsy, praise, and with poems unafraid to ring in the minor key, Leedahl meticulously delivers her passionate art of walking, of listening inward and out, and of rising when it is no small thing. Leedahl is currently based in Sechelt, BC. “I love these new poems and find the writing irresistibly energetic and imaginative. It’s a beautiful, bountiful piece of work.” - Barry Dempster




Member news The Guild is pleased to reinstate the valuable Member News section of Freelance. We welcome announcements of your good news, awards, new books and other accomplishments. To share your news in the next issue of Freelance, please send it to by January 9, 2012. Marie Powell ( has been having a stellar year. She graduated with her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and landed a sessional position teaching journalism courses at the University of Regina this fall and winter. In the fall, she won First Place in Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry in the SWG Short Manuscript Awards. She was also chosen as one of three finalists to send a manuscript to Tundra Books, in the CANSCAIP Canadian Idol: Picture Book Version at the Prairie Horizons conference. In July, she received a Highlights Foundation scholarship and an Access Copyright Foundation Professional Development grant to participate in the Highlights Chautauqua international children’s writers conference, with her young adult novel Hawk. She also recently started a blog at, and joined the new group blog “Sci/Why” for Canadian children’s science writers at



Saskatoon based SWG member, Carol Kavanagh has just published her second book of poems and photos, Blessed Blue. Our Planet: Earth, Air and Water. Her book celebrates the beauty we still see around us and expresses the preciousness of these three classic elements. Carol launched her book at McNally Robinson in November. www. Saskatoon-based SWG member Sandy Bonny has been included in Coming Attractions 11, edited by Mark Anthony Jarman, published by Oberon Press. The anthology showcases three stories from each of three up-and-coming Canadian writers… “writers who are talented and topical and brainy and who reassure me verily about the firecracker future of the short story... writers to watch for in the future and to savour this exact moment—Mark Anthony Jarman.”

Basket Case Publishing would like to recognize Saskatchewan author and SWG member Rick Anthony for his recent successes. 2011 marked the release of Rick’s first novel, Red Smoke Rising which has received fantastic reviews and has recently won Gold (Fiction-Adventure) in the 2011 Readers Favorite book awards. Rick’s screenplay based on that novel recently received honorable mention at the 2011 Colorado Film festival. In addition Rick completed and optioned the video game script Reality (currently in pre-production Release date 2012), as well as the screenplay White (also in pre-production - release date 2013). Congratulations, Rick, on a fantastic year!

What is this? Congratulations to Mari-Lou Rowley - one of the finalists in Aesthetica magazines’ Creative Works Competition. www.aestheticamagazine. com/index.htm. Aesthetica is an international art and culture magazine published in the UK. The creative works annual is sponsored by Prestel Publishing, BloodAxe books and Vintage Publishing.

This is a QR code to take you to online media! How can you read a QR code? If you have a smartphone, go to the app store and search for a QR code reader. Install the app and hold your phone’s camera over the code. It will scan it and your phone will take you to the SWG website. We will be using QR codes to take you to more online media. DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

Markets & Competitions Inclusion in the Markets & Competitions listing is not an endorsement of any contest, market, event or otherwise. This is only an informational resource. We encourage all readers to thoroughly investigate all contests or markets before submitting their work.

Deadline: Jan. 30, 2012 The Writers’ Trust of Canada is now accepting submissions for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. This year, the prize will be given for outstanding unpublished short fiction. The winner will receive $5,000 and two honourable mentions will each receive $1,000. The award will be presented in late spring. website: w w w. w r i t e r s t r u s t . c o m / Awards/RBC-Bronwen-WallaceAward-for-Emerging-Writers/ Call-for-Submissions_2012. aspx Deadline: Jan. 31, 2012 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing for works of fiction and nonfiction. Cosponsored by the Stanford University Libraries and the William Saroyan Foundation. Prizes of $5,000 each are given biennially. Visit the website for more information, including entry forms, contest rules, and complete guidelines. For More Information: saroyan/ Email: sampetersen@ Deadline: Feb. 1, 2012 Kim Aubrey (Saskatoon Writers’ Coop member and one of Red Claw Press’s editors) solicits submissions for Red Claw Press Anthology. Red Claw Press will be publishing its second anthology in fall 2012 on the subject of sleep, in all of its meanings and associations. They are looking for stories, essays, poems, and artwork. Please see the website for details DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

Deadline: Feb. 1, 2012 Book Week 2012 Writing Contest for Kids & Teens The Canadian Children’s Book Centre is running a Writing Contest for Kids & Teens in celebration of TD Canadian Children’s Book Week 2012 (May 5 – 12, 2012). The contest is open to students in Grades 4 to 12. One winner from each grade will receive a $250 gift certificate to the bookstore of his or her choice! More information is available online Deadline: Feb. 1, 2012 The Malahat Review’s 2012 Novella Prize Prize: $1500 CAD Entry fee: $35 CAD for entries from Canada; $40 USD for entries from the US; $45 USD for entreis from elsewhere Enter a single work of fiction, 10,000 to 20,000 words in length. Mail entries to: The Malahat Review Novella Prize University of Victoria PO Box 1700 Stn CSC Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2 This year’s judges will be Valerie Compton, Gabriella Goliger, and Terence Young. Read full guidelines here: contests/novella_contest/info. html Enquiries:

Deadline: Feb. 1, 2012 Arc Poetry Magazine Send your best to the Arc Poem of the Year Contest—this year with a $5,000 grand prize. For past winners, contest mailing address, entry fee and submission details, visit Arc Poetry Magazine at Deadline: Feb. 7, 2012 Accenti: The Magazine with an Italian Accent, published in Montreal - 7th Annual Writing Contest and 5th Annual Photo Competition. The new issue of the magazine, issue 23, has a special section dedicated to the episode of the internments of Italian Canadians during WWII. Visit the magazine’s new website: Deadline: Feb. 6, 2012 The Vanderbilt - Exile $5,000 Short Fiction Award presented in memory of Carter V. Cooper Open to all Canadian writers. Two winners will be chosen from finalists, as selected by Ms Gloria Vanderbilt. $3,000 prize for best story by an emerging writer. $2,000 second prize for a story by a writer at any stage of his/her career. $30.00 per story submission. Each applicant will receive a one-year subscription to Exile Quarterly, value $34.95 More info/details at: The prize will be awarded in June, 2012, at a gala event to be held in Toronto. Submission address: $5,000 Vanderbilt - Exile Short Fiction Competition c/o Exile Quarterly and Exile Editions 170 Wellington Street West PO Box 308 Mount Forest, ON, N0G 2L0 FREELANCE


Deadline: Feb. 14, 2012 “LESS IS MORE” as the Writers’ Union of Canada announces 13th annual Postcard Story Competition - $750 Cash Prize The Writers’ Union of Canada is pleased to launch its 13th annual Postcard Story Competition, which invites writers to create a dramatic, short, snappy piece in 250 words or fewer. A $750 prize will be awarded to a writer, and the winning entry will be published in postcard format and distributed in Write, the magazine of The Writers’ Union of Canada. Jury: Clayton Bailey, John Lent, and Nerys Parry. Mail entries to: PCS Competition, The Writers’ Union of Canada, 90 Richmond Street East, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M5C 1P1. Entry guidelines at Deadline: Mar. 1, 2012 Black Canadian Poetry is seeking submissions of new and unpublished works of poetry for a national anthology devoted to answering the question, “What is Black Canadian Poetry?” The anthology will establish a poetic tradition of page and stage poetry by people of African descent living in Canada.We are encouraging all English speaking, French speaking, and people of African descent working in foreign dialects and languages to contribute to this project. Submissions for the anthology should be in English and associated with the following categories: spoken word, dubpoetry, hip-hop, slam, performance and page poetry. Poetry contributions welcome from writers that are African, Afro-Caribbean, African-American, Afro-Indigenous, AfricanCanadian or people living in Canada who identify as Black. Please send 4 copies of your submission with an enclosed SAE to the following address: BCP Editors



Black Canadian Poetry PO BOX 1741 Gibsons, BC V0N 1V0 (e-mail submissions will not be accepted) Comments and questions to blackcanadianpoetry@gmail. com Full submission guidelines

Deadline: March 31, 2012 2012 Bristol Short Story Prize is open to all writers, UK and non-UK based, over 16 years of age. Stories can be on any theme or subject and entry can be made online via the website or by post. Entries must båe previously unpublished with a maximum length of 3,000 words (There is no minimum). The entry fee is £7 per story. All 20 shortlisted writers will have their stories published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 5. The winning story will, also be published in Bristol Review of Books and Venue magazine.

Continuous Submission Glimmer Train Quarterly fiction publication edited by two sisters in Portland, Oregon, and entering its 19th year of publication. Payment rates range from $700 to $2,000. Submissions should be made online. Details on website. Charges reading fee. Pays on acceptance

Deadline: March 31, 2012 Call for Submissions I Found It at the Movies. Forthcoming anthology seeks new and previously published poems inspired by cinema. All styles and approaches welcome. We’re looking for poems that reference specific films or actors, genres of film, the act of movie-going or videowatching, or the intersections of movies and life. Editors: Ruth Roach Pierson and Sue MacLeod. Publisher: Tightrope Books (spring 2013). Please submit from one to five poems (1 to 5), as attachments, to We will send an acknowledgment upon receipt, and hope to complete our selection process by October 2012. Please include full publication details for any poems which have appeared or been accepted elsewhere.

Continuous Submission BookLand Press submissions (book-length manuscripts only) NON-FICTION – Canadian History; NON- FICTION – Canadian Sports; ABORIGINAL LITERATURE – book-length manuscripts of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry by Aboriginal authors; FICTION; POETRY Send submissions via email (preferably in a Word file as an attachment) to submissions@ For details visit

Deadline: asap llustrator or artist to paint cover page for my book. I am currently writing a book on dementia preemption tentatively planned for publication in November 2012 and am looking for an illustrator to paint the front page cover of the book. Please let me know of any artist(s) that may be interested. Dr. Felix Veloso DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

Continuous Submission Sky Pony Press Skyhorse Publishing, Inc 307 West 36th St, 11th Fl. New York, NY 10018, USA w w w . s k y p o n y p re s s. c o m / g u i d e l i n e s / Sky Pony will consider picture books, early readers, middle grade novels, and non-fiction for all ages. Some subjects they look for include ecology, independent living, farm living, wilderness living, recycling and other green topics. They are also interested in books with special need themes. To submit a manuscript or proposal, please send an email to Deadline: August through May Field: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics ( ocpress) Published twice a year by Oberlin College Press, Oberlin, Ohio. Reads submissions August through May. Accepts poetry only. Pays contributors at the rate of $15 a page. Poems (2-6 at a time) should be submitted through their online submission manager. Continuous Submission Transition is published twice a year by The Canadian Mental Health Association (Saskatchewan Division) Inc. Subscription by joining CMHA (SK) at $15 per year. Send original, unpublished articles, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and visual art that represent current mental health issues and reflect on their impact on individuals. Full submission guidelines at www. Electronic submissions are preferred as e-mail attachment to: or directly to the Editor at tdyck@ or send hardcopy manuscripts together with selfaddressed, stamped return envelopes with sufficient postage, to: Transition 2702 12th Ave. Regina, SK S4T 1J2 DECEMBER 2011 - JANUARY 2012

Deadline: June 1, 2012 Saskatchewan History Issue: Fall-Winter 2012 Call for Papers You are invited to submit an article about any aspect of Saskatchewan’s military or wartime history for possible inclusion in the Fall-Winter 2012 issue of Saskatchewan History. We seek submissions including: scholarly papers that may be peer-reviewed; feature articles of varying lengths; photo essays; and book reviews about literature related to the history of Saskatchewan and the prairie provinces. A copy of the magazine’s submission guidelines can be viewed

on our website Submissions can be forwarded electronically to saskhistory@ For more information, contact Nadine Charabin, Publication Coordinator, by phone at 306-9335832, or by email at

Windscript call for submissions Deadline March 15, 2012 Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild is proud to support the fresh, original work of student writers. We thank, in advance, the teachers and librarians who encourage their students to submit their creations for the upcoming issue. Windscript is the annual magazine of high school writing published by the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild since 1983. In 2011 at the request of teachers and students, Windscript returned to its original printed format. Previously the magazine was published online on the SWG web site. For complete submission guidelines please visit: For more information please contact: Jan Morier, Communications Coordinator (306) 791-7746



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December 2011- January 2012 Freelance  

SWG's bi-monthly publication and members' newsletter

December 2011- January 2012 Freelance  

SWG's bi-monthly publication and members' newsletter