Blog Archives

A Minute of Time with Melinda Friesen

Mindi author pic

I asked Melinda the following two questions:

What was the last book you finished? Would you recommend it?

Sadly, the last few novels I’ve read have been mediocre. I have nothing new to recommend.

 

Of all the books you’ve written (published or not yet) which is your favourite?

My favorite of the books I’ve written is Solar. It took a long time to find a publisher, but finally, finally I have. Can’t wait to share this one!

Please connect with Melinda:

Twitter: @MelindaFriesen
Instagram: @MelindaFriesen
Pinterest: @MelindaFriesen
Website: melindafriesen.com

Bio:
Melinda Friesen authored the sci-fi/dystopian, One Bright Future series. Enslavement, book one in the series, was released in 2014 from Rebelight Publishing Inc., and its sequel, Subversion was released in 2016. EnEnslavement Subversionslavement has been shortlisted for a Saskatchewan Young Readers Choice Snow Willow Award and was nominated for a Sunburst Award. She also co-wrote The High-Maintenance Ladies of the Zombie Apocalypse [for adult audiences.] Her short stories have placed in numerous contests and have appeared in the Forging Freedom II Anthology, Freefall Magazine, and the Metro News.

A Minute of Time with Deborah Froese

deb-edit-6-x-6-2016-11-24I asked children’s author, editor, fellow Anita Factor member, and friend, Deborah Froese, what book she’s finished reading lately and would she recommend it?

I recently completed Middlemarcha novel set in late 19th century England. It wasn’t an easy read—the English of that time almost feels like a different language—but it fascinated me. Through a cast of deep and diverse characters, each flawed and perfectly human, the small community of Middlemarch comes to life. Vivid detail and loads of commentary about the time period fill the pages and prove that not much has changed about human relationships since then. Love, lust, deception, intrigue, hopes and dreams, and even murder, wind through webs of gossip and the confinement of society’s expectations.

Image result for middlemarch eliotMary Ann Evans wrote Middlemarch under the male pen name George Eliot so that she would be taken more seriously. Her writing is brilliant, but her long and complex read—it’s over 800 pages—isn’t for the faint of heart!

 

Deb Mr Jacobsons Window

Please connect with Deborah:
Twitter: @DeborahFroese
Instagram: @deborahfroese
Website/Blog: www.deborahfroese.com

Deborah Froese is the author and illustrator of
Mr. Jacobson’s Window [Peanut Butter Press].

A Minute of Time with Pat Trottier

pat-trottierI have asked friend, author, and fellow Anita Factory member, Pat, the following two questions:

What inspires you?

Watching people giving their utmost to make a difference in others’ lives. The weekend Free Press highlighted Grant Park high school students, living with cognitive and physical disabilities, preparing for their January performance, The Little Mermaid.

These talented students present two musicals every year with the support of their amazing teachers, educational assistants and peers who work with students to pick the best play, to practicing their parts and sewing beautiful costumes to highlight each student’s performance gift. This extraordinary community has eight years and 16 shows under its belt. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/special/goodnews/soul-music-416354724.html

Image result for all the light we cannot seeRead anything lately you’d like to recommend?

After reading All The Light We Cannot See [by Anthony Doerr], I would definitely recommend this book as a great read. It’s a masterfully crafted story of two children growing up in different worlds and how their lives become entwined and impact each other. This is one of my all- time favourites!

Please connect with Pat:

Website: Pat Trottier Books
Twitter: @PatPattrott

pat-relationships-comp-d

 

Bio:

Pat Trottier, M.Ed., has been actively involved in education in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for more than thirty years. Pat has worked with students in the early, middle, and senior years as a teacher, resource specialist, and administrator. Her extensive support of students in and outside of the classroom includes leading volunteer programs, preparing students for the work force, student council leadership, and helping parents with issues around child development and study skills. She recognizes the important role of physical activity and has coordinated a girl’s hockey team and Irish dancing classes. Committed to the professional development of teachers, Pat has been involved in developing a writing curriculum with early year’s teachers and an award-winning video, “To Do The Same Thing.”

As an author, Pat self-published The Other “R” in Education: Relationships in 2014 and this fall, 2016 published Relationships Make The Difference for Pembroke Publishers.

A Minute of Time with Larry Verstraete

0af604035b5121092813cda8ad865055_sThis time around I asked fellow Anita Factor writing group member, Larry, the following two questions:

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was enrolled in a correspondence writing course at the time.  For our third assignment, we were asked to write an article for a children’s magazine.  I figured lightning would be a fascinating subject for kids.  While doing research on the topic, I encountered a story about a weird demonstration conducted by Benjamin Franklin in 1750 that involved zapping a turkey with a powerful jolt of electricity.  Things didn’t go as planned.  Franklin accidentally touched one of the connections and was sent flying.  The loud bang and flash of light produced by the discharge reminded him of lightning. The experience led him to his most famous and dangerous experiment two years later – launching a kite in a thunderstorm to test the properties of lightning.

Image result for accidental discoveries verstraeteRight off, I realized that I’d found writer’s gold – a true story so odd and fascinating that properly told, it practically guaranteed the reader’s attention. I abandoned my earlier subject –  lightning – and wrote about Franklin and the turkey instead. Then, as I worked on my course assignments, I wrote other science stories with similar mixes where mishaps, mistakes, and unusual circumstances ultimately led to major breakthroughs. By the end of the course, I had a sizeable collection – enough for a decent book. Scholastic published the manuscript under the title The Serendipity Effect. Years later, it was revised and reissued under its present title: Accidental Discoveries: From Laughing Gas to Dynamite.

What are you reading now?

Image result for The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings: How to Craft Story Openings that Sell by Paula MunierRight now, I am reading a reference book called The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings: How to Craft Story Openings that Sell by Paula Munier, a top literary agent.  The book covers much more than just the first chapter, but also what should happen after the beginning.  Munier writes with clarity and wit, and she includes numerous examples drawn from a swath of genres.  On every page, I find insider tips and valuable information.  I’d recommend this book to everyone who writes fiction whether they be novices or seasoned veterans.

Please connect with Larry:

Website/Blog: The Footloose Writer
Facebook: @larry.verstraete.author
Twitter: @VerstraeteLarry
Instagram: @larryvrstraete
Pinterest: @Larryverstraete
LinkedIn: Larry Verstraete
Goodreads: Larry Verstraete

Bio:
Larry Verstraete began writing for youngsters while he was still teaching.  He is the award-winning author of 16 non-fiction books for young people and one middle grade novel.  His most recent release is ‘Dinosaurs’ of the Deep: Discover Prehistoric Marine Life (Turnstone Press, 2016), a book about the Western Interior Seaway and its exotic creatures. Larry is a frequent visitor to schools where he shares his enthusiasm for reading and writing with students, teachers and parents.

A Minute of Time with Christina Albig

christina-author-picDiving right in to getting to know my fellow Anitas (& Anito!) better, I asked long time Anita Factor member, Christina, the following two questions:

You’re a new addition to a box of crayons. What colour would you be and why?

[I would be] a deep tomato red. I love the intensity and vibrancy of the color and how it’s full of life.tomatoes-892414_1280

 

 

Finished reading anything worth recommending lately?

The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. This series is a middle grade fantasy that is unlike any fantasy I’ve ever read. Full of unique characters and concepts.

Please connect with Christina:

Website: Ink and Attic
Facebook: Christina Albig Janz
Instagram: Christina Albig Janz – see Christina’s cakes!

Bio:
Christina likes the quirky and the queer, and enjoys trying to come up with characters and settings that fit in her writing. She writes for middle grade children.

A Minute of Time with Melinda Friesen

Mindi author pic

Meet wonderful author, friend, and fellow Anita Factor member, Melinda Friesen. Melinda is one of the most deadline dedicated people that I’ve ever met. She consistently sets goals for herself and meets them which is truly inspiring. And I need to mention – she’s the plot queen! A true gift to think of plot solutions outside the box.

I asked Melinda the following two questions:

Image result for winter marissa meyer

 

What was the last book you finished? Would you recommend it?

The last book I finished was Winter by Marissa Meyer, which is the final book in the Lunar Chronicles series. I loved this series, but I’m afraid this final book left me flat.

As a writer, what would your mascot/avatar/spirit animal be?animal-1997970_640

I think my spirit animal would be a duck. Ducks can do anything—walk, fly, swim. They adapt.

Please connect with Melinda:

Twitter: @MelindaFriesen
Instagram: @MelindaFriesen
Pinterest: @MelindaFriesen
Website: melindafriesen.com

Bio:
Melinda Friesen authored the sci-fi/dystopian, One Bright Future series. Enslavement, book one in the series, was released in 2014 from Rebelight Publishing Inc., and its sequel, Subversion was released in 2016. EnEnslavement Subversionslavement has been shortlisted for a Saskatchewan Young Readers Choice Snow Willow Award and was nominated for a Sunburst Award. She also co-wrote The High-Maintenance Ladies of the Zombie Apocalypse [for adult audiences.] Her short stories have placed in numerous contests and have appeared in the Forging Freedom II Anthology, Freefall Magazine, and the Metro News.

A Minute of Time with Jodi Carmichael

jodi author pic

Award-winning author, Jodi Carmichael, is a fellow founding member of the Anita Factor writing group. She was the first of our group (with the members at the time) to be published with her middle grade novel, Spaghetti is Not a Finger Food (and other life lessons). We were all so excited for her!

Jodi is a spunky bundle of energy who is always excited about something writerly. She works hard at her craft (especially plotting cartoon-1817570_640) and writes wonderful stories with her natural brand of humour. I rarely see Jodi without a smile, so contagious.

I asked Jodi the following two questions:

What was the last book you finished? Would you recommend it?Image result for a monster calls book cover

The last book I read was, A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. It had me with the first line. “The Monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.” How could anyone not love this opening. I highly recommend it and don’t forget to read the note the author included about writing the novel. To me, this made this story all the more special.

Do you base your fictional characters on real people?

I don’t typically base my characters on real people, except when I do! What an answer. Until my most recent novel, my characters and their stories were complete fiction. The book I am now working on is loosely based on my Grandfather’s mysterious World War 2 years. His war records keep getting resealed, which made me wonder, why? What did he do that is still so top secret? From there, my imagination took flight.

Please connect with Jodi:

Website: www.jodicarmichael.com
Twitter: @Jodi_Carmichael
Facebook: Jodi Carmichael
Instagram: Jodi Carmichael

Bio:
Image result for forever julia book cover
Jodi writes for kids and teens of all ages and is the award-winning author of young adult novel, Forever Julia and chapter book, Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food. She is currently working on an action packed middle grade novel that is full of mystery, clairvoyance, and double agents.

 

A Minute of Time with Christina Albig

christina-author-picChristina and I have known each other a long time. We were both members of the Vast Imaginations writing group, prior to the formation of the Anita Factor. Christina is one of the most creative people I know, not only does she have excellent story ideas, but she’s creative in everything in her life – from writing, to DIY home renos and decor, to arts and crafts, to drawing. And most recently cake decorating – all self-taught. Her creativity oozes from every cell. She’s simply amazing!

I asked Christina the following two questions:

What was the last book you read and you would you recommend it?Mistletoe and Murder (Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, #5)

The last book I read was Murder and Mistletoe by Robin Stevens, a middle grade read, part of a series, about two girls who solve a murder at their school. An enjoyable read.

What do you think about when your alone in the car?

I drive a lot of highway miles, leaving me free to think unhindered. And after a few minutes my creative mind kicks in and I start to work on whatever project I happen to be working on at home. Sometimes that means trying to sort a way to tackle a DIY home project in the most feasible and efficient manner, or a craft project I want to do. [Pictured: Christina’s book lamp and hand-bound journals.]

 

But often my brain turns to a writing project I’m in the middle of and almost lazily mulls over different aspects of the story to come up with quirks and details of the piece that surprise me pleasantly. The things my muse comes up with aren’t necessarily things I can work into the story but help me learn my characters better or my setting, which affects my writing positively.

Please connect with Christina:

Website: Ink and Attic
Facebook: Christina Albig Janz
Instagram: Christina Albig Janz – see Christina’s cakes!

Bio:
Christina likes the quirky and the queer, and enjoys trying to come up with characters and settings hat fit that in her writing. She writes for middle grade children

A Minute of Time with Pat Trottier

pat-trottierPat is a fellow founding member of the Anita Factor writing group. Since we’ve met, she has retired from a teaching career, but her passion for children and learning is evident in her retired life. Pat is non-stop go – her energy is inspiring!

Being one of the most positive people I know, with Pat, there is ALWAYS a silver lining, and I love her for it! Her critiques of our writing are always glowing with way more positives than “heads up moments.” She is a constant reminder to look on the bright side.

I asked Pat the following two questions:

I have watched you learn a lot of new skills over the past two years. Which new skill was the most fun to learn?

It’s been so rewarding working with my Anita friends as I have learned so much about writing during our meetings, readings and sharing. The Anita’s constantly give me encouragement to keep moving forward.

This past year I’ve enjoyed learning to use Twitter. Pembroke Publishing as well as the Anita’s have given me a lot of direction and feedback on using tweetdeck.twitter.com while I’m connecting with educational chat groups. Twitter has connected me with writers and educators in Canada, the United States and around the world. It’s a great tool to communicate with like-minded people and share ideas. I still have lots to learn but know help is just a tweet away.

What was the last book you finished? Would you recommend it?

Nujeen: One Girl's Journey from War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair by [Mustafa, Nujeen, Lamb, Christina]I am just finishing Nujeen – One Girl’s Incredible Journey from War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair by Nujeen Mustafa with Christina Lamb. Nujeen and her sister bravely travelled 3,593 miles from Syria to Germany. Her sister pushed Nujeen’s wheelchair most of the way; sometimes they paid for rides on a boat, bus, car and a train. In Germany, Nujeen attended school for the first time in her life. I recommend this book because it gives an honest look into the daily struggles and fears of watching war move closer to your home and then quickly deciding that you needed to flee to save your life. Before leaving they needed to figure out a safe escape route and gather money to help pay their way.

Please connect with Pat:

Website: Pat Trottier Books
Twitter: @PatPattrott

pat-relationships-comp-dBio:

Pat Trottier, M.Ed., has been actively involved in education in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for more than thirty years. Pat has worked with students in the early, middle, and senior years as a teacher, resource specialist, and administrator. Her extensive support of students in and outside of the classroom includes leading volunteer programs, preparing students for the work force, student council leadership, and helping parents with issues around child development and study skills. She recognizes the important role of physical activity and has coordinated a girl’s hockey team and Irish dancing classes. Committed to the professional development of teachers, Pat has been involved in developing a writing curriculum with early year’s teachers and an award-winning video, “To Do The Same Thing.”

As an author, Pat self-published The Other “R” in Education: Relationships in 2014 and this fall, 2016 published Relationships Make The Difference for Pembroke Publishers.

A Minute of Time with MaryLou Driedger

marylou-signal-hill

Today, I’m introducing you to my friend, MaryLou Driedger. MaryLou is one of the most fascinating women I have ever met and I truly admire her spirit. She has strength in the face of adversity that inspires me, especially with regard to views and rights of women. MaryLou is a member of The Anita Factor writing group.

 

I asked MaryLou the following two questions:

What is the funniest thing that happened to you laImage result for netflix detectoriststely?

“The thing that has made me laugh out loud in the last few weeks is a British television series on Netflix called detectorists. It follows the members of a metal detecting club in a small community. Great writing, great characters, great scenery and incredibly funny in a droll way.”

What was the last book you finished reading? Would you recommend it?

“Just finished reading Tuscon Jo by Carol Matas.  I chose it because it is by a Manitoba author and is set in Arizona where I am holidaying for a couple months. I would recommend it especially if you are writing historical fiction for middle graders set at the turn of the century in the United States. I am working on a novel like that right now.  I had never heard of Fictive Press who published the book. Found out they publish work with a Jewish influence. The main character in this story is from a Jewish family. Since I am also working on another middle grade story from Judaic history it might be a good place to send that manuscript once I have polished and enhanced it.”

Please connect with MaryLou:
Twitter: @madajobukaal
Facebook: @maryloudriedger
Instagram: @maryloudriedger
Blog: What’s Next

MaryLou Driedger is a newpaper columnist, art gallery tour guide and university student supervisor who lives in an old warehouse in downtown Winnipeg.  Her favorite role in life is being a grandmother. She loves to travel, read and blog and dreams of someday having one of the stories she writes for children published.