Blog Archives

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 Gabriele Goldstone

gabe-photoI have asked friend, fellow Anita Factor writng group member, and historical fiction author, Gabriele Goldstone, two questions:

You recently said these beautiful words — “I love my life since retirement.” What’s the best part?

Best part about retirement? Two things…time and energy. When I was working, time was measured, chopped up into little pieces, regimented. A day couldn’t happen without a clock.

Now I can focus on what I’m doing, not when I’m doing it. The other thing, probably more important, is energy. I was running low. And I’ve learned that if you don’t take care of yourself, there’s nothing left for you to give to others.

Mostly, what I love about retirement is the time to putter. Just to go slow and smell the roses.

Image result for A Second Coming: Canadian Migration FictionFinished reading anything worth recommending lately?

I finished reading “A Second Coming: Canadian Migration Fiction” (ed by Donald F. Mulcahy and published by Guernica, 2016.) It’s a potpourri of immigrant stories. I hadn’t read short stories in a while and enjoyed them.

Please connect with Gabriele:
Website/Blog: gabrielegoldstone.blogspot.ca
Twitter: @gabegoldstone

 

Bio:
Gabe Red Stone Cover

 

Gabe considers herself an explorer (reader), a gardener (writer), and a muller (as in mulling things over, preferably while walking). After years of rushing about madly, she’s embracing a slower, simpler life.

 

 

broken_stone_fcover

 

 

Gabriele has two books published  in her Katya’s Stone series [Rebelight Publishing Inc.]. The series is middle grade (ages 9 to senior have enjoyed this series) historical fiction based on the true events that happened to her mother during WWII. Click book images for links to Amazon.ca:

 

 

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 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 Gabriele Goldstone

Gabriele (Gabe) and I have been friends for about six years now. She was a fellow founding member of the Anita Factor writing group. Gabe’s commitment to a writing schedule and consistency is something I have long admired. At each Anita Factor meeting, we have time to read from our own writing for critique and Gabe is the one member who consistently has something to read at every meeting! And no, Gabe, it’s not “boring!” 😀

Isn’t this a gorgeous photo? I just love this one. gabe-photo

Anyway, I have asked Gabe two questions. One of them by now you’ll likely have noticed is consistent. What book did you last read and would you recommend it? I think it’s important to keep the word flowing about great books!

So, Gabe, which book was it?

“The last book I read was “Prussian Nights” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (translated from Russian to English by Robert Conquest). 1977.

“It’s a 100-page narrative poem abut the Soviet attack of East Prussia during the final months of 1945. I picked it up for three reasons.

  1. It’s Solzenitsyn.
  2. It’s set in the exact area and time that my mom attempted to flee the Soviets.
  3. It’s research for my own writing.

“Now that I’m finished, I embrace more than ever the horror of war and the humanity of the ‘enemy.’ I appreciate the truth of Buffy St. Marie’s song, Universal Soldier. So, yes, read it. Short and evocative!”

What are your ethics of writing about historical figures?

“I explore the lives of ‘little people.’ This gives me room to be flexible—after all, I’m writing fiction.  When it comes to famous figures, I rely on facts. When it comes to documented events, I turn to facts.  I do a lot of research to make my settings, my characters and their worlds as true-to-life as possible. However, my books are an interpretation and not memoir. But here’s a question…aren’t all memories interpretations?”

Please connect with Gabriele:
Website/Blog: gabrielegoldstone.blogspot.ca
Twitter: @gabegoldstone

Gabriele has two books published  in her Katya’s Stone series [Rebelight Publishing Inc.]. The series is middle grade historical fiction based on the true events that happened to her mother during WWII. Click book images for links to Amazon.ca:

Gabe Red Stone Cover  broken_stone_fcover

Gabe considers herself an explorer (reader), a gardener (writer), and a muller (as in mulling things over, preferably while walking). After years of rushing about madly, she’s embracing a slower, simpler life.

 

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.

 

 

A Minute of Time with Deborah Froese

I’m fortunate to be surrounded by super special people. My writing group, The Anita Factor, is ten members of strong, closely knit friendships and I feel privileged to be a part of this group. I thought it might be fun to ask my fellow writers some questions, so developed a new blog theme called “A Minute of Time with [Name].” I’m interviewing each of them, two questions at a time. These posts will pop up often on my blog and should be fun, informative, insightful and, of course, creative!

deb-edit-6-x-6-2016-11-24Let me introduce you to Deborah Froese.

Deb (I get to call her Deb!) and I actually met several years ago… 17 years, I think, when I took my very first “Writing for Children and How to Get Published” course through Red River College. It was Deb’s first year teaching the program. We reconnected several years later and shortly after that she became a member of the Anita Factor.

I asked Deb these two questions:

Are you a hunter or a gatherer?

“That is a fantastic question! It depends upon the season. There are times when I gather up the folds of life and hold them close, and there are times when I step out to seize hold of something new.”

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

“The last book I finished was The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, an exquisitely written story about a bookseller who prescribes his patrons books for ailments of the heart and soul, but has trouble healing his own broken 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].

Summer Reading Blast – Book Signing!

2015 06 26 Anita signing poster FINAL

 

In a prior post I mentioned my writers’ group The Anita Factor, well — I re-posted a post from another member of the group, MaryLou Driedger, I cannot take credit for writing the post. 🙂

Anyway, if you are in the Winnipeg area and would like to meet the members of the Anita Factor please join us on Saturday, July 18th at The Forks, inside the Forks Market Building from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., where we are celebrating a fabulous year of publishing success with a group book signing. (Click the poster for a larger image.) Come and pick a summer read – it would be great to meet you!

You can listen here: AM 680 CJOB to our radio interview with Dahlia Kurtz that took place on Thursday July 16th.

I’ve been in our local paper chatting about the signing, see the article here: The Lance

 

Seeing Bea in the Roaring 20’s

I attended the Manitoba Book Awards on Saturday night, for the first time. My novel, Empty Cup, was shortlisted in the McNally Robinson Book for Young People, older category. I didn’t win, but having my first novel shortlisted is a true honour. I congratulate the winner, Eva Wiseman for her book The World Outside.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my publisher, Rebelight Publishing, had two of their inaugural novels in the same category. Empty Cup was nominated along side Larry Verstraete’s Missing in Paradise. An incredible feat for a new small publisher.

The theme of the night was the roaring 20’s!

MBA Mel headpiece MBA Christina and Gabe

Here is my writers’ group, The Anita Factor, all dressed up with some place to go.

Melanie, Me, Jodi, Christina, Gabriele Melinda, Deborah

Anitas: back: Melanie, Me, Jodi, Christina, Gabriele
front: Melinda, Deborah (missing MaryLou and Patricia)

It’s pretty incredible really – seven Anita’s have been published in the last twelve months. It’s been a wild year.

 

And the winner is!

Fellow Anita and Rebelight Publishing owner, Melanie Matheson, won in the McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People, younger category, for her picture book, Hokey Dowa Gerda and the Snowflake Girl. Congrats again my dear friend!hokey cover

MBA Mel wins

An absolute highlight for me was seeing Beatrice Mosionier, author of The Search for April Raintree. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the best picture, but I was stoked just the same. This is one of those books that everyone should read.I was hoping to meet her afterwards, but I couldnMBA bea‘t find her in the crowd. Still, this is the author of the highest selling book of any Manitoba author. An new award recognizing aboriginal writers was named after her. I could go on and on, I was starstruck.

The Manitoba Book Awards was a truly wonderful experience and one that I look forward to taking in annually.

I would highly encourage people to check out different awards programs in their areas. You may be surprised what or who you discover!