Local Authors Exposed!

Our special library event called “Local Authors Exposed” is this week!  We’re excited to invite four local authors and a fantastic mediator to our library to discuss their journeys to publication.  This is going to be a fun and informative evening, starting with a meet and greet, followed by the panel, and finishing up with a chance to purchase books and talk with the authors again.

Joining us will be Joelle Hubner-McLean, Claudia Radmore, David Mulholland, and Sandra Nikolai. Our moderator will be fantastic author and local historian Linda Seccaspina.

Tickets are on sale now for $5 each at the library, and are very limited.  Please call us to reserve yours before they’re all gone.

All proceeds go the the Carleton Place Public Library’s Children’s Literacy Program.


Young Writers

This fall, we ran another of our popular Young Writers programs. For four weeks, young authors from our community attended sessions where we learned all about writing short stories. While many of our attendees had written longer stories, the idea of a complete story only a page or so long, was a little daunting. But they settled in and wrote.

We covered the basics of what made a good story (beginning, middle, end, more than one character, and a plot), and they went home with a plan to write a story about something that had really happened to them, but to change it so that it happened to someone else.

They wrote stories about shrinking girls, a crazy cat, a less than reputable doctor, a secret map, Halloween costumes gone wrong, and much more. And we laughed and cheered as each writer read out their first draft. There was plenty of great work to go on!

Over the next few weeks, they learned about revision and making their stories better. We worked on using exciting vocabulary, writing an opening that makes people want to read more, and finishing a story. It was hard work, and they came back with lots of changes, but the end result was great.

This week, we have all of the stories on display at the library for Ontario Public Library Week. Drop in to read each one, or read them here. We have such talent in our community!

Karen’s Funny Day 

The Boxy Halloween

Manhunt Mayhem

18″ Tall World

Domestic Pirates

Toby, the Karate Two Year Old

The Hilly Experience

Crazy Cat

The Good Problem


Pixar in a Box

We talk a lot about stories and how to build them during our meetings at the library, and one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time is the “Pixar in a Box” series that you can take for FREE at the Khan Academy. If you’ve never taken a course from them, I’d recommend it now. It’s easy to navigate, has amazing information and professors, and you can learn about almost anything.

I love the look of this “Pixar in a Box” course. It has simple lessons, exercises that build on what you’ve learned, and best of all…it’s from the people at Pixar!

While not every story has to work exactly the way the movies run, Pixar has a great track record of writing scripts that hit the heart, tell an amazing story, and usually find a way to make us see something in ourselves. Maybe this would be a fun thing for our group to try out over a number of sessions? We’ll have to wait and see.

If you’ve done this course–or any other at the Khan Academy—would you recommend it? Let us know!


Another little gem from one of our Carleton Place Writers, this time from Wayne Herrgott.




Here he comes again; his bowed legs describing his life.  He swings the blanket over my back and cinches bondage around my belly.  “Don’t put that torturous thing in my mouth.  You won’t need it now; I’ll be good.”  It hurts.


True to his experience, he flips onto my back.  I hate the burden, but don’t show it for fear of those spikes driving into my damaged flesh.  I’m cool man; see I’m calm.  Maybe if I move on my own he won’t need to injury me further.  God back don’t shake.  No!


Suddenly, it’s there! The pain makes me burst into rebellion.  I stand with my front legs straight and kick the innocent sky.  I’m going crazy with the pain.  It’s not me; it’s not the way I want of be.  But I can’t stop.  I have to eliminate this scourge on my back.  Let’s see if you can keep up, you Son of a Bitch; I’m going to change my bounds.  I can do it.  Ouch, man that hurt, but I’m out of there; you didn’t think I could do it did, let’s just see if you can stay on now.


How about a little ride through the bush, my sweety?  You bastard!  Watch out of the branch!  Oh I’m so sorry.   Happy trails amigo.


Happy trails to you, too!

Why You Need to Create

ggjrxqoeafy-alexander-solodukhinToday’s post is from another of our Writers’ Group, Gracey Patterson. Gracey is our youngest member, and has talent galore. We can’t wait to see what she’ll write next!

“Why You Need to Create”

“The greatest agony is bearing an untold story inside of you.” -Maya Angelou

The crushing weight on your heart when you cannot create, my friends I do not know how to tell you how much it hurts. It is there in the morning when the sunlight streams into the window, when you see the dust particles trapped in rays of light and your mind comes alight with the need, the twisting sensation in your gut to paint it. But when your feet hit the floor, and the little voice switches on and tells you you will never be able to paint it like that, you don’t. And the moment is lost.

You head down to the kitchen to fix yourself a cup of tea and find that outside it is raining, hard drops are coming down, giving you the feeling that your house is a cacoon, a snuggly blanket. Your pajamas brush against your skin and the tea is warm in your hand. Yet you have a longing in your heart for your husband who is away with work. And this moment–this perfect moment of melancholy, of comfort, but of longing. Of a moment tipping on just perfect, but not all the way. Of a flash of two opposite feelings like a double edged sword, the flip sides of a coin. And the words are already forming in your mind. But when you bend down to write about it, they flutter away into the fading clouds outside the window. And that creative spark leaves your fingers grasping for words that are not there anymore. So you shut your laptop and forget.

Your kids are sleeping in one bed, all three of them tangled in a heap of arms and legs, their snores reverberating around the room. Sticky hands, nails coloured with purple crayon–hints of yesterdays events. The lingering smell of sweat, from nightmares. But the soft feeling of comforters. The way it shapes a nest around your children, as if the bed is holding them in a gentle giant’s fist. You get the image in your head, stark and clear as day, as bright as sunlight in a mirror. You go as far as getting out your clay, to sculpt this beautiful moment, but when you look again, your children are awake and the moment fades away. The clay drops into hard lumps on the table and you wash your hands of the dust.

On the way to school you look back in the mirror at your babies, smiling when your song comes on the radio. It’s the one your husband first asked you to dance to. The one played at your wedding. The one you sang to closed eye-lids, of sleeping babies, rocking in a chair and humming to the moon. You open your mouth and hum along with the tune. “Mommy sing!” they shout. And you do. They sing along, their voices bending at uneven parts, splitting notes in half, but you don’t notice because you sound better than a gospel choir. You drop the kids off at school, with the radio still turned up. The last chords of the song come on, the build to the bridge–your favourite part. You sing loudly, and then feel the silence in the car, the glares of strangers and quiet down until the magic of the music fades away. You sound terrible, you think. And stop singing.

That night you have hooded-eyes, tired from a long day. You sit in bed and try to remember the good things this morning, but none come to mind. You have forgotten the dust particles, the melancholy feeling, your children sleeping, silly songs in the car. You held these moments in your heads for seconds, and yet when you thought of creating them into the physical world those seconds were infinite. But you shook your head and let those seconds slide away, to land on a pile of forgotten but great ideas.

At night you dream all these things and more. You are spiritual. You are creative. You are a soul. Part of the moon. Of the sea. Flowers in someone’s hair. And when you awake the day gives you these moments again, different shades, but still the same feeling, and yet you do not grasp them. What if you did? If only in years to come, after your parting from this earth, your daughters could hold these moments from your mind in their hands. In the shape of a clay sculpture, the pages of a novel, the lull of a song, the beauty of a painting or picture. But you have not “clapped the net over the butterfly of the moment.” You have not seized the day.

These moments are everywhere, in the reflection on a coffee shop window of the homeless man across the street. In the grimace of a young girl in the hallway of a high school. In the limp of the old man in the line at Tim Hortons. In the fold of a woman’s dress. In the crease of a man’s tie. In the lilt of the laughter of your child. In the sparkle of your mother’s eye. These pieces, threaded together are what the universe is built on. Is what humanity is made of.

What a gift you have. What a gift you are. Create my moon child, my summer breeze, my lipsticked stained coffee mug. Open the blinds at night and howl to the moon. See the moments and collect them like stamps. You think you are alive, but you have no idea what you are missing.

Fairy Godmother for Hire

19-3kdsrvqk-fredrick-kearney-jrToday’s short story comes from one of our talented writers, Joanne Payne Davies.

It used to be so easy: show up in a puff of pink smoke, wand in hand, and everybody knew the Fairy Godmother had arrived and was at their service. Easy!

Now? Try that trick in an enchanted wood and you’re likely to be chopped and winded by some street-smart runner who has her black belt in self-protection. Never mind that she’s unhappy and unfulfilled–she can take care of herself. Uh-huh.

Try ‘appearing’ to some lonely, over-worked, under-appreciated soul who could use a break, and she’ll probably squirt you with pepper-spray and scream for security. The others tell you to piss-off—you’re just another weird hallucination that’ll require them to have their medication adjusted again.

I even tried to advertise; figured that might mitigate the surprise factor. Fairy Godmother for Hire. Guaranteed Wish-Granting. The only takers were gamblers and politicians…not a single Cinderella.  Even the new-agers think I’m some kind of freaky high priestess with poor fashion sense touting the newest thing in goddess cults. Bibbity-bobbity-boo-hoo-hoo…

So, I tried to quit. The Guild didn’t like it, of course. But what the hell, they assigned me to this era; R & D really fell down on their research on THIS one. How am I supposed to do my job when no one over the age of six believes in fairies or magic or miracles anymore? And even those pre-schoolers are so inundated with high-tech special effects in their toys and entertainments they think I’m computer generated!!

There’s still sixty-odd years left on my contract: the Guild insists I stay here, maybe there’ll be an attitude change. Fat chance, I say…these people don’t believe what they see.

They don’t even believe in themselves. I guess that’s what frustrates me; a little magic could really help them get back in touch with what’s real. They just don’t know it. They’re so caught up in their own mass-media illusions they’ve forgotten that magic exists and that miracles are personal. Ah, well.

So here I am, wondering what all the other magicians are doing these days; maybe I’m the only one here in this when/where. I’m NOT going to try advertising again…

I just don’t fit in well with Canadian social groups; not even in the multi-cultural-anything-goes scene in Toronto. You see, we Fairy Godmothers are what we are, and we’re SUPPOSED to look what we are at all times. Our magic is for others, not for ourselves–I can’t even zap myself into a semblance of a ‘modern-day’ granny with blond streaks and in yoga pants. So I’m very limited in where I can go without being asked to leave.

I did finally figure it out–yes, I was a little slow there, but I AM a fairy, don’t forget, and I was born when there really WERE monsters under the bed. AND the competition for positions is fierce. However, since I don’t need money, I didn’t apply in the usual way; I just showed up one day and was accepted as one of ‘them’…the ‘characters’ that wander around the park and attractions at Canada’s Wonderland! Perfect for me–I fit right in. And a bit of magic THERE is hardly noticed; a ride that goes on for an extra round, lost kids found right away, ice-cream that ONLY melts in the mouth, not all over the hand….I know, I know, small stuff, but it keeps my hand in and gives some pleasure.

Of course, this IS a seasonal placement; I’m a little anxious about my future plans. I mean, it’s perfectly normal for Godmothers to go to Florida for the winter. I just don’t know if any other fairies are planning to ‘hide-out’ in Disney World, too. I wouldn’t want to crowd anyone’s patch!

On the other hand, maybe this is WHY Master Disney created his ‘Worlds’. I seem to remember a rumour of some disagreement between him and the R & D…

I must ask him when I get back to Guild Central eventually.


Great way to start off out New Year! Happy reading!

Meetings in 2017

We’re gearing up for some fun workshops in early 2017, and we’d love to invite anyone in our community who is interested. No experience necessary.  Please call us at 257-2702 to register.


The first is all about plot. If you’re interested in trying to write less by the seat of your pants, this workshop is for you. We’ll discover some of the highlights to writing better plots, to seeing where your story is falling off the rails, and to discover new ways to move your story or novel forward.

plot-your-novel-2In February, we’ll be talking about characters. Join us to learn how to create well-rounded characters, characters that sound different, and a variety of other ideas to get your characters leaping off the pages. Once again, registration is a must, so call us at 257-2702 to sign up.