Wednesday 10 December 2014


Dear PWAC Prairies and the North members,

It is with the deepest regret that I am informing you of my resignation, along with that of 6 other Board members, effective immediately.

Please be assured that we have tried every means possible to save PWAC and steer it towards a new era of growth and success. Our efforts to do so have been thwarted at every turn and our Board Forums serve as a written trace of our experience.

I am really sorry that I was not able to fulfil my role as RD upon returning to Manitoba. It was my intent. Instead, I have spent countless hours addressing issues at the national level (consulting past financial reports can give you an idea of our challenges).

I need to underline the dedication of RDs Kim Arnott, Heidi Turner, Sandy Morgan and Oliva Kona as well as that of Luigi Benetton and Rusti Lehay.

If there is anything positive to take from what has been a deeply troubling and personally disappointing experience, it is the pleasure that I have had in working with them. I hold on to the hope that we will find a way of working together again to serve professional writers in this country, something we are still committed to.

I apologize for the inevitable fallout that will come from our mass resignation and hope that it doesn't affect local chapters too much. I continue on as a member and hope to catch up with you when we next meet.


Nathalie Kleinschmit

December 10, 2014
Michelle Greyson, PWAC president
Nate Hendley, PWAC vice president
We, the undersigned, provide this as official notice that we are resigning our seats on the Board of Directors of the Professional Writers Association immediately.
Your decision to make staffing changes to our organization without any attempt to consult with the board, in complete violation of a recently approved motion requiring all such decisions to be made by the entire board, has led us to believe that there is no future for the organization and no respect for collaboration under your leadership.
Months of questions about the leadership and financial management of PWAC have gone unanswered, leading up to the news we received on December 4th about our significant financial crisis.
Despite the lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the Executive Director, the president and the vice-president, we as board members have spent countless hours attempting to formulate plans to move our organization forward in a positive way.
We are no longer prepared to dedicate our time or energy to that effort. We have simply lost confidence that this organization has the fundamental structure or leadership to succeed.
Kim Arnott, Regional Director - Ontario
Heidi Turner, Regional Director - British Columbia
Nathalie Kleinschmit, Regional Director - Prairies and the North
Sandy Morgan, Regional Director - Atlantic
Olivia Kona, Regional Director - Quebec
Rusti Lehay, Treasurer
Luigi Benetton, Technical Director
APPENDIX A: Number of Forum posts made by the ED and members of the PWAC board as of Dec. 9, 2014
Kim Arnott 328
Luigi Benetton 536
Michelle Greysen 800
Nate Hendley 471
Nathalie Kleinschmit 258
Olivia Kona 226
Rusti Lehay 279
Sandy Morgan 93
Craig Silverman 110
Heidi Turner 486
Sandy Crawley 863

Monday 10 November 2014


Kelly-Anne Ries, PWAC Manitoba Chapter President is happy to invite all PWAC members to our Regional Conference, Nov 29-30 in Winnipeg, MB.

The free PWAC events are as follows:

Start Your Writing Career 
November 29. 2014
A day of free writing workshops hosted in partnership with the Manitoba chapter of the Professional Writers Association of Canada and the Millennium Library.

All events are in the Carol Shields Auditorium at the Millennium Library in Winnipeg. 251 Donald Street

Secrets to Freelance Writing Success (10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)
Get the clients, income and lifestyle you want. Learn how to market your artistic services. Make more prospects say “yes” and create new streams of income from your artistic medium. Join Kelly-Anne Riess, a professional writer who has written for such publications as the Globe and Mail and Canadian Geographic. She has also worked for television, and has several large corporate clients. She is the author of three books and was shortlisted for a Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Award.

How to profit from self-publishing (presented by Malene Jorgenson, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.)
Self-publishing often gets a bad reputation, because there is a misconception that self-published works lack quality and value. However, the reality is that self-published works can be just as valuable - if not more valuable - than traditionally-published works. Self-published works can also be more profitable if the writer knows how to market the book. And luckily for Canadian writers, self-publishing - and listing your book internationally - is actually a straight-forward process.

Crowdfund your book project (2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
If everyone gave $5.00 to buy your book before it was written. You could publish the book yourself and get it directly to interested readers without a traditional book publisher. This is the power of crowdfunding. Interested in learning more? Join award-winning authors Arthur Slade and Doreen Pendracs who will share their tips and experiences having recently and successfully used crowdfunding to publish their latest book projects.

For more information visit:

There will be a PWAC social during the evening of Nov. 29. Details for this will follow soon.

Please let Kelly-Anne know if you are planning to come. She can be reached at

We also partnered with the Manitoba Writers' Guild for another workshop below. Again, PWAC members might be interested in this as well.

Scaring Up a Fantastically Good Story
Workshop with Governor General award-winning author Arthur Slade 
November 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Manitoba Writers’ Guild Burns Family Classroom

Do you have a flare for slipping horror or dark, fantastical elements into your stories? Would you like to write like Stephen King? How about Neil Gaiman? Join Arthur Slade as he discusses how to mix fantasy or horror elements into your story and make them believable. Strengthen your characters. Learn which cliches to avoid and which to turn on their heads. How much horror or fantasy do you put in?

This workshop will include exercises, discussion time, and a vast array of tips and tricks.

Burns Family Classroom
218-100 Arthur Street
November 30 
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
MWG Members: $100
Non-members $125

To register for the Sunday workshop, email, or call 204-944-8013

Thursday 25 September 2014

PWAC Sask at Word on the Street Saskatoon

By Ashleigh Mattern

Marie Powell and Malene Jorgensen enjoying the sun!
On Saturday, Sept. 21, members from the Professional Writers Association of Canada Saskatchewan Chapter spent the day manning a booth at Word on the Street Saskatoon! The day was sunny, the speakers were fantastic, and we talked to a lot of people who were interested in the member books we had on display.

Our table was stocked with member books for sale.
Marie Powell had her Word Families children's book series for sale, Malene Jorgensen brought copies from her "how to" collection of books, Anne Laurko had a copy of Dollybird on display, and Ashleigh Mattern had copies of Herstory: The Canadian Women's Calendar available. PWAC member Jesse Green helped watch the booth.

Member Anne Lazurko spoke at the event about her book Dollybird.
We each made some sales, brainstormed ideas and events for the chapter, and made plans to attend the event again next year. As we did last year, we split the booth with our friends in words, the Editors Association of Canada Saskatchewan Chapter, and we hope to do so again in 2015.

It was a perfect fall day, with lots of foot traffic.

Friday 12 September 2014

Writing can be a lonely profession: Gain a sense of community with PWAC

By Malene Jorgensen

Writers, who work hard on a daily basis to craft content for clients, may often work from home, local cafes or libraries, where they can get easy access to resources and references. And while this lifestyle may sound tempting, the reality is that writing for a living can be a very lonely profession.

The Professional Writers Association of Canada, also known as PWAC, provides the piece of the puzzle that is missing. The President of the Saskatchewan chapter, Ashleigh Mattern, particularly enjoys the supportive network that comes from PWAC. She sees the association as a great tool to brainstorm with other like-minded professionals.

 “As a full-time freelance writer, having a support networking is incredibly important. Working from home, you often don't have people around you who you can bounce ideas off of, or go to for help or advice,” Mattern explains. “Joining groups like the Professional Writers Association of Canada give me a sense of having coworkers who I can reach out to, for whatever reason.”

Other than the networking opportunities, new members can also explore marketing and promotional opportunities offered by PWAC. As a professional member, you get a press card on behalf of PWAC that can help you get access to industry events, museums, and research for related projects. 

Professional members will also have the ability to access career and development opportunities at low or no cost at all, which is beneficial to new writers who are looking to turn their passion of writing into a full-time career.

The Professional Writers Association of Canada has chapters all over the country, including Saskatchewan. Our chapter President, Ashleigh Mattern, and our Vice President, Malene Jorgensen, are both located in Saskatoon. But there are members in Regina, White City, Weyburn, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Martensville, and Kelvington. Even though members are spread out, the chapter maintains dedicated to serving the needs of all members.

“As the Vice President of the Saskatchewan chapter, I’m constantly on the look-out for new ideas and online courses that our members can benefit from since we are spread out,” says Jorgensen, who just joined the executive this year. “We want our members to know that we are here to help and support them in their writing careers, no matter what their individual needs are.”

Saskatchewan member, Bonnie Zink, has shared her thoughts on PWAC on her website, She thanks PWAC for helping her turn her dreams of being a professional writer for a living into a reality.

“Five years ago I held dear the hope of becoming a working professional writer,” Zink writes in a blog post, where she highlights some of the features she has enjoyed. “As I look back on these past five years, I believe that my success as a working writer is directly due to my professional PWAC membership.”

PWAC Saskatchewan will be present at this year’s Word on the Street festival in Saskatoon. The Word on the Street festival, or WOTS, takes place on Sept. 21 near Saskatoon’s City Hall. Our chapter President and Vice President will be on location in the PWAC booth to answer any questions you may have about becoming a member. Since the WOTS festival is all about booksellers, publishers, authors and retailers, some of our members will also be selling their books at our stand. 

So, if you have a lingering dream about becoming a professional writer, come down to our booth at the WOTS festival and talk to us. We look forward to seeing you there and hear about your big writing dreams.

Thursday 9 January 2014

Resigning as Regional Director

I have asked PWAC National office to send a bulletin to Prairies Region members, but that can't be sent until after the weekend. I have contacted several people individually but I was also asked to post this here to help inform regional members, and the bulletin will follow up next week.

I have come to a difficult decision. I am resigning from the PWAC board of directors, effective immediately. I have enjoyed my short time as Regional Director of Prairies and the North, and I believe I have come to know many members better during this time. I will continue to be involved at the Saskatchewan chapter level, and I would be pleased to share my experience with the new RD and others as needed. I hope you will continue to contact me to discuss freelance business issues and ideas. I also hope I will still hear from you on or social media, and see you at regional and national events. I wish you all the best in 2014 and the years to come.

Marie Powell

Monday 16 December 2013

Reactions to university decisions on Access Copyright

Last week, the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario (Western) announced they would no longer pay an annual collective royalty fee to creators through Access Copyright, the copyright licensing agency. The creators affected include professional writers and photographers who qualify, based on their published work, to receive annual Payback royalties from Access Copyright.

Here are some links to press releases and articles outlining the news and reactions from various writers' organizations:


The Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC):

Access Copyright:

Association of Canadian Publishers:

Canadian Magazines blog (for reaction and background):

What are your views? Please leave a comment.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Finding Ways to Promote Your Work as an Author or Expert By Doreen Pendgracs

I learned from my previous book, Before You Say Yes … A Guide to the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards, that finding speaking engagements to promote myself as an expert on volunteering for non-profit associations would net me more of an income than the royalties I was earning from book sales.

As I’m an extrovert and love interacting with people, I find the speaking engagements to be more fun than the solitary task of writing.

With my current book, Chocolatour, A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate, it’s even easier to line up events where I can talk about chocolate and sell my books at the same time. Everyone loves chocolate, and so, in the short time since I published my book, I’ve been able to create a nice variety of events that will augment my earnings from book sales.

Thanks to a suggestion from Manitoba member, Irene Gordon, I made contact with the person in charge of the Community Classroom program at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg and have a Nov 2nd event at which I will first have a traditional book signing in the store, followed by a chocolate dinner in the Community Classroom at which I will give a talk about chocolate. The event sold out so quickly that Mc Nally’s has scheduled a second similar event for April 12th.

The events at McNally’s are great in raising my public profile and connecting with readers, but they are small small, at a capacity of 24 paying attendees. They have, however, opened up the door to larger, more lucrative events. I'm now booked to give a chocolate talk at a 100-person chocolate dinner at Rembrandt's Bistro in Lockport, Manitoba on Feb 6th. There will be a chocolate art show by WAVE artists, in combination with an exotic chocolate dinner prepared by the Rembrandt's chef with a brief chocolate talk by yours truly in between courses.

For both the McNally and Rembrandt’s events, I am being paid $10 per attendee. I’d have to sell a lot of books to match the $1000 speaker’s fee I’ll receive from Rembrandt’s! So the key is to write about something for which you can establish yourself as an expert. Carve yourself a unique niche so that people search you out when they think of that given topic.

I’m also leading a group Chocolatour to Switzerland from March 20-April 8th with the Worldly Women Travel Club, sponsored by Journeys Travel of Winnipeg. I will receive a free trip in exchange for helping them devise a taste-tempting itinerary and encouraging a group of women to enjoy chocolate. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it! 

I have also taken my speaking abilities on the high seas and obtained a free cruise (and very inexpensive passage for my husband) in exchange for giving a series of talks on a cruise ship. My topic at that time was feng shui – not because I am an expert on the subject, but because I had written numerous articles about it and possessed a high level of enthusiasm. 

While reading this, did you think to yourself … I can do that! You bet you can! Just come up with a topic that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. And if your speaking abilities could use fine-tuning, join Toastmasters International. I’ve been a Toastmaster for a dozen years and absolutely love it. And it has helped take my speaking abilities to the next level.

Good luck in developing your own marketing plan. I hope it helps you sell books, earn some incredible speaking fees, and have a lot of fun while you’re doing it.

Please visit my writer’s blog at and connect with me on any social media platforms you’re on. Social media has definitely helped me make global connections that have gotten Chocolatour into chocolate and book shops around the world. But that’s for another post! 

Thanks to Marie Powell for asking me to share this post with you. I've been a member of PWAC since 1997 and definitely credit past and present members of PWAC for inspiring and educating me on how to advance my career as a freelance writer and author.