Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Browse through our PWAC regional members' BLOGS ...


With so many PWAC members in our region Blogging on a regular basis I thought it would be great to share some of the links to the varied topics currently covered by our membership spanning the vast three Prairie Provinces and the North. Many bloggers here have more than one blog offering up insight into travel, lifestyle, industry, politics, family and so much more.

For a taste of the latest news for lovers of all things Chocolate & Travel visit Manitoba member, and PWAC National Vice President Doreen Pendgracs’ chocolate journey blog at http://diversionswithdoreen.com/

Calgary member, Mary Murphy takes us on a varied trail of writer accountability, plotting paths and more in murphy writinglife at http://murphywritinglife.wordpress.com/

From Banff PWAC member, Meghan J Ward, always takes us on a journey of adventure while sharing stories about the ways we relate to the outdoor world on http://thecampsiteblog.com/ and more in her writer blog at /http://meghanjoyward.com/blog/

If its hockey, golf or the great outdoors, Manitoba member RoseAnna Schick is never lacking in musings at  http://rascreative.wordpress.com/ While PWAC Edmonton’s Dawna Freeman, takes us around the globe in World Traveller df30 at http://df30.wordpress.com/

For the latest trends in the Vintage and Thrifty Lifestyle check out some great finds and tips for your vintage & antique treasure hunting at PWAC Regional Director and Lethbridge member, Michelle Greysen’s Thrifty Diversions blog at http://thriftydiversions.blogspot.ca/ and discover more on writing at her inklings on writing or the simple life from her side of the dock at Landlocked Cottage 

Saskatchewan member, Anne Lazurko gives us all hope as professional working writers by day, scratching out a novel by night, as she lands a long earned publishing deal in her latest blog entry http://annelazurko.com/

Just a few of the samples of endless reading inspiration around the PWAC Prairies & North region – with many more here to discover in the Member Blog Roll just a click away on the right side of the page. Enjoy the browse!

If you are a member of our region and do not have your BLOG on the roll please contact me to add it

Enjoy some great winter reading only a click away!
Michelle

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Meet the new Lethbridge and Area Chapter!

A welcome introduction of our Region's newest Chapter
by President, Farrah McFadden ...



I am excited to announce the official start up of the Lethbridge and Area PWAC Chapter, and to have the opportunity to tell you a little about us. We are an eager group of eight individuals with a range of professional experience brought together at the initiative of MichelleGreysen, the Regional Director for PWAC Prairies and the North.  We met for our first official, albeit, casual gathering on November 19th.
I, Farrah McFadden, am a new member to PWAC and am thrilled to have this opportunity to jump in with both feet as Chapter President for the upcoming year.  I have the incredible opportunity to learn from more experienced freelance writers and to participate in growing a chapter that is supportive of newcomers like myself, but also one that satisfies the needs of career freelancers, such as Jane Harris-Zsovan, our chapter Treasurer. Jane has published articles in over a dozen magazines on matters relating to Canadian history and culture, and has recently released her book, Eugenics and the Firewall: Canada’s Nasty Little Secret.  Michelle Greysen is the founding member of this new Chapter, a magazine feature writer, copywriter and niche antique dealer blogger at Thrifty Diversion and is taking an active role in supporting the growth of our Chapter and of PWAC on all the Prairies and I look forward to her wisdom and guidance.
 Our membership includes Geneva Macgillivary, a resident of Nanton, who owns/writes the Nanton Review as well as for Tourism Alberta and MS Connections. Geneva’s writing is behind a number of local business start-ups and advertising. Linda Maki, also joining us from Nanton, combines her skills as a writer and photographer, and has been a columnist for a number of local newspapers.  We are pleased to count Richard Amery amongst our members. Richard is a reporter and columnist for the Lethbridge Sun Times, and is the Owner/Editor/Publisher of Lethbridge’s arts and entertainment magazine, the LA Beat. Zac Stinson, was the recipient of the student membership last year and joins us from the University of Lethbridge, where he has published articles in the independent student newspaper, the Meliorist. Last, but not least, is Lori Lavallee. Lori is an experienced corporate content developer and feature writer, and I do believe she is the fashion diva of our chapter. You can learn more about our founding members in their profiles on www.Writers.ca.
 By all estimates our chapter has a strong foundation and a bright future.  We are already planning of our first community event as a Chapter, and we look forward to expanding our membership across southern Alberta.  Our hope is to create an inclusive and engaged chapter that facilitates interaction across our large area. To this end we are committed to finding creative ways to facilitate Chapter meetings and events that foster participation of all members, whether they reside in Lethbridge or many of the small towns dotting the southern prairies and welcome membership reaching from Medicine Hat to Milk River and into the Crowsnest Pass.

Farrah McFadden
President, PWAC Lethbridge and Area Chapter

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Book to Screen Workshop Review ...


 Book to Screen Workshop
by Anne Gafiuk (Calgary Chapter member Guest Column)

“Anne, skip the book.  Go straight to screenplay,” said my friend, Susan, back in November 2011 as I read her a couple of excerpts from a story I am writing. 

“You need to find a producer.”  This came a few weeks earlier from Paul, a colleague, with experience in television and film.

I thought:  “Me? Really?  My tale is worthy of consideration?  Friends and family have confidence in me and are supportive....but no...I’ll just wait...I’ll keep working on my World War II piece....and other projects, too.”

A few months later, on another author’s Facebook page, I see:  http://ampia.org/events/albertas-write-stuff-books-and-screens/ “Sounds like a great opportunity,” she wrote.

I click on the link and read:  a coming together of Calgary/Southern Alberta television, film and digital platform producers with writers and publishers’  Do I sign up?  Susan and Paul’s comments return to me.  I register!

For the next two days, I work on a synopsis and a mock-up of a movie poster, approaching family and friends again.  I need their feedback, guidance and assistance.  I submit the file.  And then I wait....and wait...and wait.   An email finally appears in my inbox.  I have not been selected to do ‘the pitch’.  Oh well, I think, go!  Listen and learn.  And:  I can have a good night’s sleep!

I show up about twenty minutes early, am chatted up by another attendee, both of us fresh and eager to discover the process.  We exchange business cards. 

About sixty people attend the workshop, including ten hosts/organizers/panellists. Quite a mix of individuals: playwrights, screenplay writers, producers, writers, novelists.  Why are they all here?  To have their book or story make it onto the small or big screen.  Some like me:  sitting, watching, and learning.  Others:  to offer support. And let's not forget: people are here to network....me, included.   The seminar begins.  I watch, I make copious notes and then feel relief I am not selected as one of the four people to present their pitch!  By the end of the three hour workshop, I am exhausted! 

The panels, made up of award-winning producers, stress the length of time it will take from concept to completion.  It could be years!  The timing might not be right for some themes, they say. The key:  have a producer lined up.  Make sure that this is someone who loves the project as much as you do....someone who is like-minded, someone who will invest the time and effort into the project. Do research as to what a producer produces.  The history and reputation of the writer, filmmaker, and producer also are major players.  (Yikes! I am an unknown!)  And go out to forge relationships!  Opportunity, preparation, and luck, too, play important roles.Do not give up!” they advise.

The time arrives for the four pitches.  The audience has a certain anticipating energy.  A chair, the ‘hot seat’, I call it, is placed in front of us virtual strangers and next to the four panellists...all wearing dark clothing of various hues of black.  Is this an omen?

The first person to pitch was eaten alive for her presentation but then the panel seemed to like her story...had she only just told it.  The second admits to being “scared shitless”.  He is amusing, initially, and then his nerves get the best of him.  The panel likes his main character and tells him he needed to have rehearsed the pitch to know his story inside and out.  The third:  shy and quiet speaks to the outline provided by the organizers at registration, but also has been listening and learning.  The panel is not so hard on him.  They ask questions.  The fourth:  again, having the experience of the first three, wows the panel.  He delivers! All four individuals receive 'constructive criticism' and congratulations for their benefit and for us in the audience. 

While all this is going on, I cannot help but think of Dragon’s Den or So You Think You Have Talent.  I am so happy not to have been up there.  Then I realize: missing from all of the pitches is a visual...the movie poster or the book cover we were asked to create.  No one had one...and the teacher in me knows to always have a visual! 

We are given business cards as well as some literature from agencies:  Alberta Film www.albertafilm.ca , Canada Media Fund www.cmf-fmc.ca , as well as the Harold Greenberg Fund http://www.astral.com/en/about-astral/the-harold-greenberg-fund for further information.

In summary:

  1. Be concise, clear, and appealing.  Try to capture ‘the pitch’ in 30- 60 seconds.
  2. ‘The Pitch’ is all about the story.  And both had better be great!
  3. Make your characters ‘real’.
  4. Make sure the story is topical, as it could take between 2-4 years to bring the project to fruition.
  5. Make eye contact with the panel.
  6. Rehearse ‘the pitch’.  Time it.  Run it past friends and family.  Ask them to be brutally honest and have them ask questions.
  7. Know your story inside out and backwards.
  8. Come ‘ready to play’.
  9. Create a relationship within the first three minutes of ‘the pitch’,
  10. Never apologize.
  11. Wear black!

So what did I come away with?  A great appreciation of what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ to bring text to the screen.  More knowledge...and that can’t hurt.  Now what do I do?  Work on my story, add some spit and polish....put me out there, and meet more people!  Oh, also get my name known by doing things like this guest column.  And don’t forget to wear black.
More from Anne Gafiuk at  www.whatsinastory.ca

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Guest BLOG post by Karen Crowdis, PWAC Calgary Chapter


When ideas are in abundance, they ricochet off each other in my head until I finally put fingers to keyboard and put them down. That’s what writers do after all. But there are times I face barriers to getting down to the business of writing. Some days that very simple act of transfer from brain to paper seems like climbing Everest.
I would like to climb Everest; literally and figuratively. The literal climbing of Everest is impeded by very simple things: finances to pull it off and an irrational fear of heights. At least I can day dream about it.
Figuratively, I sometimes face Everest with my writing. The large blank space and blinking cursor on my laptop mock me. Just finish the query letter, I plead with myself. Thirty minutes later, I’m still here, still a blinking cursor on a blank page while I try to sort out my thoughts. Maybe some tea will help.
Make tea, check the weather, turn on music, put away some kid’s toys, start a grocery list, put some laundry in, reheat the tea and sit back down at the computer. Sip my tea, burn my tongue. OK, I’m ready to get rolling....except that I didn’t eat anything. I should have a cookie.
For sure, now I am ready to get down to it. My ideas are like the pinball balls that never find their way to the next level. They are bouncing and rebounding in my head, one leading to another. Yet they cannot find their way out the neurons of my brain to my fingertips and onto my laptop.
Deep breath and stretch. Maybe walking the dog will help me focus. Yes, a bit of fresh air will help and the exercise won’t hurt—get the blood moving. Come back, reheat tea again and sit down. Notice the dishes weren’t done last night. I should really do that and then come back to the writing. But it is lunch time so I will just eat something first, then dishes, then writing! 
I start to wonder if I might have a mild form of attention deficit.
Finish lunch, clean up, put laundry in the dryer, dust and vacuum. I sit down and the writing comes more easily, things start to flow as the distractions are silenced. At a pivotal moment my phone buzzes and beeps at me to remind me that I have an appointment in 30 minutes and then have to pick up the kids. Log off; tonight I will pick up where I left off unless I get caught up in some campy ‘reality’ TV.
Every week, I get updates on colleagues’ activities. New, exciting projects and I am happy for them...and a bit green. I could be posting great updates to my LinkedIn profile.  If I just had more uninterrupted time, I console myself; I could do those things too. I have too many obstacles to my writing time.
It occurs to me that maybe I’m the obstacle. I should go look into that...

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

PWAC Prairies Regional Fall Conference Event - A Great Success!


Thank you to all the participants, speakers, sponsors and volunteers for making the first PWAC Regional Event such a great success!
On Sept 22, 2012 over thirty people met in Saskatoon for a great day of professional development at the PWAC Prairies Fall Conference, hosted by the PWAC Saskatchewan Chapter. Attendees and speakers came from all PWAC Prairie Chapters, including Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as well as industry, sponsors and the public. The day started off with a welcome message from the day’s emcee, Saskatchewan President Kelly-Anne Riess, followed by an opening message from Carla Bechard of Saskatchewan Tourism, who helped sponsor the event.
The first session offered was by PWAC Regina member Marie Powell on Breaking In: Taking Stock of the Marketplace, which encouraged writers to hone their non-fiction specialties, negotiate their rates and make their vision pay.
After an energized first coffee break the morning continued with another full session by online specialist Katrina German. Her session, How to be a Paid Social Media Strategist, enforced the importance of gathering a network of people around your freelance writing business, becoming an expert in what you are interested in and thriving as key components of the business of content management.
The catered lunch arrived right on time and the venue was noisy in all the sharing. The afternoon started on a high note and delivered a great second half. PWAC VP Doreen Pendgracs offered up an informative and humorous full two-hour session on Your Next Travel Story Might be Right in Your Own Back Yard. Her session reminded writers that it is not about the typical ‘ … if you travel to …’ stories, but rather, the quirky off the beaten path stories that editors want, as well as new markets for travel such as edu-tainment. She also reminded everyone how valuable professional associations such as PWAC and TMAC are to writing careers.
After the last coffee break of the day Kelly-Anne Riess moderated a PWAC-member panel discussion on Niche Writing: Your Ticket to Success. Kicking off the panel was Saskatoon PWAC member James Romanow, known as Dr. Booze, who spoke on his success as a wine expert and branding himself though positive experiences with trade journal opportunities for writers offering many niche publications. Next on the panel was PWAC Manitoba Chapter member RoseAnna Schick. She passionately explained how she used her love of golf and her curiosity to try different sports to launch her freelance success into columns and regular freelance by becoming an expert in her topic - even if she was not an expert at the sport. Next was Michelle Greysen from the newly formed southern Alberta PWAC Lethbridge Chapter. She shifted the room’s perspective away from the traditional view of typically smaller niche publications, showing instead how a writer can create a place for their story, not just in a niche magazine, but also in a mainstream large product. By using a few publisher insight tools to analyze the product cover-to-cover and by positioning a unique story that suits both the product and the targeted readership, one can produce polished queries that land assignments. Closing out the panel was PWAC Saskatchewan member Darrell Noakes with an informative view on using photography to create a freelance niche. Many questions from the audience to the panel added to the day ending on a high note.
After many door prizes of books and the grand prize of a PWAC-sponsored draw of a one-year membership to a qualifying non-PWAC member in the room, the day came to a close. Feedback was positive and participants left with many new contacts, not only among PWAC members from all five Prairie Chapters in attendance, but also with great connections to attendees from industry, tourism and the public.
The event proved to be a great success with many thanks to the sponsors PWAC/Writers.ca,TOURISM Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Writers Guild (SWG), Saskatoon Writers COOP and SPHERU. And special thanks to the PWAC Saskatchewan Chapter for hosting the event and to the organizing committee who helped to make the day spectacular: Saskatchewan Chapter members Marie Powell, Kelly-Anne Riess, Mike Chouniard, Calgary Chapter member Carey Rutherford and the Prairies and the North Regional Director/Lethbridge Chapter member Michelle Greysen.
The event brought a great spotlight to PWAC, not only across the Prairies, but also across the country, as the day’s sessions were live tweeted on the #PWAC hash tag and many participant blogs and tweets continue to offer further information from the day. 

We look forward to repeating this event each fall in our Region, or across the country - if your Chapter is interested in hosting please contact The Prairies and the North Regional Director, Michelle Greysen to help make it happen!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Happening in the Region ...

Thank you to Calgary member Colleen Biondi for this guest post and stay tuned for future monthly updates on regional happenings from the Calgary Chapter!

The University of Calgary’s Common Reading Program selection for this fall is Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness by Clem and Olivier Martini. Through this program, each first year undergrad student will receive a copy of the book, be able to participate in a discussion group online, have the opportunity to enter a “reflective response” contest and be able to meet the authors at a reading. What a wonderful way to celebrate an important book and get the chatter going on a critical topic. To find out more about the program call 403-210-9269 or email oweek@ucalgary.ca.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

REGIONAL FALL CONFERENCE UPDATES ...


GREAT NEWS ...
 due to strong event support the early bird savings rate continues!

Connect, Celebrate, & Collaborate at the PWAC Regional Event this fall

Date: September 22, 2012
Location: The Refinery, 607 & 609 Dufferin Avenue, Saskatoon, SK
Time: 9:00 am registration with program to begin at 9:45 am
Early Bird Fees: PWAC members $75; Saskatchewan Writers' Guild member $90; supporting organization members $100; and general public $120 - lunch inculded
*Early Bird payment extended to Sept. 7, 2012, due to positive support from funding agencies.
From September 8, 2012 until September 21, 2012 the cost for all participants is $120.00.

*

To register last minute up to the event day please contact  pwacLethbridge@gmail.com

The Professional Writers’ Association of Canada (PWAC), Prairies and North Region, invites you to Connect, Celebrate, & Collaborate with the professionals this September 22, 2012.
PWAC-SK is hosting a full day of professional writing workshops and discussions. Learn about best practices in the business of writing, social media strategy, and niche writing from successful writers working and making a living in markets across the prairies and the world.
This full-day conference features:

Your Next Travel Story Might be Right in Your Own Backyard by Doreen Pendgracs:
 In this 2-hour workshop, Pendgracs will help attendees learn how to spin a travel story from virtually any experience, whether at home in your own backyard or halfway around the world. You'll learn how to find markets for your work and how to create your own! Doreen, PWAC National Vice President, has worked as a freelance professional writer for 19 years. She has authored dozens of non-fiction magazine, newspaper articles, and books. Her latest title, Chocolatour:A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate, is expected to be released within the next year.

·        Breaking In: Taking Stock of the Marketplace by M E (Marie) Powell : Learn from over 20 years of experience as
Regina-based professional writer Marie Powell helps us examine the current
print and online marketplace, how to choose a market, how to approach
those markets, and how to ensure success in the changing marketplace.
Marie is the founding president of PWAC-SK.

·        You're going to pay me to play on social media?: How to become a PAID social media strategist by Katrina German : Learn how to make money using social media with Katrina an online producer who specializes in social media and web content development. She plays online with websites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and others to connect her clients to the public in a fun and engaging way. Check out her portfolio at www.KatrinaGerman.com 

            Niche Writing: Your Ticket to Success: Join us as we learn from experts currently working in diverse markets across the prairies. James Romanow (PWAC / SWG member), Michelle Greysen (PWAC Prairies and the North Regional Director / SWG Member), Darrell Noakes (PWAC / SWG member) and RoseAnna Schick (PWAC Manitoba member) will discuss the challenges of finding a niche, their successes as niche writers, and address where and how to publish their passions.

Contact PWAClethbridge@gmail.com  for more details on last minute registration.

Door Prizes:
·        All non-PWAC members will be entered in a draw to win a one-year PWAC membership (over $200 value).  Draw to take place at 5:00 pm. You must be present to win.
Support:
We wish to thank our supporters, PWAC Writers.caSaskatchewan Tourism, the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild, the Saskatoon Writers' Coop and the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit, for sponsorship and continued support.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Connect, Celebrate, & Collaborate at the PWAC Regional Event this fall ...


Date: September 22, 2012
Location: The Refinery, 607 & 609 Dufferin Avenue, Saskatoon, SK
Time: 9:00 am registration with program to begin at 9:45 am
Early Bird Fees: PWAC members $75; Saskatchewan Writers' Guild member $90; supporting organization members $100; and general public $120
*Early Bird payment deadline is August 15, 2012*

The Professional Writers’ Association of Canada (PWAC), Prairies and North Region, invites you to Connect, Celebrate, & Collaborate with the professionals this September 22, 2012.
PWAC-SK is hosting a full day of professional writing workshops and discussions. Learn about best practices in the business of writing, social media strategy, and niche writing from successful writers working and making a living in markets across the prairies and the world.
This full-day conference features:
  • Breaking In: Taking Stock of the Marketplace by M E (Marie) Powell (http://mepowell.com/blog/): Learn from over 20 years of experience as
    Regina-based professional writer Marie Powell helps us examine the current
    print and online marketplace, how to choose a market, how to approach
    those markets, and how to ensure success in the changing marketplace.
    Marie is the founding president of PWAC-SK.

  • Your Next Travel Story Might be Right in Your Own Backyard by Doreen Pendgracs (http://doreenpendgracs.com/): In this 2-hour workshop, Pendgracs will help attendees learn how to spin a travel story from virtually any experience, whether at home in your own backyard or halfway around the world. You'll learn how to find markets for your work and how to create your own! Doreen, PWAC National Vice President, has worked as a freelance professional writer for 19 years. She has authored dozens of non-fiction magazine, newspaper articles, and books. Her latest title, Chocolatour:A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate, is expected to be released within the next year.
  • Niche Writing: Your Ticket to Success: Join us as we learn from experts currently working in diverse markets across the prairies. James Romanow(PWAC / SWG member), Jillian Bell (Saskatchewan Publishers Group),Michelle Greysen (PWAC Prairies and the North Regional Director / SWG Member), Darrell Noakes (PWAC / SWG member), and RoseAnna Schick (PWAC Manitoba member) will discuss the challenges of finding a niche, their successes as niche writers, and address where and how to publish their passions. 

Door Prizes:
  • All non-PWAC members will be entered in a draw to win a one-year PWAC membership (over $200 value).
  • Draw to take place at 5:00 pm. You must be present to win.
Support:
We wish to thank our supporters, PWAC Writers.caSaskatchewan Tourism, the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild, the Saskatoon Writers' Coop and the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit, for sponsorship and continued support.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Report from MagNet 2012





------------------------------------------
A report back on PWAC@MagNet12 from Calgary Member Jacqueline Louie:
MagNet 2012 and PWAC AGM

This was a great opportunity to connect with PWAC members from across Canada and attend some excellent professional developmentsessions. I was very pleased with the 4 PD sessions that I attended - it was really interesting to hear what the presenters had to say and a good look at what's going on in the wider industry. Also PWAC Toronto and head office did a great job of making delegates feel welcome and find their way around, with a lot of wonderful social events, as well as tours of Toronto.

PWAC Calgary and PWAC-SK PWAC Prairies and the North regional conference Sept. 22 in Saskatoon, it sounds like an excellent day of professional development sessions including a 2-hour workshop on travel writing and a panel of writers with various specialities. Early bird rate until Aug. 15 is a very good deal. They may be able to arrange billeting for members coming from out of town. (more to come later).

Check out the new writers.ca - everything from the previous website has been migrated to the new site. They want feedback this summer on how the site works for members. (currently still has some bugs in it).

Resources - PWAC Toronto newsletter apparently has some good ideas for events, and reaching out to the community. i.e. reaching out to colleges and universities and offering journalism students a student rate - it's a good way to give PWAC exposure to up and coming journalists and possibly encourage them to join PWAC as members. By linking with other organizations PWAC can do some good cross promotion of various events.

Thank you for the opportunity to be a Calgary chapter delegate to the PWAC AGM. It's definitely worthwhile for members to attend the PWAC AGM and MagNet, which will both be held in Toronto again next year as well as in 2014.

Writers.caThe new writers.ca - it's where writers and clients connect.
Check it out! It's PWAC's new tool for writers, publishers, editors and corporate buyers.
It's in stage one now and PWAC needs its members to try it out and provide feedback on how the site works for them. (provide feedback over the summer with formal launch this fall).
You can enhance your PWAC member profile - use lots of keywords so that people searching for a writer in your specialty can find you. What kind of companies do you want to serve and what services do you offer?
There will be room to include testimonials as part of your updated profile.
There will be forums - one private for PWAC members, one for the public. Visitors will include potential PWAC members and potential clients. You can use the public forum to announce things like professional development events, book releases, etc. etc. The site will include online work tools, boilerplate contract to offer clients, a database of clients, a digital repository where writers can post material to resell (thanks to Access Copyright support); paypal payments for resales as a convenience to clients ... a FAQ page is in the works. The main steps for members now is to update your profile;
use the forums to discuss things you are interested in; and you can create forums as well.
Members can still use existing PWAC list serves. Note: the new site is still a little buggy.

- Jacqueline

Award winning news!


For a great follow up on the PWAC@MagNet12 - AGM and Magazine Canada Conference – click on the Calgary Chapter link in the header above and read a great follow up report by Calgary Chapter member Jaqueline Louie. It was a great conference and I hope to see many of you there next year!

Bonnie Zink, left, with PWAC VP Doreen Pendgracs
Congratulations to the new President of the Saskatchewan Chapter, Bonnie Zink – winner of you REGIONAL VOLUNTEER AWARD this year at presented at the PWAC Awards Banquet at MagNet12.
 Her nominee has this to share about her: Bonnie has been dedicated to infusing new life into PWAC-SK for the past two years. She has been relentless in contacting members, new and old, to keep the PWAC fires burning. As member-at-large this year, she has lent her social media expertise to initiate ideas such as the PWACsask Facebook site and Twitter account. Through both, she has been energetic and supportive in sharing information and ideas among PWAC members of all regions. She has also volunteered her home to host a regional meeting, spent hours developing resources for PWAC members, and used new media such as "Doodle" meeting sign-up forms, and newsletters designed with such programs as MailChimp. She's an excellent role model for us all.”

Also from our Region was the Larry Jackson Award, the highest honour we bestow each year on a volunteer that has consistently gone beyond the norm in providing time, energy and intelligent leadership to PWAC over a span of time. The board of directors recognized Edmonton’s Cynthia Dusseault for her contributions as a past chapter president (Edmonton), a Regional Director (Prairies and the North) and most recently leading the task force that accomplished our constitutional renewal in Montreal last year. Here is what her nominees had to say about her: Cynthia was a remarkable RD for our region for two years, and we believe she deserves the recognition of this award. As RD, she emailed us all once a month or more, with information about conferences, job opportunities, and many other regional concerns and ideas. She was instrumental on the board in addressing larger issues as well, including the recent constitutional change. In 2010, she managed to help plan the best PWAC AGM in Toronto - while living in Edmonton, running a successful freelance business, emailing promptly with answers to questions from a fledgling PWAC chapter in the region, and being the an all-round great Prairies Region RD. She even started discussion groups on regional concerns, such as a Prairies website for communication across geographical distances. Prior to this, she won the regional volunteer award in 2005. She was a chapter president in Edmonton, and helped plan and run an AGM in that city in years past as well. And she manages this super-human schedule with grace and good humour. She's a credit to PWAC and a role model for all of us.

For the latest details on the fall REGIONAL EVENT in Saskatoon ... check out the latest posting in the Forums on the all new Writers.ca at – early registration fees offer a great saving! The exciting news is that a successful application to PWAC national has resulted in full Board support and Regional Funding granted to help make this a great day! More details at:


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

PWAC@MagNet Conference fast approaching!


Hello all PWAC members in the Prairies and the North Region!
Just writing to let you all know I am off to the National Conference and AGM as part of MagNet conference in Toronto next week (Canada’s Magazine Conference Jun 5 – 8, 2012 Magnet.MagazinesCanada.ca)
Some of you are also attending and I look forward to meeting with all our Regional delegates.
Our Regional meeting is set for Thursday June 7th in the Courtyard Marriott host hotel in the Bay Room from 12:30 to 1:45.
I look forward to welcoming you all in attendance but also I would ask those who are not able to attend the PWAC@MagNet this year to feel free to send along any concerns or questions you wish to be raised during our Regional meeting at the conference. I will report back to everyone on the notes of that session. There was a request that perhaps those not attending be able to skype into the meeting – I am not promising that could work but we could try – so if you are wanting to do that please contact me with your skype details and perhaps a few of us there can make that happen!
The annual regional Board reports, committee reports, budget and full annual report package will be available and sent from head office shortly. I encourage you all to read them and again please feel free to voice any concerns or comments to me to bring to the AGM on your behalf. The AGM is set at the end of the MagNet conference on Friday Jun 8, 2012 at 4 p.m. in the Courtyard Marriott host hotel. Again I will follow up with a post conference and AGM report following the events.
For those attending I look forward to meeting you all in person. For those not able to make it consider planning to attend next year as PWAC@MagNet is a rewarding annual conference. If Toronto seems to far and costly sets your sights on planning to attend the first Regional conference coming in September hosted by the Saskatchewan Chapter in Saskatoon – this will be a great event and more details from Chapter President Bonnie Zink:
PWAC-SK has joined with PWAC-Calgary to plan and deliver the first annual PWAC Prairies and the North regional conference. This one-day professional development opportunity is open to PWAC members and professionals working in creative industries across Saskatchewan, our region, and Canada. Connect, Celebrate, and Collaborate, will highlight the success of PWAC professionals as they present delegates with expertise on developing best practices and applying them to their own success.

Presenters include Doreen Pendgracs (two-hour travel writing workshop) and Marie Powell-Mendenhall, a successful Saskatchewan professional members. Delegates include PWAC members, professionals working in the creative industries, members of other writing related organizations, and anyone who is interested in learning how to develop best practices and how to apply them to their own success.


Date: September 22, 2012
Location: The Refinery, 507 & 509 Dufferin Avenue, Saskatoon SK
Early Bird Fees (available until August 15, 2012): PWAC members $75; partnering organization members $100; general public $120
 With the support of PWAC National, this event has the potential to become a hallmark annual event that will encourage membership growth while developing stronger ties between chapters within our region as well as promote PWAC members as accomplished professional writers ready to put their expertise to work for potential clients from local communities and business sectors. Sponsors currently include PWAC National, Saskatchewan Tourism, and the Saskatoon Writers' Coop.

Thank you to all our Chapter President and members who help make our PWAC Prairies and the North region a great place to be!
More news later this month when I return from Toronto, Board Meetings and MagNet.

Happy summer just around the corner!

Michelle Greysen
Regional Director PWAC Prairies and the North

Thursday, 3 May 2012

NATIONAL & REGIONAL Conferences scheduled

PWAC NATIONAL CONFERENCE & AGM / MagNet 2012
Canada's Magazine Conference - JUNE 5-8, 2012 
FOCUSING FORWARD
 - LEARN, CONNECT, CELEBRATE AND GROW
PWAC is a participating organization at MagNet and hold the PWAC AGM during the  
conference as well as hosting many exciting events and sessions. 
  It is not too late to be a delegate for your Chapter!
           http://www.pwac.ca/eventsandresources/pwacnationalconferenceagm
       or

           http://magnet.magazinescanada.ca/
         SAVINGS for early bird rate your registration must be received by 5:00 pm (EST) on May 4, 2012.


UPDATED NEWS on the fall REGIONAL CONFERENCE:
Join PWAC Prairies and the North as members come together in sunny Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan to connect, collaborate, and celebrate with PWAC professionals about bestpractices and travel writing. 

This full-day conference features:

  • Learning about best practices in the business of writing from Marie Powell-Mendhall and Darrel Noakes, two successful PWAC-SK members.
  • A two-hour workshop, delivered by Doreen Pendgracs, that will help attendees learn how to create a travel story from virtually any experience, whether at home in their own backyard or half way around the world. The workshop will also focus on developing markets for travel writing and how to seize the many opportunities that are right in front of you.
  • learn how to develop your skills and apply them to your success as a freelancer from the professionals: This panel discussion features professional writers living, working, and making a living in a diverse range of markets across the PWAC Prairies and the North region.
Contact Bonnie Zink, PWAC-SK President, at bonnie@bonniezink.com for more detail or to register.
  • Date: September 22, 2012
  • Location: The Refinery, 507 & 509 Dufferin Avenue, Saskatoon, SK
  • Time: 9:00 am registration with program to begin at 9:45 am
  • Fees: PWAC members $75; partnering organization members $100; and general public $120 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Save the DATE!! Regional Event next fall!




PWAC Prairies & the North Region invites you to save the date!
Connect & Collaborate!



Join us in
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
on
September 22, 2012
for a full day of professional
development and networking fun.




For more information, please contact:
Bonnie Zink (PWAC-SK Pres.)
Email: bonnie@bonniezink.com
Phone: 306-262-5651
SKYPE: bonniezink

Edmonton Chapter's BLUE CHAIR CAFE meetings!


Edmonton members Kate and Cynthia have sent along this exciting news - if you are in the area please drop in and join them the first Thursday of the month - all writers welcome!


Hi everyone!

Spring is in the air and I’m sure everyone is ready for some sunshine?  I know I am!

We’re going to try something new with the Edmonton Chapter of PWAC this year.   We’re going to start having a standing informal coffee/lunch get-together once a month.  We do know that people work and being able to plan ahead for a particular date makes life a lot easier than trying to find a date on the fly that may or may not work.

So our meetings will be on the first Thursday of each month.     Our first will be on Thursday, April 5th.

Location: The Blue Chair CafĂ© – 9624-76ave

Time: 11 am


We’ll get together and make our first meeting a chance to get to know each other again, and then going forward we can focus our meetings on particular issues, topics, and so on.

Please let me know if you can make.  Cynthia and I will be there with bells (and laptops) on.

Kate

Monday, 19 March 2012

PWAC National Office update on Bill C-11 ...


Bulletin # 3.7 Copyright Modernization Bill pushed through committee
The members of the Legislative Committee studying Bill C-11 began the clause by clause study of the legislation on Monday, March 12th and had completed their work by 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 13th. The Conservative majority on the committee rejected all 17 amendments put forward by the NDP members and 15 by the Liberals. They passed 8 amendments of their own.The legislation now returns to the House of Commons for Third Reading and then will go to the Senate.
The Government was true to its word in only making a small number of technical amendments. All amendments presented by the opposition were defeated. No amendments whatsoever were made to any of the education or library exceptions. The government relations professionals with whom we worked through the process said they had never seen such haste taken over such a complex bill.
Two technical amendments improve the Bill in favour of rightholders. First the "enablement" provision designed to go after the bit-torrent type websites was tightened to make it easier for rightsholders to rely on this provision to shut-down sites that primarily exist for the purpose of enabling acts of copyright infringement. Second the private purpose exception was clarified to ensure that the private purpose in question must be that of the individual that owns the original copy.
Both the NDP and the Liberal Party had plans to introduce an amendment to the fair dealing provision that would see the 6 CCH factors enshrined in the legislation. Given our discomfort with the CCH factors and our hope that the Supreme Court of Canada will improve upon these factors in the K-12 case, enshrining the CCH decision would be worse than doing nothing at all. The Book industry pulled its efforts together and combined them with those of the broader creative community to convince first the Liberal Party and then the NDP to not present such an amendment. While this was a small victory, it is a victory none the less. Had one of he opposition parties presented such an amendment, rumour has it that the Government may have voted in favour of the amendment making fair dealing for education more difficult for us to work on improving it through the court process.
The C-11 Legislative Committee is expected to report to the House of Commons by March 29th at the latest (likely earlier). The Bill will then be referred to the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. It is worth noting that the Conservatives have a majority in the Senate as well and this will make it very difficult to make any changes to the Bill in the Senate.
While the outcome is not as we had hoped,the "book" industry alliance (including PWAC, TWUC, CANSCAIP and both english and french publishers organizations) has done at tremendous job and has worked collaboratively in an unprecedented way. There is little, if anything, that we have not done in order to convince the Government that changes were needed to Bill C-11.
We want to thank all of you who responded through letters to your MPs, signatures on the PWAC Toronto petition, tweeting and re-tweeting our messages and even studying the issues and going to Ottawa for PWAC. Special thanks to Bruce Wilson and Michelle Greysen from our board and Jaclyn Law, Jane Langille and Karen Luttrell for their extra effort.

guest BLOG by PWAC B.C. member, Lyn Hancock ...


COMING SOON TO CALGARY, EDMONTON, BANFF AND AIRDRIE
APRIL 19-28
LYN HANCOCK
and her 20th book
THE RING:MEMORIES OF A METIS GRANDMOTHER
the story of Sam and Jane Livingston, Calgary's first settlers
Hi, fellow PWACers,
I'm on my way to your side of the mountains to present the culmination of a multi-decade history project on a family that I call the Forsyte Saga of Canada. A story that I feel merits some screenwriter to make into a documentary or feature film and where better to begin than in the Prairies or the North?
Can I tempt you with home-made bannock and buffalo jerky, Metis music, arts and crafts, photo displays and archival documents, slides, readings and lively conversation at one of my presentations in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff or Airdrie (schedule below) to hear about it? Of course, you can always buy the book or ask your library for it. And if you visit my blog The Perils of Self Publishing at www.lynhancock.com you'll find that the story of how it came to be is as tumultuous as the history of its hero and heroine. Actually, you could write a novel on how my website came to be and perhaps that tears-and-laughter drama could enfold over wine, coffee or a beer? And perhaps the ongoing saga of The Perils of Self Promotion to be written in a future blog.
Sam Livingston was a flamboyant Irish immigrant, a gold prospector (Forty-niner), buffalo hunter, fur trader and pioneer farmer who walked and rode across the American prairie from Livingston, Wisconsin (named after the family) to the California gold rush, up to the Rockies to the Northwest Territories, Fort Edmonton and finally made his home in what was to be Fort Calgary. Meanwhile, Jane Howse, a Metis girl from the Red River Colony and the granddaughter of Joseph Howse, the first HBC factor to cross the Rockies (Howse Pass) and build the first fur trading post, rode a Red River cart across the Canadian prairie to meet and marry Sam in Fort Victoria.
They had 14 children and their 13th child, unlucky Sam Livingston 11, died at 25, forcing his widow to give up their son, Sam Livingston 111, for adoption. His name was changed to Sam Letourneau. Lost for 64 years and never learning his true identity, he discovered his roots serendipitously in 1986 by reading a review in the Alberta Report onTell me, Grandmother, my precursor to The Ring. The magic of books. Read the website blog.
You'll find the Livingston name on many Calgary landmarks, a school, a fish hatchery, a federal building, two skyscrapers, a nature trail, the Big House in Heritage Park, a sculpture of his head at the airport - and even a beer. The Howse name is remembered in a river, a mountain and a mountain pass. Yet Tell me, Grandmother and The Ring are the only books written on this should-be-famous family. I don't want to write a screenplay but would you?
So it would be a privilege to see some of you in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff or Airdrie at a presentation or a private place. Anyone want to help with serving bannock and buffalo? If not, you can check out the book at Audrey's in Edmonton, or the Glenbow Museum, Fort Calgary, Heritage Park, Owl's Nest Books, Page's, or Monkeyshines in Calgary.
Yes, I am trying to bridge the generation gap. The book begins with the picture of one of Sam and Jane's great grandchildren playing with an orphan gibbon ape who spent a year with them in my grade six classroom in Victoria, BC. And that's how an animal book (for which I am mostly known..An Ape Came out of my Hatbox and Gypsy in the Classroom) led to a history book The Ring: Memories of a Metis Grandmother.
There's something for everybody as you can see in the schedule below. The one private presentation is on Sunday April 22 at the Beverley Centre long term care facility in Midnapore.
And now a picture is worth a thousand words, they say. Such are my lack of skills at the computer that you may find them inserted below or above on the attachment line. But don't forget to look at the schedule. Thanks for listening. And thanks if you can spread the word to media and your significant others!


For the complete schedule of Lyn's tour visit ...
 http://lynhancock.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/image0011.jpg

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

NEWS around the REGION ...



PWAC-Calgary Chapter Meeting Announcement
PWAC-Calgary chapter will be holding its next meeting on:
Date: Friday, March 9, 2012
Time: 7 - 9 p.m.
Place: Dudley's Lounge in the Carriage House Inn (9030 Macleod Trail South)
Guest: Michelle Greysen, PWAC Regional Director, Prairies and the North
Cost: Free; pizza provided; members to purchase their own beverages, if desired
RSVP: Andrea at pwaccalgary@gmail.com  on or before Thursday, March 8

The Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA) will be holding their annual conference on March 22-24, 2012, at the Carriage House Inn in Calgary  ( www.albertamagazines.com ) . The conference offers several sessions of interest to freelance writers. (In fact, PWAC's president, Craig Silverman, will be giving a presentation.) Please check out AMPA's website to view the complete brochure. Congratulations to Calgary Chapter member and past president Heather Cook for winning her Chapter draw for a complimentary session at the conference.

VISIT the new fbook page and tag your writing friends in the southern Alberta area with info on the soon open newly forming LETHBRIDGE & AREA CHAPTER – now that IS exciting!

Congratulations to the new President of the Saskatchewan Chapter, Bonnie Zink! Joining her on the executive for the coming year will be Past President Kelly-Anne Riess, Vice President, Marie Powell Mendenhall, and Member-at-Large Darrell Noakes.  Bonnie  notes “...Joining a committee or becoming a member of our executive is a great way to build skills, connect with our members and get to know PWAC from the inside out ...” and welcomes any Saskatchewan chapter members to contact her for details on how they can get involved.

Manitoba member Irene Gordon has just launched her most recent book, People of the Fur Trade. Her reading event scheduled for Mar 2 has rescheduled due to bad weather and it will now happen as follows: 
(thanks for the update Irene)  ... "I am giving a reading/talk on my books at the Selkirk Library on Friday March 30 between 1 and 3 p.m. The library is in Selkirk, Manitoba, on the corner of Main Street and Ross Avenue. "The group is informal, sitting round a table with coffee/tea and sweets with good conversation and interest to our invited guests," according to the leader of the group. Everyone is welcome."

There has never been a better time to join PWAC with the national membership drive on until March 31/12 and a great welcoming offer! http://www.pwac.ca/joiningpwac/joinpwac 
As a current member you can earn your next year’s dues and MagNet conference opportunities by welcoming new members!  The MagNet information is now up and early bird rate, your registration must be received no later than 5:00 pm (EST) on May 4, 2012.  http://magnet.magazinescanada.ca/

And don’t forget that PWAC is hosting an online auction Donation Drive with great offerings at 
 http://www.32auctions.com/organizations/3072/auctions/3434