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. 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Setting up a booth at events: Is it worth your time and money?

On Sept. 21 and 22, writers, readers, booksellers, and professional organizations gathered in five cities across the country for Word on the Street events.

Described as a national celebration of literacy and the written word, the event features readings, signings, children’s activities, and a marketplace.

In Saskatoon, the Professional Writers’ Association of Canada Saskatchewan Chapter shared a booth in the marketplace with the Saskatchewan branch of the Editors’ Association of Canada. Our tables were set up by 9:30 a.m., and volunteers from each organization manned them all day until 5 p.m.

PWAC-SK member Darrell Noakes at The Word on the Street in Saskatoon.
photo: Ashleigh Mattern.

Was it worth the effort?

PWAC Sask didn’t gain any immediate new members from participating in the event, but then again, we didn’t expect to. This is an event mostly for readers, and while some readers are also writers, most people weren’t heading to the event looking for professional support.

But by the end of the day, we had spoken to dozens of people who hadn’t heard of PWAC before. Our name was in the promotional material, and who knows how many people took note as they walked past, without talking to us. As a way to advertise the PWAC brand, it was a pretty affordable venture.

Also, sharing the booth with the EAC gave members of both groups a chance to chat with one another. We even hatched plans to do more collaborative work together since our organizations have such similar aims. 

Organizing the event did not take too much effort. A form mailed, a cheque sent, a few emails, promotional materials ordered, and we were good to go. And now we have leftover promotional materials that could be used at our next event.

To booth or not to booth?

When the discussion comes up about whether we should do it again, I’ll vote that we do. Word on the Street is a fun event, so I certainly didn’t mind spending the day there.

Next year, I’ll also recommend name tags for the booth sitters, and more prominent signage to boost the advertising factor, both of which the EAC had at their table.

But not every event is created equal; fellow PWAC member Doreen Pendgracs posted a story about her experience at a trade show, but she did not see much value in setting up a table there. Her view is worth a read!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Access Copyright: Reminder for PWAC Members

It's that time of year again, when we remind PWAC members about Access Copyright, the agency that serves as the Canadian Copyright Licencing Agency.

If you hold the copyright for your published work, i.e., if it's not work-for-hire* with all rights owned by your client), then consider signing with Access.

Even though the Professional Writers Association of Canada is a member organization of Access, individual writers still need to submit their information, including publication credits.

Here's the FAQ blurb from the Access Copyright site:
    If I am a member of PWAC (or any other Access Copyright member organization), does that automatically make me an Access Copyright affiliate?
    No. Being a member of an Access Copyright member organization does not automatically make you an affiliate. Please click here to learn how to become affiliated with Access Copyright.

Access manages licensing, collection of licensing fees and distribution of royalties on affiliates' behalf, so that we can focus on what we do best — creating.  

Benefits of being an individual Access member include Payback royalties for your published work. Sign up before the end of December, 2013, to to be eligible to enter your publications for the next series of payments in 2014.

  1. To learn more about joining Access as a creator, see:
  2. To learn more about Payback royalties, see:
  3. And, to join, see:

And a note on that sometimes wonderful, sometimes contentious work-for-hire*  thing... This may be fine under many circumstances, especially if the pay is great... But keeping your own copyright to your original, creative work is also a wonderful thing for freelancers to consider. You can learn more about copyright by visiting and - or by talking others in your local PWAC chapter.   

-- posted by Shelley Banks

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Find a Writer in Canada's Prairies and North

Looking for a great writer to develop articles for your magazines, produce web content or manuals, write speeches, newsletters or annual reports?

The PWAC Prairies and North Regional Blog is a hub for a diverse group of Canadian professional writers who specialize in freelance writing, editing, and copywriting for the public, private and non-governmental sectors.

Some of us work full-time, some part-time, and some on the side, but we are all committed to producing great work for our clients, whether they are in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, or anywhere else on the Prairies and North — or across Canada and beyond! (We're centrally based in the middle of North America, so easy to access from wherever you are.)

To learn more about our members' skills and interests, and to find the best writer for your project:

  • Check out the links to the Member Websites and Member Blogs at the right. 
  • Visit, PWAC's virtual hiring hall, where writers and clients connect. Once there, you can Find a Writer by searching by name, location, subject or expertise for your next project. 
Happy writing! 

-- posted by Shelley Banks

Monday, 5 August 2013

Get the Most out of a PWAC Conference

10 Ways to Get the Most out of a Conference (on the heels of attending MagNet 2013)

  1. Bring your business cards, give them out and take other people’s. Forgot yours at home? Get creative.  Elizabeth Johnston of Montreal went down the street, bought a bag of colourful, foam letters (the kind you would use to do an art project) and wrote her email address and website on them. When she ran into people, she opened her little mesh bag and asked them to pick their favourite letter. Mine is an orange “A.”
  1. Be prepared for “manageable networking.” Very few of us can be “on” 24/7. Have a few brief conversations then slink up to your room, if you need to, before coming back down for the next stretch of chatting.
  1. Take some time at the marketplace to talk with industry insiders (there are often fun freebies like pens and pads of paper for the taking).
  1. Have a sense of humour. As one of my sources recently said: Three things will tick (I am paraphrasing) you off every day. How are you going to handle that?
  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at the registration area. Even after registration is long over, it is an excellent resource.
  1. Follow-up afterwards. A quick thank you e-note to a presenter or request for a colleague to connect with you on LinkedIn demonstrates he or she has made an impression on you. And who doesn’t want to know that?
  1. Select five people you want to meet before the conference is over and make an effort to find them. It won’t always be easy, especially if the conference is large. For example, I never managed to locate Max Fawcett from Alberta Venture or Jennifer Walker from Best Health, both of whom I work with but have never met. But I met Laurie Jennings from Chatelaine.
  1. Be prepared for surprises. I literally ran into Trudi Down from Hamilton at the pre-dinner cocktail party who turned out to be a lovely connection. And Noreen Shanahan, who writes obituaries for the Globe and Mail. Really? Very cool.
  1. Step outside the hotel. Go shopping, grab a coffee and stretch your legs. Consider taking part in the additional activities typically organized by the host city. But don’t feel obliged. Pick and choose the events which appeal to you. This conference is a precious opportunity. You want it to work for your needs.
  1. Nobody is perfect, nor is any conference. Be prepared to give balanced feedback to the organizers. There is always room for improvement. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

PWAC Regional Seminar - Doing Business with the Government of Canada

Doing Business with the Government of Canada
PWAC Prairies and the North Regional Seminar
Friday September 6, 1:00-3:00 pm
Alternate: Tuesday August 27, 2:00-4:00 pm

Start your fall off right by exploring how to successfully sell your writing services to the federal government.  Darlene Chuka, Supply Team Leader with the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME), will offer this special free seminar to PWAC Prairies and the North region members who are interested in learning about the procurement process and how to sell goods and services to the Government of Canada. Members, associate members, and student members are welcome to attend.

Each member will be able to log in at his or her computer terminal, at the specified date and time, in a flexible webinar-style setting. At the same time, members from the same chapter will hear the information, have a chance to ask questions that target it to our region, and be able to discuss the information together afterwards, to get maximum benefit from the seminar.

Seminar topics include:
  • Overview of the contracting process
  • Registering in supplier databases
  • Finding key purchasing contacts
  • Conducting market research through searching previously awarded contracts
  • Searching for opportunities on the Tenders mini site
  • Finding subcontracting opportunities
  • Obtaining security clearances
  • Bidding on opportunities

To register, please send an email with the subject "Seminar registration" including the preferred date, your name, company name, email address, and phone number, to Marie Powell at

Please respond by August 15 so we can set up the seminar details.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Prairie Regional VOLUNTEER AWARD WINNER June 2013

The PWAC Regional Volunteer Awards were born in 2005 and recognize the valuable contribution of members who volunteer for the organization in their regions. This year’s worthy recipient from the Prairie and the North Region was Calgary chapter president Andrea Tombrowski.

This was her nomination:

Andrea has been the president for the Calgary chapter of PWAC for the last two years. She has demonstrated, during this timeframe, responsibility, initiative and creativity in fulfilling this role. She organizes and chairs regular meetings for chapter members and has invited interesting guests to these working groups, such as editor Jennifer Hamilton of Avenue and editor Terry Bullick of Apple. Chapter membership has grown under her “reign” and has been more active than ever. She works well with other writers’ groups such as the Calgary Association of Freelance Editors (CAFE) and the Writers Guild of Alberta, passing along important information from said groups and encouraging joint meetings. She contributes to PWAC policy discussions and list-serve discussions, she has attended regional conferences and has facilitated action on the regional blog. Andrea juggles these daunting duties while trying to get a documentary produced and raising two young children with her husband, and all the while maintains a sense of humour. Chapter members could learn from her dedication to her craft and her community.

This was Andrea’s response to winning the award: 

"It's thrilling to have received this award. I am honoured that I was considered for this recognition and am humbled by what it represents. I'd like to say that there are numerous opportunities for members to be involved in PWAC. And I am inspired by those persons who contribute their time, energy, talents and passion to this invaluable organization. The rewards of getting involved are abundant and can be - as in the case of receiving this award - delightfully surprising."
Let’s give a “shout out” to the winners from all the regions. Giving buckets of time to PWAC this way is truly appreciated and makes the writing world a better place.

Colleen Biondi
PWAC Calgary Chapter

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Looking for freelance writing work is not for sissies ...

by Colleen Biondi
PWAC Calgary Chapter

Looking for work is not for sissies.

It sounds pretty basic. Email editors to let them know you are available for projects and they will give you work. But what if we don’t hear back (and, in my experience, that is happening more and more – editors are busy apparently), then what should we do? As professional freelance writers, we can’t afford to sit back and wait for work to come our way. We could be waiting till the cows come home.

Do we call them by phone or do we send them a reminder email (as in, “I am following up on my email of last week.”) or another type of message (as in, “Since I haven’t heard back I will assume you are not in need of my services at this time.”)?

Freelance writing skills now include finessing the situation so that responsible follow up does not turn into quasi-stalking. My rule of thumb is to send a reminder email, followed finally and if necessary, by a message like that last one. I cannot tell you how many times, when I have said “Looks like you don’t need anything,” I have heard back from folks. Ironically, when I say something like, “I know you are busy, so no need to reply if you have nothing at this time. I will connect with you in a few months to see if anything has changed,” people tend to reply.

Follow up often bears fruit. The other day, an editor replied to say, “Thanks for getting back. I did get your follow up message and I apologize for not getting back to you faster.” Another said, “I was waiting to have my editorial meeting, so didn’t get back to you before now. I’d like to assign you a story and consider you for another in our fall issue.” Further to querying a national magazine, a follow-up phone call resulted in – nada. Well, you can’t win them all.

But when we follow up respectfully and in a timely fashion, at the very least we are, albeit briefly, front and centre in that editor’s mind. We have also demonstrated how we would approach a freelance assignment – with professionalism. And, of course, we might even get work out of it.

Would love to hear thoughts from my fellow writers. What do you do to keep that dialogue going? And if there are editors reading, do you have some comments about my approach or other viable suggestions about how to keep the work chugging along?

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Guest Blog on Non-Fiction Conference in Banff ...

The Creative Non-Fiction Collective Annual Conference,
Banff, April 26 – 28, 2013

PWAC, Calgary Chapter

The CNFC Annual Conference was held at the Banff Centre this past weekend.  Approximately fifty delegates came together to participate in workshops, readings, a plenary session, to hear a guest speaker, do some networking, learning, experience camaraderie and enjoy good food!  Some people came all the way from Halifax and Nanaimo, plus many places in-between, including numerous writers from Alberta.

Six months ago, I was invited to join the CNFC by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail, an author based in Edmonton I have gotten to know over the last eighteen months because of our common interest in the history of aviation. 

Not knowing what to expect, but filled with anticipation, I signed up for the conference.  Two workshops were offered simultaneously in the morning:  “Ownership:  Stories and Lies” given by Tyler Trafford and Kate Braid, moderated by Myrna Kostash, and “Writing History into Your Work” by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail. 

Attending Danielle’s session, I met other writers and people interested in pursuing writing and history.  We all shared what areas we were interested in and what tools we would need to accomplish our goals.  I came away with more ideas and was also able to contribute a few, too.  Before we knew it, our ninety minutes was over!  We were so engaged; we all agreed we could have stayed together until noon. 

The delegates had a break for refreshments then gathered for the plenary session featuring three people who discussed marketing, promotion and publicity of one’s work, the changes in the publishing ‘landscape’, technology, and readership trends.  A few new platforms were discovered, including
Books written by members of the CNFC were on tables against the wall, available for purchase.

Then it was time for a delicious lunch, involving more discussion and networking, finding out about other writers and their projects.  It seemed time had flown by; we had to return to our afternoon workshops.  Two more choices were offered:  “Stories from the Road:  Travel Writing”, by Marcello Di Cintio and Glenn Dixon, moderated by Cathy Ostlere, and “Perspiration Leads to Inspiration” by Lynne Bowen.  I chose the second session.  Again, sharing of ideas and how to organize research occurred. 

Another refreshment break....yum!  Then to the Keynote Address by Karen Connelly, entitled:  “New Instrument, Another Music:  Moving from Fiction and Poetry to CNF.”  I had heard of Karen’s work, but have not read it, so to hear this famous Canadian writer speak, then read some of her poetry and prose was very enlightening.

The CNFC conference was excellent.  And a great deal.  For $73.50, I attended two sessions, the two general sessions, including all refreshments, a very extensive buffet lunch, and parking, too!  It was an easy drive up and back from Calgary!

The CNFC will be celebrating their tenth anniversary in 2014.  I highly recommend their next conference.  I look forward to joining them again.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Guest Blog on upcoming Edmonton Event, Words in 3 Dimensions ...

It might have been me with a book deal …

I well remember Cynthia Dusseault, head of Pitch Camp at the Get Publishing Communications Society (GPCS) “At the Edge of Print” 2011 conference, ask me, “Do you want to take a Pitch Camp slot with Rose Scollard from Frontenac House? I chose to set aside my poetic aspirations and instead pitched to Darren Boisvert, editor of community newspaper the Rat Creek Press. Deborah Lawson, a fellow PWAC member, took the slot with Rose Scollard and landed a contract with Frontenac House.

Although it may have been a missed opportunity, I also believe all things are meant to be. I now live in Darren Boisvert’s editorial community for the Rat Creek Press. He offers incredible mentoring, editorial guidance, thorough feedback and respectful editing for writers open to the process. He is super appreciative of professional writers and offers whatever he can to compensate for … yes … low pay. Generous with his praise, he says, “You have wicked interviewing skills. You spend six months with us, and I promise, you will be able to freelance to any newspaper in Canada.” Priceless. Best editor relationship I have ever enjoyed and I owe it to Pitch Camp at the GPCS conference.

I am having a blast writing a feature article a month and doing the monthly restaurant review. We call my reviews the Food Quest. The first quest was for great pub food and the best poutine. The second quest was to learn about Ethiopian food with Edmonton’s Habesha the unknowing teacher. More than fun, the quest is proving to be quite edible.

The best part? The Rat Creek Press and Boisvert gave me my first shot at an article that mattered and free reign to present the issue as I saw fit. It felt like the first time I wrote something of import. My article on Idle No More made the front page in March.

So while it might have been me signing a poetry book deal with Frontenac House, I am thrilled it is Deborah Lawson. I have long admired her poetry and will be first in line to buy her book when it comes out.

This year’s GPCS conference on May 24-26th is a three-way collaboration, thus the “Words in 3D” theme. GPCS is partnering with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta and the Editors’ Association of Canada-Prairie Provinces Branch to host Words in 3 Dimensions. There are a number of PWAC members on the organizing committee including Deborah Lawson, Cynthia Dusseault and me.

What a conference it is going to be! Registration is rapidly filling up so register soon. We will see you there!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Volunteering Can be Great for Your Spirit ...

Volunteering Can be Great for Your Spirit, Your Resume, and for Our Association   by Doreen Pendgracs, PWAC Vice President

Greetings to all my PWAC friends from across the region. PWAC RD Prairies and the North, Michelle Greysen, has been kind enough to ask me to write a post for this blog for two reasons:

1) I have been a long-time volunteer for PWAC—in the Manitoba chapter as membership chair and on the national conference committee in both 1998 and in 2008, as regional director from 1999-2003, as PWAC’s rep on the Access Copyright from 2003-2009, and then as your national vice-president 2011-2013.
2) I wrote a book about volunteerism—“Before You Say Yes: A Guide to the Pleasure and Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards” and over the past 30 years, have served on a number of boards in various capacities.

I have chosen to step down from PWAC’s national board in June (and not run for president) as I have considerable demands on my time right now that will take the majority of my time and efforts. My new book, “Chocolatour: A Quest for theWorld’s Best Chocolate” has become a series of books that will take my time and focus from here to eternity.

All kidding aside, when I embarked on the research for this book in the fall of 2009, I had no idea it would morph into such a major project and would take over my life. It has taken me six months longer than anticipated to write the book (I’m almost finished the first edition) and then I must turn my efforts to the printing and promotion of the book to the world at large. I have already begun writing parts of the 2nd edition and eventually, there will be a third. I believe it was PWAC member Ann Douglas who said she considers each of her books to be a deposit into her RRSP, and I can really relate to that. Chocolatour has taken a huge amount of my time and effort, but I am hopeful that will pay off in a positive response to the book and brisk sales to provide me with some financial security for the years to come.

Have you considered volunteering for PWAC? Whether you choose to serve on a national committee, run for the national board, or serve your own chapter … each role is extremely important and critical to the success of our association. A non-profit association—be it a professional association such as PWAC, a community, special interest, or religious group—none can be successful without the untiring efforts of its volunteers.

We at PWAC are fortunate to have volunteers who have and will step up to the plate to ensure that PWAC continues to serve us well. Congrats to Michelle Greysen, who has served us well as Prairies & the North RD and has now agreed to run for national president. I am pleased to be one of Michelle’s nominators and am confident that she will do an excellent job.

I’m also thrilled to see that Marie Powell has agreed to let her name stand for the position of RD. I have known Marie since she joined PWAC and have seen her dedication to our association grow and help form a strong Saskatchewan chapter for PWAC. I know that Marie will do an excellent job in serving as RD if she is elected by our region.

You will have received the bulletin from the national office today asking for nominations to the national board. If you feel you would like to run, let nothing stop you. It would be great to have an election for all positions versus having an individual acclaimed. We have so many talented and insightful members across the Prairies and the North.  Let PWAC help you shine your light and develop skills you may not otherwise have found.

But know that volunteering for your own chapter or serving on a committee is equally important. I hope that each chapter is beginning to think about electing a new executive to take the helm come June. New people bring new ideas and a renewed enthusiasm for our great association. Please help make PWAC strong by giving your time and energy to helping us move forward in achieving our collective goals.

Thanks for the opportunity to have served you over the past two years on the national board. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Toronto June (4-7) for PWAC@MagNet 2013 and look forward to leading a toast to our new president.

Most sincerely,

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Harnessing the Power of the Web: The Adventures in Parenthood Project

Guest Blog by Meghan J. Ward, PWAC Calgary / Banff

Living in the Canadian Rockies where outdoor enthusiasts abound, the subject of how to pursue adventures with small children is common. As an outdoor adventure writer I often find myself at the centre of these discussions. Many outdoor enthusiasts struggle to brave the changes that would result from starting a family, fearing it would negatively affect his or her adventure-filled lifestyle.

"We announced our transition to parenthood with a photo
at the top of the Bear's Hump,
Waterton Lakes National Park" (photographer Paul Zizka Photography). 

Being one such adventurer, I was eager to dig into the topic and dedicate a large writing project to it (which I hope will someday become material for my first book).
So, back in May 2012 I started The Adventures in Parenthood Project and launched a website to support my research.
My intention with the project was to cover the spectrum of adventurers – from professional risk-takers to the people who quietly go about their outdoor activities – in order to discover what it means for these kinds of people to transition to parenthood.

Since that time I have interviewed over a dozen outdoor adventurers, conducted a survey with 442 respondents and had the opportunity to write some memoir components – all of which I have begun unpacking somewhat on the project’s blog. In September I announced that my husband and I were expecting a baby in March, which has brought the project’s topic even closer to home.

I have been blogging for many years, but not about very personal issues. However, the challenge of writing memoir components for the project has allowed me to dig into the material through my own experience and leave a record that I will be able to look back on. The process of writing some of these posts, including How (Not) to Cross a Glacier in a Thunderstorm While You’re Pregnant and The Ultimate Alpine Start, has given me the opportunity to work through some of my own feelings on the topic, and in some cases has opened up a lot of discussion through the website’s comments feature. All of this material, including the interviews, survey results, blog posts and comments, will be invaluable to me when it comes time to write the book.

By putting The Adventures in Parenthood Project online I have opened it up to a much wider community. This has allowed me to benefit from new connections with other outdoorsy parents, and to network with new sources, ideas and websites, many of which I have now compiled in a list of Resources for readers. My ability to leverage all of my social media streams has been key to successful community building. 

I highly encourage other PWAC members to consider using the web as a platform for research ideas. You can never know what kinds of doors will open to you until you put your ideas out there. Finally, when it comes time to release your next book or publication, you will have already created a community that is eager to read and support your work.

I invite you to check out The Adventures in Parenthood and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter (@yaheweha), Google + and LinkedIn. My hub for all things freelance is

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Antigonish Review Writing CONTEST ...

Thanks to Sask Chapter member Marie Powell for sharing this message sent to her from ...

Bonnie McIsaac
Office Manager, The Antigonish Review


$2,400 in Prizes!

Sheldon Currie Fiction Prize: Stories on any subject. Total entry not to
exceed 20 pages.

Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest: Poems on any subject. Total entry not to
exceed 4 pages. Maximum150 lines. Entries might be one longer poem, or
several shorter poems.

Deadlines: Fiction entries must be postmarked by May 31, 2013 and
Poetry must be postmarked by June 30, 2013

For complete submission guidelines, please go to and click on contest.

Monday, 11 February 2013

PWAC-SK Meeting in Saskatoon, SK

PWAC-SK Meeting in Saskatoon, SK

When: Saturday, February 23, 2.00-4:00 pm
Where: #308 - 921 Main Street,Saskatoon
Why: To discuss our recent work - Please bring one tip or an example from
your experience to share with the group.
Who: Everyone welcome

RSVP: to Doreen Kerby <>

Monday, 4 February 2013


PWAC Calgary Chapter News

This just in from PWAC Calgary President Andrea Tombrowski ...

"I am a professional freelance writer and President of PWAC's Calgary chapter. Below is a link to an article I wrote for the Calgary Herald about my family living without a vehicle for the past 14 years in Calgary.

My husband and I are currently producing a documentary called Car Less in Calgary which challenges four car-dependent households to go without their cars for a week. To follow the project, please visit our Facebook page ("

Thanks Andrea for sharing your article link and your commitment to a Car Less family life!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Book Launch and Beyond ... By Anne Gafiuk

Thank you to Calgary PWAC member, Anne Gafiuk, for sharing her Book Launch experience ... 

In March of 2012, I drove south from Calgary to High River’s Museum of the Highwood to pick up a DVD with scanned photos related to the subject of my book, having met and talked with the director, Pat, a few weeks earlier to select photos from the museum’s archives. 

Knowing pictures are not cheap, from my experience with the cost of one photo from the War Museum of Canada, when I was handed the bill, I did a double-double take.....yikes, I thought...but I need them.  I could see Pat was also concerned about my reaction.  I handed over my VISA card and paid the invoice.

As I continued putting together Wings Over High River , a biography about Gordon Jones, pilot instructor during WWII, I stayed in contact with the museum’s director.  By the time the book was just about in production in the late fall, she proposed a book launch.

“A book launch?”

“Sure....we can host it here.”

I was not expecting this at all.  Pleased, surprised and a bit in shock, I replied, “We need to talk to the fellows in Nanton, they are the publishers.”

Another meeting occurred with Pat, and Dave, one of the directors from the Bomber Command Museum plus me.  We agreed on a day – before Christmas – workable for everyone involved:  Saturday, December 1, 2012.  Both museums created press releases.  The ball started to roll. 

Local papers in the area picked up the story:  Nanton, High River and Okotoks.  Talk Radio QR77 in Calgary wanted an interview.  People were calling the Museum of the Highwood wanting more information.  Pat fielded the calls, emails being sent to me to keep me in the loop.  I couldn’t have asked for a better response.

The day of the book launch arrived.....but an interview was scheduled beforehand at Gordon’s home.  Gordon was in fine form and the question and answer period went well....back to the museum and all was set up:  my family assisted Pat and her fellow staff members with the cheese, crackers and little cakes while I was at the interview; Dave brought the sparkling apple juice; coffee and tea, cups and plates, napkins laid out.......people started to gather in the open spaces.....Gordon and his wife arrived....more people...and more people....the museum was filling up.  Then it was time for the programme. 

Pat was the emcee.  She rang a loud school bell to grab everyone’s attention....and the event opened.  Pat spoke briefly, then invited Gordon’s daughter to give a brief history of the family in the  the President of the Bomber Command Museum gave his short speech about Gordon’s contribution to aviation....then it was my turn!  I had rehearsed what I was going to say for days beforehand, in the car, in an empty house....I thanked so many people:  Gordon and his wife, first of all....then the directors of the museums....then my photographer friend....and everyone was a collaborative effort all the way around.  Gordon had his turn at the podium, too.  Onward to the book signing – Pat kept the event moving right along.

Pat set up a table with books and pens.  (“I made sure they work, Anne,” she assured me.)  And people lined up for their copy.  (“A best seller at the museum,” I was told.)  Before we knew it, people were starting to head home, the museum quieted down.....then Gordon and I were asked for another interview with a reporter of the CBC Calgary Late Night News....

What a day December 1, 2012 was for me....and Gordon, too.  I had concerns the book launch might be anti-climactic....that the researching and the writing of the book would be more exciting.  Was it just like what people say about a wedding...months and months of preparation, planning....for one day...then it’s done?  Months and months of research....interviews...travels...meeting new this where the high comes from?

One person I met through the research of Wings Over High River posed to me, “What’s next, Anne?”   I’ve got a few ideas.....most of them connected to the BCATP....that acronym I had no idea existed nor what it meant....and had to practice saying....the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan....and the many men who joined the RCAF...and died for their country.

Two days after the book launch, I went to the post office to mail six copies of Wings Over High River....they were travelling, so to speak, across the country:  to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Saanichton, British Columbia and points in-between.  Since CBC’s The National covered the story in early January 2013, more book orders have been pouring in, including one from the US.  Gordon’s story has made aviation websites, newspapers, and the television, with online versions, too.

The book has taken on a life of its own.

“It’s grown amazing legs”, says Colleen Biondi, another PWAC member. 

Yes, that it has!

WINGS OVER HIGH RIVER - Conversations with A. Gordon Jones
by Anne Gafiuk