Saturday, October 13, 2018

The First Line Literary Magazine

I recently discovered The First Line Literary Magazine, which has a fascinating premise. The call for submissions for each issue gives you the first line of the story, and then you take it from there, the idea being that different authors will have very different takes on where to go with it. So fun!

I submitted a new story in my "Ransom and the ..." series in response to "The Window was open just enough to let in the cool night air" and "Ransom and the Open Window" was one of eight stories selected out of the nearly 1,000 submissions. Pretty pleased with that, given it was my first try at this game. If you're looking for a stimulus to get you past writer's block or just want a fun challenge, one could do worse than giving this contest series a try. It's a paying market, but the fun quotient far outweighs the token payment.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Editing Canadian English

Editing Canadian EnglishEditing Canadian English by Editors' Association of Canada
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I mostly use Chicago Manual of Style and/or American Psychological Association style guides in my role as book editor, but it's nice to have this resource on my desk for Canadian content that doesn't require strict adherence to either APA or CMOS. The book contains intelligent discussions of the Editors Association of Canada (Editors Canada) take on a whole range of issues--dealing with racism, sexism, ableism in writing, for example--that move the reader from a simple prescriptivist perspective found in most style guides to a much more sophisticated understanding that is closer to the way professional editors think.

Highly recommended for all Canadian editors, and for Canadian writers interested in self-editing.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

More new Essential Edits staff

Adria Laycraft (Editor and Writing Coach)

Adria Laycraft has joined the Essential Edits team. She has a journalism degree and nearly twenty years experience as an author, copywriter, and editor. She was the co-editor of the Aurora nominated Urban Green Man anthology from Edge, and has been published in such venues as IGMS, Tesseracts, Neo-opsis, On-Spec, Hypersonic Tales and various anthologies. She works primarily in the SF&F genre. She is a member of Editors Association of Canada (Editors Canada) and the Calgary Association of Freelance Editors.

Adria is based in Calgary, and her home page is http://

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

WordBridge Writers Convention Lethbridge

I should mention that Essential Edits is one of the sponsors for the WordBridge writers conference in Lethbridge, scheduled for Feb 9, 2019. Tentative plans are to have a single track of programming during the day, followed by the keynote speaker, followed by a meet and mingle.

The hope is to (1) act as a catalyst to help create a cohesive writing/literary community in Lethbridge and area; (2) provide a conference experience for writers who cannot afford the expense of travelling and staying overnight in Calgary for When Words Collide or the WGA conference, etc, or who cannot get away because of elder care or child care or employment issues; and (3) to connect Lethbridge to writers in other communities.

The WordBridge web page is

The WordBridge Facebook page is

We talked about WordBridge at When Words Collide conference in Calgary last weekend and I was surprised at the immense support from Calgary area authors. It was very energizing to have not only the writers from Lethbridge come and take a button from us, but writers from everywhere express interest in attending or supporting the conference. I'm very excited about the possibilities!

As an aside, my report on my experience at this year's When Words Collide conference, is at WWC has always been and remains my favorite writers' convention, but when it started eight years ago, it wasn't much bigger than we're planning for WordBridge.

WordBridge will be the third literary convention for which I was a founding board member. Back in 1979, I was one of those involved in launching Edmonton's NonCon SF convention, which ran for twenty years; and I was secretary for ConText'89 and '91, which saw the founding and consolidation of SF Canada (Canada's national association of professional SF writers) which is still alive and well today). The Lethbridge Library's Word on the Street successes shows that there is a lively community of readers and book lovers in the city; now to focus more specifically on building an event for writers.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

New Essential Edits Staff

Halli Lilburn (Editor and Writing Coach)

Halli is an editor, workshop leader, writing coach, and author. She has published in Tesseracts, Carte Blanche,Spirited, We Shall Be Monsters, and other venues; was co-editor of The Dame Was Trouble anthology [Coffin Hop Press, 2018]; and is the author of the YA novel, Shifters. She is a member of The Editors Association of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta,and is part of Essential Edits' Lethbridge team. She has extensive teaching/workshop experience working with both teens and adults. Halli is Essential Edits’ lead for teen writers, YA authors, and horror, but also edits poetry and genre fiction.

Halli Lilburn's SF YA novel, Shifters.

Halli will be participating in panels at When Words Collide in Calgary this coming weekend, the Essential Edits table at Word on the Street Lethbridge (Sept 22, 2018) and is offering a creative writing workshop through CASA October 20.

Monday, July 23, 2018

A Good Month for My Fiction

After coming in second in the Hummingbird Prize, I got more good news today: my time travel story, "Sermon on the Mount" was selected by On Spec Magazine to showcase the magazine in Alberta Unbound, the Alberta Magazine Publications Association online exhibit. The exhibit only lasts a couple of months, but you're welcome to read my story for free while it lasts.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Runner-Up in Pulp Literature's Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize

The Current Issue of Pulp Literature

Very pleased that "Day Three", my second-ever piece of flash fiction, came in second in Pulp Fiction's Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize. I believe the story will appear in the Winter 2019 issue.

I am particularly pleased because getting published in Pulp Literature was one of the five writing goals I set myself for this year. Getting X number of stories written for the year was goal one, of course, and two was to see if I could get something published/sold each month (so far, four out of six, but still time to catch up), and the third was to finish polishing the novel and approaching agents—I'm lined up for a session with an agent in three weeks—fourth was selling to Pulp Literature; and fifth was writing an article for University Affairs, which is on my agenda as soon as I finish teaching for the year.

So, what are your writing goals for 2018?