Is 2021 the year you dive into writing?

Are you as excited as I am to see 2020 finally end? With a new and improved (and hopefully, Covid-free) year ahead of us, now is a great time to plan for the winter and spring to come.

As always, I’m taking a select few clients for manuscript evaluation — if you have a draft already written — or for mentorship, if what you need is help getting started and staying on track. Booking goes fast this time of year, so if you think you might be interested in some help with your novel or short stories, now is the time to get in touch.

Want more information? Check out my MsFixit page here.

Looking for the structure of a certificate program? I’m also a mentor in the Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing program at the Humber School for Writers — the new term starts in January.

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But what if poetry is your jam?

Brand new online poetry school Walk the Line is taking enrolment for Winter and Spring 2021 workshops. Instructor George Murray has published 10 books, including 7 books of lauded poetry and 2 books of aphorisms, and has taught the craft of poetry for over twenty years — everywhere from NYC’s New School University, to UBC, to the University of Toronto, to Memorial University right here in St. John’s. (And, oh yeah, I also married him.)

I can’t recommend these workshops highly enough, but don’t take my word for it: details and student testimonials are up online now, and George will be pleased to answer any of your questions.

2020 Just Got Better! New Book Announcement

What a long, strange year it’s been — and the truth is, I’ve been so busy writing and teaching this year, I’ve barely had a chance to breathe — or make a post here on this site!

But I have great news and I can’t wait another minute to share it:

COMING IN JULY 2021, from Harper Collins in Canada and Mulholland Books in the US –

THE RETREAT

A chilling literary thriller in the vein of The Hunting Party and The Shining, in which a dancer arrives at a remote mountain retreat hoping for artistic inspiration—only to find it’s disaster that strikes when an avalanche traps her among strangers who begin, one by one, to meet unspeakable ends.

Everyone has a secret to keep . . .

Maeve Martin arrives at the High Water Center for the Arts determined to do one thing: launch her own dance company. A retired performer and mother of two, time is running out for her to find her feet again after the collapse of a disastrous—and violent—marriage. And at first, there’s a thrill to being on her own for the first time in years, isolated in the beauty of a snowy mountain lodge. But when an avalanche traps the guests inside, tensions begin to run high. Help is coming, so they just have to hold on—right?

But as the days pass, strange deaths befall the others one by one. Soon Maeve must face how little she knows about anyone there . . . and how useless a locked door is if the darkness is already inside.

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Rights sold to Helen O’Hare at Mulholland Books, by Samantha Haywood at Transatlantic Literary Agency  (World English ex Canada). Rights previously to Iris Tupholme at HarperCollins Canada. TV/Film Jiah Shin at CAA.

More fun updates coming soon!

Spring updates: HYSTERIA on the Raddall Shortlist, Elisabeth at the Humber School for Writers, & more!

*So pleased to share that HYSTERIA is on the shortlist for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, along with books by Sharon Bala and Lisa Moore, making us a kind of Newfoundland Trifecta for this year’s prize– or the meanest gang you ever saw. You can catch me reading from the book at the Welcoming Reception on June 5, at the GEO Centre in St. John’s–  along with authors Terry Doyle, Susie Taylor, and Kevin Major, and Atlantic Book Award nominees Sharon Bala and Mark Critch.

Shortlisted authors Christine LeGrow and Shirley Anne Scott, of Saltwater Mittens fame, will also be on hand with a display of Newfoundland knitwear and knowledge. The event is free and open to the public.

*Starting this week, I’m also on faculty at the Humber School for Writers. If you’d like the support of a mentorship to help you finish your book-length manuscript, there’s still a few days left to sign up! I’ve worked with poets, fiction writers, and non-fiction writers alike, both at Humber and in Creative Writing programs at UBC and MUN. The Humber certificate program can be done from anywhere, and lasts from now until mid-December, giving us lots of time to sculpt that manuscript into shape. Want to sign up? All the information is right here. 

*While I mostly have my head down this spring, trying hard to get a full draft of the new novel finished, I will be in Halifax in mid-July as a keynote speaker at the Kings College Humanities for Young People Symposium. I’ll be talking about Fear (yikes!), and my fellow keynote is the estimable activist and journalist, Desmond Cole. The symposium is open to the public, and I’ll post more information on the event as summer draws near.

*Last but not least (not by a long shot!), did you know that HYSTERIA is now out in paperback? Yes she is. And, I have to say, I can’t think of a better summer read for your cottage or lakeside cabin. Order it up right here.

February… finally!

January, the longest month, is finally done! My February plans mostly involve putting my head down and working on a new novel (Part 1 is already done!) and connecting with my scriptwriting students here at Memorial University in St. John’s. I’m looking forward to the release of HYSTERIA in paperback later this month — at the end of last year, I was thrilled to see it land on the Globe and Mail Best Books list, and just this week I was equally thrilled  to see the Ontario Library Association Evergreen nomination list includes HYSTERIA, too!  Hope you’re staying warm (and curling up with a good book), wherever you are this month.

On the road: September

Taken last month (on the road: August edition), on the way back from Writers at Woody Point — here I am outside the famous Dustabella’s Dining Lounge at the St. Jude Hotel in Clarenville. We’ve never been inside! I imagine it as full of fairy lights and crystal chandeliers.

September tour dates! It’s book season, my friends. Come see me (and Hysteria) in Ontario starting next weekend:

September 23, Word on the Street (Toronto). I’ll be chatting thrillers with Amy Stuart. Amazon Bestsellers stage, 3:30pm.

September 25, Port Hope.  Solo show at the Port Hope Public Library, 31 Queen St., 7pm.

September 29, Kingston Writers Fest. I’m teaching a morning workshop in Story Architecture, then it’s on to a Griplit panel with Iain Reid and Nathan Ripley, 2pm.

Wonderful Woody Point.

 

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Heritage Theatre, Woody Point. Photo by Tom Cochrane.

It’s hard to imagine a better beginning to the fall literary festival season than the perfect gem that is Writers at Woody Point.

Nestled within the bounds of Gros Morne National Park, the town of Woody Point sits on beautiful Bonne Bay, just across the water (and a water taxi ride away) from another picturesque town, Norris Point — and only a short car ride from some fantastic hikes (check out the Tablelands and Trout River, among others.)

 

 

Woody Point audiences are so incredibly warm and engaged, it’s hard not to feel spoiled.

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View from the community trail, waterside.

I was doubly-spoiled this time around: while I was there myself to read from the new novel, Hysteria, one of the short stories from my first book, How To Get Along with Women, was adapted by David Ferry for his ongoing Short Waves/Short Stories theatre project.

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A stealth shot of rehearsal. Left to Right: Beatrice Freedman (stage manager), director David Ferry working double-duty as narrator, actors Colin Furlong and Jenny Munday as Jim and Nadine, and Sarah Newell singing. Guitar and music composition by Erin Best and Sandy Morris, (who is sadly hidden away in this photo, behind Newell).

Part live theatre, part radio drama, Short Waves/Short Stories took my own story, “Jim and Nadine, Nadine and Jim” to a new audience in a new way. Ferry also dug up a long poem I wrote in 2009: an excerpt from Letter on St. Valentine’s Day was set to music by Erin Best and Sandy Morris and performed live by Morris and Sarah Newell.

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Jody Richardson and Candice Pike break down the fourth (third?) wall of radio.                        Photo credit: Tom Cochrane.

 

This was my third invite to the festival, which happens in mid-August every year. I’ve decided this makes me part of the Three-Timers Club.

It certainly makes me lucky.

New! From Ms Fixit: The Personal Master Class

Great news! Responding to an increase in queries, I have expanded my mentorship services to include a new, custom-designed program:

Starting September, 2018: The Personal Master Class. 

For writers who are looking for longer-term guidance as they work through issues and complete a manuscript-in-progress, this one-on-one, five-month bespoke mentorship will help you get past the hurdles and finish that draft.

I’ll be offering the program twice a year: beginning September 1st or February 1st. Enrolment is limited. For more details, or to get in touch, check out the Ms Fixit page here. 

Hysteria on the road!

Just back from a whirlwind working trip to Ontario and Quebec, and starting to look forward to some really fun events in the coming months, including summer festivals like Lawnya Vawnya and Writers at Woody Point here in Newfoundland, and fall writers fests across the mainland, including Word on the Street, Kingston Writers Fest, and Calgary WordFest!

Looking to see me in 2018? Keep checking the Events Page here for dates and places. See you soon!