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Archive for the ‘arts’ Category

Okanagan Valley Writers Festival April 9

A wonderful final day of the Okanagan Valley Writers Festival! Enjoy the photos!

For more information about the event, check out the OVWF website and the OVWF Facebook page.

If you’d like hi-res copies of any of these photos, send me an email listing the row of the photos and the number in the row (eg 1st 2nd 3rd) … OR send me your email address and I can Dropbox all the photos to you ūüôā


Okanagan Valley Writers Festival April 8 Part 2

More pics from day 2 of this wonderful festival! If you want copies of any of the pictures, please email me, listing the row # (from the top) and the number(s) in the row (1st 2nd 3rd). Thanks.

Okanagan Valley Writers Festival 2017 Day 2 Part 1

Wow! What an amazing second day at the Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival! Just look at the people’s faces! Enthusiasm, laughter, intensity, deep thinking, friendship! If you’d like hi res copies of any of the pictures, please email me and indicate row # (from top) and number in row (1st, 2nd, 3rd). Thanks!

Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival 2017 April 7

Welcome to the Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival 2017 at the Shatford Centre in Penticton BC! Off to a great start with Friday night registration and entertainment ūüôā If you’d like a hi res copy of some of the pictures, please ¬†email me and indicate row (from top) and number in row (1st, 2nd, 3rd). Thanks!

Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival

Festivals are celebrations. ¬†And this past weekend’s 2016 Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival was truly a celebration of writing in many of its forms–novels/fiction, poetry, lyrics, non-fiction, screenwriting. ¬†Writers, agents, publishers, musicians, film-makers, poets, all story-tellers no matter the format, joined together to learn, share, and celebrate their art.

Friday evening featured registration, book sales, a meet & greet with the presenters–and wonderful food! In fact, the food was fabulous all weekend, thanks to the Shatford staff and volunteers. CBC personality and author of two award-winning books, Grant Lawrence, hosted an evening variety show with readings, music, a short film and more. The event was opened by Penticton¬†syilx elder Richard Armstrong.¬†The show¬†included¬†author Adam Lewis Schroeder, author Jonas Saul, ¬†author Gerry William, international poet Daniela Elza, screenplay instructor Kat Montagu, and musician/songwriter Will Schackl.

Saturday breakfast featured Grant Lawrence speaking on “Rejection, Reflection, Reward–A Keynote on Writing Successfully.” Saturday lunch featured author Roberta Rich presenting on the topic, “Unleashing the Muse.” A Saturday afternoon panel discussion allowed attenders to submit a query letter or the first page of their story for a “Slushpile Challenge” featuring moderator Kat Montagu and panelists EDGE Publishing owner Brian Hades, author and Imajin Books publisher Cheryl Kaye Tardiff, and Seventh Avenue Literary Agency owner and agent, Robert Mackwood. The Festival bookstore was open throughout the weekend, and everyone was invited to the “Green Room” on Saturday afternoon to a book signing with the authors. Saturday evening supper featured guest speaker Gerry William from Enderby’s Splat’sin Reserve, sharing his perspectives on writing humor and sci-fi, with examples from his novels. Saturday evening’s entertainment was an Open Mic 8×8 event at which 8 Festival participants had the opportunity to do 8 minute readings from their poetry or stories.

Sunday’s breakfast speaker was Robert Mackwood, sharing “Current Trends in Book Publishing.” A panel discussion later in the morning was on “Marketing to Your Audience,” with moderator Grant Lawrence, and panelists Brian Hades, Cheryl Kaye Tardiff, novelist and non-fiction writers Denise Jaden, children’s and YA author Lorna Schultz Nicholson, and Robert Mackwood.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday there were plenty of workshops to choose from. Kat Montagu spoke on “Screenplays” and “Selling Screenplays”; Daniela Elza spoke on “Poetry: What’s in an Image?”, “Poetry Salon” and “Selling Poetry”; Brian Hades spoke on “Fantasy”; Denise Jaden spoke on “Characters” and “Outline in a Week”; editor and writing craft author Jodie Renner spoke on “Spark up Your Story: Adding Tension, Suspense & Intrigue” and “Writing a Winning Short Story”; Roberta Rich spoke on “Historical Fiction”; Will Schlackl spoke on “Song Lyrics”; Lorna Schultz Nicholson spoke on “Writing for Young Readers”; and freelancer and Okanagan Life Magazine editor, Laurie Carter, spoke on “Magazines and Newpapers” and “Selling Non-Fiction (and Fiction!).” Lorna Schultz Nicholson and Roberta Rich got together to do a presentation on “Selling Your Fiction.” Festival participants also had the opportunity to meet with individual presenters for one-on-one sessions.

On Saturday afternoon, the public was invited to “Paper Trails: An Afternoon of Poetry and Prose,” a set of author reading moderated by Penticton food writer, Roslyn Buchanan, and featuring Penticton author and poet Michelle Barker, poet Daniela Elza, and Penticton novelist Barbara Lambert.

It may have been the first time for this event in beautiful, sunny Penticton, but due to great planning by director (and author, editor, book designer, and owner of d’Elan Publishing)¬†Dawn Renaud, the staff of the Shatford Centre¬†and many volunteers, the Festival went off without a hitch. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go! Enjoy–and think seriously of signing up to attend next year’s Festival. You’ll be glad you did!



2012 BC Youth Writers Camp

July 2-7 2012

Another very successful BC Youth Writers Camp was help July 2 to 7, 2012, at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College.  Sixty-eight youth between the ages of 9 and 18, both former campers, and new ones as well, attended the camp, learning to hone their writing skills, and learning about editing, illustrating, publishing, and more.

This year’s keynote speaker was 23 year old¬†poet Amanda Lewis of Penticton, who, despite physical disabilities, is an active and enthusiastic poet and speaker.¬† The students were so impressed by Amanda’s presentation and her passion for writing.¬† They have taken home with them Amanda’s personal credo: “The impossible just takes a little longer,” and personally autographed copies of her book “One,” which were provided courtesy of Raise a Reader.

Each morning, the students attended lectures related to writing.  Presenter Karen Autio of Kelowna ( is an author of historical novels for young readers.  Karen shared with the students how to research and unlock history.

Presenter C.A. Lang, also of Kelowna, has written everything from historical fiction to experimental novels.  Lang presented a workshop on science fiction and fantasy worldbuilding, covering logic, social structure, religion, technology and magic.

Presenter Lorna Schultz Nicholson ( is a full-time writer who divides her time between Calgary and Penticton.¬† She has published over 20 childrens, youth, and sports books. Lorna presented a workshop, “Page Turning Fiction!” in which she shared how to use breathtaking description, page turning plots, setting, gripping conflict, and real life dialogue to make a good story great.

Presenter Endrene¬†Shepherd (, of Penticton, has been writing, painting and drawing her entire life.¬† She has completed one book so far.¬† Endrene’s workshop, “Ready, Set, Illustrate!” gave participants a chance to view some famous illustrations from well-known children’s literature, and learn the “whys” and “hows” of selecting scenes from their stories for illustration.¬† She also led the students in doing illustrations for their own works.

Presenter Mary Ann Thompson is a freelance editor. Mary Ann’s workshop had the students get out the blue pencils and play with story.¬† Through games and editing exercises, they learned to transform boring beginnings, shake out muddled middles, and create thrilling endings.¬† Mary Ann also talked about what an editor does and the steps that go into publishing a book.

In the afternoons, students were involved¬†in a variety of activities.¬† These included a book signing event for the “Gems of British Columbia,” in which each young author signed their own works in each published copy of the anthology; a “cowboy poetry” event led by PWAP¬†poets Alan Longworth and Herb Moore, in which each student completed a “cowboy poem” of their own; an open mic young writers showcase talent event (plays, music, readings, and more), emceed¬†by past camper Taylor Attril; a calligraphy event taught by calligrapher Dave Cursons; and a book store event at which the students had the opportunity to purchase books written by the camp presenters.

As always, the camp students sent in samples of their story writing and poetry with their registrations, and their work was published in the annual “Gems of British Columbia” anthology.¬† It is a great encouragement to these young writers to see their written works in print.

Many thanks to camp coordinator Yasmin John-Thorpe, and her volunteer helpers РPWAP members who critiqued the anthology entries, community members who prepared and served snacks and lunches for the campers, registration day helpers, the Rotary Club who provided the end-of-camp barbeque, and more.  Special thanks also to the generous sponsors, without whose support this camp could not take place.

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Penticton Raise a Reader

Penticton’s Raise-A-Reader campaign is very special.¬† Why?

Because Penticton Raise-A-Reader leader, Yasmin John-Thorpe, and those who work alongside her – the Penticton Herald, members of Penticton Writers and Publishers Group (PWAP), and the many fundraiser volunteers from the Penticton Fire Department and others – make sure that the funds that are raised truly go to “raising readers.”

In many communities, the funds raised on “Raise-a-Reader Day” in September,¬†are donated to “literacy” groups, who are then free to use the funds for whatever aspects of “literacy” they choose, including such items as paying staff or running programs, many of which are adult-oriented.

But in Penticton, the funds are used¬†to literally “raise readers” – encouraging children and young people, our future adults and leaders, the future of our nation,¬†to become enthusiastic readers – and writers.¬† Penticton Raise-A-Reader uses the funds to invite children’s and youth authors into schools in the local area.¬† The authors do amazing and entertaining presentations, not only reading from their books, but telling the students¬†about the author’s trade and about how to publish.¬† They also answer student questions, and at the end of the presentation, they personally sign, and present each student with, one of their books.¬† The books are paid for out of Raise-a-Reader funds.¬† Many of the author’s charge only their¬†personal¬†“cost” for the books (not looking for a profit), and give freely of their time, because they, too,¬†of course believe in raising readers!

It is an awesome thing to watch young faces light up with the joy of receiving their very own book, signed by the author, whom they have personally met.¬† Many children, particularly in the current economic conditions, do not otherwise have the opportunity to receive a brand new book of their very own, so this is a very special opportunity for them.¬† Furthermore, actually meeting the author of the book inspires them with the realization that they, too, can become writers.¬† One of this year’s presenters was a young lady from Kelowna, who is only 11 years old.¬† She had her first book published in 2009, and is in the process of having her second book published.¬† The children who watched her presentation were in awe, and many of them are now far more enthusiastic writers and readers!¬† Even the majority of the adult writers started writing when they were young children, and in fact, in their presentations, many of them showed samples of their first “books,” done on loose-leaf paper, self-illustrated, and “bound” with paper-clips or masking tape!

Penticton Raise-A-Reader also supports young readers in our community in other ways.  For example, at the PeachFest parade this past summer, young writers who attended the Youth Write BC Camp at Okanagan College in Penticton the first week of July (also supported by Raise-A-Reader), went in the PeachFest Parade and handed out books Рinstead of the usual candy Рto children watching the parade.  (The books were donated by the Rotary Club).

Enjoy these snapshots of some of the Raise-A-Reader author’s presentations in Penticton and area schools during the past month.¬† And be sure to take a close look at the faces of the children – who are truly, through these events, being raised to be readers! and writers, too!

wheeled contraptions and people power

3 September 2011

One last sashay through the sea¬†of¬†colourful totes at the Penticton Farmers and Artisans Market!¬† Today we feature wheeled contraptions and people power.¬† Wagons, suitcases, wheeled grocery bags, granny carts, strollers, baskets on walkers and wheelchairs and bikes, pet strollers, bike trailers¬†…¬† commercially made or hand-made, you name it, you’ll find it at the Penticton Market, filled with fresh produce and with purchases of all kinds.¬† And for those items that are just too large to fit into the tote you brought, or to beautiful to hide inside it, there’s always people power – tucked under your arm, or flung over your shoulder … though I’ve yet to see items perched on folks heads (unless it’s a new hat, of course) like those National Geographic pictures that intrigued me as a child and led to this series of posts ūüôā

purses, backpacks, totes

September 3, 2011

Our Penticton Saturday Farmers and Artisans Markets adventure in colour continues with a selection of purses, backpacks, and totes.¬† Unlike their cousins, the disposable and reusable bags we’ve already admired, these carryalls are generally sturdier, more like those baskets we featured a few days ago.¬† They also come in a wider variety of materials – leather and vinyl and canvas and more.¬† They also feature pockets and zippers and other handy accoutrements, and many are hands-free with long over-the-shoulder straps or back-straps.¬† Some feature decorative doo-dads, and others have key-chains and toys and other bright dangling decorations.

They are generally large enough to function as both pocketbooks and bags for carrying market purchases.¬† How versatile!¬† On the other hand, some are so small that one can only surmise that their owners are here just to window-shop or people-watch … or are hoping that the market merchants will have free disposable bags available for them to haul home the produce.¬† Or perhaps, they’re here to actually purchase a new bag or basket.¬† There are certainly enough market stalls featuring bags of all sorts that they’ll be able to find something uniquely suitable.

What kind of bag or basket or tote do you favour?  Or do you have a whole collection of different kinds?  And have you spotted your bag in our colourful series?


Those colourful reusable store bags

September 3, 2011

Aren’t they wonderful?¬† Bright colours, sturdy fabric or plastic, or some combination thereof.¬† Environmentally friendly, pretty much.¬† Your choice of a variety of sizes.¬† Straps that, unlike their disposable plastic cousins, don’t immediately dig into your flesh the moment a few things are placed in them.¬† Washable.¬† Great for over-sized Christmas stocking gifts from Santa (yes, indeed!).¬† Fold down into neat little packages which you can easily stash under the car seat or in the trunk¬†– and then forget to take into the store, so you end up purchasing a few more.¬† Excellent for taking supplies to class, or for stashing away winter blankets and coats over the summer, or for using as recycle-reuse-reduce bins under the kitchen sink or in the mud-room.

Oh yes, and of course perfect for taking along to the Penticton Saturday Farmers and Artisans Markets, to bring home your fresh local produce and other purchases.

And best of all, they’re generally really inexpensive.¬† Often just 99 cents or so – the price of just 20 or so of their disposable plastic cousins.¬† What a deal!¬† And in addition, you have the privilege of advertising your favorite stores as you use their bags.¬† Hurrah for reusable store bags!

Hmmm… does it ever strike¬† you as just as tad¬†strange to use Safeway bags at the Wholesale store, and Walmart bags at Save-on-Foods, and Whole Foods Market bags at¬†Home Hardware¬†… and all of them at the Farmers Market?