The Write Conference for Me

Write Canada Conference Banner

As members of the fledgling writers’ group Women Writing for Christ (WWC), we donned our matching t-shirts and headed for Guelph, Ontario. For some of us, it was our first Write Canada conference. There was so much to learn and so many new friends to make. That was back in 2004, hard to imagine.

Continue reading “The Write Conference for Me”

Meet My Author Friend Janet Sketchley


I will be guest posting over at Janet’s blog, Tenacity, the last Friday of each month. Today Janet posted an interview so her readers could get to know me. I’d like you to meet her as well.

I met Janet some years ago (we can’t decide whether it was in 2010 or 2004) at Write Canada.

Janet, my readers . . . readers, this is Janet.

As I mentioned, you are a fiction author (more about that later), but when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

It’s possible that I read too much. 🙂 I like to knit and cross-stitch when there’s time. And I’m a tea drinker. As for anything productive, I’m an at-home wife who’s not very good at the whole housekeeping thing, and I do part-time merchandising work as needed.

Your novels, Heaven’s Prey and Secrets & Lies, are very intense mysteries. What drew you to write in this genre? Who inspires you?

Ruth from Heaven’s Prey popped into my mind one day, trapped as a hostage in a speeding car. I just went along for the ride. 🙂 I like fiction that lets Christian characters explore their faith, and stories with suspense or adventure are my favourites. Who inspires me? Brandilyn Collins (Christian suspense) and Timothy Zahn (mainstream science fiction).

I know you love to read. What are you currently reading and would you recommend it to others? Why or why not?

HL Wegley’s Triple Threat, Book 4 in his Pure Genius series. It’s a fast-paced Christian romantic suspense about tracking terrorists on the internet. I’ve enjoyed the previous books in the series, and I’d recommend it to people who want a safe (non-traumatic and also clean) read about edgy subjects such as human trafficking (previous books) and terrorism.

Janet and Sheep

You also love sheep and often take a stuffed one with you when you travel. Can you tell us why?

I caught the sheep appeal from one of my sons – as well as a fondness for turtles. Basically, I love any kind of living thing except mosquitoes and related pests. Why does a sheep travel with me? Maybe it’s kind of a “Flat Stanley” thing, where the game is to take pictures of the Stanley cutout in various places. Maybe it’s because I’d rather be behind the lens than in the photo. Are my sheep surrogates for selfies?

(photo taken by Susan Stewart at Write Canada 2014)

And speaking of traveling . . . what are you most looking forward to about Write Canada this year?

I haven’t seen details of the faculty, classes or workshops yet, so this won’t sound very professional-development oriented. But I’m looking forward to reconnecting with friends like you and making new friends. For the non-writer, that sounds purely social, but it’s not only fun – it’s affirming and encouraging. There’s something about spending time with people who “get” you that helps you go home stronger. The other thing I’m excited about is that one of my sons (not the shepherd) is planning to come with me. He’s a better writer than me and generally fun to hang out with. See you at Write Canada in June!

If you would like to learn more about Janet, visit her site: 

You can purchase Secrets & Lies and Heaven’s Prey from various suppliers:

And if you would like to read my interview, you can do so here:


Write! Canada and ROW80

Write! Canada ImageWhat a great experience!

Many thanks to the faculty and staff for making it such a profitable and encouraging time! A special thanks to Denise Rumble, the managing director, and Jayne Self and Lois Rooney-Giurin, who head up the conference.

The theme this year was Live and Breathe the Written Word. Being a conference for Christian writers, this theme had a dual meaning. We are to “breathe in” the Scriptures and, in turn, live them out. As writers, we are to breathe in inspiration for our writing and breathe out words that encourage and build up our readers.

I attended Bev Boissery’s continuing class, “Create, Populate, and Plotulate.” Participants learned much about setting, character and plot development. I’ll never look at the nursery rhyme “Jack and Jill” the same again . . . and I just may have the beginnings of a children’s book. Thanks, Bev!

Karen Ball . . . what a great lady and fantastic instructor! Who would have thought I could learn so much about romance writing in two hours?

Jane Friedman and Dennis Hassell were the two keynote speakers I had the privilege of hearing. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Carolyn Weber’s address. Her book Surprised by Oxford sold out quickly, even before she spoke.

It was wonderful to reconnect with “old” friends, make some new ones, and network with others in the writing industry.

I also want to say a special thank you to Lisa Hall-Wilson, Facebook guru, skilled writer, and great friend. I learned a lot about creating a Facebook page from your workshop . . . and I promise to read the stack of lessons from your online course before our writers’ group next week.

ROW LogoAnd now for my ROW80 check-in . . .

Since finishing my temporary position as church administrator, I’ve had to make myself get busy. There were no deadlines hanging overhead and sometimes I do better if there are.

This week . . . well, let’s just say that isn’t a problem.


The night before I left for the conference, I was approached about another step-by-step job, helping a budding author get her book from idea to print-ready. We will be talking tonight.

I was also asked to take on a proofreading job that needs to be completed in the next two weeks. This is one of those assignments when I must slow right down – to catch even the smallest mistake – but do it in a hurry. I’m actually looking forward to the challenge.

I was also asked to write a monthly guest post for Kimberley Payne. Thanks, my friend. I am honoured.


I co-wrote a book with Paralympian Deb Willows. It is due out later this year or early next. I discussed details with the publisher at the conference. I will be re-reading – and perhaps, tweaking – it over the next month to make sure it’s the best it can be. (Is it OK to be giddy about seeing it in print? I s’pose so, huh?)

I should be finished transcribing and editing Mike’s newsletters by the end of the month. I will then do a re-read and make sure his manuscript is ready for printing.

After the conference, Pirkko and I had dinner and discussed her second chapter. She learned a lot from the instructors at Write! Canada and is looking forward to putting it into practice.

I would like to submit more of my writing. The two new market guides I picked up should help in that area. (I bought a total of eight books and ordered three others . . . ‘cuz you can never have enough books. To use the dreaded cliche . . . that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Of course, I have goals in other areas, but that will do for now.

Besides, I should soon be getting ready for the post-conference leadership meeting. I do so little compared to the others on the team, but I am honoured to be included. The Word Guild is made up of a great group of people. Trust me. I know these things.

Happy Writing and Happy Monday (or whichever day you happen to be reading this)

Write! Canada Conference

Got home yesterday from …

What a great time!

A special thanks to Denise Rumble, Managing Director of The Word Guild, to Les and N.J. Lindquist, and to Wendy Nelles.

There are so many others who worked together to make this weekend a success, I would be sure to miss more than I could name. (See the Write! Canada website for bios of the staff and faculty and for faculty interviews. There are several more volunteers, however, who are not listed.)

There was a lot of talk about teamwork over the past three days, and that’s what any great event is about.

Last year, I volunteered at the conference for the first time, and I promised myself I’d never go again without doing so. It is so amazing to be a part of the team.

Among other meetings, I attended Steve Laube’s continuing class and Thomas Umstattd Jr’s workshop. Thomas Froese took on the challenge of being the last keynote speaker. As the music leader said after his presentation, “Is it possible to be exhausted and thoroughly energized at the same time?” The answer seems to be yes.

I am so very thankful for the Cyber Age. I can follow friends and professional contacts throughout the year.

How about you? How are you taking advantage of the Internet to develop friendships and network with others in your profession or areas of interest?