Archive for the ‘Book events’ Category

The Sleeping Buddha

This book was written by Hamida Ghafour, a Canadian journalist who was born in Afghanistan. it is sub-titled ‘The Story of Afghanistan through the eyes of one family’. I had started to read it a few weeks ago. Then President Joe Biden announced last week that he was bringing the US. troops home from Afghanistan. It’s the end of a twenty-year commitment, and has been called by some to be war, by others rebuilding, by others an occupation. I knew my knowledge was incomplete, and largely informed by American news media. So i have finished reading it today, and I have learned a LOT! Hamida Ghafour was sent by a U.K. newspaper to report on the situation in Afghanistan in 2003.

For the next fourteen months, Hamida travelled in her native country, interviewing a wide diversity of people, meeting relatives barely known but often described by her parents, and describing the country after 25+ years and viewing the devastation. This complex land and its inhabitants are proud and gracious, determined to preserve their county despite foreign powers and wars. The first three chapters describe the history prior to invasions by Britain, Russia, and America. The Coalition of nations that commit to rebuilding the country face challenges that can only be understood after learning about the culture and history. An excellent read! Much to think about!


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Still Reading Books….

So many books, too many to recall them all.  When we go to the Thrift stores, my partner checks for vintage pottery and I look at books.  What do I remember?  Which ones are still in my mind?

Elizabeth George – 3 mystery books, featuring Scotland Yard favourites

Russka, by Edward Rutherford

People of the Lakes, by Kathleen Oneil Gear & Richard Gear

The Lake House, by Kate Morton (my current escape)

Mindsight, by Daniel Siegel

The Brain’s Way of Healing, by Norman Doidge

Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert

One Story, One Song, by Richard Wagamese

Energetic Boundaries, by Cyndi Dale

A Place Called Freedom, by Ken Follett

Ann’s House of Dreams, by L.M. Montgomery

I think there were more books between last February and now, as it’s only 12 books in 6 months.  I realize I am a slow reader, but there were others I’m sure.  Funny how the fictional books are forgettable, but not the non-fiction.





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On Saturday, October 13, the CalgaryAuthors.com group will be hosting a book fair and readings called Up Close and Spiritual.  It will be held at the Clubhouse of my condo complex, Indian Bluffs, at 2200 Patterson View SW in Calgary.  It is invitation only, but we are spreading the word far and wide to friends, booksellers, and book reviewers.  Seven of us will be reading:  Beth Castle, Helena Kalivoda, Cristy Hayden, Sharon Carne, Jeanne Watier, Roger Joyeux, Kathy Briant, and myself.  We had hoped that Tina Thrussell and Neil Thrussell would also read but they have a family wedding to attend.  You can find out about our books at http://www.calgaryauthors.com and see the invitation at http://www.calgaryauthors.com/events.php

Several of the books featured have won awards, and each author will read a short excerpt, then answer questions from our guests.  This is a free event, with food and short healing treatments.  People will be able to engage all the authors in a bookfair atmosphere, as we display our books and talk about our passions.  When we have offered this format at libraries and bookstores, the conversations have been fascinating and enlightening!  Questions range from “how did you get your inspiration?” to “how can I write and publish my book?” with a wide sharing of beliefs and experiences in between.  For anyone who has thought, “I should write a book” or better yet, “I could write a book”, this is a great chance to talk with people who have followed that urge.

Our spiritual lives are  usually the most private and intimate parts of ourselves.  Attending Up Close & Spiritual will give you the chance to encounter other people who have dared to express their spirituality authentically.  Our lessons come from deep-felt experiences, and we are open to share.  We make ourselves vulnerable through writing and publishing our books, and it is okay.  It is who we are.  Come meet us, and be received as a bearer of your own story, and your own life.

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On Wed., March 7, Calgary Authors will meet with Lisa Francis for a follow-up session to her presentation on Social Media.  Since we have several new members to the group, this will be a first time course for a few.  The rest of us can ask more questions, as we always have more to learn!  If you are interested, check out www.calgaryauthors.com for information.  This particular workshop is for members only, because of space in the room.  Lisa Francis has helped individual members of our group with promotion, websites, and general knowledge.  What a gem of a resource she has proven to be!

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The Forest Laird

I am almost at the end of reading The Forest Laird, by Jack Whyte.  Once again, Whyte creates a vibrant world where history comes to life.  This time it’s the story of William Wallace, whose life inspired the movie Dragonheart.  He was the first Guardian in this new series by Whyte, and I am not disappointed.  Along with the details and accurate history he weaves a compelling tale of strong characters, and lets them talk about the changing times in which they live.  The times are 1280-1300 in southern Scotland.  The conversations between William Wallance, his cousin Jamie Wallace (who chose the priesthood), Bishop Wishart and his chancellor taught me much about tensions between France and England, the clans of Scotland, and the threat of the burgesse to the feudal system.  The burgesse, the business owners and crafts people, were independent of the feudal lords, and they contributed to the destabilization of a system that had existed for 700 years.  Fascinating parallels to current destabilized countries, as ‘people’ now have the means to destabilize the capitalist system.  Perhaps that is too big a stretch to imagine. No matter; the book is enthralling.  I should finish it within two days.  Then I’ll be off to the library to get the next book in the series.

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Reading as an Addiction

When my Christmas plans to be with family were changed because I came down with shingles, I was thrown for a loop.  I had always travelled to BC to be with either my son or my daughter for Christmas.  What would it be like to be here in Calgary?  The first day the rash hit was just two days before my flight to Prince George.  My doctor identified the rash as shingles and wrote a prescription for an anti-viral drug.  She said I wouldn’t infect anyone who had had chicken-pox or the vaccine for it.  Well, since my great-grandchildren hadn’t had either, I chose to stay here.

I went to the library and signed out three fictional novels.  What a great way to overcome the blues and the boredom of being away from family at Christmas!  I have now finished all three, and realized that I reached for a book instead of allowing myself to wallow in tears or resentment at my bad luck.  The first book was ‘The Next Queen of Heaven’ by Gregory Maguire.  I wrote about that one in my last post, and it kept me interested right up to the last 10 minutes before leaving for a Christmas dinner.  My friends came through big time once they knew I was in town, and no longer contagious.  Thanks to Carolyn Pogue and Bill Phipps, I shared Christmas dinner with a marvellous group, where the conversation and the love were as tasty as the meal.

The next book I read was ‘The Tenth Step’ by Jane Johnson.  It tells two stories, one of a 17th century woman captured with others from Cornwall by pirates and taken to Morocco.  The second story is of a modern woman who researches her story, and ends up in Morocco also.  The two women are bound together by a love of embroidery, and their talents and attitudes help them survive.  It’s a good read, and well worth taking out of the library.

The third book was ‘Twenties Girl’ by Sophie Kinsella.  It was a totally different style, light, humorous, and fantastic.  It tells the story of Lara, who is haunted by her great-aunt who dies at 105, and wants her necklace.  The aunt appears as she was in her twenties, which was also the flapper era of 1920s.  Her spunk, fashion sense, energy, and determination drive Lara to behave in new ways.  This is a great romp of a read.

I discovered that reading these books waslike an addiction.  They kept me from feeling the sadness I didn’t want to acknowledge.  Is it still an addiction if you know what’s happening?  Perhaps.  I could put the books down, however, and go about my day.  I still cleaned my house, did laundry, phoned friends, and checked emails.  I also wrote on my novel, so felt quite prouctive.  What a great way to cope!


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Carolyn Pogue and I are offering a full-day writing workshop on Saturday, November 19 at the Alexandra Writers Centre.  The full title is The Creative Soul: Unlock your Mind and Body. We will lead you through creative exercises, free fall writing, colour play, Tai Chi, visualization and mind/body work to help unleash your creative energy.  We’ll touch on the story of Sedna, the mythological Arctic goddess of water.  Come prepared with a mind to explore, have fun and reach into your own soul for the stories that want to be told by you.  Wear comfortable clothing and bring a notebook and pen.  Cost is $100 for members and $120 for non-members.  To register, contact www.alexandrawriters.org  Phone for further information to 403-246-2508.

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I just watched the first of three free videos by Greg Habstritt, about becoming a successful entrepreneur.  I felt at first that it wasn’t relevant to me, because I am a writer not an entrepreneur.  However, because I self-published my book I was forced to learn about marketing and business.  I wondered if watching his video wasn’t just yet another distraction to keep me from working on my novel.  I could have turned it off, especially as it was half-way before he said anything pertinent to me.

The difference with successful entrepreneurs is that they are the Trusted Authority, and he cited Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs as examples.  More importantly, he stated that People don’t want information, they want transformation. He also emphasized that Steve Jobs success, and Apple’s success, is that they figured out how to make people’s lives simpler.  The user-friendly approach that Apple consistently offers helps to transform people’s lives.  The Apple approach is Make It Simple.  As I listened to that, I realize that the strength of my book is that it is SIMPLE.  That’s the word most readers have used when giving me feedback.  So that is what I shall emphasize in the next marketing strategy.

I’ll be meeting with Lisa Arsenault next week to review the changes to the pictures in Your Invisible Bodies.  She has added colour to the drawings. We decided to do that since we have to pay colour rates for the whole book because three pages must be in colour.  These are two colour pages of my aura and the photograph of the Fairystone Geode.  The digital colouring  has slowed the process, but it is okay.  The third printing will happen when it happens.  I choose to not stress over a release date.

Once the third printing has occurred, I’ll look at marketing.  The word SIMPLE will be in the branding.

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I love books, particularly well-written ones.  In the past two weeks I’ve been immersed in a new world: Ethiopia, Eritrea and the lives of characters in Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. This 2009 bestseller was loaned to me by a friend, who offered it after I said I like historical fiction.  Verghese’s ability to create a vital world with complex people and events are so considerable that I feel intimidated to get back to my own writing.   I loved the experience of reading it so much I read during the day as well as before sleeping.  Occasionally it made sleep hard to attain, for I cared so much about the people. They had become part of my psyche.

The articles in the September edition of WestWord, the magazine of WGA (Writers Guild of Alberta) shared much about the writing process.  One article by Toby Welch was titled Manoeuver the Clock: Find More Writing Time in Your Schedule.  Toby interviewed several writers to discover what they did.  After reading about the challenges most writers face in relationships, family, full-time jobs, and volunteering, I felt I have no excuse whatever to not write.  I’m retired and live alone. So why am I not writing?

It’s very tempting to just sit and read.  There are so many wonderful books out there.  If I were in town this week I would attend some of the author readings at WordFest.  I’m going to Kelowna to care for my grand-son instead.  My priorities are clear in that respect.  When and if my son asks me to come to help, I will  (unless I have made an earlier commitment to a workshop or conference). There are few commitments more important to me than this grandson right now.

I recall a book I bought ten years ago called You Don’t Have to Write That Book.  I am at that space again.  I’ll see how I feel once I’m back from Kelowna, and out of my grandmother role.

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There are enough registrants for the workshop to ensure some great conversations.  I’ve also invited my massage therapist Haley Belanger to co-facilitate it with me.  It’s so important when working in energetic healing to stay grounded and centered.  Haley and I have talked about that A LOT and she will share some techniques to help us feel more connected with our bodies.  We’ll experience Tai Chi exercises as well as other  ways to increase our awareness of our bodies’ energy.  We will play with magnets and talk about how our bodies function as electro-magnets.  We will talk, discover ways to increase our frequencies, and refer to recent books and articles. 

Did you know lunch is included in the ridiculously low price? Healthy food and homebaked snacks.  There’s room for a few more, so if you are interested, call or email me.

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