Tag Archives: Betty Jane Hegerat

On editing and writing and agents


On Editing
From Jeff Goins Writer: Why Writers Can’t Edit Their Own Work
From wordserve water cooler: Editing Tips by henrymclaughlin

On Writing
From terribleminds: 25 Things to Know About Your Story’s Stakes
If you’re looking for a way to write really popular, commercial fiction, here’s a cheat sheet of rules that all the movies seem to follow … that is, if you don’t mind your story sounds like those written by everyone else. From Slate: The Save the Cat! beat sheet
From C. Hope Clark: Why Do You Write? AND Make Yourself Good
From The Writing Corp: How To Write Well
From wordserve watercooler: What Does Your Hero Yearn For? by henrymclaughlin
From IndieReader: 8 Moments When You Swear You’ll Never Write Again by jleff
From Aerogramme Writers’ Studio: 23 Tips From Famous Writers for New and Emerging Authors

On Agents
From Books & Such: Let Your Agent Be the Bad Guy by Rachelle Gardner AND Query Letters: Why request? Why reject? by Rachel Kent
From Rachelle Gardner: How to Impress an Agent

And a wonderful short story written by Calgary writer Betty Jane Hegerat for your weekend reading pleasure, and to celebrate the impending birth of a little princess or prince … The Queen is Coming. Enjoy!

And now, a word or two (and a few videos) from my friends …

I have spread out this week’s offering of interesting links over three posts – because there were so many good articles, videos, and posts I wanted to share with you and it was too much to post them all together. I’ve already posted Parts 1 & 2, and here is Part 3, comprised of links to a number of friends’ sites, either people I know or, at least, have met. Please read what they have to say and consider subscribing to their blogs and sites. Enjoy!


From my good friend and Alberta Author, Betty Jane Hegerat, comes Family Recipes.

Ken McGoogan, who blurbed the back cover of my novel, offers information about a one-week intensive writing workshop this summer in Toronto: Would you take a writing workshop with this man?

My long time Caribbean friend, Gwenith Whitford (who also graduated from Queen’s!), lives on, and writes about, the island of Dominica in her blog, Ti Dominik Tales. Recently, she talked of Teaching ESL on the Nature Island: Class One – Dominica’s Environment

From Hazel Hutchins, an award-winning Alberta Author of children’s books, there’s a newly designed website.

My good friends at The University of Alberta Press have maintained an informative blog for quite a while, titled There’s a Hole in the Bucket. In this post, they report on the recent Alberta Book Awards Gala held in Edmonton and include a list of the winners as well as a slide show of the festivities!

Another Alberta Author who maintains an excellent blog is Thomas Wharton. Tom often writes about what it means to be a writer, how he writes, as well as what he writes. In this post, he gives us a visual version of A writer’s journey

And … LOOK OUT! Eugene Stickland – playwright, publisher, teacher, bon-vivant, and man-about-Calgary – warns us of The Long-awaited Return of Mr. Grumpypants!

Someone I had the great opportunity to meet is Billy Collins, former United States Poet Laureate. I was a member of the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program Steering Committee that invited him to Calgary in 2012. Bob Chelmick, host of CKUA’s The Road Home regularly plays recordings of Collins reading his poetry. So when I heard Ballistics the other day I knew I had to share it with you. Then the poem Forgetfulness was played as well, and it seemed like a good idea to include that, while I was at it. You can never have enough Billy Collins …

And finally, from a Bequia “friend” I have yet to meet in person, here’s a post on the relatively new blog written by Jay Yurkiewicz linking to an article about a friend of Jay’s who “gives back globally.” I will be writing more about this concept in the near future.

I have recently figured out how to make videos using my new camera and have set up a YouTube channel so that I may post these online to share with fans and followers. No cat videos … yet, but I will not promise there won’t be any cat videos in the future. For now, you’ll have to make do with three videos of Admiralty Bay. All are available to view on this blog post. I hope they will give you a brief taste of Bequia, especially those of you who have read my novel but have not yet visited the island. Yes, this place really does exist!

Have you recently discovered any interesting articles or blogs dealing with the topics on this blog? (Writing, Editing, Publishing, Promotion, eBooks, Bookselling) Please post a link in the comments section, and tell us why you think it’s important.

Blogs, articles, information about writing, reading, publishing, bookselling, and other stuff …


On Writing
From Writer Unboxed: How to Write a Screenplay: 7 Starting Tips for Adapting Your Own Novel by Chuck Sambuchino
From terribleminds: 25 Ways To Be A Happy Writer (Or, At Least, Happier) by Chuck Wendig

Great Blog Posts
From Betty Jane Hegerat: Radical Gratitude and a lot of Random Musing
From Gwenith Whitford: Congratulations to Ti Domnik Tales on one year of blogging success!

On eBooks or Print
From The Guardian: Why eBooks are a different genre from print

On Self-Publishing
From HuffPost Books: Self-Publishers The New Generation of Cool Kids by Terri Giuliano Long for IndieReader.com

On Reading
From Qwiklit: 10 Essential Prairie Novels
From How We Read by Nathan Savin Scott: The Many Meanings of the Book Club

On Bookstores and Bookselling
From BOOKRIOT: 15 Movies Starring Bookstores
From HuffPost Books: The Battle to Save Bookstores by Penny C. Sansevieri

And, finally, On Amazon Buying Goodreads
The big news this past week was that Amazon had bought the book-reading-and-review site, Goodreads, for an estimated $1 Billion. At first, I was incensed by this move, but I’ve been reading about the pros and cons from both sides, and I’m not yet sure I believe this is either good or bad for authors and readers. What do you think? Please read the following links to articles and opinion pieces and feel free to make your comments below.

From HuffPost Books: Amazon Buys Goodreads: What Does It Mean For Authors and Readers? by Dan Blank
From Nathan Bransford: Amazon Acquired Goodreads
From David Gaughran – Let’s Get Digital: Why Amazon’s Purchase of Goodreads Is A Good Thing
From terribleminds: The “Amazon Is Bad For Authors” Meme
From BloombergBusinessWeek: Rampant Speculation: How Much Did Amazon Pay for Goodreads?
From BOOKRIOT: Will You Be Deleting Your Goodreads Account?
From HuffPost Books: Turning My Back on Goodreads by Katie Fransen

Blogs, noteworthy articles, inspiring words for writers, and some stuff just for fun!

From Anne Lamott


From The New Yorker
Phantom Bookstores

From The Los Angeles Times
As Barnes & Noble shrinks, small bookstores are born

From C. Hope Clark
How We Treat Writers

From Rachelle Gardner
Who should read your unpublished work?
and Are Self-Pub Books the New Slush Pile?

From Seth Godin
Humanize It

From The Toronto Star
Academy of the Impossible an experiment in education

A request for topics and compelling material from terribleminds
The Annual Refuelling of The Blog Tanks

Great writing from Carin Makuz
maybe the kids’ll be alright after all

From Eugene Stickland, a hilarious take on
My Day in Comic Book Fashion

A new poem from Rachel Small (my editor!) on her blog, Freelancing to Freedom
Absent Muse

Another short story, Kick, from Betty Jane Hegerat
From Beneath the Snoozing Tree

And a new video from Simon’s Cat
Feed Me

2012 – A Year of Alberta Books Canada Literary Salons

Since Nov. 2011, Alberta Books Canada hosted a series of literary salons in Calgary that brought together readers with Alberta authors in the intimate setting of a private home for readings and discussions about books and writing. Now that this series has come to an end, I wanted to recap all the salons and share with everyone a list of the authors who took part.

What made these salons different from the usual readings in bookstores and libraries, besides being held in private homes, is that they were based on the model of music house parties where the audience is charged an admission fee and all money collected is paid to the artists. My intention in setting up the salons in this way was so the authors would receive payment for having entertained us, and the audience would realize they should not expect authors to perform for free. After all, the amount any author receives from the royalties of book sales is a mere pittance. We need to show our appreciation for their work in more ways than just by buying a copy of their book – although that does help. As one author said when asked how much she made from each book: “I’m lucky to see a dollar, if that.” And we all know that a book published in Canada these days is considered as selling well if it passes 500 copies. 200 copies for poetry.

We experimented with Skype at a couple of these salons, with audience members able to attend and participate from a distance. Pearl Luke of Book Club Buddy took an active part during one discussion while still in her Thailand home. I also read from, and sold (through the cooperation of Monkeyshines), my new eBook that was not yet available in print at that time. At one salon, two of the authors showed videos they had created. And we invited two musicians to join the authors at two other salons and play some of their own music.

Thanks to everyone who was involved in this series. To Sue Hill of Monkeyshines Children’s Books for selling books at each of the salons, and to all the hosts who graciously opened their homes to us so we could enjoy these get-togethers in the true fashion of a traditional European artistic salon.

But a special thanks to Anne Sorbie for creating and publishing limited edition chapbooks that offered a commemorative collection of writing by the authors involved in each of the salons.

And a huge THANK YOU to our very dedicated audience (some of you attended every salon we offered!!) for being so attentive, for buying the books, and for reading! And, as well, to all the authors who participated. We could not have done any of this without your fine writing and generosity in sharing that writing with us!

Nov. 29, 2011

Betty Jane Hegerat
Lori Hahnel
Rosemary Griebel
Bob Stallworthy

Dec. 14, 2011

Aritha van Herk
Anne Sorbie
Gordon Sombrowski
Tom Phillips, singer/songwriter

Jan. 18, 2012 – Current and former Calgary Distinguished Writers’ Program Writers-In-Residence

Jeramy Dodds
Rosemary Nixon
Marcello Di Cintio
Richard Harrison

Mar. 27, 2012Self: No longer a four-letter word

Claudette Brown
Derek Donais
Collin Paulson
Susan M. Toy
Andrew Riches, musician

June 13, 2012 – New offerings by established authors

Barb Howard
Maureen Bush
Steve Owad
Weyman Chan

Sept. 30, 2012 – Mentors and Mentoring

Barb Howard and Sudhir Jain
Betty Jane Hegerat and Ali Bryan
Discussion led by Robyn Read and Pearl Luke (via Skype)

Nov. 18, 2012 – Working with a publisher’s editor (cosponsored by University of Alberta Press)

Alice Major
Kath MacLean
Geo Takach
Peter Midgley


From our final salon, Back L-R – Peter Midgley, Kath MacLean, Susan Toy, Geo Takach; Front L-R – Sue Hill (Monkeyshines), Alice Major, Cathie Crooks (UofA Press)

All you need for gift-giving are books by Alberta Authors!

Alberta Books Canada is getting in on the Holiday gift-giving suggestion lists by offering up Part 1 of our recommendations on some GREAT books written by Alberta authors, published by Alberta publishers, or of interest to readers in Alberta. Books written by the following Authors will suit every reader on your list, all ages and interests. So please check out their links and buy these books!

Or … buy a membership to the local library for everyone on your list so they may borrow any of these books themselves!

Several of the Authors listed here also have books published, or that will soon be available, in eBook formats. These will be supported by every type of eReader.

So, no matter how you do it, whether you buy new books as print or in eBook format, or borrow books or eBooks from your library, please consider making this a Reading Holiday for everyone!

List of Authors who write for Adults

Jerry Auld
Wade Bell
Joan Crate
Susan Forest
Rosemary Griebel
Lori Hahnel
Betty Jane Hegerat
dee Hobsbawn-Smith
Faye Reineberg Holt
Barb Howard
Bruce Hunter
Fran Kimmel
Peter Learn
Alice Major
Dave Margoshes
Shirlee Smith Matheson
Cathy Ostlere
Steven Owad
T.B. (Tyler) Perry
Kirk Ramdath
Gordon Sombrowski
Anne Sorbie
Bob Stallworthy
Richard Stevenson
Susan M. Toy

List of Authors who write for Children, Tweens and Teens

Derek Donais
Carolyn Fisher
Janet Gurtler
Barb Howard
Hazel Hutchins
Aaron Lehman
Dianne Linden
Jan Markley
Shirlee Smith Matheson
Shenaaz Nanji
Cathy Ostlere
Collin Paulson
Richard Stevenson
Thomas Wharton

Up next: Specific Books and a list of Publishers

Message in a Bottle

I’m never short on generating new ideas and ways to promote books. But my brain seems to be especially fertile ground when prompted by a suggestion from Betty Jane Hegerat.

“Would you like to go for coffee? I’m taking books to the Co-op Book Exchange, so I’ll pick you up first.” An innocent invitation on Betty Jane’s part.

Then I thought, Well, that would be a good place to take some books I’m giving away, so I began filling a couple of bags from the pile I’d already sorted during the packing-for-leaving session I accomplished over the weekend. Which led to me think, Maybe I should toss a copy of my own novel into this mix, just for fun.

But then my brain kicked into full-promotion-mode!

What if I were to include a note written for whoever picks up my book from the Exchange and ask that reader to write to me once they’ve finished reading then direct them to take it back to the exchange so another reader may discover and read it … ? And before Betty Jane arrived, I had written and printed the following and stapled it into a copy of Island in the Clouds along with my business card!

If you have picked up this copy of Island in the Clouds from a Calgary Co

bjH and I dropped off the books we were donating, fixed up the display a bit (because I am still a bookseller at heart and I like seeing neatly arranged shelves of books that are easy for readers to select from) then left to enjoy our coffee. No emails from anyone yet when I returned home an hour ago, but Betty Jane did suggest I might want to wait for at least 8 hours before expecting any results from my efforts.

And there are many more Calgary Co-op Book Exchanges in this city where I may seed my book! This is going to be fun!

It’s kind of like the idea behind the Book Crossings Book Club.

(Thanks to Dennis for the post title!)

Not Quitting … Regrouping

(An email sent to clients of Alberta Books Canada, past and present, concerning the future of this business)

Thanks to all for your interest in Alberta Books Canada and for supporting my efforts by contracting to display your books, or those of your authors, at the various conferences over these past three years.

Each individual conference has attracted different audiences, but everyone attending had somewhat the same the reaction to the books on my table. The librarians all know who I am now, because I’ve been displaying Alberta books at their conferences for years, but I still love the surprise when I tell people, “All the books on this table are written by Alberta authors, published by Alberta publishers, or are topics of interest to Albertans.” It’s kind of a feel-good thing! And it’s great, as far as I’m concerned, to be promoting so much good writing that is going on in our province. I’ve been asked to speak a number of times about Alberta authors, and those talks are always met with the same comment: “I had no idea there are so many writers in this province.” I hope that my efforts over these few years have been instrumental in encouraging readers to think closer to home when looking for the next book to read. As Betty Jane Hegerat has said, “The 100-mile diet isn’t just for eating.” It’s been my pleasure to represent Alberta authors and books in my displays.

Unfortunately, much of what I have done since setting up Alberta Books Canada has been more a labour of love than a means of making a living. There are only so many conferences at which I can set up a display table, and while I usually manage to cover most expenses incurred by the conferences, I’m not able to make enough of an income to keep me living in Calgary throughout the rest of the time between conferences. I have tried to find a job that would allow me to remain in Canada and also give me time off to continue setting up these displays and promote books, but for one reason or another, that job has never materialized. So, regretfully, I find that I must face reality, close down Alberta Books Canada, if only temporarily, and move back to my home in the Caribbean, possibly only for the winter months, or until some other Canadian opportunity presents itself.

As most people who know me are aware, my brain never completely stops generating ideas, so I have every confidence I will come up with yet another new way to promote and market books that will allow me to resume business as Alberta Books Canada. So, not quitting, just regrouping.

Once again, thank you for all your support over the years. I am proud to have been a representative and promoter of Alberta authors and books!

Susan Toy

Alberta Books Canada Literary Salon – Sept. 30, 2012

Alberta Books Canada is pleased to present

Mentors and Mentoring

an afternoon of readings and discussion as part of The Alberta Books Canada Literary Salon Series

Join us on Sunday, Sept. 30th, 1-4 p.m.

Featuring readings by:

Barb Howard and Sudhir Jain, Betty Jane Hegerat and Ali Bryan
Followed by a discussion of the mentoring process with Robyn Read and Pearl Luke (via Skype)

Books published by the authors will be available to purchase thanks to Sue Hill of Monkeyshines Children’s Books

Admission fee – $10 per person (In keeping with our belief that authors should be compensated for their participation, ALL monies collected will be paid directly to the authors)

Light refreshments will be served

If you are interested in attending please send an email to susanmtoy(at)gmail.com, subject line: ABC Salon – You will receive confirmation and the exact address by return email.

A limited number of tickets will be available, so please send your request soon.

We look forward to welcoming you to our Alberta Books Canada Literary Salon!

Publishing Trendsetter – Recommendation of The Boy

Thanks to Publishing Trendsetter for posting my suggestion of Alberta author Betty Jane Hegerat’s, The Boy, as part of their Deck the Shelves series of book recommendations for the season! But don’t just read what I have to say – please also read the other excellent recommendations, and continue to read new posts to the site over the coming days leading up to Christmas. Many great suggestions here for every reader or writer on your list!

And, while you’re on the Publishing Trendsetter site, have a look around at other information they post and discuss. There is a wealth of help provided here for anyone, and everyone, in the publishing business. Elisabeth Watson and her team have created a comprehensive resource covering the business of writing and publishing. Their video series, The Life Cycle of a Book, is truly an eye-opener and well worth the time you’ll invest in watching it – and learning from it!