Short Stories & The Giller Prize

Monday evening, I watched the live streamed Scotiabank Giller Prize show. Today, on the BWL Author Blog, I ask the question, Do Short Stories Sell?

I’ve published ten short stories in the past twenty years. Payment ranged from copies of the magazine to $1,000 to perks like broadcast on CBC radio and having my story turned into art displayed in the Calgary Public Library.  One change I’ve noticed since I started writing almost thirty years ago is that short stories have shrunk in size, unless you are Alice Munro and can publish in The New Yorker. In 1991, my creative writing instructor told us to bring in short stories of about 5,000 words for critique. He said anything less wasn’t really a story. Ten years later, when I aimed to get my work published, I researched magazines and determined that 2,500-3,000 words was the ideal length for a publishable short story. Not long after that, I found it harder to find markets over 2,500 words. I’m not in the short story publishing loop now, but I hear a lot about flash fiction. The shorter the better is probably the way to go if you want to publish short stories.

Calgary Public Library display of my short story artbook, "When a Warm Wind Blows Off the Mountains," produced by Sylvia Arthur

Souvankham Thammavongsa won the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her short story collection, How To Pronounce Knife

Canadian-American actor Eric McCormack, star of Will and Grace, hosted the online Giller Prize show

Happy Thanksgiving

Arethusa Cirque, Kananaskis, Alberta

Happy Thanksgiving.

October 12th is also my day for the BWL Author’s blog. Today I write about attending my first online writers’ festival, which was the first online version of When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers.

Fall in the Canadian rockies


I learned today about a new poetry form – Haiflu – attributed to poet Liv Torc, who coined the term for National Poetry Day. It means a haiku written in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. It seems my Lougheed contest winning haiku is haiflu.

The Lougheed House has now posted my recording of the haiku on Twitter.

Nature's Garden, Burstall Pass, Kananaskis, Sept 16, 2020

Haiku, Gardens & Pandemic

Today, on the Books We Love Author Blog I write about my poetry contest win in the 2020 Lougheed House Haiku Contest.

Lougheed House Beaulieu Gardens

Print(ed)Word Documentary

On Youtube, I stumbled upon this excerpt from the Print(ed) Word Documentary, presented at the Calgary Central Library in January 2020. Sylvia Arthur and I discuss our art book collaboration for my short story, “When a Warm Wind Blows Off the Mountains.” The art book is on permanent display in an alcove off the central library’s fourth floor Great Reading Room.

Sylvia's art for When a Warm Wind... scene one

When Words Collide Happens This Weekend

Today, on the BWL Author Blog, I write about Calgary’s annual When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers. This year’s festival is online. It’s free and open to everyone.

Partying at a previous When Words Collide festival - roaring twenties theme. This year's WWC will host a virtual pool party.

When Words Collide Online Festival

When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers is going online this year, from Aug 14-16. It’s free and open to everyone. The organizers are planning five choices of panels, presentations and more every hour from Friday afternoon to Sunday. Most will take place on the Zoom platform.

I’m scheduled for two panels:

Ten Things I Wish I’d Known

The ladies in red partying at a previous year's WWC festival. This year there will be a virtual pool party.

When you started writing, what assumptions blocked your progress, lead you down dead ends, or limited your opportunities and experiences? Panelists share their initial faulty thoughts that slowed their journey into the writing world. Host: James Kademan Friday, 3 pm

Access Denied: A panel for writers on how to handle rejections and critiques, and communicate with editors/agents/publishers. Sat, 1:00 pm.

No registration or payment required. You can check out what’s happening on  WWC website.

The Spanish Flu

Today I blog on my publisher’s website about a subject that feels especially relevant today, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. To find the post scroll down past Berries! (which I find tasty in summer)

Telephone operators in High River, AB, 1918, Courtesy Glenbow Archives

Featured Author

Season for my novel-in-progress

Ten Days in Summer takes place during The Calgary Stampede

In A Deadly Fall, my sleuth Paula's friend is murdered while jogging on the Elbow River pathway that weaves behind Calgary's Saddledome

My publisher, BWL, is running a ‘Featured Author’ series on the BWL Author Blog. It’s my turn today. In the post, I discuss my three published novels and my current writing project.

To Catch a Fox is set largely in Southern California

Writing in COVID Times

Today’s my turn on the BWL Author Blog. I write about how I can’t set novels in the future anymore.

My hiking club social distancing on Hunchback Hills, Alberta.

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