Write your story

healing_writingLast week I was talking about the ‘not so fun’ parts of writing. But that when it boils down to it, we keep at it because it’s something we feel we have to. And I came across an article from Time magazine last year that drives that home. In it, they talk about studies that show that not only can writing help people deal with psychological stresses, but with physical ones as well!

And it got me thinking about what got me started writing in the first place. My first book was An Elk in the House, literally about the elk we had in our house, Butter. I’d never even thought about writing a book before this, but there was something about Butter’s impact on our lives, and the whole experience that made me realize, I have a story to tell.

In fact, most people have a story inside them waiting to come out. Sure, not every story is meant to be broadcast to millions. In fact, as the article points out, sometimes it’s not even meant to be told to another person. But the very act of telling your story, even if it’s only for an audience of one, can be life-changing.

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“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

1010101010That’s a quote from Pablo Picasso, but I read a great quote on twitter the other day (I visit it sometimes, but I’m not on there, yet!) that I wanted to share with you all.

” Writers get paid for what other people get scolded for: daydreaming. We’re supposed to wander.” –Richard Walter. I can’t find the original source for this, but it was too good to share, regardless of whether he said it!

It reminds me of what a privilege it is to be a writer. It’s true, really. We often hear a lot of talk these days about ‘gratitude’ and I’ve realized how very grateful I am to be able to share my thoughts and ideas with you all through the written word. But it also occurred to me that the opportunity for expression shouldn’t be considered a privilege, but a right.

I think we forget about how much the expression of all types of artists contributes to our every day life—it’s easy to take it for granted. People talk about cutting funding the arts when they forget how much of a role it plays in our lives every day. Look around your house, odds are you’ve put out some paintings, prints, or objects to decorate your home. Now why did you do that? Well, obviously because they’re pleasing to you and it makes you feel good to see them? Behind each of those objects is an artist.

Think about the music you tune into on the radio or on your ipod—tons of artists there!

And think about each and every name that goes on the credits of your favourite movie or television show. Yep, they’re all part of the arts industry!

And of course, think about that book you’re reading right now that gives you so much pleasure (hopefully!). Writers (even non-fiction writer) are all artists too!

So next time you hear somebody talk about how we need to cut funding for the arts, just remember how much artists do for you every day to make your world a more beautiful and wondrous place.

Summertime and the reading is easy…

summerreadingThis Friday is the 21st of June, and you know what that means? Summer will officially be here! While this year’s spring was a bit of a non-starter I, for one, am thrilled to see signs of summer on their way. Flowers in bloom, fruits starting to grow on the trees, and longer nights! The last thing in particular is one of my favourite parts of the season. Up here in Alberta we have beautifully long nights throughout the whole summer that are absolutely PERFECT for curling up on a deckchair and reading the night away.

There’s something about lazy summer days that just make reading the perfect activity to while away the hours. How can you stay cooped upside watching reruns when there’s glorious weather and great books to be enjoyed outdoors? I’ve already started scribbling out my wish list for summer reads.

I know a lot of you will be in the same frame of mind, and I’m curious to know what  you’ve got lined up for your deck reading? What genre suits your summer mood?

Taking a break from the ordinary…

king quote

Hello everyone! There’s been radio silence on my end of this blog for a few weeks, but I have a good reason why–I was on vacation! Yes, I took a break from the tempermental and nasty weather of Northern Alberta and headed south to sunny Cuba. Not surprisingly, I had a fabulous time!

But beyond enjoying the escape from what was a pretty darn long winter (if you live in the prairies of Canada, you know what I’m talking about!), I really felt like the trip was necessary to refresh my writing. No, my new book isn’t about Cuba, but nevertheless I feel like vacations are critical for keeping the creative juices flowing. Getting away from the monotony of every day life and getting to experience entirely new surroundings and people is one of the most important things a writer can do to keep their writing fresh and interesting. The other thing vacations are great for, is reading! As writers, we all need to make time to read as well–but often times it takes a vacation for us to be able to catch up on it.

Even if you can’t afford to take a vacation or time off, you can get the same benefits as one by incorporating certain changes into your daily routine. First off, make time to read other writers! Nothing’s more inspiring than reading someone else’s beautifully written prose. If you’re starting to feel a bit blocked and always writing at home, try writing in a coffee shop or in a park–you’ll be amazed at how quickly it helps refresh your perspective.

So there are my post-vacation tips for other writers out there–here are few tips from some of the masters!

Ducks on the Peace River?

shopping duckHave ducks invaded the Peace River? We stopped at The Shopping Duck today for our next pitstop on our blog tour, and were glad to see nothing ran a-fowl (hah!)!

Their review highlights the fact that Evil on the Peace River is a great ‘one-sitting’ read. It keeps you glued to its pages, so make sure you clear your schedule when you sit down to read it!

Make sure you check out our feathered friends at The Shopping Duck for great tips and reviews for one of my favourite pastimes: book shopping!

What’s your favourite scary movie? It was probably a book first!

It’s Halloween Eve and there’s no end of ghosts and goblins preparing to take over the streets and wreak a little candy-related havoc tomorrow night. There’s also no end to the number of fright films being broadcast on television at the moment, a real treat for horror buffs to be sure!

But I’m not really into horror movies—so how am I celebrating the holiday? Why by going to the source material for the scariest movies out there: books! People often forget that many of the most frightening stories every to hit the celluloid were, in fact, novels first.

Just think of the scariest films you’ve seen: The Shining, Psycho, Woman in Black, Stepford Wives, Rosemary’s Baby, even Jaws—all found their first expression on the written page!

And why do I prefer to read ‘scary’ rather than watch it? Well, the fact that a book sustains the tension over many hours, rather than a pat 90 or 120 minutes makes it far more thrilling! And when it’s a particularly well-written thriller I find you get far more absorbed in the story than you ever could with all the distractions surrounding you watching a movie in your living room.

So tomorrow night, after the trick-or-treaters have retreated with their sacks full of candy, consider curling up with a creepy tale of terror. You could even ‘treat’ yourself to a copy of Evil on the Peace River!

Wonderful review of the new book

Hello there, I just wanted to post this wonderful review of my new book Mary: Woman of Sorrows. Please consider sharing with your friends, or better yet – buy the book!

I just finished reading your last book Mary: Woman Of Sorrows, I can only try to explain the great effect that this book had on me. After discussing the book with my friend and neighbour, the passion that she showed [for] the book after she read it and the awesome conversation we had about it, I knew I must read it.
It was one of those books that once you start to read it, there is no putting it down until it is done, and that is exactly what I did, read it till it was done!
This book touched me on many different levels, first as a woman and the many [injustices] that we face everyday for being born female. Second as a Christian, and the close relationship that I share with Jesus Christ each and every single day, realizing all over again exactly what he did for me. And third as a mother, and the lengths I would go to for any of my children at any time or [in] any place or situation.
I thank you Bev for this book and your and your opinions. I find you to be very brave to even dare to write about this subject, and feel empowered as a woman after reading it!
Thanks again for the awsome read…
M.B.