REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT: SUNSHINE COAST — I’ll be one of six authors reading a 10-minute selection on Zoom on Feb. 11, sponsored by the Federation of BC Writers. My excerpt is from the chapter “Assault” in my memoir No Letter in Your Pocket, to be published in 2023 by Guernica Editions. Free event runs from 7 to 8:15 pm. Click here for more details.
Want a signed copy of a fun story for kids? I’ll be selling and signing copies of my new picture book Six Stinky Feet and a Sasquatch on Saturday, March 21 at the Chapters bookstore in Coquitlam, BC. Watch for me from 1 to 3 pm at the Chapters store in the Pinetree Village on Lougheed Highway.
I’m one of five authors who will be doing a reading and presentation to kindergarten and grade one students at Gibsons Elementary School in Gibsons, BC on Wednesday, Feb. 26. I’ll be sharing my new picture book Six Stinky Feet and a Sasquatch and talking about “Picture Books: Fact and Fiction.” I look forward to hearing what the students have written. It should be a fun half-day.
It was fun presenting my new picture book, Six Stinky Feet and a Sasquatch, to an audience of young and old Dec. 7 at Sechelt Public Library. Andy Johnson, storyteller for the shishalh Nation, shared a sasquatch song he composed and told a sasquatch story. I’m honoured to know that he plans to read my book to shishalh kids.
At the event, I wore a red hoodie with the sasquatch design by shishalh Nation member Candace Campo. She explained to me how cultural Indigenous tradition determines the shape of each eye of the creature’s face. At the end of my fictional story, I include some cultural history and trivia regarding the sasquatch and a few URLs and book titles for those who want to find out more about this mysterious creature.
The hard-cover book, published by Peppermint Toast Publishing, features illustrations by talented Vancouver, BC animator Lillian Lai. The book is $18. Ten per cent of proceeds support pediatric palliative care in British Columbia.
Click here to see media photo and event coverage.
Click here to find out more and order a copy.
Did you know that some residents of Churchill, Manitoba consider Thanadelthur, an early 1700s Chipewyan guide and peace negotiator, the founder of their town? That is one of the many fascinating historical facts I learned while writing profiles of accomplished Métis, Indigenous, and Inuit people for Canadian Encyclopedia.
I discovered the many achievements of politicians like Romeo Saganash, Quebec’s first Indigenous MP, and Jody Wilson-Reybauld, Canada’s former attorney-general, and the struggles behind precedent-setting Métis laws. I learned that Louis Riel’s sister, Sara, worked as a mediator between conflicting groups in the late 1800s in the Red River Colony (later Manitoba).
What struck me repeatedly while researching these fascinating lives is that these notable Canadians excelled despite phenomenal racism, setbacks, and government neglect or indifference. I kept thinking that their resilience and successes should have made them household names in this country, but due to systemic racism, many remain unknown or little known in our nation’s history.
Read my roughly three dozen Canadian Encyclopedia profiles here.
(From left): Heather Blackwood and Rosemary Hoare, SCHS’s first two volunteer coordinators with long-time volunteer Karen Falk
Want to know what hospice has done on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast for the past 30 years? Come to an Oct. 5 event in Sechelt and see the video that I wrote, produced, and directed called “Legacy of Love: 30 Years of Compassionate Care on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, 1987 – 2017.”
The seven-minute documentary includes two poignant stories and an overview, by decade, of the achievements of the Sunshine Coast Hospice Society (SCHS). You’ll see historic pix and meet some of the founders of hospice plus board members, donors, a patient and more.
The video is part of a project commissioned to celebrate the 30th anniversary of SCHS.It will be screened at a special event to honour current and past hospice volunteers and donors. The event starts at 6:45 pm on Thursday, Oct. 5 at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt.
Besides making the video, shot and edited by Arthur Le and Jordan Williams, I researched and wrote a lot of original content for the 30th anniversary: a detailed chronology, and nine web features with interviews and photos that reveal key highlights of local hospice history.
Brian Klassen, owner of Brian Klassen Models in Halfmoon Bay, BC
Tugboats with tiny propellers. Sailboats with miniature rigging. Two-foot ships yachts with teensy bar stools, sinks and other features.
I was fascinated to see the intricate, painstaking work of Brian Klassen, who custom-makes replicas of yachts and commercial ships for clients around the world. I visited his small shop in Halfmoon Bay, on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, in February this year.
He had just finished his latest creation: an amazing scale model of a $50-million mega-yacht for a company in New Zealand. The wealthy owner of the 50-metre yacht under construction cried when he saw Brian’s meticulously made replica.
Click this link (Scan) to read my article “Dream Vessels Made to Order,” which appears in the spring 2017 issue of Sunshine Coast Life magazine.
Want to hear compelling personal stories and learn more about what literary nonfiction is?
Come out to Sechelt Public Library on Thursday, March 30 and hear three Sunshine Coast, BC authors, including Heather Conn, read from their book manuscripts.
Heather, Sheila Cameron, and Claire Finlayson will each present excerpts from their respective works-in-progress. Sheila will present heartwarming stories from Shine Bright: Live a Supernova Life. Heather will share a troubling but inspirational tale of healing and forgiveness from No Letter in Your Pocket: Twenty Years Healing a Family Secret. Claire will reveal her experiences in Ray’s Planet about growing up with a brother who didn’t know he was autistic.
Caitlin Hicks, the Sunshine Coast representative for the BC Federation of Writers, will be on hand to facilitate discussion. This free event will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Coffee and treats will be served.
I’ll be teaching “Writing Short Documentaries” and helping students brainstorm a group documentary project from Feb. 27 to March 2 in Powell River. This is an annual appearance I make as an instructor at Powell River Digital Film School.
Every year, the content varies, depending on the wishes of school founder and director Tony Papa. Usually, I cover how to write both drama and documentaries. Most years, I include a workshop on Introduction to SoulCollage®.
I encourage students to share their deepest personal stories or sociocultural tales from their community that no one has documented. I love their willingness to jump in and learn new things and to explore storytelling with a compelling, authentic voice.
I enjoyed introducing SoulCollage® Jan. 27 to a group of job placement students at M. Magas and Associates, an employment agency in Sechelt, BC.
We did a guided visualization, identified their respective dream job, and discussed accountability, victimhood and what archetypal influences might resonate with them.
I appreciated their openness and willingness to share what symbols were meaningful to them.
Since this was one of their “fun Friday” events, I was advised to keep it “light and uplifting.” I love that SoulCollage® is hands-on and fun but still a revealing form of self-discovery that creates connectedness and empowerment.