Announcing Double Dead Magic by Maaja Wentz

About the Book:

When they jail her mom for slaying a Zombie, Tonya must uncover the original murderer!

Forbidden to contact her friends and boyfriend (who are cursed to forget her), Tonya’s parole demands remedial magic classes at Loon Lake University. But how can she pass when corrupt authorities strip her from her powers?

Summer school with the enemy clan feels like the worst punishment until her birth mother is jailed for slaying a revenant. Helen’s freedom depends on Tonya solving a 20-year-old cold case involving necromancy, thwarted love, nosy ghosts, and witchy family secrets.

Meanwhile, hidden entities menace the beautiful city of Loon Lake. Suspicious fires, missing swimmers, and parasitic dragons threaten Tonya’s old friends, the Digital Ninjas. Tonya must rescue the Ninjas, and save her best friend, when a motorcycle hunk dupes Priya into conjuring a fire-breathing catastrophe.

Can Tonya save her mother and convince the warring Old Families to restore her friends’ memories? Or will she remain outcast and estranged from her true love forever?

Double Dead Magic is perfect for fans of urban fantasy, paranormal mystery, and creepy comedies like Wednesday, iZombieSabrina, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

About Maaja:

Maaja Wentz adores page-turning mystery and fantasy. “Inside of a Dog” appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Her supernatural thriller, Feeding Frenzy, won a Wattpad award. For kids, she writes as Apricot Banks.

Find Double Dead Magic at Books 2 Read

Find Maaja on Facebook, X and Instagram

Open House & Open Arms

by Jeanette Winsor

Writers often talk about their profession as being filled with solitude, angst, and an unfair remuneration for all our hard work. During the WCYR’s Open House this year, guest presenter Kim McDougall offered some valuable insight on overcoming those hurdles by presenting ideas on how to market our writing and establish connections to readers who will continue to look for our works and buy our books.

Using nine solid points, from the rapid release of books, getting reviews, and setting up social media connections, to inviting readers into our worlds, selecting the right cover, and controlling our real estate, Kim facilitated writers to understand how working hard on the ‘business’ of writing pays off.

This enthusiastic start to the new season, from a professional with a proven track record, gave members and guests at the presentation a road map to getting our work out, getting it noticed, and building a community of readers. With her usual generous nature and her penchant for helping writers succeed, Kim left us with many great ideas, some fabulous sites to visit, and an invite to get in touch with her if we still had questions.

The afternoon progressed with the announcement of this year’s WCYR’s Grant winners who are:

Maaja Wentz with the T. D. Aurora Branch Education Grant

Cathy Miles with the Author V. M. Gopaul Writer’s Grant

Jeanette Winsor with the Author Gary D. McGugan Publishing Grant

Each member received $300 toward their winning proposal, and each will write a blog post to share their writing/publishing journey with us. Watch for 2024’s submission window opening January 1st.

The WCYR would like to say a BIG thank you to all the members and friends who helped out with our fundraiser. Without their support and the generosity of those who attended the event, we would not have been able to achieve our goal and raise funds for much-needed equipment.

In Particular:

Vicki Pinkerton of LifeLines Coaching

Deepam Wadds of Write Your Way In

Deborah Armstrong of Terrahill Publishing

Elise Abram of EMSA Publishing

MJ Moores of Infinite Pathways Press

Patti M. Hall Master Story Alchemist and Book Coach

Diane Bator Author & Book Coach

Sheila Horne Author, Editor, and Writing Instructor

Roderick D. Turner Author & Former Seneca Professor

Hyacinthe Miller Award Winning Author & Past President of the WCYR

Gary Johnson with 102.7 CHOP FM‘s Writers For Readers

William (Bill) Snider aka Zombie Zak with the After Rot Podcast

And, author Kim McDougall, who, by sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm with us, made this year’s Open House a grand success.


Whether you plan on writing 50K words in 30 days, for National Novel Writing Month, or are looking to do a personal writing retreat with a goal of “a lot” of words on the page, this is the prep session for you! Both pantsers and planners are more likely to succeed in a challenge like this with some mindful preparation. Now, this doesn’t mean plotting your book to death before November 1st and then no longer being inspired to write it. No. This is about the physical, mental, and writerly things you can do to help achieve your goals and remain motived. Sign up here.

The WCYR has gathered together 6 local writers and industry professionals who will speak about their experience in a round-robin format, to answer those burning questions. In 15 minute intervals, participants will rotate around the room visiting each professional for a mini-group session. No more than 5 participants will visit during each interval, so be sure to register early – space is limited. Sign up here.

You asked for it, you got it! WCYR is offering this special members-only workshop in real life at Taylor’s in Newmarket facilitated by WCYR’s own, Erika MacNeil. This interactive workshop is designed for writers who wish to develop their public speaking and oratory skills in order to bring dynamic and expressive value to their writing when reading it aloud. Sign up here.

Announcing Contention by Gary D. McGugan

About the Book:

Fidelia Morales is a supreme mobster in the world of organized crime, with international interests in prostitution, illicit drugs, gambling, payday loans, and money laundering. She also rules her outfit with an iron fist. How will she react when her sometime lover and top financial genius wants out?

Howard Knight lived under Fidelia’s rigid control while he invested, scammed, or stole hundreds of millions in cyber currency for her and her criminal outfit, The Organization. But he craves freedom.

Will she let him wade into a new corporate espionage venture from a Caribbean Island? Can the notorious crime boss manipulate her on-and-off lover’s ambitions and still realize a long-held dream of controlling one of the world’s largest publicly traded businesses?

Contention pits the aspirations of one against the unimaginable power and reach of the other, setting Multima Corporation’s CEO—Suzanne Simpson—squarely in their criminal crosshairs. Will the high-powered executive recognize signals of impending danger soon enough to defend the massive company she inherited?

About Gary:

Gary D. McGugan served as Co-Chair of the WCYR during 2020-2021, then as advisor to the board in 2022-2023. He loves to tell stories and is the author of Three Weeks Less a Day, The Multima Scheme, Unrelenting Peril, Pernicious Pursuit, and award-winning novels A Web of Deceit and A Slippery Shadow. After a forty-year career at senior levels of multinational corporations, Gary’s writing uses artful suspense to entertain and inform. His launch of a new writing career—at an age when most people retire—reveals an ongoing zest for new challenges and a lifelong pursuit of knowledge. Home is Newmarket, but Gary thinks of himself as a true citizen of the world. His passion for travel and his broad experience are evident in every chapter.

Find Gary on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Threads, LinkedIn and

Announcing Which Feeling, by D.M. De Alwis

About the Book:

This picture book for young children touches on what it means to have feelings through a conversation between 4-year-old Theo and his Mom while walking home from school.

The book navigates how children ask challenging questions while navigating language and learning to express themselves. Illustrations are by Rohan Corlosquet (Aged 8) as he re-envisioned the walk four years later. Which Feeling was released on May 2, 2023.

About D.M. De Alwis:

D.M. De Alwis is a storyteller at heart. She has spent a lifetime denying the truth in her vocation only to return to it with a vengeance. With her children’s books, she brings a unique and scientific perspective, seeking to answer the questions parents need help with. While expanding on the children’s book series, D.M. De Alwis is also working on a historical fiction trilogy of novels set in South Asia.

You can find D.M. De Alwis on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and at

Announcing Morally Irresponsible by Beverley Neilson

About the Book: 

Young woman are being sexually assaulted in the city. The intensity and violence of the attacks escalate as the perpetrator continues to alter his MO from chloroform to rohypnol to strangulation to pure evil brutality. The perpetrator is smart, cunning, careful and leaves no clues at the crime scenes, however he has one particular obsession. He has a passion for his victims’ earrings. But only the earring in the right ear. Detective Alicia Anderson is tasked to find the scum who is preying on the innocents of her city before they lose more victims to his fury. How will Alicia find the culprit as he becomes more ruthless, more malicious with each attack? Why does the villain take an earring from each victim? What is the significance of the single right earring? 

As the case of a lifetime unfolds for Alicia, she must also deal with her son Luke tragically being shot while at school. She rushes to his side only to find that he has befriended another student in his program – the sister of the notorious VP of the Ruebens gang. Who shot her son and why? And how can he possibly have feelings for the sibling of her archrival? 

James, Alicia’s ex-husband, and his girlfriend, Camryn, are slain on a beach in the Caribbean. Though the two have divorced, she is pulled into the case by her son who is determined to find out who murdered his father and why. The search for the killer brings Luke closer to the seedier side of life as he learns of his father’s connection with the Ruebens. Could the gang, specifically his new girlfriend’s brother,  have put a hit on his father? Why?

Morally Irresponsible is the third book in a series featuring Alicia Anderson, a police officers turned detective.

The book is available in paperback and for Kindle ereaders from Amazon.

About Beverley:

Beverley Neilson lives in a small, rural community in Simcoe County, Ontario with her husband, William and their dog, George. Bev’s favourite pastimes are reading a good book and writing. She also enjoys leisure time on the water and spending time with her family and friends. Morally Irresponsible is Bev’s third book, following The Dark Side of Pain and Family Always Comes First

Announcing a New Podcast from Roderick D. Turner

Tuesday September 10, 2097. A fateful day for the world. The staff of WRAT, an AM radio station dedicated to ensuring the people of Sewarston stay informed, start their afternoon show as usual. Then the nightmare begins.

Zulu 11, the storm to end all storms, strikes with devastating force, driving the population underground, into hiding, wherever they are. And WRAT’s team of field reporters, already deployed across the city and the continent, bring the unfolding story to you. Live on air.

Will humanity find a way to defuse this unprecedented freak of nature before its continued growth reaches the point of no return?

Find out. Tune in to the Spotify Podcast.



Emerging from a Rabbit Hole with a Tamed Bunny

by Jeanette Winsor

Sometimes, our stories can be like bunnies. They can hop all over the place and lead us down long winding rabbit holes.  MJ Moores’ workshop Following Rabbit Holes and Chasing Plot Bunnies had us engaged in activities to help us turn those two dreaded stumbling blocks into a way forward. Have you ever sat at your computer struggling with that logline, or wondering what’s wrong with a scene, or a section of work in which you feel something is missing?

MJ started out by having us look at our logline. It was tough—but necessary. She suggested that the better we understand the core of our story, the easier it is to chase plot bunnies…and we can always go back and massage our logline as we progress. Then, we dove deep—no, not into a rabbit hole, but into a way forward with our work-in-progress.

Using the Socratic method, we engaged in discussions about our ‘not-so-great’ scenes and found solutions to changing and making our work the best it could be. How do you keep your focus and clean up your troublesome scenes? Following MJ’s guidelines, it was an easy and effective process, another great resource for our writing toolbox to keep the rabbit holes and plot bunnies in check.

Upcoming Events:

We’re taking a well-deserved summer break! Events will return on September 24th for our Open House with author Kim McDougall (more details to follow). 

Announcing Interstitial, by Roderick D. Turner

About the Book:

Santiago (Sam) Carreira is content with his life, until his grasp on reality suddenly wavers, for no apparent reason. His sense of place, comfort and security all evaporate. And he is overwhelmed. Then an interview for a job saves his life – and changes the future of the world.

With the help of a young woman named Noor, Sam discovers that he is one of a special few capable of existing in more than one reality – our Physical world, and other realities overlaid on the Physical. The Interstitial layers, known as IS. Noor shows him that he is not alone, teaches him that his new abilities qualify him as part of a unique, gifted group who call themselves Spectra: a society that lives between the cracks, watching, guiding, working for the greater good. Sam quickly falls in love with his new home at Spectra, his connection with those in this amazing community, and especially with Noor.

Then one night, with his power just beginning to fully blossom, he accidentally stumbles upon an attempted assassination – and manages to prevent it, using his IS skills. But in the process, he encounters another, one with IS capability, but whose purpose is the opposite of benevolent. A Ghost. He realizes, in that moment, how readily the ability to move and live within IS can be used by the ambitious, the selfish, the unscrupulous. The Ghosts do not take kindly to his interference, seeking to destabilize and unravel all that Spectra represents. Suddenly, while Sam’s full attention is on the Ghosts, a new threat emerges. A solar flare of unprecedented proportions, creating a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that will have a devastating effect on Earth. Sam must learn the true limits of his new abilities, very quickly, or the world may revert to feudal barbarism overnight.

Can Sam master his skills, find a way to block the CME, with the Ghosts opposing him at every turn?

A bit about Roderick:

Roderick D. Turner has been actively writing fiction since 1990. To date, he has written ten novels, four audio novels/plays, and over 150 short stories. Twenty-four of his stories have been published in paper or electronic form, 22 of those in the Aphelion webzine. A recent anthology of his short stories, The Gem Collection: Treasure Trove, is also available on Amazon. His stories have received one semi-finalist ranking (top 16), fourteen honourable mentions (top 2%), and one silver honourable mention (top 50), out of several thousand entries in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest.

Find Interstitial on Amazon.

Find Roderick on TikTok, Facebook, and Amazon

Announcing All That Shimmers by Diane Bator

About the Book:

Laken Miller swears her new apartment above Vintage Sage is haunted. Even her English Sheepdog, Sammy, is petrified of the things going bump in the night – and day. Then she finds her ex-husband’s body in the courtyard. Can she prove her innocence and find the real killer before the new police chief gives her a different kind of shimmering bracelet than she’s used to? All That Shimmers was released on May 1, 2023.

About Diane:

Diane Bator is a mom of three, a book coach, and the author of well over a dozen mystery novels and many works-in-progress. She is the host of Escape With a Writer, a blog to promote fellow authors and is a member of Sisters in Crime Toronto, the Crime Writers of Canada, and the International Thriller Writers. She is published by BWL Publishing Inc and represented by Creative Edge Publicity.

Get your copy of All That Shimmers here.

Find Diane on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon and at

No More Writing Classes with Maaja Wentz

Fun, funny, interesting. What more could we ask for? Maaja took us on a journey through her experiences with writing courses. Have you ever come out of a course feeling like writing is work? For fiction writers (that’s who she focused on), writing shouldn’t feel like work. Maaja asked us not to fall into “workshop syndrome,” where many writers satisfy their need to be heard by joining workshops. She also encouraged us to practice “creative wellness” – be conscious of where you’re spending your “energy pennies.”

Maaja’s advice is not a “one size fits all”. We have to do what’s best for us, not do what everyone else is doing. However, it is also important to be part of a writing circle, like the WCYR, and connect with other writers, as we do at the monthly events and weekly write-ins. They give us an opportunity to connect while also giving us dedicated writing time.

Maaja compared workshops and classes, conventions, and conferences. She asked us: Where can we get a lot packed into a short amount of time? What are the advantages? Are there any downsides? Would we be better off writing?

In the short time of Maaja’s workshop, she included the best bits of the courses and experiences she’s had, writing advice and resources. Stretch yourself. Take on challenges. But don’t forget – What does writing mean to you?

Upcoming Events

Writers’ Community of Durham Region and Writers’ Community of York Region bring you Kenneth Oppel on May 3 in the evening. We’ll be Zooming. Discounted fee for members. Kenneth Oppel is the internationally bestselling, award-winning author of 36 books for children and young adults. His books feature memorable characters, page-turner plots and intricate, well-researched worlds. Join the WCYR and the WCDR from the comfort of your own home for your chance to learn from one of Canada’s most celebrated authors—someone who has had a lifelong love affair with the written word. Whether you write for kids, for adults, or for your own joy, this online workshop will help you with some of the most essential aspects of writing craft: character, plot and research. Bring your questions! The hour-long craft workshop will be followed by a half-hour Q and A session. Sign up here.

Do you have the tendency to write yourself into a corner only to discover that the plot bunny you were chasing morphed into a dust bunny and left you without, well, a way out? What about exploring those fun yet mysterious rabbit holes that take you to strange places (like poor little Alice)? Do you find yourself lost? Stuck? Off the beaten path? Having difficulty seeing your story for all that distracting… fur? Join MJ Moores in a (yet another) fun, hands-on members only workshop where she’ll take you through a variety of different writing tasks — based around the Socratic Method — meant to nudge you out of your creative corners. Discover (or re-discover) how to use ‘questioning’ to your advantage to find the right plot bunny to chase next. Sign up here.

Announcing The High Priestess: Persephone’s Return by Val Tobin

About the Book:

Someone wants Jaycie Nevil to remain in Hades. Could it be the god of the underworld?

A student mage who doubts her abilities, Jaycie strives to achieve success in her program. When she receives life-changing news, and the boyfriend she relies on accidentally traps her on the wrong side of the veil, her entire existence is jeopardized.

Meanwhile, hiding from a criminal organization and the authorities, human Kelsey Davis has reached the end of her tether. When her downward spiral hits rock bottom, a vampire finally takes action to force her recovery. While their two nights at a spa are close to heavenly, their return to the cabin they share brings a fresh hell.

With tragedy and horror invading all their lives, who will survive this fool’s journey?

About Val:

Formerly a software/web developer, author Val Tobin now spends her time writing novels. She completed a master’s degree in parapsychology in 2016. Also a Reiki Master/Teacher and Angel Therapy Practitioner® with advanced training, certified by Doreen Virtue in Kona, Hawaii, Val has participated in paranormal investigations in the US and Canada. Val contributed a story to Doreen Virtue and Grant Virtue’s book Angel Words, published by Hay House. She has published over a dozen novels, a box set of her Valiant Chronicles series, and several short stories.

Excerpt from an advance review:

“… Tobin’s world building is impeccable. Her characters are three dimensional, well-developed and relatable, and they grow as their stories deepen in complexity as the series progresses.

“Clearly an accomplished writer, Tobin’s prose is confident and her stories tight and well-paced. She skilfully weaves the Tarot cards and their associated themes into each story in a way that is never heavy handed. This series stands with the best of urban fantasy …” — Tahlia Newland, Managing Editor, AIA Publishing

Find The High Priestess: Persephone’s Return on Amazon, Books2Read and BookBub.

Find Val on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

British Christmas in WWII

By Wendy Poole

I enjoy researching. For me it is very rewarding to have that “aha” moment. It may only last momentarily before I think, but what if…, and once again begin another search for confirmation or a bit more information on a topic. And then sometimes, you just have to say to yourself enough; it’s time to get back to telling your story. And those little bits get lost or forgotten until maybe you think, oh I have that information, somewhere…

That’s what this blog post is about. Sharing some of that information with you. Some of it is from my debut novel, Remembering – A Time of Great Purpose, and some of it was tucked away, perhaps waiting to be found as many of us begin to celebrate Christmas.

In December 1940, British families who were determined to celebrate the holiday “no matter what” decorated short Christmas trees and placed them inside their bomb shelters.

Air raid shelter friendly presents, such as flasks and sleeping bags, sold well that year, even gas masks for dolls. War bonds became a popular gift, as a way to support the war. Family members found time to make their gifts. Mums knitted with spare bits of wool, made sweet treats for their children, and Dads carved sailing ships and built dollhouses. For some families, it was wrapped up second-hand gifts or “make do and mend” gifts. Food items were now rationed; those that weren’t were expensive to buy. Mothers wondered how they would make a traditional Christmas meal for their family.

In Britain, rationing of bacon, butter, and sugar began in January of 1940 and three months later, all meat, cheese, eggs, and milk was rationed. Tea and margarine were added in July of that year. Every household had a ration book. Fruit and vegetables were not rationed but having a garden “to grow your own” was encouraged. Government recipe leaflets would often have the phrase “if possible” beside their listed ingredient choices.

Mock meat recipes (and there are many recipes online if you are interested) for turkey, chicken, beef, sausage, and veal, often had a vegetable gravy on the side. In many homes, these were now a part of the Christmas meal, plus any vegetables that could be had and perhaps carrot cake for dessert. Interestingly, I found out that my favorite cake and muffin was created during World War II. This site gives lots of history on its origin.

Finally, for many families in Britain, Christmas 1940, was one of firsts. For some it was their first Christmas without their children because they had been sent abroad to live. For others it was the loss of family members who had died in the summer and fall bombings. London was not bombed that night. BBC’s Christmas sermon broadcast was from the ruins of Coventry Cathedral. Christmas Eve church bells were silent, as they were now only to be used as a warning signal of invasion. Christmas trees were decorated with paper chains, had no lights, and the presents under the tree were tied with string.

Rationing did not end immediately after the war, but eventually it was over. It is interesting how the hardships we are facing today and for the past couple of years seem daunting, but as England eventually recovered, so will we.

Announcing How I Invented the Internet by Marilyn Carr

About the Book

Despite growing up in Deep River, Ontario, the company town for Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories that only exists because of science, Marilyn Carr was firmly neither a science, technology, engineering, nor mathematics person. When How I Invented the Internet begins, she has just wrapped up a master’s degree in library science, which at least involved the word “science.” So how did she accidentally end up in a tech career? It’s complicated.

How I Invented the Internet is a coming-of-work-age memoir set in 1980s and ’90s Toronto. Along the way, our heroine muddles through a series of baffling jobs, patronizes questionable social venues, cobbles together a dating life with more downs than ups, and makes dubious housing choices. It’s a romp through the era of aspirational yuppies, outrageous shoulder pads, and the wonders of office automation. You will never look at your computer the same way again.

About Marilyn

Marilyn Carr’s resume is mostly distinguished by too many hours spent in frequent flyer lounges. She is astonished that, as a management consultant and software industry analyst, people actually believed what she said. She has authored hundreds of pieces of business writing, including eBooks for software giants like Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP, which have been downloaded many thousands of times, even though none of them is very funny. As a keynote speaker, she has entertained and enlightened audiences at international conferences on topics like how to avoid fatal accidents on the information highway and how to become a software billionaire (hint: start with at least two billion). Marilyn is a class of 2020 MFA graduate from the University of King’s College, her third master’s degree, but who’s counting? (She is.)  She blogs about the absurdness of everyday life at Her first memoir, Nowhere Like this Place: Tales from a Nuclear Childhood was published in November 2020. It was a finalist for the Penguin Random House MFA prize and was on the longlist for the Leacock Medal. She is currently working on the third installment of her memoirs, If it’s Shreveport, It Must be Tuesday.

Find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Find How I Invented the Internet on Amazon, Indigo and at Iguana Books.

Announcing Dead Man’s Doll by Diane Bator

About the Book:

Christmas blooms in Sugarwood in the form of a brightly lit tree in town square, colourful ornaments, and a snowstorm. It’s just Audra Clemming’s luck that she literally stumbles over the local butcher in Miss Lavinia’s shop. Then a witch doctor arrives in town. Can Audra solve the mystery before the killer turns their sights on her? Dead Man’s Doll was released in October 2022.

About Diane:

Diane Bator is a mom of three, a book coach, and the author of over a dozen mystery novels and many works-in-progress. She has also hosted the “Escape With a Writer” blog to promote fellow authors, is a member of Sisters in Crime Toronto and a board member of Crime Writers of Canada. When she’s not writing and coaching authors, she works for a professional theatre.

Find Dead Man’s Doll at Books 2 Read

Find Diane on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and at

Announcing The Shape of Stories: A Comprehensive Guide for Fiction Writers by Elise Abrams

About the Book:

In the magnum opus of her teaching career, seasoned English teacher, author, editor, and publisher Elise Abram curates a collection of lesson plans and techniques related to the craft of writing. Abram’s method uses mentor texts to demonstrate elements of the art of storytelling, including crafting believable characters, gripping plots, and finding your author’s voice. Each lesson includes a number of writing exercises, exemplars, and self-assessment checklists to help you assess your progress as you complete the assigned tasks, building upon previous lessons as you hone your writing chops.

  • Use mentor texts to read like a writer
  • Practice showing and not telling
  • Construct believable characters
  • Pen plots that keep the reader turning pages
  • Experiment with different points of view
  • Blog and journal about your experience
  • Self-edit your work

Learn about the elements of storytelling from past and present masters of fiction as you study their techniques and apply what you learn to your own writing. Discover your writing style as you complete the activities in this course as you learn how to shape stories worthy of publication.

About Elise:

Elise Abram is a retired high school teacher, former archaeologist, and current editor and author of books for all ages, from children’s picture books through young adult and adult audiences. Though she mainly writes urban fantasy, she has dabbled in many genres. This book represents her 25 years’ experience teaching high school English, particularly writer’s craft.

Find The Shape of Stories: A Comprehensive Guide for Fiction Writers at Teachers Pay Teachers and Amazon

Find Elise on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and and

Getting Unstuck with Sue Reynolds – Open House!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the first event of the season and our first in-person event in two years!

We were excited that September’s event featured the fantastic Sue Reynolds. Sue brought her experience and insight to the sunny Sunday afternoon. The pandemic affected many writers in different ways. Sue came to help us get unstuck.

When we are conscious of being stuck, it is easier to change. Procrastination, perfectionism and similar compulsions get in our way. There is pressure, stress, especially as your mind wanders to the commitments you’ve made, the to-do list waiting to be done. Many writers want to make sure the time we take for writing is “worthwhile.” It happens to everyone. We fall into the productivity myth. Though we have been led to believe the opposite, procrastination is not a character flaw. Be kind to yourself. Procrastination can come from what disempowers you. Sue gave us a few minutes to consider what disempowers us.

What made you want to be a writer? Sue wanted us to reflect and remember. She gave us a minute to jot into our notebooks/laptops, what that was. Sue also led us through a reflective writing exercise, where we make note for ourselves on what we’re thinking/writing about. Reflective writing can be a lot of “telling,” but can transition in and out of “show” as our own thoughts do.

The exercises and prompt writing that Sue led us through showed us many different ways to get unstuck. We were able to get our creative juices flowing, whether towards a work-in-progress or a new project.

You can find Sue at Inkslingers – Writing Workshops, Retreats, Mentoring

Upcoming Events

Non-Fiction Architecture: Structuring Books with Tim Falconer – October 16, 1:30pm to 4:00pm

Detailing Your MS (Manuscript not Mustang) with MJ Moores – November 20, 1:30pm to 4pm

Web 3 for Writers: Computer-aided Writing and Art with Maaja Wentz – December 1, 7pm to 9 pm (Members Only)

Announcing Sombrio by Rhonda Waterfall

About the Book:

Vulnerable and hallucinatory, Rhonda Waterfall writes an alarming and vivid West Coast novel. Set in the rain forest on the outer coast of Vancouver Island, Sombrio takes us into the dark heart of lost childhoods. Three men – an artist, his apprentice, and an ex-bank robber turned poet – seek refuge in an abandoned squatter’s shack. As a windstorm descends upon the men, their thin hold on reality begins to unravel and fray. Each man must grapple with his past and his desire for fame or infamy, along with what their disastrous choices have wrought for their children. This is a tale of madness, art, love, addiction, and paternal responsibility. And how men lauded as geniuses crush their daughters. Sombrio was released on September 1, 2022.

A bit about Rhonda:

Rhonda Waterfall studied Creative Writing at The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. She has had fiction and non-fiction published in several literary journals, along with a novel, The Strait of Anian, published by Now or Never Publishing and a short story collection, The Only Thing I Have, published by Arsenal Pulp Press.

Find Rhonda on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and

Starting Over

by Gina X Grant

Late in 2018, I left Toronto where I’d lived for the better part of six decades, and moved into the house of my dreams in Aurora. I’ve always been a joiner, having belonged to just about every writer group you can think of. So, even though I’d chosen to take a year off writing while I built a new life, I joined the Writer’s Community of York Region (WCYR). I attended only one or two meetings before the world locked down. Since the world was ending, I decided I’d never write again, let all my memberships lapse, and gained twenty pounds. As one does.

But the world didn’t end, so in 2023, re-joined the WCYR (and Weight Watchers) and vowed to attend as many activities as I could. I lost the twenty pounds and in October became inspired to write another book, after hearing Jenny Madore speak at our sister-group, WCDR (Durham). With WCYR’s encouragement, I participated in NaNoWriMo and wrote 50,000 words in about 40 days.

Now I’m writing a new (to me) genre—the cozy mystery. I’ve written action-adventure in the past, some with mysterious elements, but a murder mystery is a highly structured form. With my first draft done, I needed to make sure it would hold reader interest. Imagine my joy when I read that the next WCYR seminar offering would be Increasing Tension and Suspense. Not only that, but it was at the Aurora Public Library, which is just down the road from my home.

Bruce Hanson arrived prepared, offering informative handouts and assigning engaging exercises. I much prefer a workshop to a lecture and Bruce really delivered. He covered the basics such as “show, don’t tell,” and dialogue tags versus action tags, before leading us to more advanced topics such as the ever challenging “pacing.” It never hurts to review the basics, and I learned something new about structure and pacing.

The epiphany moment—the one that really made it worthwhile—actually happened later. Bruce encouraged questions and participation from the attendees, and one such discussion was around flashbacks. I’m a fan, while others… not so much. I cited the TV show Highlander, which would always have a “B” plot that jumped back in time to tell a story that informed the “A” plot. Yes, we all agreed. That’s one way to do it,

But upon reviewing my manuscript the next day, I realized I hadn’t done that. I’d written a few fun flashbacks that did give insight into how the main character, a retired con artist, became who she is today. But these flashbacks accomplished little else. Oh, no! Isn’t that exactly what we don’t want a flashback to do? A few quick tricks with Word and I had transferred an outline to Excel, where I replotted my flashbacks into their own relevant story. Because this is first in a series, it’s so important to get it right or readers won’t bother with book two. Plus, this now defines the structure of each novel in this series going forward. Knowing this from the outset will make plotting so much easier.

In summary, I found Bruce’s presentation both informative and fun. I also enjoyed the in-person discussion and socializing. I can’t wait to get to know my fellow WCYR members better.

Gina X. Grant / Storm Grant. Gina began writing professionally in 2006 after cutting her writerly teeth on fanfic. Her books have been published by small, medium, and large presses, including an urban fantasy series with Simon & Schuster. In 2010, she began self-publishing her novels, and now has more than a dozen novels and short stories available under the pen names Storm Grant and Gina X. Grant. On Facebook, she goes by Gina Storm Grant. She is a member/past member of many writing organizations, including SFWA, SinC, RWA, and NinC, as well as her local organization, the Writers Community of York Region. Gina lives in Aurora, Ontario with a rescued Mexican street dog named Canoli.

Find her at: and

Bruce A. Hanson (a.k.a. Robert Rime) is a member of the Muskoka Authors Association, the Barrie Writers Club, and the Writers’ Community of York Region. He has travelled quite a distance from his analytical electrical engineering roots, which included a short stint working on the space shuttle’s Canadarm. He has trained with Second City Toronto, appeared on the Cottage Life television show Cottage Cheese, and has worked as an extra for TV and film including Flashpoint, Warehouse 13, and John A.: Birth of a Country. Bruce’s short fiction has received nine writing awards. Reach him at  

Announcing Hoodoo in the Loo: D.E.M.ON. Tales Book 8 by MJ Moores and Nanci Pattenden

About the Book:

Ode de Toilet…

No agent wants to respond to a call from the outpost. Not only is it poorly provisioned, and mainly a rehabilitation site for serious on-the-job mishaps, but it’s located in Toronto. And they’re having toilet issues.

A ghost-not-ghost is wreaking havoc in high-end loos throughout Yorkville. The youngest agents are assigned the case, certain it’s payback from the big-wigs for some unknown error in judgement—or maybe they do know.

Yoli witnessed an odd happenstance with their local centenarian and is certain the crap has hit the fan.

Dive into book 8 in this tongue-in-cheek urban fantasy where Men in Black meets Supernatural.

A bit about MJ and Nanci:

Nanci Pattenden and MJ Moores have been writing critique partner for almost ten years. The two women began writing very different genres: Nanci historical mystery and MJ sci-fi/fantasy. However, over the years they have rubbed off on each other. Nanci now dabbles in urban fantasy, and MJ has fallen for the Victorian era, writing YA steampunk. These ladies have now teamed up to write a tongue-in-cheek local Urban Fantasy novella series called D.E.M.ON. Tales.

Nanci and MJ are active volunteers for the Writers’ Community of York Region, and, when permitted out in public, enjoy attending book events to ply their wares.

Find Hoodoo in the Loo and Dominoes on Amazon

Find Nanci on Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram and at

Find MJ on Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram, YouTube and at

Find them both at

Announcing Old Embers Rekindled – My Fire is not Out Yet! By Gary E. Johnson

About the Book:

Old Embers Rekindled – My Fire is Not Out Yet! is a new collection of poems integrated with selected photographs that are meant to complement each other generally. The book features seven sections: Fore Thoughts, Foundered Love Unbound, Down Time, State of Agitation, Metaphysics, Love Before Death, and After Thoughts.

Fore Thoughts can be considered a prologue, touching on The Word and The Picture which is the interplay in the book. The theme of Foundered Love Unbound for the most part is about disenchanted or unrequited love. Down Time speaks to the isolation and the loss of a normal life during the pandemic. State of Agitation is mostly a short rant about what’s going on in the world today. Metaphysics deals with abstract concepts such as being, time, and space. Life Before Death portrays the thoughts and feelings of an older man trying to understand his mortality. The idea behind After Thoughts was to take some time to pause for reflection over a few poems and some random thoughts (or mostly they were added because they didn’t make it into the main body of the book).

Author’s Note: I hope the reader enjoys the interplay between the words and pictures as much as I enjoyed putting them together.

You can buy Old Embers Rekindled – My Fire is Not Out Yet! here.

About Gary:

Over his lifetime, Gary Johnson sporadically wrote poems as time and events allowed, which resulted in his first collection of poems enter light-exit light and everything in between.

In the last five years with more time on his hands, he has put together this second collection in Old Embers Rekindled, which combines his love of poetry and his photography. Each photograph also includes a small accompanying interpretive verse in the overall context of each section of poems: Foundered Love Unbound, Down Time, State of Agitation, Metaphysics, Life Before Death, and After Thoughts.

“We will continue to strew our seed and spawn our ideas For our future progeny to follow”

When he is not writing or creating photo art, he is growing garlic and cut flowers along with his wife Cathy for her Perennial Petals farm business. Find Gary here.

Announcing Approche de la Déesse by Patricia Keeney

About the Book:

Approche de la Déesse is a selection of poems in French translation in a bilingual English/French edition. The poems are inspired largely by a long love affair with Greece – both modern and ancient – and by the throb of mythology. The poems have been rendered with precision and sensitivity by my translators, who have proven as dedicated as they are talented. The publisher, Alidades, has done a superb job of presenting the poems in a special edition. Approche de la Déesse is available from Alidades.

About Patricia:

Patricia Keeney is an award-winning poet, novelist, theatre and literary critic. The author of ten books of poetry and two novels, her writing has been widely translated. Her latest poetry volume, Orpheus in Our World (NeoPoiesis) connects ancient Greek lyrics with contemporary theatrical dialogue. Her latest novel, One Man Dancing (Inanna) is a story of Africa, politics, art, and personal survival set on the world stage. Her forthcoming novel, Emptiness and Angels: A Story of the Divine Feminine combines Biblical mystery, feminist satire, and spiritual quest. Keeney is a long time professor of literature, humanities and creative writing at Toronto’s York University.

Find Patricia here.

The Critical Lens with Romance Writer LaQuette

Romance writer LaQuette took February’s event attendees on a journey through the critical lens. LaQuette encouraged everyone to push past any defensiveness they may feel and to think about someone else’s perspective. There were no attacks or preaching. The event was an opportunity to listen and learn. LaQuette gave powerful examples from literature and film to illustrate each point and help everyone better understand.

When learning about diversity and different perspectives, there are terms that have now become common use. LaQuette explained POC (Person of Colour), Othering, Colourism, and Problematic among others. She encouraged everyone to ask themselves:

“What are my blindspots?”

“What are my biases?”

“Where does your information come from?”

LaQuette does not want anyone to shy away from including diverse characters in their works, as long as they are three-dimensional characters. If they are poor, why are they poor? Is being a poor person of colour, living in a ghetto, the only traits described? The why’s behind character creation are important. Know what you’re writing and why you are writing it. Characters should be created based on a collection of individual experiences. LaQuette reminded everyone that a story shouldn’t consist of “I can’t find love because I’m black/gay/trans/disabled/etc.” The character should be a whole person. LaQuette also reminded everyone that marginalized people need to see themselves having joy for no other reason than they exist.

Upcoming Events:

Terry Fallis: The Role of Humour in Writing

Two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour –

Author of five #1 bestsellers – Creative Writing Instructor

Terry will discuss the role humour plays in his writing—not just in his novels, but how a sense of humour can sustain you in the rollercoaster life of a writer. He’ll offer up tips on injecting humour into your writing and thoughts on why so few writers, even if they’re funny people, seem to avoid humour in their writing. Sign up here.