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 www.marilyncarr.com. 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 dianebator.ca

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 eliseabram.com and emsapublishing.com

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 Rhondawaterfall.com

Announcing Frozen Foes & Dominoes: D.E.M.ON. Tales Book 6, by MJ Moores and Nanci Pattenden

About the Book:

Frost Bitten…

The wonder twins Dodge and Yoli are, unfortunately, the D.E.M.ON. agency’s only hope for discovering the source of a Yeti-iceman’s rampages at a ski resort north of the city. They can’t keep him in permanent puddle-stasis or something else just might blow up in their faces. With the best of the best grappling with portal rifts and a mounting death toll, the young partners need to set their differences aside to handle inter-species and inter-agency diplomacy… neither of which is all it’s cracked up to be. When cold clues heat up on this frigid mission, rules might not be the only things broken when Yoli falls prey to the iceman’s “pet.”

Can the “B” team discover the source of blizzard-man’s terror before Blue Mountain avalanches into a deep freeze?

Dive into the sixth installment of D.E.M.ON. Tales, where Men in Black meets Supernatural in a tongue-in-cheek blend of action and humour.

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. They 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 Frozen Foes & Dominoes at Goodreads and Amazon

Find Nanci on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at nancipattenden.com

Find MJ on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and at mjmoores.com

Find them both at hammeredwords.weebly.com

Join Us for National Novel Writing Month!

National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow!

In this month-long goal to write 50,000 words, word-crafters across the world unite.

Here at the WCYR we like to celebrate with our own Mini-NaNo.

What’s that, you may ask?

Well, whether your plan is to write the full NaNo or just set your own personal goal for the month, the WCYR is here to support you. Every year, for the past seven years, the WCYR has held a Mini-NaNo, where you get to choose your own goal (anywhere from 1,000 words to 50,000+ words) for the month of November.

This is a member perk 🙂

On our writing support Facebook page, Word by Word, we work toward helping you achieve your personal writing goal by:

  • Holding a declaration draw, where you can state your writing goal for the month of November, along with your form/genre(s) of choice, and automatically get entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card to put toward an e-book, or a discounted print book from one of our published members.
  • Holding a survival draw, where you state how close you made it to your goal (same prizes as above) at the end of the month.
  • Having an opportunity to discuss plot bunnies or characters that don’t listen, or celebrate a great session of writing.
  • Sharing fun/funny/encouraging memes, and taking silly polls to bolster your spirit.
  • Checking in once a week with a general update on how it’s going.
  • Sharing favourite quotes from your work-in-progress (WIP) that can be turned into fun graphics.
  • Joining us at our weekly write-ins for face-to-face support and comradery. Online: Sunday mornings, and Monday and Thursday evenings; In-Person: Monday’s 10am – 12pm at Cardinal Press Espresso Bar on Main Street in Newmarket.

We are always looking to include more In-person Write-Ins during the month of November so if you want to offer a single day or a weekly opportunity because you know you’ll be at a local café or coffee shop please reach out to Nanci Pattenden (nanci@nancipattenden.com) and she will help spread the news on WCYR’s social media. It doesn’t matter if you live in/around Newmarket either 😉 Members of the WCYR live everywhere from Orangeville to King Township to Innisfil to Thornhill, Sutton, Uxbridge, and beyond. Members and non-members alike are encouraged to participate in our in-person write-ins.

We hope you’ll join us for some fun and personal accountability this NaNoWriMo season.

What’s Coming Up

Are you confused about when to show and when to tell? How much to say and what to describe to the nth degree of detail or pull back because you’re adding too much backstory or general information? Do you find yourself relying on the same sensory detail over and over again? If so, then this is the workshop for you. LEARN MORE.


There’s a whole new world of computer-generated art and text made possible by the latest advances in artificial intelligence. Want to cut through the hype and see what this means for your artistic practice? Interested in the possibilities of A.I. for illustrations and artistic experiments? Want to learn what NFTs and blockchain smart contracts can mean for novelists? LEARN MORE.

Announcing The Magician: Infinity’s End by Val Tobin

About the Book:

He’s expelled for a crime he didn’t commit. When he finds the real culprit, will it spell the beginning of his end?

Chase Spenser has always been a model mage student until a simple conjuring spell goes awry and a demon appears. The dean quickly expels Chase despite his claim that someone framed him.

Publicly disgraced, Chase sets out to find the mysterious person behind the botched spell. He grows desperate as the only person who can help becomes homeless, his employer has disappeared, and loved ones reveal shocking secrets.

Determined to uncover the truth, Chase makes career-destroying decisions that threaten whatever is left of his life. Can Chase redeem himself, or will his own arrogance be the final trap?

The Magician: Infinitys End is the spellbinding second book in the Tales from the Unmasqued World urban fantasy series, featuring both new and familiar characters. If you like quirky characters, mystical magick, and unexpected twists and turns, then you’ll love Val Tobin’s enchanting world.

Book one in the series is The Fool: New Beginnings. Book three, available for pre-order on Amazon and releasing in January 2023, is The High Priestess: Persephone’s Return. Each story in the series is inspired by a different card from the tarot’s major arcana.

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. She is 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.

Find The Magician on Amazon and Bookbub

Find Val on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

Announcing Engineered by Roderick D. Turner

About the Book:

Anja Petersen loves everything about her life – but she wishes she could not see what is coming. The future branches out before her, premonitions haunting her waking hours, stalking her dreams. And they are only the beginning.

A frantic phone call, a moment of transformation, and a whole new world opens. A world filled with hope, shock, and fear. A world of amazement and disbelief, where nothing is impossible, and where the fate of the planet is uncertain. Anja is torn between a desperate desire for the peace and calm of the past, and a frantic urgency that compels her forward into the unknown. She and her companions must unlock the power within themselves. They must learn to use their gifts in ways that are beyond imagination. For there is a moment of truth looming – the ultimate test for humanity. The engineers, those who delved deep within the human mind and unearthed its treasures, have only a single goal. They will not tolerate failure. Anja and her friends must fight against fate, the fate that her designers have written for them. They must create a path through to a bright tomorrow. Or there will be no tomorrow.

Engineered is a story about us – it is the story of humanity testing its limits, the ultimate capabilities that may lead us to the stars and beyond. But it is also a dramatic, intense journey about discovering who you are, why you are, and what is important in life. It is a sweeping tale of love, defiance, and loyalty in the most demanding of circumstances. An experiment that tests the determination and resilience of human kind.

Join Anja, Selene, Jason and Yuri on their journey to the stars and back in search of humanity’s future. Buy Engineered now and discover how deep the conspiracy goes.

A Bit About Roderick

Roderick D. Turner has an educational background in Engineering and Science. He began writing short stories while working on his PhD Thesis in 1990, and has now written more than 150 short stories, overall classifiable as speculative fiction but ranging from sci-fi to general fiction, fantasy to space opera. He wrote his first novel in the early 1990’s, and has since written another seven novels. In addition, he has now written, recorded, and produced four audio plays, each between four and five hours in length, three of which are entirely available online. When he is not writing, recording, or mixing, he designs games and is also working on compiling about 60 of these games into a book of rules entitled “Games for All.”

Find Engineered on Amazon.

Find Roderick on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and at RodentRaft.com

Find Engineered on Amazon.

Announcing Deep Into the Weeds by Willie Handler

About the Book:

Preston McPherson thought he could save his troubled Canadian dairy farm by growing marijuana, but his problems were only just beginning. With the help of his brother-in-law and local police sergeant, Ferg, he signs an agreement with a cannabis distributor, Green Fields, but money is still tight. When a greenhouse break-in sends Preston deeper into the red, Ferg – not exactly a model cop – comes up with a scheme to sell marijuana illegally to a Michigan drug dealer.

As time goes on, Preston sets up a secret grow-op on his farm, launders the proceeds, and becomes involved in robbery and even murder. At the same time, he needs to bluff his way through government inspections, deal with a local group of women bible-thumpers who are picketing his farm, address the growing demands from the Michigan gangster, and stay one step ahead of the persistent small-town cop who insists on investigating all the strange things going on in town. If any of them catch up with him, Preston risks losing his farm, going to jail, or floating at the bottom of a lake with cement shoes.

Deep Into the Weeds was release on May 26, 2022.

About Willie Handler:

Author Willie Handler was a satirist well before he became a novelist. Hailing from Canada, where self-deprecating humor is part of the national character, he finds targets for his humor everywhere. His targets include friends, family, co-workers, politicians, farmers, subway passengers, bureaucrats, telemarketers, Martians, and his barber Vince. In 2016, he released his first novel, a political satire, The Road Ahead. His second novel, a sci-fi spoof, Loved Mars Hated the Food was released in 2019. He has come up with a black comedy for his third novel, Deep Into the Weeds.

Find Deep Into the Weeds on Amazon

Find Willie Handler on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and at williehandler.com

Announcing The Crows of After, A collection of Horrors by Exsanguine Hart

About the Book:

Don’t leave the dolls alone…

Set in a classic style haunted house inhabited by dolls, fear, and other strange things, this poetry collection accompanied by full-colour art explores the self and a series of childhood horrors in an entwining of lyricism, dark fantasy, and disturbing imagery. The Crows of After was released on May 13, 2022

About Exsanguine Hart:

Exsanguine Hart is a scribbler with an obnoxiously pretentious pseudonym living somewhere in Canada with two cats and a number of dragons. Hart has been published in Poetry Pause (December 2021) and in nationalpoetrymonth.ca (April 2021), and can be found online, writing and doodling on Instagram @exsanguine_hart and @specimensandwitch

Find The Crows of After at specimensandwitch.com

Find Exsanguine Hart at exsanguinehart.com

The Genesis of Stories with MC Perron

Where do you get your ideas?, writers are often asked. The final installment in this season’s members’ workshops, brought to us by our write-ln leader, MC Perron, grew from this question.

Why do we tell stories?, MC asked us, and we journeyed through several possible answers. We learn from stories. We remember things from stories. We find connections and shared interests. Stories make us relatable to each other.

Why do people ask where stories come from? Curiosity! They’re amazed, enthralled, and engaged. They want to know! It allows others to understand and demystify the process. It lets others realize that anyone can be creative and empowers their creativity. MC also gave us a list of items that affect creativity, causing the well to run dry. These are simple things we can all relate to, including sleep, nutrition, water, and stress. What helps keep the well full? Supportive people! MC took a moment to mention the write-ins because they are full of supportive people. Three times a week, you can meet with fellow writers who will encourage you through successes and difficulties. The write-ins and other scheduled writing times can become part of a working habit. You don’t have to wait for the muse to appear. Surround yourself with what will support your ideas.

MC took us on a journey through the creation of stories. It all starts with a spark that can come from anywhere.  MC suggested children’s books (storytelling through pictures), personal experiences, courses, and libraries as sources of inspiration. (Libraries are very important.) Don’t limit your options, but also don’t fall prey to option paralysis. MC compared a story to a pearl, growing around a grain of sand, but what happens when we have too many crumbs? Writers can fall victim to searching for an idea and option paralysis.

The goal of MC’s workshop was to offer writers tools for creating their next story. MC gave us tools to not just start a story, but also unstick our writing. It was an enlightening and thoughtful evening.

Find MC on Instagram at @m.c._perron

Announcing No Ordinary Day: A WCYR Anthology of Short Works, edited by Sheila Horne, with a forward by Maria Mutch

About the Book:

What does a journey into the extraordinary mean to you?

A vacation in Hel, to hook-ups over caskets, getting lost in the abyss of memory, waking up to pirates, facing your humanity, and so much more…

Come see what it means to us.

Travel from the past to the future and into your own backyard with 27 won,derful Canadian writers. Built around the theme “from the ordinary to the extraordinary” the No Ordinary Day anthology includes a multitude of genres that explore the many subtleties of storytelling through poetry, flash fiction, and short tales.

Award winning novelist and short story writer Maria Mutch describes the nuance of story in her heartfelt foreword.

A great commute read or brief indulgence before bed.

Pick up your copy today!

About The WCYR:

The Writers’ Community of York Region connects writers of all levels from all genres, offering professional development through support, education & networking.

We welcome you to join our community of enthusiastic and talented individuals. Here you can discover more about our latest events, speakers, workshops and networking opportunities.

Find No Ordinary Day on Amazon

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

Genre Blending with Alyx Harvey

You’re not only one thing and your book doesn’t have to be either.

This past April, Alyx Harvey took us on a journey into genre blending. Genres are categories of artistic composition, as in music or literature, that have similarities in form, style, or subject matter. Examples of writing genres are fantasy, science-fiction, romance, and mystery. Sub-genres include dystopian fiction and cozy mystery.

What if a story isn’t just a mystery? What if there is a romance that circles the heart of the mystery plot? What if magic lives in the world of ranches and cowboys? What if there’s a murder on a space station? That’s when a writer might need to blend.

Alyx reminded us not let genre rules hold us back. The story always comes first. Genre might be a map for readers to find your books, but it was not created by writers or readers. It’s a modern construct. It’s a set of rules and creative rules are meant to be broken. However, when a read enters into the genre of story, there are certain expectations. There is comfort in a reader picking up a romance novel expecting a happy ending. There is comfort in the sweeping world-building and magic of a fantasy novel. These expectations, or tropes, are not inherently bad. They can be badly done, but they can also add to the story. They can help the reader invest in the journey.

Above all, enjoy what you’re writing. Blend genres that you like and respect, genres that serve the story.

Announcing Kelpies Don’t Fly by Kim McDougall

About the Book:

Critter wrangler rule #15: Always look a gift horse in the mouth. And if it has sharp teeth, never, never get on its back.

For ten years, Kyra Greene thought she was the only Valkyrie this side of the rainbow bridge. Until she gets a stunning message from her cousin, Gunora, asking for bail money.

Facing the ghosts of her past isn’t on Kyra’s to-do list. All she wants is to settle into her new home with Mason and her menagerie of furred, feathered and scaled rescues. But the many gods of Terra have other plans.

Gunora’s plea for help sets a new Inbetween adventure in motion. Kyra and her crew will find themselves on the wrong side of the law and going to war with a herd of murderous kelpies. But this time, Kyra might finally set past wrongs to right.

Kelpies Don’t Fly is Book 5 of the Valkyrie Bestiary Series. It was released on March 15, 2022.

A bit about Kim:

If Kim McDougall could have one magical superpower, it would be to talk to animals. Or maybe to shift into animal form. Definitely, fantastical critters and magic often feature in her stories. So until Kim can change into a griffin and fly away, she writes dark paranormal action and romance tales from her home in Ontario, Canada. Visit www.KimMcDougall.com for more information about Kim’s books and to join her reading group.

Find Kelpies Don’t Fly On Goodreads and Amazon

Find Kim on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and KimMcDougall.com