Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Marvelous Maps and Curious Cartography - Part Three at Dark Roasted Blend

Here’s another look at intriguing and sometimes bizarre maps at Dark Roasted Blend, entitled Marvelous Maps and Curious Cartography - Part Three

Check out these maps of fanciful figures, ferocious animals, imaginary lands, historical scenarios and more. You can also check out Unusual and Marvelous Maps and Unusual and Marvelous Maps Part Two.

Dark Roasted Blend is among the finest locations online to find the weird, the wonderful and the fantastic, crammed with great articles, stunning photography, plus fabulous new content appears daily.

Coaching for Writers



My coaching program is designed to help you progress as a writer. You decide what you want to work on during a personalized, one on one relationship. For example, I can be your coach for just one month or we can establish a month-to-month arrangement, depending on your schedule and expectations. 

Just a few examples of topics we can cover during the coaching period are point of view, creating characters, developing dialogue, story structure, editing and revision, marketing and promotion and submissions to publishers. However, I am very flexible and happy to discuss your own unique requirements and areas where you feel that you may need the most help. 

In addition to coaching, on my website you can learn more about my other services for writers, such as online workshops for adultsmanuscript evaluation and online workshops for children and young adults.

Magic in Stories for Children: Part Two - Characters from Fairy Tales

Traditional fairy tales of course are filled with magic with witches and wizards often featuring in the stories associated with the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and others. It's no coincidence that the most well known and best loved stories for children, often classic tales of the battle between good and evil, are fantasy based and involve magic. These range from the myths and legends prevalent in ancient cultures through classic tales like Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and Cinderella, through Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, and Peter Pan, to the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and many more. 

Many stories that have become more familiar with children, often mostly from Disney movies, are filled with strong magical themes and recognizable characters. Cinderella has her wicked stepmother and sisters, along with her fairy godmother, a warm hearted grandmotherly figure. The Sword in the Stone has a bumbling old man version of Merlin tutoring the young Arthur, but Merlin is also a powerful wizard who is dangerous to his enemies, and also offers counsel and acts as a loyal friend to the future king. In Beauty and the Beast, the prince has been cursed and the enchantment can only be lifted by true love, a frequent theme of sacrifice in tales involving magic.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Writers Weekend 2013 at Calgary Public Library - Saturday, February 2


Join me at the Writers Weekend 2013 at the downtown Calgary Public Library on Saturday, February 2. 

The event takes place on the second floor in the John Dutton Theatre and features a variety of presentations by local writers and editors, all designed to inspire you in your own writing. 

At 2 pm, I'll be taking about writing and publishing your children's novel. Learn how to turn ideas into stories, get started as a writer and get on the path to publication. You can register here for Writers' Weekend 2013: Writing and Publishing your Children's and YA Novel.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Author in Residence



For my Author in Residence program, I can be at your school for a week or longer. This allows me to cover topics in much more depth than would be possible during a regular author visit. 

Each of my novels provide ideas for classroom projects and you may find some suggestions on the Study Guides page on my website. 
I have some suggestions for presentations and workshops, but am always pleased to work with teachers and librarians to build sessions best suited to your students. Contact me for details of fees and availability for my Author in Residence program.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Magic in Stories for Children: Part One - Incredible Journeys

Magic plays a big part in children’s lives as they grow up. Santa Claus is a very familiar figure to millions of children, along with all the magical things associated with the secular side of Christmas each year. This is something many children are sure is real, for a while at least, as is the tooth fairy, an ever present character in the lives of kids when they are younger. Many may even be afraid of the dark and fearful of the supposed creatures that may lurk there, including ghosts. They may be reassured repeatedly that ghosts doesn’t exist, but are never entirely convinced and in a strange way, it is indeed much more terrifying to be scared of something you know isn’t real. After all if it can’t be defeated, how can you ever win?

Magic of course appears in so many of the stories that children avidly consume as they grow up. Indeed, the process of reading is itself a kind of magical experience, as children begin their own personal journey of discovery. As I often point out to children during my school visits and workshops, books can be time machines, space ships that whisk you off to another planet or become doorways to other dimensions, all powered by your own limitless imagination.

Learn more about The Alchemist's PortraitThe Sorcerer's LetterboxThe Clone Conspiracy,  The Emerald CurseThe Heretic's TombThe Doomsday MaskThe Time Camera and my many non-fiction books on my website.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Awesome Car Hood Ornaments, Part Two at Dark Roasted Blend

Check out the latest article at Dark Roasted blend entitled Awesome Car Hood Ornaments, Part Two

There were just too many fascinating car hood ornaments to fit into the first article on this topic, so here's another look at these unique works of art from the past and the present . Ornaments were installed on the exposed radiator caps of cars in the early days of the motor vehicle and were still seen on hoods even when radiator caps ceased to be used. 

Dark Roasted Blend is among the finest locations online to find the weird, the wonderful and the fantastic, crammed with great articles, stunning photography, plus fabulous new content appears daily.

Writers Weekend 2013 at Calgary Public Library - Saturday, February 2


Join me at the Writers Weekend 2013 at the downtown Calgary Public Library on Saturday, February 2. 

The event takes place on the second floor in the John Dutton Theatre and features a variety of presentations by local writers and editors, all designed to inspire you in your own writing. 

At 2 pm, I'll be taking about writing and publishing your children's novel. Learn how to turn ideas into stories, get started as a writer and get on the path to publication. You can register here for Writers' Weekend 2013: Writing and Publishing your Children's and YA Novel.

School Programs, Presentations and Workshops

I offer a variety of presentationsauthor in residence programs and conduct workshops for children at schools. 

I offer a variety of presentations for grades three to eight, but can work with grades one and two as well. I cover such topics as where ideas come from, story structure, editing and revision, character development, time travel stories, history and research, plus many other aspects of writing and publishing.
I will present to around one hundred students at a time, although we can also look at workshops with smaller groups or individual classes. Each of my novels provide ideas for classroom projects and you may find some suggestions on the Study Guides page on my website. 

Contact me for details of fees and availability for school presentations.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fictional Currency - The Past, Present, Future and Fantastical (Part 2)


Well, here's another look at some more imaginary money that doesn't even pretend to be real in Payday Money - The Past, Present, Future and Fantastical (Part 2)

For more unreal units of currency from the fantasy realm, some of which are really out of this world, you can also check out Payday Money - The Past, Present, Future and Fantastical (Part 1)

Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel, University of Calgary, Saturday February 9


This workshop deals with getting started as a writer for young readers and the subsequent path to publication. You will examine the writing process from initial concept through to the finished manuscript, including how to turn ideas into stories, story structure, developing characters, the creation of outlines and the importance of editing and revision. You will also examine ways to research publishing houses where you can submit your work, cover letters, synopses and sample chapters.

Learn more about the Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel workshop and how to register here

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Business Writing for Manuals, Plans and Reports


I have extensive experience in many different types of writing and offer a variety of services for large and small businesses, government, corporations and associations. 
  • Articles for Businesses or Associations
  • Business/Grant Proposals
  • Business Plans
  • Reports
  • Company Handbooks
  • Rules and Regulations
  • Company Histories
  • Scripts
  • Educational Materials
  • Speeches
  • Manuals
  • Technical Writing
  • Marketing Plans
  • Training Materials

I offer both hourly rates and flat fees for this kind of business writing, based on the requirements of the project. Please contact me directly for rates and fees for any of the above projects.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Totalitarian Architecture of the Soviet Union at Dark Roasted Blend

Check out the latest article at Dark Roasted Blend, entitled Totalitarian Architecture of the Soviet Union

Unapologetic in their colossal scale and glorification of the totalitarian state, these gigantic structures dominate urban landscapes of the former Eastern Bloc countries, still capable either to inspire dreams of imperial grandeur, or resurrect ghosts of dark abuses of power.

You can also view 
examples of similar architecture glorifying the opposite end of the political spectrum in the article Totalitarian Architecture of the Third Reich.    

Dark Roasted Blend is among the finest locations online to find the weird, the wonderful and the fantastic, crammed with great articles, stunning photography, plus fabulous new content appears daily.

Study Guides and Classroom Resources

Study Guides and Classroom Resources provide some ideas regarding how each of my novels can be used for student projects in the classroom. You can access the Study Guides here

  • Character Creation 
  • Time Travel Stories 
  • Historical Eras 
  • The Superhero Genre 
  • Ideas and inspiration
  • Ancient Mysteries 

The Puzzles page features word searches related to the text and character names in each novel, plus you can also access the Super Scavenger Search, where the answers to a series of mind boggling questions are hidden in different pages all over my website.
Class sets of books are also always available from me directly at discounted prices, depending on the number of books ordered.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Business Writing Services


The way in which you communicate with your customers is a vital component  of your business and well written content can be the difference between success and failure.
I have extensive experience in composing content for a wide range of industries and market segments and offer a variety of writing services.
  • Brochures 
  • Direct Mail
  • Sales Letters
  • Newsletters
  • Press Releases
  • Newspaper and Magazine Advertising 
I offer both hourly rates and flat fees for business writing, based on the requirements of the project. Please contact me for details.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Writing Services for Blogs and Social Media


To ensure that you stay in the public eye, in addition to promoting your own website, you need to pay attention to social media on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many others. Since you need to focus on the business, why not hire an expert to take care of your social media accounts?

I offer both hourly rates and flat fees for writing for blogs and social media, based on the requirements of the project. Please contact me directly for rates and fees for copywriting for blogs and social media.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ice and Snow Vehicles Retro Showcase at Dark Roasted Blend

Check out the latest article at Dark Roasted Blend entitled Ice and Snow Vehicles Retro Showcase

At this time of year, people in some parts of the world struggle with the task of driving on snow and ice for a few months. We thought it might be an opportune time to take a look at specialized winter vehicles at Dark Roasted Blend. 

Almost as soon as cars were invented, it seems like someone was adapting them for ice and snow by equipping the vehicles with tracks and skis. This article takes a look at some of the earliest examples, as well as a few from more recent decades. 

Dark Roasted Blend is among the finest locations online to find the weird, the wonderful and the fantastic, crammed with great articles, stunning photography, plus fabulous new content appears daily.

Writing Services for Website Content


The Importance of First Impressions 
A good first impression is still very important and your website is often the first place people will encounter your company and it’s products and services.
Your on line copy reflects your professionalism or lack of it. You need to take pride in what you have on the web. If it appears you don’t really care what your site looks like, the customer will assume your products may be similarly slipshod. 
I offer both hourly rates and flat fees for website content writing, based on the requirements of the project. Please contact me directly for rates and fees for copywriting for website content.