2011 all meetings


2011 Annual General Meeting

The 2011 Executive is:
President: Carol Oczkowska
Vice President: Michael McGovern
Treasurer: Laura Smith
Secretary: Sheila Martindale
Members At Large: Edeana Malcolm (critique groups, contest), Eileen Young (website, email), Jerry Hayes

FEB. 1st #

Submissions – Island Writer 9/1 – DEADLINE

February Current trends in how to get it out there: A panel on ebooks, book design, and POD

If you write short stories, novellas, or novels, are you considering self-publishing? A panel of three Victoria self-publishing specialists will give you some of the latest scoop on what is becoming easier and easier and more mainstream every day. Each speaker will focus on a different area, and a Q&A will follow.
Melody Poirier is a writer, software analyst and former circus lion trainer. Really. She moved to Vancouver Island in 1999 after eight years with her own consulting practice as a software analyst in Vancouver. Melody went to work for Island Blue Print in 2006 and has been with their Printorium Bookworks division since 2007. She attended UBC's Multi Media Studies program, and studied at Victoria College of Art through its extension program. Melody has also written a series of short stories based on her own adventures during the 1970s as a groom and apprentice animal trainer for a lion and tiger act with an American circus.
With her understanding of the writing process, and a strong background in software support, Melody will clarify the progression of moving your work from your word processing software to “print-ready format” and beyond. She has tips to help authors make informed decisions about their options for printing their books, including print-on-demand (POD).
Iryna Spica, book designer, has said that consumers spend eight seconds or fewer considering a book before moving on to the next one, adding “People really do judge a book by its cover.” An author can spend a great deal on printing only to find that distributors will not accept the book because of its looks, said Iryna. She will discuss how to avoid mistakes commonly made by self-published authors. Iryna formerly lived in Ukraine, where she designed newspapers and books. She came to Victoria two years ago, and began at Trafford Publishing as a pre-press technician (book designer), working with self-published writers around the world. When Trafford left town, Iryna decided to start her own book design company, Spica Book Design. www.spicabookdesign.com
Eileen Young is a writer, editor, artist, social media consultant, and blogger from Victoria by way of Wisconsin, England, and a frozen town in northern British Columbia. Her real home, though, is the Internet. She will talk about e-publishing and electronic distribution and the frontiers of social media. After a year working on Island Writer, our society's magazine, Eileen has just been named editor-in-chief. http://authorsrefuge.blogspot.com/

March E.C. Sheedy: On writing the warmer side of romance


Author EC Sheedy knows there are probably as many ideas on writing fictional sex as there are writers. She acknowledges that an author can choose to close the bedroom door, “but certainly the anticipation and promise of a happy and fulfilling sex life needs to be present on the page.” EC has promised to bring us hints on how she goes about laying out her stories. The sex scene is a cross-genre challenge.
EC writes primarily Romantic Suspense. She likes to tell “love stories set in perilous and frightening times - when falling in love is the ultimate in bad timing.” Her tales range from frolics with southern Bad Boys to sweaty times with Green Berets and other elite fighters. Her blood-seeping titles include Killing Bliss, Perfect Evil and the particularly chilling looking Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye. EC has been published in the “traditional press” through Kensington and Doubleday, and recently through e-publishing.
EC Sheedy very, very happily writes darkly of the secrets and lies that bind people. Yet her stories are, at core, about hope and salvation. Conflicted heroes face up bravely to twisted villains and to the change - the danger - that truth and honesty will bring. EC believes true love brings out the best in people, makes them more than what they were before that special love entered their lives. But still she makes them weave their way through mysteries, mayhem, and murder to find their happily-ever-after.
EC lives on Vancouver Island and likes to walk beaches to clear her head and twist plots. Her background as an entrepreneur has given her the discipline needed to get her stories out. Now she is revelling in the life of a published writer, and delights in attending readings and writers' groups. Her interactive presentation should be lively and illuminating. http://ecsheedy.com/

April Peter Grant: Bringing people to life in non-fiction


I started writing feature articles for Monday Magazine months after arriving in Victoria in 1978. Assignments for Beautiful BC and Equinox, among others, have taken me around the province for stories on land use, forest management, the environment, and travel. To date, I have published six books about Vancouver Island, including Victoria, a History in Photographs (1995), The Story of Sidney (1997), Vancouver Island Book of Everything (2008) and Vancouver Island Book of Musts (2010). Currently, I am editing Clipper Vacations Magazine, writing literary criticism for Pacific Rim Review of Books and planning several more books about the island.
I position myself as a major in travel/touristic writing with minors in memoir, literary criticism, encyclopedic compilations and poetry. The writing for travel and touristic markets focuses on the home range, is geographically specific and hugely about people and their stories. Besides following the old homilies like Show, don't tell and Write like an iceberg, keep your knowledge nine-tenths hidden and Use concrete nouns and active verbs, I try to follow the simple rule of finding people who reflect a place and telling their stories, as far as possible in their own words.
My best writing approaches the sense intended by Tom Wolfe in the phrase New Journalism – deeply researched and deeply felt, so that my interest in the story becomes part of the story. My feature articles might squeak into that realm. I will demonstrate with a few short samples from my Vancouver Island Book of Musts.
I will discuss the process of capturing the authentic voices and stories of real people – and how that differs from the personal writing undertaken to discover or rediscover one's own voice. I will also talk about my experiences in the business of writing, including having to go to Nova Scotia to find a publisher who provides good publicity and a sensible marketing program. And how I have adapted to the sea-change in publishing – my adventures in digital media.

MAY 1st #



Island Writer 9/1 Magazine Launch


Come celebrate the launch of the latest Island Writer with readings and goodies! Contributing authors will read from their works of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry.
Family, friends, and the general public are welcome.
The readings begin at 7 o'clock promptly.
Please arrive a little early so we can all settle in comfortably.
The evening includes refreshments, mingling and distribution of Island Writer magazine volume 9 issue 1.
COME AND COLLECT YOUR COPY! Each VWS member receives a complimentary copy of our twice-yearly collections.
Extra copies are available for purchase.

June Open Mic Night


All members are invited to read from their works of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry.
OPEN MIC format - please sign up on arrival. Guests welcome.

Members are invited to advertise and sell copies of their published work. Society members who offer services for writers, such as editing or publishing, may provide information about themselves and their work.

Island Writer 9/1 has just launched. COME AND COLLECT YOUR COPY! Each VWS member receives a complimentary copy of our twice- yearly collections. Extra copies are available for purchase.

The evening includes refreshments, mingling and calls for you to consider serving on the executive. In the interests of a healthy society, it is already time to discuss continuity of the VWS executive. If you, or anyone you know is interested in taking on a rewarding position, please consider stepping forward. A full executive is important to the operation of the VWS.

Our 10th Annual Writing Contest deadline is coming up!!


SEPT. 1st #

Submissions – Island Writer 9/2DEADLINE

September Contest Winners +

Grant MacKenzie: On Writing Thrillers


Come join us as we announce the winners in the Victoria Writers' Society 10th Annual Writing Contest.
Contest judges will present prizes to the top three entries in each category and the winners will read from their work.
In addition, all contest winners will be invited to have their story or poem published in the upcoming issue of Island Writer magazine.

Following the awards, author, playwright and journalist Grant McKenzie will talk about writing thrillers.

Born in Scotland, living in Canada and writing fast-paced fiction, Grant likes to wear a toque and kilt with his six-guns.
His debut novel, SWITCH (Bantam, 2009), earned fantastic reviews internationally. The novel has been released in German, and this year is being translated into Complex Chinese and Russian. His second novel, No Cry For Help, (Bantam, 2010) is also published in Germany by Heyne.

Grant's short stories have been featured in the First Thrills anthology and Out of the Gutter and Spinetingler magazines. His first screenplay won a fellowship at Vancouver's Praxis Centre for Screenwriting. As a journalist, he has worked in virtually every area of the newspaper business, in both tabloids and broadsheets. He currently resides in Victoria, where he is Editor-in-Chief of Monday Magazine. Grant will also be happy to take questions on any aspect of writing. http://grantmckenzie.net

October Ahava Shira: Threshold Words


No matter how many words we may have already written and/ or published, as writers we are always face-to-face with the paradox of the blank page. We stand at the threshold between the exciting, infinite possibilities of language and the particular, demanding challenges of the craft. In this talk, Ahava will use her experience as a writer over the last twenty years to speak about how to navigate this threshold journey of writing with courage, conviction and compassion.

Ahava Shira is a writer, poet, storyteller and performer. Author of a book of poetry, Weaving of My Being (1998) and a poetry CD, Love is Like This (2010), Ahava received her doctorate in Language & Literacy Education from UBC. She also hosts a weekly radio show, Love in the Afternoon on Salt Spring Radio. www.ahavashira.com

November Robert Amos: Words in the service of pictures


There's no denying it - I am a writer. I have published my column On Art in the Victoria Times Colonist weekly since 1986 and, with Orca Books and TouchWood Editions, I have seven books on the shelves. That said, my writing always is in the service of pictures.

I am best known as a painter of pictures of Victoria, and that pays the bills. But visiting art shows and artists' studios is part of my ongoing education as an artist, and I try to turn the time I spend there to account. I bring back the stories and try to explain what I have learned from painters and sculptors in a way that makes sense to the general public. That's a challenge.

My books, most recently Artists in Their Studios (2007) and Inside Chinatown (2009), have been, in essence, picture books. But they need captions and essays and much else. I also write inscriptions on my paintings sometimes, and have made scrolls and paintings which are only words, no picture.

When we get together I will show you how my words are always in the service of pictures.


Island Writer 9-2 Magazine Launch

Come celebrate the launch of the latest Island Writer with readings and goodies! Contributing authors will read from their works of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry.
Family, friends, and the general public are welcome.
The readings begin at 7 o'clock promptly.
Please arrive a little early so we can all settle in comfortably.
The evening includes refreshments, mingling and distribution of Island Writer magazine volume 9 issue 2.
Our twice-yearly collection has gone digital, and can be downloaded by clicking the image at right. Hard copies will be at the meeting for those who ordered in advance.
A limited number of extra copies will be available for purchase.



  • X no meeting (July and August)
  • * no speaker invited (January, May, July, August, and December)
  • # submission deadlines (February 1st, May 1st, and September 1st)
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