uh oh. -8 this morning

This is not a white sandy beach.

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Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild 50th and Hicks Awards

Well, this was fun. This past weekend, Rick, Jim and I went to Regina for our first SWG conference. I was lucky enough to win first place in the John V. Hicks Award for Long Manuscript Fiction. The awards were presented Saturday and I was joined by second place winner Tim Blackett and third Beth Goobie. I got to spend time with my old SWG mentor Joanne Gerber, and met a lot of other writers like Annette Bower who, weirdly, has a connection to Hank Buck, the farmer from Abbey who first told me the true story of Violet and her father. That story became the inspiration for my novel. A great conference, and I’m looking forward to it next October 23-24 in Saskatoon. And, yes, we hauled home a six-pack of the Bushwakker Brewing’s commemorative SWG Golden Anniversary beer, The Unreliable Narrator, infused with Writer’s Tears whiskey and hemp. Perfect.

One of my characters came for coffee

hank

This sweet man walked into my office at the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (now Inclusion Saskatchewan) in 1999 to make a donation in memory of his late friend Billy whose daughter Violet just passed away. This is Henry ‘Hank’ Buck, who sat down and told me the true story of Violet, who had an intellectual disability and her farmer father. I remember sitting there thinking, “That’s it. Now I have to write a novel.” Hank gave me his blessing to take the true story and fictionalize my own. I worked on it off and on for several years, set it aside, sent it off to publishers way before it was ready. Two years ago, the big push began and now this story will be my first novel, published by Burton House Books in Regina. Hank is immortalized in this story, so it’s very surreal to have one of my characters come to my house for coffee. Thanks, Hank. The wouldn’t have happened without you.