Follow this Guy. His name is Cameron.

The couple of people who follow my blog know that I’m spotty at best when it comes to posting original content or even updating my list of publication credits. BUT, I do follow some excellent bloggers and I’m going to try and do a better job of sharing their wisdom and hard work with you.

For now, this is the best way I know how to spread the word when it comes to expressing my love of writing and the ongoing quest to share it with others, namely, getting published. So, call it what you will; networking, sharing a passion, maybe even disorganization or laziness on my part for not doing this research for myself, but once again I’m going to leave it to someone else to take the credit for saying it better than I can. Check it out below.

via Get Published! 16 Facebook Groups to Join for Market Calls — Cameron Filas

*EDIT: Huge thanks to Selene MacLeod for providing me links to five other Facebook groups (noted with asterisks)! Also, as rightfully pointed out by Selene: Be sure to read the group rules for each group before posting! Do not spam group pages with posts that are not allowed! Other than that, happy writing! Networking is […]

And, by the way, don’t thank me, thank Cameron Filas and the other bloggers out there who do the hard work of finding and posting information we can use.



A Trio of Characters

Thank you to RL Black for publishing my trio of circus characters as part of the May/June issue of Unbroken Journal. (Pages 77-78) The journal includes another stellar collection of evocative words and images, including a trio of poetic prose by Steve Passey starting on page 19. Check it out, share the love, and if you’re feeling brave, think about submitting to this excellent publication.

Quantum Hamsters and Other Pet Anomalies by Hermine Robinson

It was my wife, Esme, who suggested we get a pet for our children. “It will teach them responsibility,” she said. “Sounds good,” I replied. However, I was not actually paying attention when she bro…

Many Thanks to Literally Stories for publishing my short story, check it out at the link below.
Source: Quantum Hamsters and Other Pet Anomalies by Hermine Robinson

Apple Horseradish Jelly

I went to my Friday morning Free Fall Writing session wondering how to incorporate Apple Horseradish Jelly in my writing today, and the first writing prompt (Eating Out/Dining in) was like a gift – as was the Apple Horseradish Jelly. 

A word to the wise; if someone brags about having made Apple Horseradish Jelly, don’t say, “cool, that sounds interesting,” or “delicious,” or anything that sounds like you are vaguely interested in having some to take home. 

One of my gardening clients handed me 2 (two!) jars of the stuff. One for me, and one to give away.  I decided I actually had two jars to give away because, honestly, this gift was like the summertime equivalent of getting Grandma’s Christmas Fruitcake. You know the one, it gets passed along through various holidaygatherings and makes the rounds of the whole family before finding its final resting place as a doorstop. There is some kind of unspoken edict against just throwing away homemade goodies.

Apple Horseradish Jelly

Apple Horseradish Jelly

I pawned off one of the jars of jelly to my boss, (who did not thank me for it) because she was the one who sent me to the job site and I thought she deserved to share the burden. So, what to do with the other jar?  It is not in a pretty or petite little decorative jar, ready for re-gifting, it’s in a big old mason jar with a ragged white sticky label. “Apple Horseradish Jelly.” I think it’s big enough to use as a doorstop, but I already have the fruitcake. 

I don’t dare open the jar either, because doing so will limit my options. You will notice that I am not considering ‘eating it’ as an option. I have flashbacks to the dozens of jars of Crab Apple Jelly sitting on shelves in the cold room of my childhood home; of glistening, translucent, reddish pink blobs on toast and pancakes and cereal – just to get rid of last year’s supply before a new batch was in the works. It wasn’t even our crab apple tree!!

As for horseradish, I never acquired a taste for that either, and somehow, the combination of apple and horseradish does not add to the culinary appeal or the appearance of either. The jar looks like it is filled with a dark red (almost burgundy), cloudy goo.  It might be the most delicious thing in the world, but I’m not going to be the guinea pig.

Apple Horseradish Jelly. Do you want it? Take it, because I’m eating out!

~Minkee Robinson

What is it about ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ ?

A good interviewer or host knows the secret to an engaging conversation with a guest is to ask questions that cannot be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  However, many things in life can be distilled down to exactly that:  Yes or No.

Despite the obvious interpretation that ‘yes’ is positive and ‘no’ is negative, we learn from an early age that life is not that simple. For a child, many manifestations of ‘yes’, including the non-verbal ones (a hug, a smile, a helping hand), are indeed positive.

But, just as surely, we discover that ‘no’ can also be positive if it is used correctly. 

We may have resented our parents for saying, No! You cannot stick that key in a light socket or No, you are not allowed to spend all your money on candy, but eventually we recognized that in those instances, their ‘No’ was simply a different way of saying Yes, I love you enough to keep you safe from harm.

Similarly, ‘Yes’ became a negative thing if a sombre nod confirmed that a beloved relative or pet was seriously ill and likely to die.

As we grew older, the answers in life got more complicated. And I don’t mean ‘maybe’.

I’m no stranger to ‘NO’. I’ve worked in direct marketing, and my stint as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesperson in the early 80s has helped me deal with the rejection inherent in submitting my writing to journals and publishers. Fortunately, ‘Yes’ is a strong part of my life too. I know that I am valued and loved.

Our life experiences and self-esteem influence how we react to ‘yes’ and ‘no’. So, why do we still get it wrong after all these years?  Now there’s a question without a simple ‘yes or no’ answer! And my point is not to bore with my attempts to answer it, because the personal journey I make to that place will be different from yours.

What I will do is share a couple of things that have helped me explore that question for myself. Both of these links (one to an article, the other to a video) brought home the fact that, as much as I am affected by the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses I get from other people, it is the YES or NO answers that I give to myself that really makes the difference.

The first link is for an article by Kevin Ashton (Thoughts on Creativity) about the power of ‘No’ when it comes to protecting the creative mind from unnecessary distractions.

The second link is to a TED talk video featuring Amanda Palmer, (The Art of Asking) that has inspired me to say ‘Yes’ to taking more risks; to making myself vulnerable by asking for what I need, even if it means that the answer I get could very well be ‘No’.


Image from Wikipedia creative commons

Image from Wikipedia creative commons

The recent sighting of robins in my backyard brought back a memory of spring rains. One year in particular comes to mind.

The rains came, and it was more than spring showers, it was a three day soaking that got tiresome after the second day. The city air was clean by the first afternoon, the grime washed off the trees and power lines, the layers of winter dust were washed away. By the third day, the ground was saturated and our boots squelched as we walked across the field. Our entire house smelled of wet dog all the time.

Outside I could smell the worms, mouldering leaves, the first flowers of spring.

The only good thing about three days of rain was seeing the robins bopping around in the yard. We knew they were after the worms. The robins stared at the bounty with beady eyes on tilted heads. Their ears listened for the sound of dew worms squirming just below the surface. A birdie smorgasbord.

For some reason the robins ignored the worms crawling over the sidewalks in full view. They preferred  to pick their own, would put the first few aside, then pick some more. They tossed the poor worms around for a while, like cats playing with mice, then pinched them into smaller pieces before deciding which bits tasted the best. It was a complicated ritual.

By the third day, the robins were getting pretty plump—full to the brim with red breasts swelling like some over-stuffed guest at Easter dinner. Some looked too fat to fly, as if they had put on too much ‘worm weight’ and their wings weren’t strong enough for lift off. Robins can’t loosen their belts either, so they just ran around when they got too full. They ran around a lot.

I love the robins in our yard. I’m sure the same ones come back every spring. We recognized one particular male robin with a distinct, quirky appearance. The feathers on his head looked like he got a flat-top buzz cut, possibly the result of a close shave with a predator. He had a lot of attitude in a small package. This fellow was vocal and not afraid to stake out his territory as he sat atop the power pole out behind our house, especially in the evening. I have not seen him for a couple of years, maybe the replacements are his offspring.

So far I’ve only seen a couple of robins in my yard this year. It’s still early though, and we have yet to get a really good soaking rain.  Such is the beauty of Calgary. The robins, like spring will come, even if we have to wait until July.