Louella Lester

Louella Lester is a writer (flash fiction, flash-CNF, poetry) and amateur photographer in Winnipeg, Canada. Her work has appeared in a variety of places, including Grey Sparrow Journal, New Flash Fiction, Spelk, Reflex Fiction, Vallum, Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review, CBC News Manitoba Online, and in the anthologies Gush: menstrual manifestos for our times, (Frontenac House, 2018), A Girls Guide to Fly Fishing (Reflex Press, 2020), Wrong Way Go Back, (Pure Slush, 2020).

Her Flash-CNF book, a quirky look at all the jobs she’s done, Glass Bricks (At Bay Press) came out in late April 2021.

Please see her website for a longer list of journal publications.

Website – Through Camera & Pen – https://louellalester.blog

Instagram & Facebook – louellalester

Twitter – @louloubellish

Raye Anderson

Raye Anderson is a Scots Canadian who spent many enjoyable years running theatre schools and creative arts programs, in Winnipeg (notable at Prairie Theatre Exchange), in Ottawa and in Calgary. Her work has taken her across Canada, coast to coast and up north to Yellowknife and Churchill. She has also worked as far afield as the West Indies and her native Scotland.
Now she lives in the beautiful Interlake as part of a thriving arts community. She draws, paints and writes crime fiction. Her first book, And We Shall Have Snow, was published by Signature Editions in August, 2020. It is set in the Interlake in the depths of winter and was a finalist for the Best First Crime Book Award, Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence (what used to be the Arthur Ellis Awards). The second in the Roxanne Calloway series, And Then Is Heard No More, is set around a fictitious Winnipeg theatre and launches on June 18, 2021.  Available at McNally Robinson, the Whodunnit Mystery Bookstore and Tergesen’s in Gimli.

Rae St. Claire Bridgman

Rae St. Clair Bridgman is an award-winning Winnipeg author and illustrator of children’s books, including the acclaimed MiddleGate Books. She has a knack for finding the magical and extraordinary in the ordinary, in between the cracks of reality. Rae is a university professor, anthropologist, urban planner, co-director of an architectural design firm, mother of six. Favourite things to do in her spare time: watching ants, chasing crayfish, reading the dictionary, playing tuba, watching clouds, and inventing toys. Favourite sayings: “Often, secrets do not remain secrets for long.” “Things that disappear by themselves can come back by themselves.” “Problems can multiply like flies.” “The story certainly changes depending on the storyteller.”

Finalist, McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award; Honourable Mention, Speculative Literature Foundation;
Nominated for Cybils Award, Fantasy and Science Fiction; Winner of a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award (Bronze Medal, Pre-Teen Fiction – Fantasy)

Danie Botha

Danie Botha was born in Zambia and completer his school education and medical training in South Africa. He has called Canada home for the past 22 years and is still learning to speak proper Canadian. (It’s similar to English.) He has published three novels, a novella and a poetry collection. If he’s not working at the hospital or busy writing, ha can be found cycling, land paddling, and cross-country skiing in winter (if it’s not too bitterly cold).

Summary of Publications

Be Silent – novel, 2016
Be Good – novella, 2016
Maxime – novel, 2017
An Unfamiliar Kindness – novel, 2018
Two Bowls of Joy – poetry collection, 2019
Chicken Soup for the SoulAge is just a number, 2020

Social Media Sites

https://daniebothawriter.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/danie-botha-writer-166ab1ab/
https://www.instagram.com/daniebothawriter/

Bob Chrismas

Bob Chrismas, PhD, has written prolifically on justice issues, and recently trying his hand at fiction writing. Bob is a Staff Sergeant in his 31st year with the Winnipeg Police Service. He completed his Master of Public Administration (MPA) at the U. of Winnipeg and U. of Manitoba in 2009 (distinction) and Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Peace and Conflict Studies at the U. of Manitoba in 2017. Bob was awarded the University of Manitoba Distinguished Dissertation Award for my doctoral research on modern-day slavery in Canada’s criminal sex industry.

Bob is married with four kids. His publications include numerous peer-reviewed book chapters, journal and magazine articles and books on justice related topics. His first book Canadian Policing in the 21st Century: A Frontline Officer on Challenges and Changes (McGill-Queens University Press, 2013), is a widely used text on modern policing. Bob’s newest book, Sex Industry Slavery: Protecting Canada’s Youth (University of Toronto Press, 2020), provides a gut-wrenching account of sex trafficking in Canada and many tangible strategies and solutions. Bob co-edited Our Shared Future: Windows into Canada’s Reconciliation Journey (Lexington, Rowman and Littlefield, 2020).

Bob’s newest projects is a literary fiction novel about a missing person case, giving deep insights into sex trafficking and Indigenous-police relations in Canada. He is also writing a memoir of his three decades in policing. Learn more about Bob and his publications and speaking events at his webpage at bchrismas.com.

Book publications:

Chrismas, R. (2020). Sex Industry Slavery: Protecting Canada’s YouthToronto, ON, Canada:   University of   Toronto Press. https://utorontopress.com/us/sex-industry-slavery-2

Reimer, L. & R. Chrismas. (2020). Our Shared Future: Windows into Canada’s Reconciliation Journey. New York: Lexington, Rowman & Littlefield. https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781793603470/Our-Shared-Future-Windows-into-Canada’s-Reconciliation-Journey

Chrismas, R. (2013/14). Canadian Policing in the 21st Century: A Frontline Officer on Challenges and Changes. Montreal, Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press. https://www.mqup.ca/canadian-policing-in-the-21st-century-products-9780773542747.php

I gratefully acknowledge that I live on Treaty 1 territory which is the traditional territory of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and the homeland of the Métis Nation.

Susan Nicol

Susan Nicol has been a professional writer since she graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications (CreComm) program mentioned in her first novel, Sagas & Sea Smoke. After launching her career as a scriptwriter and production assistant for a syndicated TV show, she became one of the first women sportswriters to cover the WHA and NHL. After five years in radio as a copywriter and assistant producer, she became an ad agency creative director and marketing strategist for a couple of decades. In between, Susan scripted TV documentaries, wrote magazine features, and penned speeches for Canadian cabinet ministers. Then she returned for a year to RRC’s CreComm program to teach advertising and marketing. Now she has revived her first passion, storytelling, with a well-intentioned purpose: to intrigue, inform, and inspire.

Gaylene Dutchyshen Interview

Last fall, the Manitoba Writers’ Guild held a writing contest with the theme of Halloween. Our winner was Gaylene Dutchyshen. Her bio and winning story were featured in one of our recent newsletters. She will be our guest at next month’s Book Chat, March 10, 2021 at 7 pm, if you would like to hear her read her from her work. Email the Guild (manitobawritersguild3@gmail.com) to receive the Zoom instructions.

In addition to publishing her story and bio, we arranged for her to be interviewed by Danielle Somack. Here is an introduction to Danielle,  Gaylene and their interview:

My name is Danielle Somack and I’m an emerging writer and high school student residing in rural Manitoba. As a mentee of Creative Manitoba’s 2020-21 Rural Youth Mentorship program, I started to explore writing from different angles and perspectives. My mentor, Anita Daher, has given me the opportunity to meet many amazing and talented local authors at the monthly Book Jam we cohost together on Zoom. I am very keen on expanding my skills and learning about other writer’s creative pursuits and the stories that move them, whether through a conversation or by interviewing Manitoba authors with the Manitoba Writers’ Guild.
– Danielle

Gaylene Dutchyshen loves a good mystery. Born in Dauphin and raised in Gilbert Plains, Manitoba, Gaylene takes inspiration from the solitude of the prairies and her fascination with the inner workings of the mind to create compelling characters with hidden pasts and family secrets.

Before publishing her first novel, A Strange Kind of Comfort, in 2020, Gaylene had written a short story for a University of Manitoba creative writing course in 2008, titled Dream Job, a haunting, gothic tale that recently won her first place in the Manitoba Writer’s Guild Halloween Short Story Contest.

 

Danielle Somack: What do you want readers to take away from Dream Job?

Gaylene Dutchyshen: I wanted to portray the power of the mind and show how what we think/feel/experience during the day is expressed in our dreams. The two main characters are drawn to each other by a mutual experience, night terrors, and I wanted the reader to identify and sympathize with each of them. Cate’s mother is aloof and Jamie senses that Cate is neglected. Jamie’s father is judgmental and Jamie’s night terrors recur when she is stressed. Sam Talbot is a “villain” only in Jamie’s and Cate’s imaginations, yet they are compelled to silence him. I wanted to create a sense of danger in a place where patients should feel protected and safe. In protecting Cate from a perceived danger, Jamie acts on her unconscious fears with unintended consequences for Sam. Instead of a vampire (supernatural) or serial killer, I wanted to create unease in my readers by fashioning killers that would be perceived as harmless. If a reader is left unsettled by the end of the story, then I achieved what I set out to do.

DS: What is the inspiration behind your story?

GD: I actually wrote the story in 2008 when I was taking an Advanced Creative writing course at the U of M. At the start of the first semester, we were writing our short stories anonymously so, to disguise myself, I wrote each story in a different voice/genre. Dream Job was my horror/gothic tale. A few weeks before I wrote this story, I had a sleep study at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, and it struck me as a creepy experience. I arrived after dark, parked in a nearly empty parking garage. It was quiet and nearly deserted on the floor where I was hooked up with cords. I knew I would be watched and monitored as I slept. It made me wonder about the sleep technician and her job and what she thought about all night as she watches people sleep. She’s always on a night shift, having to stay mostly silent while she works, with very little interaction with the sleep study patients or her co-workers. The patients are completely vulnerable. It seemed a good premise and setting for a spooky story.

DS: You mentioned in your bio that you’re a bit of a bookworm. What do you look for in a good book?

GD: I like books about families and secrets; which is why I write such novels myself. I like knowing what makes a character “tick”, so I tend to like stories where the main character’s childhood is revealed, and we learn what shaped them. Characters must be compelling and multi-faceted. I also prefer books where I “see” physical details. A truly beautiful description or metaphor always pulls me into the author’s world. Suspense keeps me turning the pages, even if it’s a novel about ordinary people in everyday situations.

DS: You also mentioned that you love to travel with your husband Wayne (in non-COVID times). How have these travels influenced your writing?

GD: So far, I’ve been drawn to write about the Manitoba rural community. It is the prairies and the people who populate small rural towns that I know best. Travel does broaden one’s perspective, though. Seeing other cultures and different styles of living expands the mind and creates curiosity about and empathy for others, which is important for a writer. I’d like to include a European destination in my writing one day.

DS: When you’re not writing, what do you spend your time doing?

GD: I am still actively involved in our farm operation, so I’m busier in the spring, summer and autumn. I am the farm accountant and operate a combine during the harvest season. Besides traveling, I love gardening and have designed two beautiful flower gardens with ponds and waterfalls on the properties where we’ve lived. I’m a visual person, which is reflected in my writing, and it’s my passion to create beauty in my surroundings. I like biking and we enjoyed exploring more of Manitoba this summer. Like every grandmother, I cherish time with our grandchildren. Our 8- and 10-year old grandkids and I had a blast making a movie—Covid Catastrophe starring Superkids vs the Coronavirus—this spring when school was out (they wrote the script, found the costumes, designed the credits, etc) so creative activities are also on the list of things to do at our house.

Thanks to both Danielle and Gaylene for their insight into a writer’s life. There is still time to send in submissions to our Bloody Valentine writing contest (deadline: February 19th, 2021). Check out our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/manitobawritersguild) for details.

 

Maureen Fergus

Maureen Fergus is an award-winning author of books for kids of all ages. Her books have been translated into almost a dozen languages, optioned for television and shortlisted for such prestigious awards as the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award, the Joan Betty Struchner … Read more

Jess Landry

From the day she was born, Jess Landry has always been attracted to the darker things in life. Her fondest childhood memories include getting nightmares from the Goosebumps books, watching The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, and reiterating to her parents that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her mental state. When not writing, she works as Managing Editor for … Read more

Mitchell Toews

Mitchell Toews lives and writes lakeside. When an insufficient number of, “We are pleased to inform you…” emails are on hand, he finds alternative joy in the windy intermingling between the top of the water and the bottom of the sky or skates on the ice until he can no longer see the cabin.   … Read more

Magali A. Fréchette

Magali A. Fréchette writes the darker side of stories. Paranormal, dark fantasy, and mystery/thriller, but always with romance – she’s an extremist and loves both dark and cute things. All her stories are either set in Canada, or in alternate worlds (makes sense since she’s Canadian, right?). She is always writing and enjoys freelancing as … Read more

Teresa-Lee Cooke

Teresa-Lee Cooke’s love of musical theater led her to “spoken word” prose and poetry. Her work has been performed in “Wine and Words” 2013 (Theater By the River), and in FemFest 2013-2016 (Sarasvàti Productions). Her poetry appears in The Lake Winnipeg Writers’ Group’s journal “Voices” and has also been included in “Verses Afire” (The Ontario … Read more