Sunday, 27 December 2015

2016 Meetings Schedule - Grind Writers

We sometimes have out-trips and meet way from the Grind.
Please email before attending for the first time to:


Approximately every 2 weeks.
Alternating on Saturdays & Sundays.
Skips any weekend with a holiday Monday

2   0   1   6
Jan 10

July 10
Jan 23

July 23
Feb 14

Aug 7
Feb 27

Aug 20
Mar 13 Note: DST Change Day

Sept 11
Apr 2

Sept 24
Apr 17

Oct 16
Apr 30

Oct 29
May 15

Nov 20
May 28

Dec 3
June 12

Dec 18
June 25

If you'd like to receive our e-newsletter, please email a request which is signed with your first & last names and your email address to

Monday, 19 October 2015

Please New Canadian Government, Have Another Look at the CASL

Everybody and their proverbial dog from anywhere outside of Canada can spam us at their pleasure but -- under the year+-old CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation) -- we cannot spam each other inside Canada. 

            The fines for noncompliance are prohibitive for small businesses, and compliance is time consuming.

            Even teeny tiny operations that are selling anything at all have to abide by the CASL. Which involves getting permission from everybody on your mailing list to be on it. Which then requires a fairly more sophisticated tracking system—forever--to prove you haven’t spammed anone. So CASL left little organizations scrambling around to learn how to use  costly mailing systems like MailChimp or ConstantContact.

            Offshore agencies are exempt. So it means huge multinational corporations can spam me unstintingly. 

            CASL does nothing about, say, the gazillion emails that small outfits from the U.S. who are selling Self-Publishing services. 

          But my local yoga studio can't send me a calendar of their new programs or a reminder about their classes without complying to the CASL - or potentially subject to those big fines. Anybody in Canada who charges for what they do is subject to these laws. But I get masses of unwanted spam from foreign companies - with nothing to be done.

            You’ll notice emails from such Canadian entrepreneurs carries always an option to “unsubscribe” at the bottom, and they must also identify themselves and give their contact information under the CASL. Not so anyone else. Sometimes those emails carry an “unsubscribe” tab, but one is reluctant to use it because it indicates a live email address to the person at the other end (sellable to more offshore spammers).

            The CRTC says “Canada’s new anti-spam legislation (CASL) helps protect Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.” 

            After slightly over a year, I'm not convinced.

            The firm Deloitte in their CASL FAQ says: “Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is one of the toughest laws of its kind in the world, making its application and interpretation particularly thorny.”

            Note question their sixth question:
6. What happens if we don’t comply with CASL?  Organizations that don’t comply risk serious penalties, including criminal charges, civil charges, personal liability for company officers and directors, and penalties up to $10 million.”

            For an unwanted Canadian email. 

            Unwanted offshore emails? No problem.

Email coming from outside the country has no such laws upon it. I’d much rather the government had legislated offshore companies, and left Canadians alone. What did they accomplish really? – apart from making it harder for us to talk to each other.

In the slightly over a year since the CASL went into force, the enforcing agency CRTC Has levied fines of $1.1Million (March 5, 2015); $48,000 to PlentyOfFish for emails “that did not contain an unsubscribe mechanism that was set out clearly and prominently..."; and $150,000 to Toronto-based 
Porter Airlines  - all described in a blogpost, “CASL: One Year In.”

CASL has no doubt affected some good in decreasing the Canadian spam in your inbox. In that “CASL: One Year In” article they quote a ConstantContact™ survey that found:

·      “70% of businesses have continued to use email marketing as they had before CASL, 9% have increased their efforts and 6% began email marketing initiatives for the first time.

·       “Meanwhile, 13% have decreased email marketing activity, while just 2% have stopped all together since CASL became the law.  As far as email lists go, 65% of survey participants said their lists have stayed the same, 10% saw an increase while 25% indicated a decrease.”   

But that is a survey done only amongst ConstantContact™ users, so may not reflect the broad Canadian picture.

Small Canadian email marketers (which would include my little yoga studio) have had to spend a lot more admin time on complying to the CASL, which is onerous for any small outfit with limited staff.

I don’t see how CASL supports our entrepreneurs (especially small ones) who market their wares by email “to compete in the global marketplace,” and it seems to put them at a clear disadvantage in the Canadian marketplace.

CASL hasn’t put a dent in the U.S. and offshore spam in my inbox. I just opened an email from another American guy wanting to help me self-publish my book.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Grind Writers - news June 2015

Read it online at Issuu  - here


--Royal City Writing
--Sew, you want to write
--Literary Bran – joy of  regularity
--The Fed votes in a new exec
--BC writers autonomous fan region
--SUBMIT!  (You know you want to)
--Constance Rook contest, big bucks
--New self-publishers' strategy - The Book Launch Gang 
--Happy anniversary TWS!
--Word stuff
--Turning on the tap
--Word Wenches
--Great BC Novel Contest
--Where we meet
--The free-write photo prompt: Just do it!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Tara Kimberley Torme - reflections on the battle for inclusion

Grind Writer, Tara Kimberley Torme, has published a review of the 2015 Inclusion BC Conference  she attended recently – on Self Advocate Net (“Changing attitudes one person at a time”).

This year’s theme was, ‘’Keep Moving Don’t Stop,” and focused on artists and people with disabilities. “People do not usually see people with disabilities as people with talents and abilities – they see them as people with disabilities first and foremost,” Tara wrote. 

The conference, and Tara in her article, talked about the situation for people with disabilities (PWD) 60 years ago, how “those with disabilities were put into institutions and locked away from society – not even given the right to an education – or even to be part of the community." In the '60s and ‘70s what was essentially a liberation movement began. “The disability movement literally began at a kitchen table nearly sixty years ago – parents and individuals with disabilities – seeking for equality and inclusion in the community – access to schools – and out of the institutions. [….] With the movement parents fought hard to end institutionalization of people with disabilities and to include them in the education system."

Inclusion has been quite a struggle ever since and every inch of the way.

One of Tara’s many reflections from this conference is an important one for all of us to remember: “Each person with a disability has hidden talents that nobody knows about because they are too busy focused on the disability – instead of the ability – they don’t see past the barrier of what’s there – so they miss the opportunity to see the real person underneath.”

You can read Tara’s full article here. It’s a very interesting article and gives one insight into a fraction of the issues PWD face and struggle with on a daily basis in our society.

--Margo Lamont

Friday, 12 June 2015

Grind Writers - Meeting Dates 2015

Before attending for the first time, for address etc,  please email:
We sometimes meet away from the Grind, do out-trips.

Grind Writers – Meeting Dates 2015
Note we skip any long weekends and go to the following week
Jan 10

July 11
Jan 25
July 26
Feb 14
Aug 8
Mar 1
Aug 23
Mar 14
(Labour Day Sept 7)
Sept 12
Mar 29
Sept 27
(Easter April 5)
Apr 11
Sat  (Thanksg. Oct 12)
Oct 17
Apr 26
Nov 1
May 9
Nov 14
SunVictoria Day May 18)
May 24
Nov 29
June 6
Dec 12
June 21

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

ManBug (by George Ilsley) -- An Appreciation

George Ilsley is a writer who, fortunately, attends quite frequently at the Grind Writers' group meetings. George is not exactly one to blow his own horn. And because I don't make the habit of googling everybody who attends, we didn't find out for at least a year that he had two books
published: Random Acts of Hatred  (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004) a book of short stories; and his latest, ManBug (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2006), a novel, which was a finalist for the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award (Gay/Lesbian Fiction). George was subTERRAIN magazine's 2014 Lush Triumphant Contest winner for Creative Non-Fiction.  

I’ll never ignore armpits again. I’ll never feel the same way about them now either, now that George Ilsley has irrevocably associated the words “armpits” and “bonsai garden” in my consciousness in ManBug.  

And speaking of consciousness, ManBug book is awash in consciousness; it’s all about consciousness. The cons of false consciousness. The fleeting veracity of consciousness. Yours. Mine. Sebastian’s and Tom’s --  of each other, of themselves, of others, of insects. Especially insects. And intersections. And interspecies intersections. And about some things we’d just as rather not be conscious of -- what makes Glosette™-style raisins glossy for instance (Euw). The mating habits of all sort of beings, conscious or otherwise. And some things we are not conscious of, but others are: what hearing speech in colours is like, for instance.

But throughout, a perceptive Observer with a witty way of slicing & dicing our consciousnesses into his. George Ilsley’s. Sebastian’s. Tom’s. The bat bug’s. And an exploration of connection and consciousness and love in the forms love will choose to take and how we can be conscious of the many ways that love can manifest. And how strange love is. And what happens when it stops.

From the publisher's blurb:
Told in dreamlike fragments, ManBug unfolds as a love story between Sebastian, an entomologist with Asperger's Syndrome (similar to autism), and Tom, a spiritual bisexual who may or may not be recruiting Sebastian for a cult. They explore the world through their relationship, seeking meaning and value in themselves through the other. They also try to avoid the inevitable toxins around them, both real and imagined—like bugs avoiding insecticide—while asking the question, Just how much poison can any of us absorb?

--Margo Lamont

Sunday, 3 May 2015


Read The Grind Writers here.

  • Help kids with your used kidsbooks
  • Royal City rocks creative writing
  • Writers’ adventure camp
  • BC writers autonomous fan region
  • Literary Bran – regular writerly events
  • Resources for turning on the creative tap
  • Ow!  Stinging critiques
  • Lush wants you11 agents actively seeking book authors
  • Where we meet
  • The free-write photo prompt: Just do it!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Output from the Alphabet prompt (Malcolm's)

The prompt: was to:
(a)  for 2½ mins., generate a list of words starting with an assigned letter of the alphabet.
(b) Write an opening sentence or a story or piece, using word(s) from your list.
(c)  Write a sentence (that may or may not be connected to the above) using some of those words to describe a setting
(d) Now for 10 mins., free-write based on your list of words – using them or ideas/images they conjured up.

The J list:
Janet, jam, janky, january, july, june, juaritas, jujubes, juicy, junky, jumbled, jambled, jamboree, jackson, Jackson, jew, jewish, jewelry, jerk, jerky, jarrow, jack, Jack, Jackie, Jummers, jankers, jubilee, jampton, jump, jumpy, jumping, jumper, juniper, jantlon, jantlen, jow, jabberwocky, jackhammer, jarleston, jamp-jamperoo! Jill, Jillian, jickers, jeepers, Jan, Juanita, jallieanna-oop! Jettison, jet, jetting, jet-ski, jet-skiing, jeppie, jazzy, jazz! Jamerique, juop-juop-jarroo! Jarrow.
___Free-write Prompt on “J”
Jantlon scanned the room. It was white, the room: the furniture, the walls, the drapes. Hell, even the clothes of the people in it, himself included. Beyond the room, looking out the floor to ceiling French patio doors, he saw July in New Hampshire. Jantlon shifted in his seat, trying to get comfortable. He was conscious of not letting his linen suit get wrinkled. He placed his white fedora on the delicate table beside him.

Jump, jump, jazz – yah! Jibbity, jibbity, bee bop boo! Badadadada, badadada! Badadada, doop doop doop – biddity, biddity, bop, bop, bop, Badadadada, badadadada! Jantlon remembered the old tune fondly. He wished he were “Jackson,” still, but someone had to infiltrate, someone had to make their way into white society and see if they could get some money and bring it back to the community.

Jantlon shook his head. The soft notes of piano floated in the air, all grace and calm. “The musical equivalent of Valium,” he thought.
Not that there was anything wrong with Valium, or its musical equivalent. It was just so different from his music. In his neighbourhood, if someone was going to play a slow song, it was going to be a plaintive blues number, filled with the wailing or crying of a singer. Instrumentals? They existed for dancing. And even then...

Everything he listened to had a singer. Jazz had vocalists, even if they were just making noises with their mouths, that didn't amount to language, or language as we generally think of it, he mused.

He looked again, out the patio doors. The grass went on and on. Such extravagance! So much space. A green soft carpet, almost all one colour and texture: no dandelions or Creeping Charlie. Breathtaking? No, not that. Maybe –- yes, it could be –- breathtaking in its homogeneity. Like a painter who uses small amounts of paint on a brush, working it into the canvas so the viewer can't see the texture.

There was a grove of trees to the left. Apples? And at the very back of the lawn, Jantlon could see a garden – almost a farm, really, it was so large. Perfectly manicured rows of short plants, brown dirt between them, stretching off into the distance.

© 2014 Malcolm van Delst.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Old Friend From Not Far Away - Surrey International Writers' Conference 2015

From conference coordinator Kathy:

Welcome to the first newsletter of our 2015 conference year. We have so much great information to share, this’ll be a long one. We hope you’ll be as excited as we are by all our news.

This year’s Surrey International Writers’ Conference will run October 23-25, 2015, with master classes on October 22, at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel in Surrey, BC.

Registration will open on Wednesday, June 3. Mark your calendars!

Changes are afoot!
If you’ve ever been to SiWC before, you may be one of the many people wrote something like this on your evaluation form: “Wow! So much great content. I only wish I could see more of it!” This year, you’ll be able to. We’ll still be offering 70+ workshops and panels over the three days of the conference (plus pre-conference master classes, of course!), but thanks to some minor tweaks to our schedule, for the first time ever, we’ll be offering four workshop sessions on the Friday and Saturday instead of three. You’ll still have lots to choose from in each session, but you’ll be able to attend more sessions than ever before. Prepare for massive brain overload!

Mary Robinette Kowal explains the secrets
of short story-writing, 2014

More content but not more $
Even though we’re offering each attendee 25% more content this year, we’re delighted to tell you we will NOT be raising registration rates. This year’s prices will be identical to last year’s. You’ll just get more for your money!

With those changes in place, we went back to our evaluation forms and took a look at the other common requests.  The new schedule will allow us to accommodate other attendee suggestions from over the years, including offering a quiet writing room in some time slots and even a chance for some of you to share your expertise with us. Stay tuned to our blog for information about that! (All our blog posts get mentioned on Twitter and Facebook, and of course on our website, so wherever you follow us, you’ll see them.)

Reduced hotel rates (but don’t wait too long to book)
In other news, our group rate is already available at the hotel and bookings are well underway. Check out the information
here. Please use our group rate when you book; it’s important for us and the hotel to know how many people are staying for the conference, and it helps keep our prices down when you do. Book early! Our group rates are available until mid-September or until the hotel sells out, which is often much earlier than that.

Jack Whyte (l) and Diana Gabaldon (r)
with contest winner 2014.

Writing contest open
Our writing contest is now open to entries. This year, we’re concentrating on short fiction of all sorts, with our Storyteller’s Award. 

Details on our contest page here.
Presenter bios coming soon
We’ll begin posting our presenter bios on the website in the coming weeks, and the workshop and master class schedule in the lead-up to registration opening, too. The presenter roster this year looks amazing, if we do say so ourselves.  As always, we’ll offer workshops on a huge variety of topics for writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir, online content and more. Whether you’re a brand new aspiring writer, a multi-published bestseller, or any kind of writer in between, SiWC has something for you.  Our goal is to offer stellar professional development for writers at all stages of their careers. And of course, every year you can take advantage of our blue pencil and pitch appointments, which are always included in the cost of your registration.

Cory Doctorow, one of many
well-known presenters
Advertise in conference brochure
If you’re interested in buying ad space in our conference brochure this year for your book or your day job business, please contact kc dyer at for information and rate sheets. We offer everything from classified ads to full-page colour and lots of options in between.

Follow on Twitter
Looking for more SiWC info? Apart from our very occasional newsletters like this one, you can follow us on Twitter @siwctweets and check out our website and blog at

If you’re on Twitter and would like a little writing support & encouragement, join the conversation using #thisdaywewrite. For conference-related tweets, we’re using #SiWC15 this year. Stay tuned on Twitter in coming weeks for hints about this year’s conference theme.

Check out our website for answers, including our FAQ, but if you can’t find what you need, you can contact us through our contact form or email me at

Please get the word out about SiWC
Know writers who don’t know us? We so appreciate your referrals.  Thank you to everyone who’s introduced SiWC to a friend so far. We hope to see many new faces and lots of old friends again this year.

See you in October!
Kathy Chung
SiWC Conference Coordinator  *  

The Surrey International Writers' Conference, held every October in British Columbia, is the most comprehensive conference of its kind in Canada. SiWC offers writers in all genres -- from beginners to experts -- the opportunity both to hone their craft and to expose their work to the international literary marketplace. 

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or for more information please visit