Fair Skies, Dark Skies

The following slide show is a compilation of photographs taken in Alberta from May to July, 2017.

The focus is on sky conditions, with

  • daytime moon
  • interesting cloud formations
  • stormy skies and lightning
  • rainbow
  • smoky skies
  • deep blue
  • fireworks
  • summer recreation

Photos are my own. I hope you enjoy!

Slide Show

33 Alberta sky photos

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Weather Office app used for severe thunderstorm warnings and weather (picture 4).
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Welcome Back, Jess Steven Hughes!

Returning author Jess Steven Hughes has some important updates for us since my interview with him last August. He tells us about them below in his write-up for the 2017 Where Are They Now? series.

Interview with Jess Steven Hughes, Author (August 2016) includes Jess’s complete bio, background and research for his books, book signing photographs, and book trailers.

2017 Where Are They Now?

by Jess Steven Hughes

During the past year I have had two historical novels and a short story accepted for publication.

My short story, “A Body in the River,” has been accepted by the literary publication Conceit Magazine and will be published in their September 2017 issue. This story will probably be part of the sixth historical I am currently writing, Return to Britannia (working title). In that story, we see Macha (The Sign of the Eagle) returning to Britain with her husband, Titus, who has been dispatched by the Emperor Vespasian to investigate the murder of three bureaucrats. In the short story, they are sailing up the Thames River when Macha spots a body floating in the river.

The two newest novels, The Broken Lance (released July 13, 2017) and The Peacekeeper (releases November/December, 2017), published by Sunbury Press, are a duo-logy set in the wilds of 1st Century AD Celtic Britain at the time of the Roman invasion (44 AD) and among the incredible opulence and deplorable poverty of Imperial Rome (44 – 69 AD).

Description of The Broken Lance

In Rome, when shaking hands with a stranger, you’d best count your fingers to see if they are still attached.

44 A.D. Ancient Britannia is wild, unpredictable, and merciless. The dusty streets of Rome are chaotic and dangerous, home to incredible opulence, deplorable poverty, and a political web that catches anyone who dares to question the empire. Both places call to young Roman cavalry sergeant Marcellus Reburrus, who must survive a world of political treachery in which one’s life can be taken in an instant—by friend or enemy.

After enduring a ravaging storm, Marcellus’s boots hit the shore of Britannia under the orders of Roman Emperor Claudius only to face deplorable conditions and a commander who would rather see Marcellus dead than reporting for duty. Despite the circumstances, Marcellus quickly makes a name for himself, earning awards for bravery, promotion to centurion, and further alienating himself from the evil commander.

Marcellus’s return to Rome brings a whole new set of problems, the least of which is dodging assassination attempts, unraveling conspiracies, and falling in love. From the underground caves of beggars beneath the city to the magnificent homes of the Roman elite, Marcellus uncovers an elaborate plot of betrayal, one that can bring down the entire city. Can he find the conspirators before they find him . . . and destroy everything he holds dear?

This beautifully descriptive novel brings to life the remarkable worlds of ancient Britannia and Rome—while following the brilliant Marcellus, whose entire life is turned upside down as he must solve a complex mystery . . . and stay alive amongst backstabbing senators, murderous traitors, and an extraordinary city whose legacy is both inspiring and duplicitous.

Books by Jess Steven Hughes

Pre-publication book review of The Broken Lance

by Janet Morris
Author of 20 historical novels, including I, The Sun and The Sacred Band

On the last page of the Broken Lance by Jess Steven Hughes, the legend reads: To Be Continued. When you reach that point, you’ll be thrilled and relieved that another volume is coming. Hughes, whose Celtic Britain historicals has everything a man or woman could want: love, hate, revenge betrayal, and pathos. This book is staggeringly good, as historicals go. You fall asleep holding it; you awake thinking about it. Your normal life fades to a pale shadow of the world Hughes creates. If you’ve read “The Sign of the Eagle, or the two-volume World of Britannia, I don’t need to say more. If you haven’t yet read Hughes, what are you waiting for? Start here, and have your faith in the novel restored.

No part of this book lags; it grabs you by the throat, with women as compelling as the men. He brings politics at their worst to life, and teaches you why things were the way they were then.

So, without giving away the story, I must tell you that if you are a man, woman, boy, girl, searching adventure and a better understanding of human nature, The Broken Lance is your book. Once you’ve read it, you’ll go looking for the previous volumes in this series, wondering how you could have missed these stories. And you’ll read the Broken Lance and its precursors more than once, for the sheer pleasure of it. I said of a previous volume, Hughes is an American Ecco, writing for his time. His background as a Marine, a horseman, a police detective, all enhance his stories.

SO, if you love historical adventure, heroes of both sexes, and a story to make you think differently about modern life, here it is. Grab it and run—and get it autographed if you can.

The Wolf of Britannia, Part I, helped a woman diagnosed with Breast Cancer

I received a note from a friend of mine who had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer (thank goodness, she is now in remission) which nearly brought tears to my eyes. My own wife, Liz, is a fourteen-year survivor, so I certainly knew what he and his wife were going through.

The note:

My wife was voracious reader (and we have the multiple book cases filled to overflowing to prove it) of all genres, both fiction and non (she has a screenplay about Captain Cook she is shopping for which she did extensive research) however . . .

This all came to an end when she was hit by breast cancer. The cancer was bad enough but the treatment, as you may know, is very much a race to see who dies first—the cancer or the patient. So it was that on all the medications she lost her ability to concentrate and reading was no longer the joy it once was.

And then she saw your post about The Broken Lance and the critic’s reaction to the language. “I’ve got to read that book” was her reaction. Of course, it was not yet available so we picked up a copy of The Wolf Of Britannia. She read it cover to cover and enjoyed it immensely.

Your book helped her breakthrough the logjam of medication and rediscover the joy of reading that she once knew so well.

Just wanted you to know that your book was a hit, and I expect more of your volumes to find a home on our bookshelves in short order.

Thank you.

*          *          *

Author Jess Steven Hughes

Jess Steven Hughes is a retired police detective sergeant who holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a minor in Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations from the University of Southern California. His travels and extensive studies bring his historical novels to life. Jess lives with his wife, Liz, and their horses in Eastern Washington.

If you follow Jess on Facebook, you will be treated to his book and publisher news, book signing photographs, the history of Rome, his own 6,500-foot G-scale railroad model with 660 feet of track, and even baseball updates.

Feature: The longest chapter
The Spokesman-Review
Sat. Aug. 18, 2012

Man’s longtime dream realized with publication of first novel
by Rebecca Nappi

Jess Steven Hughes published his first novel, The Sign of the Eagle, at age 70.

Confirmed US book signings (summer/fall 2017)

April 8, 2017 at Barnes & Noble, Spokane Valley, signing Wolf of Britannia, Part 1, for new reader Christine.

Sat. Aug. 5
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
18025 Garden Way NE
Woodinville, WA 98072
Assist. store manager: Dan Tuberville
(425) 398-1990

Fri. Aug. 11
3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Yokes Fresh Market
1233 N. Liberty Lake Rd.
Liberty Lake, WA 99019
Store manager: Dan DiCicco
(509) 927-0330

Sat. Aug. 12
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
15310 E. Indiana Ave.
Spokane Valley, WA 99216
Store manager: Leslie

June 9, 2017 at Barnes & Noble signing Wolf of Britannia, Part 1, for new reader Kristina.

Sat. Aug. 19
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Barnes & Noble – Northtown Mall
4750 N. Division St.
Spokane, WA 99207
Manager: Kelly
(509) 482-4235

Sat. Sept. 30
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
5353 Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA 95118
Comm. rel. manager: Ally
(408) 979-0611

Sat. Oct. 7
12 – 4 p.m.
EntertainMART
101 Best Ave.
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814
Book manager: Marie
(208) 664-0464

Where can we buy your books, Jess?

My books can be purchased from the publisher, Sunbury Press, or from Amazon. Below are the links for The Broken Lance.

How can we follow or contact you?

These are the links to my website and social media:

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A Pollen-Covered Bee Raiding the Flowers

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Welcome Back, Alison Neuman!

Returning author, playwright, choreographer, and lyricist Alison Neuman has some news for us in our continuing 2017 Where Are They Now? series. Last year, she mentioned that two producers were interested in working together to reproduce her musical and play for Fringe Festival stages in 2017. The play, The Sunset Syndrome, debuted at the Walterdale Theatre in May 2016 (see bio below) and will also be performed at the 2017 Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival this August (more details below under Upcoming events).

Interview with Alison Neuman

Author, playwright, and lyricist Alison Neuman

Alison Neuman grew up with a rare autoimmune disease called dermatomyositis. Arthritis followed, which is why she uses a wheelchair for navigation. She loves writing and has explored many avenues of the art, including writing plays and musicals.

Alison’s musical, Searching for Normal, debuted in the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival in 2013, and her play, The Sunset Syndrome, debuted at the Walterdale Theatre in From Cradle to Stage, New Works Festival in May 2016.

Alison is also a lyricist with three tracks appearing on the CD Outside The Window and songs in the musical Searching for Normal.

She is an author of these books

  • Ice Rose–A Young Adult Spy Novel (mystery novel aimed at age 12+)
  • Searching for Normal: A Memoir (my autobiography aimed at adults)
  • Don’t Eat Family/On Ne Manage Pas La Famille (children’s picture books in English or French aimed at kids of all ages)
  • Help From Friends (a sequel to the previous children’s book)

Full bio and book trailers at Interview with Alison Neuman, Author (October 2016)

Speaking with Alison Neuman

What were your most significant accomplishments over the past year?

In 2016, The Sunset Syndrome, as part of the Walterdale Theatre From Cradle to Stage New Play Festival, gave me an opportunity to work on my play with a dramaturg and witness the play growing from the page to the process for the director, actors, and production of a theatre production.

Additionally, my dance piece, Fix You, which I choreographed with a group of talented local dancers, was in the CRIPSiE (Collaborative Radically Integrated Performers Society in Edmonton) November 2016 show, Careful.

What was your greatest obstacle?

My greatest obstacle with this play has been the writing process. The content is so personal because I have been a caregiver* for family members with dementia. I wanted this play to be a voice for persons with dementia because often in the progression of the dementia, when the person becomes confused or is unable to verbally communicate or move around independently, the person inside that still remains becomes lost in the process. The content needed to be realistic, while at the same time, having engaging characters the actors could create and the audience could connect with.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of giving the audience insight to the thoughts and process of a person with dementia. Also, I am so proud to have the amazing group of people–Catherine, Rebecca, Kevin, Peg, Andy, Grace, Shelby, Kohl, and Rosie–who take the words from the page and magically transform them into a living, breathing story.

What are your goals or upcoming projects for 2017?

Another theatre director, Dylan Thomas, is working with me on ensuring my musical Searching for Normal is refreshed and solid. The musical was originally in the 2013 Fringe. After some tweaking, a new song, and a new direction, the plan will be released as a new production in May 2018.

What special thing about yourself would you like to share with readers?

I love to cook!

*Caregiver/caregiving: read Rick Lauber’s interview and guest post.

Upcoming events

Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival (August 17-27, 2017)

Words in the Park (September 30, 2017)

How can we follow or contact you?

Where can readers buy your books?

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Birds of Strawberry Creek

Strawberry Creek, Alberta, Canada is where our writers’ retreat was held in May. Post #1, Writers’ Retreat 2017: Strawberry Creek Lodge, consisted of photographs taken inside and outside the lodge.

This is post #2, a slide show of the birds and wildlife of Strawberry Creek.

Photos are my own, taken May 18 – 22, 2017.

Slide Show

39 photos from Strawberry Creek

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Mooning the Earth: Moon Names and Facts

© Mikel Martinez De Osaba | Dreamstime

We recently had a Thunder Moon on July 9 and before that the Strawberry Moon on June 9. Coming up is the Sturgeon Moon on August 7, and most of you have heard of the Harvest Moon (September 6). Where did these full-moon names come from, and what do they mean?

  • Why do full moons have names?
  • What causes the phases of the moon?
  • Why is a full moon sometimes called a Super Moon?
  • How was the moon created?
  • How long would it take to drive or walk to the moon?

Did you know . . .

  • life as we know it would not exist without the moon?
  • the moon is drifting away from us?
  • the moon is not the Earth’s only satellite?

“Many moons ago” is an idiom that means “a long time ago.” A full moon occurs occurs every 29.53 days, so counting moons is similar to counting months.

The early Native Americans gave each full moon a name to keep track of the seasons and lunar months. The moon names for each month of the year and their descriptions are available in the article link below.

The first video in The Telegraph article (link below) discusses Five fascinating facts about the moon (4:40).

The second video discusses and models What causes the phases of the moon? (2:14).

“Many people think the phases of the moon are caused by the Earth’s shadow. This is one of the biggest misconceptions in astronomy. I’m going to show you how it really works.”
~Dr. Simon Foster

Source: Complete list of every full moon including July’s Thunder moon on The Telegraph (Science)

By the way, the Earth’s shadow on the moon is caused by eclipses and partial eclipses, not by the phases of the moon.

Below is some photography by Rich Weatherly on Flickr.

April 2014 Lunar Eclipse (Blood Moon)

7 photos

Lunar Eclipse - Blood Moon

Supermoon (June 22-23, 2013)

11 photos

IMG_1597crp

Related

Richard Weatherly: Photographer, Author, Poet

Farmers’ Almanac: Full Moon Names and Their Meanings

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Welcome Back, Mandy Eve-Barnett!

Today’s Where Are They Now? series features author is Mandy Eve-Barnett from Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada.

Mandy Eve-Barnett at Audreys Books in Edmonton, Alberta. July 8, 2017.

Since her interview last summer, Mandy released Clickety-Click in October 2016 and a new cover for The Rython Kingdom in April 2017. She discusses these and her other titles in Interview with Mandy Eve-Barnett, Author (July 2016).

See also

4 Authors, 7-Day Book Challenge, Amazing Experiences (October 2016)

Dual Author Signing Event (July 2017)

Interview with Mandy Eve-Barnett

Author Mandy Eve-Barnett

Mandy currently lives in Alberta, Canada but is originally from England. Her background is diverse and gives her rich experience to utilize in her writing.  She has traveled throughout Europe, parts of America and Canada and was born in Africa.

Mandy is passionate about creative writing to the point of obsession, and she succeeded in becoming a published author in record time. She always has a manuscript (or several) on the go as ideas flood her mind and just have to be written.

Her venture into freelance writing has been successful, and she regularly contributes to Strathcona Connect, an e-zine, and the Never Been Better page in the Sherwood Park News newspaper. Mandy currently holds the position of Secretary for her local writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County.

Writing in multiple genres, with four books published to date, Mandy has also been published in anthologies and on numerous web sites as well as regularly blogging about her writing journey.

Speaking with Mandy Eve-Barnett

What were your most significant accomplishments over the past year?

With my newest YA novella Clickety-Click launched, I immersed myself into revisions of two novels.

The first, Life in Slake Patch, is a speculative fiction novel set in an alternative future where the world suffered a catastrophic war, leaving the majority of the population as female. Separate compounds were constructed with male or female occupants, with only weekly visitation. Written from the POV of a young man, it tells the story of his struggle and the changes that he initiates to the matriarchal society. This novel will be submitted for release in spring 2018.

The second novel, The Twesome Loop, is a romance with a reincarnation twist (and erotic scenes). Set between two eras — 1875 and 2000 — the main characters meet by chance on the site of their past lives, where their tumultuous relationships occurred. The novel consists of two story lines, which eventually converge. The novel’s official launch is 30th September 2017 at the Words in the Park event in Sherwood Park.

Events page

What was your greatest obstacle?

My biggest obstacle, as always, is full time work and the many events (see below) I attend and organize. As secretary of my writers group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, and president of the Arts & Culture Council of Strathcona County, I am forever busy. I do try to ‘escape’ normal life and write when I can.

What are you most proud of?

At long last managing to revise novels that have been put on the shelf for far too long (see above). I have two other books I am focusing on for 2018/2019. They need to be in the world, not in a folder on my laptop gathering virtual dust.

What are your goals or upcoming projects for 2017?

I mentioned two of my novels above, but I want to release from stagnation two more — one is a cowgirl romance, Willow Tree Tears, and the other is a suspense, The Giving Thief. I also have another YA novella in the works, Bubble the Gruggle. All of these are my main writing focus for 2017-2019. If I’m lucky, once these are completed I can return to The Rython Kingdom and write a sequel — something several readers have asked me to do.

What special thing about yourself would you like to share with readers?

Mandy’s creative crafts. Words in the Park 2016.

Art in all its forms is my passion — whether the written word, my current obsession, or painting, pottery, sculpture, textiles, etc. The list is endless. Creativity allows a mind to delight in the fanciful, the imaginary, and the whimsical. It allows the deeper reaches of our minds to create for sheer enjoyment, releasing us from daily worries if only for a short time.

Photo credit: Mandy Eve-Barnett. Words in the Park 2016.

TV interview links

Arts Talk Interviews

Arts Talk Online EP 3 (Bill Roberts)
Talking about Rumble’s First Scare

(Go to 8:22 on the timeline)

Arts Talk Season 2 EP 6 (Shaw TV Edmonton)
Talking about Clickety-Click and my other books

(Go to 11:04 on the timeline)

Dates of upcoming events

Author Reading, Social Grounds Coffeehouse, Sherwood Park, AB
Saturday, August 26, 2017
2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Words in the Park, Sherwood Park, AB
Saturday, September 30, 2017
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Launch of new adult romance, The Twesome Loop. A romance with a reincarnation twist (contains erotic scenes).

Additional author readings and book events between now and Christmas will be posted once set on my Facebook page.

Update on past events attended

  • Author reading – Audreys Books, Edmonton – 29 April 2016
  • Reading at Summer Author Reading – Social Grounds Coffeehouse (SGC), Sherwood Park – 23 July 2016
  • Words in the Park and Clickety-Click launch – 1st October 2016
    It was purchased for one local school on the day and has delighted and thrilled many readers since.
  • Author reading at SGC – 22 October 2016
  • Authors for Altruism – Audreys Books, Edmonton – 5th November 2016
    I read from The Rython Kingdom, sold 3 books, and raised money for Santa’s Anonymous for CHED radio (a great cause).
  • Carbon Christmas Fair – 26 November 2016
  • Christmas in the Heartland – 27 November 2016
  • Author reading at SGC – 28 January 2017
  • Author reading at Off the Page – 8 March 2017
  • Author reading at SGC – 15 April 2017
  • WFSC Writers Conference – 22 April 2017 (scroll down for conference workshop info)
  • Indies for Authors at the Sherwood Park Bookworm – 29 April 2017
  • Writing Retreat at Strawberry Creek – 18 to 22 May 2017 (photos)
  • Summer Author Reading at SGC – 24 June 2017
  • Book signing at Audreys Books – 8 July 2017

Where can we find your books?

Rumble’s First Scare – a children’s picture book telling the story of a little monster’s adventure on All Hallows Eve.

Ockleberries to the Rescue – a children’s chapter book for bedtime stories or independent readers. A tale of magical woodland sprites aiding and healing their forest animal friends. Each chapter is a different animal or event.

Clickety-Click – a YA mystery adventure. A young orphaned girl settles with her guardians but soon discovers their secret. One she cannot reveal as she, too, transforms.

The Rython Kingdom – an adventure romance set in medieval England. A storyteller tells a tale to the King’s court, unaware of the dangers within it. The novella includes two stories – the one about the storyteller, and the tale he tells. Partnered with a mysterious but beautiful woman, Guillem learns her secret, one he must choose to accept or lose her love. This book is for adults.

All my books are available from Dream Write publishing at dreamwritepublishing.ca.

Clickety-Click and The Rython Kingdom are also available as e-books from Smashwords and Amazon (search title for Canada, USA, or UK).

My books are available on my blog:

How can we follow or contact you?

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Guest Post: Is Your Caregiving Cup Half Full or Half Empty? by Rick Lauber

Is Your Caregiving Cup Half Full or Half Empty?

by: Rick Lauber, Author
Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians and The Successful Caregiver’s Guide

As I slide into my office chair to settle in to write, my morning’s cup of coffee rests on the corner of my desk within easy reach. My cup, at the moment, is full and reminds me of a caregiver’s daily turmoil. While I begin my writing day with a full cup of steaming coffee, a caregiver will often begin their own work with a full cup of boundless energy and enthusiasm to help and/or support another person. In both our cases, however, our cups may be emptied soon enough.

When this occurs, it will be easy enough for me to go pour myself another coffee; however, caregivers can find filling up their own cups far more difficult. Caregivers can often drain their own cups dry, overlook the issue of their own self-care, and fail to recognize how caring for an aging loved one requires caring for themselves in the process. Why this occurs is quite simple – when you focus completely on looking out, there is no time (or seemingly any reason) to look in. When you spend between 20 and 30 hours per week completely focusing on Mom or Dad’s needs, it’s very easy to ignore yourself in the process … you may feel that your parent is your primary responsibility, ignore the vital time-balancing act required as a caregiver (so as to include time for self-care), and/or even question your own worth.

When previously caring for both of my parents, I quickly fell into this trap. Despite sharing the caregiving responsibilities with my two sisters, my days were consumed with a heavy emphasis on my mother and father’s needs. Caregiving involved my running from dawn until dusk, and I would be routinely required to be on-hand to drive Mom or Dad to a doctor’s appointment or handle any number of other obligations – I remember these obligations as being ever-increasing as Mom and Dad declined both physically and mentally. Even when I was not personally with them, I worried about Mom and Dad regularly – so much so that I often had difficulty sleeping.

Whether you are suffering from insomnia or running non-stop, caregiving can lead to personal and professional burnout. We are, after all, human and have our limitations as to what we can accomplish. Mind you, this often doesn’t stop us from trying to squeeze even more into each of our days. Rest and relaxation are vital to help you remain healthy and recharge. To protect yourself, remember to step back and allow some time for just you.

Healthcare professionals refer to this as respite … whether you use this term or simply call it “taking a break,” remember that caregiving involves a minimum of two people: the care recipient and the caregiver. A caregiver must recognize the size and capacity of his/her own cup, accept his/her own limitations (no matter how much you want to help at this time and feel you can, there is only so much that you can realistically accomplish …) and consider his/her own needs. With proper rest, exercise, a healthy diet, social time with friends, and so on, a caregiver can become far more effective and even more enjoy his/her own caregiving work.

The best caregiving breaks are taken regularly. If, like me, you are prone to distractions, write yourself a note in your calendar, book respite time in Outlook on your computer, or schedule regular reminders with Siri on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Back in my own caregiving days (and still so, in fact …) I found that taking long walks helped me immensely; however, even shorter 15-minute breaks taken on a regular basis can prove to be greatly beneficial. One very simple relaxation exercise is to breathe – inhale deeply through your nose, hold your breath for a moment, and then exhale through your mouth. Take 30-60 seconds to practice deep breathing at any time – while you are waiting at a traffic light on route to pick up Mom or Dad or just before turning in to sleep at night.

It’s important to note here that it isn’t always easy to practice caregiver self-care. You may fight tooth and nail against doing so and believe that you do not have the time to do so. Such resistance is common amongst caregivers. By making a concerted effort to take respite and practice self-care, you (along with your aging loved one) will benefit.

Now, I have just enjoyed my last swallow of coffee and topped up my cup … isn’t it time for you to top up your own caregiving cup as well?

Author Rick Lauber

Rick Lauber is a published book author and established freelance writer. Lauber has written two books, Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians and The Successful Caregiver’s Guide (Self-Counsel Press) as valuable resources for prospective, new and current caregivers. He is also very pleased to have been twice-selected as a contributor in Chicken Soup for the Soul: It’s Christmas! as well as Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat.  Lauber has also served the maximum six-year term, on a volunteer basis, on the Board of Directors for Caregivers Alberta. www.ricklauber.com.

Additional information about Rick Lauber, social media links, and links for book purchases can be found in his recent interview, Welcome Back, Rick Lauber!

Chicken Soup: contributing author Rick Lauber. Caregiver’s Guides by Rick Lauber.

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Welcome Back, Rick Lauber!

Today’s 2017 Where Are They Now? interview is with author Rick Lauber of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Check out Rick’s interview, links for his books, and author event schedule below.

Join us tomorrow for Rick’s guest post, “Is Your Caregiving Cup Half Full or Half Empty?” –insightful points to ponder if you have been involved in caregiving for elderly or ill loved ones or friends.

Interview with Rick Lauber

Author Rick Lauber, Coles Bookstore, Southgate Shopping Centre, Edmonton.

Rick Lauber is a professional freelance writer with a sizable portfolio. He began his writing career after pursuing radio broadcasting, bartending, and marketing/public relations. Outside of writing, he continues to work part-time, travel to the mountains as often as possible, and cheer on the Edmonton Eskimos.

Rick has written two non-fiction books, both published by Self-Counsel Press (North Vancouver). Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians was initially published in September 2010, and has subsequently been updated to a second edition. The second book, The Successful Caregiver’s Guide, published in September 2015, focuses on the American market. Both books are valuable resources for prospective, new, and current caregivers (those helping and supporting aging seniors or preparing to do so). In both books, Rick discusses caregiving as a timely and topical issue, shares his own caregiving story, discusses issues relevant to caregivers, and provides website resources where caregivers can find help at many levels.

In addition to his caregiver’s guides, Rick Lauber contributed to Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat101 Heartwarming Stories about Our Happy, Heroic & Hilarious Pets and Chicken Soup for the Soul: It’s Christmas101 Joyful Stories about the Love, Fun, and Wonder of the Holidays.

Full bio and Interview with Rick Lauber, Author (Sept. 2016)

Guest Post: Are You Prepared for Caregiving? by Rick Lauber (Feb. 2017)

Rick Lauber, contributing author and author.

Speaking with Rick Lauber

What were your most significant accomplishments over the past year?

I have continued to actively promote my books through scheduling book signings, conducting media interviews, writing in support of what I have written (including caregiving-related stories for newspapers, magazines, blogs, and websites), and securing new sales distribution points. Self-promotion has to be one of the most challenging issues for a writer; however, authors can be their own best salespeople (as they know their own material the best and possess the most passion for what they have written).

I have recently been invited to become a guest columnist for a local newspaper where I can speak about caregiving issues, and I am very excited about this opportunity! I also was recently contacted by a US-based blogtalk radio program who have asked me to return as a guest (having been on there once and being invited back is a nice compliment!). One other significant milestone came via Twitter when a follower (and fellow author) reached out to me and asked if I could beta-read his book! Doing this was a first–it was high praise to be recognized–and he has acknowledged and quoted me in his own book. He even supplied a signed copy of what he had written. My message here is, as an author, do not fear rejection. Instead, look for open doors (or even partially-open doors), think creatively about opportunities, and ask … the worst that you will hear is “no.”

What was your greatest obstacle?

I think my greatest obstacle now is the same obstacle I faced when writing my first book–educating the public. While aging, declining health, and dying are unpleasant topics to face and to talk about, people have to prepare that one day they may become a caregiver or know a caregiver.

What are you most proud of?

I think I am most proud of my own persistence with pursuing something I believe in. Caregiving is not always an easy sell and it could have been very easy for me to lose my motivation. I am also pleased with how writing and promoting my books has made me far more extroverted … I used to be very introverted and very nervous at the idea of calling up a bookstore manager and suggesting a signing event. Now, I can more comfortably sit at the front of a bookstore, meet and interact with customers, and talk about a difficult subject.

What are your goals or upcoming projects for 2017?

To continue doing what I have been doing to get the word out about caregiving, advocate for caregivers, and encourage more discussion about this topic. Writers always have to have a number of pokers in the fire and I do … one of these is another story submission completed and sent to Chicken Soup for the Soul. As Chicken Soup receives (and reads) several thousands of submitted stories for each new book title, I have not heard any decision from them yet.

What special thing about yourself would you like to share with readers?

I have been a co-caregiver for both of my own aging parents (Mom had Parkinson’s disease and leukemia while Dad had Alzheimer’s disease). People seem to appreciate that I have “been there and done that” with caring for my own aging parents. I also do not have any medical, legal, banking, or social work background and can talk to caregivers at their own levels without being overwhelming.

Upcoming author events for 2017

Saturday, August 19
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Chapters Southpoint
3227 Calgary Trail South, Edmonton, AB

Saturday, September 9
Noon to 7:00 p.m.
Strathearn Art Walk
On the parkland along Strathearn Drive between 89 and 91 Streets, Edmonton, AB

Saturday, September 30
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Words in the Park Book Sale & Fair
Community Centre Agora
401 Festival Lane, Sherwood Park, AB

Where can we find your books?

Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians is available at national Chapters/Indigo bookstores, online at Amazon.ca (e-book), and/or through my publisher Self-Counsel Press as a soft-cover or e-book.

The Successful Caregiver’s Guide (US market) is available at Barnes & Noble bookstore, online at Amazon.com and/or through my publisher Self-Counsel Press as a soft-cover or e-book.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat is available at Chapters/Indigo, Amazon.ca, and Amazon. com.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: It’s Christmas! is available at these links at Chapters/Indigo, Amazon.ca, and Amazon.com.

How can we contact you?

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Upcoming Writing Events

These are some upcoming writing events in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario from the blog of author Mandy Eve-Barnett. Also, check out the Canada 150 Book Project: POSTCARDS FROM CANADA. This anthology of short stories, poetry, and images will be available on September 30, 2017.

Here’s a sneak peek at the official book cover for POSTCARDS FROM CANADA.

Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

After a busy weekend, I am now into Board meeting week! Firstly, Tuesday will be with the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County meeting. We have our annual Words in the Park to plan and organize for 30th September, this will be our 10th year! So we are endeavoring to make it bigger than ever.

Web site banner WitP 2017_0As part of the Canada 150 celebrations we are also publishing a book of Canadian themed stories. This project entails reading, editing and approving members submissions. The book will be launched at Words in the Park. We have already voted on a cover – to be revealed at the launch!

book projectMy second, board meeting will be on Wednesday for the Arts & Culture Council of Strathcona County. We too will be organizing and planning our event, Culture Days in conjunction with our partners the Writers Foundation. The event is also part of Alberta Culture Days, which…

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