March 12, 2016: What a celebration of Alberta literature in Edmonton; it was unforgettable. Surrounded by Edmonton readers supporting the Launch of STONEHOUSE PUBLISHING and their inaugural five titles, it was an evening where all the authors became fast friends and our publishing journey began. And ten of my teaching colleagues gave me a surprise gift of their love and support by driving up for this event!
I feel overwhelming gratitude for this story of Kalyna being out in the world for others to share. Kalyna radiates hope, forgiveness and love of family. After sharing the novel at many readings, writing workshops, book clubs and at schools these past three years, this journey has been more rewarding than I could ever have imagined. The incredible people I have met, the dances I've danced, and the stories readers have shared with me are a mosaic of wonder to me. I feel so honoured to be able to share my work with others and now, to have the opportunity to be a mentor for new authors with The Shoe Project, Canmore and Borderlines Writers Circle.
Thank you to the many libraries, book stores, schools and readers for keeping the spirt of Kalyna alive these past three years. Your support for Alberta and Canadian writers shines a bright spotlight on the talent of our artists and authors. We are stronger with each other. What a brilliant community!
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Book Club Guide
I am so happy to be invited to book clubs and have participated in events across Alberta and as far as Toronto via Skype. I am just an email away! Heading into Kalyna's third year, this book remains so dear to my heart and family history.
Mark your Calendars for February 1st and 2nd! Ten incredible inspiring women from the Bow Valley will share their stories at the incomparable ArtsPlace in Canmore. Tickets are selling quickly so check out the link today to avoid disappointment. From Vladi's son Jan's baby booties to Mira's graduation shoes to Ysabel's black suede winter boots, these stories will inspire and move you.
The Canmore Shoe Project is the inspiration of Canadian novelist, Katherine Govier, who writes,
“Shoes accompany us on all our journeys. They say who we are, where we came from and where we are going.” – Katherine Govier
It has been an absolute honour to work with these writers in this unique writing and performance project. Their intellect, humour, humility and creativity shine!
ArtsPlace is also featuring a photo exhibit for The Shoe Project. Be sure to visit if you are in the area!
Link to purchase tickets online:
The Calgary Arts Community is a vibrant evolving group of writers, artists and supporters. There are opportunities at every turn whether it be volunteering or participating as an audience in a diverse array of events. As a writer, I believe in the power of the written word to unify us. I was thrilled to be a volunteer with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s conference in June and felt the power of community throughout the conference. There is mutual support, respect and understanding that is heartwarming.
Organizations have opened their doors for Kalyna these last few months including: Calgary Academy where I was honored to speak with and inspired by Grade 7 students engaged in a study of Social Justice. Tami Grondines, Event Guru from Chapters Indigo at Cross Iron Mills invited me to Book Club which was such a wonderful evening. I took a road trip West to Carbon Alberta where I learned historical events still impact lives today and to Drumheller Public Library where I met a modern day Kalyna and Wasyl, a young couple ready to begin their family in Drumheller. I shared Kalyna it is true, but their sharing of the immigrant experience in 2018 impacted me greatly.
Writers supporting writers is vital and, together, with two of my favorite writer friends, D.K. Stone and Lisa Murphy Lamb, we shared our books with a great crowd at Shelf Life Books in Calgary. What a brilliant kick off to the summer.
This writing camaraderie has extended into a wonderful project beginning this Fall. The Shoe Project is the project initiated by Katherine Govier. It pairs women who are newcomers to Canada with writers. The culminating project is a performance of their personal journeys. I am honored to be joining his project which will be based in Canmore, Bow Valley.
Experience Alberta! Embrace the enduring neighbourly spirit here, akin to that of Wasyl land Katja’s bloc community. The power is alive and well.
**I want to give credit to rug hooker Cheryl Bridger whose incredible piece stole th show at Art Oasis, Calgary Stampede this year! **
As the snow continues to fall today, I am grateful this is part of the ever-changing seasons we experience and that means Spring is coming soon. ACUA Arts has just published their amazing course list for Spring and events are popping up such as the first Edmonton Ukrainian Festival in May!
In January, I had the honour of attending the ZABAVA of Calgary dance troupe, Tryzub. Link: http://tryzub.ca What a celebration of family, community and culture as folk stories were retold through incredible dance and artistic expression. I was moved by the commitment to excellence and was honoured to share Kalyna as part of the silent auction for this event.
This month, I was thrilled to be asked to join a book club out of Toronto by Face Time. How wonderful that Kalyna is moving across Canada. Our conversation inevitably led to the sharing of personal family narratives and the stories we carry within us.
In March, I will be at Chapters-Indigo Book Club at Cross Iron Mills in Calgary. I am excited to engage in conversation about the history and present relevance of Kalyna in our complex and diverse world.
I will be continuing East in April to the Village of Carbon Library and Drumheller Library on April 21st. I will be presenting "History Unbound" as well as reading Kalyna and look forward to the community conversations very much.
The New Year is often a time for new beginnings and many of my friends say they want to develop their hobbies, their interests, more this year. I say, Go for it!"
Living creatively is instinctive and I hope you will find your outlet, your media to express yourself this year, be it music, art, writing or at the gym. We are all connected and offer a fabulous community of support to each other.
In six months, we will be a part of the Wild Rose Tri-It in support of YWCA Sheriff King Home, sheltering women and children and helping them to rebuild their lives. Rebuilding lives means rebuilding confidence and that feeling of value to yourself and to others. Giving back to the community provides us with an incredible foundation upon which to build. If you want to join us: go to -
www.wildrosetriathlon.ca to register today.
Believe that anything is possible in 2018. We are a world connected by our common humanity. Let this year be one of hope and moving forward.
See you at the starting line. We all have to begin somewhere!
Signed copies of Kalyna are ready to ship to Canadian addresses just in time for the holiday season. Prices are $18.00 for each signed and personalized copy as you request. There is a $5.00 shipping charge to addresses in Canada. International orders, please contact for shipping details. Payment will be through e-transfer. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The vibrancy of Autumn colour envelops us, engages and sometimes enrages the senses as it signals darker mornings, sift of frost on the windows and foggy dusk light. Seasons are transformative in so many ways.
As a street poet for People's Poetry Festival, this September, I felt the intimate connection and power of words. Sharing inner stories with an active audience, I participated as a reader and audience member. Through song, pop up poetry, slams and spoken work, this festival transformed my writing this month.
Kalyna was honoured with a nomination for Trade Paperback with The Book Publishers Association of Alberta awards this September and my daughter and I attended the ceremony in Edmonton. We loved rubbing elbows with such acclaimed authors as Beth Everest ( Poet) and Lauralyn Chow ( Paper Teeth) and I stood in awe of the vibrant writing community we are a part of. I am so proud to announce Stonehouse Publishing won the Emerging Publisher's Award!
Stonehouse will also be launching their newest books in Calgary at St. Stephen's Church on Friday, October 20th. Tickets are free on Event brite and it promises to be a wonderful evening showcasing Community builder Lisa Murphy-Lamb's new novel, Jesus By the Dashboard . See you there.
Please come by and say Hi at the Chapters Indigo Cross Iron Mills event on Sunday, October 22nd. There will be many authors including fellow Stonehouse author, Danika Stone, and I greeting readers at this wonderful event.
November tis the season for Christmas Festivals, and Lisa and I will be donning our warmest clothing for our outdoor table at Warner Stables in Banff for the Banff Christmas Faire. Please visit our table for pre-wrapped copies of our novels, felted soaps and miniature paska for your holiday pleasure.
May the season fill your senses with deep reading and journeys to places that transform you.
May 26th marked many milestones for our family including Kalyna being chosen as the EXPORTING ALBERTA AWARD WINNER at the Canadian Author's Association Dinner in Edmonton. What a true honour and I am committed to spreading the story of Kalyna Canada wide!
Thank you to Loft 112 for hosting my "Riding the Waves of A Newfoundland Summer" Poetry Readings in July! Loved every minute of sharing this extraordinary province with the audience over lunch.
July also brought another nomination for Kalyna and Stonehouse with a Publishers of Alberta award nomination. Awards are September 15th in Edmonton!
August 11-13th, I had the opportunity to join When Words Collide for their stellar conference with participation on two panels and one presentation highlighting Kalyna and the use and reference of historical artifacts and archives. It was amazing! Participants were provided with archival photographs and the writing that came from this was inspiring!
August 15th: I received my issue of PROMIN featuring Kalyna and am just in awe of the wonderful celebration of Ukrainian culture and profiles this magazine provides to our community. Thank you!
September 9th is PEOPLE'S POETRY in East Village and I welcome you to join me for a workshop in Found Poetry leaving from Bakery! Please contact me if you wish more details.
Although summer is ending, I wish you all continued sunshine, light and hope.
From the Atlantic to the Pacific, I am so proud to be Canadian.
I love history, art and literature and bring all three to my writing and teaching. I believe in the power of story and encourage you to share your own story.