The Mongolian Chronicles by Allen Smutylo

In the shadows of the Altai Mountains live the Kazakh nomads of western Mongolia. These hard-living nomads survive on windswept steppes, grazing their herds and keeping an ancient practice alive: hunting not with traps or guns, but on horseback with golden eagles. The Mongolian Chronicles recounts a story of this untamed world, seen through the eyes of artist, writer, and traveller Allen Smutylo.

Writers’ Tips from Bill’s Workshop Series II

The Essentials of Ads and Promo

Here’s something you might know. If not, let me share.

For some time, we’ve needed to see an ad multiple times before it resonated—stuck—sufficiently looping in our headspace to motivate us to act, in other words driving us to actually purchase the item being promoted.

In the earliest days of advertising a single placement could well result in action.…

What the Living Do by Maggie Dwyer

Until the age of twelve, Georgia Lee Kay-Stern believed she was Jewish—the story of her Cree birth family had been kept secret. Now she’s living on her own and attending first-year university, and with her adoptive parents on sabbatical in Costa Rica, the old questions are back. What does it mean to be Native? How could her life have been different?

Writers’ Tips from Bill’s Workshop Series I

Success

Writers, whether you know it or not, you’re a business owner. Specifically, an entrepreneur. The sooner you acknowledge and embrace this, the better. And the easier it’ll be to promote and sell books.

Herein lies the dichotomy. As writers, we inherently don’t want to promote—to sell ourselves and our stories. We write because we enjoy it—selecting words to communicate a vision—moods, scene, dialogue.…

Nothing Could Be Further from the Truth: Stories by Christopher Evans

Christopher Evans knows how to write. Without having met, I felt a kinship to this Vancouver author. His author’s resume is solid. I felt reviewing this work, a short story collection*, would not be hard work—that it should, in fact, be enjoyable. I was right.

From Always Hungry, Always Poor, the opening story:

The wife landlord has a bit of the darkness, too.

Around the Province in 88 Days by Emily Taylor Smith

Early on a May morning, a young Nova Scotia woman straps on a small backpack and leaves the Halifax Common to start her journey along the coastal roads of Nova Scotia. Planning to cover almost a marathon a day, she will walk the perimeter of the entire province in just under three months to raise awareness for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Brigadoon Children’s Camp Society.

Crafting Arts

Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.

Queen and Carcass by Anna van Valkenburg

[A] rich, unpredictable, and deeply surreal exploration of identity and the multiple contradictions we each embody. These poems, set in locations real and imaginary, magical and banal, inhabited by figures out of Slavic folklore and a Boschian landscape, strive to unearth truths, especially those that are difficult or uncomfortable, using Bertolt Brecht’s maxim “Do not fear death so much as an inadequate life” as a touchstone.

The P.W.Bridgman Interview

(The following interview with P.W. Bridgman by Bill Arnott originally appeared in Bill’s Artist Showcase Newsletter and is reproduced here at TMR with Bill’s kind permission.)


Okay, P.W., you go ahead and enjoy my pint. I’ll just ask for another. In the meantime, welcome! Please tell our Showcasers a bit about your work as a writer.

(P.W.) I write fitfully, mostly in my study atop my house in bohemian East Vancouver, a ten-minute walk from The Drive.…

Unexpected Beauty

Unexpected beauty. In a highrise, surrounded by a sky-scraping copse of towers, nature abounds. Gulls soar, fixed-wing on thermals pumped from rooftop HVACs. Summer settles into place, reluctantly, with every shade of green—Irish hues in streetscapes, courtyards, boulevards—while deciduous and conifers sprout tender shoots begging to be brewed in campsite tea.

From my concrete aerie a swath of ornithology—gulls now in a gang, to squawk and dive, pestering a lone bald eagle flapping broad extended juvie wings, its flightpath east to west.…

Sea Glass Circe by Irina Moga

A spin on poetry review. Exploration in verse.

Nature. Flora, fauna, feelings felt
experienced and known, flown, not
vanished but migrated, sailed south
from Great Lake shores and tributaries.

Barn Door. “It’s a wet, late spring that makes its way / across Lake Ontario through freezing rain, / barely unravelling snow from tree tops. // Not a pinhead fits in between rain drops.”…

Open Mics: Lifeblood of Local Writers

First time I showed up at an open mic I was the only one there. It was a Vancouver pub. (Still is, I suppose.) I had my Seagull six-string acoustic (no pickup), both the guitar and I showing our age. In all fairness to the organizers, there was no reason for anyone to be there. I was an hour early for signup.…

Hearts Amok by Kevin Spenst

In language that twists together hobo slang and flights of troubadourish diction, Hearts Amok scrutinizes the history of the love sonnet in Surrey, England and simultaneously celebrates the tickings and tollings of one love-struck heart in Surrey, British Columbia. Examining the underpinnings of love, this book journeys from the Middle Ages to the present where Spenst dates his way through Vancouver to finally find the love of his life.

Writers’ Primer: Ratios, the Sure-Fire Way to Get Published

Ever heard of ratios? I mean, outside of middle school math.

Ratios are a simple, effective way to quantify your effort as a writer. And if your primary goal is getting published, knowing your ratios is essential. It’s been said, “It’s all a numbers game.” Don’t let an expression’s overuse dilute its merit. It’s cliché in part because it’s accurate. There’s a reason people cite the effectiveness of numbers.…