Saturday 31 May 2014

Local Literary Arts Event

Multi-author autographing event set to go

 St. Paul, Alberta - In a gathering unlike any St. Paul has seen, six area authors will be introducing themselves and their books to the community at a group autographing session in the new St. Paul Value Drug Mart on Friday, 20 June 2014 from 1 – 3 pm and again in the evening from 6 - 7 pm.

A broad taste of books will be available to purchase from the authors.  Shannon Ouellette, writing as Shannon Raelynn, will be there with her romance, SEASCAPE. 

Diane Beveridge, writing as Diane Peeling, will present her brand new book of poetry, A JOURNEY IN WORDS: Discovering my Being.

Award winning author, Diane Mae Robinson, will be on hand with the two books in her children’s series: SIR PRINCESS PETRA and SIR PRINCESS PETRA’S TALENT. 

Learn a bit of local history from Ella Drobot with her semi-autobiographical anthology BEHIND THE KITCHEN STOVE and Nicholas Verbisky with his autobiographical EMBARRAS PORTAGE:  Before, and After.

Eileen Schuh will be promoting the first three novels in her young adult BackTracker series: THE TRAZ, THE TRAZ School Edition, FATAL ERROR and FIREWALLS as well as her adult science fiction novellas, SCHRODINGER’S CAT and DISPASSIONATE LIES.

“All the authors are very excited about this opportunity,” Schuh says, noting St. Paul and area businesses, organizations and individuals have been exceptionally supportive of her career. “We love writing and are really looking forward to sharing our words first hand and face-to-face with members of our community.”

As St. Paul doesn’t have a bookstore, the Value Drug Mart for years has supported area authors by stocking their books. Now, with an expansive new location, they’ve decided to further promote the literary arts in their community by sponsoring an autographing event for the authors behind the books on their shelves.

Hope Ainsworth, Store Front Manager for St. Paul Value Drug Mart, whose idea sparked the event says, “We are looking forward to showcasing talent that is in our own backyard and seeing many of you stop by to chat and meet the people behind the stories .”

Authors will also gladly grant interviews during the event.

For more on my fantasy kids books, visit my website at: 

Sunday 18 May 2014

Strange Facts About Words

Some strange facts about words

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and "facetious." 

There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

"Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".

No word in the English language rhymes with month,orange, silver, or purple.

The sentence: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" 
uses every letter of the alphabet. 


Heteronyms are words that are spelled the same as another, but having a different sound and meaning.

     - The dragon wound the cloth around the wound on his leg.

     - He could still lead the knights if he could get the thick lead door opened.

     - Upon arrival, the royal dove dove through the window.
     - The royal carpenter built the door to close to the window—it would not close.

Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning. 

  - The prince, even in his present state, was to present the present to the princess (the 1st and 3rd "present" are the homographs; the 2nd "present" as to the 1st and 3rd "present" are heteronyms). 
  - The kingdom’s gardener was summoned to produce lots of produce, or else.

  The princess did not object to the shinny object the dragon brought her.
  -  Some of the soldiers got in a row as they tried to straighten the row.


Then there's the odd word up. Look it up in the dictionary. It is a two-letter word with the most meanings of any two-letter word:

Upon waking up, the princess looked up in the sky. The cloud art brought to mind a topic she must bring up to the royal councilman--she must speak up. Who would be up for election? And who would write up the royal reports? 

As she pondered, she decided to polish up the silverware and warm up spaghetti. Later, she cleaned up the mess before opening up the royal library. Deciding it was time to get dressed up for the ceremonies, she wondered if she was up for it. The whole deal would take up a lot of her time, but if she did not give up, she might wind up with a new role.

"Hmmm, it's clouding up outside." She closed up the shutters and wrapped up in her shawl.

                 I am one mixed up writer.

copyright, Diane Mae Robinson, 2014

For information on my dragon books for children:

Saturday 3 May 2014

Ukrainian Pysanka

The original Easter egg.

Pysanky artists decorates Easter eggs using methods and symbols that have been part of Ukrainian culture for centuries. Pysanky (PIH-sahn-kih) are eggs decorated with a process that employs wax and dyes, using different colors and symbols that have special meanings in Ukrainian tradition. A single egg is a pysanka.
Pysanka art by Sophie Pidwerbeski,
my baba

My grandmother, Sophie, and her sisters, mother, and grandmothers, who were all born in the Ukraine, knew the art of this treasured Ukrainian tradition.
The tradition of pysanky is believed to pre-date Christian times, even going as far back as Trypillian culture--and ancient Eastern European civilization. As Christianity spread into Ukraine, the pagan symbols used to decorate the eggs were given Christian associations, and pysanky became a form of folk art connected to Easter.
The art form, somehow, and often in secret, survived despite the many hardships of the artists over the years: war, Communist rule, and even during the period when religious practices were outlawed.
Although I do not know the art myself (it is on my bucket list of things to learn), I do remember my mother and grandmother drawing on the Easter eggs, first with pencil then with wax, and then dipping them into different colors.
The pysanky are created using a wax-resistant dyeing technique: the eggs are dyed in progressive stages and wax is applied to resist the dye from settling in certain parts.
Drawing the wax design on the eggs is called "writing"--the term comes from the word "pysaty", which means "to write". The writing is applied with a stylus called a kistka.                 
Eggs made by my aunties and cousin that still live in the Ukraine
and somehow got them to Canada in original condition.
The designs are filled with symbolism---all the shapes and simple picture have a particular meaning, for examples: triangles represents the Holy Trinity; a rooster symbolizes fertility; yellow is associated with youth; black with mortality; red with love and passion for Christ.

Instructions on how to do the pysanka art:

Another good resource page on the art

My aunties and cousin in the Ukraine.
Pysanky art is a wonderful art form that I fear is fading away with the older generations. 

That gives me an idea. After I learn the art, I could give art classes where I teach visual arts. Anyone want to take an Easter egg course?

copyright, Diane Mae Robinson, 2014

Related post, The Ukrainian Writer: