Benni’s Blog

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26 July 2018: At the Chang Centre at UBC we listened to Jordan Pederson.  There was security but I saw no protesters. The minute Pederson walked on stage he received a standing ovation. With no notes he kept the audience entranced for an hour and a half.  His basic philosophy involves the things I was taught as a girl – truth, empathy, responsibility. His book – “12 Rules For Life” – is a worldwide bestseller.

20 July:  I attended Rashida Kabir’s book launch – “Ripples of Reason: My Thoughts.” It was interesting and with the purchase of her book, each buyer received a ticket for a glass of wine. Every chapter of her book starts with a picture of one of her own paintings and they are delightful. She quotes many philosophers, gives both sides of a subject, and then includes her personal thoughts. Her subjects include time, art, envy, love, existence, aging, believers and non-believers, and even home cooking. I enjoyed reading her book.

22 June 2018:  We moved to a condo at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The condo is cozy, the area is lovely,  and shops – grocery, pharmacy, liquor, bank – are within walking distance. I still cook, but more and more I enjoy eating out.

21 Jan 2018: The year is still new. I signed and mailed Black Opal Book’s contract for “SALTAIRE STRANGLER.” It’s exciting to have a good publishing company accept a manuscript.  Time lag and editing will happen before the book is actually published.

18 January 2018: The year is new. Just finished reading a couple of interesting books: UFO— “The Gods Never Left Us” by Erich Von Daniken; Muslim biography—about a brilliant Iranian (Persian) woman who lived in her father’s harem, attended university in California, started a Social Work school in Tehran, and later barely escaped with her life during the revolution. (I lent the book and can’t remember the author’s name).  I am currently reading about philosophy and religions—”The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins.

December 2017: Sidney and North Saanich Library Writers Group had a comedy night.  I read my short poem “Bad Habits Eliminated” It created quite a few laughs.

December 2017: Years ago, I read Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” and found it very depressing. I’m reading it again in hopes I’ll understand the main character’s psychopathic personality. Christmas is coming and I look forward to having a cheerful time with family members.

November 2017: This is almost like a Dear Diary—My husband and I watched all 12 lectures by Dr. Jordan Pederson on U-Tube.  His subject was the Psychological Aspects of Bible Stories. We were entranced at how he brought in Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Greek mythologies; fairy tales; classical literature; philosophy;  psychology; Buddha; and Mohamed.  Apparently, all 12 lectures were sold out and over 2 million people watched them on U-Tube.

September 2017: I organized our nursing class’s 65th two-day reunion in Sidney, BC.  We had a great time—it was as if we had seen each other a week ago.

June 2017: My husband and I attended our son’s branding at his ranch in Alberta. We also enjoyed our son-in-law’s birthday party in Calgary where we caught up with numerous relatives.  Great fun.

April 26, 2017: I finished reading Ann Romney’s book about Multiple Sclerosis with bits of American politics thrown in. She has managed her MS in unusual ways, such as reflexology and horse-back riding. The book was an inspiring read.

April 22, 2017:  Being on the panel with William Deveral, Kay Stewart, Rachel McMillan, Phyllis Smallman was interesting and fun.  William and Kay were MCs and each of us gave a brief talk or read from our latest book. The audience was responsive. We read the shortlists for the Arthur Ellis awards. I learned that Arthur Ellis was the first hangman in Canada. Russell Books is an amazing store—three floors of everything new and old.

Mar 08, 2017: I have been asked to participate on a panel for the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Short List announcement at Russell Books, 734 Fort Street, Victoria, BC.

Jan 07, 2017: Black Opal Books published SHOWMAN OR SHAMAN, my third Philomela Nightingale cozy mystery. It was a fun book to write and I hope readers enjoy it.

Oct 08, 2016: from 10:30 -12:00 I sat at a nice desk in the Emily Carr library with a display of ODD ODYSSEY AND STAINED SAND. My conversation with a Buddhist librarian was delightful and fascinating. She told me Saturday morning was not usually busy. I read a book about famous Canadian women while waiting for someone to come and chat about my books.

Sept 08, 2016: At the Sidney/North Saanich Library, my forty-five-minute humorous talk on the joys and pitfalls of writing and publishing was well received. A member of the audience kindly said I was an excellent speaker. During question period the interchange among audience members was remarkable: interesting and fun.

May 27, 2016: I completed an online course, Introduction to Forensic Science, at Strathclyde University in Glasgow. It was interesting and enjoyable, as were the comments from students around the world. A comment from Valerie Tate, cozy mystery writer, prompted me to contact her. She lives in Ontario and her books now are on my list to read.

May 02, 2016: The Emerging Local Authors’ function at the Central Branch of the Greater Victoria Library had standing room only. Delicious nibbles and sparkling apple juice were elegantly served. 127 new authors were involved. Three shelves were dramatically unveiled and on one of them sat paperbacks of STAINED SAND and ODD ODYSSEY. It was a grand evening.

March 4, 2016: The third Philomela Nightingale mystery, SHOWMAN OR SHAMAN, has been accepted by Black Opal Books. Exciting!

Oct 4, 2015: The Sidney Literary Festival was a great success. All the hard work of organizers, volunteers and authors made it worthwhile.

Sept 19, 2015: I received a few editing tips from Lenore Hietkamp and Frances Thorson at Nellie McClung library. Kay Stewart and Phyllis Smallman did a fine job of organizing the event.

Sept 11, 2015: Enjoyed Bob MacDonald and Sylvia Olsen at the fundraiser for the Sidney Literary Festival.

June 13, 2015: ODD ODYSSEY is published—paperbacks and ebooks are available at Black Opal Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kindle, Kobo, All Romance,  and fine book retailers everywhere.

June 9, 2015. Due to other commitments, I resigned as email communicator for the Sidney/NorthSaanich Writers Group. The job was fun and I enjoyed working with the library manager and dedicated members. I’ll miss them.

April 4. 2015: Wow. I just finished checking Black Opal Books‘ second edits for “Odd Odyssey”. Faith, the editor, was extremely helpful. Publishing date is drawing near.

April 2, 2015: I corresponded with Linkedin Crime Writers. Very amusing.

March 01, 2015: As the email-meeting-reminder for seventy members of the Sidney Writers Group, I keep busy and out of trouble. We’ve had some interesting and helpful speakers. Writers who attend the Critique Group meetings find them supportive and encouraging. Sadly, Lou Allin passed on. she will be missed.

May 24, 2014: At the Crime Writers Of Canada western workshop in Victoria I was a member of the panel discussing suspense. Other members were Lou Allin and Stanley Evans and the moderator was Kay Stewart. It was a good day. I particularly enjoyed chatting with other writers while munching a brown-bag lunch.

May 22, 2014: My second Philomela Nightingale mystery, “Odd Odyssey,” has been accepted by Black Opal Books Inc. It was exciting and the contract looks fine. My novella at Malahat Review didn’t win—I’m a mystery writer, not a literary one.

February 10, 2014: Story rejected by EQ magazine. Ten weeks since my husband’s 5-bypass open heart surgery. He’s doing well, thanks to my expert nursing care and of course to the skill of the cardiologist, heart surgeon, and GP.  My novella, ‘The Four Ds’, is at the Malahat Review contest.

November 4, 2013:  I sent a story to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Will they publish or reject it?  On Halloween at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, I watched the staff display their wild costumes while Merritt watched his angiogram being performed.

Oct 8, 2013:  I went to Winston-Salem, North Carolina with my son and daughter-in-law to visit my sister and her husband. While there, my son drove us to Charlotte where we toured the Billy Graham Library (museum). It was spectacular, but what impressed me was the epitaph on Ruth Graham’s tombstone: “Construction ends. Thanks for your patience.”  Is there a hint of reincarnation here?

October 07, 2013:  The SIDNEY LITERARY FESTIVAL was a success: workshops encouraged talented students; readings portrayed authors as real entertainers; breakfast with authors at the Pier Hotel was packed. A date has yet to be set for the next festival, possibly in the spring of 2015.

September 20, 2013:  My husband and I celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary at Sandy Beach in Naramata with our children and their spouses, and grandchildren and their partners. The weather could have been better, but the wineries were fun and the camaraderie was superb.

August 15, 2013:  Sidney, British Columbia is a ‘book town’ containing many bookstores. A large proportion of the residents are readers, writers, and artists.  As Volunteer Coordinator for the SIDNEY LITERARY FESTIVAL,  I am not getting any writing done.  But things are coming together for the festival. Please join us on October 4-6 for a lively, enlightening, and enjoyable weekend.

July 21, 2013:  My husband and I tried to impress our new neighbours by driving them to the Turkey Point (Oak Bay Marina) parking lot for a Jaguar Car Club of Victoria kaffeeklatch.  The sky was foggy but the klatch attendees were bright and friendly. On the way home our old S-type Jag gave up the ghost and arrived home on a flatbed truck.  Without question, we impressed our neighbours.

June 30, 2013: Ten days ago The Black Screen of Death appeared. The local tekkie (DTI) retrieved everything except three work-in-progress novels, a synoptic journal for my investment company, five short stories, and all my email addresses. I had the novels on a memory stick, the journal on a hard copy, the short stories on an old floppy disc—though my computer has no slot for floppy discs, I am gradually replacing email addresses.

The scary part is that last September, just before I left to attend an alumni homecoming at U of A,  my emails disappeared. The local tekkie could not retrieve anything in the email storage bin— which included my travel novel and a million pictures. Computers would be wonderful if hackers dropped dead.

June 19, 2013:  My son is helping me improve my website. It’s wonderful to have a son who is computer literate.  After participating in a panel at the MAKING CRIME PAY conference in Victoria, I have many new friends on Facebook.  Writers are so interesting.

As Volunteer Coordinator for the SIDNEY LITERARY FESTIVAL, I am keeping out of trouble—or perhaps in trouble. My spreadsheet abilities are proving useful and the executive members are pleasant to work with. Fund-raisers are being held at the Red Brick Café. The Festival will feature many well known local authors in a school, the library, a bookstore, and the Charlie White Theatre.

May 25, 2013:  The mini-conference of CRIME WRITERS OF CANADA — Making Crime Pay — at the Victoria Library was informative and fun.  I was thrilled to be on a panel and discussed the topic, To Outline Or Not To Outline.  A vote proved that most people outline before writing their first draft. I am one of the exceptions. Thanks to Kay Stewart’s organizational skills, it was a great day.


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