Coming Soon… ‘All Mapped Out’

Today, we here at Brad OH Inc. are happy to announce that the Edmonton Writer’s Group will soon be releasing our fourth anthology, ‘All Mapped Out’.

‘All Mapped Out’ is a collection of stories by Edmonton writers, and each story is connected by the theme of maps. With approaches as varied as the writers themselves, stories cover arrivals, departures, and other life journeys.

Like our previous anthologies, all profits from ‘All Mapped Out’ will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library.

In order to celebrate this exciting new release, we will be releasing—tor the first time online—the story from our most recent anthology, ‘Edmonton: Unbound’.

This story, ‘A Good Place for a Miller’, was written specifically for the anthology, and touches on some topics that are unusually personal for my writing. It’s an anomaly of sorts, and I enjoy it for that very reason.

‘A Good Place for a Miller’ will be released in two parts. The first will be found just below, and the second will be released soon, along with updated information about where to pick up your copy of ‘All Mapped Out’.

-Brad OH Inc.

‘A Good Place for a Miller’ (Part I):

Jeremy Miller was 17 years old the only time he ever ran away from home. Slipping out the back door late in the evening, he’d passed the Youth Emergency Shelter, and loped out onto the grassy incline which fell away from the cracked sidewalk and sloped down into the cool green hills of Mill Creek Ravine. Jeremy had walked this little strip on his way to work and back many times in his short life, and had more than once contemplated taking the small step off the sidewalk and down into the valley below.

Today, he had finally decided to make that idea a reality—and not just as a detour on his way to work. Jeremy wanted to escape, to find himself, and more importantly, to find out if there was anyone else in the world feeling as desperate to get started on life as he was.

“Might not be what you’d call living exactly, but it’s half true at least, I guess.” The old man with the dirty toque scratched at his beard, and ran his index finger along a scar on his cheek.

Jeremy didn’t understand. “What do you mean? You live here, or you don’t.”

“Sometimes we sleep here, sometimes we sleep other places. Living means something different to each of us kid,” Dirty Toque spoke from the side of his mouth.

“That’s just the kind of thing I was hoping you’d say,” said Jeremy. “That’s why I came here today, to find out what life really means to other people.”

“I’ve got all I need to live right here,” said a younger man with dry, red skin and a stained plaid jacket. He held up a can of beer and burst into a chorus of dry, staccato laughter.

Jeremy had to bite his lip to avoid letting loose a sarcastic quip he might regret. Self-talk was a long-standing habit of Jeremy’s—perhaps a relic of his being an only child of two very busy parents, or perhaps more so the result of his self-imposed isolation and natural introversion. In truth, it was some combination of those, and no doubt other, more implicit reasons as well.

The older man inched his way forward—a nervous, perhaps predatory approach that made Jeremy squirm beneath his new jacket, which was admittedly too heavy for the meager, early spring weather.

“You have plenty more than you need to live by the looks of it kid,” he pulled at the sleeve of the jacket, “what are you doing down here anyways? ‘Find out what life really means’…what the hell is that about?”

Jeremy tugged away instinctively, feeling guilty about his sudden apprehension, yet unable to shake it. “I don’t live very far from here,” he explained, “but I’ve never really spent much time down in these valleys. All my life I’ve heard about the people down here, whole communities, who know and trust each other. They survive because of their connections, not despite them. You’d think that sort of thing would be more abundant out of the valley than in it,” he finished, and a shadow blew across his face even as the chill of night began to deepen.

It was true. Jeremy had often heard tales of this coven of the lost; a significant community of Edmonton’s homeless who set up makeshift shelters down in the woods of Edmonton’s River Valley—a series of park lands forming one of the continent’s largest city parks.

These gypsy-esque men and women often partied long into the night, despite their desperate circumstances. That kind of resilience had often struck a young Jeremy as brave…inspiring even. If any of it was true.

These tales had come to Jeremy through the complaints of his chagrined neighbours, whispers from children whose parents were police officers or probation workers, and the often-elaborated speculations of his rather distant academic peers—speaking of things they’d seen, or rumours they’d heard as if the River Valley was some far off and inaccessible source of fear and legend.

Mill Creek Ravine, though not a part of the River Valley proper, was close to Jeremy’s house, and he had determined it would be a good starting place.

“Yeah, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” mumbled the younger man. “What’s your name?”

“I’m Jeremy Miller, and I’d like to join you for a while, maybe have a talk. I hope it doesn’t seem rude or creepy,” this statement drew a series of inquisitive, raised eyebrows from the two men before him, “I just want to know what people live like when all is truly equal.”

“Can’t get more equal than nothing for everyone,” said the first man, with a chuckle.

“Miller, eh?” asked the second, “that’s a bit fancy for these parts, ain’t it?”

Jeremy scrunched up his face, but again held his tongue. “It’s just a joke, son,” the man with the toque cut in, “‘Miller’ is a beer, but a bit pricey for us. I’m Slick, and that there’s Lucky. Guess where he gets his name,” he finished, reaching into a bag at his side and passing Jeremy an unopened can: ‘Lucky Lager’.

It was cold in Jeremy’s hand, and heavy. “Thanks,” he said.

“So, just what is it brings you to a place like this anyway?” asked Slick.

Jeremy considered this for a moment. How could he take his whole life’s experience and present state, and sum it up for a stranger in the cold? He held tightly onto the can of beer, and pushed his finger under the tab. It popped open with a sharp crack and impotent hiss.

‘Why am I here?’ he ran the question through his head once…twice. It was a big one. Jeremy sighed, and brought the cool lip of the can up to his mouth. It tasted awful—thin and watery, with a strange, bitter flavour. He forced it down, and the aftertaste somehow brought to mind the smell of his mother’s fresh bread baking on cold winter mornings. Jeremy forced this down as well.

“I guess it’s been coming for a while now…I just needed to get out of there. I’m tired of having no control over my own life, and no ability to change anything around me.”

Slick grinned. Lucky took a long pull of beer from his own can.

Jeremy tugged on the sleeves of his jacket, self-conscious now as he gazed upon the crusty and tattered garments of his new friends. “Maybe it seems silly to you guys, I don’t know. I do everything right…I get the best grades I can, hold a job, try to be respectful around the house, but my folks still always think they know better. I wanted to go down to the States for a music festival this summer…I thought it would be a chance to figure out my place, and to experience a sense of community built around something other than common location. I’ll be on my own soon, and by then I’ll need to know how to build my own life, but I’ll never be able to do that with my parents constantly worrying about me and holding me back.”

“Doubt you’ve done much to solve that worrying bit tonight,” said Slick.

“You’ve got that right,” Jeremy agreed. “Still, I’ve never had to struggle for anything, I’ve never even known anyone who has! I don’t know how to trust strangers, or judge intentions, or what it takes to rely on anyone outside of my immediate family. In less than a year, I’m meant to be a man, and it’s high time I started acting like one!”

“So, you ran away to freeze under a bridge? Not many men I know choose that.” Slick rubbed at his scar.

“Why are you here then?” asked Jeremy.

“Not to prove a point. ‘Least ways not anymore.”

“It’s not about proving a point, it’s about being prepared,” Jeremy stared off towards the bright lights of downtown Jasper Ave, and spoke as if to himself. “When I’m out on my own, I want to be able to make a difference. I want to be able to walk amongst and understand all kinds of people, and I’ll need to do that if I want to change anything in this world. I know perfectly well that I have it easy, but that will only make it harder for me to have any real impact. I need to understand and experience all levels of society before I head out into it…how else can I know my place?”

Lucky chuckled at this, “I tried to find my place once too…ended up same place as you started. Funny, ain’t it?”

“Well,” said Jeremy, braving another sip of beer, “how did you guys end up here? Is it really like they say, is there really a whole community down in these valleys?”

Slick sighed. “Community is just any folks that can’t make do without one another kid. If I were you, I’d go back home to yours now. Be warm and happy—the choice don’t always last.”

“Go home, watch TV…be happy.” This time, Jeremy took a bigger swig of beer. He didn’t notice the taste. “What kind of happiness is it when you don’t ever know anything else? It’s placation, not peace! I want to know everything life has to offer Slick; how else can I ever know where I fit in?”

The men shook their heads vacantly, then nodded to one another. In an eerily unified motion, they tossed their empty beer cans on the ground, crunched them flat under their feet, and tucked them into a grimy plastic bag held by Lucky.

Jeremy gazed silently down to the creek below. On the far side of the little trickle of water which made up the creek was a dirty grey concrete wall—the dual struts of the bridge which shortly turned into Whyte Avenue proper. Whyte was another legendary Edmonton locale—but one which his lack of a fake ID prevented Jeremy from resorting to in his current moment of doubt.

Slick reached into his bag, tossed a beer to Lucky, picked one out for himself, then glanced up at Jeremy, who nursed his current one self-consciously. Slick smiled, and swung the bag up onto his shoulder.

“Better get moving.”

“Where are we going?” Jeremy asked.

“I’m heading to camp, I expect Lucky is as well,” said Slick. “Where you’re going, that’s up to you.”

Jeremy scrambled to his feet, nearly spilling his still near-full beer in the process. “But…can’t I come along?” he whimpered.

“Like I said,” Slick spoke over his shoulder as he walked, already turning left onto the path running beneath the bridge they’d been stationed under when Jeremy had slipped off the street and into the valley to find them, “that’s up to you.”

“So,” Jeremy rejoined, sidling up alongside the duo, “do you camp here every night?”

“Some nights I camp here, some nights I camp other places,” said Lucky.

“Different folks all got their own spots. Right now, we’ve got a lil place up by the bend in the creek. Not a whole lot, but it works,” said Slick.

“So, there are others there too?” asked Jeremy, surprised by the speed the men travelled at, and doing his utmost to keep up without seeming like he was trying to.

“Should be a few,” Slick said.

“And…they won’t mind either, if I join?”

“Not if you don’t cause trouble. The way you drink beer, you should be just fine, kid.”

“Yeah,” Lucky agreed, “leaves more for me! Haha.” …

To be continued…

‘Insight and Industry’- The Tavern Photo Project

I’m sitting here drinking a Trad and looking at these black and white photos. Jesus, how did this all get started?

I guess for me, it started many years ago. One warm summer day, I set out in a frenzy, desperate to find a place to write outside my house. The place had to be just right. Coffee shops were too bright, restaurants were too busy, and most bars were too loud. The point, after all, was to get lost in my work and let the world around me do as it would.

As my regular readers will know, I settled at last upon The Tavern on Whyte as my second home, sanctuary, and personal writer’s retreat. I’ve shared the reasons for that decision on this blog before (See: ‘My Abode’ and ‘Ode to The Tavern’), so this article isn’t about The Tavern itself, it’s about the people it impacts.

An industry bar on Edmonton’s busy Whyte Avenue—The Tavern sees its share of one-offs and curious pop-ins. Early afternoons usually had a good crowd for it’s famous breakfast menu—and stellar all-around meals—but the bar would generally remain quiet enough to get some serious writing done.

Nights were a different scene—the bar crowded with familiar faces as live music blared, and cheap Jager flowed.

I’ll confess this bit suited me just fine as well.

Then, just as the world was re-opening and learning to operate under the ongoing threat of COVID-19, I was enjoying a breakfast when my friend and the owner of The Tavern, Tim, mentioned that they were changing out the photos on the wall.

I think I managed to hide it well, but I was worried. The photos—a series of black and white tableaus from days gone (along with an assortment of band flyers and other oddities)—were familiar. They had adorned the walls since I’d started writing there many years ago. I still had a VIP card in my wallet from 2014, and was reticent to endorse anything that could in any way change the place I’d come to love so much.

Then, Tim mentioned he wanted to include one picture of my novel, ‘Edgar’s Worst Sunday’, which had been written by hand at table 7. This warmed me on the idea. It felt good to imagine being a part of the place forever—or at least until the next change of photos.

As things would pan out, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Behind the scenes, new ideas blossomed, and a tiny renovation project soon became a significant artistic undertaking.

The Tavern’s regulars are not a homogenous group. Its populace includes people of all persuasions: Punks, Metal heads, Karaoke singers, Muses, (one) Juggalo, Nerds, Painters, Writers, DJ’s, Musicians, VHS Connoisseurs, Horror buffs, Hippies, Industry Folk, and more. And there’s one, Owen Armstrong, who is a photographer.

Owen began taking photos when he was working as a projectionist in London, England.  An idea started resurfacing during those hours spent working alone in a dark projection booth. It was an idea that had first appeared while he worked a previous job—assessing alcohol service in bars all around the city. He wanted to take photos of bartenders, with various themes for each shoot. The concept began to take hold, and years later the idea of ‘industry’ would become a predominant theme in his work. The aim was to reveal what people looked like when, rather than primped and posed, they revealed themselves simply and honestly as who they were during so much of their day—specifically, while they were at work.

With plenty talent for the task, Owen was a natural choice for the Tim to approach about the photos he wanted. He knew the bar, the patrons, and understood the perspective needed.

At first, the intention was simple—recreate one of the original photos with some of The Tavern’s regulars.  The photo—one which sat just to the right of my head as I did much of my writing—featured seven men enjoying a drink. I’d often looked up at it as I searched for inspiration.

With Tim uninterested in appearing in the recreations, that left Owen to gather up another 6 regulars, which was an easy enough task. It took a few beers each, a couple of takes, and a good deal of cajoling, but eventually the likeness between the old and the new was undeniable. In an effort to document the process, Owen also opted to take individual portrait photos of everyone involved.

The shoot was a success, and the picture was shared around on a newly created Facebook group. If a small job was the aspiration, this may have been a crucial mistake.

It didn’t take long for interest to blossom, and the initial sprout of idea was soon a jungle of potential. The first photo was a recreation of a ‘good ole boys’ photo, so next came the challenge of recreating the image of an old social hall.

Soon the requests to take part seemed endless. Schedules dictated groups and shooting dates. For my shoot, I was asked to bring a copy of my novel, ‘Edgar’s Worst Sunday’. Owen had managed to find an old typewriter, which I was set up at as Black Dog’s own Joseph Rothrock read my book at the bar. This one wasn’t based on one of the original photos—Owen was exploring a mix of candid bar shots and scripted layouts.

This approach continued with the Karaoke crowd. By popular demand, this tight-knit group was brought together to strike a pose commemorating the incredible karaoke nights the denizens of The Tavern have sorely missed this past year.

The final shoot was an eclectic gathering that captured all the remaining key faces and regulars of The Tavern interested in taking part. With this last group of familiar faces gathered around The Tavern’s largest table, Owen captured a sense of communal atmosphere. This feeling of community is not only one of the hallmarks of The Tavern, it also became one of the highlights of this project—at least for this writer.

So here I am. I’m about three Trads deep at this point, and feeling pretty good. Trad does that, of course, as does good company. It’s something more than that though—an inexplicable understanding that has been welling up ever since I was fortunate enough to be asked to take part in this incredible project.

Owen set out to capture insights into the lives of industry workers, and I believe this was a great step towards that goal. More than that however, he captured the life of one particular bar—and the interconnected lives within it.

Over the years I’ve written in The Tavern, I’d often look up at the old black and white photographs, and wonder who those people were. What did they talk about, what did they drink, where did they end up?

Now, the combined portraits of everyone that took part in The Tavern Photo Shoot are joined into a mural that will also one day hang on the wall. On close examination, you can see the weathered, joyful, and mad faces of each in turn. Stepping back though, there is a clear Gestalt effect of something more than the sum of its parts. This project was about people coming back together who had long been kept away from their chosen habitat. It was a family reunion—a consummation and confirmation of a deep-seated understanding between many—perhaps all of them—that within the red walls of this tiny bar there was a lot to be found. There was employment, there was comfort. There were connections, relationships, heartbreaks, hopes, and some damn good memories.

There is life—as complex, messy, and downright beautiful as it can get.

I can’t help but imagine that far in the future, someone may look up at the new photos and wonder who we were.

There will be new connections then—a whole new set of regulars.

Industry can be seen as a cold thing, and the bars and clubs of Whyte Avenue will go on far longer than any of their current patrons. New groups will form, and perhaps new photos will eventually go up.

For now, my last Trad is finished. I’d planned to go home once this project was completed, but I think I’ll stay a bit longer. I often do. To chat with friends, watch strangers, and enjoy the moment.

The Tavern is like a second home to many. COVID slowed things down, and even now half the tables are blocked, and bar service is halted. Still, people trickle in, bump elbows, and chat like they always have. Behind the bar, the servers smile and laugh along with the rest.

In this place, there is a sense of permanence—a feeling of community. Despite the tribulations of the year, things continue much as they always have.

I hope they always will.

To learn more about The Tavern on Whyte, please visit here.

 For more about Owen Armstrong and his ongoing photography projects, please visit:

Owen’s Website

Owen’s YouTube

Owen’s Instagram

Owen’s MixCloud

To Purchase my novel, ‘Edgar’s Worst Sunday’, click here.

Cheers,

-Brad OH Inc.

Re-Share: Ode to the Tavern

Because it bears repeating…

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They say that behind every great man is a great woman. Well that’s goddamn sexist, and you should be ashamed for thinking it. But it may be true that behind every middling writer is a great drinking establishment. Therefore, we thought we’d take some time from our busy schedule here at Brad OH Inc. to acquaint you with the little pub that has been the birthplace to so very many of our greatest pieces: ‘The Tavern on Whyte’.

6- Ode to the TavernThe Tavern on Whyte’– Click the Pic to Visit their Site!

Now make no mistake, this isn’t some hair-brained scheme to establish the Tavern as a historical landmark. Not yet at any stretch. In fact, the staff here at Brad OH Inc. want to take this moment to discourage all potential stalkers and photographers from taking advantage of this profession of affection.

Rather, this is a simple declaration of love for an establishment which has acted as the de facto headquarters for Brad OH Inc. since the summer of 2013. The Tavern has seen the creation of the vast majority of articles here at Brad OH Inc., as well as the writing (by hand) of our upcoming novel, ‘Edgar’s Worst Sunday’.

And why not?

It’s comfortable, and quiet enough to think. It provides a fine view of Whyte Avenue without, and is always friendly within. So come by some time and have a drink—or enjoy any of the delicious selections from their unique menu. Chat with the staff and patrons, take in some fresh air on their patio (a true hidden gem of Whyte Ave.), and enjoy yourself.

Yes, the Tavern on Whyte has a lot to offer. But for this writer, it’s the staff that makes it the especially marvelous place it is. Now, it’s not just that they keep the ‘inspiration’ flowing, mind you. They do, no doubt—in fact we have to wait hardly a minute upon entering before we have an icy cold beer in our intensely focused hands. It’s the company as well—the conversations and inspirations. For truly the staff and patrons of the Tavern (past and present) represent many of the essential muses behind the writings of Brad OH Inc., and for that we are eternally thankful*.

*Disclaimer: This admission of appreciation is not to be taken as a legal acknowledgement of debt or the owing of royalties.

-Brad OH Inc.

Re-Share: My Abode

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Today, we’re taking it easy. The days tend to get busy on occassion, and it is important to remind ourselves to apprectiate the great friends, places, and times that make them all so worthwhile.

In that spirit, we give to you, once again, ‘My Abode’…

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The Tavern on Whyte,

Is the spot where I write,

Its confines so quiet and dark.

The suds run cold,

Make my spirit bold,

The denziens are good for a lark.

With my pen as my might

I must strike quite a sight,

As I spin my stories and more.

I sip on my beer,

As I stew in my cheer,

Until they throw me out of the door.

The Tavern on Whyte’– Click the Pic to Visit their Site!

-Brad OH Inc.

Guest Post: Patrick Bailey’s Review of ‘Edgar’s Worst Sunday’

Today, we have a guest post from a fellow blogger kind enough to review some of my stories!

-Click Here to Visit Patrick’s Site-

Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Patrick’s Review of ‘Edgar’s Worst Sunday’:

Considered to be one of the masterpieces of Brad Oates, “Edgar’s Worst Sunday” speaks of how something could possibly change someone. In this novel, he gives an interesting narrative of someone’s journey towards realizing certain things about his life.

The main character, Edgar Vincent, lived a semi-successful life as a composer. He embraced a so-called rockstar lifestyle.

Amid this, his Saturday nights were filled with nothing but excessive drinking, unthinkable promiscuity, and cruel comments. It was as if he needed rehabilitation treatments.

His Sundays were a different story, though. It was a time for him to realize that he actually had regrets. It also served as the moment for him to feel the pain of being sick.

The plot twist happened when he found himself inside the fluffy clouds up in the sky. Yes, Edgar is already experiencing how it is to die. It felt surreal but it was already his truth.

It was a Sunday morning, a bleak one at that, when he became fully aware of his current state. While facing his own death, he finally gets a clear picture of how hard it is. However, he believes that it is not as hard as seeing himself and dealing with it.

Despite the fact that he is dead, he still maintains that he must not hurry in changing his self-serving attitude. But, how long does he stay this way?

-Click Here to buy ‘Edgar’s Worst Sunday’-

The story paves the way for the readers to realize the painful reality of self-discovery. For someone who has been seeking pleasure, it could never be easy to slowly discover whatever is wrong with it.

Oates has surely achieved in presenting this in this novel. The way each scene is revealed is fantastic. The author has successfully developed the character in a manner that makes anyone hooked to what it next.

The following are some of the many lessons that one can get from reading “Edgar’s Worst Sunday”:

One can never do all his desires forever. There is always an end for everything.

No matter how much you believe that you can do whatever you desire forever, that can never happen. There will always be an end to it. It is inevitable that one will die. You could be the most powerful man in the world, but, that can never stop your death.

Would you wait for it to come before you change your not-so-good ways?

Being hedonistic could lead to a wasted life.

Feeling the pleasure of doing something may bring you fulfillment at some point. Nevertheless, being hedonistic may potentially ruin your life. Such an attitude may push you towards living a wasted life. You could be doing things that may shorten your existence.

One must not wait until his death to change.

Should someone wait for afterlife before changing his ways? Should he consider getting better only after he dies?

It may sound preachy. It is worth noting, however, that if you still have time to improve yourself, do it right away. When you are already dead, what could still be the point of changing yourself? Would your loved ones appreciate it?

It is, therefore, important to make them feel and experience the change. Thus, it has to be done while you are still alive.

It is never too late to change.

You may have been showing nothing but an ugly personality and behavior. However, it does not mean that you have to stay that way for the rest of your life. For as long as you are alive, you still have the chance to redeem yourself. One can change and become a better version of himself if he truly loves the people around him.

Find time to examine yourself.

Everyone must consider examining himself from time to time. In short, you can set aside a moment to check if you have offended someone. You can evaluate yourself and determine how you can improve further and be a better person. This is an important time for you to find out how you are in dealing with others. This could be your basis in embracing some changes about yourself.

Patrick’s Review of Brad OH Inc.’s ‘Single Serving Stories’:

“Of Pipers and Pigs”:

This novel talks about life’s uncertainties. One can be a big name now but suddenly becomes a nobody later on. This can also be applied to how you view yourself in a humongous world in front of you. You could be a witness to a number of great things. On the other hand, you still cannot identify your role amidst all these things. While you are expected to play a role in this life, you find it hard at times to identify it. Despite this, you must never stop looking for that relevance for you to continuously do your share.

“Edmonton: Unbound”:

For someone looking for a book featuring several stories with varying plots and genre, this can be the best option. “Edmonton: Unbound” is a compilation of 14 short stories. This presents different tales about the hometown of the writers belonging to the Edmonton Writers’ Group. You can read stories that carry a sci-fi theme or those that talk about the mundane daily interactions. There are likewise those that give a deep and profound demonstration of psychological introspections.

“The Election”:

This features a cynical journalist who is keeping track of events relative to the 4th Annual United Corporate Election. This book is about the negative events that usually occur during this season. The protagonist, Duke O’Brady, tries to experience the madness behind the world of politics. This is because he wants to have a first-hand account of this crazy reality. If this is indeed a good idea, that is something you need to find out.

“As It Happened”:

The story of “As It Happened” revolves around change. This talks about a couple continuously facing several changes and challenges. As things continue to unfold, how would they respond to all of these? No one can stop change. Therefore, you have to learn to deal with it.

We are extremely thankful to Patrick for taking the time to write up these reviews. Be sure to check out Patrick’s site here!

-Brad OH Inc.

Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Annie Gionet

Edmonton: Unbound’ has now been on sale for six months, and has raised nearly $800 for the Edmonton Public Library.  ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ is available through Amazon, and can also be purchased at the giftshop of the Muttart Conservatory, as well as at Audrey’s Books.

Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve members of the Edmonton Writers’ Group. They are unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB. Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book have been donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

Click the Image to buy ‘Edmonton: Unbound’

To celebrate the culmination of this fantastic project, we have one final interview with the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ author, Annie Gionet.

1.Tell us about where your inspiration came from for the world you describe in your story.

Annie Gionet: The world Reya lives in was derived from Pagan communities that escaped the Spanish Inquisition and their witch hunts during the medieval times.   It is meant to be a fantastical alternative to our gruesome reality and history.

2.What was the creative process like for you working on this story?

Annie Gionet: Reya’s story was written by using a focal point of a refuge for esoterica and then expanding on it and letting my imagination take over. Choosing how to develop fantasy that is heavily derived from our world was an experience of the senses and imagination that brought my writing to make a place where anything was possible and unseen dangers lurked at every corner.  It is meant to draw your subconscious mind to a world that inspires your greatest wishes and leads you to your darkest fears.

3.Which authors inspired you to write fantasy and what interests you most about writing fantasy?

Annie Gionet: One of my favourite authors, that I admire would be Mercedes Lackey.

4.Why is Fantasy your favourite genre to write in?

Annie Gionet: I love writing fantasy because of the endless possibilities and inspiration. Your mind can create just about anything and moulding creative thoughts into a story that catches a reader by surprise is one of the most satisfying experiences I have ever had.  Connecting with an audience on such intimate feelings in mind twisting intricate situations is definitely, a great passion of mine.

Annie Gionet’s story, “People of the Doma”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase on Amazon.

Remember, you can also get a copy of ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ in the giftshop of the Muttart Conservatory, as well as at Audrey’s Books.

Our thanks to authors Brian Clark and Simon MacKintosh for their hard work in making this release more widely available.

-Brad OH Inc.

Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author M. Lea Kulmatycki

Today, the Edmonton Writers’ Group is happy to share that our new anthology, Edmonton: Unbound, is now available for purchase in the giftshop of the Muttart Conservatory.

But wait, there’s more! Author’s of Edmonton: Unbound will be at the ‘Poets and Writers Networking Event’ on April 6th from 6:00-9:00pm at the Strathcona Place Centre, 10831 University Ave, Edmonton, AB.

We’ll be there to network, sell, and even sign books. So be sure to stop by, enjoy the event, and grab a copy of Edmonton: Unbound if you haven’t managed to do so yet.

Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve members of the Edmonton Writers’ Group.

They are unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB. Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

Click the Image to buy ‘Edmonton: Unbound’

To celebrate the upcoming event, we have an interview with one of the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ authors, and the creator of our cover art, M. Lea Kulmatycki.

1. What was your initial inspiration for the story you included in this anthology, and how the story changed from its original conception?

Lea Kulmatycki: My brother worked as a day camp leader one summer during high school. One of the most difficult aspects of his job was getting his little campers on and off the bus at the same time. I never had this problem because the day camp I worked at was within walking distance of many cool attractions. I didn’t feel I could create enough material with a bus ride, so I changed it to a streetcar and decided Cal’s group of day campers would visit the museum. I took my day campers often to the Provincial Museum and Archives of Alberta. The kids loved it.

2. What difficulties did you encounter while writing this story, other than finding the time to do it?

Lea Kulmatycki: The research involved. The museum moved from its original location and it was difficult to find the specific information I required to insure as much authenticity as possible.

3. What research did you do with regard to the story?

Lea Kulmatycki: While the story is historical “fiction”, I tried to represent the “history” as accurately as possible. There was a lot of research involved!

4. Are you writer that plots out all the different angles, or are you more free-form. Why do you think you write this way?

Lea Kulmatycki: I’m probably a mix between the two. I start with an idea and then I plan out the first chapter/part of the story. At the same time I’m mulling over the ending. Once I have these two pieces, I start writing and let the story take its course. I don’t even start to write a story if I don’t have a solid idea for these two parts. I spend an eternity working on the first chapter/part of a story. This is where I establish voice, organization, etc. Once I’m happy with the first chapter, the rest seems to flow.

5. What is your typical response to “writers’ block”?

Lea Kulmatycki: I’ve stopped worrying about it. Instead of sitting and looking at a blank page or writing to just write, I do something else. However, my mind is always focused on thinking of ways to iron out the particular problem that has me stumped. Teaching doesn’t leave me much time to write, so driving to and from school is also great time to work out story problems.

Lea Kulmatycki’s story, “So What Did I Do This Summer?”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

Remember to stop by and catch us at the ‘Poets and Writers Networking Event’ on April 6th from 6-9:00pm at the Strathcona Place Centre, 10831 University Ave, Edmonton, AB.

-Brad OH Inc.

My Abode

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

The Tavern on Whyte,

Is the spot where I write,

Its confines so quiet and dark.

The suds run cold,

Make my spirit bold,

The denziens are good for a lark.

With my pen as my might

I must strike quite a sight,

As I spin my stories and more.

I sip on my beer,

As I stew in my cheer,

Until they throw me out of the door.

The Tavern on Whyte’– Click the Pic to Visit their Site!

-Brad OH Inc.

Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Lida Somchynsky

Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve members of the Edmonton Writers’ Group.

They are unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB. Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

Click the Image to buy ‘Edmonton: Unbound

To celebrate this release, we have an interview with one of the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ authors, Lida Somchynsky.

  1. What was your initial inspiration for the story you included in this anthology, and how the story changed from its original conception?

Lida Somchynsky: My initial inspiration for the story was that I knew immediately that I wanted to have The Green and Gold Gardens feature as the designated locale for this anthology.  When I heard how this ‘garden’ came about, there was the realization that it was a remarkable narrative that needed to be told as it is a place that the City of Edmonton, along with the University of Alberta can truly be proud of.  The story initially was going to be a type of mystery, with a photographer visiting the gardens at dusk, skulking about amongst the rows of sunflowers, dressed in military fatigue…. Looking for what I did not know.    However, upon further reflection, I thought this type of plot would take away from the deeply moving humanitarian intent that ‘the garden’ symbolizes.

  1. What events in your background led you to want to write?

Lida Somchynsky: I have always been an avid reader and enjoy entering other people’s realities to the extent that I still cannot read mysteries in the dark of night.   Upon graduating from university, some of the places where I was employed, required that I write articles such as newsletter items and promo pieces.  Family and friends have always commented on my imagination and so gradually the idea took hold—after several decades of mulling it over to try my hand at writing short stories.  A dear friend and I co-wrote a play for the Fringe in the early nineties which was a great success and that also proved to be an incentive to explore another medium.

  1. What difficulties did you encounter while writing this story, other than finding the time to do it?

Lida Somchynsky: Once I established what the new plot was going to be, the story flowed beautifully and I enjoyed the unexpected turns of creativity while conjuring up various plot point twists.   The ‘Rwanda crisis” part still needs more work as in my mind it feels too didactic at times.

  1. How are your life experiences / career / hobbies reflected in the story?

Lida Somchynsky: I enjoy strolling about in all types of gardens but am not a gardener in any sense.  My one and only attempt failed miserably in terms of a vegetable garden – nothing germinated as there was too much clay in the soil.  However, in that same tiny plot of land I had unexpected success thirty years ago—growing the second tallest sunflower in Alberta for which I was awarded a weekend for two at Fairmont Hot Springs.  A neighbour notified me of the contest that a horticultural magazine was hosting. I was ‘six inches short’ with my sunflower measuring over sixteen feet tall – to win the first prize which was a trip to Brazil.  Cycling is a favourite pastime and in the summer, I make biweekly pilgrimages with friends to the “Green and Gold Gardens” as part our exercise routine.

  1. Are you writer that plots out all the different angles, or are you more free-form. Why do you think you write this way?

Lida Somchynsky: I like to plot out different angles but enjoy when the unexpected thought bursts onto the page and takes the story to different places and there the writer in you goes along for that surprising ride.

Lida Somchynsky’s story, “The Garden”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

-Brad OH Inc.

Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Marlene Skaley

Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve members of the Edmonton Writers’ Group.

They are unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB. Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

Click the Image to buy ‘Edmonton: Unbound

To celebrate this release, we have an interview with one of the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ authors, Marlene Skaley.

  1. Explain why you chose the specific Edmonton landmarks that you did (Kingsway Mall, the Second Cup in Oliver Square).

Marlene Skaley: I lived in the Kingsway area of Edmonton for many years. The Oliver Square episode was a real event, as were a few other episodes in the story.

  1. Where do you write?

Marlene Skaley: Favorite places to write are places that inspire. Forests, sunshine, lakes…My little boat or cabin in the woods in the Kootenays cannot help but draw out one’s creativity. Whenever inspiration hits me I write. I have often had to pull over to the side of the road while driving and grab a pen and paper to record some ideas before they are forever lost.

  1. You call yourself a student of the universe. What is a student of the universe?

Marlene Skaley: All of life is my University. The entire universe holds so much wonder and beauty that no matter where I go or how much I explore and discover and learn, infinity is always in front of me.

  1. How can meditation help creative people such as writers?

Marlene Skaley: Hmmmm.  That is a very deep and complex question and cannot be answered in a few words. To be able to understand fully one needs to experience it. But I will give it a try. In meditation one begins to explore different levels of consciousness that they have previously never known. All answers to all of life’s mysteries reside in these places. True creativity can only come when one begins to still the mind and enter these places. All great art, music, writing, or other forms of creation come from a mind that has entered into stillness in one way or another.

  1. What red wheelbarrows have you had in your life?

Marlene Skaley: I love that question! My life is a continuous miracle. In my meditation classes I have my students look for miracles in their lives and the more you look the more you find! It really is a law of life.

Marlene Skaley’s story, “It’s Raining Red Wheelbarrows”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

 

-Brad OH Inc.