Welcome! I love to write, and I love sharing what I write with my readers. I vary my style as much as I can-posting events, creative non-fiction, prose and poetry and the occasional video. Enjoy!



Monday, May 28, 2012

Event Posting: Take Action with Grassy Narrows Asubpeeschoseewagong Anishinabek

Take action with Grassy Narrows Asubpeeschoseewagong Anishinabek
 Please join us in Toronto for River Run 2012, where we’ll continue a tradition of community lead action for justice—for our people, and for the protection of the water, air, and forests that give life to us all.

Tuesday June 5, 6:30 p.m.
Steelworker's Hall, 25 Cecil Street, Toronto

Wednesday June 6th, Noon. Queen's Park south lawn.

Friday June 8, Noon. Grange Park (behind the Art Gallery of Ontario on Beverly)

More information at, Join Us On Facebook!

In April 2010, we marched together as one wild river flowing onto the steps of Queen’s Park to deliver our demands on World Health Day. We ask that you join us again this year to make clear to those at Queen’s Park that we’re as strong as ever, and will continue to demand justice for our people and protection for our environment. 

Over 40 years ago Grassy Narrows people were poisoned by mercury from a paper mill that contaminated their river upstream. They are demanding justice because they are still dealing with the ongoing health impacts of this avoidable disaster. It’s an inescapable truth that this poison will affect everyone if we don’t stand together to protect our water.

For decades the GNAA community members have been on the front lines of the movement to defend the earth and to uphold Indigenous self-determination, culture and spirituality. We have kicked out logging giant Abitibi for now, but there is still much work to be done.

Joining in River Run 2012 is a great opportunity to show your support and to join us in the fight to protect Indigenous rights and the water, air, land, and creatures that we all depend on.

Grassy Narrows Asubpeeschoseewagong Women's Drum Group

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Don't Be a Wuss!

(okay, this was an excerpt I was going to submit to Canada Writes, but I just found out its now closed! this is supposed to be a crime page turner piece-don't really know how effective this is, but I thought I would give it a try.)

By: Christine McFarlane

The scene around him is chaotic. There are a handful of people, maybe 20 gathered at the crime scene. It’s the second scene in less than two weeks. There are people yelling, and numerous others crying, shaking their heads and saying,

“I can’t believe this has happened again!”

It doesn’t help that the local media was tipped off before the police could get there. Cameras are flashing as Richard looks down at the body spread out on the pavement before him. No witnesses surrounding the cordoned off area know that this is only his second death scene, and that he is struggling to keep his composure.

When he first arrived, in his crisp, clean blue uniform, with his cap knocked a bit askew from the rush to get there, he had knelt down to take a closer look.  He didn’t want to believe that the face staring back up at him was a friend of his sister’s-a young 25-year-old woman, who until her death had had the world in her hands.  Not anymore.

“What am I going to tell my sister?” Richard thinks.

One of only two First Nations police officers on the force in the small city of Windsor, he has only been on the force for six months. His partner, an older, crusty kind of guy has his notebook out and pen in hand. When they first got the call, Earl had snickered and said

“Don’t lose your stomach, like you did the last time, you wuss!”

(work in progress)

Book Review: Story Keepers: Conversations with Aboriginal Writers

Review By: Christine McFarlane

Why do they write? "Storykeepers: Conversations with Aboriginal Writers" Written By Jennifer David Ningwakwe Learning Press $ 14.95 (sc)

Indigenous cultures have a strong oral storytelling tradition that has been preserved and passed down for hundreds of years. There are Aboriginal writers all over who are transforming that oral tradition into a written one, The power of the written word is one topic that I love to explore not only as a writer, myself, but also as a voracious reader and innately knowing inside that 'we all have stories itching to be heard and told." 

Aboriginal literature in Canada before the 1970's was virtually non-existent, but today there is a vibrant community of writers who are winning awards, challenging readers and sharing unique experiences. Jennifer David explores the works and words of ten contemporary Aboriginal writers from across Canada in this book "Story Keepers: conversations with Aboriginal Writers."

Authors explored include Jeannette Armstrong, Louise Halfe, Maria Campbell, Drew Hayden Taylor, Basil Johnston, Ruby Slipperjack-Farrell, Gregory Scofield, Armand Ruffo, Richard Van Camp and Lee Maracle, who I have had the privilege of studying under during my studies at the University of Toronto.

Author Jennifer David writes that "Story Keepers: conversations with aboriginal writers" started out as a television program, and how "once upon a time, as a journalist, I began to seek out and talk to some Aboriginal writers I admired, preparing material for a television series profiling Indigenous storytellers. Everyone loved the idea-who wouldn't want to spend time with some of the funniest, most articulate authors in Canada? The problem, as always in Canadian broadcasting, was funding. There wasn't enough of it." 

"Story Keepers: conversations with Aboriginal writers" was born when David was presented with an opportunity from Ningwakwe Learning Press when they appeared and welcomed the opportunity to publish a book profiling Aboriginal writers, and the National Literacy Secretariat of HRSDC agreed to fund it.

Many of the authors profiled in this book were set on their path as writers by chance. It shows the varied ways words worked their way into these authors lives and helped them pave the way for other authors/writers behind them. The authors encompass" different ages, men and women, from every corner of Canada. Some grew up in the bush, some in the city, Many struggled with the English language, or fought to keep their own language." 

Aboriginal literature deals with many issues, and it is literature that has always built bridges between individuals and peoples. These authors write songs, novels, radio documentaries, history, poems, children's stories, plays, essays, speeches, and jokes. According to author Richard  Van Camp "the themes that we're all dealing with are very similar: identity, inheritance, family, residential schools. Finally, we're coming into the light again."

Another contributor, Ruby Slipperjack relays how attending day school held many good memories but to a young woman raised in a tight-knit, large and social family, the solitude was difficult." This solitude, however, was the catalyst that led Ruby to begin her writing. She noted 
"I found myself in isolation with no one to tell my stories to-so I started to write them down."

Isolation can serve a writer well, if they let it. So many ideas and stories can come together, and that is what I love about the power of words and story. We are all storytellers in one way or another. We choose the medium in which to let our voices and stories be heard. 

Aboriginal literature deserves a national and international audience and "Story Keepers: conversations with Aboriginal writers" cements that idea even more once you pick it up and read it. 

For other great Aboriginal literature, you can visit Ningwakwe Learning Press at and you can order this book from Good Minds, an Aboriginal owned distributor at

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Press Release from Theytus Books!

( Congratulations to all writers!)


Theytus Books is pleased to announce that three of their titles have won a 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Multicultural Fiction Adult
Gold: Midnight Sweatlodge, by Waubgeshig Rice

Canada-West – Best Regional Fiction
Silver: Broken but not Dead, by Joylene Nowell Butler

Canada-West – Best Regional Non-Fiction
Bronze: My Life with the Salmon, by Diane Jacobson

“Independent publishers are the canaries in our cultural coal mine,” says awards director Jim Barnes. “To these publishers, telling the truth and fighting for a cause comes before making a profit. These are the books that win our awards and these are the books that can help solve the world’s problems.”
The Independent Publisher Book Awards were conceived in 1996 as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles produced each year, and reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing.

For more details about the Awards, to attend the event, please contact:

Jim Barnes, Managing Editor & Awards Director / Jenkins Group
Ph: 1.800.644.0133 x1011

To contact Theytus Book authors please contact:

Ann Doyon
Sales and Marketing
Tel: 250-493-7181 ext. 2232
Fax: 250-493-5302

Friday, May 11, 2012

Support the Yinka Dene Alliance Freedom Riders!

By: Christine McFarlane

On Wednesday May 9 2012- West Coast First Nations the ‘Yinka Dene Alliance Freedom Riders’ and community supporters marched from David Pecaut Square (near King and John Street behind Metro Hall) and gathered in front of the Enbridge’s annual general meeting of shareholders at the King Edward Hotel here in downtown Toronto. They wanted to send a clear message of disapproval for Enbridge’s plan to build pipelines and oil sands through Sacred First Nations territory.

The Yinka Dene Alliance is a coalition of Carrier and Sekani First Nations in northern BC that includes Nadleh Whut'en, Nak'azdli, Takla Lake, Saik'uz, and Wet'suwet'en First Nations whose territory comprises 25% of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipelines and tankers project. The $5.5-billion project would see crude from Alberta's oilsands moved through a twin pipeline more than 1,100 kilometres to the B.C. coast. From there, supertankers would ship the crude to Asia. Calgary based Enbridge maintains that the project would create jobs, stimulate economic development and be safe. First Nations people say otherwise.

The Freedom Train consisting of 30 people ranging in age from youths of 16 to elders up to age 67 travelled from their traditional territories in northern B.C. and had events in Jasper, Edmonton and Toronto. They wanted to enforce their legal ban on the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipelines and tankers projects and stand up for their freedom to choose their own future. They also want to stand up for the freedom to live according to their own cultures, have the freedom to govern themselves and their land and ensure freedom for all of us to not suffer from catastrophic risks of big oil and their inevitable oil spills.

Representatives of other First Nations who are also deeply involved in the fight to keep their territories joined them on the train. Please take the time to support the Yinka Dene Alliance in their effort to protect their traditional territory from the Enbridge pipeline and tanker project. Every voice counts and will help make a difference.

For more information on the Freedom Riders Train and the Yinka Dene Alliance see: 

You can also sign the petition and add your voice to the growing opposition to the Enbridge project. You can find the petition at or you can also like the Yinka Dene Alliance on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @YinkaDeneA5

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Event Posting-Truth and Reconciliation Conference

A Writer's Muse

A Writer’s Muse:
By: Christine McFarlane

I’m hunched over my black wooden desk in my one room apartment. I’m writing by one light-the kitchen light. It emanates from the small stand in kitchen to where I am sitting, a few feet away. Silence is all around me, except for the occasional rumble I hear from the street above me, and the TAP…TAP…TAP sound as my fingers scramble to form words to write my latest article.

Ideas are abound, words stumbling about in my head, tripping over themselves as they appear on the computer screen before me. I lift my gaze from my laptop keyboard and look at my screen for a couple of minutes, to check the progress I have made.  As my eyes scan what I have written, I see a few typos and have to laugh.  Not so long ago, I wouldn’t have laughed so readily.  Imperfection I could never laugh at, and typos just made me want to scream. I hit the delete button, and my typos disappear in a matter of seconds. I am reminded of back in the day when computers weren’t available, and how back then, we used a typewriter, or just plain old pen and paper.

The typewriter was a great invention but large and bulky. The machine itself was a nuisance when I think back to it now. It was a mechanical or electromechanical device with keys that when pressed, caused characters to be printed out one character at a time. Typically one character is printed per key press, and the machine prints the characters by making ink impressions of type elements similar to the sorts used in movable type letterpress printing. How slow and laborious! Can you imagine how long it took just to make a paragraph, and when you made a mistake, having to re set the whole typewriter just to start all over again. How annoying!

Technology has changed these days. We’re not as involved in what we produce as we would have been, say five years ago.  Mistakes can be made on your computer and cleaned up in a nanosecond. We have our IPhone, if we’re lucky to afford one where if we make a mistake while messaging someone, we are automatically autocorrected. A machine thinks and corrects for us! Yes, we still have erasers, correction tape, and the plain old act of re writing something, but to admit that we still write things down, and rely on pen and paper is almost laughable to kids and teenagers these days. Oh boy! Do we have it easy now, “I think to myself.

What would I do without my computer? I ask myself. The distraction from my computer screen allows me to take a moment to raise my arms and stretch. I can feel the muscles in my forearms contracting, the muscles in my back stretching and as I move my head from side to side, a hideous cracking sound comes from my neck. Good thing, I am alone, I have known people to cringe when my neck has cracked before, and have said “you had better get that checked out.”

How do I tell them, that my neck has cracked like that, since I was in my twenties, as a result of an injury and that there’s nothing that can be done for it. The cracking of my neck snaps me back to reality. Massaging my neck briefly with one hand, I shake my head and bend over my keyboard once more. I have to focus.

Tap…Tap…Tap… my fingers go with lightening speed. It’s the only sound I hear right now. I have given myself a task, and I tell myself I need to stick to it. I have to write every day for a certain amount of time.  I have to show up to the page and write whether I want to or not. The act of writing will give me discipline and focus. I’ve learned this from the various writing books that I have read, and I have learned it from other writers when I have asked them what do they do, when words don’t come so easily.  They tell me

“ Write every day. The topic can be about anything you want it to be. You can write about love, or about disappointments. You can write about a hero, or something that you really don’t like.  You can write about your dreams, your hopes and your inspirations. The topics are endless.”

And then they say

“ As a writer you must show up, even if that means writing a hasty journal entry, researching where you can send some work out to, and making notes or sitting down and revising works that you have already saved from before. Everything can be re looked at and revised. Just write.”

Once again, I'm hunched over my black wooden desk in my one room apartment. I've been typing for over an hour. Silence is all around, except for the occasional rumble I hear from the street above me.

TAP…TAP..TAP goes my fingers as they scramble to put words together to form a story.  I tilt my head sideways for a minute, and then look back down to the keyboard.

The words are flowing…

Writing….I love writing.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

Re posted from the site "Write to Done"

(Personal Note- I have borrowed this post from a website called Write to Done-you can visit it for more daily writing articles at (

Stay tuned for more writing by me, coming soon!

Posted: 04 May 2012 04:00 AM PDT
A guest post by James Chartrand of Men with Pens
You know the deal: If you want to get better at writing, you need to write.
Preferably daily. Preferably at the same time every day.
But uuuuuugh. What if you’re just not motivated to write every day? What if you can’t discipline yourself? What if you tried for a few days then completely ran out of juice and sat around eating cookies instead?
Every writer struggles with this. “I just don’t have any motivation today,” we say, all sad and desolate, as if we’d completely run out and had no idea where to get more.
This may be because we don’t stock up properly.
Motivation doesn’t come from within. It comes from your secret stash.
What Do You Get Out Of It?
I was reading a book on how to develop habits, and one critical point caught my eye. This book argues that one of the reasons we fail to develop “good” habits and keep up our “bad” ones is because our bad habits offer us a better reward.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you decide you need more physical exercise every day (a good habit) and want to quit eating junk food (a bad habit).
It’s easier to start exercising every day if you pick the same time to do it. You decide you’re going to go for a run at 7:00 am every morning. No excuses.
Meanwhile, you decide that you’re going to get rid of all your chips and stock up on healthy carrot sticks instead. Now you won’t be tempted.
Fantastic, right?
But after a few days, you have a rotten day at work and you sleep poorly. You wake up with a bit of a headache, and your shins hurt from those three days of diligent running.  You’re tired. Cranky. Meh.
Anyone who’s ever tried to rejigger their health habits knows what happens next: You skip your run and somewhere around noon, you find yourself at the snack machine pounding at the glass to make that Snickers bar drop down.
What went wrong?
Eating junk food (your bad habit) is rewarding. You get a tasty rush of sugar. You feel satisfied. You feel content. You were stressed out, you got some good stuff, and now you feel better.
Running (your good habit) didn’t come with a reward. You got up early, you ran, you worked hard that day, and then you . . . come home, take a shower, sleep, and do it all the next day.
Where’s the fun in that?
We tell ourselves that there IS a reward for running – in a few months, we’ll be in better shape. But honestly, that’s not much good. We need motivation so we act NOW.
Which brings us back to writing.
What’s Missing From Your Daily Writing?
You have a long-term goal for your writing. For many of you reading this blog, you want to have your novel published one day. For some of you, you just might want to finish that book. Whatever your motivation, it’s long-term motivation.
It’s not something you can accomplish in a day of writing.
Since that’s the case, your mind starts wondering why it’s doing this daily writing thing. It’s hard. It’s tiring. Some days, it’s grueling – a real chore you’re starting to hate. And it doesn’t seem to have any immediate reward.
You’re just going to keep doing this painful daily writing forever and never going to get anything out of it.
That’s lousy motivation.
Long-term goals are great, and you should keep moving toward them. The ultimate reward of achieving your dream is going to be amazing.
But right now, you’re not sitting down to write a whole book. You’re sitting down to write for an hour. One hour. That’s it. And you need a reward for doing that.
You need motivation. Here’s the problem:
Your Motivation Isn’t Internal.
Motivation isn’t some magic force that you either have one day or you don’t. You provide yourself with motivation.
People often make the mistake of thinking motivation is inherent in the act – if we write, we’ll feel good. That’s true to a degree, but while it feels satisfying to write, it’s also difficult do do every day.
And many days, the satisfaction of having written that day is just too intangible a motivation to convince you to sit down and write the next and the next and the next.
So give yourself a motivation you can touch.
Your motivation can be small, and it should be intensely personal. Let’s say that you enjoy fine wine. After you write (not during; after), pour yourself a glass of the good stuff. Not that boxed stuff on top of the fridge; that’s just disgusting.
This is special, just-for-you, reward-for-writing wine.
Not a drinker? (I suppose some writers aren’t…) Alright. Maybe you fancy a truffle from that chocolate place you don’t often indulge in because come on, what do you need with fancy chocolate?
Maybe your motivation is a walk in the cool night air, all by yourself. Maybe it’s freshly-squeezed orange juice. Maybe it’s an episode of your favorite TV show.
It’s anything you want it to be.
Well, okay. Within reason. There are a few rules:
The Motivation Reward Rules
There are only three rules for your motivation:
1.              It has to be personal. If this isn’t something you really want, you won’t want to work for it. Don’t decide to do the glass of wine if you could care less about the glass of wine. Choose a reward that works for you, something you really desire, guilt-free.
2.              It has to be something you can enjoy immediately after writing. This is crucial, because you want to attach your reward firmly to your effort and build association. Your mind will subconsciously connect those two together. It’ll start thinking, “Well, I don’t want to write, but I really do want to go watch the next episode of House, so let’s get this over with.”
3.              It has to be something you won’t do otherwise. If you make your reward something you indulge in all the time, it won’t be special. It won’t be a motivator. Sure, you could have that fine glass of Shiraz after you write – or you could have a glass without writing, just like you did yesterday. Useless. Your reward can be something you used to do intermittently, but once you decide on it as a reward, don’t do it at any other time than post-writing.
That’s it.
Here’s the interesting part: After you’ve used this reward motivator technique for a couple of months, your mind will automatically associate writing in the “good” part of your brain rather than the “painful, dreary, daily slogging to be avoided” part.
That means you’ll start getting the impulse to write even when you know perfectly well it’s not possible to have the reward. Even when you’re out of wine or it’s raining too hard to go for a walk, you’ll still feel motivated, because your mind won’t be thinking of writing as difficult.
It’ll think of writing as rewarding.
Which is all the motivation you need.
So tell me: What do you think your motivation will be? What small thing can you give yourself as a reward for writing? And if you already use this technique, what reward works for you?
Preferring a lovely glass of fine Shiraz for her after-writing reward, James Chartrand of Men with Pens devotes her time to teaching students at Damn Fine Words, the best online writing course for business owners yet. Get on the newsletter today!