About Me

James outside Salmon Arm
 
I love writing.
 
Whether it’s short fiction, a full length novel, freelance nonfiction for magazines, web writing, poetry, blogs, or reviews, I enjoy the disparate forms that writing generates.
 
Investigating the elements of craft and applying them to the form that best suits each idea, energizes me.
 
Revisiting, then editing and perfecting it until it is publishable completes each creation.

 
I’ve learned so much about writing over the years and I enjoy sharing, teaching and mentoring other writers. What I like to do the most is offer substantive critiques on new material and guide authors/poets on their writer’s journey.
 
I also enjoy designing and overseeing books and magazines as a contributing editor and small press publisher. As CreativeJames Publishing I edited and published several chapbooks for new and established Toronto area poets between 2005 and 2009.
 
Then my partner, Sue Reynolds, and I started our own own micro press publishing house, Piquant Press. We have since published a few short prose anthologies, memoirs nonfiction books and poetry collecions.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And in response to the huge demand for self-publishing assistance, we started Stone’s Throw Publications in 2011.
 
We’ve already helped sixty authors bring their books to market and given them help on how to promote and sell them.

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My short fiction and poetry have been published in a variety of anthologies and magazines. Click here to go to my Publication Credits Page.
 

The Garden in the Machine, my first full book of poetry, was published by Hidden Brook Press in 2007.
 

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I teach creative writing at Durham College from time to time and offer workshops on a variety of subjects from writing fiction, poetry, erotica and memoir, to public performance. I work with the amazing Sue Reynolds in several other workshops. Participants enjoy our unique perspectives on each subject. We now offer retreats in ideal writing locations, and organize exciting, enriching retreats twice a year in other lovely, warm countries such as Costa Rica and Italy.
 

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I have been a member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (a membership of 300+) for almost ten years, served on the board for three, and another three years as President. Now I am the Past president, offering guidance to the new gang of dedicated writers who make the WCDR one of the most exciting writing organizations in Canada.

I am thrilled to be able to help writers of all ages and stages of development gain confidence in writing and presentation skills. I partake in many symposiums and workshops, and attend several readings a month. I believe that lifelong learning both triggers and sustains productive creativity. And being around fellow writers and performers is the best method of discovering new talent and stretching my own suppositions about the writing craft.

I particularly enjoyed finishing the first draft of my novel in the company of the many other novelists participating in the year long workshop I teach, A Novel Approach to Fiction.

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One of the things I’ve noticed about writers is how little emphasis most place on preparing, practicing and delivering written material to an audience. So I started a monthly poetry reading series in March, 2006, Hot-Sauced Words, with the intent of making poetry readings more interactive. It has morphed over the years to include audience feedback and on-the-spot writing challenges. Hot-Sauced Words is unlike any reading series you will ever attend.

Hosting my Hot-Sauced Words show, reading on open mics from time to time, and being invited to perform featured readings of my work keeps my confidence as a reader very high. I’ve developed techniques on preparing for a twenty minute reading set that I often include in my poetry workshops.
 

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I’m constantly upgrading my skills as an educator, photographer, book designer and website builder. Please check www.writeportal.ca to see what else I’m up to this month.
 
As my dad used to say, If you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you want to become a better writer, just ask me.
 
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