Category Archives: Alberta Tour

Longhorns & Outlaws Book Tour – Wainwright Public Library


Day 4, September 25, 2008, final stop on the Longhorns and Outlaws Alberta Book Tour.

Wainwright Public Library
Wainwright Public Library

My day in Camrose had been somewhat topsy-turvy using Google maps &#8212 left or right when I reached the main thoroughfare? Left first. That seemed wrong. Right second. That seemed more wrong. Well, for try number three I took the truck route around the city and gave up on ever finding Highway #26, which had presumably been just 2.8 km one direction &#8212 or the other &#8212 down the road.

Then, voila, miles and miles later, I reached the highway and began the final trek from Camrose to Wainwright. It seemed to take a LOT longer than the hour and 51 minutes Google maps had promised, and I was soon looking for a gas station! One appeared soon enough, and I had a great visit with the elderly owner who came out to show me how to get the pump started, and enjoyed some fabulous fall sunshine.

Check-in took no time at all at the R & R Inn, so I had time to relax before supper and my launch at the Wainwright Public Library.

Lynn Grocock, head Librarian, met me and showed me around the lovely facility. As might be expected, I set up on the lower level in the beautiful children’s department.

(photo from the Wainwright Public Library collection)

I was pleased to have a dozen people appear right on the dot of 7 p.m., even one young future writer who was interested in Longhorns and Outlaws!

All of my presentations on the tour had been geared to talking about how authentic your material is when you write from experience &#8212 and how a writer does a lot more than sit at a computer and type. So, while I didn’t have the powerpoint to keep me on track, I took the same approach with the launch.

Question period gave me an opportunity to share my writer’s story with everyone, and we talked about how to get published and even where to get published. My advice is simple:

  • Write what you know!
  • Read, read, and read in the area you want to publish.
  • Study publishers’ lines carefully, so you really know where your work might make a good fit.
  • Write, write, and keep on writing!

Of course I also shared my own experiences with the power of the Internet to help get established. I share lots of tips on that in my course, Introduction to Internet Writing Markets that I teach online.

And so, with the friendly welcoming launch from Lynn Grocock and local people, my Alberta book tour came to a close. Would I do it again? You bet!

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Longhorns & Outlaws Book Tour – Chester Ronning School

Linda Aksomitis
Linda Aksomitis at Chester Ronning School


Day 4, Thursday afternoon, September 25, 2008, last school stop on the Longhorns and Outlaws Alberta Book Tour.

There’s no better way to navigate the streets of an unknown city than by staying close behind a local! I followed Kathie Green through the busy noon hour traffic of Camrose to Chester Ronning School.

Chester Ronning School, I discovered, has amazing architecture.

Following Kathie through the halls to the music room, where I was scheduled to present to the hundred students who’d be attending from grades 3 to 6, I kept stopping to stare at the walls and murals.

The music room was a perfect venue &#8212 my voice carried nicely and all of the students could easily see the slides while seated comfortably during my Powerpoint show.

As it turned out, Kathie and I had met years earlier, when she’d attended a library workshop I presented, which she told students when she introduced me. I received a warm welcome, and was soon flying through my tale of Longhorns and Outlaws, and Lucas Vogel’s adventures.


My young listeners were ready with questions at the end, so much so that a dozen hands waved in the air at once! Do you write your books on a computer or with a pen? How do you figure out what to put in that’s real history and what to make up? and many more excellent questions about how I’d written the book.

The questions continued without a stop for fifteen minutes until the buzzer called everyone to change classes. I felt sad as I thanked my last fabulous audience &#8212 the schools part of my Alberta Longhorns and Outlaws tour was over.

Of course, I still had to visit Kathie’s awesome library, and say hi to kids as they passed me again in the hallways. I’d take home lots of memories from Chester Ronning!

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Longhorns & Outlaws Book Tour – Charlie Killam School

Charlie Killam
Charlie Killam School.


Day 4, Thursday, September 25, 2008, on the Longhorns and Outlaws Alberta Book Tour!

It had only taken me an hour to get from Ponoka to Camrose the afternoon before, so I settled into the

Thursday morning started easily enough, with what Google maps declared was a seven minute drive to Charlie Killam School &#8212 even though I could see left and right turns were somewhat mixed up! A left turn onto the highway from the motel would have taken me back to Ponoka, not into Camrose.

Hope Heck showed me to the enormous school library with its dozens of computers and balcony area for the fiction collection. We were set up in no time at all with the Powerpoint show and middle years kids streaming in for the first presentation.

My morning, however, wasn’t quite as organized as that of the staff and students at Charlie Killam School! While it should have been simple to follow period changes, my perception of time was out-of-kilter. I finished the presentation for the first group fifteen minutes ahead of schedule, so they got to view slides of some of my travel writing adventures around the world and see things like an Eastern toilet and headhunters dancing in Borneo. Their enthusiasm was wonderful!

The second group I owe a debt a gratitude, for their keen interest and patience staying with me well into their noon hour! Luckily for the grade 7 class, who’d spent their Language Arts period with me, Hope Heck returned to take me off for lunch. The meal was amazing and put me on track for the afternoon. We went to the Lefse House where I had the Swedish meatballs and gravy, mashed potatoes, hardanger lefse and fruit soup (amazing &#8212 had a flavour similar to mincemeat). It even came with dessert, and I chose cream filled Krum Kake. Yum!

Then, I was off with Kathie Green (who’d chosen our lunch stop) from Chester Ronning School for the last school visit on the Longhorns and Outlaws Alberta tour.

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Longhorns & Outlaws Book Tour – Diamond Willow Middle School

Diamond Willow School
Diamond Willow School


Day 3, September 24, 2008, on the Longhorns and Outlaws Alberta Book Tour!

I’d driven from Hanna to Ponoka and the Ponoka Super 8 the afternoon before, retracing my path back along highways #9 and #56 before changing highways. When I’d starting setting up the tour I knew Ponoka had to be one of the stops &#8212 I figured the annual Ponoka Stampede week meant local kids were surely interested in cattle, horses, and naturally, old west outlaws.

I must admit getting from my hotel to the school was one of the few times of the tour that Google Maps just didn’t seem to work! Luckily for me, I had Maureen Bell, Diamond Willow Middle School’s very able librarian to step in and give directions. “Down to McDonalds, turn left at the lights; another light at Tim Horton’s and turn right.” If only Google knew how to give directions like this.

Larry Cook, Principal, met me at the Diamond Willow Middle School main entrance door as if he’d known exactly the instant I’d arrive. It was noon hour with intramurals going on and kids everywhere. However, even with all the hubbub, as we walked down the hallway I still heard one little girl whisper, “That’s her!” as I passed. I couldn’t have received a better welcome.

Middle school classes are my favourite to visit. And the 370 grade six to eight students at Diamond Willow didn’t let me down. Set up in a commons area, there was lots of room for the two separate groups to sit to tables while watching my Powerpoint slideshow. I’d been right in my guess, and at least half of the kids all indicated they rode horses themselves. Best of all, there was lots of interaction!

I could see from the great display of new books that Maureen Bell had in the hallway, that the kids were readers too. And, as Maureen assured them, she was starting a sign-up sheet for the many who wanted to read Longhorns and Outlaws. Best of all, I now have a Diamond Willow Middle School Wolf t-shirt, just like all of them!

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Longhorns & Outlaws Book Tour – J.C. Charyk Hanna School


Day 2 of the Longhorns and Outlaws Alberta Book Tour!

Monday, September 22, 2008, I left Drumheller for the short drive to Hanna — leaving the Dinosaur Valley I was soon watching combines rolling down the fields again as I followed Highways 56 and 9. The fall colours were glorious!

In Hanna I checked into the Super 8 Hanna Inn, which provided me with a comfy room and a great dining room just a few steps away.

Tuesday morning, September 23, 2008, I was off to the J.C. Charyk Hanna School. Everything seemed familiar, and I soon realized I’d presented a workshop for library staff there about four years earlier. Sure enough, Myrna Haines, the librarian, also remembered me.

We talked about libraries and her pending retirement while she organized her enormous library area and called down the students. Around 265 students were divided into two groups, starting with the grades 4 to 6 and finishing with grades 7 through 9.

What a lot of enthusiasm the students brought with them to my presentation! Nearly half of them were horseback riders, so could readily relate to Lucas learning how to ride his appaloosa horse. One of the boys also volunteered that he rode an ATV — which I also shared an interest with him in.

Question time opened up lots of great areas for me to discuss. The boys seemed just as interested as Lucas is, in Longhorns and Outlaws, in how the outlaws use the border to their own advantage. We talked about the different law enforcement agencies: the Pinkertons, which is what Lucas wanted to become, the sheriffs and their posses, and of course, the Mounties or North West Mounted Police.

When it came time to close, the chorus of “Where can we get the book?” was met by Myrna’s generous volunteering to collect student money over the next week and have me ship autographed books to the kids. Everyone appreciated it!

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