Learning is good!

In the Wild Spaces

Urgh. Spending today learning how to convert a Word .doc to an .epub. Perhaps this is simple to those of you that already know how to do it, but it has been a bit of a learning curve simply because I’m unfamiliar with the steps. My head hurts, but I’m learning and learning is good. Urrrrrrgh. I made one experimental publication of unfinished product and it worked like a charm, then my second attempt took a little longer because I did it on my office computer and had to install Calibre and reinvent the wheel I’d just invented on my netbook. Anyway, second time went better, and as I do it more, better I’ll get.

The plan now is to convert all of my finished stories to .epubs and make them available for sale on my website. At this point, I don’t want to go through a site like Lulu

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Free short story!

I read an interesting blog post Monday morning by Fred Hicks about ‘Pay What You Want’.

In light of the blog post and the idea as a whole, I’m sharing a short story. Enjoy!

Golden Green

Aspen Gainer (© 2010)

“I’m glad I went to all that therapy. When I was a kid I hated it, but I pretty much hated everything until I was about twenty. At twenty, things started making sense. Maybe my brain was less addled by hormones and able to think like a grown up. I realized that my dad’s suicide wasn’t my mom’s fault, far from it, really. Mom and I are really close now, thanks to all that. And we were close with both Mom’s parents and Grandma Joan, until she died a few years ago.”

I looked at Maddie’s face. She said nothing, just stared at me

“I kept going to regular psych sessions until I was twenty five. I still go now, every once in a while if things get bad. Preventative medicine, I like to call it. So that’s my story.”

Golden green. Never seen anything like her eyes.

“Nothing to say, Quirk? No response to me heartfelt story?”

She was silent for a minute longer, then looked down at the table. Her shoulders hunched up a bit and she squeezed out her words like it pained her.

“Stop calling me Quirk. I hate it.”

“Ok. Sorry. I kind of thought you liked it.”

“Liked it? Quirk?” She planted her hands on the table and leaned forward, cheeks turning red and curly hair standing up like a ’fro. “I know I’m fucking weird,” she snapped, “but I don’t like it rubbed in my face.”

This was not going like I expected.

“Shit, girl, I’m sorry.” She glared at me.

[to read the rest of the story, click on the title of this blog post.]

Register now for June workshops!

Exciting news! Registration opened today for the June series of journalling workshops, so register now!

These workshops bring together writing, self-reflection and visualization to create space for your individual self-healing journey.

The Journalling series runs June 1, 8 and 15 from 1-3 p.m. and will be held at Saol Wellness in Edmonton.

Each workshop is $50. If you purchase 2 or 3 workshops for yourself at a time, you get a discount: $10 off 2 workshops, or $20 off 3 workshops.

For more info or to register now, visit the registration page! There you will find descriptions of each class as well as the location and registration instructions.

I will be instructing the classes. For more info on who I am, visit the About page.

If you have any further questions, email aspengainer at gmail dot com.

Short story in print and online

In the Wild Spaces

You can now order my newly published short story, Indonesia Jazz, online through 34th Parallel Magazine, a literary mag out of California. It’s the story of a man and his love of jazz, narrated by a young woman who meets him on her way to New York.


34th Parallel Magazine did a beautiful job with the story and the digital treatment looks great. If I remember correctly from the proofs, it’s a six-page spread, which is pretty flattering in my opinion.


You can find the story here, complete with huge photos of me (a little embarrassing, and one photo got distorted somehow so I look like I have a skin disease, but oh well)! As I said, the mag did a really awesome treatment of the story.

I wrote Indonesia Jazz as an assignment for one of my classes in the Professional Writing program at MacEwan, which…

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April News

In the past three months, business has been slow but as we enter the second quarter, contracts are picking up.

At the end of March, I traveled to B.C. and was awed but not surprised by the beauty of Vancouver Island. You can see pictures and read snippets about my trip on my blog–just click on a photo and it will take you to the post.

I will be writing short magazine articles on pet-related subjects for Edmonton’s Pet Rescue Magazine, so keep an eye out for those.  This month, I helped edit an article for the mag about Edmonton South Animal Hospital, which you can read in the forthcoming April/May issue.

I’ve been requested to give a workshop in April to a group of radio volunteers in Edmonton. The afternoon workshop will be a broad-strokes look at how to craft compelling yet factual writing for a variety of media.

Looking ahead to May, I will partner with Saol Wellness Centre at 10577 109 street in Edmonton to offer a series of three workshops on journalling, open to anyone, experienced writer or not. Keep in touch to learn more about dates, times and cost.

And here’s a quote for you to ponder for the month:

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” –Maya Angelou

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this page was last updated April 2013