Short Story Writers for WORDPLAY 2013

Short Story Anthology Writers Sue Battle, Erika Willaert, Julie Achtermeier, & Blair Thackway have joined the JUzDIzRTS author event!

WORDPLAY CoverWORDPLAY 2013:  Emerging Writers of York Region is a 124-page book of short stories, memoirs and poetry by fifteen students and alumni of Isobel Warren’s Right to Write creative writing classes in Newmarket.  This eclectic collection ranges from sci-fi and fantasy through romance and humour to wrenching personal experiences and social commentary.  Warren, editor and co-ordinator of the book, conceived the project not only as an opportunity for her talented students to be published but also as a learning experience as they come face to face with the real world of publishing — relentless deadlines, a stubborn editor, an opinionated art director, a pricey printer and all the pressures of marketing, distribution and publicity.  Everyone lived to tell the tale and revel in the results of their labours.

WORDPLAY 2013 – Table of Contents: Stoned for the Holidays – Julie Achtermeier; Flight – Corrie Adams; The Suit – Christine Barbetta; Grandpa – Sue Battle; A Battle of Wills – Laurie Caldi; MINE! – Leslie Jones-Lissack; Harbinger – Megan Morris; Lonely – Douglas Owen; Ray of Sunshine – Jennifer Sharko; Poems – Sneh Singwi; Molly Comes of Age – Gail Sellers; The Seduction – Ruth Tammert; Last Çall – Blair      Thackway; Revelations – Mike Walczak; Titania  – Erika Willaert.


JUzDIzRTS Event Participants


Sue Battle has been writing stories, poems and song lyrics for many years. Some of her poetry was included in an anthology of Soul Asylum Poetry titled Whispering Souls, published in 2006. Since retiring Sue continues to pursue her writing and attends Isobel Warren’s Creative Writing classes.

Grandpa: Marv, at age 70, is wracked with ill health and unhappiness. A life once filled with promise is nothing more than a tragic heartbreaking memory and now Marv just wants to be alone and spend his time fishing. The peace he seeks is shattered when a young boy comes crashing through the bush and despite Marv’s admonishments to go away, returns again and again. Their conversations reveal a need within each of them that culminates in a touching union of  two lonely souls.

“I am so looking forward to reading for the JUzDIzRTS audience. It’s an opportunity to meet other authors and discuss the art of writing. Writers depend in large part on each other for news of events and readings to help develop and publicize our writing. I am grateful for this forum and will attend with relish.”


Erika Willaert

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAErika Willaert, dancer by training and a teacher by trade, revived her passion for writing after a fifteen-year hiatus. She is usually either out in the forest with her two dogs or attending a live performance or movie where she is often the loudest audience member, much to the dismay of her children, Lukas and Saskia. Titania is her first attempt at science-fiction. Her writing can also be found at and

Titania: The title was a name I heard at Janis McCallum and Elaine Jackson’s writers retreat and I took it to mean a substance of solidity and strength. I also realized I remembered the Shakespearean name of the fairy queen from A Midsummer Night’s Dream incorrectly, and my gr 6 class told me it was one of Jupiter’s moons. Or was it Saturn’s? In any event, the story is the result of blended ideas that have combined in my imagination after reading a ton of books recommended by my students in an effort to keep up with their reading response content. One of my grade 7s figured out the narrator/heroine is a cyborg, and the poetically inclined narrative is my interpretation of the many sci-fi/fantasy movies I love to watch on the big screen. 

“JUzDIzRTS is like a gift from the writing fairy, Dorothea Helms, who ran a workshop with Ruth Walker that I took last year which spurred on my commitment to start entering more contests. Much gratitude and appreciation to Melissa Moores for the opportunity and platform.”

Julie AchtermeierWORDPLAY Julie Achtermeier

Julie Achtermeier credits her father’s fantastic storytelling and her mother’s whimsical poems for her early love of writing. Although Julie’s humourous short stories recount some of life’s greatest self-deprecating moments, a more serious piece, “The Red Devil”,  was a finalist in the 2012 CBC Canada Writes Short Story Contest.  Julie is a freelance writer living in Newmarket with her hilarious husband and two adorable, quirky children. Freelance business at

Stoned for the Holidays: A funny tale of Christmas Eve gone awry as a middle-age couple, Julie and Richard, and their two small children travel north to “cottage country” to spend a relaxing Christmas holiday among the snowy pines. Upon arrival, Richard finds himself stricken with excruciating back pain and is rushed to the local emerg where they await a diagnosis from a quirky doctor in a vacant hospital. As the clock ticks towards midnight, presents lay unwrapped and Julie struggles to feel sympathy towards her husband with so much left to do for the big day. Will they make it?

” I am excited to share my writing at the JUzDIzRTS Author Event and I hope to entertain fellow readers and writers with a comedic account of a modern day mishap.”


Blair Thackway’s 24 years with Toronto Fire Services could undoubtedly supply him with several books full of dramatic stories. But his day-to-day life, raising his young son and dealing with the traumas of his job, have limited his story-telling time — until now. Blair recounts his own heart-wrenching, soul-destroying experiences with insight and compassion for all who pursue this dangerous and often thankless job. An avid motorcyclist, he enjoys spending time with his son.

Last Call: The story is a play on words about having that last drink at the pub before closing time and also the last significant emergency call I attended before going off work on a medical leave of absence to seek treatment for Traumatic Mental Stress. It describes what I went through as a result of facing a horrible fire tragedy that took the life of a mother and her young child. It is my first published attempt at coming to terms with the realities of a career that I dearly love and will return to shortly.  

“I am both nervous and excited to be privileged enough to be included in the JUzDIzRTS Author Event this summer. I hope it draws interest in the dedication that our emergency workers regularly show and will also be a further positive step towards rebuilding my confidence and thus my career and also inspiring me to continue to write.”

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