Authors speak out about careers

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Budding writers looking for a few pointers on getting published have an afternoon to learn tricks of the trade and mingle with independent authors from the area this weekend.

The Okotoks Public Library is hosting its first Indie Author Day Oct. 14.

Ten authors from the Calgary and Okotoks area will share their experiences with the public.

“We have a lot of aspiring authors in the community and we’re always about lifelong learning and giving others an opportunity to get some knowledge from people who have already self-published and some inspiration,” said Paula Benson, Okotoks Public Library adult services manager. “We are always promoting literacy.”

The free event begins at noon with approximately 60 minutes of videos to educate the public on topics like how to write a fantasy novel, cost of self-publishing, how to market their book and how to get their book in libraries.

At 1 p.m. the public will have two hours to visit with authors Debbie Sands, Helene Oseen, Kristi Spencer, Fran Porter, Marcus Oelschig, Ken Kroes, Lorraine Cathro, Lee Kvern and John Barrie, who will have their books available for purchase.

“Local authors are always looking for a way to get the word out about their books,” said Benson. “This year I’m just letting them show their books and perhaps next year we will expand it.”

Calgary author Carol Cowan, who spent the first 16 years of her life in Okotoks, is eager to talk to the public about her self-published book Canada Western Landscapes Through the Years.

The book, published last spring, features a series of paintings by Cowan and other artists combined with poetry written by herself, as well as her father Reginald Ernest Hanson, sister Evelyn Thorson, son Blake Cowan and daughter Colleen Cowan, among others.

The pages are filled with a colourful assortment of acrylic, watercolour and multi-media oil landscapes, fields, wildlife, mountain scenes, waterfalls, old buildings and iconic symbols of the region including grain elevators, the Okotoks’ train station and erratic, the High River trestle bridge and scenes in Waterton, Lake Louise, Jasper and Calgary.

Cowan said the majority are her own paintings that go back to 1977 when she began taking oil painting lessons at the Gladys Ridge Community Hall. It’s been a 40-year artistic journey under the guidance of fellow artists who assisted Cowan in enhancing her knowledge of hue mixing, value and colour harmony.

The senior’s love for painting has never slowed down during those 40 years.

“It starts with an idea and it just escalates into a beautiful painting that I’m pleased with and that other people get pleasure from,” she said. “It’s my imagination in which I take over from there because as I travel, even in the car, I’m composing in my mind what I would do with a certain scene. Once you have the knowledge of composition it’s a matter of rearranging where your focal point is. You have to move things around to make it appealing and also enhance the colour.”

Cowan is also showcasing her literary skills.

“I added the poetry element because I feel that there is a God that created the universe and I wanted to pay tribute to God who made all things and everything in the universe,” she said. “They have a spiritual feeling to them.”

Some poems were written by Cowan’s father, who had moved to Okotoks in 1930 where he worked as the customs collector.

“He wrote a lot of poetry,” she said.

Many of the images also honour the places Cowan has lived like Okotoks and Gladys Ridge.

Cowan published the first edition of the book 10 years ago, which also featured her paintings and poetry.

Canada Western Landscapes Through the Years will be available for purchase for $55 at the Indie Author Day with a chance to win one of her prints. The public can learn more about Cowan’s art by going to canadaweseternlandscapes.com

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