Sunday, July 20, 2008

One of the Great Perks of Writers' Groups

I know there's always debate about whether writers' groups are useful or not, and I happen to feel that both sides of the argument have valid points. To my mind, the success of a writers' group depends on the expertise, attitudes, and chemistry in the group. I've been in tense, somewhat destructive groups, but about six years ago, I found a wonderful collection of talented writers whose purpose is to help and be helped.

It's always a great joy to me when one of us publishes a book (our moderator, Eileen Kernaghan, is about to have her eighth book released!), and this year the Kyle Centre group is reaping the rewards of years of hard work. I published in April, Eileen and two more members will release titles in September, and yesterday I attended the book launch of a colleague who's written quite a book.

My colleague, Marja, comes from a vastly different background than me. She's a devout Christian who also happens to be bipolar, although this took many painful years and stays in psychiatric wards to properly diagnose. Because of the unsympathetic way she was treated by certain members of her faith (some people still believe that the mentally ill are possessed by demons) she felt compelled to tell her story so that other Christians struggling with similiar afflictions will come to understand that mental illness doesn't make them evil or unworthy. Marja now offers hope through a support group she founded called "Living Room", and branches are now spreading throughout Canada and as far as New Zealand.

If you'd like to read more of Marja Bergen's beautiful and inspiring book, A Firm Place to Stand, visit her at

For excerpts of Fatal Encryption visit,

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