Friday, May 31, 2013

Press Release: ROCK You Cancer

The official press release for the ROCK You Cancer compilation CD I've organized. Please share!

Tracy Belsher, Organizer


Eight Bands from Across Alberta Tell Cancer to ROCK Off!

Cold Lake, Alberta – May 30, 2013 – Eight bands and singer-songwriters from across Alberta - willing, keen, and freaking able to deliver, have produced a compilation CD of diverse sounds to benefit the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay For Life.
“The talent, musicianship, vocals, hooks, and wicked riffs…”organizer, Tracy Belsher, a novelist, screenwriter, and musician from Cold Lake, Alberta gets dizzy thinking about how lucky she’s been able to rally such formidable troops for this benefit project. ROCK You Cancer is a fundraising effort to support the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay For Life. Participating artists share their voices, musicianship, and skills - confident the compilation will inspire as well as entertain.

While supporting a worthy cause, listeners will gain exposure to some of Alberta's finest new talent, the likes of: Greg Wood, Calista, Jenie Thai, Maria Sue Roberts, The Gibson Block, The Crook Art, Wilder Than We, and Rustic Charm.

“I’ve tried to keep a local connection,” Belsher said. “Most of the bands feature homegrown talent. Guys like former Cold Lake residents Paul Bergeron, bassist, and Braydonn Wollmann, lead singer of Edmonton’s, Calista, as well as Calgary’s, The Crook Art’s drummer, Denver Petterson.” These are local artists who have moved on to bigger cities. “Maria Sue Roberts, a teacher, musician, and songwriter from Cold Lake, is a transplanted Newfoundlander who just opened for comedian Shaun Majumder.” Belsher wanted to highlight the quality artists sprouting from the Lakeland Region as well as support Relay 2013.
Bonnyville’s Greg Wood was keen to be involved in the project. “Cancer touches most families eventually. Having a song on ROCK You Cancer was an opportunity to help out close to home.” Hope In Her Eyes, is “a catchy rock / country cross-over song” Wood said of his contribution. The melody “seems to stick in people’s heads after just one listen. The lyrics are universal.”

Edmonton’s 4-piece rock ensemble, The Gibson Block, was “thrilled to be included on a compilation with great Alberta musicians supporting a cause that affects everyone.” Their tune, Without Me, can “be read many different ways by listeners.” They hope the song “encourages listeners to think of all those people in the world who are supporting them and wishing them well and brings them some comfort.”

“If music soothes the savage beast,” Belsher concludes, “maybe our efforts to raise our voices and awareness for Relay will inspire others. Sometimes a song is all it takes to change your perspective.” As classically trained pianist, Edmonton’s, Jenie Thai croons on her emotionally charged song, Your Sweet Lullaby:

I wish you sweet, sweet dreams
In your darkest night.
All I can give to you
Is a…lullaby.

The Cold Lake Energy Centre is hosting Relay For Life on June 21st from 7pm to 7am.

About ROCK You Cancer:
ROCK You Cancer is a fundraising compilation CD featuring eight bands from across Alberta with proceeds going directly to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. Download cards are available at Lots-A-Books in Cold Lake and online via iTunes and Amazon. Follow ROCK You Cancer on Twitter: @ROCKYouCancer and on Facebook.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Show Me the Awesome

                                                                                                   design by John LeMasney via

To support my screenwriting and fiction writing I have this thing known as "the day job". Now, don't go picturing me slaving away in some stuffy office building or working a factory assembly line - my day job just might be the best damn job out there. I'm a library technician in an elementary school. 

That's right, I went to college for a few years and learned more than just the fine art of shusshing. I'm a researching, cataloguing, organizing, literature loving, speed reading, story-timeing, read alouding machine. And I LOVE it. Other than having to control my potty mouth, it's a dream job for an author of young adult fiction. I'm surrounded by my target audience.

Library types make great authors - it's kind of a no brainer. We love to research, investigate, dig for the heart of a story - we love reading and immersing ourselves in other worlds. We're often in the background, observing - a vital skill for a scribe. But that also means we're in the background. Our work is appreciated, but may not be really noticed or completely understood.

Which is why, when I found out about a series of month-long web posts featuring the great work librarians are doing, I just had to participate. SHOW ME THE AWESOME is the brainchild of Kelly Jensen, Sophie Brooker, and Liz Burns - librarians who manage a cool website, Stacked. You can also follow this project on twitter (#30awesome).

The project I had the most fun with at my school so far, was a year-long collaborative / interactive story that got the staff, students, and parents involved. The story was told through monthly instalments that were displayed on the library bulletin board, included in our monthly newsletter, as well as posted to the library wiki and recorded as an audio podcast - with a student reader.

The plot was directed by popular vote. Each month the story ended on a cliffhanger and there were two possible directions for which the story could progress. Students and staff could vote in the library and through the library blog. Once votes were tallied, the tale continued according to which plot twist that had the most votes. 

When the year ended - so did our collective story. I then printed a few copies to put on the library shelves and students still request to take them out today. I also created an online flip book using Adobe InDesign which students can access at anytime via the library website. The best part about this project was that it was sparked by my discussions with an imaginative student who put a face on his eraser and told me it was alive.

So too is the love of story in our children. It's our job to build on that spark and get them fired up for reading. 

Yes, our Diary of a Rubbery Kid title is a play on the very popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, however, our tale doesn't follow his plot in any way.

Click HERE to go to the story's official page and listen to the audio clips / read the online flipbook. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

ROCK You Cancer

I'm damned excited to share this news. For a few years I've been mulling over the idea of merging my love of music and writing fiction with a fundraising effort of some sort. A Rock and Read sort of event similar to the one US author, Stephanie Kuehnert (I Want to be Your Joey Ramone, MTV Books) did back in 2008 - featuring live bands, as well as readings from young adult fiction authors.

Okay, so far that hasn't happened, but I'm working on it. ;0

In the meantime, I've decided to cut my teeth on a smaller, but incredibly cool - and oh so worthy project, ROCK You Cancer.

With the help of a few friends with fingers on the pulse of the Alberta music scene, I've gathered eight bands and singer-songwriters from across Alberta willing, keen, and freaking able to deliver a fantastic compilation CD of diverse sounds. (yeah, okay, my band has one tune on the thing as well.) The talent, musicianship, vocals, hooks, and wicked riffs - I get dizzy thinking about how lucky I've been to rally such formidable troops.

A big THANK YOU to all who have contributed. These bands are ones to watch:

Greg Wood
Jenie Thai
Maria Sue Roberts
The Gibson Block
The Crook Art
Wilder Than We
Rustic Charm

Being from the small town of Cold Lake, I've tried to retain a local connection. Some of the bands feature homegrown talent that has moved on to bigger cities, and others have local musicians performing on the tunes. So - it's across the province, but grounded from home. I like that. And what I also like - proceeds from ROCK You Cancer will go directly to the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life. The Lakeland area is hosting a Relay on June 21st and a few of the bands from the CD will perform live during the event.

Cancer's claws dig into many lives - you can't live in this world and not have a friend or relative under its shadow. If music soothes the savage beast, maybe our efforts to fundraise and raise our voices will give others hope, inspire, entertain, or even just set a toe tapping.

I'll post the "buy" links as soon as the CD is live. 
Here's the Facebook page - please spread the word.
Support the cause....together let's tell Cancer to ROCK off!