Come and Hear… Allison McCaskill of Bibliomama

bibliomama-bigOkay, we admit it: we love Allison of Bibliomama. She’s becoming a Blog Out Loud regular, but her writing is so crisp and clean – not to mention hilarious – that she’s always a hit with a live audience. This past year, as her children get older, she’s had more time to reflect on her own life and goals. Whether it’s hopeful or discouraging, Allison’s thoughts on her future are always witty and full of sass.

One thing you can always count on from Allison’s blog is a lot of talk about books. She’s an avid reader, and delves into a wide variety of topics, both fiction and non-fiction, adults and YA. She’s able to capture the real heart of a story in her reviews, without revealing too much, and manages to find a way to comment on herself as a reader in addition to the intentions of the author. Her reading world is interesting, funny, and delightful – but be careful, because you’re sure to find your own reading list exploding with cool sounding new titles.

Come and hear Allison explore the meaning of story – both her own, and the work of other authors – at Blog Out Loud.

Come and Hear… Joe Boughner of Medium.com

Joe BoughnerWe’re happy to discover that Joe, who has blogged off and on at various sites around the web, has found a new outlet for his thoughts and ideas over at Medium.com. Joe has a way of mixing humour with important issues to create essays that change your mind while leaving you in stitches. Who knew that politics and social issues could be so much fun?

As father to a young daughter, he often writes on being a dad, building a family, and most importantly, what it means to raise a girl in these modern times. It’s a perspective that doesn’t get enough attention, but Joe is doing a great job of speaking out with wit and whimsy, drawing people in but not shying away from the seriousness of the topic. When it comes to controversy, you’ll want to be on Joe’s side – it’s where all the fun is.

Joe’s just as much fun in person, too, and a great public speaker. So come and hear his latest hot button post at Blog Out Loud this year.

Come and Hear…Juliette Giannesini of Correr Es Mi Destino

correrJuliette of Correr Es Mi Destino is truly a child of the world. Born in France, she met her husband while working in China, and now they use Canada as a home base for their travels around the world with their young son.

Reading Juliette’s blog is kind of like touring the world yourself. She captures beautiful moments with her camera, both big things – the usual tourist attractions – and the little, like food stalls in the road or local people waiting for the train. Her words are amazing, too – you feel like she’s sitting right next to you, coffee in hand, telling you exactly how it felt to be there. It’s not just a tourist guide – she has knack for capturing the real nature of a place, the heart and root of a culture that is different than our own. She manages to take us outsiders inside and see the world as it really is.

Since adding her son to the mix, there’s a parenting angle, too. She’s learning to balance freelancing with parenting, travel with family, and on top of it all, she’s still learning about her adopted country, too. It all adds up to a lot of growth, a lot of insight, a lot of humour – and an invitation to consider, for ourselves, who we are as Canadians, who we are as families.

Come and meet Juliette at Blog Out Loud – before she’s off again to somewhere new and magical.

Come and Hear…Megan Graham of Sticks and Stones

sticksandstonesMegan of the blog Sticks and Stones is lovely, warm, kind, and thoughtful. She’s got a smile that can light up a room, is the devoted mom to two kids, and loves music of all kinds.

She also has RA – rheumatoid arthritis. It is far from the thing that defines her, but sadly, it is a major part of her everyday life. The disease has affected her joints since she was a teenager, and over the years she’s had multiple surgeries to rebuild her shoulders. Life bobs up and down, some days hopeful, with less pain and more freedom, and other days darker, with another surgery or infection on the horizon.

Luckily for us, Megan somehow manages to stay positive overall. She takes joy in the things she loves – her family, travel, music – and also works hard, with an open and honest voice, to help us all understand what living with this disease means in the real world. This past year has been particularly discouraging, and there are days when she’d love to wish it all away. But for now, her blog is a place to work out her emotions, push past her fears, and find her strength.

Come out to Blog Out Loud this year to hear Megan tell you, frankly, how she’s been doing. You’ll find a lovely, warm, kind, and thoughtful perspective on what it means to have RA.

Come and Hear…Amanda of The Maven of Mayhem!

mavenWe’re welcoming back Amanda Jetté Knox of The Maven of Mayhem this year with arms wide open – for a big hug. At last year’s event, she’d just come off of one of the most challenging years of her life, as she rode the steep learning curve of what it means to be the parent of a trans child. This year, she’s lived through a second round of curve balls, as her life partner has come out as trans as well.

Luckily for us, Amanda has handled it all with her usual humour and openness, leading to a year’s worth of meaningful, warm, and lovely posts about what love, family, and parenting really mean. She has been able to use her blog – always a source of great stories and an authentic voice – as a hub for her new role as an advocate for her wife and daughter specifically, and the LGBTQ community at large. Her voice is bold, strong, funny, and above all, caring, and she’s changed more than one mind on this issue. With her family now in a richer, happier place, Amanda shares her life in a way that is definitely going to make the world come around to her vision of the new normal.

Come out and meet Amanda at Blog Out Loud, and embrace this chance to hear from someone who is truly making a difference, in her own life and the lives of others.

Buttons for your Blog!

Does anyone still put buttons in their sidebar? I think I might be the only one :). But in case you’d like to join me, you can grab new buttons for BOLO 2016 below.
There’s a big one:

bigSidebarLogo

<a href="http://blogoutloud.org"><img src="http://www.blogoutloud.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/bigSidebarLogo.jpg"></a>

And a smaller one:

smallSidebarLogo

<a href="http://blogoutloud.org"><img src="http://www.blogoutloud.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/smallSidebarLogo.jpg"></a>

For each, right click to download the image if you’d like to store it locally. Or, just copy the code under each image and paste it into a text widget in your sidebar.

Details!

Just got the word that the 2016 event will be…

Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 2 p.m.

… at Christ Church Cathedral, 414 Sparks Street.

Here’s the official posting over at the Ottawa International Writers’ Festival. WOOT.

Don’t forget to submit your favourite post if you want to read!

Blog Out Loud 2016

It’s on! I just got word that BOLO 2016 is a go. More details are coming soon, but I can say it will be part of the Ottawa International Writers’ Festival Spring Edition, and it will likely be sometime on the weekend of April 16/17, and will likely be at the same church as last year (Christ Church Cathedral, but a different room). Confirmation coming soon!

In the meantime, we’re open for submissions. Want to read at the event? Send in your favourite blog post (or two) from the past year. We’re looking for stories told in a distinctive voice that capture a moment or a thought or an idea that reflects YOU. We should hear your voice in the piece. Make us laugh, cry, get angry, or get tense. It’s all good! You can see samples of the posts that have been read in the past here, or here, or here. If you have a post that requires photos or images, we should have a screen and projector available for you to use.

Submissions due by midnight on Tuesday, March 29.

We’re also, as usual, looking for a few dedicated souls (who won’t be submitting) who are willing to serve on the selection panel. That involves reading all the submitted posts over one weekend and sending me some rankings and comments, all for the glory of my mega thanks on this blog. If you’re interested, drop me a line!

Submissions or volunteers or any other inquiries can be sent to me at lynnturtlehead@gmail.com.

A Little Follow Up

Some of our readers from Blog Out Loud 2015 have their own thoughts up on their own blogs.

See what Ross Brown thought of the evening, along with some of his photos of the night, here.

Allison McCaskill writes about being adorably nervous and getting some great friend support over here.

If you enjoyed Janet Lalonde’s reading (and cartoons), check out her young son’s graphical version of the IKEA shoe loss here.

BOLO 2015 Recap

Amanda Jette Knox of The Maven of Mayhem

Many, many thanks to everyone who came out last night. As usual it was a ton of fun (and surprisingly emotional!), and a great night to meet other bloggers, and it would not be possible without the Ottawa International Writers’ Festival, our selection panel, the readers, and the totally awesome listeners. Special thank yous to Tanya, who rocked the live-tweeting from the BOLO account on like, three hours of sleep, and Dani, who kept the evening moving and the audience laughing as emcee. You all rock!

Here are the links to the posts that were read last night. And photos too! Slideshow at the bottom of the post.

 

Thanks to all our readers, and if you think you might want to read at or attend a future event, be sure to sign up for the BOLO mailing list to get advance word on all the news.

Photos! Click on any image to enlarge it.

Blog Out Loud at Ottawa International Writers Fest

Blog Out Loud at Ottawa International Writers Fest

The Reader List for BOLO 2015

The Reader List for BOLO 2015

Festival Director Sean Wilson Introduces the Evening

Festival Director Sean Wilson Introduces the Evening

Our Host, Dani Donders of Postcards From The Mothership

Our Host, Dani Donders of Postcards From The Mothership

Our Host, Dani Donders of Postcards From The Mothership

Our Host, Dani Donders of Postcards From The Mothership

The Big Screen

The Big Screen

Allison McCaskill of Bibliomama

Allison McCaskill of Bibliomama

Allison McCaskill of Bibliomama

Allison McCaskill of Bibliomama

Amanda Jette Knox of The Maven of Mayhem

Amanda Jette Knox of The Maven of Mayhem

Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

Brad Stewart of CHEO Moms and Dads

Lee Ann Smith reads for Richard Spencer of Remagine It

Lee Ann Smith reads for Richard Spencer of Remagine It

Ross Brown of The Brown Knowser

Ross Brown of The Brown Knowser

Ross Brown of The Brown Knowser

Ross Brown of The Brown Knowser

Our Beloved Live Tweeter, Tanya Snook of Spydergrrl on the Web

Our Beloved Live Tweeter, Tanya Snook of Spydergrrl on the Web

Brenda Labelle of Bjutie

Brenda Labelle of Bjutie

Brenda Labelle of Bjutie

Brenda Labelle of Bjutie

Nat Hanson reads for Melissa Dimock of Refashionista

Nat Hanson reads for Melissa Dimock of Refashionista

Astra Groskaufmanis of The Dust Bunny Chronicles

Astra Groskaufmanis of The Dust Bunny Chronicles

Astra Groskaufmanis of The Dust Bunny Chronicles

Astra Groskaufmanis of The Dust Bunny Chronicles

Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Janet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured Glasses

Joe Boughner of The Naked Dad

Joe Boughner of The Naked Dad

Joe Boughner of The Naked Dad

Joe Boughner of The Naked Dad

Joe Boughner of The Naked Dad

Joe Boughner of The Naked Dad - helped by heckler Amanda Jette Knox

Official Joe Boughner heckler - Bob LeDrew

Official Joe Boughner heckler - Bob LeDrew

Blog Out Loud at Ottawa International Writers FestThe Reader List for BOLO 2015Festival Director Sean Wilson Introduces the EveningOur Host, Dani Donders of Postcards From The MothershipOur Host, Dani Donders of Postcards From The MothershipThe Big ScreenAllison McCaskill of BibliomamaAllison McCaskill of BibliomamaAmanda Jette Knox of The Maven of MayhemBrad Stewart of CHEO Moms and DadsBrad Stewart of CHEO Moms and DadsBrad Stewart of CHEO Moms and DadsLee Ann Smith reads for Richard Spencer of Remagine ItRoss Brown of The Brown KnowserRoss Brown of The Brown KnowserOur Beloved Live Tweeter, Tanya Snook of Spydergrrl on the WebBrenda Labelle of BjutieBrenda Labelle of BjutieNat Hanson reads for Melissa Dimock of RefashionistaAstra Groskaufmanis of The Dust Bunny ChroniclesAstra Groskaufmanis of The Dust Bunny ChroniclesJanet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured GlassesJanet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured GlassesJanet Lalonde of Cartoon-Coloured GlassesJoe Boughner of The Naked DadJoe Boughner of The Naked DadJoe Boughner of The Naked DadOfficial Joe Boughner heckler - Bob LeDrew