Badges for 2014

Badges are ready! If you’d like to help us promote this event – or wear a patch of honour letting the world know you’ll be there – please grab a badge to put in your blog’s sidebar.

Here’s the big one:


If you’d like to grab the image to work with, just click it and use your browser to save the image.

Or, you can just grab this code to pop into your sidebar:

<a href=""><img src=""></a>

And here’s the small one:


Again, click it to get to the image alone to save it, or use this code to link to it:

<a href=""><img src=""></a>

Submissions Open!

Submissions are officially open for the 2014 event!

What does that mean? Find your favourite post from the last year (ish…there wasn’t a 2013 event so feel free to dig a little deeper into your archives) and send it in. You can send the link to the post to me at

We’ll be gathering up all the entries for the next few weeks – the cut off for entries is Monday, March 31. Then, a panel of esteemed judges will be reading through them and selecting the best 10 to be presented at Blog Out Loud 2014.

If selected, you’ll be reading your post personally in front of a crowd of adoring strangers! Trust me, it’s a unique and transformative experience. Plus, you’ll be able to say you presented your writing at the Ottawa International Writer’s Festival – quite the pedigree.

We are looking for all kinds of different stories, voices, and posts, so feel free to send us anything at all that you think really represents your own self. Funny, sad, silly, deep, thoughtful, thought-provoking, angry, or goofy – it’s all good. We want to showcase good writing, as well as the power that the blog post format can show – how just a few hundred words can make a difference to how people think and feel. Or you know, at least give them a bit of a giggle while on their coffee break. If you’ve been to the event before, you’ll know that no topic is off-limits and there’s all kinds of different stories and personalities out there to be shared.

This year we have a pretty strict time limit so readings will be limited to 800 words. However, if you have a post that’s longer than that that you think is perfect, then send it on in. If it is selected, we’ll work with you to edit it down to readable length (or, if we get a lot of short submissions, then maybe we’ll have room for a longer one or two).

Please pass the word on to anyone you think might be interested – the more submissions, the happier I am! If you’re not up for submitting this year, I’m also looking for three or four people to judge the submissions – I’d love a few people with blogging experience, BOLO experience, and mad writing skills. Just drop me an email at the address above.

Any questions? Just leave them in the comments.

A Trickle of Event Details

We have a date! The 2014 event will be part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival Spring 2014 edition, and will happen on Tuesday, April 29. It will start promptly at 6:30 p.m. and we have a firm cutoff time of 8 p.m. – because the festival runs two events per night, and needs to re-set for a second event that starts at 8:30 p.m.

At this time, we are still planning for it to be a completely free event. Yay!

Due to the shorter time frame, fewer bloggers will be able to read this year (boo). However, that could turn out to be a good thing, as in previous years many people were unable to stay for the full length of the event, anyway. This year, we are planning on squeezing 10 readers into the alloted time frame. Hopefully that’s still plenty of room for bloggy goodness.

Submissions will open February 17 and close on March 31. We are looking for blog posts from the past year (or two) that tell a great story. We want all kinds of experiences – happy, sad, funny, inspiring, or just plain old cranky. Due to the strict time limit of this year’s event, we will be restricting the word count, but don’t let that stop you – submit what you think is your best story and if it’s too long, we’ll work with you to make it happen.

More info on submitting coming soon!

Blog Out Loud – 2014?

Well! This space sure has been quiet for a while. In case you didn’t notice, no event happened for summer 2013.

Some kind people wrote to me to ask me what was going on, and I was all cagey and weird, but now I am finally able to make a (limited) announcement about the future of Blog Out Loud.

First let me say, there won’t be an event in 2013.

The good news, however, is that there will definitely be an event in 2014 – in April.

The April 2014 event will be presented in concert with our new co-host – the Ottawa International Writers Festival. Yay!

Both the Writer’s Festival and I are really excited about this match. First of all, they’re going to be bringing a top-notch location to Blog Out Loud, complete with a great sound system (and people to support it), internet access, snacks and beverages, and even a little book shop.

Second, and more importantly, they’ll bring quite a lot of prestige to the event – imagine telling your mom that you’ll be reading at a festival that has featured the likes of Margaret Atwood, Alexander McCall Smith, Will Ferguson, David Adams Richards, and Adrienne Clarkson in the past. Pretty awesome, right?

For now, we’re still working out the details, but I can confirm that the event will (as in the past) run on a Wednesday or Thursday evening, and it will be an official event for the Spring 2014 Writer’s Festival. As in the past, local bloggers will be invited to submit their favourite post from the past year (er, or possibly two years, by the time I get around to accepting submissions) and the submissions will be selected by a panel of expert readers.

And then we’ll all hobnob with the literary glitterati. Whoo hoo!

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. In the meantime, as soon as I have more information, it’ll show up here and on Twitter.

The Buzz on BOLO 2012

Just a few links to some of the great post-BOLO blog posts that went up. A couple of these include video, to really capture the experience for those who missed it.

Ross of The Brown Knowser: I BOLO’d (includes a video of Ross reading)
Patti of Still Breathing: BOLO’d Over
Alison of Party of 3: Even Extroverts Get Nervous
Amanda, The Maven of Mayhem: Leave It To Cleavage
Mel of Confessions of a Social Media Junkie: Six Word Fridays: Happy (And a BOLO Shout-Out)
Andrea of We Can Rebuild Her: Happiness Is (includes a video of Andrea reading)
Danielle of Dish and Dash: BOLOttawa
Nancy of Travelchick: BOLO’ing – That’s a Word, Isn’t It?
Allison of Bibliomama: Can you hear me now?

2012 Attendees

There was a great turnout for Blog Out Loud on the 14th. Here’s a list of some of the attendees.

Alison Weatherston of Party of 3
Allison of Bibliomama
Alex Kaleta of Books from the Laundry Room
Amanda DeGrace of Namaste Mommy
Amanda Jette-Knox of The Maven of Mayhem
Amy Boughner of Keep Your Head Up
Andrea Ross of We Can Rebuild Her
Ann Bacciaglia of Living Through The Tears
Anna Epp of Life is Good…At the Beach
Annie of PhD in Parenting
Barbara Dundase of Tales of Life With a Girl on the Go
Brian Kent-Baas of Project: Nest
Cindy Wolfe
Coreen of One Day this Blog Will Have a Snazzy Name
Danielle Hoegy of Dish and Dash
Deborah James
Derek Felson
Gary Champagne of Life Cache
Grace of Mothermind
Ingrid Slatta
Jane LeFresne of The Weekend Diaries
Jasmine Vesque of Jasmine Vesque
Jayda Siggers of Eat Whole Be Vital
Joe Boughner of 42 Points on a Double Word Score
Jordan Kent-Baas of Project: Nest
Julie Harrison of Coffee With Julie
Karen Wilson of Karen’s Chronicles
Katheleen Priestman of Treehouse Moosilaneous
Kim Samsin of Kimperative
Krista House of The Tech Mom
Lara Wellman of Gliding Through Motherhood
Lynn of Turtlehead
Maranda Carvell of Momicon
Marnie of Fame Throwa’s Wayward Ruminations
Mark Blevis
Mary Champagne of Life Cache
Mary of Parenthood
Megan Graham of Sticks and Stones
Mel Gallant of Confessions of a Social Media Junkie
M.J. Baker
Nadine Thornhill of Adorkable Undies
Nancy of Travelchick
Pam Dillon of Write Words
Pam Wainwright of Easily Amused
Patti Murphy of Still Breathing (and her mom, Sheila)
Rebecca Stanisic of A Little Bit of Momsense
Ross Brown of The Brown Knowser
Sara McConnell of My Points of View
Sasha of Rambling Notebook
Sharon Boddy
Susan Ovington of Little Miss Neat
Tanya Snook of Spydergrrl on the Web
Tariq Piracha of Exit Strategy
Vicki of Some Kind of Wondermom


Just a quick post to say I’ve got some pictures of last night’s event up on the BOLO Facebook page. Check it out!


Thanks so very much to everyone who came out to BOLO last night. I had an amazing, time, as always, and that’s completely due to the great blogging community we have here in town. You are all just the nicest, smartest, funniest people I know.

Some special thanks must go out to Tanya, for doing an amazing job live-tweeting the event; Coreen and Brie for working the door; Lee Ann, Tudor, Julie, Kathleen, and Krista for helping select the posts that were read; Marnie for handling emcee duties with aplomb and also for wrangling with the troublesome sound system; and of course, to all the readers who filled the evening with laughter and tears.

I’d like to send a special shoutout to Annie and Rebecca for promoting the event extensively online through Twitter and Facebook, and to Brie and Julie, who along with myself are the only ones to have made it out to all four BOLO events (I’m having badges made for us!).

Always the number one request I get after the event is for links to the posts that were read, so here they are in the order that they stepped up to the mic. Enjoy!

Sara McConnell of My Points of View
Honesty is Overrated

Andrea Ross of We Can Rebuild Her
Happiness is…

Amy Boughner of Keep Your Head Up
Flutter By

Julie Harrison of Coffee With Julie
Everything’s Amazing

Maranda Carvell of Momicon
I Hate Shopping at Walmart

Megan Graham of Sticks and Stones
I Hate Stairs

Annie of PhD in Parenting
Is Blogging Your Santa Claus?

Melany Gallant of Confessions of a Social Media Junkie
Infertility is a Bitch

Nancy of Travelchick
Comfy Jeans, Practical Shoes, and Other Perils of Life Approaching 40

Grace of Mothermind
Lost and Found

Jordan Kent-Bass of Project: Nest
Jordan’s Easter Confessional Revisited

Nadine Thornhill of Adorkable Undies
5 Tips on How to Talk to Kids About Sex

Ross Brown of The Brown Knowser
That’s Using My Head

Danielle Hoegy of Dish and Dash
Finding Joy in Going Slow

Alison Weatherston of Party of 3
Don’t Go In The Basement

Sasha of Rambling Notebook
Shock Therapy

Kim Samsin of Kimperative
Three in the Kitchen: Event Horizon

Amanda Jetté-Knox of The Maven of Mayhem
Case Of Bad Teenage Moustache

Tariq Piracha of Exit Strategy
What My Father Taught Me About Truth

Patti Murphy of Still Breathing
Leaving it All on the Living Room Floor

Allison of Bibliomama
Absence Makes the Heart Do Too Much Online

Tonight’s The Night!

This is it – tonight is the night! Hope to see you all at the Arrow and Loon at 7 p.m. (It’s always a good idea to arrive early to get a good seat, though.)

I’ve heard that they are paving Bank Street this week (perfect timing), so you may find Bank closed or with limited access between Landsdowne and Fourth. More info on the parking situation is here.

I’ll be there around 6 p.m. – it’s a busy night for me but please do stop by and say hello if you see me wandering in the crowd.

Any last minute questions can be sent to me at Any last minute fun can be shared with everyone!

All the Deets

Just two more days until BOLO, and now is about when I start to hyperventaliate. But it’ll all turn out well if you all just come out and have a good time. And you will, won’t you?

This year’s event is at the Arrow and Loon, which is in the Fifth Avenue Court at Fifth and Bank. Parking is a little tricky this year, as the Landsdowne parking lot is supposed to be closed for construction. However, it was open as of yesterday, so if you’re up for a gamble, maybe do a swing by and see if they’ve shut down access yet. Otherwise, your best bet is street parking along First, Second, Third, Fourth, or Fifth, on either side of Bank. There’s also a very small laneway’s worth of parking behind the Fifth Avenue Court, off of Fifth Avenue. [Edited to add: There's also underground parking located underneath the Fifth Avenue Court - accessible from Fourth Avenue.]

We’ll actually be located in the courtyard, which is sort of in the atrium area around the fountain. There’s lots of natural light (while the sun is still out) to aide picture takers. There will be tables set up for us and we’ll have our own server. You’ll be able to order dinner, snacks, or desserts from their general menu and of course, drinks will be served. Inside the actual pub, they’ll be running trivia night, so if people start asking you the capital of Portugal or the prime minister of England, you’re in the wrong place.

There’s free wifi at the Arrow and Loon (barring any technical issues with their network). I’ve been told that it’s not password protected so you should be able to hook in as soon as you arrive.

Please take a moment to sign in when you arrive, as it helps me keep track of how many people attended which is a huge factor when booking for next year. Even if you don’t want to be on our mailing list or aren’t a blogger, just a friend out to show support, knowing our numbers really helps. So please take a second just to grab a name tag and to make sure we know you’ve been counted.

One more small announcement: there won’t be a photographer slide show this year. We just did not get enough interested photographers, so it’s a no go for this year at least.

Lastly, as always at this event, some posts contain swearing and adult content.

See you all there!