One of my poems “Immigrant, Landed” in 150+ Canada’s History in Poetry


Every now and then a poem of mine will get published. About ten years ago I was thrilled to be invited to write, and submit, a poem for inclusion in Crossing Lines – Poets Who Came to Canada in the Vietnam War Era (Seraphim Editions, 2008, ed. Allan Briesmaster and Steven Michael Berzensky).

I submitted a poem “Immigrant, Landed” about the very intense feeling of homecoming I experienced upon immigrating to Canada in 1971. It was really great to have that poem included in the collection – particularly since poetry has never been my main genre.

It was an amazing surprise, last year, to receive a request for my poem to be used again in a “Canada 150” project by Acorn Press of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. I very happily agreed. My author copies arrived yesterday – a few months earlier than I’d expected. 150+ Canada’s History in Poetry (edited by Judy Gaudet) is a huge collection of poems documenting Canada’s history from the pre-colonial days when First Nations Peoples were the only residents of this land we now know as Canada, up to and including the 2018 Olympics.

It’s an incredible honour to have “Immigrant, Landed” included in this collection, which contains work by so many of Canada’s Very Famous Poets, as well as other literary “greats”.



Author Copies of Timefall have arrived!


Greetings from Regina! I’m excited to have just received my author copies of Timefall from Five Rivers Publishing. This prairies-based YA fantasy is available for pre-order in paper and e-format now, but the release date is September 1.

Timefall (402 pages in length) is an omnibus combined edition of two YA fantasy novels – Collapse of the Veil, and Crossings – previously released by another Canadian publisher, but now out of print.

Timefall features Katie, a teen mom in present-day Regina whose baby is the long-sought mythic hero of a society a thousand years in our future. Via psychic powers and time travel, Katie inadvertently crosses paths with Iannik, a young Seer with flawed Sight, last of his line in the dwindling population of Aaurenan. Iannik is desperately seeking the baby who offers their only hope for survival. Can three misfit teens and one baby manage to save at least one of their two very different worlds?


The photo below was taken in Victoria Park, downtown Regina, the day the books arrived. This area was destroyed by Regina’s 1912 tornado. Could something similar – only worse – happen in Timefall?

IMG_6650 with Timefall

Regina launch of “Dear Me – The Widow Letters” compiled by Dianne Young

My friend Dianne Young (who was widowed over 3 years ago) has embarked on a courageous book project: “Dear Me – The Widow Letters”.

In this unique book, twenty of us who’ve been widowed wrote letters to our newly-widowed selves – letters of comfort, encouragement, and advice.

Dianne Young put out a call for such letters and selected twenty to include in this volume. She’s received some very nice media coverage and has been on the road for the past week, launching.

This photo is from last night’s Regina launch, showing Dianne (centre); myself (right in photo); and Deana Driver, publisher and also one of the letter writers.

Photo credit: Sharon Plumb Hamilton


CBC Radio interview tomorrow morning, May 28 with Dianne Young on “Dear Me – The Widow Letters”

To follow up on a notice from friend Dianne Young, whose book “Dear Me – The Widow Letters” has recently been released, she and I have CBC radio interview slots tomorrow morning. In this book, twenty widows have written letters to “our newly widowed selves”, letters of comfort and advice.
CBC Radio interview about the widow book tomorrow morning at 8:10 ( in Saskatoon and 8:35 ( in Regina.

Timefall is now scheduled for September 1 release!


Timefall, the new omnibus combined version of Collapse of the Veil and Crossings, has been bumped up to a September 1 release by new (to me) publisher, Five Rivers Publishing. The two original YA fantasy novels were “orphaned” when the initial publisher changed hands and all young adult novels were jettisoned. This publication date came as a surprise to me, for my contract indicated a December 1 release.

I greatly appreciate the interest of Lorina Stephens of Five Rivers in taking on these two books, which developed slowly over a 25+ year span after the initial riveting idea hit in 1984. I also really appreciate the wonderful editing of Dr. Robert Runte, who helped make this new, combined edition even stronger than the original works. ,

Blurbs on the two original novels:

Collapse of the Veil

Collapse of the Veil: “A tenderly urgent journey through time, love, apocalypse, and unexpected hope. Readers will emerge with new insights for our world’s problems and possibilities.”  Sharon Plumb, author of Draco’s Child.

Crossings (Book 2 of the Passage Through Time)

Crossings:  “One world, two very different times, three misfit teens and a baby. Alison Lohans’ spare and certain prose transports us into their journey, pitting love and hope against the coming apocalypse.” Marie Powell, author of Hawk.


Janet Lunn

I was saddened to learn of the death of distinguished Canadian children’s author Janet Lunn, who was a generous mentor who helped shape my early work during her term as Writer-in-Residence at Regina Public Library, 1982-83. During that time Janet read virtually all of my work, offering good advice and friendship, and was there in her office when I ran in to show her my first published book. Thanks, Janet, for all that you offered.

Acts of Inspiration and Desperation: (Making) Helping It Happen on the Page

So you’re sitting there, staring at your screen. And it’s not happening. Ideas are soaring, ready to take shape. Words get jotted, but important links elude every attempt at capture. You want so badly to get it down, and after a while you feel like an idiot with so little in the way of tangible results.

Or another scenario: You’re sitting there, staring at your screen. A deadline is looming. It isn’t happening. Word by painful word you creep through a minefield. Knowing that it’s awful, paralytic caution stalls every aspect of your process. Your inner critic jeers: “You? A writer?”

Maybe there’s more than a little performance anxiety here. We “know intuitively” that “Other Writers Don’t Have to Struggle”, and we have a track record to uphold. We want to project a sense of proficiency and ease – an ambience of beauty, entertainment, or conviction that engages a reader. There’s that inescapable awareness of self embodied within our text, and text as representative of self. But already we’ve overstepped – how can there be readers if the writing doesn’t get finished?

We all know writing can be intense work, and that on occasion we must grind it out. Conscious of the 10% inspiration/90% perspiration formula, we force ourselves to “make” it happen. Given increased muscle tension and reduced circulation as we sit frozen at our keyboards, is it any surprise that we start feeling blocked?

So how do we avoid tying ourselves up in knots? How can we “help” it happen?

A clear understanding of our individual writing processes allows us build upon our strengths. Do you (e.g.):

  • outline?
  • web?
  • latch onto the energy of strong characters and images and follow where they lead? (the “pantser”)
  • problem-solve?
  • write quickly and produce a complete draft before revising? Donald Murray (The Writer, 1992) is an advocate: “I need to speed ahead of the censor and write so fast that my velocity causes the accidents of insight and language that make good writing.”
  • write slowly, savouring words – their sounds and textures, as well as their meanings – in an attempt to paint a clear picture from the start?

Self-knowledge, including expectations of yourself and knowing what gives you feelings of accomplishment, allows you to expand your comfort zone and to wean yourself from unproductive habits. Awareness of your writing environment is important. Where, and when, do you work best? Our bodies are part of the equation too. (One word should suffice: “Exercise!”)

A playful attitude can bring spontaneity to our writing. The links between play and creativity are many. Play, according to Frost, is spontaneous, intrinsically motivated, process oriented, and fun (“Toward an integrated theory of play”, 1985). Play and fear cannot coexist. Work, in contrast, may be forced, extrinsically motivated, and goal oriented. Writing falls somewhere between the two. If payment and deadlines are involved, we’re working, while writing for personal pleasure is a form of play. In both instances we can enjoy the excitement of inspiration, exploration and discovery that accompany the crafting of something new. At times we slip into “flow”      (Csikszentmihalyi), wholly immersed in what we’re doing and unaware of our surroundings. On these occasions we are “in the now”, a place the inner critic doesn’t go.

Many activities can empower our writing:

  • Free-associate – free-write, draw pictures, diagrams and maps of your topic. This can be liberating, and may provide further inspiration or direction for your story, poem, essay or play. Each piece, with its unique energy, may “know” things that you, the writer, don’t fully comprehend. (I sometimes ask questions of my characters, and find their “replies” are insightful. A friend asks her story what it needs.)
  • Morning pages and journal writing clear up mental and emotional clutter, opening more psychic space for creative work.
  • Exercise.
  • Make places where you can jot down random ideas (e.g., notes on the fridge, notebook on the car seat).
  • Pace yourself. Set a series of attainable deadlines. Isolate individual tasks; take quick action on the “small stuff”. Build in guilt-free rewards (e.g., a coffee break away from home; a social media break).
  • Vary your routines. H.G. Wells’ suggestion has merit: “If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn’t expecting it.”
  • Cultivate time for silences.
  • Envision your work as real.
  • Focus on “doing” rather than “trying”.

And there are some things to avoid:

  • Unnecessary compulsions (e.g., social media; email; computer games – which can be built in as mini-rewards, rather than allowing them to dominate.)
  • Excessive self-editing – we need trust our instincts as to when our piece is finally ready, and then let it go!
  • Negativity

When we write, we seek illumination and ready access to craft – but sometimes all we have is a flashlight, or maybe a 40 watt bulb in a large room. It might even be a firefly darting above the grass, at dusk. When we trust ourselves, our writing also becomes an act of faith.


Copyright Alison Lohans

This article was published in FreeLance in 2006.

Regina-authored Children’s Book Sale Today December 17, Victoria Square Mall

Happening right now – December 17 – at Victoria Square Mall:  CANSCAIP-SK, a group of professional Regina children’s writers is having a book sale, until 5:30 p.m. (Come in through the Coliseum entrance.)

Participating writers include myself, Judith Silverthorne, Sharon Plumb, Marie Powell, and Warren James.

The photos here were taken during our set-up this morning.