On Cynical Romantics, Modern Vices, and Burny Drinks

Dear Future Publisher,

I am not without my vices.  We all have them.

I’m not a drinker.  I mean, I enjoy the occasional rum and coke or a shot of Bailey’s in my coffee, but at a rate of less than one a week (and at times less than one a month), that hardly counts.  And most alcohol is just icky and burny.  Beer tastes like what I imagine pee must taste like, although that is not based on any practical evidence, if you know what I mean.  Wine is just grape juice that tastes bad. So alcohol is not my vice.  That doesn’t make me a bad writer, for the record.  We don’t all have to be Hemingway. Continue reading


On Books I Have Loved: The Serpent’s Egg

Dear Future Publisher,

Have you ever read a fantasy novel where the passage to the other world is located in Canada?

I mean, Canada is great, it’s a lovely place, but people who are not Canadian don’t seem to have a whole lot of interest in reading about it.  Most of those magic doors are in England, right?  We all know that.

So I’m thinking the answer is probably no.  But if it is yes, it might be because of these books. Continue reading

On Kindergarten Dreams

Dear Future Publisher,

I sent off another query recently, this time by good old-fashioned snail mail.  Maybe to you.  You never know.

It feels a bit like sending a child off to kindergarten for the first time.  Now, as never before, you lose a little bit of control over the raising of your child.  There are other people coming into contact with her, bringing with them other backgrounds and philosophies, and you don’t know how that may influence your child, or at least their understanding of your child.  Suddenly, you are not a part of it.  She is out in the world without your guidance.  Will the other kids like her?  Will the teacher be mean?  Will she shine as you know she can?  Will she be shy?  Will she make friends?  Will she keep up with the class?  Will she fall behind?  Have you done enough?  Have you done all you could? Continue reading

On Books I Have Loved: Jillian Jiggs

Dear Future Publisher,

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read.  This is probably due to the fact that my parents carefully indoctrinated me into the cult of Bibliophilia from a very young age.  Before I was ever ready to read myself, before the shapes on the page became letters and then words and then phrases that had meaning, before any of that, there were picture books, and they were lovingly read aloud.  And that, I believe, makes all the difference.  There are all kinds of studies about the importance of reading aloud to children from a young age, and I won’t bother to track them down and cite them here, because this isn’t an essay with a thesis to prove.  If you’re interested, you can find them, I’m sure.  Partly because of studies like these, and partly because of personal experience, I fully intend to force reading on my children when they are still too small to complain (don’t read too much into this people, it’s at least partly a joke).  I want to read to my children, and I hope to foster a love of reading in them.  I don’t care much what books they read, so long as they are reading – we will find the books that speak to them and engage them.  I have fond memories of being read to even after I was able to read myself, and I hope I can make memories like that with my own children. Continue reading

On The Promise of Spring

Dear Future Publisher,

Spring is in the air.

Which in my little part of Canada means that it is a little above the freezing mark, so yes, if you’re wondering, we are having an unseasonably warm spring.  For one thing, the snow all melted during the tail end of our unseasonably warm winter (global warming is real, people), and there is hardly any snow and/or freezing rain forecast in the coming weeks.  It almost certainly won’t reach the ground.  At least, it won’t stay.  We won’t have to shovel.  So, yes, the weather is, well, beautiful. Continue reading

On Doldrums

Dear Future Publisher,

I’ve hit a bit of a creative doldrums with the blog.  That’s not to say I’m tapped out and it isn’t to say that I’m going to stop blogging – not at all.  I’m just finding it harder to access inspiration.  Now, as a writer of course I know that you don’t have to (and in fact probably shouldn’t) wait for the inspiration fairy to zap you with her magic wand, because that way you would never get anything accomplished.  The difference between a hobbyist writer and a serious writer is that the serious writer puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard even when they aren’t “feeling it”.  You plunge ahead and write even when you don’t feel inspired.  You write words, whether they come in a torrent or a trickle, whether they are profound or sheer poop.  It’s your job (or it would be if anyone would pay you – and they say that if you want someone to pay you, you need to treat it like a job). Continue reading

On Dinnertime Woes

Dear Future Publisher,

I have a confession to make. I would get a lot more accomplished if I didn’t have a cat. Now, I would never not have a cat, possibly because I’m a masochist who doesn’t want to have nice things.  But the point remains: without my cat, I would get so much more done in a day.

Let me give you just one example of what it is like living with a cat.

I am sitting, writing.

Things are going well.

And then, the cat suddenly appears at my feet.  He stares at me.  I try to ignore him.



On Trusting My Gut

Dear Future Publisher,

I know what I’m doing.

But I don’t always know that I know what I’m doing.

Sometimes I make a choice as I am writing because it feels right, and, at that time, for no other reason.  I have a strong intuition that it is the choice that needs to be made, and I listen to that gut reaction, without knowing why my gut was responding the way it did.

And then when I take a step back later and reflect on the effect of that choice, I think, “Aha! That’s why that felt right.  That’s why that needed to happen.”  And that plot point or character choice or scene order or stylistic decision or whatever it is suddenly makes so much sense.  I knew all along it was the right choice – and now, finally, I know why.

I know what I’m doing.

I just have to trust myself.



On Terry Pratchett

A year ago today, a man lost his life.

Not misplaced it, of course, not like a set of car keys – it was not to be found in the pocket of another pair of trousers, unless in a pocket of the Trousers of Time.

Death came for him.  A Death that speaks in all capitals, LIKE THIS.  A Death with a white horse named Binky.

This man’s death was, in many ways, a perfectly unremarkable event.  Men die every day.  Death (like taxes) is inevitable.  This man was a man like any other man, and also unlike any other man, as all men are. Continue reading