Sunday, June 24, 2007


I was out with friends the other night, drinking beer by the pool and discussing the ill effects of overindulgence. Particularly "the spins". One of the girls wanted to know what caused the world to spin so dramatically, often violently. I tossed out the word vortex, not for any particularly scientific reason but because I liked its sound. Several were impressed with my word choice.

We decided it constituted my word count for the day. Not only did it have an x, one of the most difficult letters in the alphabet, but it also contained a z. It also conveys a maelstrom of activity that brilliantly sums up the last moments before one passes out.

The conversation continued to evolve about how many words vortex should count as in my writing journal. I was happy to let the silliness sweep us away from my genius. I didn't really have much to show lately for the time spent with my characters. One word was about the best I'd done in several days.

That one word swirled around in my head through the night.It churned through my dreams and woke me up to scribble down a scene. Not only that, the vortex sucked me deep into the perspective of our little weevil as well as Nea's father. It gave me a view I'd missed on different passes through some scenes.

It never ceases to amaze me the connections my brain can make, seemingly out of the blue, to writing. I have other words to toss onto the page. In the meantime, here's a photo that reminds me what winter feels like while I write in the summer. It was taken a few miles from Niagara Falls, and Alex's home base.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Right in Front of You

My friend and fellow CB, Jennifer Talty, is celebrating the release of her first book Right in Front of You. I had originally pledged to stand in Chapters and direct everyone over to Jen's book. Triskelion Publishing just recently reverted back to e-books only so I'm doing my bit to get the word out. Go. Download. Let Jen be your first (e-book that is)

Isn't that a gorgeous cover? I'm so thrilled for Jen.

Right In Front Of You:

Restless and bored, NYS Trooper Jared Blake accepts a transfer from his current position in Lake George. Jared lives on the edge and his present post just isn't cutting the mustard. Just when he thinks his life is as it should be, his long time friend is threatened by an unknown source. Jared has exactly two weeks to find out who is behind these threats. And in two weeks, he will lose his heart forever.

Ryan O'Connor has the world at her fingertips. She's strong, feisty and has everything she's ever wanted, except the right man. Jared represents everything Ryan doesn't want. He's controlling, overbearing and now he's moving. Having had a crush on him for years, Ryan decides to seduce Jared. What harm can it do? But when Ryan's life is on the line, she realizes Jared might not be perfect, but he's the perfect man for her.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Game Plan

I like to follow my muse and see where she leads me - to the statue of not-quite-Nea that I shared with you several moons ago, the article in the paper about the Toronto Power Generating Station, the trip to Clifton Hill and the weevils encased in acrylic - all the places that smite me with inspiration.

Planning things tends to interfere with that process. Or so I always thought. A few months ago, I wrote out a story outline. I broke the book down into four weeks and a list of elements that were going to change over that time period. Then I forgot about it and followed my muse around North America.

Now that summer and an extended work schedule are underway, I need to allot some dedicated writing time. It's too easy to just put that off like I do exercise(although, writing feeds my soul in a way nothing else does)when I'm exhausted.

I dug out the old outline and started to enter it into an Excel spreadsheet. (Thanks, Bryan for guiding me through that process so that I didn't lose another day)What did I discover? My muse and my outline have been working in tandem. The genesis of some things started with the chart, others with the muse but they've been helping me expand on all of it.

The blog has played a role as well. I've mentioned things here that are nowhere else in my documents, notes or charts. I've been able to come back and see what I can develop, what I can lose. Very good tool this blog. And I was worried it would steal valuable writing time.

Armed with all these tools,I'll be able to set reasonable deadlines - and more importantly - make them.

The book isn't done yet, thanks for asking, but it's much closer. I have a game plan.

Here's a photo for you to admire while I write. Alex can see this out his side window.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


JoAnn Ross suggests that unpublished writers give themselves deadlines to write towards, and more importantly, keep. Not only will it prepare one for the demands of publication, it also helps keep the writing fresh. She writes every day and has done so since the beginning of her career when she was a working mom.

The last few weeks have been somewhat hectic for me and I've neglected to set some deadlines. Last week Dee challenged me to three days of exercise and one scene in a week. Considering I was in the midst of a long work spell with one day off in eleven days thanks to two jobs, it seemed unrealistic.

Here it is the night before my deadline expires. And I've written seven sentences. On the end of an existing scene. They're good sentences though. The dialogue came to me while I was walking home from work today(I like to multi-task). I should have stopped along the way to write it all down as it was coming pretty quick but it was so real, and a great tie-in to the early morning epiphany I had about Nea, that I wasn't concerned about losing any of it. Yeah, I know, but I did retain a fair portion.

It's tempting to stop where I am and wait for the rest of it to unfold. A lot of times the stuff I recapture is a murky imitation of the beauty that I let slip through my grasp. But the deadline looms.

And I know that the dialogue in this scene not only illuminates Nea's motivation;it reveals facets of Alex's personality that were somewhat unexpected. The plot is moving along. The characters are plunging ahead despite their reservations about their own behaviour. The conflict has taken a turn with Alex's reaction to Nea's pet bug.

Despite my inclination to call it a night and retreat into the book I'm reading - No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross - I'm going to wade back into the conversation between the characters I'm writing.

And make the all-important deadline. Because it prepares me for publication, keeps the story fresh in my mind, and gives me a success in a week full of perceived failure.

JoAnn Ross has written over ninety books following her own advice. She knows what she's talking about. Not to mention the woman knows her way around shoes. I'm gonna listen to her.

How are your deadlines coming along?

Update - who knows Morse code? It appears that Clio the chestnut weevil communicates by tapping out Morse code with her antennae. And of course, Alex knows some of that we still use Morse code? This is why I shouldn't wait until the night before the deadline - a damn monkey wrench tossed in by a bug. Like there aren't enough kinks in this story. Not that kind of kink; plot twists, character turns. Sheesh. I'm not even going to ask about whether weevils can communicate. She's the pet of a demon. Clio can do whatever I, er, Nea, wants her to do.

Further Update - Thanks Me and McB. Morse Code is used far more in music than the average listener would imagine. Considering how much Alex moved as a child, and that his mother was musically gifted, I can use this. That would have been a cool way for him to communicate with his mother;something special only the two of them shared. That translator link was a lot of fun, perhaps too much.