‘What am I working on?’ … apart from allergies, you mean?

Last week ‘MAB’ over at The Flannel Files, tagged me on the latest round of #mywritingprocess, which I took to mean more than regaling you with tales of trying to focus on my keyboard whilst in the throes of a anti-allergy-drug-induced altered state of consciousness.

Allergies! We hates them, hates them my preciousssss.

I’ve had a bit of a dairy intolerance most of my adult life, but this is ridiculous. It’s getting so that I can sense a potential allergen a kilometer away. Given that we live in the midst of a farming belt, (wafts of eau de cow-poo float across the lake with the morning breeze) and that Spring has finally sprung (happy bees, plants, and hummingbirds) … I’m screwed!

In spite of this, I bravely soldier on.

*swoons and falls melodramatically back in writing chair, only to have it almost tip over, thereby forcing a most ridiculous flailing of limbs in order to avert a complete disaster*

With decorum now completely destroyed, (if I had any to begin with) I will now regale you with tales of my actual responses to the questions at hand.

I’m currently working on: this post, the next episode of Identical, (all things being equal it’ll go up tomorrow) and my mystery thriller set in a slightly distopian, slightly steampunky alternate reality, that started out as a short story. Pesky short stories, always wanting to grow up into novels, entire series’ even.

I’m not quite sure of what genre I write in, but if I had to categorise it to fit into an amazonian algorithm, I’d go with Science Fiction, because no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to keep SF elements out of any story. The difference is, I suppose, that it’s my very own personal brand of science fiction-ness.

I started out writing SF because I once read something so badly written that even my adolescent self knew she could do better. SF also gave me an out from a life that was most definitely not what I ordered in the waiting room before I was born. I have lesbian characters because one can never have too many lesbians in space.

My writing process is rather boring, I’m afraid. I start at the beginning, go through the middle, and end up at the end. Then I edit, and rewrite, and edit, and rewrite, and edit … (rinse and repeat) until it’s baked. My creative process is somewhat different however, in that it’s almost never the same. Sometimes it’ll be a line of dialogue that catches my attention, or a scene, or something I read, observe, or spontaneously pops into my head. I shove it into a blender, set it to ‘high’ and wait and see what survives.

There are many permutations of the above processes, but when all the glitz and glamour is stripped away that’s what’s left.

The final part of this little exercise is to ‘pay it forward’. Instead, I’m simply going to invite anyone who feels ‘in the mood’, to have a go at it.

What are you working on? How does your work differ from others in its genre? Why do you write what you do? And, how does your writing process work?



Best Laid Plans

Recently I’ve had an influx of new readers and followers on this blog, which is really nice, so I thought a bit of a catch-up/about me post was in order … but first, the weather …

The snow’s all melted except for the sad remnants of the little boy wizard-in-training’s snow fort. (he, of the wondrous wellies from my previous post) The bluejays and robins, and some sort of bird that looks like a cross between a starling and a robin, are still enjoying their baths, except that now they have to be content with puddles, and potholes that appeared in the middle of the road after the snow transmogrified into water.

It’s been raining for nine straight days now. This morning I found myself checking for signs of gill-ness around my neck and ribs, and web-ness between fingers and toes.

Such amounts of one particular sort of weather can sometimes bring on bouts of introspection. (much preferable to bouts of rain induced homicidal mania, or conversely, depression) Satisfied I had not sprouted gills or webbing, I sat at my desk, with cuppa, and stared over the top of my monitor at the garden and frolicking avians, not really seeing either. And reviewed the complex and statistically improbable stepping stones that brought me to this place and this time.

I was born in England, but before I turned two my parents decided to seek their fortune in the colonies. They had three choices, Australia, Canada, or New Zealand. Why they chose Australia I’ll never know. Perhaps it was so spectacularly different from Canada and New Zealand. However, to Australia we went. I wonder how I’d’ve turned out if we’d stayed in England. (or moved to NZ or Canada … another one of those irony things is I’m in Canada anyway)

The next big splitting of the pentiments (hehe, see what I did there?) was having to leave school at fourteen. Working at all sorts of low-skilled labouring jobs. I could’ve stayed doing that, perhaps working my way up from a factory floor into a managerial position. What stories would I have been able to tell of that life, I wonder? But no, I had a yearn to learn, and a short attention span. Everything I tried added to my list of things I didn’t want to do or be.

I thought I might want to be a world class athlete, but motorbike-meets-semi-trailer took care of that ambition.

I thought I might want to be an architect, and talked my way into university as a mature age student. (High school dropout goes to university. I still chuckle at that) I was good at it too. Architecture, not university. Turns out I’m too much of an iconoclast to play the academic game.

In the end architecture clashed with the spiritual path I’d taken to like a duck to water. I was studying architecture and Shamanism at the same time, but ultimately, ‘there could be only one.’##

Now we come to a fun bit of this little wander down my memory lane. Finding romance on the interwebz. Let me tell you, there were a thousand ways that could’ve gone wrong, but it didn’t. OK, there were a couple of hiccups, but nothing that didn’t expand my horizons a little. (Moving from one side of the Pacific Ocean to the other qualifies as the ultimate expanded horizon, I think)

Throughout all my adventures, a thread ran through everything I did, became and evolved into. Writing.

If you’ve read my ‘About Me’ page you’ll know about my first foray into storytelling. Nothing much happened after that until my motorcycle accident, where I spent the first year of recovery alternately being tortured by a wonderful physiotherapist and writing the first draft for what ultimately turned out to be (probably) book 3 of the ‘Gallery’ series (of which, book 1 is ‘Mortal Instinct’) … and what a journey that was

So, it seems that I was always destined to be a writer, it just took me a while to get here!

P.S. the rain stopped, as it is wont to do, and then the sun came out, finally!




Taking the Scenic Route

If you’ve ever perused my ‘About Me’ page, you’ll see that one of the things I am is a bicyclist. In truth, I’m a great many more than would ever fit on a list as short at that one, but who wants to know about the time I … well, that’s another story for another post.

Let’s begin with my bicycle. It’s not your everyday bicycle. It’s a little top heavy, being rather high in the saddle and short in the shanks. This is because I can only bend my right knee so far, the result of a rather unfortunate three-way collision between myself, my motorcycle, and a very large truck, more than a quarter of a century ago. I explained this to the folk at the bike shop and they very kindly spent the afternoon adapting a bike to suit my needs. Here’s a shout out to them 

Not long after I purchased my beautiful green bicycle, (the summer of 2008) I fell over when standing still at an intersection. (I recall I did exactly the same thing when I first rode my motorcycle way back in 1981!) The only excuse I could come up with at the time was that the bicycle and I were not well acquainted with each other. Once I got that first and embarrassing fall out of the way I never looked back, nor have I fallen off again, which is quite an achievement given how clumsy my first few weeks of bicycling were.

I don’t look like your everyday bicyclist either. I’m not the type to wear snug fitting, brightly coloured spandex, or any other fabric ending in ‘ex’.  Give me something loose-fitting that flaps in the breeze so I can really feel as though I’m moving along. Although, now that it’s November in Vancouver, I’m more likely to be seen wearing a tasteful bright yellow rain poncho over lots of layers and as many flashing lights as I can possible attach to all parts of my person and my bicycle.

Nor do I race along the road as though my very life depended on it with muscles poised to jump out of the afore-mentioned tight clothes at a moments notice. I do have muscles, but they are discreetly covered by an abundance of other sorts of body tissue. I don’t speed along anywhere unless it’s downhill. (As far as I’m concerned, the only up side of a hill is the down side) Then I tend to yell, a lot! Other than that, I amble.

I ride along the by-ways, and bike tracks that are so abundant in my city, and avoid major roads where I can. The last thing I want to breathe are the out-gassings of internal combustion engines, no matter how ‘fuel-efficient’ and ‘green’ they are.

So, I amble along via the scenic route. There’s so much more to be seen that way. That’s probably why I like writing novels. There’s so much more to my stories than just getting from ‘Chapter 1 – The Beginning’ to ‘The End’ in the straightest line possible.

And just so you know, I have never started a story with ‘Chapter 1 – The Beginning’!


“Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race”H.G. Wells