Lubricating Lady-bits – Not what you’re thinking … well sorta, kinda …

Widdershins MaskOne of the (many, I’m discovering) downsides of this combination of healing from thyroid cancer and menopause, is vaginal dryness. It’s uncomfortable, annoying, irritating, time-consuming, frustrating, and on occasions downright hilarious. (nope, not going to give any examples of that last one)

So like any citizen of the 21st century, my first port of call was to ‘google’ possible remedies. Among the tens of thousands of results, was this gem, from which a wonderful sentence stood out like a sore thumb.

And I quote: (the emphasis is mine)

“Exciting movies that keep you in suspense stimulate the central nervous system, increasing blood flow to the gentiles which in turn lubricates the vagina.”

I personally would like to thank all the persons of non-Jewish persuasion who offer this service.

The moral of this story is, of course, check for typos before you publish. (emphasis mine) because the one that gets through (and there will always, always, be ONE) will be the most embarrassing.


“A good editor doesn’t rewrite words, she rewires synapses”S. Kelly Harrell, author and modern shaman


Rejection Becomes A Call To Excellence

Widdershins On Red VelvetHaving our stories rejected is, if we’re prolific, an almost daily experience. Even if we’re a ‘once-a-month-er’, (or week, or year) those rejections are a bitter pill to swallow.

We rant, cry, eat chocolate to excess, (or other drug/comfort food of choice) eventually dust ourselves off, and get back to work. Because we are storytellers. That’s what we do, what we are.

Once in a while, among the ‘form’ rejections, something different this way comes. A personal note from an editor. Someone, whose job it is to read tens of thousands of words a day, has taken the time to respond. They give us clues that might help us negotiate the ‘getting published’ morass, encourage us to keep trying to do better, and remind us we’re not alone.

Occasionally something like this happens:

Last year I submitted a short story, told entirely with dialogue, to an eZine. I’d written it almost like a play, but of course, all the action had to be told through the dialogue.

For example – (not from the story but to illustrate my point) “This truly is an excellent cuppa tea. Oops. Sorry. I’ll clean that up.”

Writing the story this way challenged me, and I was happy with the end result. So was the eZine editor, but … the story passed around the reading table and everyone else liked it, but … they all wanted ‘more’. They didn’t know what ‘more’ they wanted, but they knew they wanted ‘more’ of it.

In her rejection letter, the editor apologised for not being specific, and invited me to resubmit when I had ‘more’.

Neither Mrs Widders, or the Widdercat could offer any suggestions as to what the ‘more’ might be. Nor could any of my writerly friends. I stared at ‘more’ for about a week, then put it, and the story, in a metaphorical drawer, hoping it would miraculously appear while I wasn’t paying attention.

More eventually did, but not because I left it in that drawer. I tore the story apart, edited the characters, the action, the story arc, the ending, the beginning, threw all of the above out, retrieved it, went for long bike rides or walks in the rain depending on the weather, emptied out gazillions of cold cups of tea, rewrote it, and finally created a story that was more than it had been before.

Does the editor think it’s more-ish enough? We’ll see.


“I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat” Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone – actor, screenwriter, director


‘Simon’s Cat’, fresh off the presses:

Yesterday’s Book

Frog# Jennifer posted this … about reading the ARCs## of her soon to be published stories and asking herself,

‘What is odd, is every once in a while I stopped and said “Is that what he said?” or “Did I write that?” or “Wait.  That makes absolutely no sense.”

  … to which I commented that I also had that feeling when I read the ARC of Mortal Instinct’. (hereafter known as M.I.)

We aren’t the same writers we were a year ago, or sometimes, even a few months ago. We evolve, learn new skills, hone the one’s we’ve so painfully learned, change styles and/or genres. Our belief systems shift, life herself whacks us upside the head, we fall in/out of love, people die, time passes.

We are not the same.

The writer that I’d been while I wrote and edited (and edited, and edited) M.I. wasn’t who I was by the time I read the ARC. (and not who I am now)

I chose not to read M.I. (after it was published) until an unspecified passage of time had passed. Otherwise, all I’d see would be the imperfections my twisted and over-exposed editorial eye refused to ignore.

This weekend I was ready to read it as a story about a handful of slightly-more-than-ordinary women who embark on a series of extraordinary adventures to save the mortal realms from extinction.

Every now and then the Evil Editor rears her revisionist head, but that’s what big sticks are for!

I’m enjoying my story. It’s not the book I would’ve written today, but I’m very proud of the book I wrote yesterday.


“The clock talked loud. I threw it away, it scared me what it talked” Tillie Olsen, 1912-2007 – feminist, writer, activist.


 # Frog – Friends on Blogs

## ARC – Author Reader/Reviewer Copy – The final version of your book before it’s published. (this is the version that is sent back to the author to torture them, and out to reviewers the world over!)

Mortal Instinct Becomes a Business

Now that the creative process is over, it’s time to tend to business …

… Throughout that creative process and certainly over the past year or so since then, I’ve realised that my MS was at a particular stage. The one where you’re fairly certain that it’s really good, but terrified to actually send it out into the world to find out. During that time I’ve been collecting websites and url’s and useful bits of information that I filed under ‘marketing’… then forgot about most of them in the madness that was EDITING!!!!!

Came that fateful day in March of this year when I heard back from Eternal Press that they’d accepted my book for publication. Everything changed! … including the size of my ‘marketing’ file.

I vigorously followed up every lead I came across and added sub-files, like; Review Sites, LGBT Media Organisations, Blog Tours, Awards’, (yep, I’m entering Mortal Instinct into every award category it’s eligible for), Writer Festivals/Conferences, Guest Posts …

I had an overwhelming number of places where I could market/promote but no real strategy on how to go about it. Minor detail, I thought. Just start at the beginning and go from there. It’s a trait that has served me well in the past but has also left me with a few metaphorical, and actual, scars. You think I’d learn.

Having admitted that planning isn’t my strong suite, I decided, therefore, to lay out a plan of action.

 … long pause while I grappled with my plan …

I’ve had a couple of businesses in lives previous to being a writer, based on my creativity, either of the mind or the hands, and the realisation slowly grew that I had reached the end of Mortal Instinct’s creative cycle.

It was time to switch gears and treat it as a business. A business that had to generate an income stream. (which is probably one of the better definitions of ‘business’ I’ve heard)

I spent a day in total panic, opening all of my ‘marketing’ folders and files, and madly cutting-n-pasting, and deciding to do, this, and that, and the other, until my hair resembled an unholy union between Phyllis Diller and Albert Einstein!!!

Finally, I said to myself, “Self,” I always called myself, ‘Self’.

“Self,” I said. “This isn’t going to work.” Self agreed that I am a mistress of understatement.

“What will work is this,” I said to Self. “There’s no great rush as neither ‘Best Seller Lists’ nor Hollywood are beating down the door. Pick one promoting task per day, and do it.”

Self was delighted at this solution to her dilemma and, I’m pleased to report, has been doing exactly that ever since.

There’s one more result of Mortal Instinct becoming a business. Book 2 of the ‘Gallery’ series, Journey of ECHOS (working title) has now become the focus of my creative side.


“All scenes should/need to accomplish at least 2 of 3 things: Provide background information, develop the characters, and advance the plot” – Vernor’s Law – Vernor Vinge

Please visit my ‘Mortal Instinct’ page for more information on where to purchase Mortal Instinct

(I’m going to have to work on that sentence a little!)

21 days To Go

Not that I’m going to be predictable and do a countdown or anything like that. Its just interesting to note that in this measurable period of time, I’ll step over that boundary between being a private person with a very small public persona, to a private person with a very large, global in fact, persona. An interesting perspective don’t you think?

I’m making my way through the very last chance I’ll get to craft any corrections, catch any typos, or change my mind about anything at all about my novel. Scary stuff. My mind tries to slip into the innumerable, ’what if’s’ of tweaking just one more sentence. After about 30 seconds I stop it, usually by smacking my forehead on the desk and saying, in increasing loud increments, “no, no, No, No, NO, NO, STOP !!!”

It’s not that bad really, but I am reaching the stage of thinking that if I read this sentence, paragraph, chapter, one more time, I’ll … I’ll … explode or something.


I distracted myself this evening by watching a DVD. It’s called Stranger Than Fiction’, and stars Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Queen Latifa, Tom Hulce, and Linda Hunt. It’s a slightly offbeat story about what can happen when a writers characters come alive, literally.

I’m not a big Will Ferrell fan but he put in a wonderfully understated performance that rather impressed me. And it doesn’t hurt any film to have Emma Thompson,  Queen Latifa, and Linda Hunt (one of my all time actor-ish heroes) in it, that’s for sure.

The dialogue is wonderful and all the actors do a superb job. Watch it if you get a chance.


“I began reading science fiction before I was 12 and started writing science fiction around the same time” – Octavia Butler

Another Face

What do you think? … this is more me eh? … The green one was, obviously, a transition theme.

The editing is  pretty much done. There’s only a last perusal of the pdf galleys to do a mini-errata on and we’re off to the presses!

I’m in the process of getting my ‘author pics’ taken … only, there’s a hitch. You may have noticed that Widdershins isn’t my real name, so in order to preserve my reputation as an international dyke of mystery I have found a mask to stand in my stead. It’s not your ordinary garden variety mask, but one that captures the essential Widder.

I’ll probably have it up for my next post … or the one after that, seeing as I’m back to my usual every-three-days-ish posting schedule.

The big launch will be on the 7th September. I’ll let you know where and how you can come and play with me as we get closer to the event. This is getting exciting!


“Pan me, don’t give me the part, publish everybody’s book but this one and I will still make it!”Ruth Gordon