On Writing

A selection of posts about the business and mechanics of writing.

  • Observations Made After a Great Fall
    January 25, 2017

    Went down the rabbit hole last week. I haven’t had a major depressive episode in a while, so it was a wake-up call.

    Curiously – or curiouser and curiouser, I suppose, in keeping with the Alice theme – my recent improved mental health has given me some different perspectives on what it means to be ill.

        1. It’s interesting that my depression is seen as part of my creative process by many. This is not the case. Depression stands in the way of everything I do. I have to fight ten times as hard to write when I’m depressed. I get nothing ... more...
        2. Welcome to 2016!
          February 25, 2016

          Wow! What a difference six months make!

          When we last spoke, gentle readers, I was lamenting the mess at Fan Expo that left me and the other authors I love seeing every year at this event out in the… well, definitely not “cold” at that time of year in Toronto, so let’s say “in the street” instead. I honestly still am not sure what I’ll do this year when it comes to Toronto’s biggest comic convention, and time is running out to make that decision.

          But I do have a lot on my plate, a gargantuan amount actually, and all of it is pretty urgent. Not to mention FUN!

          First, the main reason for the lack of website updates is that I’ve been hard at work on my first short film in several years, a passion piece I wrote a long way back that’s finally being realized. In it, I play Petra Ramsay, ... more...

        3. Con Update mid-2015
          August 8, 2015

          First of all, apologies as usual. I have not only done several conventions since  the last time I posted in Events, I also have released two new books! Yeah, a little apology, a little brag. Hopefully in a tasteful ratio.

          First, the cons.

          I attended both Ottawa Comicon, and Montreal, which are both run by the same organization. These have quickly become favourites of mine: they get the best guests and treat vendors and artists alike as well as the celebs. It’s a joy — especially since I’ve been able to host panels at two Montreal Comicons in a row, both of which were immensely successful and rewarding.

          This year, I did my time travel panel — always a hell of a good time, and especially exciting because I end up with a list as long as my arm of new stuff to read and watch. Thank you to all of the attendees ... more...

        4. Ad Astra 2015
          April 7, 2015

          It’s time to get out on the circuit again!

          This year, my first major convention is Ad Astra in North Toronto, April 10-12, at the Sheraton Parkway. Although I won’t be on any panels (due to overwhelming and timely applications!) I will be appearing at the brand new demo space Saturday 13:00 and 15:00, and Sunday 13:00 with either author Kit Daven or Amanda Portelli. Check your program guide for details!

          6x9_Front_Cover_smAd Astra will also be your first chance to get your hands on a copy of my newest novel, YA sci-fi fantasy LEIA OF EARTH. If you’ve been following other posts, you may have seen the gorgeous colour cover or a picture of Bast, the ti-cat. Bast is the tetchy companion of Lyra, Princess of the planet Syltasia, a golden kitten-sized catlike creature with a long, prehensile tail. But she doesn’t use ... more...

        5. My Biggest Fan
          August 27, 2014

          It’s here, and it’s biiiiiiggah and bettah than ever! Well, at the very least, that’s my intention: you gotta go big when you go home.

          I started out this crazy whirlwind of a comiconning career (nothing to do with conning ie fooling people; I’m all honesty itself) last year at Ad Astra. I love Ad Astra: it’s a gorgeous, sweet-feeling, panel-rich con that seems to specialize in attracting cool authors and small vendors with unique goods.

          And then I went from that to the biggest enchilada of them all, the largest con in Canada, third in North America after only the behemoths of San Diego and New York. I’d attended twice previously but my first year as a vendor was eye-opening and pretty damned beneficial.

          For one very important thing, I met the lovely Amanda Portelli, PR maven and — more importantly — very discerning reader. ... more...

        6. How to Write a Successful Hollywood Film
          August 9, 2014

          It isn’t that Hollywood is out to make bland, bad films. It’s just apparently the industry has forgotten entirely what used to make them good. Or, at the very least, is just supremely good at making them mediocre…

          If you know my writing (and, well, my attitude — I’m not exactly quiet when it comes to the subject), you’ll know that colouring within the lines is not exactly my thing. I take my craft pretty damn seriously, and that’s why I try to up the ante with each major piece of writing I attempt: hone the style, find unique ways of looking at a fictional world and portraying the characters who inhabit it, and try oh so hard to keep you guessing about what’s going to happen.

          Let’s face it. An astonishing self-serving message from Amazon claims that books compete directly against ... more...

        7. Con gone 🙁
          August 8, 2014

          So it’s official — I won’t be at Wizard World Chicago this year. Amanda and I were looking forward to reconnecting with some of the great folks we met at Austin last year, like quick-draw wiz Bordin Marsinkul (Hyperbooster Studio).

          That means that this year, your only conventioning opportunity to get up close and personal will be at Fan Expo. Now, it’s sometimes a little tough finding the authors at the good old Fex (say it out loud, and you’ll hear what it does to most of us participants). Last year, we were tucked in under the down escalator, so if you didn’t accidentally go the wrong direction to the dealer’s room, you might have missed us altogether.

          That’s why I’m putting out a call for some hunky gentleman who’d like to suit up like perhaps a gladiator or whatever Thor knock-off we can ... more...

        8. Fragment: They chase him up the rocks
          July 28, 2014

          I’ve been asked to give a little insight on how I get my ideas for the more bizarre aspects of my stories. In response, I’ve decided to post a few little excerpts from my “dream journals,” beginning with this one.

          I started writing down my dreams when I was about ten or eleven, and by thirteen (the age of my heroine Maggie Stuart when we encounter her first in The Last Rite), I was devoting a full book to them.

          What changed in the first two years was both how I recorded my memories of the previous night’s phantoms, and the use I intended for them. Instead of seeing my dream journal as “private writing” which could be somewhat devoid of style, I tried to write them as stories in their own right, albeit ones often without clear ... more...

        9. What An Idea Isn’t
          June 29, 2014

          So you have a great idea. Congratulations, contestant! Now, let me tell you what you HAVEN’T won.

          The first time I finished my first novel, it was 1994. I had just returned from a month in Nova Scotia where I’d parlayed 200 pages into 600 (double-spaced—the word count was around 120,000) and had a first draft.

          The 200 pages, though, had begun with an idea I’d begun to develop after having a particularly good dream at the age of 13, and then spending four months writing a third of the story I developed from that idea into an actual novel.

          I self-published a reworked and re-edited version of the book in 2002 through one of the first “print-on-demand” outfits, the Great Unpublished, which became Global Book, then Booksurge, and which is now in fact the Amazon-owned Createspace. This was mostly, actually, due to the prohibitive cost of photocopying the manuscript or printing it ... more...

        10. Officially Selected
          June 10, 2014

          Wow — another year and the Female Eye Film Festival is back for another round, packed with amazing contributions from Canada and around the world.

          fcasI’ve been lucky enough to see a smattering of future Female Eye films pass through WILDsound during my tenure there, and also to have directed a reading of a terrific script that went on to become a part of its Script Reading Series (Dressed in a Black Flag, by Mark Winzer, about pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read).

          Now, I’m even luckier, with my own feature screenplay ALIEN HOUSE PARTY an official selection of this year’s Female Eye!

          The reading will be on Saturday, June 21st at one pm, at Artscape Youngplace, Flex Studio (180 Shaw Street, Toronto, just west of Trinity Bellwoods Park). It will be hosted ... more...