Snow in Victoria? What treachery is this?

Here on the west coast of Canada, we don’t do winter well. Especially in Victoria, which is a safehouse for Canadians fleeing winter across the land. But this year, we’ve had a full on winter with real snow and black ice and snow shoveling and all the rest. I even sprained my wrist after a spill on said black ice. But I’ve had the luxury of a fireplace to sit by, and a view to peer at from my new place in Victoria. I can even glimpse Craigdarroch Castle, a Scottish baronial mansion, which is perfectly fitting for the Scots theme running through much of my writing.

The benefit of real winter, though, is that things slow down, and it’s much better for getting writerly things done.  So aside from keeping the supply of hot toddies at the ready, I’ve been at work revising A Modern Education, and I’m quite pleased about that. At last sighting, the novelette weighed in at about 13,000 words. And now that I’m thinking of a couple more scenes at least, it’s going tip into baby novella territory at this rate.

Beautiful, but the tracks careening off to the left suggests that Victoria drivers may have a little trouble aiming for the road.

I’m also hatching a plan about revising the novel draft and picking up on writing the first draft of the second novel in the Professor Justin Fintry series. It’s hard to imagine that it’s only been a year since I’ve started writing this series. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m keen to get things out soon for folks to read and enjoy. I’m still weighing publication routes to pursue for this series.

Part of the fun of this series for me is the combination of archaeology and magic, and the chance to root it all in history. For the series, I’ve been researching early 1960s East Africa, and for the novelette, I’ve been taken to the early 1990s in Cambridge and London, as well as the Highlands. I’m excited to dip back into historical research for revisions on the novel draft. My goal would be to get to the UK later this year for some research, but we’ll see what’s in the cards for me this year.

Right now, it’s a long weekend in the winter, and I better get back to some editing. 🙂

2017 Brings New (Writing) Adventures

Impressionist winter dawn through the Gulf Islands.

Happy New Year! Best wishes to everyone for a great 2017 and plenty of writing and reading time too.

For me, 2017 is a big year starting with all kinds of new things, after a tough 2016. First thing for me in January is moving to a different city, and starting a new job, which I’m very excited about. Victoria is beautiful, and I’ve lived there before and enjoyed it. By some miracle, I’ve found a great place to live in 0.2% vacancy. My sacrifice to the Apartment / Flat Hunting Gods was only one (epic) spill on black ice. Vancouver, by the way, has descended into the next Ice Age this winter, and a surging glacier has taken the suburbs and is bearing on downtown. Watch out for woolly mammoths!

And with this move, I’m getting my own space again, and at last room for all my books. Many of my books have been shuffled about and in storage for quite a few of the last ten years. I’m planning on fulfilling my dream of enough shelving, after a big sort and cull. I’m sure it’ll be a voyage of rediscovery.

What I’m really looking forward to, though, is having a place to read and write.

This has been a long time in coming.

But highlights of 2016 included writing the first draft of my novel, first in a series, and my writing group. I had one short work published, and another story received an honourable mention in a contest. I discovered the main character I never expected to have, and started developing a whole world the series. So 2016 did have a silver lining for me.

My main writing goal for 2017 is to finish the draft, through a couple more rounds of edits and revisions, and get going on book two.

And at long last, reading time! I have a reading mountain, rather than a pile to get caught up with, slowly but surely. If you’re curious, you can track my reading adventures on Goodreads.

Happy writing in 2017! 🙂

The Galloping Consumption + NaNoWriMo 2016

My outlining set-up, with all the colours. I like to go analogue and start scratching out notes on index cards. Behold at the top of the screen, outlining in progress for book 2.

I had the best of intentions for NaNoWriMo this year:

I had the outline ready for book 2 for my Professor Justin Fintry series, plus most of my background prep in order.

After a very busy summer of physio and such things, I was more than ready to set into some first draft writing.

What better motivation than NaNoWriMo?

I participated in NaNoWriMo last year, and won. I wrote the first version of book 1 in my series from November through to the end of January. And then I started in fairly quickly on the new and improved book 1 from February to May. I had all kinds of plans of writerly things to do this past summer, but physio and active rehab took over.

So, right. I was motivated. And ready. I’d been psyching myself up for NaNoWriMo for months.

And then I got the damned galloping consumption (read: bronchitis, not tuberculosis) at the start of November.

My plans went out the window fairly quickly, but I flailed about for the first week of November, trying to write. I lost my voice entirely for a week and then squeaked for another. You’d think being quiet would be good for writing, but nope. Days of fever, foggy brain, etc. And that cough.

I’m kind of scared to go back and see what I wrote.


I did write over 16,000 words, including two more chapters for that book 1 draft, and two starting chapters for book 2. So that’s definitely better than nothing, but it would take some manner of Christmas miracle to get my 50K words in before midnight on the 30th.

Which brings me nicely to December.

I figured: Hey self, since we’re all geared up for NaNo, and prepared, and now at least in the final stages of the whooping cough (apparently I enjoy being overly dramatic), why not write in December? Christmas tends to be low key around here, so why not?

Now the odds are looking good that I may be moving cities next month on fairly short notice, but I don’t know for certain yet. Because who doesn’t enjoy that sort of thing at the last minute? 🙂 Think of it as the ultimate in writerly procrastination.

Now I need to go wash some walls and wheeze quietly in a corner.

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo 2016? How did you fare?