Monthly Archives: February 2012

Living Other Lives

Sometimes I wish I could steal someone else’s life.

An acquaintance of mine runs an organic farm. She spends her summers on the land making things grow. In the winter she curls up in her cozy cabin, tucked far away from the demands of the world, and writes poetry. She takes wonderful nature photos on her farm, too, and they make me want her life — or those pieces of it, anyway — so badly I can taste it.

Paris at dusk

Paris at dusk. Copyright Siri Paulson, 2007.

In another dream life, I’m a world traveller, an expatriate, living somewhere more glamorous, more full of history and culture, than anywhere in Canada. Or I’m a nomad, trekking across far-flung corners of the world or sailing across all the oceans, seeing everything I’ve ever yearned to see.

I might have been a scientist; I started out my university career as a physics major with astronomy in mind. I might have gone into marine biology and swum with whales and sharks, or ecology and lived in rain forests studying tiny frogs and bromeliads. I might have worked for National Geographic and gone down the Marianas Trench or photographed wildebeest migration in Africa.

For a while I badly wanted to be a filmmaker. I’ve dabbled in several kinds of dance, learned several musical instruments, and sung in several choirs. Another acquaintance is a weaver and a puppet-maker and a designer of yarny things; her house when I was growing up was filled with the most amazing art of all kinds, and I want my house to be like that too. I drew all the time when I was young. These days I knit slowly, painstakingly, and wish I had the skills to design knitting patterns.

Since I could never do all that in one lifetime, it’s a good thing I’m a writer. My characters have crossed deserts and tundras, travelled in tall ships and spaceships, experienced zero gravity, lived through World War II and the Black Plague, played music for kings, done magic, travelled through time, fought with swords, met aliens, shapeshifted, birthed and fathered children. I’m grateful for all of it.

Question for readers: What other lives do you wish you’d had?

Question for writers: What’s the best vicarious experience you’ve gotten to live through your writing?


New Books: Queen’s Man and Of Myth and Memory

For my second Books & Media Monday, I’d like to highlight a couple of indie books that I’m looking forward to for various reasons.

ebook cover for Queen's Man by KD Sarge

The redhead with the smirk is Joss; the tall, dark, handsome one is Zeke.

First up, we have a cover reveal — a first look at Queen’s Man by KD Sarge. KD is one of the authors I work with when I’m wearing my editor’s hat at Turtleduck Press, an indie press running on a co-op model (more about that another day). Queen’s Man is a science fiction novel, heavy on the characters and action, and…well, head over to KD’s blog to read more. Queen’s Man is due out on April 1, but if you’re curious, a short story introducing the world and some of the characters will be up on Turtleduck Press on March 1. KD also has two other novels out through Turtleduck Press, as well as a short story in an anthology, Winter’s Night, that also features my writing.

Cover image for Of Myth and Memory by Kathryn Anthony

Anthology cover

Second, some good news from another indie author. Kathryn Anthony has just released a short story anthology, Of Myth & Memory: Fictions & Labyrinths. While I haven’t read this one yet, I recently finished her first anthology, Persephone’s Library and Other Stories, featuring a variety of post-apocalyptic short stories. They’re beautifully written, bittersweet and thought-provoking. I’m excited to read more of her work. In addition to the two anthologies, she has also released a fantasy novel and two Regency romances.

If either of these books sounds like your cup of tea, I hope you’ll consider showing their authors some love.

Question for readers: What indie books have you gotten excited about recently?

Weekly Roundup

Welcome to my first weekly roundup. This is where I share the neatest things that caught my eye recently, the things that made me smile or go “Wow” or made me think. Enjoy!

General Geekery and science

Doctor Who knitted gear:

DIY polyhedra garlands:

Scientists have regenerated a plant from a 30,000-year-old seed:–russians-regenerate-plant-from-30-000-year-old-frozen-burrow-of-ice-age-squirrel

Sleeping in two four-hour chunks may be proven by history to be more natural for humans:


Survivors of domestic abuse walk the runway (note: I’m not a big fan of high fashion and runway culture and all that, but this is pretty cool anyway):

For the Writers (and interested third parties)

Jennifer Crusie on first person vs. third person (I know you’ve read a lot about point of view, but this one is really good):

Justine Musk on how to find the big truth of your writing:

Kristen Lamb on when to write prologues (and when not to):

Jody Hedlund on not succumbing to perfectionism:

Juliette Wade (and friends) on considerations for food, agriculture, and diet in your worldbuilding:

That’s all for this week, folks. I’ll see you back here on Monday!

Surviving the End of Winter

I have a confession to make.

Normally I hate February. I’m not too keen on January or March either. The holidays are over, New Year’s resolutions are shot, and summer is a long ways off. Here in Toronto, the weather doesn’t turn warmer until April. Even then it’s likely to stay cool and rainy for another month or two, but at least there are spring buds to watch. I’m a solar-powered kind of girl, so I find late winter/early spring to be a tough slog.

This year, though, it hasn’t been so bad. My best guesses as to why:

1. I’ve been busy making plans. I’ve got some big plans for later this year — more on those another time — and they’ve kept me focused on the future instead of the cold, gloomy present.

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Response: The Woman in Black

I will be the first to admit that I’m not a horror fan. But I am a fan of gothic stories, which is why I decided to see The Woman in Black (2012).

Movie poster for The Woman in Black, 2012

The Woman in Black (2012)

From a gothic perspective, this story has it all — a beautifully decayed manor house, a period setting, deadly supernatural occurrences, a skeptical outsider, a crazy woman, an isolated village full of people behaving strangely, a train, a harsh landscape (in this case a marsh). It also features some very creepy vintage children’s toys.

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New blog coming online

As WordPress says, hello world! This is my brand-new author blog. You can read more about me here. Please have a look around, get comfortable, and say hi. I look forward to getting to know you.