Target achieved (almost)

December 23rd, 2019Posted by Nancy

I’m 475 words away from hitting 30,000 this year and, at the risk of invoking the displeasure of the gods, I’m relatively certain that I can manage that before midnight on December 31st.

Roughly half of them will be for the Witch Novel, bringing me to almost 62,000 for that project. I had some breakthroughs on plot this year, though there are still many murky bits on the path ahead. What do nuns have to do with this, you ask? Ah, but that would be telling…

The rest of the output was on the Not the Witch Novel, which began as a way to write something fun, fluffy, romantic, and contemporary, as a contrast to the much more ornate, Tanith Lee-influenced (Leethian? Leeish?) language in the Witch novel. Sadly, this quickly morphed into something neither fluffy or particularly romantic, though it is contemporary. I blame listening the podcast About Buildings and Cities and their episodes about Bruno Taut, Paul Scheerbart (see above), and Glass Architecture for that. Or perhaps fluffy and romantic are just not in my repertoire. The path is much murkier on this one, as evidenced by the number of question marks in my notes.

Still, I’ve had much worse years in this regard, so I will take what I can get. On to 2020!

No Comments | Add a CommentPosted in News · Uncategorized · Writing

And Some Writing Was Done

December 1st, 2019Posted by Nancy

Made it to 5,020 words, which was half of my target but better than expected. A great deal of vamping was done, some of which led to the realization that it really would be so much more dramatic if character A AND character B went to see character C but that would certainly put a crimp in character A’s plan to murder character C.

But still, drama. Possible longing glances. Confrontation.

Happy to say goodbye the November, hello to December, despite the freezing rain and snow currently rattling on the windows.

No Comments | Add a CommentPosted in Uncategorized

November is the cruelest month

November 16th, 2019Posted by Nancy

Never mind that stuff about April. Not true. November is the worst. It’s grey, it’s cold, and, for heaven’s sake, it actually snowed this week.

I’m supposed to be doing Nanowrimo and after a successful start it too went all to hell. I’m going to vaguebook this one (as they say) but it’s shitty and demoralizing and makes a girl doubt her faith in humanity.

All one can do is try to be good, swear as required, and have a martini when it gets really bad.

Perhaps December will be better. Or maybe 2020.

No Comments | Add a CommentPosted in Uncategorized

Nanowrimo again

November 2nd, 2019Posted by Nancy

October is done and it’s National Novel Writing Month again.  Not that I’m planning to write a novel in November – heaven’s forbid!  But 10,000 words is a do-able goal and I try to use this time to force myself to override my pesky internal editor and get shit done.  If I make my goal this year, that’ll put me at the a minimum of 33,000 words for 2019, which is the most I’ve done in a long, long, long, long time.

They’re not all good words and some of them are basically me vamping madly to make the word count but hey, I take what I can get.

No Comments | Add a CommentPosted in Uncategorized

Get yourself a Hallowe’en present

October 23rd, 2019Posted by Nancy

A Terrible Beauty is on sale for a short time for just $2.99 (ebook edition) at and Kobo (US sites only). Treat yourself for Hallowe’en this year.

No Comments | Add a CommentPosted in Uncategorized

Hallowe’en Book Sale!

October 18th, 2019Posted by Nancy

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… tra la la. I mean Hallowe’en, of course.

To make sure you never run out of appropriately scary things to read during this best of seasons, the good folks at Storybundle asked the amazing Sandra Kasturi to curate a special package of spooky stories. For just $15, you get 13 books to keep you up at night.

You’ll get vampires of various inclinations (from the lonely Sidonie of my book A Terrible Beauty to the ferocious creature of Michael Rowe’s Enter, Night to the teenager facing a devastating legacy in Victoria Dalpe’s Parasite Life), a brutal journey across rural Ontario with evil in Stephen Michel’s Only the Devil is Here, and the fatal folk traditions of David Demchuk’s The Bone Mother.

Plus 8 more books that are, as Sandra says, “scary on the inside”. (Which is true, because their covers are singularly lovely).

Go on now. You like to be scared, don’t you?

No Comments | Add a CommentPosted in Books

Process, process, process. Or what to think about when you can’t write.

October 5th, 2019Posted by Nancy

I have many writing avoidance behaviours, honed over the long years of my block and my continuing struggles to keep up any level of productivity. One of my favourites is finding out about other people’s process, in the hopes that somewhere there is a magic bullet that will fix mine. So far, I haven’t found it.

My first few exploratory novels were written out of order. Which really means that I tended to write all the “good bits” first and then later add the connective tissue between them. Even the first half of The Night Inside was done that way. Once I got a good chunk of it under my belt and knew where it was going, I switched over to basically writing it in order. Of course, I had to rewrite the last quarter of the book because my editor felt that my desire for realism was draining a good amount of the tension out of the story. She was right, but that didn’t make the rewrite much easier.

From then on, my process was basically “start at the beginning and keep on until you get to the end.” Even Cold Hillside, with it’s alternating narrators, worked like that, though I later changed the placement of some of the Lilit chapters.

I’m currently working on two different projects. The first one (the “real” one) is referred to as The Witch Novel. It exists in three files of varying lengths, each being the story of one of the three main POV characters. One is third person past tense, one is third person present tense, and one is second person. Those were chosen simply to keep my imagination engaged but I’ve gotten used to them. At some point, I’m going to have to start interweaving the various voices to create a single narrative that takes place over roughly 80 years. Well, once I figure out exactly what the plot is, of course.

For the second project, referred to as Not The Witch Novel or The Art Colony Thing, I’ve gone back to the “start at the beginning” process. Since it was supposed to be cute, fluffy, and romantic, I figured I’d eventually switch to writing the “good parts”. Unfortunately, the story is currently neither cute nor fluffy nor particularly romantic, so who knows what the ultimate process will be.

If anyone has a magic bullet, please shoot it my way.

No Comments | Add a CommentPosted in Uncategorized

What I read at the cottage, 2019 edition

September 18th, 2019Posted by Nancy

This year, I managed to read 16 books during our annual two weeks in Haliburton.  The seven physical books are shown above and the additional nine ebooks, sadly, exist only in the ether.

Topics ranged from a biography of Gertrude Bell (Desert Queen), a book about birds (The Thing with Feathers), a romance novel chosen after reading Beyond Heaving Bosoms (My Sweet Folly), a book about Barcelona by Robert Hughes because I’m going to Spain next year, a ghost story (Naomi’s Room), and a reread of Erica Jong’s Serenissima, because I love Venice.

Other recommendations include the very lovely Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord, The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson, and Salt to the Sea by Ruth Emprys.

Oh, and Fright into Flight, because not only are there great stories by Gemma Files and Nadia Bulkin, but my story “Consent” is also featured.

Next up: The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson.

On my “to read” list: roughly 225 books.  Sigh.

No Comments | Add a CommentPosted in Uncategorized

Books on sale! Books on sale!

August 11th, 2019Posted by Nancy

Because books on sale is always good news.  CZP is having a sale on ebook only editions this month, which means that my first three novels are available via Amazon for $2.99 each (links at the CZP site linked above). And there are two incredible short stories from the brilliant, award-winning Gemma Files plus books by Caitlin Sweet and Michael Marano as well.

What are you waiting for?

No Comments | Add a CommentPosted in Uncategorized

Travel excuses

July 21st, 2019Posted by Nancy

The Torrington gophers performing their tribute to the film “Roxanne”.

Well, not excuses not to travel. Or to travel. Just excuses to explain lack of progress in writing, no blog posts, too much good food and wine, too little exercise (except for the 20,000 steps a day trip to Alberta, which I’m fairly sure did not offset the aforementioned good food and wine).

In the last month, I’ve been in Drumheller, Banff, Muskoka, Peterborough, Pefferlaw, and home.  I’ve fallen behind in almost everything except fun.  

My travel tip for this summer is – if you’re in Drumheller, you should make a side trip to Torrington, home of the Gopher Hole Museum.  Because stuffed gophers dressed up to reflect the life of the town are a wonderful thing and the tiny museum itself is a pleasure.  They even have the letters they received after they launched in 1995.  The good folks at PETA expressed displeasure, the good folks of Torrington told them to “get stuffed” and world fame ensued.  

No Comments | Add a CommentPosted in Uncategorized