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Play Outside

Play Outside

I’ve been working on a new novel, but when I’m not writing, I’ve been out in my garden. It feels like mid-summer in our little corner of the world: cloudless skies and warm breezes, butterflies and birds. A pair of Brewer’s Blackbirds have built a nest in my hedge, and they swear furiously at me as I dig in the dirt — I think I’ve already picked up a few curse words in bird-tongue. If you wish to stay in…

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Looks Can Be Deceiving

Looks Can Be Deceiving

My house is really, really small. I mean, tiny! It’s comically cramped and crooked. The building started as a timber shed for a coal mining company, but back then, in the late 1800s, it was just a single room made of rough-cut fir, hand-hewn from forests which had stood, unmolested, for millennia. Once ancient trees, then a timber shed, now my bathroom – from lovely to lumber to lavatory. Something to ponder while sitting on the toilet. The coal company…

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Monster Monday: the Kraken

Monster Monday: the Kraken

If you were to create a Venn diagram of ‘where the humans live’ and ‘where the Pacific Octopus lives’, I would be sitting in the middle of the overlap, and yet I’ve never seen one in the wild. I’ve seen bears, and wolves, and even the famously-elusive cougar, but despite entire summers spent submerged in the ocean, I’ve never seen an octopus. I know the octopus is out there but I can’t see it, no matter how hard I try,…

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The Problem with Previews

The Problem with Previews

For a long time, I assumed that the quality of movies was on the downslide, and in a cynical, crotchety old-lady voice, I’d complain about the lack of substance in modern cinema. I’d shake my tiny fist and say, “Films aren’t what they used to be! Why, back in MY day, we had quality shows! Good, solid epics! Worth the price of admission!” But I’ve come to recognize that movies aren’t getting worse. On the contrary, movies are pretty much…

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Hundred Thousand Billion Poems

Hundred Thousand Billion Poems

Where can one find Raymond Queneau’s Cent Mille Milliard des Poemes? Goodness, I must lay my hands upon it, even though I know I will never be able to read it! Created in such a way that one shuffles the poem lines to discover newer and richer poems with each combination, it has been designed to take more than a lifetime to digest. It’s an impossible book, and I can not possibly express how much that makes my heart sing! But where can I…

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Blustery Sunday

Blustery Sunday

It’s been stormy on the island lately, but the sun broke through the clouds on Sunday afternoon, which gave us just enough time to visit Goose Spit and run through the surf, filming the blue sky and the white waves. Goose Spit is a flexible sand spit, which means it shifts and changes as nearby Willemar Bluffs sheds its sandy interior. The spit is long and narrow like a crooked finger, and together with Gartley Point, marks the boundary of…

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Cumberland Mines

Cumberland Mines

“The main foyer of the mine was a long, broad hall carved from the seam. Thick timbers supported the roof, each one as big as my waist, but all around me I sensed the impending crush of weight – tons and tons of stone pressing down upon us. The hot, moist, dusty air smelt like sweat and vinegar, a pungent fragrance that caught in the back of my throat and made me strain for breath. Broken lamps hung from hooks…

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Queen Victoria’s Scarf

Queen Victoria’s Scarf

Sometimes, research takes you into new and unforeseen subjects, and when I started investigating the role of crochet in Victorian society, I was certainly NOT expecting stories of valour and heroism in the theatre of war. So the story goes, Queen Victoria was a great proponent of crochet. She was originally introduced to crochet by way of a gift of Irish crochet lace, and took up the hobby in the 1840s. As a fashion icon*, her interest in Irish lace…

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Immerse yourself in words!

Immerse yourself in words!

Do you love writing? Or reading? Or enjoying a creative afternoon where everyone is sharing and being inspired by new ideas? OF COURSE YOU DO! Come and join us at the 2018 North Island Writers Conference on Saturday, January 27 at NIC’s Comox Valley campus. Discuss storytelling, editing, play-writing, fiction, non-fiction… it’ll be lots of fun!  Sessions are $25 each, and students can attend free by contacting the organizers. For more information, have a look at the poster below, or…

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North Island Writers’ Conference

North Island Writers’ Conference

I’m excited to be a part of this year’s NI Writers Conference, held at the Courtenay campus of North Island College on January 27th! I’m part of a panel that will be discussing creative non-fiction*, and I look forward to sharing some researching tips, talking about adventures in museums, and reading from my historical mystery novels. For more information and to register, visit the CV Writers Society website. I look forward to seeing you there, and we can chat history,…

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