A whole new world!

So while IN SECRET KEPT is simmering in the lockbox and guarded by dwarves and dragons, I’ve been attempting to wrench my mind onto the next project. The effort has been Herculean because my fingers are itching to get back to SECRET and start working on the three pages of notes I have for revision.


And then comes the Doctor, and whispers words of wisdom…




So I’ve been working on the new novel, of the steampunk variety. Originally it was set in the same world as SECRET, just at a later point in history. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn’t. There were things I wanted to do with the story that I couldn’t do if it was set in that world. So I pulled it out.

And that’s when everything EXPLODED.


With this newfound freedom (if you will), the project definitely became a novel (huzzah! I was never happy with it just as a short) and I started seeing new characters and relationships and possibilities, oh my!

It’s also terrifying because it’s a whole new world (sing with me! You know you want to!). This is not something I’ve been living with for years, this is something brand-spanking new.

So once more into breach and boldly going where I’ve not gone before, and all that jazz.

See you on the other side.

The stories we tell: a love letter to books and writing

Well. On the list of things I’m supposed to be doing, blogging isn’t one of them.



Team Spike, yo.
Team Spike, yo.


It’s the end-ish of August so academia is moving rather more slowly at the moment because my brain is tired and just wants to be creative. So to that end: a blog post which is a love letter to stories that have blown my mind.

There are two books that spring to mind, both of which are recent discoveries (I’ll save my Tolkien love letter for another day, heh): Deathless by Catherynne Valente and Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.


Deathless had me the moment I realized it was about Koschei the Deathless*. It’s twisted and dark and blood-streaked – and utterly ALIVE. And the prose is stunning and perfectly captures the Russian voice. Cruel Beauty drew me initially because of the cover** and the more I stared at it, the more I perused it, the more I was drawn into it. Anything that has echoes of Greek mythology, Beauty and the Beast (and a host of other fairy tales) and even Til We Have Faces*** by C.S. Lewis is my cup of tea. So I bought it and devoured it in a day. It’s dark and utterly exquisite. I’m rereading it now and as enamoured as ever. Again, beautiful prose.

So what’s my point? My point is that a) both these books blew my fracking mind and you need to read them now, and b) I hit the end of both and thought I want to tell stories like that.

The stories that sweep you up and take you places and leave you emotionally compromised even as you’re reaching for page 1 all over again.  The stories that linger. The stories of love that are complicated yet never in doubt. These are the stories I want to tell.

So when I’m tired and blech and it feels too much like work, I remember my dream. I remember why I’m doing this.

And then everything makes sense all over again.


Far vel!


*and if you don’t know who that is, hie thee to Wikipedia and educate thyself in the beauties of Russian folklore.

**because let’s face it, it’s the cover that launched a thousand ships. Seriously. SERIOUSLY.

***And if you haven’t read Til We Have Faces you need to rethink your life.

Revisions & neon signs

Aaaaand, that’s a draft!


‘Scuse me while I fill my wine glass in celebration.

So. Yes. This is the second complete draft of the novel In Secret Kept. The entire second half has been rewritten because I stared at what I’d written originally and realized there was no way the characters would act that way. So I rewrote it.

Funny thing about revisions? They get you closer to the truth. Closer to what the story’s about. This is the second revision (not counting those that came, literally, well over a decade ago. Yes, this novel has been with me for that long), and the more I work on it, the more I start to feel like this:

Mushu nails it.

And one of my plot twists took a plot twist I DID. NOT. SEE. COMING.  And I fought it. Which was my first clue that it was what was supposed to happen. Second clue was when the thing proceeded to map itself out for me. Third clue was when I woke up the next morning it was all still there despite the fact that I hadn’t written it down.

Yeah. Ok. Neon sign. Gotcha.

So I wrote. And now it’s finished. And now it has to sit and simmer for a few weeks while I attempt to distract myself with academia and other fiction writing. And when it’s been a few weeks, or a month, I’ll pull it out again and get to work.

In the meantime, I’m gonna raise my glass of lovely French wine and give a Scottish toast, ’cause that’s how I roll.