5 Habits I Didn’t Know Were Strange Until People Told Me

Well, I found a stock photo of it so it can't be that unusual.

Well, I found a stock photo of it so it can’t be that unusual.

As a writer, I trade upon odd and unusual characteristics.

Conventional writing wisdom says that a story’s protagonist, no matter how much of an everyday, person-in-your-neighbourhood s/he’s meant to represent, should possess some special quality –  something that not only makes him/her memorable but also plays a role in motivating and ultimately resolving the story’s plot.

I mine a lot of my own life in my creation of characters – both my own characteristics and those of people I observe.  I then proceed to spend months and years with these fictional people, to the point that they become like real people to me: fully-realized, self-determining, and with certain traits in common with me.

This, I suppose, has the effect of inuring me to my own oddities.

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There’s No Such Thing as a Writing Birthday (and how I celebrated mine)

Sad birthdayThe morning began as most as winter workdays do, which is to say dark, and because of that, what felt far too early to me.

This year, I made a conscious effort to remember my writing birthday – to commemorate it on the actual day, or if nothing else, to at least make note of it.  February 12: in truth, an arbitrarily-chosen day meant to mark the start of my first (incomplete, shelved) novel as approximated through a forensic accounting some emails I sent to a friend around that time.

I’m an Aquarius writer.

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Why I Don’t Read Five-Star Book Reviews

Amazon star ratingsEver since my very first Amazon book purchase on October 25, 2002, I’ve never stopped debating myself on the value of customer book reviews.

(If you ever want to enjoy a nostalgia-filled blast through the past, go through your Amazon purchase history order by order, year by year, back to the very beginning.)

On the one hand, professional reviewers aren’t always giving in-depth reviews of the books I read or want to read.  As well, there are way more customer reviewers out there; the law of averages alone suggests I’m more likely to share tastes with an amateur than a pro, many of whom fall into more similar social demographics to each other than to me.

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Thoughts on Nearing the End

Book near the end

I should qualify this by saying I mean the end of my novel.

(Were I talking the end of my life, my thoughts would be considerably different, and if nothing else, I’d perhaps be referring back to this post about my bucket list.)

Ending a novel is hard.  The fact that I’ve done it twice thus far in my writing career hasn’t made it any easier.  Perhaps this is because only once did I consciously do so since my “two-book” series-in-progress grew to three books initially without my realizing it.

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Character Study: Dido Belle Lindsay from Belle, history, the present & the future

Belle movie posterSOMETHING I LOVE MOST about historical fiction is the opportunity to contemplate the lives of little and lesser known people – those who weren’t among history’s winners whose story and version of events have been codified into what mainstream society accepts as The Way Things Actually Happened.

When I blogged about my favourite media of 2014, I included the movie Belle, which I watched during my plane ride home from Australia.

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It’s Easier Than You Think to Make Homemade Pizza

Homemade pizza on homemade crust

Homemade vegetarian pizza on homemade crust

I’m not much of a cook.

Not because I don’t know how, but rather because I can’t really be bothered to get fancy with my food.

I have about five or six main dishes that I cycle through every few weeks.  Being a vegetarian, almost all of my meals contain varying combinations of the same key vegetables.

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Watching Netflix Made Me a Better Writer (and I bet I’m not the only one!)


It was around this time in 2014 that I first signed up for Netflix.

It’s hard to believe I’ve only been watching Netflix for a year, unless you happen to know me well. I’m perpetually late to everything new and cool.  The last thing I adopted early was Gmail back in 2006 when you needed to be invited to by someone already using it.

As well, I went through a period of about six years where I stopped watching TV and movies altogether.

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