Monday, November 27, 2006

Donnacona's Oki

For those dedicated few who visit my blog (and you are a select band, I feel sure), apologies again. The race to the finish line of the third YA novel, distracted by having to do the page proofs on the second, the record snowfall, the sprouting child, all all conspire against me. I will improve, honest. If I can just get past these next two weeks…

Always great to return to a nearly complete novel. Reminds me that my present struggle is just a stage in the process. ‘Vendetta’ is sequel to ‘The Fetch’ and is now at that stage where I can merely look for misprunts… but also its my last chance to bait a hook for the one I am finishing now. It is the problem with series writing, if there is a gap between books, or if you hop around in time as I do in my Jack Absolute series. Vital things that you wish you’d put in, missing.

Mostly, I’ve caught them. A memorable one…

April 2002. I was staying at Hawthornden Castle, near Edinburgh, a writer’s retreat for a month. Me, loose in a medieval castle? It was, well, bliss. Anyway, I’d started running again, after a year’s lay off for injury. Was running down an abandoned railway track when a deer leapt across my path, vaulted a hedge, vanished. And I thought of my second ever novel, Blood Ties, where the tribe I dealt with were the Tahontaenrat, or People of the White Tail Deer. The book was going to the printers that week. And I suddenly remembered that I’d forgotten to deal with a very important piece of power, a strangely shaped stone given to the young native hero by his Uncle – Donnacona’s Oki. So I ran faster, back to my room in the attic in the relatively modern part of the castle (1632), attached my cell phone to my computer (feeling very 21st Century!) and send off a rewrite to the publishers, begging them to put it in.

They did. I may never write the book. But if I do, Donnacona’s oki must be in it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Lemming

I’m lost in second draft land. Hence my lamentable absence from the blogosphere.
What happened to Time? Why am I always running like a lemming towards the cliff? I always pictured myself as a ‘lie on the hillside and stare at the clouds’ kind of fellow. These days, I barely look up.
Is this a common writer’s malady? (Or should that be a ‘writer’s common malady’?) I told my wife once, in a drunken moment, that I would go out with a question, not an answer. I think its probably true. But it doesn’t promise much time for lying back and staring.
Is there a place you reach (in time and space) when you can just sit back and go, ‘Ah!’?
Back to the cliff!
(By the way, I've just realised I have a thing for rodents. Two of my postings deal with them)

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Just back from a weekend at Long Beach, Vancouver Island. Next landfall: Japan.

A couple of years ago I realised that the thing I loved to do most in the world was - uh hum Quiet in the back there! – body surf. And made a sort of vow to do it at least once a year.

Long Beach this time was a sudden surprise. We were meant to be somewhere else. So I hired the suit and took to the waves. Bit choppy, no huge runs. Rains lashing down. But just to be in that water! Its why I love just using the body. You are in the wave, not on top of it. To quote Braveheart: Freeeeeedommmm!

Don’t think I thought about ‘Ragnarok’ for a week. Can’t wait to read it through tomorrow.