Gen X: Free Range Children

This blog is mainly about 17th century history with the occasional article about creativity, but I’ve been inspired to tackle something that has cropped up lately with the pandemic: Gen Xers ability to cope during this period of self isolation/quarantine. I’ve never thought of myself as coming with a generational label. All I knew was that I wasn’t a Baby Boomer. Since those Boomers suck the oxygen out of the room, the generation that followed had to get used to being in their shadow. But recently, I’ve been hearing more and more about Generation X, and I’m rather delighted to…

#TenMinuteTales: Confessions of a Tooth Fairy

These days, while the world is under self-isolation or quarantine, people are turning to the artists to inspire and entertain. Historical fiction author and founder of Discovering Diamonds, Helen Hollick, has gathered a collection of Ten Minute Tales to share with the world. I was very pleased to contribute an early short story that, up until now, has only been available through Red Tuque Books anthology, Canadian Tales of the Fantastic. Confessions of a Tooth Fairy is quirky magical realism, very different than my usual stories which are historical and romantic. The story came to me while I was taking…

Creating Characters: An Author’s Inspiration #writingtips #creativity #writerslife

Ask a writer if their characters are real, and they will probably say, “Define real.” Characters are real in every sense, except being flesh-and-blood. They become a writer’s constant companion even when the writer isn’t hunched over a computer screen tapping furiously away. See that faraway look in a writer’s eye when you’re talking to them? They’re probably thinking about these characters and what they’ll put them through next. So how do these characters walk into a writer’s life and become as immediate as flesh-and-blood friends? Are they constructed through a writing exercise or is there an organic method to…

The Art of Daydreaming

Have we lost the art of daydreaming? I ask myself this as I make my way through my daily commute. I see people checking their smart phones on the way to the subway, standing in the elevator, or waiting for their next bus. There’s very little talk happening on these phones; no one is speaking to one another. With each ping, our brain fires, turning us all into Pavlovs who crave that next notification from Facebook or Twitter. I remember when my commute included time for daydreaming. It seems like so long ago. I’d listen to my music, with my…

An Ode to Mary Stewart

On my 16th birthday, my best friends pooled their funds and gave me a couple of books, one being Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave. This book was my first introduction to Mary Stewart, and it sparked a lifelong admiration for her work. If I had to pick one author who inspired me the most as a writer, without hesitation it would be Mary Stewart. Over the years, I collected the rest of her stories, including the remaining books of her Merlin/Arthurian series, by haunting second hand book stores and combing through yard sale bins. I have them all, including a rare…