Talking of School

August! Another couple of weeks and schools will open, and I shall (hopefully) get back to a more writerly routine. Hello, alarm clock. I have not missed you.

Talking of school, I came across an old photograph a few days ago – my fifth grade class picture. None of us are looking particularly happy. Mrs. Henderson, our squat and grumpy class teacher, sits in the middle, looking the least happy. I do not have fond memories of her. But I do have very strong memories of that time. I got to thinking how important school was in my childhood, how large a part it played, and how different it is for my kids these days. Continue reading

Posted in Life and all that stuff | Leave a comment

Summer SF/F Reads, Reviews and Updates

My goodness, July is almost over! Nearly half the summer vacation gone, and what do I have to show for it? Several delicious reads, for one thing. Here is my recommended list:

strangerinolondriaA Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar
Jevick, a pepper merchant’s son, heads to Olondria and adventure, little knowing the pitfalls that await him. Richly imagined secondary world fantasy, beautiful and lush – descriptive writing at its best. A gourmet meal of a book! Not hard to see why it won the 2014 World Fantasy Award. I am now reading it’s companion novel, The Winged Histories. Continue reading

Posted in Books and media, Science fiction and fantasy, Writing | Tagged , , ,

Biking (and writing) on the P’tit train du Nord

I have always bemoaned the slow, inexorable vanishing of Canadian trains. Steam-powered railways were integral to the building of Canada as a nation. Trains were the arteries connecting the heart of our country with its limbs, opening settlement in the west. But everyone drives now – there are highways and (if we’re lucky) buses, where once there were only trains. At the very least, I think, cities should have some link with the transportation of their past. St John’s, NL, for instance, has a lovely train museum where you can read about the history of the trains, and wish they still ran. The train route is now a hiking trail. Continue reading

Posted in Travel, Writing | Tagged | 4 Comments

Beautiful Puerto Rico

I went to Puerto Rico in May: the shoulder season, between the cruise ships and the hurricanes. The best time to go, even though I got drenched a couple of times and it was perishingly hot in the sun. Walk in the shade in the old town of San Juan, ducking into cafes or bars if it gets too hot, or treat yourself to a Piragua – a flavored snow cone. Stay out late, until the sun dips below the horizon and the music starts. And I’m not just talking of the human kind. I’m talking of frogs. Wander into the Plaza de Colón, near the dense shrubbery, and you will hear the seriously loud Coquí frog. Never failed to delight me! Continue reading

Posted in Travel | Tagged ,

Komagata Maru – an apology at last

Have you all heard of the 1914 Komagata Maru ‘incident’? A Japanese steamship called Komagata Maru, full of hopeful immigrants from Punjab, India, sailed from Hong Kong to Vancouver, Canada. At the time, India was still under the yoke of the British Empire, and the men were technically British subjects, and so argued they should have the freedom to travel anywhere in the British Empire. However, most of the passengers were not allowed to land in Canada and the ship was forced to turn back to India. Upon its return to Calcutta, the ship was met by a British gunboat. Nineteen of the passengers were shot dead, and many of the rest were imprisoned. Continue reading

Posted in Life and all that stuff, Writing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

April News and Writerly Updates

The sun is out, it’s a beautiful spring day in Toronto, and I’ve finished the revisions to Markswoman weeks before my deadline! What more could I want?

Oh yes. I want a magic wand so that the second book gets magically written. I have been working on it, just not as productively as I should be. I have my first 60 pages, going to be hitting the middles soon, will certainly get bogged down, and okay, I binge-watched the entire 14 episodes of Firefly. I’d still be watching, if there were any more. Continue reading

Posted in Science fiction and fantasy, Writing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Family Ghost

SockdolagerSpringVery pleased to report that my short story The Family Ghost is now live at The Sockdolager in the Spring 2016 issue. This is a story about love, family and ghosts, set in rural India. A young girl is married off to a young man she barely knows. How does her mother protect her from overbearing in-laws? It’s a light-hearted story that, I hope, will make you smile. But I was thinking of deeper issues while writing it. Perhaps you will think of them too. Continue reading

Posted in Science fiction and fantasy, Writing | Tagged , , | 5 Comments