Circling the important stuff

This speaks so readily to me. The stories never quite flow right if I haven’t really gotten theme locked in. And it absolutely was an evolution in my writing life (alongside a brilliant course I got to take on theme with Jess Wells.)

Brey Willows

psychology-1957264_640.jpgA writer and teacher I greatly admire once said during a lecture that many writers find themselves revolving around themes. At first it’s a subconscious thing, and then with each book (or story), if you can step back and look at your work, you’ll find you dance around particular issues that mean something to you. Knowing this can deepen your work and make it more meaningful.

I’ve just finished editing a printed draft of my book Spinning Tales, which is out around February. It’s already with my editor, but I always go over it again myself, with old fashioned pen and paper, to see if I can spot areas I’d change/make better. Toward the end of this process, I started thinking about my next book, which I’ll be starting on shortly.

A quick side-step:

Robyn and I are both dealing with family matters right now, and we’re both worried about…

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Musings on what a forced return to an old curriculum means for teachers

Because it matters.

Creating Consent Culture

If you live in Ontario, you have probably heard by now that the provincial government announced a litany of education-related edicts yesterday. Among them was a warning to teachers: “We will not tolerate anybody using our children as pawns for grandstanding and political games. And, make no mistake, if we find somebody failing to do their job, we will act.”

Yesterday, I went on a Twitter spree, live-tweeting an analysis of the re-issued 2010 curriculum document for grades 1 to 8 (Notably, they haven’t replaced the document for grades 9-12). My tweet thread is here, if you want to wade through it, but I warn you, it’s pretty excessive. I’m going to try to break it down to a much more manageable piece of writing as a way to support teachers on the ground, afraid of what all this means.


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You must write every day—my favourite BS notion.

Cait is right.

Spoonie Authors Network

I have been trying so hard to stay out of social media arguments these days, stopping myself from reading or writing comments. Mostly because I find it comes to nothing in the end and drains my spoons.

But then a thing happened this week I couldn’t ignore.

A quote appeared on my Twitter timeline from an account that purports to give writer advice:

Compel yourself to write several hours every day no matter how bad you feel.


Seriously. Several hours. Every day. No matter how bad you feel.

If you follow me, you know that I’m disabled because of fibromyalgia. Many days the pain in my hands is too acute for me to type. Sometimes the pain in the rest of my body becomes so intense, I can barely concentrate. Not to mention the debilitating fatigue that comes with sustaining all that constant pain. Sounds like the…

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‘Nathan Burgoine’s First Short-Story Collection, reviewed by Jeff Baker.

A perfect thing to wake up to in the morning. Thank you, Jeff!


o-of-echoes-bornOf Echoes Born

Reviewed by Jeff Baker

“Of Echoes Born” is the first short story collection by ‘Nathan Burgoine. (Bold Strokes Books, 2018.) Maybe better known for his novels, Burgoine has been one of the best writers in the shorter form working in the field of LGBT science fiction and fantasy in recent years. Now he has put together twelve stories linked together by theme and character, including the very clever idea of the story introductions being told by his character Ian through his unwanted gift of visions which include colors indicating emotional states or even sickness.

The deeper reds, the richer reds, the ones reaching within and spreading out like wings? Those reds change the world. People march with those reds, they defend with those reds, and they fight tooth and nail with those reds.

The bulk of the stories feature characters that may be semi-autobiographical; young men on…

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Of Echoes Born – ‘Nathan Burgoine (Bold Strokes Books)

Well now, this is how you start a Monday off right…

Huge thank-you to Anthony R. Cardno and Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews.

Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews

Buy from Bold Strokes Books

It’s no surprise given the title of ‘Nathan Burgoine’s new collection that the twelve stories herein are built on echoes. Colors, sounds, emotions, and characters reverberate both within each story and between them. Supporting characters from one story take center stage in another and get referred to in passing in a third. Readers familiar with Burgoine’s other works will see echoes of those in here as well. The theme is present even in the collection’s structure: half of the stories presented are reprints – echoes of the anthologies they originally appeared in – given new light by the way they’re now presented in conjunction with the six stories that are brand-new.

Many of the stories, but not all, have a romantic element, something Burgoine is well-known for. Like his other work, the romance is sometimes meet-cute, sometimes awkward, and occasionally steamy. Sometimes it’s unrequited or…

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