An update from The Old Stone House

It’s been a few weeks since my last post, which was mostly a disheartening insight for my readers into the financial health of my writing career. But let it not be thought I’m all controlled rage and simmering angst around here. Quite the opposite, actually.

My days are filled with quiet creation and industry. When not managing the administration of our glass business, which is what pays the bills around here, I’ve been working steadily on Hekja’s Lament, which is my next novel. So far I’m quite pleased with how that’s developing, especially after friend and colleague, Den Valdron, gave me a nudge regarding a minor plot progression I was having. That blew the door open and the story has been unfolding well ever since.

I’ve chosen to write this one by hand, in a lovely leather-bound journal my son gave me. The process is interesting, in that it’s slowed me down, forced me to keep writing rather than forever reviewing what was previously written and thereby editing endlessly. I admit I borrowed the idea from fellow author, Michael Fletcher, when he made it known he was writing his grimdark series by hand. It’s a bit odd for me to do this, in that decades ago I found myself crippled by writer’s block because of the sight of a blank page, and when I migrated to a computer it was liberating. That seems to have changed, in that I find myself unable to overcome the lure of editing to perfection what I’ve previously written on the screen. And thus the journal and a return to writing by hand.

I’m not sure I’d continue with that method for a subsequent novel. But we’ll see. If nothing else, this novel progresses nicely. A date for completion? Yeah, sorry about that. Not going to commit to a date. As Captain Jack Aubrey’s steward, Killick said, “It will be ready when it is.”

Dreams of the Moon

However, I am pleased to say I’ll have a new collection of 10 works of short fiction this fall, Dreams of the Moon. It’s generally a mix of absurdist fantasy, dark magic realism, and speculative fiction, progressing from dark to light, much like the phases of the moon. As always, some stories have been previously published, while others make their debut. The cover is by remarkable Montreal artist, Jessica AllainDreams of the Moon will be available in trade paperback and ebook.

Also later this year I’ll be releasing a print version of my Christmas short stories, Memories, Mother and a Christmas Addiction, along with an updated ebook version. They will have a new and far superior cover created by Jeff Minkevics. Very excited to see what that creative genius comes up with.

In the meantime, I’ve also been busy getting my hands dirty in the soil, planting up seeds for the summer’s vegetable garden, along with a few seeds for some of the many pots we hang and sit around the property. Gary’s built me a fabulous new light stand, quite ingenious actually, which has effectively tripled my growing area in the loft. It’s turning into a veritable conservatory up here in the loft where I work, even around all the renovations. And the renovations are coming along nicely. The new joists to level the floor of the library end of my work space are almost complete, and in two weeks the new subfloor will be laid. That will be it until the fall, however, as outside projects, like the completion of the balcony area over the new portico, will call Gary away.

Portico

I’ve also been painting a bit this winter, mostly working on a series of small watercolours which explore eradicated trees, or put another way, fall and winter woods. That’s been an interesting exercise, somewhat more technical than painting summer landscapes, and I do have to say I’ve enjoyed solving some of those approaches. I’m hoping to have a new section of the website for my art in the coming months, where you will be able to view, and even purchase my work.

Alberta Birch Stand

You’ll also see a return to some reviews on my blog. It’s been some time since I’ve written any reviews, mostly because I’ve found myself in an odd headspace this past year of pandemic. I found myself incapable of settling to reading new work, my mind forever churning around the instability of these times through which we’re living. And so I turned to old favourites as a form of comfort. It’s only been recently I’ve again enjoyed reading new work. So there will be reviews.

And that, my lovelies, is all the news for now from The Old Stone House. Be well. Be safe. Be kind.

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