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Button Box Inspiration

Packing up the Christmas decorations is, for me, like taking a trip down memory lane. Each ornament is part of a story that has been unfolding for more that 30 years, and I find memories and inspiration as I pause over various items during the annual packing-repacking process. Objects that are used on special occasions […]

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What A Difference A Decade Makes

I’ve come to terms with the fact that, when developing a series, not every idea will necessarily fit. Trying to create a plot that accommodates everything is usually a recipe for disaster –– you need to have discipline, understand the story you’re trying to tell, and then trim away some of the distractions… without gutting […]

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Writing to Music

Earlier this week I talked about writing as a tactile experience –– about how switching from keyboard to pen and paper can, among other things, help the words flow. It can also be an experience that is enhanced by sound… more specifically music. I wrote Standing Tall: A Daughter’s Gift while listening to tracks from […]

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Races And Empire

Ahead of the release of Firebox, I think it’s wise for me to revive a discussion that I first began in the historical notes of The Frontier. As we grappled with questions of race in that book, I felt it important to set my own context when it came to ethnic ‘authenticity’… and indeed, to […]

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Putting Pen to Paper

Writing isn’t generally thought to be a tactile experience, but there is a tactile element –– whether it’s the touch of your fingers on a keyboard or the feel of your pen moving across the page –– and over the years, I’ve found that switching from the keyboard to pen and paper can help the […]

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Firebox Excerpt Online

With just over three weeks to go until the release of Firebox, the first installment of the Champions of 1941, an excerpt from the novella is now online. Visit the Firebox page to learn how this tactic for containing a rogue Champion got its name, and to see Alex, Stephanie and Strong attempt to teach […]

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Alzheimer Awareness Month – See the Person

January is Alzheimer Awareness Month in Canada, and the Alzheimer Society has just launched a new campaign: “See me, not my disease. Let’s talk about dementia.” According to the Society’s website, the goals of the campaign include increasing knowledge about Alzheimer’s, decreasing the stigma associated with it, and helping people remember to see the person […]

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National Post: Rise of the Independent Publishers

In yesterday’s National Post, Barbara Kay wrote on the future of publishing, and spoke with Kenneth Tam about Iceberg and Champions. Here’s a peek: “Tam’s decade-long pioneering experience in this new, no-rules publishing world shows that small presses can invent themselves as they evolve. Iceberg just launched a new series, The Champions, which will release […]

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Two Female Leads?

I was recently asked why the lead characters in Champions are “Alex and Stephanie”. I misinterpreted the question with my first response; the person actually wanted to know why the series has two female leads. Still, my first answer stands, even if it might make me sound insane… Lady Alex Smith and Second Lieutenant Stephanie […]

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New Year’s Eve Tradition

Later today the Iceberg partners will have what I regard as the company’s annual meeting. It has become our New Year’s Eve tradition to review the past year and lay out the key priorities for the next over sushi at our favorite Japanese restaurant (Yummyaki’s in Waterloo). The meeting runs for around two hours, after […]

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Little Green Book

One of my more closely-guarded possessions is a little green notebook. Alas, this is not an archive of the phone numbers I’ve collected from ladies over the years. Indeed, considering how much of my time this book has taken up, it’s probably one of the reasons I’m single (along with being terribly aloof). Inside the […]

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Why ebooks are Awesome (A Reader’s Perspective)

The first book I read in ebook format was Hamlet’s Blackberry by William Powers. If you’re familiar with that book, you’ll understand why it seemed fitting (and maybe just a little ironic) to purchase it for my iPad and begin reading it while sitting and having some lunch in a food court in the middle […]

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Sound Check – The Expedition

When Jacqui Tam was teaching me to write (my failings as a writer are my fault, not hers), one thing I learned was the value of music to the drafting process. I’ll elaborate more on that in future, but suffice to say I’ve had some sort of soundtrack for every book I’ve worked on. Lately […]

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“Writing Down the Bones”

One of my favorite writing-related books is called Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg. As the title suggests, it’s not a book that provides step-by-step guidance on how to create works of fiction or non-fiction. It doesn’t include fill-in-the-blank outlines for your projects. And it does, as some Amazon reviewers […]

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A Real Privilege

This year, the Iceberg team gave me a wonderful present: a coffee table book loaded with photos from our Tenth Anniversary Gala. It’s been a fantastic Christmas, but this may be the present I cherish the most. Writing –– storytelling –– is not some ‘gift’ that an author shares with the masses. In past, when […]

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The Christmas Fence

In A Daughter’s Gift, I shared a terribly sad memory of the Christmas my father no longer remembered how to sign ‘Love Dick’ on the card we had picked out for him to give my mother. With a few noted exceptions during his later years, though, Christmas was a magical time in my childhood home, […]

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Evil Genius In December

It was December 2003. The Human Equation had been released that October, and we’d done our first round of media and book tours. Everything was new and exciting, but the pressure was high to release the rest of the Equations series on schedule. By that time, the first four books were already drafted, but the […]

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24 Words

A couple of days ago I wrote about a Young Writer’s Workshop I attended when I was in high school… Grade 10 to be precise. It was held in what had formerly been Belvedere Central High School which, coincidentally, had in years previous been the orphanage where my father’s mother (Nan Barron) had resided after […]

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The Real Sackville

Defense Command readers will recognize DCNS Sackville. Skippered by Commander Katya Romanov through the Martian War, the corvette made a real difference –– despite being older and less advanced than the rest of the ships of the Belt Squadron. As Ken Barron wrote in The Mercury Assault: “And, somehow appropriately, our daring corvette Sackville lost […]

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Early Inspiration

I came across my decades-old copy of Death on the Ice by Newfoundland writer Cassie Brown a few weekends ago while organizing some of our bookshelves. The pages are yellowed, the cover is slightly faded, and the spine is lined and cracked. The book tells the tragic story of the death of 78 Newfoundland sealers […]

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