The goal of two pages a day.

The goal of two pages a day (or 500 words) is to crank out a draft of a novel in 6 months or so. My aim: a crappy first draft. A crappy first draft means the two pages do not have to be pretty. They don’t have to fit perfectly. They don’t need to be well worded. The dialogue can be awkward. The punctuation and spelling can be off. The order of events can be wrong. You get the idea: it doesn’t have to be good … yet.

Why? Revision is nine-tenths of good writing. So, one really needs to begin with something that requires revision. That’s why I write two pages a day. I’m creating a draft that can be revised later. Just so you know.

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“Two pages a day” starts again!

Yesterday (January 2, 2015) was my first day of my two-pages-a-day regime. The goal is to write two pages (500 words) a day, six days a week, from January to June-ish. The last two years I’ve used this approach, I get most of a first draft done on a new story in six months. Thus, I’ll be tweeting “two pages” six days a week. You’re welcome to join me, if you like.

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“Kill Shot” is up on Netgalley!

Kill Shot‘s season for advance reviews is here. The story is mounted on Netgalley and open for comment. Bitingduck Press included this story to go with the release. I’m looking forward to the suggestions on how to improve the story! Go, reviewers, go!

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“Kill Shot” is typeset!

We’re getting closer. The publisher sent along a typeset version of Kill Shot over the weekend. It’s lovely to see the finished look of the page, the dingbats and font, that sort of thing. Bitingduck Press did a lovely job. Now the text goes up for a preview on Netgalley!

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Bookies unite (for an evening in Edmonton)

Here’s the group that turned out for the Smorgasbook event hosted by the Young Alberta Book Society (YABS).

‘Twas an excellent night talking with librarians, teachers, and civilians! Than you, YABS! Thank you to author Natasha Deen for the photo!


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Smorgasbook! A Buffet of Youth Literature

I’m excited to attend this event along with the great Albertan YA writers!

Join the young Alberta Book Society for a showcase of ten new children’s and YA books by Albertan authors.

November 12, 2014

Book sales start at 6:30, the showcase presentation starts at 7pm.

Whitemud Crossing Library Theatre, 4211-106 St. NW Edmonton

Attendance is free. Donations gratefully accepted at the door.

Marty Chan, Natasha Deen, Carolyn Fisher, Joan Galat, Georgia Graham, Larry Loyie, Lorna Schultz Nicholson, Diane Mae Robinson, Jim Sellers, and Karen Spafford-Fitz will be presenting their new works. Copies will be available for sale.

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New Duck Boy cover!

Sadly, I’ve been so busy this last while that I haven’t had the chance to announce another project underway: a new Duck Boy cover! The publisher engaged Jeff Delierre again. He was the artist who created the “Kill Shot” cover. With a little bit of back and forth, he came up with this:


Pretty hot, eh! I love it. Thank you, Jeff.

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Duck Boy’s on sale!

Yes, the e-version of the story is on sale for 99 cents from August 4 to 14! ( The Kindle edition has a special bonus, too. For those who buy the Kindle edition, you also get the chance to vote on the new cover art for the story.

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Cover art: judging a book by its cover.

A few weeks back Bitingduck Press engaged an artist, Jeff Delierre ( , to prepare the cover artwork for Kill Shot, my upcoming YA novel (Spring 2015). I happened to be working on another round of edits as this is occurring.

He sent these sketches:


Of the five, number 4 best suited the story.

Jeff followed up his black and white sketches with a color mock up. It’s awesome. The publisher, Jay Nadeau owner of Bitingduck Press, and suggested a few changes. I’m not going to tell you what they are, but if you compare images, you will see them.


This was last week’s drawing:


Does it make you want to read the book?


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The “My Writing Process” blog tour.

I’m hunkered on my spot on the couch, my creative place. It’s a brown leather loveseat, I’m on the left cushion, on the right is a stack of books I’m reading, including a book my main character finds in my latest story. A pile of paper. DVDs. Scraps. On my left, is a coffee table. It too is covered in work stuff.

I was sitting in this spot, working, when illustrator Val Lawton ( sent me a note to ask if I’d participate in the “My Writing Process” blog tour. Sure, I wrote back. Who wouldn’t?

Val Lawton is an illustrator extraordinaire, with several picture book projects on the go. We met again this year at the Calgary Young Writers Conference, where we both offered workshops on our respective fields.

On my hard drive, at the moment, are two things that require my effort. First, is a draft of a young adult novel, due for release in Spring 2015: Kill Shot. It’s in decent shape. It’s had a first go through by Bitingduck Press’s editor. In a purple folder, under my coffee table, lurks another full manuscript of revisions, which I need to address. I might be able to start that today.

The cover art is being done, as we speak. I’ve discussed it in another blog post:

I’ve been writing a new YA story, which is yet unnamed. I’ve finished a rough draft, last week, and this week have begun to go through and sort out the story and deal with its many warts and blemishes. I had a breakthrough last week. I got the story’s opening line, and some of the premise that will help me sort out this dog’s breakfast.

To be honest, I don’t know exactly why I write. Michael Paul Michaud ( posted a George Orwell quote last week that fits: “All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery.” There’s more than a little truth in this.

I’m attracted to stories loaded with mystery. I’m attracted to main characters who are down on their luck, and need to find a gritty way to succeed on their own terms. Why? I’ve always blamed my horrible junior high experience for these tendencies. I’ve also had a few too many head injuries.

My post is in response to Val’s request. Next week, on the 19th, Mike’s post will go up on his Facebook page ( He’ll tag one or two authors in his post, too.

Let me introduce Mike properly. Here’s what he looks like.


Happy-looking, don’t you think? He’s a crown prosecutor who has written and is about to publish his first young adult novel: Billy Tabbs (& the Glorious Darrow), which will be out November 1, 2014. Here’s what the cover looks like:

Billy TabbsHere’s a blurb on his story: Billy Tabbs has been living in the streets for as long as he can remember. He’s recruited into a bizarre homeless sect living in the underbelly of high society. Here he meets Darrow — the mysterious and volatile leader of an organization committed to escalating acts of civil disobedience.

Equal parts harrowing, controversial, and humorous, Billy Tabbs explores decadence, homelessness, and the lack of compassion exhibited toward society’s most vulnerable.

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