Adventures Come in All Sizes

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Have you heard this saying? (Interestingly, although it’s often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, the true author is Mary Schmich.) That’s a bit of a stretch for most people, myself definitely included. But regularly doing things out of my comfort zone? That I can handle. If I remember. Ruts are easy; adventures take work.

My most recent adventure: a dramatic haircut. I had my hair all sorts of lengths when I was younger, but it’s been in long layers, between chin length and shoulder length, for many years. But I’ve been thinking for a while about long pixie cuts, and short bobs (and doing enough research to know what to call the haircuts I’m interested in!). I just haven’t dared to do it.

This weekend I finally took the plunge.

Now I have a very short straight-across bob with bangs — think 1920s flapper hair. It’s cute as all get-out, and very different. I like it. But even more, I’m excited to play with different cuts now that I’ve realized that going short isn’t so scary after all.

Other scary and/or new things I’ve done so far this year:

  • Wrote a back-of-the book description with Kit for City of Hope and Ruin (it took a lot of drafts, let me tell you)…not to mention going through all the stages of getting this novel ready for publication
  • Gradually slid into helping to run the social dance series I’ve been attending for …

    Continue reading

Introducing City of Hope and Ruin by Kit Campbell and Siri Paulson

Our apologies for yesterday. We saw the date and couldn’t resist. Here’s the real teaser excerpt, but first, a little intro…

Every night the monsters hunt.

A city that is the whole world: Theosophy and her companions in the City militia do their best to protect the civilians from the monsters, but they keep crawling from the Rift and there’s nowhere to run. Theosophy knows she’ll die fighting. It’s the best kind of death she’s seen, and at least she can save lives in the meantime.

They say the Scarred carve you up while you’re still alive.

A village in the shadow of a forest: Refugees from the border whisper about the oncoming Scarred, but Briony can’t convince her brother to relocate his children to safety. Briony will do anything to protect them. She owes them that much, even if it means turning to forbidden magic.

When Theosophy and Briony accidentally make contact across the boundaries of their worlds, they realize that solutions might finally be within reach. A world beyond the City would give Theosophy’s people an escape, and the City’s warriors could help Briony protect her family from the Scarred. Each woman sees in the other a strength she lacks—and maybe something more.

All they need to do is find a way across the dimensions to each other before their enemies close in.


Briony paused mid-step, realizing the forest was too quiet. Her heart jumped into her throat and she turned, expecting to …

Continue reading

Sneak Peek of City of Hope and Ruin

Here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for…the unveiling of our next novel, City of Hope and Ruin by Kit Campbell and Siri Paulson! It’s a very serious novel and we’ve worked hard on it, so we hope you like this teaser. Enjoy.


Hello, traveler. My name is Edvarda, and I once saved this village using only a broom. You might not believe it, but it’s true.

Evidence? Hah. It was just a common household broom, well used over the years and long gone now. My hands were burned in the doing, but they have mostly healed long ago. I live a quiet life, tucked away in this little village by the fjord, grandmother to all. But what I do have are stories. Talking is thirsty work, though….

Why, thank you, kind master. A cup of mead is most appreciated by an old lady such as myself, and loosens the tongue most wonderfully. Settle in, settle in. I hope you have nowhere to be, for a tale will not be rushed.

I had a husband then, but he was off at war, like our half-grown son and all the other men of the village. So I spent my days fishing in the fjord, tending the garden, and trying not to think about the fighting. It almost worked, too – until the day I have in mind.

Continue reading

Guest Post: Dianna Bell on Fanfiction

Siri here. We have a special post-Easter treat for you today. Because it’s the fifth Tuesday of the month, you’re getting a guest post from fellow writer Dianna Bell. Dianna is an Aussie who writes primarily fanfiction, and she’s here to share some ways in which lessons from fanfiction can apply to writing original fiction as well. Pleeeease welcome…Dianna!

This guest post feels like all my writing: I have a plan, but no idea how to start so that the words in my head hit the screen. How about I just wade in? I write fanfiction, and there are things I’ve learned from it that could apply to all writing. (Supposedly I also write original stuff, but I’ve had more luck in the last few years with fanfiction, and in any case that’s probably another blog post. Which may be a while coming, because I’m a guest. :-P)

Dismissing fanfiction as ‘not writing’ is wrong.

It’s true that characters, locations and more come ready-made; however, I’d note that I’ve never seen this argument made against people who redo fairy tales. I believe, whether fanfiction or original, a story boils down to a “what if” statement. No matter how much they started with or had to create from scratch, each writer has that moment when the “what if” comes to them, and they write down the story which follows from it.

Uh, what’s a fayth?

I’m writing a Frozen Fantasy X fanfic currently; I’ve replaced the Final …

Continue reading

In the Throes of Editing

Just a quick post today, lovelies, because Kit and I are still wrestling bears editing our novel for your future reading delight. I’ll be honest: it’s been a really tough slog.

Not because I can’t take critique — I’ve been in critique groups for years, and have gotten past the initial defensive reaction. When someone like our awesome editor KD points out a problem, I listen. (And then decide whether the passage in question should be fixed in a different way, or should actually stay as is while I go fix something elsewhere that led to the perceived problem…)

Not because I can’t stand the thought of changing a word. I’ve long since gotten over the fear of messing up my first drafts. (I mean, first drafts are rough by nature, but there’s something raw and pure about them — that’s the way the story came out of your head, and it can be hard to contemplate making it different. But first drafts aren’t canon. Or maybe they are, and second drafts are the fanfiction that seeks to improve upon them? Good grief, I think it’s too late in the day for analogies.)

Continue reading

Co-Writing for Fun and Profit

Didja miss me? Well, too bad…I’m back!

Today I’d like to share a bit about Turtleduck Press’s next novel (title and cover art forthcoming in due time). Kit and I have both talked in this space about the fact that we’re co-writing, but we haven’t gone into any detail about the experience…until now.

It’s not Kit’s first time co-writing a novel; I’ve done it before too, but not for many many years. And I’ve blogged before about having a major crisis of faith as a writer last year. So I was a little apprehensive about how it would go.

In fact, it’s been quite a smooth process — at least as smooth as novel writing ever is! It’s helped immensely to have somebody to bounce ideas off, to trade chapters with (we each wrote one point of view, in alternating chapters), to keep each other motivated. Having two minds to work on the worldbuilding and plotting has not meant that we’ve each done half as much work as on a solo novel, but it’s certainly helped — I think we’ve done a better job on this story than either of us could have on our own.

Luckily, we’re on a similar — though not identical — wavelength when it comes to planning. We did a pile of worldbuilding first (it’s a fantasy novel, more or less), then identified our respective characters and wrote some sample chapters. Those went out the window and we started over, with a clearer idea …

Continue reading

The Obligatory Winter Blues Post

Every year I find myself writing about the winter blues — what I’m doing to cope, how well it’s working (or not). And why should this year be any exception? 😉

This year hasn’t been too bad so far. For starters, we’re having a really mild winter with almost no snow. Amazing what that does for one’s state of mind. Don’t get me wrong, I like snow, especially the proper crunchy snow that I grew up with and Toronto so rarely gets, but months of it will drag one down. And the cold, and the dark, and the post-Christmas, post-New Year’s letdown…okay, winter is still tough even without snow.

I’m doing all the usual things — taking extra Vitamin D, using a full-spectrum lamp, exercising (dance and yoga, with some walking here and there), focusing on coziness (blankets, slippers, tea, soup, comfort reads).

This year I’ve also added a couple of new things. First up, my latest creative outlet — Instagram.

I  finally joined Instagram last summer so I could post pictures of my garden, but when the harvest was over, my account sat idle. Then in early December I noticed a friend doing a daily photo challenge, #decemberreflections. I jumped in and enjoyed it so much that I joined a second challenge this month, #savouringjanuary.

I haven’t been quite as diligent in this second round, but it’s been a lot of fun looking for subjects to match the daily prompts, and seeing the wide variety of ways in which …

Continue reading

The Dreaded Middle

So Kit Campbell and I are working on a secret project for Turtleduck Press. It’s a novel that we’re co-writing, and you’ll hear more about it in due time, after it’s been made suitable for public consumption.

In the meantime, though, we’re wading through the first draft. Well, I can’t speak for Kit, but I’m wading. Or wallowing, maybe. I’ve passed the halfway point and am flailing around in the late middle, feeling rather as if I’m trapped in Zeno’s dichotomy paradox. I’m also fighting the deep-seated conviction that the story sucks (or my half of it, anyway — I’m not about to say that for Kit’s half!).

However, I’m not the only one. Check this out:

Continue reading

Small World, Redux

Last week, KD wrote about being stuck in a small world and taking steps to get out of it – to “expand” as she put it. She’s working on not hiding, on being social, on trying new things. She’s exploring.

I’ve been feeling much the same – stuck in a rut, coasting along on habits, doing the same things because they’re easy – and I’d like to make a shift

On the other hand, maybe November, with winter lurking (hello, 5 PM sunsets), isn’t the best time for a Canadian to try to “expand”. I have another friend who declared she was taking this month to unplug from Facebook and look inward, to honour the night. But maybe there’s a way to do both.

Continue reading

Goodnight, Garden

It’s nearly the end of another gardening season where I live. We’re lucky enough to have a longer summer and fall than the even more northerly city where I grew up, but it does eventually come to an end. (There’s a reason Canadian Thanksgiving falls more than six weeks earlier than its American equivalent…)

To be honest, I’m a bit relieved. Not because I like winter (I really, really don’t) but because I got overambitious this summer. I planted too much, had too many high-maintenance plants, and set my expectations for myself too high while at the same time feeling constantly behind. Problems came up and I didn’t deal with them effectively, or sometimes at all. Then what was supposed to be fun and relaxing became stressful instead.

Wait, was I talking about gardening, or…?

Anyway, some things I learned this year:

Continue reading