One on One

I accept students for online and face-to-face mentoring on an individual basis as often as my schedule permits. If you have a project that might benefit from an in-depth analysis, drop me a line at

Fun slavedriver seeks budding novelists…

As of today, I have two slots left for students in Novel Writing II: Writing a Novel The Professional Way, the new (to me) novel workshop course I am teaching via the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program this summer. ‘Fun slavedriver’ is how one former student has described me, and the class does promise to be a fair amount of work–everyone in it will write fifty pages of a novel as well as workshopping those of a few of their classmates.

The official start date for class is July 14th, but my classroom should be open July 12th; people will get acquainted with the discussion forums, introduce themselves to each other, and talk a little about the books they are going to work on before writing and critting begins in earnest.

Biographical Backstory

I spent my early childhood in various community theaters, prompting actors who’d forgotten their lines, running errands for carpenters and sound techs, and scrambling up eighteen-foot ladders to hang lighting instruments. As a young adult, I spent two seasons with a repertory theater company and a third performing in drag as a male whiskey trader at a living history museum before succumbing to my first passion, writing science fiction and fantasy.

I learned to write by writing. I wrote and wrote and wrote; then I went to Clarion West in 1995, got some excellent feedback, came home and wrote some more. With help from many patient teachers, editors and fellow writers, I got better. I’m working on getting better still.

Since 2013 I have been living in Toronto, Canada, where I study yoga, pursue the perfect espresso and take thousands of digital photographs. Those that don’t end up on Flickr can often be found on Instagram.

In 2003, I finished my first novel, Indigo Springs. It was a momentous summer: a few weeks after the novel went to market, the Supreme Court of B.C. ruled in favor of legalized same-sex marriage. A month later, I achieved a lifelong dream by marrying my long-term partner, author Kelly Robson, at one of our favorite places, the UBC Botanical Gardens.

After selling numerous short stories to a range of literary, mystery, fantasy and science fiction markets I saw the publication of Indigo Springs, my first book, came out in 2009, and promptly won the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Blue Magic, the sequel, was released in 2012 to rave reviews.

I then dove into a trilogy, The Hidden Sea Tales. The first book in the series, Child of a Hidden Sea, was released in June of 2014. The next, A Daughter of No Nation, was released in December 2015 and won the 2016 Prix Aurora for best novel. The final book in the series, The Nature of a Pirate, brought the series to a gut-wrenching conclusion.


Blue Magic

 The sequel to Indigo Springs opens with the U.S. government preparing to try Sahara Knax for treason, while Astrid Lethewood and a growing number of volunteers try to find ways to safely maintain the spread of magic into the real world. Law and order breaks down in the U.S. as several factions vie for control over enchantment.

Try before you buy–read the first chapter for free!

Witch-burners square off against the Alchemite cult, hundreds of soldiers caught in the crossfire go missing, and police struggle with the fallout from power outages and storms–even murders!–triggered by the use of mystical objects.

In Indigo Springs, Astrid promised the residents of a realm called the unreal that she would restore the mystical balance: freeing them and returning magic to the real world. But making a promise is easier than keeping it. The raw vitagua has been cursed, turned by an ancient cult into a contaminant that turns people to animals, animals to monsters. If Astrid cannot reverse that ancient spell, the continued spread of magic can only be catastrophic.

MacMillan Books * Amazon * iTunes * Chapters * Kobo * Barnes & Noble/Nook * Powell’s

Indigo Springs

When small-time criminal Albert Lethewood is murdered, he leaves his daughter Astrid a house in the town of Indigo Springs. Suspecting a scam, she nevertheless moves into the house with two friends. There they discover several mystical objects, including a penknife capable of terrible–perhaps limitless–destruction.

Soon it is obvious the old house is a cover for a wellspring of magical energy, and that Albert Lethewood had a secret life as the wellspring’s keeper. It falls to Astrid and her friends: dependable, heroic Jacks Glade and volatile Sahara Knax, to puzzle out the nature and purpose of the magical well.

But Albert’s killer is still out there. Worse, the mystical power is deeply seductive. . . and Sahara might be willing to risk everything, even Astrid herself, for control of the well.

Listen to a six-minute reading of the (spoilery) sex scene: Indigo Springs Sex Scene

Need it now? The mass market paperback edition of Indigo Springs is out as of November 2, 2010, as is the Kindle Edition.

[learn_more caption=”Click here to learn more”]