Doctor Who: Deep Breath (A Lesson in Good & Bad Writing)

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Writing this, I realized I did more complaining about what I didn’t like than expounding on what I did like about this first episode, which just goes to show how divided my opinion is when it comes to Moffat’s characterization in Doctor Who. I’m double-minded in my reaction to this story, both from an editorial perspective and as a fan. I think the plot is quite interesting (once it kicks in) and I enjoyed the throwback to “The Girl in the Fireplace.” It establishes an intriguing growing threat in its final moments that has me curious. But the prolonged “Doctor is crazy after regenerating” subplot detracted from it, and at times it felt less like a show about the Doctor and more about his (not really) companions. I felt they could have opened with the closing scene and skipped all the regeneration nonsense to focus on the real plot. Continue reading

The Twelfth / Fourteenth Doctor

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I fear I’ve let this blog fall by the wayside in the last month or so, but a brand new Doctor is reason enough to do some reminiscing!

The fandom was huge by the time I joined it. I was part of a British TV show group on livejournal at the time and was always annoyed that “Doctor Who” posts flooded the group every Saturday. I wasn’t much of a sci-fi fan, but decided to watch an episode just to find out what all the fuss was about. Martha was the companion at the time, so I picked her first episode and… well, I was intrigued. It was all manic, and totally absurd in a truly wonderful way, and Ten was a vivacious ball of exploding energy (and cute) so… one episode turned into more, and within a couple of weeks I’d caught up on all of Ten’s episodes. I visited Nine as well, but Ten was “my Doctor.” I got so attached to him that I cried for a good hour after his final episode ended, and he regenerated into Eleven. That was it, I thought. No more Doctor, because this gangly Matt person can’t possibly be better than Tennant. Even so, I thought, I’ll give him a shot and one episode to win me over. Continue reading

Femnista & Other Updates

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This issue centers around Early America, the American Revolution, and the Georgian period. It includes everything from Sir Percy to John Rolfe. As always, it’s yours free to download and read or to read online! Please, if you enjoy the magazine, direct your friends to it and promote it where you can!

Charity’s Place has been renovated, and I’ve put up a couple of new reviews: Call the Midwife Season 3 (I am now officially an addict) and the new adaptation of Jamaica Inn.

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My latest book is now for sale — The Giftsnatcher. It’s available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle form, as well as through Smashwords in different e-reader formats. All of my previous books are also now available through Smashwords. I’ve also updated my account there with an author interview.

The Giftsnatcher, Back of the Book:

The ad in the newspaper says Alana is a witch.

She isn’t. She is something far more important… a Giftsnatcher, able to discern, identify, and steal the spiritual gifts of others. For years, she and her older sister have made a living selling them to paying clients. But when Lord Tremain wants her to bestow a particularly powerful gift on his grandson, for the first time in her life, Alana can’t. It doesn’t work.

Her quest to find a stronger gift, one able to penetrate Edgar’s broken defenses, leads her into the social circle of Dr. Joseph Bell, a leading Edinburgh physician whose true profession comes to light as dark forces close in around them. Her stable, predictable life is turned upside-down when an unseen nemesis lures her into a series of macabre events that force her to confront her fundamental beliefs about the nature of good and evil.

Illusions, family curses, blood magic, and the Ripper killings unfold in a chilling tale of magic, murder, and mayhem as Alana unravels the truth not only about Edgar, but also herself.

I need reviewers for it, both on Goodreads and Amazon, so if you’re interested let me know; I’m happy to send a free e-copy in exchange for a review. If you simply enjoy supporting my creative endeavors and intend to buy the book regardless, I appreciate you leaving a review, too.


This book rather wrote itself. I knew the twist toward the end going in, and that it would tie in the Ripper murders, but the rest unfurled with each passing week. I intended to use Dr. Joseph Bell from the start. He’s fascinating man, and was a fun character to write – a no-nonsense but very compassionate figure, devout in his faith and as remarkable for his observational skills as for his hidden talents. I can’t seem to escape tackling controversial topics — here, the idea of family curses, although it’s changed from a more tangible and realistic curse (such as alcoholism) into a fantastical idea.

Alana was a throwaway character in “The Secret in Belfast,” important for only a few chapters, to establish the Conclave and Richard’s role as their Influencer. But as I wrote those few pages about a remarkable woman with the incredible ability to “punish” those who use their gifts for evil, I knew she needed a novel and an entire back story of her own. Here, she has it, from the darkness in herself to her first meeting with Richard… although only observant readers will pick up on it.

The decision to bring in Alistair and Henoria, from “Thornewicke,” was made for two reasons: I couldn’t find a place for them in “The Secret in Belfast,” however much I wanted to, and my readers asked me to delve further into their marriage. Here, we have them a genuine couple for the first time, and find out a few more surprising secrets and nuances of the relationship between Guardians and Defenders.

In my usual tongue in cheek way, I’ve slipped in literary nods to some of my favorite books and films, and made hints toward characters and places that will be important in future books… which may just be set in a time period much further back than 1888 England. But then, that’s part of the fun of being a writer. Hopefully, it’s fun for you, as my reader, too.

Understanding Amy

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This week, a conversation with an ENTP strayed into his lack of understanding of the reasons ENFPs shut people out and refuse to talk their feelings out. As a Fe-user, he is comfortable talking about his feelings. He pointed to Amy Pond’s near-divorce of Rory Williams as an example. He, rightfully, thought that was a stupid decision for her to make, to think that her inability to have children was a “deal-breaker” for Rory, after all he’d gone through for her. Within 24 hours, someone else commented to me their inability to understand why an ENFP just shut them out, and would not talk to them about what was happening in their life. That made me think that maybe it is time to look at how ENFPs handle emotions a little more closely. I won’t pretend to speak for all ENFPs, but this is how it is with Amy and me, and maybe it is more common than I think.

Amy and Rory’s story is a classic Fi-Fi dynamic, of never talking about feelings, but instead acting on them. Rory cut off his ponytail for Amy. Amy gave up her love of adventure for a “dull life” in a little village for Rory. Rory spent a thousand years guarding Amy while she sat in a box. Amy let an angel throw her back in time so she could be with Rory. On, and on, it goes. Hardly ever an I Love You exchanged verbally, but it is spelled out a thousand times in their actions. And because it is a silent love story, frequently they underestimate one another’s true feelings. Rory thinks he loves Amy more than she loves him; and she thinks she loves him more, because she is willing to give him up. If they would ever talk about their internal anguish, that problem wouldn’t arise, but alas, that isn’t how they roll. Continue reading

Singleness & Spiritual Rebirth: Call the Midwife

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I spent this week devouring Call the Midwife. I started with the series, then read the books to get the bigger picture. At first, the compassion of the nuns stood out the most, and then deeper themes began to appear. In the end, I concluded that Call the Midwife is deeply symbolic of rebirth and the options of a Christian life: those devoted to lifelong chastity, those who are temporarily single, and those who are married.

Characters in the series represent these three lifestyle choices quite well, and two of them transition from one life into another. Each gives something to think about and all come back to the underlining theme, which is agape (unconditional) love. We see many examples of this love in the nuns and nurses as they learn to put aside their moral judgments and simply “serve.” In the books, Jenny frequently marvels at Sister Julienne’s ability to love and serve everyone she comes into contact with. Agape love isn’t easy to do, because our natural instinct isn’t to love one another; it is to love ourselves. Jesus commanded us to love one another “as we love ourselves,” because He knew we are more than capable of self-love; it’s self-denial that is hard. Continue reading

The Perks of Being a Substitute Person

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My entire life has been a never-ending quest for real conversation. The people I like talking to the most are capable of truly talking to me. Conversation is valuable to me. I like to talk. I like to share ideas. I like to have random conversations. Some of the happiest times in my life were four hour phone calls with occasional kindred spirits, who enjoyed perusing as many different topics and going deeper into all of them. Oftentimes, those people were my “writing buddies.” Once, when working on a vampire novella with a friend, we stayed up super late on the phone discussing different elements of our ideas, coming up with new possibilities, divulging the secrets of the individual research we had done, and laughing. I was excited to talk to her. I couldn’t wait to do it again. In those carefree summer days, we had all the time in the world to exchange a flurry of e-mails. One a day, at the very least – sometimes, three or four.

That relationship, as all of them do, eventually faded. Our passion burned out. Our lives went in different directions. Our interests changed. Yet, those discussions forever cemented her in my mind as the person I could discuss all manner of vampire-related things with. To this day, when feeling a burning need to talk about anything relating to the blood-drinking undead, for a split second I think, “Gee, I wish could call…” Continue reading