suffrajitsu

Suffrajitsu… the first time I came across the word, I thought Google was pulling my leg. Digging deeper I found it was indeed real; and with further sleuthing I discovered it had an amazing connection to a remarkable Canadian woman. (Naturally, suffrajitsu made its way into a scene in Nothing Less! ) Throughout the research process that went into writing the play, I unearthed many examples of   women involved in the suffrage movement (in Canada, the UK and the US) using boundless creativity and ingenuity to further the cause. Marches, rallies, speeches, tracts and petitions were all a given; but

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Philomel, with melody

You spotted snakes with double tongue,  Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen; Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong, Come not near our fairy queen.  My garden has been shrouded in fog the last couple of days – nature acting as a beguiling muse as I compose incidental music for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As I enter into my fourth week of rehearsals with the talented crew and company of players at Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, I feel profoundly blessed to be a part of their 2017 summer season. The words, characters and melodies that have lived in my

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a woman’s place

We’re about to start week three of rehearsals for “Nothing Less!” so I thought I’d share another behind-the-scenes post about the history that has informed and inspired the play. This time, I’m tackling the anti-suffrage movement and how it found its way into homes across Canada, the US and the UK. Postcards were extremely popular in the early 1900’s. People were keen to send, collect, and display them in their homes. Political cartoons were also wildly popular and often found their way from the newspapers in which they were printed, into the scrapbooks of middle-class families. Illustrations depicting anti-suffrage sentiments

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Let them howl.

99 years ago today…  On May 24, 1918, female Canadian citizens (not included under racial or Indigenous exclusions) aged 21 and over were awarded the right to vote in Federal elections.  A hard-won victory, yes, but there was still much work to be done.  We often abbreviate history into a series of sound bites, tantalizing lists, and anniversary dates. We see them flit through our social media feeds on a daily basis. We assign them appropriate emoticons, and move on. I couldn’t let this date go by without writing a few words that I hope will illuminate the history of women’s suffrage in Canada in my own small

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Ravens and riddles

I love ravens. A “conspiracy” of them dwells in the woods behind my house. When I stand on the balcony outside my writing studio in the loft of our barn, my “perch” puts me nearly eye to eye with them. I talk to them daily and delight in any squawk, chortle, tuck or caw the give in reply. They may not always respond, but they’re always watching. It was inevitable that one of these intelligent, beautiful creatures would come to inhabit the pages of one of my novels. Enter, Perdu, the magical raven who lives with The Witches of New York. For fear of spoiling his part in the story,

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A picture is worth…

While working on a project, (whether a novel, play, or piece of non-fiction,) I surround myself with images that relate to the writing. This part of my process becomes especially important with historical fiction, since I’m striving to create a world that I hope readers will “experience” as they read the book. With The Witches of New York, I wound up with loads of period photographs and illustrations that I pinned to the walls of my writing studio or kept on my laptop for inspiration. A few of the images even found their way onto a thumb drive that I carried with

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