The In-between

The In-between. We’ve all been there.  That phase where one project ends and the next has not yet begun, or as a writer, you finish a book and then wait for the final proof copy to arrive on the doorstep.  That’s where I am right now … waiting.  Morosa is done, available online already (you really should read it), but I have not yet held the print copy. I am not a good waiter (in the non-serving meal sense of the word, although I sucked at that too – more interested in eating food than serving it). The truth is, I lack patience.  I prefer to live in the now or more to the point, which is less viva la vie, namaste, ai carumba; I want everything now.  Some may call me impulsive, but I just stop talking to them if that’s the case. I don’t need nay sayers, or negative Nancys so to speak (not to be taken literally, Nancy).

Back to my current ‘in-between’. To pass the time, I have been studying my garden.  Well, that’s not entirely accurate either. I have been watching the gardeners, with coffee in hand, from the couch. We are just at the tail end of having our garden landscaped professionally.  There are still areas that will require my ‘special touch’ but I will wait for them to finish before I begin.  I don’t wish to show them up and I’ve been tired, no busy. I’ve been busy.

Some of the plants in the new gardens are small and fit nicely underneath my St. Bernard’s paw. But, if they are hardy they should survive. Only the strong flourish around this place. It’s like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom in these parts and the life of perennials is non-exempt.

In a similar vein, this week I discovered, while inbetweening, that red squirrels are the most carnivorous of the squirrel family.  Not to be confused with carniferous, which I erroneously called them when describing the critters to my husband. Carniferous would be more of a meat-eating, cone bearing tree. Something to think about for sure, but that’s for another day.

Anywho, I had no idea squirrels ate meat? I thought they just enjoyed nuts and seeds and chattered in high voices, but no, they also like bird eggs and baby birds. How did I discover this fact you might ask? Well, on a rainy day last week, when there were no landscapers to supervise, I took a walk to the barn. No, not really. I drove the golf cart to the barn. Either way, I went to check on the progress of the baby swallows nesting in the rafters of the barn. I like swallows. They eat a colossal amount of bugs and they swoop and dive at the neighbourhood cats, which I won’t deny amuses me immensely. Every year I try to talk to the swallows about the way they overcrowd their nests, but they don’t listen, they just swoop and swoop and swoop. Simple birds, swoop, swoop, bug, swoop, swoop, bug. Each year inevitably some of the babies fall out of the nest or learn to fly before they have wings (not literally – creates quite a cigar-like visual though doesn’t it?). 

A couple of young’uns had done some cement diving the day before but survived. We swept them into a safe place while the parents supervised from the rafters. In a regular less carnivorous time, this method of bird face plant, sweep and tuck would work out just fine. In time, they would learn to fly and the families would flourish and the poop in the barn would multiply ten-fold, but not this year, no, this year would be different.

I entered the barn slowly, carefully looking underfoot to make sure I didn’t inadvertently end the rescue with a flattening, when I noticed that there were no parental birds swooping at my head.  All was quiet, not a sound could be heard, except for a faint, crunch – crunch and then a swift scurrying of clawed feet. I gripped my coffee cup tighter, instantly regretting my decision to leave the house, and on tenterhooks flipped the light. Feathers were strewn from left to right and right to left and left to right. (Feeling faint, I soon stopped with the back and forth head thing.) Hand over mouth, I turned slowly, no, slower than that, towards the scurrying sound preparing for a beast of epic proportions, only to find a tiny red squirrel perched on the arm of the chair, flossing his gargantuan teeth with a bird feather. He was not pleased with my arrival.

This was no Disney Chip and Dale happily chattering away in a high-pitched sing song melody.This was a smaller version of Cujo, wrapped up in a red squirrel suit, and I was not convinced he would stop at small birds. After securing my coffee lid, I ran from the barn, jumped into my trusty ride and beelined for the house.  My mind turned to the many happy hours I’d enjoyed watching the red squirrels gleefully eating and drinking at my bird feeders and bird bath (I am just that busy). It was all a charade. They weren’t actually happy.  They were stuffing their chops with seed while secretly wishing I’d toss them a chicken leg. All this time, when I thought they were pleasantly co-existing with my feathered friends, they were eyeing them up like roasters.

I could never look at the little critters the same. I made a decision then, well after having another coffee and a small non-meat snack. I would stop feeding the birds for a time so these carnivores in red furry pants would take their vagabond lifestyle and move on.

Their eating regime didn’t mesh with my bird viewing. There is an organic farm next door, they could go there where the air is pure, the grub is free range and sans antibiotics. Probably more granola too. And cheetos, there’d definitely be cheetos.

All this to say, if you find yourself in the ‘inbetween’, you should read Morosa: Book Two of The Viridian Chronicles. It is available now ~ did I mention that? Best to keep busy. 😉





Taking the marketing bull by the horns.

So there seems to be a trend of readers taking pictures of books in ideal settings and posting them on social media. The pictures are lovely, well thought out, and such a nice way to show the author that their book is ‘out there’ being enjoyed and appreciated.  Oh, here’s my book sitting amongst the shells on a serene beach.  Here is another copy of said book surrounded by flowers in a garden, and another being used as a door stop or fire starter.  (btw. highly recommend we were liars … good read … it probably deserves special pictures.)

Whatever. Back to me.

No one has sent me pictures of Liornabella surrounded by beauty.  Why not?  Well, I guess I need more readers or a fan club or just a club of any sort perhaps. I have never been much of a joiner, that could be part of it. I’ve always been more of an introverted free bird, preferring my solitude. A loner you say? Man, maybe I should lie down for this …

Setting my need for therapy aside, I have been thinking I should market more.  Let me rephrase – I should market. There, I said it. I Instagram and Facebook at times. I even tweet a little on twitter. If no one reads the tweet, did the tweet happen at all? That’s the big question. You should follow me on twitter, it would probably cut down on my need for therapy and I’d look more popular if I had more followers. This yellow bird is tweety bird, different from the twitter bird who is blue and much less personable, like the app.

Tweeting aside, it is time for me to take the marketing bull by the horns. I am going to make a sign at the very least. I might even pound the pavement, peddle my basket of books door to door … that’s not a picture of me, that’s Postman Pat and his little black cat. I’m a bit taller. With book two of The Viridian Chronicles, Morosa, hitting the shelves later this month, the need for outreach is huge. Although, if I peddle about with both books, I may need a bigger bike. Guess I could ditch the cat?

OR I could just take my own pictures of Liornabella and post them for all to see and make myself appear more popular. Candids, unplanned, all willy nilly ~ the book as I see it. The photos could document my current state of mind, my travels and everyday life. Maybe it will morph into a coffee table book some day? Probably not, I’d have to market that and they’d be a bit heavy for my bike.  Just carrying Liornabella around with me today has allowed me to produce these beauties:








This was all while just carrying on with my normal activities around the house! I think this is really going to catch on!  I feel my fan base expanding even now. I’m doing it … full send.  (Did you catch that? I am just super hip with the lingo (thanks Rachel), you should follow me.)

You Shall Not Pass!

Each Spring I am delighted, giddy in fact, when the ice melts, the grass turns green and the summer-time critters show themselves once again. The peeper frogs begin to peep, the birds flit about building nests, the neighbourhood ducks waddle down to my pond and the tom cats spray the fence posts, repeatedly.

It is only a matter of time before the peaceful interlude ends though, and chaos commences. Small featherless birds tumble from nests, misplaced baby bunnies land at the doorstep, injured fawns stumble into the riding ring (okay just once) and the occasional catfish parachutes into the barnyard. (I’ll save that one for another time.)

I pride myself on being somewhat Snow White – like. I have an affinity with nature, I sing-song my way through the woods while fairy-tale animals present me with daisy chains as I spin about in my long flowing dress. La la la…  and end scene. Let’s face it, the similarity ends with liking nature.  I sing like a bag pipe and my milky white complexion is littered with age spots and dammit, I really shouldn’t have scratched those chicken poxes. I do however feel the need to protect the animal kingdom, especially those in peril.

Twice now I have attempted and perhaps succeeded (hard to know, they don’t ever write) to rescue muskrats. A few rent space in our pond. They swim about chewing up the shoreline, drilling holes in the lawn and generally wreaking havoc but they are delightful to watch and Captain and Tennille sang a song about them so nothing more needs to be said. Muskrat Susie and Muskrat Sam can stay.  


My most memorable rescue was quite action packed and full of risk, for me, not the muskrat.  It was a late fall day, in fact, it was snowing for the first time.  Darken the skies a titch and add a little wind ~that’s right ~ now you are in the moment.  I was in the kitchen, washing dishes or more than likely pouring some wine, when I spotted a critter smack-down occurring in our front riding ring.  A small furry brown animal was carrying another small furry brown animal in its jaws while the latter flailed about. I did not have my “Furry Brown Animals of North America” book nearby so I quickly surmised, on my own – I am just that in tune with nature, that the perpetrator was a weasel and the flailing brown thing was a muskrat. Susie or Sam I could not tell but I donned my oven mitts, grabbed a recycling bin, and flew out the door. (after putting my wine down.)

The wind whipped against my face as I stumbled on the uneven ground, nearly falling but righting myself just in time.  I’ll concede it could have been the wine, but more than likely it was the sheer speed with which I travelled that caused me to stagger. I flailed my arms about making intimidating large hand gestures and yelled, “be gone weasel,” or something like that – in any event they were powerful words because the weasel looked at me in utter shock and, for a moment considered whether I was just picking up recycling, but he soon dropped his prey and ran forthwith to the protection of the pond.  Take that weasel!

The poor roughed up muskrat was stunned and unmoving when I arrived on scene – in his mind I am certain he saw a ray of light as I approached and felt comfort knowing help had arrived.  Before carefully manhandling it with my oven-mitted hand to see if it was alive, I checked over my shoulder to ensure the coast was still clear … it wasn’t. 

The weasel was careening toward me, prepared for a take down. Never come between a Nazgul and its prey. These wise words from the Lord of The Rings rang through my brain as I braced myself for a potential weasel mauling.  I quickly looked around, but imagine it was slow motion, to make sure no one was watching and then hurled … no … I didn’t just hurl, I hurled my recycling bin at the charging mustelid (you might need to look that up) and then, channeling my inner demonic weasel voice, I yelled, “You shall not pass!!”  No, that was Gandalf.  I didn’t yell that; that line was not mine.  I yelled, “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”, which could have been interpreted as I am going to kick your weasel ass or Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I am about to die. Either way the weasel stopped and stood on his little hind legs and just stared at me, agog. I gently punted the unconscious muskrat into the bin and ran for my wine, I mean the house.

I left the bin to the side of my fortress, protected and reasonably safe.  I watched the slightly disoriented Sam or Susie leave when the coast was clear. (From the safety of my kitchen, wine glass in hand.)

Makes me wonder if the fox and weasel are in cahoots – collaborating in order to send me to a home for the bewildered. Can’t imagine what will come next… were they the ones behind the flying catfish debacle? Stay tuned my friends. Stay tuned.




Oh for fox sake!

Discovered an enormous egg in the horse field this morning.  (Much better than the day I discovered a headless chicken but that’s another story and best told after a few drinks.) One of our horses was pushing the immense oval with his nose but I am fairly certain he didn’t lay it. I’ll admit when it cracked I looked just to make sure it wasn’t a foal hatching, but it was just a giant yolk, no joke.

This picture does not accurately represent the moment, the egg was not chocolate (I’m off sugar so this is what I imagined), and I don’t own a horse that has hands instead of hooves, at least not that I am aware of. We’d have a heck of a time keeping gates closed if that were the case… and I would imagine they would be flipping the bird and tossing horse balls at me, often.


But back to my story, so the gargantuan egg, (it gets bigger every time I think about it), belonged to a duck. Granted I am no expert but there are ducks living next door and I put two and two together. I’m smart like that. This of course begs the question: how did the duck egg end up in the horse field? I really had no idea but am now wondering if one of my horses does have hands …

The egg discovery made me think back to when we had chickens on the farm.   I liked them, a lot. They were free range chickens of various colours and breeds all pecking and scratching around the gardens, eating out of the bird feeders and pooping and laying eggs freely throughout the barn and surrounding property.  For a couple of years, everything ran like cluck work. Feed chickens, poop and … eggs.

Our chickens all had names. We tucked them into their coop at night, lovingly counting each one. Frantic searches would ensue if one of our feathered friends was missing but it was usually found in a horse stall or behind the hay (most often not flat).  It wasn’t until Kevin was taken by a hawk and his partner Steve went missing that we realized we were sitting ducks. (see how I brought that around there?)  I guess I was a bit naive when it came to the small livestock. It hadn’t really occurred to me how many other species living nearby also “loved” chicken.

Our evening chicken count was lower each night, our feathered friends were disappearing daily and it wasn’t long before we met our new neighbours … why it was a fox family and they had a hankering for some Kentucky fried. I read somewhere that having a rooster would help to protect the hens but we had little confidence in our feathered fellow to protect the brood. Junior (as we called him) had misread the original job description. At the first sign of danger he would sound the alarm and then run for the hills.

“SAVE YOURSELVES!!”  he would bellow, and then cannon through the back yard, feathers flying and run to the safety of the pond shrubs, not giving the hens a second thought, and not emerging again til dark. We even got a call from a neighbour once to let us know that Junior had packed his little rooster bags and was heading down the road. Our rooster was in fact a ‘chicken’ and maybe not overly wise. It didn’t matter how many times I told him to lay low and stop standing on the top of the manure pile “cock-a-doodle-doing”, he did it anyway.

We trained our basset hound, Ellie Mae, to hunt fox. She was a hound and well, they do that kind of thing, right? However, “hunt” is not the right word. Whenever we yelled “fox” she would break into full cry and run, in most often the other direction, flipping on her ears and occasionally stopping to eat horse poo. This suited me fine, the foxes were just doing what foxes do and Ellie Mae was better suited hunting for the couch. The chickens needed to be cooped, the free-range days were over.

Despite the despair, chaos and ultimate bloodshed, I find myself thinking about getting more chickens. Maybe I could have one of those mobile rolling coops that could be wheeled around the property. I could attach it to my golf cart and in the case of an emergency, just drive ~ I probably wouldn’t even have to put my drink down. On other days, I think about getting one of these…

Spring has sprung and the grass is riz …

Spring has sprung and the grass is riz … I can’t remember how the rest of that goes but it’s not important. This weekend my daughter’s five-year-old horse will be coming back to the farm for the summer.  He spends his winters in a beautiful facility with an indoor arena because he’s young, needs to be ridden and is a bit of a jack… I will leave it at that.  For this reason, I jumped in the golf cart and decided to check out the fence lines to ensure the fortress was secure and he wouldn’t land at a neighbour’s unexpectedly.  I’ll admit I may have suggested a few times that we should ‘set him free’ but I wasn’t serious, at least not then.  Watch this space.

As any pretend farmer like myself learns, fences can be hard work.  Maintenance is constant and wood rots, especially when your property is littered with underground springs.  As I tore around the back 40, golf cart on high, travel mug in hand, wind whipping through my hair, I was reminded of the fence installation when we first moved to the farm.

Not me.      Me.

We were not flush for cash at the time, and we fancied ourselves to be quite the DIYers. It should be noted that over the years we have discovered that this is not the case.  We don’t DIY well.  But back in the day when knowledge was slim and egos were large, we paid to have the post holes dug but we put the cedar posts in the ground ourselves, well, with the help of some dear friends … some of whom I haven’t seen since. Odd.

Water filled every hole and needed to be bailed out before the posts went in. We had tiny buckets and little shovels.  We looked like a crew of morons but we were in the back for the most part and no one could see. At least that’s what I chose to believe.  After a weekend of burly fencing there was only the small section by the road that needed posts inserted.  Early Monday morning as everyone else went back to their real jobs, I went out solo. I planned to put the posts in myself. Why not?  I have skills dammit, I’m a writer for goodness sake.

It was a dewy morning, muddy grass sloshed under foot but other than the birds tweeting and a motionless heron at the pond, the perimeter was clear. My section of remaining post holes skirted the road and surrounded the water. I picked up my first cedar post, all strong-like, bending at the knees, wearing super-cool work gloves ~ I looked the part ~ I had that post on my shoulder in no time — well fairly fast, there may have been a bit of wobbling but whatever, just listen to the story. I positioned the enormous post over the hole and prepared to let ‘er fly when something caught my eye – I immediately dropped my post, creating quite a rut in the mud, it was just that big people, and peered into said hole. Squinting into the murky depths below, I focussed hard, wishing I had night vision (that only happens in books though – have you read The Viridian Chronicles?), but after returning to the house for a flashlight and a quick snack, what should my faux farmer eyes see?  Why it was a webbed footed friend of the frog family and he was not alone ~ he’d brought some kinfolk. Whatever would I do now?

Well, obviously like any other like-minded farm savvy person would do, I constructed a little froggy elevator and took them out one by one.  It took me all morning, face down, head practically inserted in each post hole, rescue apparatus in hand ~ frog saving is slow, they hop, clearly don’t understand English and the slimy f*ck&rs, sweethearts were in every hole.    E-v-e-r-y hole.

“GET – ON – THE – PLATFORM. I – AM – TRYING – TO – SAVE – YOU”, hissed the gargantuan lips from above. The obstructive amphibians did not find my words comforting. All resistance aside, I am proud to say by day’s end I was able to free all frogs and the posts were in the ground; some of them even straight. (well, not that one)  It was this day, when on display for all to see, that I am fairly certain I secured my village idiot status.  I still hold the title.

That’s about right. 

Outing my inner bird nerd.

So, anyone who knows me well, knows I am really into birds ~ and I mean really into birds.  A recent home renovation was inspired by my need for larger windows so I could watch the birds eating at the bird feeders and nesting in our many bird houses. I am proud to say I inherited my bird nerdiness from my late parents.  As a family we would all sit in front of our big windows during a winter storm, drinking coffee, just to see what kind of birds would blow in.  Braving the elements, we would fill the feeders over and over again, often in our pyjamas, so our feathered friends could stay nourished and find a safe haven from mother nature’s wrath.  Our go to book, “Field Guide to the Birds of North America,” was never out of arm’s reach in the event a speedy identification was needed.  “Ah yes, sparrow.” It was a family pastime which resulted in some quality time spent and now looking back, cherished. I try and instill the beauty of birds on my dear teenagers but no matter how often I endlessly rattle on, they still don’t remove their headphones.

With Spring slowly emerging and I should emphasize the slow bit there, I have been enjoying the flurry of activity in the back yard.  Grackles, red winged black birds, those elusive sparrows, robins all gathering dried grasses, small twigs and horse hair (which my shedding horses are more than happy to supply) to line their nests and fill their wee houses.  The bird bickering, pecking, stealing, shoving and general pandemonium at times can be a little less peaceful but nothing a bb gun doesn’t solve.  Just kidding. I only use that with the kids and the occasional spraying tom cat. Okay, I’ll stop. I have no firearms and probably for good reason. I digress.

Now back to nature … my mother-in-law gifted me with the most wonderful bird house this past Christmas and finally this weekend we found the perfect spot. It is now on the open winged market!  Positioned perfectly for viewing from the living room, I happily procrastinate from writing and wait for the first tenants to arrive.  The location is ideal, fairly private but close to town, you know, prime real estate. It will become more private and picturesque when the tri-coloured beech tree in front comes into leaf.  The horse shoe, positioned with the open side up to catch good luck and more than a few bird droppings, is an added bonus for any feathered friend who chooses to live there.  I may host an open house this weekend!

Follow me on Instagram @a.e.outerbridge to get the Friday updates of the geese nesting at our pond.  I am sure goslings are on the way … despite my best efforts, I don’t think mother goose likes me much?

Liornabella is in stores!!

Seeing my book for the first time in stores was almost like seeing a winged pig fly by my window. It was unreal. I mean there was a slim chance it could happen, the book in stores that is –  not the winged pig. When Chapters/Indigo/Coles agreed to stock my book at their local stores, I was over the moon.  Not in the flying pig sense but certainly in the riding high, in a luxury jet sense, glass of wine in hand.

Once I knew they were on the shelves, naturally I planned my route and went on a book tour … not to talk to people, simply to see my books, in store.  I might not go to all of them, just a couple, to see where my book had landed.  Who would its shelf mates be? Would my book hold its ground, stand out and make a statement?  I needed to know and well, you did too.

When I arrived at the Chapters in Ancaster, I went straight for the teen section, calmly.  I was not running folks, I was totally casual, just to be clear.  Instantly, I was overwhelmed with the number of new books.  Holy bananas, that area was stocked.  I tentatively walked to where I believed the “O” author section would be, browsing nonchalantly, looking cool and nonplussed.  I ran my hand inconspicuously along the spines of the M and N section, just to complete my casual façade, and then looked up, painfully, faced scrunched, ego braced for my book to be unnoticeable when suddenly, what did I see?  Liornabella, carefully shelved in the “O” section but facing outward for all to view!  I felt a flutter in my chest, a restlessness in my bones … I was totally going to go to every store on the list to check out my book placement!  Game on!

The other stores on my tour were the same, Liornabella had a prominent place on the shelves.  In one store, even though it was not on the teen table when I arrived, when I left there was a small stack right next to “Truly Devious” which I thought was quite fitting.  No idea how that happened but I was stoked.  😉

Finally, I landed at my last store, I boldly walked to the “O” section, expecting to see a full frontal, (of my book people, my book), and it wasn’t visible.  I froze, unable to move forward, my heart sank, my chest tightened. I could not believe it.  The “O” section was behind a … er… a chair!  For the love of pete, what was I going to do? I realized right then, that it could happen to anyone, you never know what part of the shelves will house your alphabetical section. But, for a newbie author like me, that could be the nail in the coffin so to speak; game over, the end. Buh bye.  I also had the other authors in that section to consider, what about their books? They probably didn’t even know.  They wouldn’t even know! So, for the other “O” authors and a few of the “Ms, Ns and Ps”, I did it.  I moved the chair.  There is no photo of this act, it had to be quick and then, before slyly dumping just one book on the hot ticket teen table, I had to make a quick exit.  But rest assured, Danielle Paige, Christopher Paolini, James Patterson and the like ~ I’ve got your back.

All this to say, it is easy to find my first YA novel, Liornabella, in stores.  Go and get it.  You might even find the odd copy on the teen table, maybe, and if not, feel free to accidentally leave one there while you are browsing.  😊

LIORNABELLA receives a starred review from Pacific Book Review!

Thank you, Pacific Book Review! Read on for their fantastic review of Liornabella!

Pacific Book Review Star
Awarded to Books of Excellent Merit

Author A.E. Outerbridge has written a smart and enchanting fantasy novel titled Liornabella: Book One of the Viridian Chronicles, which is a sweeping adventure guaranteed to transport readers to a magical place and time. Lionabella is the story of Elle O’Sullivan, a teenager who is admitted to Eidolon University, one of the most prestigious schools in the Viridian Isles. While studying, she comes across diaries from an ancient princess, Sinead. As she delves more into Sinead’s history, she embarks on an adventure into the dark Castle of Liornabella, where she encounters creatures which changes her life forever.

Liornabella is an exciting novel with a strong female protagonist. Elle is a fearless young woman who has the strength to stand up to bullies in school such as fellow student Ashana, plus mythical monsters in the woods of the Viridian Isles. Ashana is a formidable antagonist to Elle and is the ultimate villainous mean girl. Although she is haunted by the taunts of other students, Elle fights against self-doubt to become a dedicated student. She survives the twists and turns of school with the help of her dedicated friend Naomi and entrusted school guide Wiggins. Naomi and Wiggins provide much-needed support to Elle as she adjusts to life at a new university. In a refreshing change from male protagonists, Elle is a female character in a fantasy novel, getting to take action and have breathtaking escapades. In addition to the compelling story, the settings of the university and the Viridian Isles are pivotal parts of the novel. The sloping hills and majestic mountains of the Viridian Isles and the foreboding ruins of an old castle provide an excellent backdrop for this imaginative storyline. Readers will easily transport themselves into many rugged settings similar to what one might find in the Old English countryside. A.E. Outerbridge has a distinct flair as she creates beautiful landscapes and memorable characters with her vivid descriptions.

Liornabella would be best for readers who love the mystical magic of Harry Potter, yet want more girl power with their fantasy novels. The book would also be perfect for young adult readers who want to read more adventure novels that have scary moments, but aren’t graphically violent. The novel would also be ideal to liven up junior high and high school literature courses as well. As the series progresses, there should be ample material for the creation of a block-buster movie!

Liornabella is a captivating novel that makes Outerbridge a worthy successor to J.K. Rowling. With the thrilling story of Book One of the Viridian Chronicles, readers will morph into becoming dedicated fans, as they await with bated breath for the rest of the books in the Viridian Chronicles.

What does procrastination look like? 

Why I’d say it looks like an eight foot, ill stitched, multi-coloured scarf!  When it comes to procrastinating, not many can compete with the likes of me.  Lately, I have been suffering from writer’s block, but not from a creativity block it would seem.  My main character has been stuck in a hallway for a ridiculously long time. Every morning this week, I have sat down and tried to chisel her out but alas, the hallway is where she remains.  Elle is getting somewhat tired of being in the dim passageway, in her pyjamas no less, but there is nothing I can do for her right now.  I can however, focus my creative energies on other projects, which are not entirely non-book related.  I knit a scarf!  Just like the one Elle made for Martine in book one AND, I built a 3-D model of the Viridian Isle.  Why would I do that you ask?  I am not trying to compete with Mr. Bean’s Christmas Nativity scene.  I do not intend to play with the characters and re-enact the book, but I did think it would be interesting for my readers to see what the Viridian Isles looks like, in my mind.  It is not often that I invite people into the depths of my mind, that dark, twisted place where ideas spring forth, but for procrastination blog day, I am going to do just that! No architect am I so the model is not to scale … it is simply a general layout.  The trees are absolutely massive, I know this.  If one fell, it would take out an entire castle and in some cases a small village.  That is not how I see things, at least not in this series.  I share with you now, a photo of said model.  If my procrastination continues into next week, you may get a video tour.  I wonder if I can fly the drone inside? 🙂

I see I have also included my wine rack in this photo, which is just an added bonus for you all.  It is precious to me. Cheers!

I am off to Narnia.

Completed my first in-class visit as an author. I was ridiculously nervous ~ to talk to a group of nine and ten year olds ~ but they were a most forgiving group and tolerated my nervousness beautifully. 😉 In fact, they seemed most interested in the model of The Viridian Isles rather than my very complex storyboard. Imagine that.

We talked about the short stories they are currently writing, and I was reminded of how creative and free the imagination of a child is. It was hard to keep up with the rollercoaster of their minds as they excitedly told me all about their Adventure and Fantasy stories. Yes, almost every child in the room chose Fantasy and Adventure as their books of choice. Guess I am writing in the right genre!

In Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, (which, like most people, I like to quote off the top of my head), he describes the imagination as a “blind but indispensable function of the soul, without which we should have no knowledge whatsoever, but of which we are scarcely ever conscious.” Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

When it comes to creativity in adults, our beliefs about it seem to change. Somehow, what is totally natural for children seems less natural when we’re adults. Why does our creativity diminish as we mature? Is it lack of practice or are we forced to turn our attention to logic, reason, and facts in school and the workplace, so we spend more of our time in reality and less in the world of imagination?

Unfortunately, studies have shown that we do lose some of our curiosity and whimsical imagination as we mature. Children’s natural inclination to daydream and wonder declines abruptly around fourth grade. So that would mean my creativity has been waning for almost forty years now, um, er… I mean twenty years now. 😉

Maybe we are just fearful of being wrong. Young kids don’t worry so much about whether they’re wrong. As we age we learn that being wrong comes with consequences and can be embarrassing. According to Sir Ken Robinson, an expert in creativity, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

I don’t know about you, but I am prepared to be wrong. I have three more books in The Viridian Chronicle Series to finish and I don’t plan to stop there. Let your imagination run wild, folks. I am off to Narnia.

“You have to live spherically – in many directions. Never lose your childish enthusiasm – and things will come your way.” ― Federico Fellini