Thoughts, maybe


It’s a weird word that describes a process where a bunch of people get together and throw ideas around, though others may have different permutations on what brainstorming is.

Reading through the current blogs sent to my reader, the word ‘brainstorming’ got my attention.

I use it, well, I try to use it.

I’m working on a YA novel, you know the sort, a far off land where there’s kingdoms, kings, queens, princes and princesses, witches, no dragons and the jury’s still out on a unicorn.

I have two grandchildren, both girls, who wanted me to write a story for them.  Not that thriller stuff, or murder, but what sort of life they’d like to have in they could live in a different world.

Fortunately, both still have an imagination, a prime requisite for them to transition through their childhood to young adult, smoothing out the bumps.  They are avid readers, so I have an untapped source of ideas.

Or so you would think.

This is how it started:  I told the eldest, 12 years old, to stop acting like a princess.  She didn’t get the inference because it was an ‘adult’ concept when dealing with children.

What she did say was how she was going to be a princess when she grew up.  I said there were not enough real life princes to go around, a point she took on board with all the aplomb of a 12 year old, so it graduated to becoming a princess in a story.

Somehow she ended up with the name Marigold.

She decided Marigold was going to be a haughty, self indulgent, spoilt brat.  That condescending tone, those flicks of the hair, those sharp put-downs, a princess indeed.   It was as if she had acting lessons from the Disney ‘bad princess’ school of acting.

But …

As all haughty and condescending people do, the princess is taught an invaluable lesson in humility when her Kingdom is invaded, her brother, next in line to the throne, murdered, the king thrown in the dungeons, and her mother stabbed and left for dead.  She flees the castle and her betrothed prince who is leading the invasion of their Kingdom, and is suddenly both unworthy and dangerous

The first few ‘brainstorming’ sessions saw the addition of two sisters (her two cousins, one ten and other six), a healer (another name for a witch as witches are outlawed in her Kingdom), magic spells, and a quest to save her family and the land.

It’s been done before, but this is without the Knight in shining armor, and where a young girl who has never had to fend for herself, has to come to grips with a completely alien environment, and the fact none of her companions believe she is going to be of any help whatsoever.

Several sessions later we came up with the quest.

What has surprised me, for a generation of children brought up with video games, endless violence, and the endless pressures on youth these days against what I had in my day, they have this amazing ability to take a step back and see themselves in such a different light.

I’ve always had an overactive imagination borne from a time where we didn’t have any of the facilities children have these days.  We had to make our own adventures, not live them out on TV and in video games.

I dragged them into my world, and now, together, we have a bond that will never be shaken.  I am the storyteller, they are Marigold, Ophelia and Nerida, princesses.

They are as different as chalk and cheese.  Ophelia wants her own story, the princess who battles against the magic within her.  Nerida has a quite simple aim in life, having been taught swordplay by her brother, she wants to slay a dragon.

The first story is not even one third finished, and I was told the other day, there’s at least another ten stories yet to be told.

I guess it’s time to go back to ‘brainstorming’.



Thoughts, maybe

Why is it ideas come at the least expected and most inconvenient time?

I thought I’d trained my thoughts to assemble when I was having a shower.  It seems that has not worked so well, and now the telephone rings instead.

Don’t you hate that?

I wasn’t casting around for an idea for a new book.  When I sit down, listening to Ravel, or some other classical music, I close my eyes and drift along to the music, waiting for the imagination to kick in.

Can’t force it, can you?

But, five minutes to three, after a frantic call announcing yet another storm in a teacup, I’m racing out the door, setting the alarm, locking the door, and …

… bing …

The idea is there, out of left field, in front of me.


Here’s the pitch:

Detroit, ghost town, a nightwatchman, formerly a high flyer on Wall Street, is doing the rounds.

Yep, different location, same story as a dozen others, you say.

Pitch on:

With him, his work partner, from Mexico, a woman with a checkered past, maybe an illegal, maybe not, but who would work for the kind of pay they got if there was not something they were either running or hiding from?

A man and a woman thrown together by fate.  Seriously?

Pitch on:

They’re guarding a large factory, looking exactly the same as it had been the last time it had been working, only there are no people, no work, no likelihood of it reopening.

It’s night.  It’s dark.  Only the security lighting casts a dim glow over everything, casting shadows.  The walls and roof creaks the building moves, as all do in a wind.

From here it could go anywhere, ghosts, thrills, murder, mayhem, or …

Pitch on:

Every night is the same, go to point B, the extent of the guard’s run, and no further.  Punch a card to say you’ve done the check, then back to the office.

That’s it.

As for the rest of the factory, don’t worry.  They were told It was taken care of by another team.  It was a large factory, and neither had questioned their orders.  A job was a job in a city where jobs were at a premium.

Six months, from the office to point B and back.

Of course, the story has to suddenly come alive, like when you’re sitting alone in a dark room watching a horror moving, and the music hypes the fear factor to 1000% and you nearly jump out of your skin.

Not so easy to do in writing, but we try.

Pitch on:

Six months and one day later, it was time to find out what was beyond point B.

What they found was to change the fabric and course of their lives.


That’s as much as I wrote down for the initial idea, and since then it has developed into half an outline, with an ending.

When I get time, the rest will become a new book.

PI Walthenson

A character that came to me one night in what might have been a nightmare, but I’d been writing around the edges of a gumshoe for some time, and this is what popped out.

How thrilled Harry Walthenson, Private Detective, had been to see his name painted on the translucent glass window in the door to his office.  Located in Gramercy Park, in an old building full of atmosphere, he had a space renovated to resemble that of Spade and Archer in a scene right out of the Maltese Falcon.  His desk had an antique phone like those used in the 1930’s, and a lamp that cast eerie shadows at night.  Along one wall was a couch, his bed for more nights than he wanted to remember, and on the other a filing cabinet, waiting for the big case files.

Up till now it had been missing cats and dogs.  Then, everything changed…

Starts at episode 1 – The Wrong Place, The Wrong Time

To read the latest episode:


My blog:



Thoughts, maybe

It’s been a long time, or what seems to be a long time.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in front of the computer screen, the ever pervasive cursor flashing om a blank piece of digitized paper, and that was as far as I got.

No, the house didn’t burn down, mo major catastrophe, or family member or friend was in dire need of my help.

I just didn’t know what to do next.

But, I have been writing but not necessarily in the normal sense.  I have SomNote on my phone, and when I’m waiting, usually for doctors or n Government offices, I write.

A bit of this, a bit of that, but usually the YA novel I’m writing for, and not necessarily about, my 12 year old grand-daughter.

I find SomNote excellent for just putting words down, emailing it my myself and rehashing it later.  It has basically been used to write the first 37 chapters on the novel.

But as for the other writing?

Strangers We’ve Become, the follow up to What Sets Us Apart had taken a new direction.  As this is the next book to be published, I should have been working on it, but instead, some of it was still swirling around in my head.

Last week I went back to it.

Now, except for one chapter, possibly two, it’s done and so much better than the original.

Never let anyone tell you there’s not something else to be done after 10 edits, and re-writes.

The Things We Do For Love, a little story I wrote many years ago, was resurrected almost intact, and is also almost ready for publication.  It will be categorized as Romantic Suspense, along with Sunday In New York.

Look for those to be released in August or September this year.

My other story, the tales of PI Walthenson, private detective, had taken a back burner for a while, as I try to get a handle on where it is going.  It is a story now that is so very different that when I originally started it.  I suppose that’s what happens when you start writing with no idea what the end it.

I do now, and it’s going to be fun getting there.

Look for Episode 74 in the next few days.

This is a link to the last episode here:

After that, Zoe will be back.  After the trials and tribulations in The Devil You Don’t, she finds that the past she tried to leave behind had come back to bite her.

The second adventure is called First Dig Two Graves, because it is about revenge and whether or not it’s best served cold.  And whether or not John’s romantic aspirations are fulfilled.

I will get back to the short story, Trouble in Store.  There is more on the development of that work in progress.

Now, I guess, it’s back to work!