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Friday, December 30, 2011

Fantasy and Horror, and Killer Bees

I found on writing the Jive Hive that I did it as an island, all alone pretty well, with an idea that occurred to me many years ago for a novel.

I've since discovered different writers on-line who have fascinating blogs, ordinary people with interesting minds and interests. Alex Laybourne is one of these writers. I very much enjoy his Highway to Hell, a horror novel which I downloaded to my Kindle in a couple of seconds yesterday.

Tried and true wisdom dictates that a writer must read a lot, and read in their genre as well. I'm trying to do that. When I wrote the Jive HIve it was from a long background of SF reading -- the classics like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Heinlein and so on, even further back than then to H.G. Wells the War of the Worlds and First Man on the Moon, Buck Rogers. I'm dating myself!

One of my sons likes "hard" SF and my father read SF and history prolifically. Neither seemed to care for fantasy although I do lean towards fantasy in my writing quite a lot, perhaps a reflection of the schizophrenia I enjoy in my twisted wee brain. In any case, the Jive Hive is pretty straight SF and written at a Young Adult or Middle Grade level, but I suspect many adults would enjoy it, too.

My publisher had a dream about killer bees the night before I submitted the story to her. I wonder if this influenced your patience with me while I crafted the book to acceptable form, Cheryl?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wasps and Self-Care with Baking Soda

A bee or wasp sting can be fatal to someone who's allergic to it. When I was a child I was stung by honeybees but my mother put a paste of baking soda and water on the sting, which she said "drew out" the sting, and I had no further trouble.

I found this on-line at

"I was stung seven times by wasps when I disturbed their ground nest. I immediately ran into my shop, closed the door, and brushed a couple out of my hair and off my clothes. Then into the house and my wife mixed up a baking soda and water paste and applied to each of the stings to pull the venom out. When the paste dried up and flaked off she put it on again. When that dried the stinging was gone and the swelling was controlled by cold packs and the itching by hydrocortisone cream. After three days the itching and swelling are almost gone."

The villains in the Jive Hive are monstrous wasps and bees, particularly the wasps or hornets. They also have a Death Ray and a War Machine. Formidable! Especially in view of the damage just a little insect can inflict on an otherwise healthy human.
Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Holidays!

'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the wee suite -- I've interviewed a very special person to celebrate the holiday tweet
My friend Emma Brinson's house Christmas 2007
Welcome to Cheryl Tardif, writer and publisher of Imajin Books. Cheryl shares some of her thoughts while looking back over the past few years and forward to the future.


How long have you been a writer/publisher, Cheryl?

I’ve been a writer since my teens when I wrote my first novel, but was published as a novelist in 2003. I’ve been in publishing for a number of years. In the late 1990s, I published a childcare directory in Edmonton, something not many people are aware of. In 2003 I went on to publish 3 novels of my own. I partnered with a subsidy company and learned a lot about the process and the business. I was then published by a traditional publisher in 2007 and learned what NOT to do as a publisher.

In January 2011, I realized there was a need for a publishing company that offered writers the benefits of both traditional and self-publishing. I opened my company, Imajin Books, to accept other authors and detoured from self-publishing into becoming a new model of publishing, one that doesn’t charge authors a penny to publish their works and gives them far more input into the process.
Where did you get the wonderful name for Imajin Books?

Every story starts from one thing: imagination. Every character, setting, plot must be imagined. Thus IMAGINE became key for me. And my daughter Jessica and my brother Jason inspired the ‘J’. Imajin Books motto: Quality fiction beyond your wildest dreams. 
What's been your greatest satisfaction?

Every novel I’ve written that has been published is greatly satisfying, as are the numerous emails from movie producers and directors who are interested in my works. The fact that a handful of my books are in the process of being translated into foreign languages is very rewarding. But with this last year and my newest endeavor, seeing my authors at Imajin Books succeed and realize their own dreams is one of the best rewards. 
What's your favorite time of year, Cheryl?

Summer is my favorite time of year. I like sunshine and sitting outside on my deck with my Pom, Chai.

What's your favorite Christmas story?
My favorite Christmas story is The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

What do you enjoy in a holiday story?

I enjoy stories of family, especially when families are brought together emotionally and physically by the holidays.
Your favorite movie?

Avatar is my favorite movie. I’ll probably watch it during the holidays.

Looking back over the past year, Cheryl, what has been your greatest satisfaction this year, and do you have any regrets?

My greatest satisfaction this year has been watching Imajin Books grow and realizing I have superseded my initial goal of publishing 6 books in 2011. Having to say “sorry” to so many authors who had a dream and submitted a manuscript to us has probably been my only real regret.
What are your plans for 2012?

For 2012 we have some exciting things planned for Imajin Books. We’ll be holding more sales during the year, as well as more contests. We plan to give away books to people who follow us on Twitter, FB, our blog and IBIC, our rewards program. And we have an exciting new initiative we’re planning to put into motion in the summer, one we think readers will be thrilled with. And we plan to bring more quality fiction and great authors into the spotlight.
Is there anything else you'd like to say that I haven't asked, Cheryl?
I’d like to invite your readers to check out our 25 Days of Christmas Giveaways at We have an ebook sale on until January 7th, plus we’re giving away ebooks and paperbacks between now and Christmas.

Thank you, Cheryl Tardif of Imajin Books

I'm looking forward to working with you and hearing lots more about you in the near future, Cheryl, and here's wishing all your dreams come true in the New Year.

Merry Christmas to all my readers, and a happy and prosperous -- and prolific and successful -- New Year. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thoughts on Love

When Zibb, the giant alien Bee, kidnaps the boy Jason and holds him hostage in the great ship Skyhive, she does so because she thinks he's "cute." Is there such a thing as love at first sight, and can love exist between two such different creatures as a Bee and a human boy?

Love isn't always fuzzy and warm, like Zibb. It can crackle and flash between two different personalities. Sometimes that happens between Aadab Ali and his girlfriend Iodine, who have different faiths in a country hostile to differences of religion.

When I wrote the Jive Hive it wasn't about love at all. It was about a teenage boy and his quest to save the world in the only way he knew how, through music. Love permeates the book in spite of my intentions. There is love between Jason and his parents, between Aadab and Iodine, between Jason's parents and his little brother, even between Jason and the young man Aadab Ali. At the end there's love in a sitting room in Burma.

Love doesn't have to be sexual to be real. Even the Wasp General surprises us at last. He surprised me. And I wrote the book.
Thursday, December 8, 2011


Cheryl Tardif from Imajin Books is publishing my first novel, SpaceHive, in the summer of 2012. It will be in both ebook and trade paperback format. It's a MR/YA Sci Fi novel. My first poem at the age of five rhymed "Stars" with "Mars." Maybe I haven't come such a long way since then!

Thanks to Jenn from Sapphire Blog Design for her great work and patience in creating this blog. I enjoyed working with you, Jenn, and would recommend you to any author or creative person looking for a super graphic designer. 

Comments are welcome. Please stay tuned for further posts when this blog really gets under way. 

Have you read any books similar to SpaceHive? How do you think Young Adult books could be improved? What do you think of Pixar-like writing and how does it get that way? Is there really a conflict between good and evil or is that a construct of a paternalistic/orthodox society? And do pigs fly?