How a Painting and a Piano Inspired Me to Pay Attention

This post was originally published on The Drake‘s blog, April 27, 2016. As a writer, details are important. So, I was beside myself when I realized that a landscape painting hanging in my hotel room suddenly revealed a great white shark, its jaw wide open, sharp white teeth exposed. I had glanced at the painting several times throughout the day. How had I missed…

The Great Genevieve Graham

I had the pleasure of moderating the Enemies, Allies and Antiquities: From Versailles to Acadia panel with historical fiction authors Roberta Rich, Sally Christie and Genevieve Graham at Toronto Public Library’s Appel Salon.  Genevieve was kind enough to provide responses to several questions I asked, and has given me permission to share them! Genevieve graduated from the University of Toronto in 1986 with a…

Sunday Brunch

I had a wonderful time at the Ben McNally Globe and Mail Books and Brunch event where I got to share stories about my novel and hear about three other works. Kamal Al-Solaylee has a background in journalism and is a professor at Ryerson University. His accomplishments are long and varied. He presented his second book, Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (To Everyone)….

Language and Identity

It’s only after I had my daughter, who is half-Irish and half-Korean, that I came to understand how our cultural heritage informs our personal identity. In my attempt to help my daughter understand her Korean background, I developed a stronger pride in my Korean heritage. Despite enjoying Korean food and many aspects of the culture, I have always felt excluded because of my weak…

Ann Radcliffe and the female Gothic genre

One of the most challenging and rewarding courses I’ve taken is on Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823). Regarded as the principal creator of the female Gothic genre, Radcliffe is credited as establishing a standard and new formula for Gothic fiction which earned it great respect and a larger readership. Patriarchal authority and institutions were challenged and examined in the Female Gothic. Unlike male writers such as…

11th Floor Writers

The guidelines we use to run our writing circle, The 11th Floor Writers, have been added to its website. I can’t believe that we’ve gone eight years. It helps that we follow a set routine: we meet the second Saturday of every month at the same venue, we rotate chairs, and everyone adheres to guideline expectations. I’m currently working on my second novel, and…

Paperbacks and fresh maple syrup

Local farmers were out selling fresh maple syrup at St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market. The place was packed with people, mostly families out enjoying a sunny March Break day. Located 1.5 hours west of Toronto, this is the largest year-round farmers’ market in Canada. Along with some wonderful ready-to-eat foods like perogies, souvlaki, and apple fritters, you can find everything from handmade quilts to used…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I spent the day researching how to write historical fiction. But before that, we went to a local pub to celebrate. My husband’s family is originally from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. Some interesting reads about today: St Patrick’s Day: Who was Saint Patrick and how did Ireland’s patron saint go global? Famous Irish Writers St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Toronto, Canada Guide to…

Today’s Sonnet

I had no idea that the sonnet was alive and thriving today. In some cases, the traditional form has been reinvented so much that the only identifiable factor is the sonnet’s fourteen-line length. For class, I need to write two sonnets this week – a traditional one and a contemporary one. I’m not sure which one will be easier to pen. Examples of contemporary…

Contemporary Poetry

In Thirteen Ways of Looking for a Poem: A Guide to Writing Poetry, Wendy Bishop states that “contemporary poets prefer rhyme that doesn’t call attention to itself; concrete, particular images; and conversational… language.” Since starting a course in contemporary poetry, I’ve been intrigued by Billy Collins’ poems. They epitomize the “unexpected phrases and strong sensory details” that Bishop includes in her characteristics of contemporary poetry….