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pavya [userpic]

Confraternitas due out next summer

November 14th, 2012 (11:02 am)

current mood: bouncy

The sequel to "Fraterfamilias," called "Confraternitas," will be out next summer from Innsmouth Free Press.


pavya [userpic]

Fraterfamilias back out in print and ebook

The novel Judith and I cowrote together, Fraterfamilias, is back out in print, this time under the names "Judith Doloughan" and "Paula R. Stiles". You can find ordering info here:


The book is available in print, ebook, and Kindle format on Amazon, Barnes&Noble and Booksamillion, among others.

ScifiGuy.com is doing a giveaway this week. You can check it out here:


We still have review copies available if you're willing to do a review or other promotion. We 
do reciprocate. You can check Innsmouth Free Press out here:


Paula Stiles

pavya [userpic]

Fraterfamilias interviews

September 2nd, 2007 (10:35 pm)

current location: Never Never Land
current mood: chipper
current song: I Feel Lucky by Mary Chapin Carpenter

Nikki Leigh, who runs a book promotion site, has generously agreed to host "Fraterfamilias" on some of her blogs. These interviews are all focused on characters from the book:

Share Your Hero

My Best Friend's Story

It's All in the Setting

Bad Guys & Villains

Paula Stiles (other half of Peter Ferrer)


pavya [userpic]

Review at GUD and Fraterfamilias up on Fictionwise

July 25th, 2007 (05:03 pm)

current location: TV Land
current mood: chipper
current song: Bonnie Raitt's I Will Not Be Denied

Fraterfamilias was reviewed at GUD on the 24th.

The book is also now up on Fictionwise.

Paula Stiles (other half of Peter Ferrer)

pavya [userpic]

Sad News

June 24th, 2007 (10:35 pm)

current mood: sad

Judith Doloughan, author of this blog, my friend and cowriter of our book, "Fraterfamilias", died on June 5 after a long illness. She was 63. She left behind a number of projects which I will finish/revise/develop for her.

Our publisher, Virtual Tales, has included an obituary and tribute on their blog. This includes a discount on our book until June 28, if anyone is interested. Proceeds from the sale will go to charity:


I will keep this blog up and maintain by answering any replies people make to posts and posting announcements when more of Judith's work comes out. Please keep her in your prayers.


pavya [userpic]


May 13th, 2007 (10:27 pm)

To save you all the chore of wondering what that means, I'll just lay it out. At last, our book, Fraterfamilias, was declared "finished" by the editor and it is now available as a complete novel instead of in chunks. This means that anyone interested in buying it can have it complete by going to the site here:


It has been given to a reviewer who will take the next two weeks to read it, after which you'll be able to read the review. I'll include a link when it comes out. Don't forget that you can include your own review at other sites that sell the book, such as Mobipocket and Diesel eBooks:



After all, having your own opinion is always so much fun. There is also a message board at Virtual Tales, which is available for anyone to post:


Thanks to everyone who's already purchased the novel or has expressed pleasure in its reading.


pavya [userpic]

It's been a while

March 5th, 2007 (06:26 pm)

I’m bored. Anyone who has lived in a bed for a year is going to be bored. Oh,I’ve written a book,it’s true. A year is plenty of time to write a book. Now I have to send it out to a publisher which is a numbing task. I’d forgotten about how numbing. If you’ve ever thought about it yourself, you can look forward to possibly four or five years. You read correctly. Four or five years.

If you have a name, it changes things. Your book sits in a slush pile waiting for someone to get around to reading it.That’s about four months. If they don’t like it, they will send it back. You send it out again and wait again. This process can be repeated several times. Perhaps you will make changes but quite often, their comment is simply that it isn’t what they’re looking for. Endings are frequently a problem. If you are embroiled in this process, try reworking your ending and resubmit.

That’s for novels, of course. Short stories are another matter. The market for short stories is very poor unless you are writing genre stories — science fiction, mystery, romance — since there are magazines dedicated to those styles. In that case, the turn-around time isn’t significantly different from that of the novel, although it is somewhat shorter and it is cheaper to send out. When you get it back, just send it out again and again and again. if the editor has suggestions, pay attention to them and be prompt about it. Usually, this means they will buy it if you make the suggested changes.

I still have some ideas about being a science fiction short story writer. That was my original idea ever since I first got hooked on science fiction. It was my first love since the age of thirteen. That year, I read Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles Now it’s outdated but it still has a magical quality. There are books that change your life and this was one such. I suppose there are movies that do the same thing, though it hasn’t happened to me.

Follow your Bliss. That is Joseph Campbell’s advice, Follow what turns your crank, what does it for you, what keeps you up at night and makes your day one of waiting to get back to whatever it is that drives you. If you’re lucky, what fills your days is what fills your heart.How do you decide what your bliss is? I have no idea. I know my bliss is writing and I’ve known it for years. Many people believe that writing is their bliss but it might not be so. If you thnk it is, try writing a blog page. When I first began to think about what became Solitude, it was something called Archive. I envisioned a culture in which it is believed that everyone should write his own life history, which life history was kept in an archive. I think that writing one’s life history is important but one should not expect to have that autobiography published. It becomes a personal record that quickly becomes a treasured record of a revered ancestor.

That’s the urge to write. Don’t expect to get published. That’s something different. Bliss is something else. It’s what makes you happy.

pavya [userpic]

Digging for Worms and Other Things

December 25th, 2006 (09:53 am)

The other day, I was thinking about things I did as a child. When I was ten, we lived on a new street that had only four houses on it. Now it’s a tract of houses put up for workers at Ford auto plant. So I’m told. We had two acres of land each; the rest of it was farm land still. Field tomatoes. I remember going over to speak to the lady who was picking them by hand and ended up helping her. She gave me a five quart basket of tomatoes which I gave to my mother who ignored it unttil they were going bad and then tossed them in the garbage. It was typical of my mother. I spent a lot of time in therapy thanks to her.

I used to escape from her by going to the end of our property and down into the gravel pit you could get to from there. There were fruit trees in the gravel pit, it had been abandoned for so long. Lots of plums and peaches and apples. I used to fill up on them and not bother to take any home. From the end of the lot, you could turn left and walk a long way through the fields which were inhabited by rabbits and groundhogs. The groundhog holes were the bane of the farmer’s existence and my uncle used to hunt them. I went with him on his hunts and when we got back home, I would skin them for my uncle who could shoot animals but nott skin tthem. I couldn’t shoot them but once they were dead, i had no trouble with skinning them.

I was older then, though. Back when I was ten, I could disappear for the whole day with no difficulties. I used to walk through the groundhog fields (hay was harvested) to where the woods began. There was a little stream that went through the woods and i spend endless hours watching the critters in the stream, the water striders and things that swam. If I’d known them what I knew later, I would have brought some samples of water home and looked at them under a microscope. Later, when i took biology in university, I did know about the underwater critters, one-celled wonders, vorticella that spin, for example.

I found two trees that were bifurcated and laid downed branches one to the other, covered them with leaves and made a lean-to out of them, with leaves to sit on. Later, I brought books to read in my fort. Needing to get away from my mother fuelled many trips to the woods.

Up at the top of the road was a reservoir. The house there was occupied by an English couple. Mr. Brown was hired to watch over the reservoir. It was a lovely house covered in ivy. They had a boy my age. I have forgotten his name at long last, after being able to remember it for the best part of fifty years now. We hung out together. About this time and earlier, we had friends named John and Jean Naylor. They had a son as well. Joe Naylor, although he told me that John was his step-father and his real name was Joe Brandwein. He went to Queens University later in life and I think he taught physics, although I may be wrong.

I had a crush on Joe from the time I was eight. I still had a crush when I was eighteen. It was a sad story. I got a phone call from him one day saying he was going to be in Londodn and could he look me up. I, of course, was thrilled. As the appointed time came, I was ready in my best dress, make-up on, the whole nine yards. He never came and I never heard from him again. It hurt for a very long time. Never do that, ever, you who read this. Go at the appointed time or call. Never just not show up.

Those were the good years. When I got older, I couldn’t just no show up. From the age of twelve when I had to show up after school to let the babysitter go home and cook the dinner, life get steadily worse.

I was wondering whether to write this or not but why not? It’s a fact. I got a family tree this week, the family tree of my grandmother’s family, the Fergusons. It shows them from the year 1830 when my great, great grandfather was born. It says he was a woodworker. My other great great grandfather was a toolmaker but there was no birth year. My grandmother was the eldest daughter of the ten children of Josh Ferguson and my family has five children, me, Robert, Leslie, Hilary and Alison in order of age. I am in regular contact with William Lindsay who is my grandmother’s nephew, whatever that makes me.

I have always loved Christmas, no matter the circumstances. I remember Christmases when I was little very fondly. We had a real, if small tree and it had little candle holders made of tin that clipped onto the branches and held little candles which we actually lit, for heaven’s sake! We’d be terrified of doing that now, even with artificial trees. How the times have changed. But we’d survived the war; we could survive lighting candles on the Christmas tree. i loved the ornaments which also survived from year to year. i remember a bird ornament with a long tail. There were other decorations that i remember, particularly a picture on stiff card of a sleigh with people in Victorian dress on it and the whole was sprinkled with sparkles. I loved it.

We had our presents put on the foot of the bed so that we two children could open them without disturbing the adults. i had asked Father Christmas for a cradle for my dolly and there it was! The doll always had knitted doll clothes. i have the doll still but the eyes need replacing. We always had handknitted sweaters (jumpers) and socks. Everyone knitted in those days and I have knitted loads of sweaters and a pile of socks for various people. It’s a very worthwhile skill. We children didn’t appreciate the fairisle sweaters and cardigans.

We were allowed a sip of sherry at Christmas dinner. We also had a whole roast chicken, this at a time when you could hardly have found one in a butcher’s shop. Ours, I think, came from Auntie Dolly’s little flock from the bottom of the garden in Sevenoaks. I loved the stuffing, as who does not? Mashed potatoes and lots of gravy. It’s not possible to have Christmas without gaining a couple of pounds. The Christmas that i was pregnant, i ate like a horse and then starved myself so that the net loss of one pound was duly noted by the doctor. He proclaimed me his prize patient that year and she was born in March. He said that his mothers never gained more than twenty pounds. He wasn’t kidding.

As an aside, i have finished my SF novel ‘Solitude’. I’m proofreading it now before I send it to a publisher. I have one in mind at the moment. But it’s long, which is a problem for publishers. Our other novel, Fraterfamilias, is in serial form, although we didn’t write it that way. The editing is being done at a snail’s pace and it’s annoying us. i’ve complained to the boss about it and he’s promising to try to speed things up. Not our fault. We finished it a couple of years ago.

I’m sure you’ll all like Solitude. A spaceship is forced to land on a planet that they name Solitude. It’s a desert planet and is inhabited by a gentle folk who are telepaths. They need food and water and first contact is the only option they have of getting what they need. The spaceship is from a planet called Omana and is a planet of humans who went there during the Great Migrations twenty thousand years earlier. Omana is under the yoke of a Patriarch who is the head of Gennacorp, the ruling Company. They are fighting a guerilla group for control of the Outer Planets. Anyway, it’s a good yarn. I hope the publisher likes it.

Meanwhile, it’s business as usual back in the hospice. Take care and a very merry Christmas to you all.


pavya [userpic]

Finding Peter Gzowski

December 9th, 2006 (04:15 pm)

I wrote this a few years ago now. I'd been watching the Olympic hockey game in 2002 in a bar. Peter Gzowski had died and his memory was right there in fromt of us. He would have liked that we won gold.

And I no longer live in Dartmouth, NS. I escaped and now live in Vancouver again. This place i love.


Like so many others, I was not born in Canada. I was born in the picturesque, thousand-year-old town of Salisbury, in the southern English county of Wiltshire. It has a magnificent Gothic cathedral whose spire is -- was – falling down. Perhaps they have fixed it now. And is not far from Stonehenge. It used to be called New Sarum, so I’m told, and was built next to Old Sarum, which had been inhabited since the days of the builders of Stonehenge. It is old, if anything is.

But I have never really been there. I was not raised by my mother but was taken in at the ripe old age of ten days by foster parents, living in Sevenoaks in Kent. It was wartime and such things were not uncommon. Sevenoaks is in what was known as ‘bomb alley’, the route of the rocket bombs launched in Holland, with the anti-aircraft guns pounding away at all hours to try to knock them out of the skies before they fell on London. Apparently, it was all right if they fell on us.

Needless to say, I was a nervous child. I chewed the ends of my pigtails and sucked my handkerchief when no one was looking. Until I left England, at the age of eight, we lived on rationing. They say it was severe and I suppose that an allotment of one ounce of sugar per person per week counts as ‘severe’. It was the only system I had ever known and if I was deprived of the necessities of life, I was blissfully unaware of it, having, it seemed to me, everything I needed, a family, a brother, a dad who carried me on his shoulders and wonderful Christmases. How is that deprivation? No-one thought to explain to me either what a ration was or the need of it; it was a way of life and the only one I had ever known. I did at least know that everyone was required to have them; there were no special cases that I knew of. If I was deprived, so was everyone else and it was not noticeable. The grown-ups never spoke of such things within earshot of children and I am inclined now to think that there is merit in such a system.

Some time after the war, perhaps in 1948, we moved to Wythenshawe, a suburb of the great Industrial Revolution city of Manchester, with its ship canal that had been the aorta of Britain for the export of woollen goods from the ‘dark, Satanic mills’. What did I know of all that? To me, Manchester meant Manchester United football team, having a red and white muffler, filling in the football pools for Pop, since we two children had as much chance of being right as anyone, being within driving distance of the Blackpool Illuminations, walks along country lanes every Sunday after church, being forbidden to play in the rhododendron bushes because of the black, oily streaks that resulted from touching the dark leaves, Father Christmas at Lewis’s Department Store – and at several other big stores as well, of course, which was how I determined that, lovable as he was, Father Christmas was a fake -- and a field for playing Cowboys and Indians behind the ‘semi-detached’ house.

We lived with the sight of bombed buildings. I thought nothing of them; they were simply there, the way of things, as ‘normal’ as sharing one can of Spam between five people and thinking ourselves well off for a lump of coal for the fireplace instead of the usual peat. There were trips to the zoo, with its wonderful elephants. There were rides for the children in a wooden seat high on the elephant’s back. One of the best-cherished childhood delights was feeding Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts, one at a time, to the huge beasts, holding the treat carefully between childish fingers while the two-ton giant took it with exceeding delicacy by the prehensile ‘lips’ of the end of its trunk, its touch warm, soft and gentle. I have loved the great behemoths to this day. I actually remember nothing else about the zoo, but it is enough.

Discovering Peter Gzowski

I look out the window of my tenth-floor apartment in beautiful downtown Dartmouth and I hate the place.

It is not the first time in my life that the place I was living in has engendered that uncertain, vaguely distressing sense of not-belonging, but that is another story. I am a Vancouverite, although it took me nearly fifty years to know that about myself. And I have been just about everywhere on the northern half of the continent of North America, not to mention across it by air, train and car, and around it by water. Which makes me a little odd.

I have not seen it all, not by a long shot, but I have seen more of it than most, ‘been there done that’ more often than many and lived to tell about it. Peter Gzowski died last month and it struck me that I was one of a tiny minority of Canadians who never listened to “Morningside”, his long-running CBC morning radio show. That oversight is possibly due to the simple fact that I have not owned a radio in over twenty years, although I am not sure why that should be. Years ago, I put it on my mental list of things to buy before the next Ice Age and it is still there. For some reason, I know his voice for all that; he has seeped into my marrow anyway. I have tried to make amends to Peter’s memory by reading his books and finding out what that phenomenon was — is — all about. As far as I can see, and from what I heard on the programs on CBC television after his death, he was like a bootlace that kept us all together, tied the sides of this sixty-eight hundred-kilometre-wide boot — or hockey skate, or mukluk – together. I never knew him and I miss him anyway. We humans are funny like that.

I watched the memorial special that celebrated his achievements and they were all there. Peter Mansbridge kicked it off, the Bare Naked Ladies sang for us, Vicky Gabereau read some letters, Susan Aglukark sang “O, Canada” and Graham Greene was a face in the audience. I think I saw Dame Judy Dench; I hope I did. I like Dame Judy; I should like to think that she likes us.

”Us”. I have not always been able to say that. I have always lacked a sense of family but I realized something that night. My family was right there, in an auditorium at the University of Toronto, talking about one of our own. “Our own.” My, that sounds nice.

I was not born here. I was born in England and came here as a child, brought here with no say in the matter, brought into a strange place with strange sounds and strange children. I was lonely, lost and miserable and I hated it. It has taken fifty years for this land to work its brutal magic, wooing me not with promises but with challenges, not with comfortable softness but with harsh, forbidding and gorgeous reality. I resisted for half a century. The siren song of this country is patient and inexorable. It needs to be; it is tough love.

And now the circle is complete. Yesterday, February 24, 2002, when the Canadian men’s hockey team won the gold after a fifty-year odyssey of its own, when I counted out the last seconds of the third period along with everyone else in a Halifax bar, whooping and hollering like a five-star maniac, madly waving the little maple leaf flag I got at Canada Day celebrations last year, I could no longer pretend that I was not a Canadian. I conceded defeat. I was home.

On the national news, Ben Chin couldn’t keep a straight face, Ian Hanomansing showed us the revellers on Robson Street in Vancouver and, from Kandahar, Afghanistan, we saw Canadian soldiers leaping about for sheer joy. In Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, the jubilant crowds were splashed with red and white. And I was proud. Fifty years ago, in 1952, the Edmonton Mercurys won the last gold medal and a scrawny waif with big, blue, Irish eyes, pigtails and a lost look got off an immigrant ship. Today, the gold medal and I are both home. Yesterday, I saw the look on Wayne Gretzky’s face, the clear message that, wherever he is, he is ‘one of us’. I am ‘one of us’ and it is a good feeling.

Think I’m gonna to buy me a Roots hat.


pavya [userpic]

Where Do Old Hurricanes Go?

November 28th, 2006 (07:47 pm)

I first wrote this with no audience in mind. Hurricane Juan struck Dartmouth/Halifax, Nova Scotia on September 27/28, 2003. It had been a beautiful summer and we weren't ready for it to end but it did, with a bang.

You'll have to keeep that in mind. I'm not going to go through and change the times or references. I don't live there any more, having come home the following March 1, right after White Juan, which is what people named the wworst blizzard in a century the following February. No more, no more.


Friday ... [surfacing and spitting out debris]

Wow. Got smacked upside the head for that little piece of cheek!

Hurricane Juan made landfall two miles from my cosy little tower sometime after 11pm Sunday evening. I was on the phone to Paula at the time because I'd already lost internet connection. I got as far as holding the phone up to the window for her to hear the screaming of the wind so she could say, Yup, that's a hurricane... And that's about when I lost the connection. And the lights.

I think it's the noise, ya know? We are situated about two hundred FEET from the harbour. I was officially in the mandatory evacuation zone but the building was exempted. The storm surge pushed boulders over the boardwalk, chewed the boardwalk to ratshit, smashed right through my favourite coffee shop, washed out the rail bed, overturned some rail cars… all sorts of fun stuff. I took a stroll around there a couple of days later and found the edge of the surge —a thick line of seaweed and styrofoam and broken wood, and God knows what all along the railway track—and past it in some spots—about a hundred feet from our front door.

The most noticeable damage is the thousands of trees that got pushed over or just plain snapped off—all facing pretty much the same direction—hauled out by the roots. Everywhere you look, there are huge trees down, their root balls sometimes more than a head high (gives new meaning to the term 'balls up'!). There are too many of them down to get them all cleared away by the time winter sets in, even with the army in here helping, so they'll probably be there reminding us of the mess all winter. The buildings weren't too badly damaged; the buildings have to be fairly solidly constructed to withstand the winter storms off the North Atlantic, but there is an awful lot of aluminum siding and styrofoam insulation and roofing material in with the branches and tons of shredded leaves all over everywhere. Someone described it as looking as though someone shook oregano all over the place. Mostly there are snapped-off telephone poles here and there and the lines were down everywhere. The lovely park next door to us lost half its trees, big sixty-foot pines. I took a few piccies. The beautiful Public Gardens in downtown Halifax were devastated. {As it turned out, some seventy thousand trees came down all told

The big thing was getting the power back up. My little piece of the power grid is the same one that has the harbour control and hurricane centre on it, ergo we got priority and were up in almost exactly 24 hours. Until then, it meant I was trapped on the tenth floor because, without the elevators, even though my knees might have withstood climbing down ten flights of stairs in pitch dark, they would never have got me back up. And there was nothing open, of course. They wanted everybody to stay in because of all the live power lines down all over the place. Many people are still without power.

You have to admire the stoic attitudes of the locals, though. They interviewed some fishermen who watched their livelihoods disappear in the space of minutes and the usual reply was something like, Ayuh, muh boat sunk. Oh, and for those of you who don't think that getting out to vote is worth the bother, this is one for the books: The province of Prince Edward Island (PEI — think 'Anne of Green Gables') which was nearly as badly hit as we were, went ahead with its provincial election, with the polls opening six hours after the storm passed. The chief returning officer had to hack his way out of his driveway with a chain saw and they voted and counted by candlelight and kerosene lamp—and the turnout was 78%. Of course, we still mark one piece of paper with an X and stuff it in a box, which helps.

As for me, there wasn't a lot to see. I looked out the window but the air was too full of flying water, I suppose, and there were no lights, of course. A lot of lightning and noise. Something in the ventilation shaft of the building was banging like crazy. I think the only uncomfy moment was when I could feel the whole building sway. The winds were clocked at 93 mph with gusts up to 128 mph. That'll do it! Other than that, I saw no point in just sitting there in the dark. After the eye passed&mdash:a very eery experience— just curled up and slept like a baby. I had a bowl of cooked rice in the fridge and some cooked meat. That and some salmon and canned peas kept me quite happy. And enough cat food, of course. That would have been a disaster. Late Monday night, I heard laughing down the hall and went to join three other ladies who were getting pretty bored, as I was. They'd been experimenting with making toast with a butane lighter! (Didn't work but was good for amusement after the beer was all gone.)

It's been a very boring week but I got a lot of writing done. I ran up a horrible phone bill calling Paula every night for a good giggle and to read her the latest chunk. Thank God the net is back up!

The only downside for me is that the art show I was going to have some drawings in got -- um -- 'cancelled': the gallery was in the same building as my coffee shop and the storm surge threw boulders through the windows and washed the place out. They're still squeegeeing out the salt mud and debris. They had a little bobcat out to move the rocks back to the breakwater where they came from.

Using a hurricane as a reason for not returning somebody's email or not paying a bill seems so much like a shaggy dog story, too. Everybody is saying it's almost embarrassing, right up there with the old tiger that jumped out of the bushes and ate your homework... but it's my story and I'm sticking to it.


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