Audrey Aug 31 2014

I grew up reading books, and became interested in making stories myself. I worked out scenes and bits of dialogue, and made my friends act out little dramas based on my favourite book at the time – Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book.

With that background, it was inevitable I would become a writer. It just took a while. After establishing a career as a librarian – first at the University of Saskatchewan and then at the Greater Victoria Public Library in British Columbia – I had a meaningful encounter with H.P. Lovecraft’s character Herbert West.

Strangely fascinated by HPL’s corpse-reanimating physician and his friend the nameless narrator, I built a set of stories around them. In 2000, I was compelled to write them down. The result was The Friendship of Mortals and three more novels, which constitute the Herbert West Series. Self-publishing became respectable and relatively easy just in time to rescue me from the sad fate of the Unpublished Writer.

Reluctant to abandon the characters I had spent so much time with, I wrote and published several short stories as supplements to the Herbert West Series. In 2018, I published She Who Comes Forth, a novel that may be considered a sequel to the series, and in 2020 a collection of short stories, seven of which are related to the series.

My other interest is gardening a patch of earth on southern Vancouver Island. I post about that at least as often as I do about books and writing — with pictures! To me, writing and gardening are forms of alchemy — a mysterious process of creating excellence from the chaos of the world.

I welcome comments on any of my posts, current or older. I always respond to comments. Because I follow more than 100 blogs, I do not routinely follow back everyone who follows my blog. A bit more about my blogging style can be found in this post.

You may find me on Goodreads, Amazon, and other sites where ebooks are sold.

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  1. I have to say I am completely charmed by your take on the Re-animator story. It’s so true to the original in so many ways while also being unique in a manner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Frances

      A belated thanks for your comment. I’m new to blogging so it has taken me a while to get around to replying to comments. Since I began writing my version of Herbert West’s story, there have been moments when I thought it was a peculiar thing to do. For a lot of people, Herbert is just a weirdo mad scientist, so I’m happy that there are a few who can relate to a more subtle interpretation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Audrey,

    I’ve only just seen your wonderful review of my mystery, A Hemorrhaging of Souls, on Smashwords. My apologies for not touching base earlier to thank you for your kind words and reviewing effort. I’m very grateful.

    I’m delighted to learn you’re a fellow Islander and gardener. Very cool.

    Good luck with your writing and dirt digging. I’m holding my breath on a bunch of blue poppies, waiting to see if they survive the winter. Will post pics on my blog. Cheers!


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Nicola. I found out about Smashwords and WordPress from the great talk you gave last March to the Victoria Writers’ Society.
      Blue poppies — most seductive for the gardener. I have a bunch in pots that I’ve grown from seed. Great topic for a blog posting, I think. I’m looking forward to seeing your pictures.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello, Audrey. I am Charles Milburn. Yes, the real one. That’s my real name. I live in St. Louis and my sister’s name is Audrey. I write short stories and plays. I’m an actor and have been in movies, on TV and many times on local stages. You owe me money for using my name. Just kidding. I do wonder where you got the inspiration to use my name, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Charles,
      What a pleasant surprise! I knew there was at least one real person named Herbert West, a onetime candidate for governor of Kansas, but it’s interesting to hear from a real Charles Milburn. And I myself have a fictional namesake — a character in Danielle Steel’s novel Wanderlust. How did I come up with the name Charles Milburn? Well, Charles seemed like a good, solid name for a guy from an old-money Boston family in decline. And I co-opted Milburn from Peter Straub’s novel Ghost Story, which is set in a fictitious town of that name. Since my novel is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s story “Herbert West, Reanimator,” it seemed right to give the narrator (who is nameless in the HPL story) a name from a horror novel, even though my novel isn’t horror, not exactly. Thanks for your comment; it made my day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, Audrey,

    So lovely to meet you. I am also a writer (heading a branch of the NJ state-wide association, Women Who Write, and an editor of that organization’s annual literary magazine.)

    In September I begin studies as a Master Gardner. I might flunk out, though, if I can’t remember all the Latin names I’ll be expected to learn.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Ronnie,
      Nice to connect with a fellow writer and gardener. I’ve thought about taking a Master Gardener course, but haven’t made the time as yet. Another thing to do when I retire! At least I have a pretty good memory for Latin plant names (so far).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for your visit to my blog! I wanted to drop by and invite you to join in Project O which is a look into how opinions are formed around the world. If this interests you and if you have a social issue you might want to share with people, please consider joining! The post can be found at the top of my blog under Project O – The Original Project Idea and the template is the post next to it. Thanks again for taking the time to visit my blog! -OM

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Audrey,
    I was wondering if you would be interested in reading a free copy of my romance ‘Reunion of the Heart’ in exchange for a fair and honest review?

    Your blog was recommended to me by Chris (The Story Reading Ape).

    Best wishes,

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I came across your blog in the author resources section of Chris The Story Reading Ape’s blog under the reviewers section. Please can you let me know whether you would please consider reviewing one of my books and, if so how I should send this to you (it is an ebook). Many thanks and kind regards. Kevin

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award. it’s a Pay it Forward kind of thing. All you have to do is nominate ten blogs with fewer than 200 followers, compose ten questions to ask them, and link back to my blog.
    Here are my questions for you, dear:
    1. If you could live as a fictional character, who would you be?

    2. What is your first memory of a book?

    3. You’re the Reading Rugrat at your local library, what would be your first choice of book to read to the children?

    4. You’ve just started a Book Club, what top three books are on your must-read list?

    5. If you could live in another world of your choosing, what world from what book would transport you?

    6. Out of all the books you’ve read, which one do you feel changed your perspective on life?

    7. If you could rewrite a book to make it better, which one would that be?

    8. You’re having dinner with your favourite writer, what is the first question you’d ask?

    9. After you’re finished gushing over your favourite writer, what is the second question you’d ask?

    10. What book haunts you?
    Cheri Vause

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You are a breath of fresh air. Please… keep doing what you are doing. Looking forward to sharing stories. (Shower thoughts… lol. Funny how those… slip away!) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Dear Audrey,
    Would you have any objection Dodo Books posting your splendid and helpful review for Short Stories : Crimes, Cults and Curious Cats by Jonathan Day on Amazon?
    Many thanks in anticipation,
    Jane (Parker)
    Dodo Books

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Audrey, I am putting together a blog tour, because a new Port Naain Intelligencer story is coming out soon, and I wondered if you’d like to be one of the hosts. (The story does mention Tallis Steelyard but alas only in passing)

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Hi, Audrey! Delighted to meet you! It came as a lovely surprise to find that someone had reviewed my book, Deception Bay. Thank you for reviewing it…and am glad you enjoyed it.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Hi there, Audrey. Thank you for liking the post I shared yesterday from Rebecca Bryn. I too have a small ‘patch of earth’ and love gardening and the opportunity it presents to my characters to tell me their thoughts.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I need advice. I am writing a book about my daughter. I started it in Word years ago. Then I started hand-writing it so I could move parts around. Now, I am releasing parts of it on my OTHER blog, seizuremama.wordpress.com. As you can tell it’s all over the place. I have it all in one notebook, but I am overwhelmed on how to put it all together. Do you use an app? I read about Scrivener. What do you use. HELP!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Flower. The only writing aid I use (apart from pen and paper) is Word. I know writers who swear by Scrivener, but have never tried it myself, so I don’t know how easy it is to learn. If you’re comfortable with Word, you could certainly continue to use it. Maybe create a separate Word document for each section, and eventually copy each one into a new, combined document. It’s pretty easy to move text around in Word by highlighting, copying, cutting and pasting. It’s best to keep things like fonts, line spacing, indents, etc. the same throughout. I published four novels in ebook and print form, doing all my own formatting. Each one started as a Word document. So it is doable. Feel free to ask about specifics, and good luck.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Audrey, thank you for visiting my site and “liking” one of my environmental posts. I do research like that because I’m a professional grandfather, and want a life for all the young people on the planet, and a life worth living.
    In one of your posts, you are contrasting writing in the dungeons, isolated and concentrating. vs. in more normal and distracting circumstances. My guess is that it makes no difference, because the REAL writing is done by your subconscious and, if you’re anything like me, pecking at a keyboard or pushing a pen around is merely recording.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Hi Audrey. I read your posts on the Whitechapel Whelk site – which cheered me up considerably! I decided to self-publish after querying a handful of agents and deciding I couldn’t be bothered to put myself through that! I don’t expect or need to make a living out of writing. I want to write stories, and it’s great to have my books on my bookshelf and to be able to put them out there. I’m dreaming the impossible dream! Love your site and your attitude.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Tim (aka “Anonymous”). Self-publishing has opened up creative avenues for many. We can be as “professional” as we want to be, but we do have to manage our expectations when it comes to sales and reviews. Thanks for your interest!


  17. Hi Audrey, What great photos and flowers. A delight!

    Hope you are well.

    Husband and I visited Vancouver in 1986 and I have a very good friend living there. We loved it, plus Vancouver Island. Wonderful memories..

    Best wishes. Joy. xx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Joy. 1986 was the year of Expo, I recall. That really brought Vancouver to world attention. I feel blessed to be living on Vancouver Island; it really is a kind of paradise. Except for the possibility of the Big One (major earthquake), of course. 🙂


  18. Hi again Audrey, How remiss of me not to mention EXPO! It was a wonderful experience and we walked miles seeing it all…We also loved the beautiful gardens in Vancouver. Years before, hubby and I lived and worked in Toronto for eighteen months, and as it was 1957, were like kids in a sweet shop (we’d only just come out of rationing in the UK…) Canada’s a super country with so much to offer…Lucky you! Hugs x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. From what I understand, Toronto in the 1950s was pretty grim and grey, but at least there wasn’t rationing. I’ve been there only a few times myself; it’s become quite a cosmopolitan place with people from all over the world. Canada does have a lot of different experiences for visitors, that’s for sure!


  19. Happy Mother’s Day to you, Audrey!

    May you and your family find the rest of 2021 very much to your liking and highly conducive to your writing, reading, thinking and publishing whatever books and posts that take your intellectual fancy and imaginative flight!

    Yours sincerely,

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dear Audrey, lovely to have come here and read about you. Mr. Kipling also pulled me in to write to you as once i put all my time in finding and then travelling in and around the jungles of Central India on which he had written ‘the Jungle book’.

    Thank you for sharing and looking forward to read your old and coming essays.

    Narayan x

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Just a quick line, Audrey, to say I spotted your kind review of my novel Durleston Wood. Thank you very much for that, for taking the time and for your considered and thoughtful comments.

    Liked by 1 person

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