A Catch 22 – Selling the rhino horn to save the rhino

rhino 2

Okay, who doesn’t want a cure for cancer and/or hangovers? I sympathize, but I won’t be looking to the horn of the rhino for relief anytime soon.

As we’ve heard in the news, rhino horns are a coveted commodity in Asia, thought to do everything from curing life-threatening disease to relieving simple ailments. As a result, the animals are being illegally poached and killed for their horns. Their numbers have dwindled alarmingly. The situation is dire.

Enter, stage left: South African, John Hume owns and operates the world’s largest captive breeding operation of rhinos.  He claims that his life ambition is to save the rhinos from extinction. His farm houses 4% of the global population. He, too, saws off the rhinos’ horns, (without killing the animal) in order to make them less attractive to the poachers (who do kill them). The thing is, the horn grows back and can be harvested every 18 months.

The twist: Hume sells the horns to the Asian market, arguing that the profit he makes goes directly back into sustaining his farm that protects the rhino.

Talk about a paradox. Hume is keeping the demand for rhino horns alive, the exact same reason he has to run a rhino refuge in the first place.

If there was scientific evidence showing that yes, indeed, the rhino horn does have medicinal value, this practise of Hume’s may have some merit, but until then… it seems education is still the way to go, the dispelling of incorrect beliefs about the properties of the rhino horn.

(And yes, easy for me to sit here in Canada and condemn a practise happening in South Africa when our own threatened species, the grizzly bear, is still being trophy hunted. Just as horrific, I know, I know.)

Cover Art!

Dancing in the Rain CoverHere it is, the cover for my soon-to-be released novel.

It’s always a bit of a shock for an author to see the cover of their new book. We have our own idea of what it will look like after years spent writing and rewriting the story, but the publisher is the one who designs it.

This is not the cover I imagined at all, yet it’s perfect, depicting some of the key elements in the story. I also love the background colours.

I’d imagined a female figure actually ‘dancing in the rain’, but that would have been all wrong as the title is just a metaphor for what happens in the story. No one actually dances, but the characters do spend time riding trams and the forest trails and mountain vistas are central to the story. The mood of the cover art is achy,  the characters’ paths are about to cross but they are separated by the isolating bubble of their individual trams. They are on their own journeys.

Beautifully done, Orca Book Publishers. Thank you. Can’t wait to get my hands on the first copy.




Just The Word

Editing JustJust.

I just wanted a bit.

It just takes a moment.

If he would just hurry up.

It just means…

It would just be setting you up for failure.

My editor suggested that I delete the word ‘just’ as often as I could from my soon-to-be-published novel.  A quick search showed me how often I used the word, and how needlessly. Apparently it is a common writing error. I’m tempted to revisit my older titles to see if I’ve overused it in those stories too, but I won’t. It would ‘just’ depress me. (See? I’m still doing it.)

As I work on my novel-in-progress, I’m hyper aware of that niggling adverb.  I’m striking it from my writing vocabulary. Just wait and see if you can spot a single j word. (oops)

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Copy Editing Software for Authors


Guilt-free coffee pods

coffee pods 2Anyone who cares about their environmental footprint shudders at the thought of adding even one single-use coffee pod to the tens of billions that end up in the landfill each year. Separating the coffee from the foil and plastic for recycling/composting is painstaking. But these (pictured below) reusable, single-use coffee pods are the perfect solution. You simply put in a scoop of coffee, brew, then tap it into the compost bucket when you’re done.  A quick rinse and you’re ready to make your next cup of coffee in the same ‘pod’.

coffee pods