Broom Chicka-Wow-Wow

I’m back after taking a short breather from writing. I was sad to miss two flash fiction challenges, but was happy to return for the last one in ’Nathan Burgoine’s 2018 monthly Flash Fiction Draw.

And thank goodness, the genre was Comedy. The setting is a poppy field and the mandatory object was a broom.

Here’s my entry, called Broom Chicka-Wow-Wow


As head gardener of Poppyfield Manor, Shelley Rutherford’s headspace was often cluttered with several brands of manure. When offered a frugal sum for her thoughts, she often replied with, “Oh, nothing more than shit.”

This invariably confused whomever asked the question, for it seemed Ms. Rutherford had indeed been focusing on something of great significance. However, a follow-up query was rarely asked.

Shelley felt more in charge of the county than the earl himself. Lord Hartley might have been competent in his own right, but she knew the land under her care had brought him further glory. And the pride of all her flora was the expanse that had given the manor its name.

While the scarlet flowers often reseeded well on their own, Shelley had made it a habit to harvest enough seeds to keep the field lush for the blooming season. Presently, the soil needed loosening. Several apprentice gardeners gathered ’round to help her till the area.

She liked the new team, mostly. She’d inherited one of them from a very distant cousin of the earl. Mortimer Figbottom, a third son with little prospects, flashed her a vacuous smile as he proudly held up the tool he brought for the day’s work.

Count to ten slowly, Shelley. One…two… three…

“Well, Ms. Ruthy? Isn’t she a vintage dream? Belonged to my grandmama. I’d wager there’s not another about in such condition,” said Mortimer, beaming.

The head gardener replied with teeth gritted in an unsuccessful attempt at returning the smile. “It’s Rutherford, Mr. Figbot—”

“Oh no-no, that won’t do at all. Call me Morty. Everyone does!”

She blinked. “Very well, erm, Morty. Now then, while I’m sure this was a fascinating piece for its time, it simply won’t do for the task at hand.”

Mortimer gasped and inspected his tool. No, not that; the thingie in his hand. Wait, he didn’t have his thingie in his hand—erm—let’s try this again. Mortimer held up the wooden handle.

“But you cahn’t be serious, Ms. Ruthy! Why, Grandmama always used this to loosen the soil.”

Shelley slid her fingers from the top of her forehead until they rested upon her lips. Her voice was a bit muffled as she muttered, “Your Granny used an old curling broom as a gardening tool.”

“Why, indeed! Just the sort of thing to do the trick.”

“Mr. Fig—Morty—”

“And not only is this implement far superior to a hoe or tiller,” he added, “it also makes the earth feel, well, sexy.”

The other gardeners sniggered. Shelley willed her eyes to stay in their neutral positions.

“I’m going to regret asking this, Morty, but, what the actual—”

“I understand your scepticism, Ms. Ruthy—”


“But Grandmama said her rather virile ginger Scottish beau at the time… or was he Irish? I can never tell those people apart.” Morty scratched his head. “No, I think he definitely said he liked tatties and neeps. So, Scottish. Or perhaps he said titties and nips. You know, I really can’t recall with absolute certainty.”


“Anyway, he told Grandmama he could broom her field until it felt ‘ded sexeh.’ I do remember overhearing that phrase for sure!”

Shelly closed her eyes and resumed counting to ten. Nepotism could really be the worst at times. But it wouldn’t do to blow her stack at this ridiculous human. No matter how hard he was trying to help.

“Morty, I hate to break this to you, but I think that expression has more to do with, erm, well, particular…acts…ah, between partners, than any sort of horticultural pursuits.”

He stared at her with the innocence of a child. “Whatever do you mean?”

Might as well rip the plaster off before the morning gets away from us. “Sex, Morty. The man wanted to ‘plow’ your granny, not her field.”

The man with the curling broom burst into a hearty guffaw. “Oh, that! Well, of course. That was the process, you see? Broom the soil, then drop right down and have it away. The ‘magik’ of the broom encouraged amorous activities. Worked every year, too. You should have seen the blossoms!”

Shelley gave up. There was no convincing this man otherwise. “Fine. Use the broom. Don’t wreck my poppies.” She turned to the woman on her left. “Freda, supervise Morty.”

“Sure, boss!”


The earl had called her in after receiving a complaint from his steward about having to constantly chase away couples—who’d heard about Morty’s broom—from the poppy field. The steward had never seen the like in all his years.

Shelley shrugged her shoulders when asked if she had any insight into why these copulations were occurring in this specific location.

The earl studied her face, but eventually decided to assign staff to patrol the area. There would be no way he would allow Poppyfield Manor’s famous field to be defiled and even worse, devoid of blooms.

Shelley nodded and took her leave.


June arrived. How many times had she come to this exact spot to stare and stare until she finally assured herself she wasn’t hallucinating?

But there it was, like a lush scarlet carpet, thick with perfect red blossoms covering the expanse. Shelley shook her head in disbelief for maybe the hundredth time.

“Ah, another triumph!” exclaimed a voice teeming with pride.

She looked over her shoulder. “Morty.”

He stood akimbo, surveying his handiwork. “See? The wonders of Celtic mysticism!”

“I… just can’t believe it.”

“In your profession you’ve never heard of making the ground fertile?”

“Not through osmosis, Morty!!!”

“You must have a little faith, my dear woman.”

She scowled.

He smiled at her. “Of course, the spurts of liquid fertilizer I intermittently pumped through the hollow broom handle might have aided matters somewhat.”

Shelley’s jaw dropped.

Morty laughed. “Angus MacKenzie’s formula.”


“But look how we’ve made the field more popular than ever with the locals!”

Shelley snickered. “You bloody trickster.”

He winked.

They spent the next hour admiring the view in a comfortable silence.

Broom Chicka-Wow-Wow © 2018 Cait Gordon. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission except in the case of brief quotations in critical articles and reviews. For more information, contact Cait Gordon.

Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm (Renaissance) and The Stealth Lovers (Renaissance 2019). When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She’s also teamed up with co-editor Talia C. Johnson on the Nothing Without Us anthology (call for submissions are ongoing until Dec 31, 2018.)

Am I an author or just an innocent bystander?

Wow. I had no idea Viv was anything like that at 19. Never saw it coming!

The quote above is not a beta-reader’s comment about my work-in-progress of The Stealth Lovers. Those are my words. Yeah, I know. But, but, but … how can an author react like this when she’s the one writing the story? Beats me, but my characters tend to surprise me all the time.

Hey, I would love to stand tall and haughtily proclaim, “Why yes, I planned every word of this rom-com space adventure right from the beginning!” Then after I recovered from the lightning bolt that struck me unconscious, I’d have to admit the truth. I somehow split in two when I write, leaving me partly the author and partly the reader. Most times I can’t even feel myself driving the plot. It’s like my fingers do the typing while my eyes just absorb all the drama and comedy of the page. I’ve said many times, “Where does Xax come up with all that sass?” That would be you, Cait. You wrote the words. “But Cait, it doesn’t feel like I did. I swear, Xax says it all himself!” Cait, Cait, we’ve been through this before. It’s still you.

I’m not convinced. Because Xax and Viv are real, dammit.

There is something about diving into the creative process that is such a necessary escape. As a spoonie, I need to get away from reality on a regular basis. What I love about writing is that when I’m ready to return to my regularly scheduled life, there is this tangible thing I’m left with I can read over and over again. And because I live with a disability that requires so much of my attention, plunging into my manuscript releases me from control. Whatever it is exactly that my brain does, I find myself being taken on a journey where somehow I’m not thinking, but just responding to impulses that make me write the narrative and dialogue. I ride those nudges without questioning them, and end up stunned at the results. Then I get kind of proud that I did a thing! And I did it without hyper-planning it within an inch of its life.

By letting go to where the story wants to bring me, I become delighted with it, laughing or crying as if someone else had given me their book to read. My reactions are rather pure for someone who is responsible for the words. I like this, and don’t want to change my process … even though I can’t exactly pinpoint what the heck it is. I’ll just nickname it The Bystander Effect.

Chapter excerpt
Excerpt from The Stealth Lovers by Cait Gordon. Chapter 1: Vacay in Hay

I love chapter titles. They’re my thing. So, often I’ll make up a title, like, Vacay in Hay (hay is short for an unpronouncable word meaning hell on Xax and Viv’s planet). I know the chapter has to be about basic training, but I have zero clue what the scenes will look like. Perhaps my process is to give myself writing prompts. Like, “Okay, Cait, Vacay in Hay … and … GO!” Then I begin to type, and the bystander in me soaks up what’s happening. I have to admit, it’s fun!

Anyway, if you follow me on social media and read posts about The Stealth Lovers that say things like: “I can’t believe what happened!” and “Holy crap, I hate the author for making me cry!” you’ll know that’s just me working through my stuff. The Reader Me is just a bit freaked out at Author Me.

Can anyone relate? Do you sometimes find yourself swept away by your own stories taking a direction you never anticipated? Let me know! Leave a comment on this post or on my social media accounts.

Whatever your process is, I wish you happy writing and afterwards—a highly satisfied reading of your own words.

cgauthorCait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a comedic space opera where boy meets girl, but girl doesn’t notice boy because she’s sharing a body with another boy. She is also the creator and editor of the Spoonie Authors Network. You can follow Cait on Facebook  and Twitter.


The Reluctant Barbarian: Brilliantly Funny

The Reluctant Barbarian book coverSo, full disclosure: I received an e-ARC of this book from my publisher, in hopes I might give words of praise for it.

Even before I met John Haas, and The Reluctant Barbarian had only been pitched to Renaissance at CanCon 2016, this book had me at the title. That would have been enough to intrigue me to read it.

Then I discovered the premise: A backlogged angel who grants wishes arrives at Arthur Jenkins accounting firm, ready to grant Arthur’s wish (that he made as a young boy) to go on adventures with his best friend, Mike. As kids, Arthur and Mike had just seen Conan the Barbarian and Arthur desperately wanted to be a barbarian. At nine. Because he was nine. Nine-years-old at the time. Now he’s middle-aged. And, um, oh yeah, and Mike is now dead.

This doesn’t impede the angel, who insists Arthur will get his wish whether the process analyst wants it or not. Oh dear.

Next thing we know, time and space morph, and there’s Arthur, in a loincloth, missing Arnold’s muscle mass, and Mike, right beside him. Mike is alive, sort of. His spirit is, anyway. His body, not so much. Poor Mike resembles an extra in The Walking Dead. Guess the angels didn’t feel it was necessary to regenerate his body back to not-looking-like-a-decaying-corpse form.

But when Arthur and Mike encounter a strong and beautiful paladin, Arthur goes gooey, and Mike rolls his lidless eyes. Everything after that is pretty much hysterical.

So, I don’t give words of praise unless they are heartfelt. And I really enjoyed this book. One scene in particular had me laughing even days after I read it. (Arthur and his horse have a love-hate-mostly-hate relationship.)

If you’re looking for a light and witty read, lie back with this book and be prepared to snicker through your nose a lot. It’s great fun!

cgauthorCait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a comedic space opera where boy meets girl, but girl doesn’t notice boy because she’s sharing a body with another boy. She is also the creator and editor of the Spoonie Authors Network. You can follow Cait on Facebook  and Twitter.

Life in Another ’Cosm: Jinny from the Blog

Spoiler Alert: Don’t read this post until you’ve read Life in the ’Cosm! 

Jinny’s parents are so in love, it’s really gross. At least her warrior grandpops are epic. Malley High is ugh, Jayke is ughier, but Selma’s pretty okay for someone donned in 50 shades of black. To cope, Jinny spends her free time blogging about her world. Life goes snoozily along until the morning she meets a four-armed musician on the bus flight to school. She wants to get to know them, but realises she forgot her Geology homework. Skipping first class to scrounge around a quarry, Jinny finds a solid specimen inside an abandoned vessel. The only problem is, this rock poops.

(This back blurb may be subject to change.)

Jinny Abstract
Sometimes it’s better when your grandpop fixes your hair so it glistens like a grassy knoll.

My second book in the ’Cosm series is still a work in progress, but it’s currently over 50,000 words. I’m writing it a little differently from Life in the ’Cosm. Instead of a stream of consciousness taking me from start to finish, I’m writing from the beginning and from the end. Then random scenes pop into my head and I rush to jot them down. I reckon I’ll be assembling this book like a puzzle!

I was an adolescent in the ’80s, which had been a great time for teen movies. While I’m not really a YA author (I think), I affectionately nickname this book The ’Cosm Breakfast Club.

I’m sure I’ll post like mad about its progress, my self-doubt, and how I want to punch myself in the face from self-editing. (Don’t worry, I never really wallop me. I mostly self-medicate with cake.)

My plan is to have a beta-reader draft by Spring 2018, edit like my life depends on it, and submit the manuscript to my publisher, Renaissance. Let’s hope all this happens, because, you know, *gestures at everything in my life*.

cgauthorCait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a comedic space opera where boy meets girl, but girl doesn’t notice boy because she’s sharing a body with another boy. She is also the creator and editor of the Spoonie Authors Network. You can follow Cait on Facebook  and Twitter.

Beyond the cupcake.

If you don’t know me, then you might not grasp how shocking the title of this post is. Anyone who’s encountered me on social media or in real life knows that I love cupcakes. My erotic fantasy is Ewan McGregor giving me a come hither look while holding up a tray of assorted gluten-free, vegan fairy cakes. (He can even walk away and leave the tray of cakes, really.)

But as much as I love icing, there’s more to me and my writing than that.

Life in the ’Cosm: not just cake in space

When you write a book you’re also tasked with some self-promotion. I normally would add this tagline: Life in the ’Cosm, a story about love, adventure, and dessert. Or, I’d call it a comedy sci-fi with an unusual amount of cake. beyond-the-cupcake

While my book is funny (I know this because people have told me), and my protagonist Virj Ofreesin loves eating sweets, the story goes beyond the cupcake. Even though every character is made up, a lot of different feelings I had went into the book.

Because I hadn’t planned to get published originally, I wrote without limits or expecting anyone to read it. So, I went down a few roads that I wanted to explore:

  • Discrimination against LGBTQIA people by para-religious organisations.
  • Truly gracious spirituality versus religiosity.
  • Gender fluidity and changing preconceived gender roles.
  • Diversity in sexuality.
  • Dealing with disability.
  • Cyber affairs.
  • Chasing fantasy to the exclusion of those who truly love you.

If you haven’t read the book, you’re probably thinking, This is a comedy? If life has taught me anything, it’s that even during the heaviest and deepest moments, something happens that makes me laugh. My darkest moments also have included some of the funniest memories. I think seeing the humorous side of things has kept me alive.

Warning: an expressive extrovert lives here

Writer Amy M. Young called me an extroverted tornado, but she admits that I am extremely introvert-friendly. So, I have that going for me. Whoot!

While I like to talk about cake and can do it forever and ever and ever, I will get passionate about issues that matter to me. One of the reasons my writing includes characters who are gender-amazing and/or are more than cishet (cisgender and heterosexual) is because the majority of my close friends can claim one or several letters in the LGBTQIA acronym. What they endure matters to me, and even though I’m cishet myself, I really want to include gender and sexual diversity in my books. To me, it’s a reflection of real life.

Because I also manage a disability, it was important to me to include a character in Life in the ’Cosm who deals with one, too. She is also feisty to a fault, and robustly sexually active. You know what? We who live with disabilities like sex. Yet, it’s often thought that it’s taboo to think of us that way. (See my post in the Spoonie Authors Network blog called, Sexy and disabled: yes, you can be both!).

So, I often use my creative writing, non-fiction blogs, and social media statuses to discuss my viewpoints in these areas.

(Btw, if you’re wondering why I didn’t include people of colour as part of my creative writing, it’s only because almost every single character is a different colour from each other. In real life, I am very pro ethnic and racial diversity. Heck, I grew up in Montreal, Quebec. It was like having the whole world in one city!)

So, yeah, and stuff like that.

Anyway, just wanted to share a wee bit o’ insight into my own character. But please do not interpret this as my putting cupcakes as a lower priority in my life. I can love people and be an activist and an author while eating dessert, too. I can multitask, you know.

Hm. This post’s made me hungry. I think I need to merge some ingredients now.

Later, peeps!


CGAuthorCait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance Press). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network blog.


The judgy Ovum known as Splot.

He’s oozy and slimy, resembles a fried egg, and is probably judging you right now. He’s the Ovum known as Splot.

In Life in the ‘Cosm, we learn that several years before the story begins, Virj Ofreesin finds an alien known as an Ovum on his breakfast plate at a cheap diner. Instead of eating him, or reporting the restaurant to Planet Cinneh’s food inspection authorities, Virj takes the little guy home as a pet and gives him the name Splot.

The two beings form an interesting pair-bond, and Splot begins to communicate with Virj telepathically. While the Ova use telepathy to talk to each other all the time, an Ovum can only choose one person outside their species to speak to in this fashion. Splot chose Virj. Sounds sweet until you discover the types of things Splot actually says.

“Seriously, what are you, some kind of numpty?”

“Not now, Splot.”

Poor Virj can also pick up Splot thinking aloud or speaking to another Ovum, just like one’s overhears someone talking.

“Don’t look at me! It’s not my fault he’s useless with women!”

“I heard that!” shouted Virj from the hallway.

And it’s extremely difficult for Virj to have a bit of erm, um, self-caring private time, because the Ovum crawls all over the flat and can appear out of nowhere.

[Virj’s] breath burst out of his lungs. That didn’t take long.

“What the blazes are you doing with that thing?” asked Splot.

I had a lot of fun writing Splot’s dialogue, because it was often one line here and one line there. (Personally, I think Splot says the things that many of us are thinking. ) And because he only has these huge eyes to gesture with, I needed to face the challenge of making that work, too.

One time I was fooling with my stylus and I came up with this sketch:

His expression made me laugh so hard. I felt it relayed the essence of his character, and used it as an emoji of sorts when communicating to my friends in private messages. Often, I prefaced the image with the line, “I’m making the Splot face.” It’s such a perfect catch-all for when you want to be a little judgmental, but still funny.

Whenever I hear a reader tell me they also love Splot, it makes me happy. I love him, too. He’s on my screen looking at me right now, just like that sketch, wondering why I’m not writing my second book. An odd sort of motivational poster, but it works for me.

You can read more about Splot in my book, Life in the ‘CosmAvailable on Amazon and Renaissance Press!





The boingy-haired nuisance who’s Noola Quirk.

She likes thrift stores, glitter, bold colours (mostly pink), and her hair looks like a giant follicular umbrella. She’s annoyingly cheerful, probably the worst roller blader in galactic history, but her tenacity is unbreakable. She’s an expressive extrovert. She’s fighting a mobility disability. She’s Virj’s sidekick. She’s Noola Quirk.

I had no idea I’d invent Noola. Mind you, I had no idea what was going to happen in Life in the ‘Cosm as I was writing it. That was half the fun.

At the time I began ‘Cosm, my mobility had become severely impaired by the chronic pain and complications of fibromyalgia and arthritis. A few years before all of this, I was running. But in 2014, I couldn’t walk without a cane, and getting upstairs had been so challenging, I thought we might have to move. My spirits were low.

Then chapter three happened. That’s where Virj is trying to buy a birthday present for his crush, the unattainable and elegant Frayda, who is permanently attached to Jobie, because they share the same body. In the mall at the Delta Mews Business Park, Virj takes one moment to stop feeling sorry for himself and as he gets up off a bench, WHAM! A streak of colour and glitter literally runs him over. Noola Quirk rammed her way into his life on her rollerboots, on an overly waxed mall floor. And pretty much from that moment on, Virj cannot get rid of her.

virjnnoolaShe’s sanguine. He’s melancholic. She loves people. Him, not so much. She is so friendly, she says hi to hundreds of sentient daisies growing in a field. He’d prefer to be left alone in a fuzzy white robe, in his hotel room, writing. They have nothing in common. Except maybe a whacky adventure to find the mystical Slawncha leaves that will save Frayda’s life, when Frayda and Jobie become gravely ill.

I love her spirit and her optimism. I even love her lapses in judgment. A lot of myself as a once twentysomething went into her. (My husband unit says I am still Noola. I’m not sure. I do say, “Whatcha doin?” a lot, though.) Her lust for life amid the uncertainty of living with a disability helped keep me going. I need Noola. I think a lot of us with disabilities need to strive to tap into our inner Noola. She’s not a giver upper.

It was a riot to show their differences at times. Poor introverted Virj. He just wanted to go solo on this mission. Noola wouldn’t have it. I know from my friends that the worse thing for an introvert who needs to re-energize is an extrovert who never leaves their side.

“I’m sorry, Virj.”
“I’m not talking to you.”
“You sorta did right there.”
“Only because I need you to know I’m not talking to you.”
“How’s your bum?”
“I’m not talking to you, Noola.”
“Can I see?”
“Leave me alone.”
~ Life in the ‘Cosm, Chapter 26

Want to read more about Noola and Virj? You can buy Life in the ‘Cosm on Amazon and from Renaissance Press. Make a great giftie, for yourself or someone who likes books with words!  😀


Fun ‘Cosm Fact: a sentient houseplant and homemaker

I’ve loved plants all my adult life. I even have a young tree outside who makes me feel like a tree-mom. While I believe plants do have a self-awareness, I take this way to the next level in my book. Sonny takes care of Virj the way we would take care of our plants. He makes sure the environment is healthy (which translates into keeping the flat clean) and feeds Virj sumptuous meals. Somewhere along the line Sonny must have picked up that desserts and sugar treats make his flatmate happy, so he indulges Virj a lot. I wish I had a Sonny.

Sonny in his wee chef’s hat.

In the book, the narrator says Sonny has a popular food blog called ‘Sentient Sonny’s Sweets and Savouries’. Today I thought I’d start to transfer my recipes to a blog of the same name. Stay tuned for yummy meals that are gluten free and sometimes vegan!

And now the first post: PANCAKES!

Fun ‘Cosm Fact: I was a tech writer, too!

Fun ‘Cosm Fact: Like Virj, I was a technical writer, but for over twenty years. It wasn’t my passion but I learned so much, especially after attending what I fondly called Editing Bootcamp. I worked under several strong editors during my career, and I even co-wrote a style guide for a high-tech company.

My whacky sense of humour was well-known and when subject matter experts were slow to give me information, I’d threaten to make something up.

Always got the info I needed.