Guest post: Never Say Never by Darusha Wehm

Ten years ago I wrote the book that would become Self Made, the first in the Andersson Dexter cyberpunk detective series. Ten years is a long time as a writer. Ten years is also a long time when you’re writing about near future technology*. Things change. I change. It’s the way of things.

After Self Made, I wrote two more books in that series, the third of which was published in 2012. That’s five years ago. Not as long as ten, but still a lifetime as a writer. In those five years, I’ve had readers ask when the next book will be out. I’d always answered, “I don’t have any plans for another one, but never say never.”

It’s not that I was tired of those characters, or the subgenre, or the story. It was more like I thought I’d gone everywhere that I wanted to in that world. I thought the interesting part of their story was done, and we all just needed to carry on.

But the last year has been… interesting. I was in between projects and feeling at a loose end as a writer, and also thinking a lot about the toll that resistance and protest can take on people. At some point in there I remembered that trying to make a lasting change on the world was where I’d left those characters in the Dex series. And maybe the work they were embarking on was more interesting that I’d really thought.

Reader, I wrote that next book.

I was right to say never say never. The world had changed; I had changed, and come to a place as a writer and human where I did want to go back and revisit those old, familiar faces. I enjoyed coming to that world with new skills and ideas, new understanding about those characters and new understanding about myself.

I’ve always said of my old work that if I wrote it now I’d do it differently, but that I have no desire to go back and change it. And one of the joys of returning to this old series was being able to write that work and those people the way I do it now, without losing what made the older books what they are.

* I’m honoured to have had the unique experience of trading copies of my books (in which I describe characters with implanted chips in their hands that do things like unlock their apartments) in exchange for receiving a chip implanted in my own hand just like the ones I wrote about.

Darusha writes speculative fiction and poetry as M. Darusha Wehm and mainstream work as Darusha Wehm, and is the author of ten published novels, several poems and many short stories. Originally from Canada, Darusha currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand after spending the past several years sailing around the Pacific.

Previously Reciprocity by Lee Murray


Things I Love Thursday

I had some really good news today, which is that my young adult novel has been chosen for a manuscript assessment through the NZ society of authors. I very nearly didn’t send it it (there’s a blog post coming about that) but then at the very last moment I did and now it’s been selected! What this means is it will be looked through by a professional and I’ll get a bunch of feedback and generally it will be one step closer to being published! It’s super exciting and a nice ego boost to me, since I’m constantly feeling I’m not a ‘real’ writer.

Find Momo is a really fun game. And cute 🙂

Fancy new Field Notes turning up in my mail box…

jennitalula field notes

Lunch with Steve and Marguerite. I’ve really missed these two! I must try and visit Christchurch, although that will have to wait because…

I got accepted to XOXO again! Sophie and I have both reserved tickets, now we’re just trying to work out finances, etc. Watch this space, but I may be returning to Portland come September.

Honourable Mentions: Google sheep view, Late night shopping at St Luke’s, swimming and the steam room and spa after, limited edition rocky road snickers bars, warm socks, electric blanket, sleep, making lunches for Anna, Anna, Anna trying on ball gowns and getting craft done.

Kid Theatre presents Magic Mike: Warning! The Magic Bird song may get stuck in your head…

(Jimmy Fallon cannot handle the smoulder)

Cecilia and the Satellite ~ Andre McMahon in the Wilderness

Published again!

My one sentence story is up on! In fact, it was up a couple of days ago but I wasn’t looking for it because he initially said he’d post it on October 8th. Ha ha. Anyway, you should go and…

Read it!

Please ignore the listless, dull and vaguely embarrassing bio underneath it, I didn’t realise that it was ok to just link here so I panicked and wrote that.

My new novel

My Friday Night at the Fair novel. It needs a new name. Rain’s Revenge is too…dumb. Need something with more awesome.

I’ve been putting a lot on Twitter as I go, thought I’d compile it all here with some commentary. Note: if you aren’t on twitter or facebook and you want to help with these random questions that I throw out…well, you know what to do. Follow me!

New flash fiction by me: PM Sep 22nd from web

Where it all began…

Woot! 10 minute fiction turned into 1000+ words and still going. 6:01 PM Sep 22nd from web

And the flow just flowed like a flowy flow of flowness.

Wow, these characters are really easy to write dialogue for. Loving the flow. 6:06 PM Sep 25th from web

I was having some trouble with actiony stuff and then I got Rain and Jake (Ferris wheel boy) talking to each other. I have both of their voices very clear and natural, I *love* writing dialogue for these guys. Dialogue is usually my weak point.

Past 8000 words on my new novel, just wrote a rather realistic sister scene I think. 9:43 PM Sep 27th from web

I really enjoyed this. I wanted Rain to have a whole family, a place to belong which she is trying to become independent from. I have mum, dad and big sister Saffron. I channeled my little sister experiences and I think I have their relationship pretty good. The book is going to alternate between scenes of Rain and Jake vs the supernatural menace and Rain at home, dealing with her loss. This is all complicated by the ghost of her dead best friend, of course, who no one else can see.

Quick, need a name for a mumsy, no nonsense school councilor….can’t be Mrs Higgins. 4:07 PM Sep 29th from web

I needed a way to get Rain out of school. School councilors are the ones who can recommend time off for grief right? I ended up calling her Mrs Angus.

Oooh I just wrote a *good* chapter end. 5:13 PM Sep 29th from web

I think I’m getting the hang of ending a chapter on a note that encourages the reader to keep going. Bam said the lady.
Casting my new novel: Jake is played by a buff Joseph Gordon Levitt, not sure about Rain. She’s like Kristen Stewart but more badass.10:51 PM Sep 29th from web
…and Rachel is played by @catnona’s friend Helena, randomly enough.
10:52 PM Sep 29th from web

I had Rachel almost immediately, and Jake’s casting came to me in a flash. I’m finding Rain a little harder to visualise, which is good, for me, because it means it’s easy to ‘become’ her. But if I had to say anything, it would be like Kristen Stewart, but heavier set and more able to close her mouth.

I need a name for a race of monstrous monkey like demony things. Anyone got any suggestions? 1:59 PM Oct 2nd from web

I ended up using Ants’ suggestion: the Oozaru were born.

what do *you* do after you’ve been attacked by monkey like demons in the library? 4:39 PM Oct 3rd from web

Lots of votes for coffee or tea, cake and sitting down.

Right, 2000+ words written, time to reward myself with some Katamari Forever. Na naaaaa na-na-na-na-na-naaaaaaaaa! 6:53 PM Oct 3rd from web

The flow returns, and I use the reward system to encourage it to come back. Oh God I love Katamari Forever, I played two sessions last night and another hour when I got home yesterday. I love collecting up cousins…

Tee hee, I think I’ve got a ghost character who doesn’t believe in the supernatural 🙂
Oct 5th

This twist idea makes me smile a lot. If Rachel can’t remember her death, then she has no reason to believe in the supernatural, except of course, for the fact that she herself is now a ghost.

Late one evening

10 minute story, prompts from Matt. You must include at least two of the following things in your story:
The sound of distant laughter


The fog was very dense. You couldn’t see more than a foot in front of you, which made walking the wharves something of a dangerous affair. If I’d had any say in the matter I’d be at home, sitting in front of the TV with my feet up and a hot cup of Joe. Unfortunately I was out in the mist, trying not to fall into the filthy harbour and trying to find a criminal.

That’s what you get when you’re the best cop in the city and the heiress to a major fortune has been missing for more than 48 hours. The plods didn’t have any leads, they never do. Of all the detectives on duty the commissioner had picked me. I guess he remembered that time twenty years back when I got those two boys back. I’d had my picture in the paper then, my Mother had been so proud. She was dead now. As dead as the wife I’d had twenty years ago as well. She was shot, a personal vengeance act from one of the guys I got stuck in jail.

My foot hit something hard. I looked down, peering in the fog. I pointed my flashlight and saw it was just one of those bollard things that they rope boats to. I stood still for a moment, listening, inhaling the night air. The fog made everything muffled, like it was coming from another world. I just made out the sounds of people laughing, a woman, maybe two, a couple of men. There was a new apartment building nearby, it could be a party on the balcony there. It was worth checking anyway.

I turned my flashlight off and stumped towards the laughter, the end of my nose was damp and I wiped it off on my sleeve. The apartment building suddenly loomed above me, lit up like a cruise ship in the Bahamas. I looked up and saw right into some guy’s bedroom. He was changing, his back to the window. I circled the building, looking for a balcony full of party goers. I saw them at the back of the building, just two floors up and illuminated from behind by fairy lights.

I dropped my flashlight. My wife was up there. Laughing with the heiress. Passing them drinks were the commissioner and the head of the local mob.


If you would like to see more 10 minute stories, please feel free to comment with prompts. It’s easy, just choose one each of the following if you don’t have any ideas: Person, Place, Weather, Time

PoF: Batgirl
CO: Coldplay

Blind Date

Ok, this is a little clunky, but I like it all the same. Written using Debbie’s prompts from Wednesday…
A shaved head
Night-time rendezvous
A pair of gloves

Comments/feedback welcome, or you can write your own in the comments if you like! You only get 10 minutes though, remember.


I sat in the café window so I’d be obvious, easily spotted. I held the coffee cup in both hands, curling my fingers around the cup for warmth. My gloves meant I couldn’t hold it with one hand, woolen fingerless gloves are tricky that way, but I liked the hotness on my hands anyway. The night was bitter and rainy and I was pleased to be inside.

My stomach turned over when the door opened, I hadn’t thought I would be this nervous but then I didn’t go on a lot of blind dates. I had this image in my head of what it would be like when he finally turned up, our eyes would meet from across the room and he’d come over, sit down and just start talking. We’d have so much in common, we’d be able to talk about everything. I love classic novels and in my mind he would be carrying a copy of Dracula. Corny, I know, and actually totally inappropriate but in my head it was super romantic that he had it. We’d talk for hours, he’d order cake for us to share, we’d laugh about stuff. He would be so attractive, pale skin like so pale he was almost translucent. He would have an edge of danger about him, a mystique. He’d be so sexy, talking in a low gravelly voice, a voice that betrayed his years of dark experiences.

We would talk about blood, of course. It was inevitable that the talk would eventually turn to blood, his, mine. Drinking it. His handle on the website had been ‘O-positivelover’ after all.

I put my coffee down as the door opened again and he walked in. He was wearing a black suit jacket with a white camellia in the pocket – the signal. It was really him. He wasn’t pale, his cheeks were rosy from the cold and his eyes were normal, just brown. He sat down opposite me, looking nervous rather than self assured. He didn’t have a copy of Dracula. I could smell the fear, he was sweating with it.

I smiled to put him at ease, I let my fangs show between my lips. He wasn’t the dream man I’d imagined, but his blood would taste sweet all the same.