Being honest, if I were rating this book from a technical perspective, it would not be quite as high. The frequent repetitions of details and stories, which could have been cleaned up with edits, do sometimes take away the OOMPH of the point, but at the same time, it’s exactly those imperfections that lend a deep authenticity to Alice’s story and give a solid emotional punch.
And emotion is where the 5* comes in. I was in my first year of university whem I learned that the residential schools in Canada existed. 18 years old! After 6 years of high school Canadian history classes, I was appalled that such an important part of our past had been left out.
So when I met Alice at a book event this summer and she told me this book is her personal story of her time at a residential school, I had to pick it up. She is a lovely woman with so much joy and warmth in her heart, which is all the more incredible when you read what she and the other Indigenous children of that 120-year time span had to endure for the sake of “being civilized”
It’s not a subject you see often as told by the people who lived it, so Alice’s courage and honesty is that much more remarkable, and I feel an important story for anyone to read who wants an insight into the lives so many of us never new existed.
If you know of any other such histories that you’ve read and think worth sharing, please send me a recommendation!
I passed a bit of a milestone this past weekend: 8 months of daily yoga. 240 days of making time to get on my mat and give my muscles a good attending to. I can now do an extended chair pose without my thighs weeping with agony and betrayal. I’m this close to achieving crow pose (arm balance) without falling. It started as a 30-day challenge, but so far I haven’t had a desire to skip a single day. On the days where I feel too tired for a heavier workout, I focus on stretching and meditation; on days when I have more energy, I go for the high-intensity ones, but every day I make a point to change into my yoga pants. A year ago, I never would have imagined I could become this exercise-focused person.
The other thing I’ve gained from my practice is a sort of perspective on what it takes to go from day 1 to day 240. The answer: just me.
Throughout the routines, it often comes up to set an intention for the day, or to think of a mantra to help focus throughout the meditations, and I found myself noticing a trend of where my thoughts go.
My intention is always to challenge myself and discover something new.
My mantra has become: I am what I am. I am all that I am becoming.
And the more I think about that mantra, the more I love what it suggests: You are already everything that you want to be.
Everything you want to accomplish, everything you want to learn/develop/become is already part of who you are today.
You might not see it very clearly, or even believe it at all, but it’s true. It has to be. You look at Olympic gold medalists, Oscar winners, entrepreneurs behind successful businesses — they didn’t get bodysnatched one day to become the sort of person who gets what they want. They’re the same people who used to have a dream and who one day woke up to what they needed to do to achieve it.
Everything it takes to achieve your dreams is part of you.
There is nothing in the world you can’t do (inside the realm of physics and reason) if you set out to do it. What is it you want? To shed those last 10 lbs? Run that marathon? Get that promotion? Figure out what you need to achieve the goal, then brush off your self-discipline, you perseverance, you courage — whatever you need to get into action to see it through.
Have a little faith in yourself.
Then go out and become everything you were meant to be.
As I was going through my books after all the outdoor events I did in July, I discovered a few that didn’t quite survive the rain and constant transportation. A few water stains and crinkles pages here, a folded cover there. These books are no longer pretty enough to be sold for full price, but is that any reason to cast them to the curb? NO! So I’m giving them away! Over the next couple of months, keep your eye here, on my newsletter, or on my Facebook page to see what books are up for grabs. While open, click the link to head to the Rafflecopter giveaway
This month: enter to win a signed copy of Evensong, book 1 of the Meratis Trilogy! If you haven’t already, dive into Andvell, a world of magic, dragons, and characters who will capture your heart.
After you’ve entered, head on over to my Facebook page and share your “shelfie” in the comments of the giveaway post!
The winner will be chosen on August 23. Good luck!
Nah, I haven’t made a switch to writing horror short stories, just musing today on fear, and how it really does hold us back from so much. Even things we’re not aware of.
We all enjoy living in our safe little bubbles, don’t we? To some degree or another, we prefer to control our environments to protect ourselves from that uncomfortable feeling that THINGS ARE OUT OF OUR HANDS.
Understandably. That’s kind of a scary thought. It’s one thing to know that you can’t control everything — people cancel/change plans and you shrug it off; you go ahead and plan that outdoor event because, meh, it might rain but that won’t ruin your day — and a whole other thing to accept that this truth applies to every area of your life.
How much do you stop yourself from doing every day because the consequences are unknown? Your spouse did something this morning that annoyed you, but you don’t want to start a fight, so you don’t say anything. You see a job opportunity that REALLY sparks your interest, but you don’t apply for it, because what if the salary isn’t as much as you earn now or you don’t like the new team as much?
In thinking about it this morning, I realized that I need to wonder how much success I’ve missed out on because of my fear of failing at this whole writing thing.
I’ve taken a lot of chances since I’ve started publishing. Moving into full time writing might have been my biggest one, but, for some reason, not the scariest. Maybe because there were still so many elements about it that were in my control.
I’ve also put money into courses and promotions that I thought would be more of a help than they turned out to be (experience and lessons learned! Never a waste), and listening to advice that simply didn’t work for me.
I’ve also passed over opportunities because I didn’t feel I knew enough about the situation/subject to go for it. Marketing for me is a four-letter word, and I feel as though I spend half my work hours (and off hours, and trying-to-get-to-sleep hours) trying to figure out what steps I can take to reach more readers without being gross and salesy or that, ideally, won’t cost me my first-born child’s soul to do it.
The point of this post? I guess it was just a chance to be honest about the fact that despite everything I’ve accomplished so far, I’m still afraid that this is the end of the road. That I’ll never figure out how to move beyond the point where I am… unless I open myself up to whatever comes next. This post is a way to remind myself (and possibly you) that there is no such thing as a bad choice. They’re all just opportunities to develop and learn.
This post is a chance for me to grab on to fear and do my best to throw it aside for the next twenty-four hours and to be happy with who I am and what I have to offer. To find new ways to let my Me-ness shine through so I can take one step closer to achieving everything I’m striving for.
And maybe I wrote this post to prove a point to myself: that if I can write a blog post that scares me a little, then I can do anything. Baby steps.
What have you done to get past a fear that was standing in the way of something you wanted? Or, if that obstacle is still there, what is your plan to overcome it? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!
The Invisible Entente is a supernatural suspense series very much inspired by Agatha Christie’s mysteries. Set in our world in the fictional city of New Haven, the characters of The Invisible Entente (so called by the man who first brought them together against their will) fight against their dark natures to protect their secret and the balance between the otherworld and the mundane.
If you like your magic with a touch of murder, your fantasy with a touch of mystery, then this series is for you.
And just in time to celebrate my birthday, you can grab Death at Peony House for just $0.99USD!
Sorceress and journalist Daphne Heartstone heads to Peony House, the city’s abandoned hospital, in search of a headline, but what she discovers is a dead body and a clue to a hundred-and-fifty-year-old cold case.
Detective Hunter Avery, the man Daphne loved and lost, warns her away from the case, but the ghosts of Peony House have demanded her help, and her job is on the line if she doesn’t have a story on her editor’s desk for Saturday’s edition.
Daphne has worked hard to escape her past of dark magic and blind ambition, but as she walks the balance between light and dark, she’ll learn how many promises she’s willing to break to protect the people she loves.
As a bonus, Song of Wishrock Harbor, book 2 of the series, is still on sale for $2.99USD for another few days, so take advantage of both sales while you can!
The first 5 books of the series are currently available (4 novels + the prequel novella), with the other two written and due out by January 2018.
There’s a certain click that often happens for me as I near the end of a series.
At the beginning of a new series, there’s just excitement. It’s a new shiny, a fresh idea, so much to run with to see what happens to the characters forming in my head.
Many of these ideas fade to wisps as I move on before I even set them on paper, but a lucky few enter the stage of actual writing.
During the writing, I’m focused on the mechanics. The structure, the development, hitting the right notes. I put all of my blood, sweat, and tears (often literally) into each novel, to get everything just so.
But in the process, I often lose sight of what exactly I’m doing. I’m too close to appreciate the magic that happens between concept and final draft, the changes that occur to myself as well as the characters as they go from flat one-dimensions to full walk-off-the-page dimensions.
As long as the series remains a work in progress, I’m blind to the real beauty of the work.
Until I reach the final book.
And that’s what has now happened with my Invisible Entente series. Although there are still 2 more to be published before the end (Happy Book Release Day, Howl of the Fettered Wolf!), the finale is already drafted, and I’ m taking my first of fifteen stabs at working it into shape.
And now I’m appreciating how much I adore these characters, how much they’ve meant to me, and how much I’m going to miss them.
I’ve gone on a few Twitter threads about this, but I thought it might be worth it to finally set it into a blog post. Because I feel my readers (or anyone who’s interested, really) should have a chance to see them the way I do. Even if you never grab a copy of the book, even if it’s not your genre, or you’re not sold on the story, maybe you find someone here you relate to. Something that makes you laugh or roll your eyes and go, “Wow, yeah, that’s definitely me/my husband/our hilarious Uncle Ted.”
So what is it I love so much about my Invisible Entente characters?
All of them.
But they’re not content to stay that way. They face it, accept it, and then come out fighting to see how they can get their shattered pieces to work for them. They inspire me, and it’s been such a treat to work with them.
Look at many of the big fantastical stories/films out these days. They’re all about the origin of the character, the moment that turns them from an everyday Joe/Jane into a superhero.
What I’ve enjoyed about this series is that they all start with power. They know what they are and what they’re supposed to be — what they could become if they let themselves slip — and have spent their entire lives working against their natures, striving to reach their full potential, the best versions of themselves.
Take Daphne Heartstone (Death at Peony House). She’s the daughter of a sorceress and a sorcerer, descended from a sorceress of legend, but with strong bloodlines on both sides. At this point, you could just assume that “of course she’s going to come out to be most powerful sorceress. What a cliché!” but the fact is she wasn’t born the most powerful. She was manipulated by her father to believe she would only be worth his love and affection if she strove to attain that goal. She sacrificed so much to reach it — killing, stealing, torturing — that she corrupted herself. So, yes, she became the most powerful sorceress of her generation, but to a point where she couldn’t look herself in the mirror anymore. By the time the events at Peony House take place, the epiphany of where her life has led her has shattered her. She’s afraid to use her power, left to slowly gain back the trust she’s lost with her family, her friends, all without losing what she’s made of herself in her human life. She’s being pulled in so many directions, striving to discover how to move forward while trying to atone for the crimes of her past.
Gabriel Mulligan (Song of Wishrock Harbor) was born a monster, or so he believes. His father’s Fae genes grant him the ability to rift from place to place through the Fae dimension (and to eat whatever he wants without gaining a pound, the bastard), but his Gorgon heritage has kept him isolated behind a pair of mirrored sunglasses to avoid turning anyone to stone. He grew up with only his brother for a friend, and since then has limited his social interactions to pure necessity, preferring to do everything remotely. It’s impossible for that kind of loneliness not to eat away at you. He hides it well behind a screen of wit and humor, but he’s constantly on edge, worried that even an accidental glance in the mirror could end his life. To help give back and find some purpose in his life, he opened his private investigation agency, and while it gives him focus, it also pushes him to search out monsters, which constantly reflect his own nature back at him.
And then there’s Allegra Rossi (Shadows in the Garden Hotel), my poor, beautiful succubus. She was born perfect, brought up to put beauty before everything else, but is stuck with a need to kill in order to survive. Her very nature is made up of the ugliness she was trained to avoid, a paradox she’s been struggling with all of her life. Is it any wonder she takes her frustrations and impatience out on the people around her? She’s constantly stalked by a threat, but the threat is in her own mind. When she finds herself trapped within New Haven’s city limits, it’s almost as though the cage she’s put around her mind has now been put around the rest of her, and she can’t breathe. Her only coping mechanism throughout her life has been to run, because at least in busyness, she can avoid the call of her succubus blood, but that’s been taken away from her, testing her, and pushing her to her limits, which come to a head at The Garden Hotel.
Of the lot, Vera Goodall (Howl of the Fettered Wolf) might seem to be the most grounded of the bunch. Yes, she’s the daughter of a vengeance demigoddess and has to fulfill her role in the balance of the world by considering vengeance contracts from the people who summon her, but she grew up in a good family home, with supportive and loving parents who showed her how to walk the line between the otherworld and the mundane. But in reality, she’s just as flawed as the others. She’s cautious and restrained, attempting to spin all of her plates without dropping one, and if anyone has ever tried to do this, you know it’s next to impossible. Especially when some of those plates are life-and-death responsibilities. She’s so tightly controlled that she has no idea how to relax and let herself go, which makes it difficult to appreciate the beauty of the world for all its flaws and inconsistencies. And even harder to open herself up to the possibility of life-changing relationships.
Molly Harris, the human of the group, fits in here as well. She’s a sixteen-year-old high school girl who is deafblind and an archer. I spent a great deal of time researching the experiences of people with deafblindness and am awed by the way human beings learn to adapt and accommodate themselves in a rapidly changing world. Not only is Molly working to get through school, on the brink of deciding what she wants to do when she graduates and dealing with all the pangs that come from being sixteen, but now she also has to adapt and accommodate to a world of magic, of demons and angels. Her life has never been ordinary, but now she’s been sucked into the extraordinary, and her growth through the otherworld—her strength and compassion, her courage and cleverness—is constantly at war with her uncertainty and fear.
Finally, there is Zachariel, the daemelus. The angel/demon hybrid who doesn’t know why he exists or what role he’s supposed to fill in this world. Demon mother and angel father, he sticks to the shadows, embraced by neither side. He believes himself to be an outcast, an otherworldly freak, and only his honour debt to Molly and his hope that one day he’ll find answers about his nature keep him on this earth. He is a literal walking struggle between good and evil, each side tempering the other, as he explores one of the oldest questions in the universe: what is the meaning of his existence?
Each of these characters taps into a different part of my psyche and makes me confront questions about myself as well as them as I write them. I love the challenge, the beauty of their flaws, and the trouble they get into as they try to work these situations out for themselves.
The series has been a journey, and while I’m glad it’s not over yet, I’m also happy that the end is in sight so I can finally sit back and appreciate the complexities from a new angle. I believe it’ll make the final draft of the final book that much stronger.
I hope you enjoyed this little bit of insight into my brain! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. If you’ve already been following the ensemble, then I thank you for helping me produce the next books. If I’ve convinced you to give them a chance, then I hope you fall in love with them as much as I have and encourage you to share your thoughts below.
The next book of The Invisible Entente is almost ready to hit the shelves (and thanks to The Book Company on Bank St, I actually mean that literally this time), so I think it’s time for a first look at what’s coming.
In Song of Wishrock Harbor, we learned about Gorgon-Fae Gabriel Mulligan’s longing for the vengeance demigoddess (or semi-goddess as she jokingly refers to herself), Vera Goodall.
Now we see the goddess in action — and she is not happy. An unknown enemy is coming after her most prized possession, and there is nothing she won’t do to keep it safe.
Howl of the Fettered Wolf is the fourth book in The Invisible Entente series. With only two more books to go, the path is being set for what’s coming. A tale full of twists and turns, love and honour, friendship and loyalty, Vera’s story is sure to play with your heartstrings.
You can grab Wolf on June 27th. Be sure you’re signed up for my mailing list for first notice for when it’s available, as well as updates on the upcoming books.
For vengeance demigoddess Vera Goodall, balance is everything. Her life revolves around her contracts, her bookshop, and her dogs, and there is no room for anything — or anyone — else. Every aspect of her life is scheduled, and delegation is a four-letter word.
But when someone attempts to steal The Book of the Fettered Wolf, an ancient text with the power to destroy the otherworld, Vera will need to break all her own rules to keep that balance from toppling.
With the help of Gabriel Mulligan, the Gorgon-Fae who threatens the walls she’s built around herself, Vera sets out to protect the book from those who wish to use it. Along the way, she unveils the lies that have created the foundation of her life, and each new revelation blurs the line between friend and enemy.
In the midst of chaos and intrigue, balance becomes a matter of survival. Vera must decide who to trust and how much to open her heart if she wants to protect the otherworld and everything she holds dear.
There’s a new band of vampires coming onto the market, and they are bound to catch your attention.
Newfoundland author, Tanith Frost, is getting ready to kick off her “Immortal Soulless” series, a dark and sexy romp that follows reluctant vampire, Aviva, and her colleagues.
I had the pleasure of reading an early copy book, and it’s steamy, funny, heartbreaking, and so much fun. A great summer read. Which is great! Because that’s when it will be available (psst, same day as the next IE novel, so your summer is set)
Want a sneak peek into the first book of the series? Tanith is offering the first four chapters if you subscribe to her mailing list! Just click here to go on and do that — but then come back, there’s still the cover to share with you!
Her gifts will be her salvation… or her downfall.
No one gave Aviva a choice about becoming a monster. Since the night of her murder she’s been forced to accept a new reality—burned by sunlight, dependent on the blood of the living, searching for her place in a dark world she didn’t believe existed until she awoke as a vampire.
She’s still struggling to accept her fate and master her dark powers when the news arrives: rogue vampires are torturing and killing human residents of the city, threatening the secrecy and uneasy peace of the supernatural world.
As the hunt begins, Aviva’s deliciously distracting trainer, Daniel, helps her seek out her unique strengths. The gifts she discovers are shameful in the eyes of vampire society—and they may be the only thing standing between a pack of ruthless paranormal killers and the unsuspecting humans they prey on.
COMING JUNE 27, 2017
I highly recommend this read and hope that you fall in love with it as much as I did.
When a book goes live with 13 5* reviews already in the world, it’s hard not to get excited about sharing it. Allegra Rossi, my problem child, is taking readers by surprise. If you’ve read the prequel and the first two installments of The Invisible Entente (which, if you haven’t done so yet, now is the perfect time, as Death at Peony House is currently on sale for 99c for probably the last time for a long while) then you know how Allegra can be. She’s cold, calculating, seductive, and generally not a person you want to spend time with if you can avoid it.
But don’t be fooled by the persona she shows the rest of the world. Her expectations for the people around her are just as high as those she places on herself. To us, she appears to be the epitome of perfection — her body, her complexion, her ability to get whatever she wants just by snapping her fingers — but perfection always comes at a price. This is your opportunity to learn Allegra’s.
It makes me chuckle that many of the reviews coming in are almost begrudging, as though the readers didn’t want to be drawn into Allegra’s life as much as they were, but her allure cuts through the pages, grabs you by the heart, and doesn’t let go until the story is done.
Allegra’s story is a murder mystery full of magic; a tale of personal discovery full of heart and longing. What you think you see is only a fraction of the truth.
So take a chance, lose yourself in a tale of sensual indulgence, spine-tingling fear, and experience the full price of perfection.
All Allegra Rossi needs is her beauty, expensive champagne, designer clothes, and enough souls to keep her succubus appetites satisfied.
Everything seems to be in place until a photo shoot at New Haven’s prestigious — and supposedly haunted — Garden Hotel sets her dreams for a perfect life crumbling. Not only has her handsome, charismatic boss captured her interest, threatening the careful restraints she’s placed around her succubus nature, but the hotel’s reputation turns out to be true. Worse: the specter has targeted Allegra as its next victim
If Allegra wants to stay alive and keep her heart intact, she will have to unleash her demonic instincts to shed light into the darkness before the shadows consume her.
That’s not to say it should be a lie, but more that, as I’ve learned, it often feels like one.
Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Imposter Syndrome, the feeling that you’re not actually worth your accomplishments and that, at any moment, someone could pop up and shout, “You! You aren’t actually the thing you claim to be, so sit down and stop pretending that you are!”
This sort of fear is good if you are, say, an actual fraud. Perhaps it will stop you from doing something fraudulent.
For the rest of us, it’s the irritating voice in our heads that stops us from celebrating/talking about/recognising our own achievements to anyone beyond our immediate toddlers or cats. And even then, it might be a whispered “Woohoo”.
I was facing my own inner heckler early last week. Here I am, getting ready to publish my 11th novel since Nov 2013, and I’m still sitting here firmly believing that I don’t know enough about my business after three years to make this a successful launch. I just shouldn’t make a big deal out of it, because whatever. It’s just a story.
“I’ve already published a book this year. People are going to get tired of hearing from me, so they’re going to ignore/unfollow/block/report me for spam” <—– ACTUAL THOUGHTS, PEOPLE.
How am I supposed to sell books when I’m too worried to stand up in front of wonderful readers who tell me they love what I write and let them know I have a new book? How am I supposed to reach new readers, if I don’t feel I’m worthy of the incredible reviews and messages I get from my existing readers?
So I took these thoughts and insecurities to one of the few Facebook author groups I love, and within an hour, I had a dozen replies from other authors (many of whom I really look up to and admire) telling me they experience the exact same thing.
This made me feel so much better!
I might be a fraud who is incapable of retaining a single piece of information about the business that I have dedicated three years to building…… OR I could be like so many other people and just think I’m a fraud who is incapable of, etc.
THE BRAIN IS STUPID, FOLKS. If you haven’t figured that out by now, then you are the most well-adjusted person in the world and should probably talk to someone about that. It’s not healthy.
Of course, as I was realising this about my business, I also realised how much I do it in the rest of my life, as well. I got married two weeks ago. Hitched. Was made an honest woman out of. I shared the news on social media, but sort of in passing. During all of the lead-up, during the planning for all the events that go with the big day, I felt really awkward and uncomfortable making a big deal about it. I didn’t want to appear vain or self-absorbed, so I internalized everything, and, as a result, ended up walking away feeling a bit like not many other people cared. Why would they? If I’m all calm, cool, and collected, then where is their motivation to be all bubbly and excited and bouncy?
This is a mistake I will not make for the reception in July, gosh darnit.
So why am I posting this?
Because I want you to know that you’re not alone. Yes, I’m making an assumption that you feel like this, too, but that’s only because every single other person I have spoken to has expressed understanding, empathy, and “THAT’S TOTALLY ME” whenever I’ve brought it up.
It might not be over everything. You might go crazy and shout as loud as you can when you get that promotion at work, but maybe you hush up when something you’ve been working on (your garden, a poem, a song, a robot you plan to use for your eventual world domination) goes really well, because you don’t feel that you’re REALLY a gardener, a poet, a musician, or an evil mastermind. You’re just playing at it. It’s not REAL.
But there’s the true lie. If you do it, it’s real. You really are those things. It’s time to admit it.
So I challenge you to do so in the comments. What’s something that you’re really proud of yourself for achieving/doing, but are never comfortable telling people about? I want to know!