Announcing a special holiday offer! It’s my first winter on the east coast, and so I wanted to do a little something to thank the folks who buy my books from near and far away! The offer is this: order a copy of A Place That Used to Be from me, and receive a photo for free!
What’s so special about a photo, you may ask. Well, the photos are part of a series directly inspired by the novel, and were taken by the incredible Sarah Kivell. She takes these amazing, dreamy film photos of everyday things and people, capturing stories with her camera. If you want to see the kind of work she does, check out her Instagram – I believe she even has a sale on some of her photos at the moment!
Here are all the details about this offer:
What: Order a copy of A Place That Used to Be directly from me (message me through my Facebook or website) and receive a free photo inspired by the book!
When: November 26, 2021 to January 5, 2022 (or as long as the limited supply lasts!)
Where: Anywhere! Shipping cost dependent on where you’d like the book sent.
How much: The book is $15, the photo is free, and shipping is $4 in Canada.
And there you have it! If you have any questions, let me know. To stay up to date with upcoming offers and events, follow me on Facebook or YouTube. Thanks, and take care!
This past weekend, I had the joy of setting up a table at a local craft fair! It’s been so long since I’ve sat with my books and talked to people about them. Really thankful for the opportunity, and for the kind staff and volunteers who welcomed me! I’m pretty sure I was the only author there, so I would’ve felt out of place without all the kind interest and support from the people who came through. Thanks to everyone who came out! I’m hoping to get more involved with community events in the new year!
I still have copies of The Patch Project and A Place That Used to Be available! Or you can find them at Chapters Dartmouth, the Dartmouth Book Exchange, or on Barnes & Noble’s website!
In other writing news, I’m halfway through NaNoWriMo and, as usual, am super behind on my word count! But some interesting things are coming together for Book Three and I can’t wait to go back and make sense of all the random scenes and encounters!
Also want to take a second to congratulate fellow Adventure Worlds Press author Christian Laforet on his recent publication announcements! Wonderful to see his stories and novels get picked up, and looking forward to seeing them in print!
I’ll be announcing a special holiday offer on A Place That Used to Be next week, so stay tuned for that!
Wow, these past couple of weeks have felt long! Seriously, how is it still October.
Part of this time warp was due to starting a job at a hardware store. It was a fascinating experience, but unfortunately, the hour-long commute to get there, including two buses and a long walk up a wasteland of a hill, destroyed me and I had to quit. I admire any of you out there who put in that amount of effort to get to work every day! I just couldn’t hack it.
It really affected my mood as well, and after my break through with the third Patch Project book a few weeks ago, I hit another wall, hard. I had no energy after a full shift plus travel time, and what little I had was spent getting ready for the next day. I may have gotten used to it after a couple weeks, but that short span of time seemed to drag on forever.
But that’s over now, and I have another job prospect on the horizon. It feels like I can breathe again, and my writing brain has been on fire ever since I returned to my pre-hardware store schedule. I literally wrote or edited all day yesterday, and it felt incredible. It just solidifies for me that writing is what I should be doing with my life. It gives me purpose and a sense of value in this grim captialistic nightmare I’ve been trying to navigate the past month and a half.
NaNoWriMo starts in a couple of days! I look forward to this month-long writing event every year – it helps me to prioritize writing and for the past couple years has given me huge chunks of novels that I couldn’t have finished within a year otherwise. I’ll be working on the third Patch Project book, which has been giving me so much trouble. Hopefully, NaNo will immerse me in the story and force me to find the way through it.
Some other Patch Project series news: the first book is now available at the Dartmouth Book Exchange! I’ll be dropping off some copies of the sequel there as well in the next few days. The sequel is also available online through Barnes & Noble, which was really cool to discover. You can always request the books at your local library, bookstore, or Chapters. I always have signed copies on hand as well: if you’re interested in a copy, give me a shout!
Hope you all have a wonderful Halloween, and stay safe out there!
Some great news! I had a breakthrough with my case of writer’s block – I really was writing around something instead of trusting that the story would take me where it needed to go.
I finally gave in and am making the third Patch Project book about Pinot. I was really struggling with finding my way into the story, considering all the possible characters and arcs the book could include. But it hit me the other day that this book had to follow Pinot, and once I accepted that, the garden started to bloom. I guess I was resistant to the idea of focusing on Pinot because she became the main character of the last book and I somehow got into my brain that readers were tired of her. But even if that is true, it doesn’t matter (apologies to the hypothetical readers); what matters is the story and where it wants to go.
I have a rough timeline worked out and am now following Pinot as she prepares to go to Summerland, the mythical city mentioned in previous books but never visited. I will have to include at least one other POV character for the subplot, and maybe a few scattered around the wasteland (as a writer, I get bored writing one POV for a whole book haha). In any case, you can look forward to more of Pinot in book three.
Other than that, I’ve had a few days off to do things like clean the house and binge episodes of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Hastings, Miss Lemon, and Hercule Poirot are characters most charmants, and I enjoy making connections with the books and how the screenwriters adapted the material. I’ve also set up a mini-studio to record audiobooks – if you are interested in having your book narrated or have voice work you’d like done, let me know!
I’m also hoping to order a batch of the sequel to have on hand before the holiday season rolls around, as it sounds like the printer is also going to be raising prices in November. I’ve updated my Ko-fi goal to reflect this – for every donation, I’ll make a thank you video. For donations over $10, I’ll send a personalized card in the mail!
With Inktober to keep my little grey cells engaged and NaNoWriMo just around the corner, the fall is turning out to be quite a busy one! Thanks for stopping by, hopefully I’ll have more updates on the third Patch Project book soon!
Also, I ordered a new notebook, hoping that it’ll be the inspiration I need getting into the third Patch Project book. I have yet to find the “in” scene that’ll unlock the story, help it flow a bit better. A lot of my writing so far has been world-building, stage maps of where everything is, where characters are. Just throwing my thoughts on paper when they surface and trying to make the most of my time in my office space.
Still, it’s frustrating. This is probably a bout of writers block, though I tend not to like the term. I’m writing around what I should be writing about, is more what it feels like. But I’m a gardener when it comes to writing books: I tend to approach my books without much of a concrete plot, and a lot of my best stuff comes out of discovery writing. So I’m trying to go along with whatever my brain is doing right now, hoping that whatever it’s cultivating will poke its head out of the soil soon.
Maybe it’s because the first two books have set up a lot already, and working within that framework is starting to feel constrictive. My own fault, really! For example, I don’t want to focus on a particular location, but it’s where all of the character arcs converge, so it’s necessary to creating something that fulfills the previous two books.
Still, I got a killer opening scene, a new character who I love, and some vague idea of how the plot is going to go. So that’s something! If only I could go to the Green Bean cafe and spend a couple of hours writing it all out…
Speaking of the Green Bean, some of our dear Windsor friends sent my husband and I a care package including a bunch of Green Bean treats; another one of our friends sent a pack of specialty coffee our way a couple of weeks ago. Those, plus some wonderful friendship mail and art swaps, have been keeping us hopeful in spite of some difficult life things – I’d forgotten how hard it can be to adapt to a new city.
To get through the changes and find my way into the third book, I’ll just keep writing and hope for the best.
After two weeks visiting family, I’m back in my office, listening to Cobra Poems, drinking coffee, and making plans.
I didn’t get much writing done while I was away. I got back in the habit of carrying around a notebook and scribbling out ideas when they surfaced: waiting in the car, falling asleep, or early in the morning when my mind had room to wander. I had a bit of a breakthrough on the flight home about a major plot point for the third Patch Project book.
But before I get back to working on the novel, I’ve got a few works in progress to read and give feedback on. It’s one of the best things about being a writer, this mutual community of creative people I can share the journey with! I also have some agent queries to check in on – some agents email, but many submissions time out after 8 weeks or so. I’ve learned a lot through the querying process, and I hope it’ll make my next batch of queries that much better.
Also, I’m thinking about making some short videos to include on my Ko-fi page as a thank you to donors. Extra special coffee thank you to everyone who’s supported me through that platform so far, it really means a lot!
I’ll hopefully have a vlog post up early next week with more updates. A reminder that if you order a copy of The Patch Project from me before October 1st, it’ll come with a free book or pin!
So, the floor desk I wrote about last time has been replaced by a more standard set up; being over 30, it turns out it’s uncomfortable to sit on the floor for more than twenty minutes at a time! I have a table and a swivel chair now, which is helping me get more on top of this author thing.
This week was pretty busy! For one, I did a vlog post for the first time in forever. It’s a touch longer than I usually like to do, but there was a lot to cover: moving to a new city, querying agents, projects that I’ve finished and am starting. It was also really fun to edit some video/ audio material again! I used to put together a weekly podcast, and my husband and I used to make short films pretty regularly, so it’s kind of nostalgic.
I also started a Ko-fi page. It’s a platform where people can buy creators a metaphorical cup of coffee. I have a few friends who use it, so I thought I’d give it a try. For every donation to my page, I’ll drink a cup of coffee! And maybe film it. We’ll see!
If you’re interested in reading The Patch Project, now is the time to order a copy! Each order comes with a free copy of the original printing of the book or a limited edition Patch Project button, your choice! Only copies ordered directly from me, not Amazon, come with this offer. The book is $15 CAD + shipping.
And that’s about all the happenings going on this week! Hope you’re all enjoying the last few weeks of summer!
Well, it’s been awhile! Most of my summer was spent at a cottage with poor internet. But I’m back in a city with a lot more connectivity, and some exciting updates!
Please join me in marveling at this stunning portrait by the wonderful Al Hess! When I saw he had a commissions spot open, I knew I had to ask him to draw Pinot. It was a lot of fun discussing Pinot’s character, and getting to see a little of what goes into making a portrait like this one! I’m so happy with how Al captured Pinot and the detail and care that went into the commission. I’m planning on hanging the portrait in my office, to inspire me as I start work on the third Patch Project book!
Speaking of, I’m very fortunate that our new place has a room that I can use as an office space! I built a little desk to use for my writing, and so far, it’s been a good set up. Lots of room to put rocks and shells and things 🙂 I’m waiting to hear back from agent queries and short story submissions, and now that we’re (mostly) unpacked, I’m getting back into a writing schedule. I’m looking forward to online writing sessions with my friends, and starting on the new novel.
I just unpacked a ton of copies of The Patch Project! If you’d like a signed copy, let me know. I’m offering a free pin or original printing copy (your choice!) with each order for as long as my supplies last. You have to order from me though, not Amazon. If you’re interested, you can send me a message through Facebook!
That’s all for now! I’m hoping to get back into regular posting, maybe once every couple weeks. It’s exciting to be facing the future here in a new place, with a new novel project about to begin. I’ll do my best to keep you updated! Until next time!
Hello everyone! I usually don’t post book reviews on my blog, but I’m making an exception for Mirror World Publishing’s new anthology Far, Far Away.
In today’s post, I’ll be giving a quick review of each story including a content warning (cw), so you know what to expect if you pick up a copy of the anthology.
And folks, it’s going to be my legit reviews. I encourage you, if you read this book, to also post your reviews on whatever platform you use, even send them along to Mirror World. They’re planning a volume 2 of this anthology, so I’m sure they’d appreciate the feedback.
“Piece of Mind” by L.R. Braden
An interstellar ark for human minds goes on a journey to save the human race. But as time drags on, what makes the minds human begins to degrade.
Really enjoyed the concept of this one, though I felt like the story could’ve been a bit longer. Strong P.O.V. and deft writing made this one a solid starter for this collection.
cw: isolation, memory loss, violence
“Songs and Superstitions” by Shana Scott
Now an outsider, Krem returns to his home planet to work a job with his best friend Max and her insufferable companion, Commodore McFlufferton. When the job goes wrong, they discover that they’re not alone in the underground tunnels.
This may have been my favourite story of the collection. The characterizations are strong, there’s a vibrant streak of humor throughout, and the world-building feels effortless. There were so many little details that made this story a delight to read, as well as a satisfying arc overall.
cw: underground, cave in, guns
“Black Spire Isles” by Barend Nieuwstraten III
Shipwrecked on an island no one ever leaves, the group of survivors uncovers centuries-old secrets. There is magic at work here, but will they find out the truth before it’s too late?
I wasn’t sure about this one when I started. The preamble before the story was a bit much to take in, and the writing had an archaic flavour common to high fantasy stories. However, as the story got going and the style loosened up a bit, it really drew me in and became one of my favourites from the collection. It reminded me of parts of the Odyssey. And the end was satisfying, very well-crafted. My only qualm was that the people already living on the island are portrayed as a group, with little individual characterization apart from their roles in the community. Given that it was a short story, though, I’ll give it a pass.
cw: gender roles, shipwreck, injury recovery, themes of loss
“Field Notes from the Unknown Planet” by Brittni Brinn
When Idylwild finds herself on a dangerous planet under strange constellations, she’ll have to use all of her skills as a surveyor to survive the resident predators.
I wrote this one, so I’ll leave the reviewing to you all!
cw: isolation, childbirth, death
“The Colour of Roses” by Kelly D. Holmes
In a world where only Soulmates can see colours, a young woman discovers the nature of soulmates isn’t so obvious after all.
Think of the part in The Giver where the kid sees red for the first time, then move that concept out of a dystopic YA novel and set it instead at a supportive writing group in the suburbs. It was a sweet story, and fit nicely in the middle of the book. Some stand-out imagery work, especially playing with the title. Given that this is Holmes’s first publishing credit, I say bravo.
cw: heteronormativity, themes of loss
“The Prime Crusade” by Buddy Young
Time travelers aboard the Hindenburg fight to save time itself in the face of impending disaster.
So. This is a story that takes place almost entirely on the Hindenburg, an airship that crashed in 1937. This is fine. It’s a historical event that would definitely draw time travelers to experience the famous airship before it was destroyed. The story itself is well-written, with attention to detail and historical tidbits ingrained into the story. And who doesn’t love a good time travel story? Well, I did not love the part where the heroes wore Nazi armbands and their main contact was a time traveler pretending to be an SS officer. You could argue that they were all just playing a part and their use of Nazi imagery didn’t mean anything. But the thing that really stood out was how not one of the time travelers wanted to punch the Nazis on board. Even if it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of the story, shouldn’t at least one time traveler be there for the sole purpose of punching Nazis? If Indiana Jones had time to fight Nazis, I should think someone on that airship would have made time to do so too.
It CONFOUNDS me that this story was chosen to be included in this anthology. With fascist ideologies gaining more ground in the United States and Canada, these “harmless” and “neutral” stories featuring Nazi imagery aren’t really that neutral at all. If memory serves, this author had two stories shortlisted for the top ten stories that were submitted. Why was the one featuring Nazi imagery, as window dressing as it was, chosen? Maybe this doesn’t bother anyone else, but I found it concerning. And don’t even get me started on the Crusades.
cw: Nazi imagery, sexual harassment, war, violence, the Crusades
“Fatestorm” by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred
When her village is destroyed by a colonizing military force, Deneige tries to help her people by falling in love with thesoldier in charge.
The framework of a Roman-esque soldier leading a massacre of a village, enslaving the survivors, and taking their spiritual leader captive doesn’t really feel like a set up for a love story to me. But, to each their own.
cw: genocide, slavery, colonization
And that’s the anthology! I told you these would be my legit responses. I also wanted to provide a place for content warnings, because I believe it’s important to recognize the elements that may be triggering to readers. If I missed anything, let me know! I hope that if you pick up this anthology, that you’ll join the discussion about the stories inside. Words are how we shape the future as writers and as readers, after all.
This Thursday, June 17th, Mirror World Publishing is launching Far, Far, Away, a sci-fi/fantasy anthology including seven stories of escape and adventure! And one of those stories is one that I wrote!
Mirror World Publishing is hosting the all-day launch on Facebook, including a Live event at 5 pm EST. I’m excited to hear more about the stories and authors who contributed to this collection! You can join the event here.
Now that you know everything I know about the launch, I can tell you a little bit about my story, “Field Notes from the Unknown Planet!” I’ve been working on a space novel for a little over a year, and when Mirror World posted about an anthology contest last summer, I thought, what the heck, and sent them the first section of the book as a short story. (Edited up a little of course to make it a self-contained narrative.) I was really proud of it: I’d been reading a lot of Ursula K. Le Guin and wanted to write something that was small in scope, and focused on relationships in space: relationships to the environment, between strangers, and to death. How does the need to survive shape these relationships?
I don’t know if I succeeded in emulating Le Guin, but something about the story must’ve worked, since it made it into the anthology. I’ll be interested to read the other stories and think about why they were picked as well!