Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Long Goodbye

Many of you might not know this, but metastasized breast cancer took my Mother from me in April of 2012. It was sudden and unexpected. She wasn't in palliative care or hospice.
I've never been able to talk openly about my grief, or how I feel about the process of grieving, until now. And that is all because of a book called The Long Goodbye by Megan O'Rourke.

The Long Goodbye is O'Rourke's memoir that she wrote after her Mother died of cancer. It's poignant, beautiful, and incredibly deep in a way that really sets into your bones.
Part of the reason why I picked it up was because of some of the ways it paralleled by own experience. O'Rourke is also a writer, and she cared for her mother while she was going through her illness as I did. The major difference is that I haven't been able to write at all about grief, and have had difficulty even writing through it. It really captures the empty lonely feeling, and what that absence does to your psyche.
One of the things that she said that really stuck with me was relating the loss to an amputation, and that relearning how to do things without the loved one is like learning how to do things with missing parts and I agree with that whole heartedly. My Mother was my best friend, my greatest supporter and champion, and the light in my darkness. Going on without her has been a process of trying to relearn how to do things, and I've struggled privately and continue to do so.
Coming up to the holiday months without my Mother is especially hard. There are so many things that I hadn't done without her in many years, and trying to do even the simplest things without her has been lonely and at times so sad.
O'Rourke spent a lot of time researching grief and the practices of mourning and grieving which I found fascinating. Going through that process I had a lot of questions and concerns on how I was supposed to behave, and was chastised for my behaviour or lack thereof, so learning about what is appropriate in other cultures, and how the entire process has evolved throughout the centuries was very interesting to me. O'Rourke also applied these ideas to her own grief, and because of the similarities to what I am going through it was a big eye opener for me.

There are a lot of books about grief, and one that was handed to me almost immediately was Motherless Daughters. It was something my Mother had on her own bookshelf, and she recommended to many of her friends who had lost their mothers so it seemed almost bitter sweet that I ended up with it.
But I have not been able to read it. I don't know why, and I have tried several times, but I just can't get into it. Maybe it's because of that legacy, and because the title sort of rubs me the wrong way. I've come to realize that with these types of books that not every book works for the same person, and that you just have to find one that you identify with and go with it.

So, readers, if you've struggled with grief I recommend you take a look at The Long Goodbye. Especially adult women who have lost their mothers.

And, Ms. O'Rourke, on the off chance that you ever see this, I don't have adequate words to express how much The Long Goodbye means to me. Thank you for having the courage to write it and share it, it's given me some hope that I can learn to understand this process and that I'm not going insane. Thank You. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Self Editing

  I've gone on about self editing before, but there's different types of self editing.
I don't think it's a good idea to go back and and edit your own work while you're writing. That will hold up the writing process and cause unnecessary problems if you're not careful.
   The self editing that I think is ok, the type that I am doing right now, is when the book is finished and you're going back and fixing inconsistencies, spell check, and the like. It's exhausting and can be a lot on the brain.

 It's been a bit more exhausting because I had an epiphany about the motivations and path of the villain that is introduced in Book 2 and I've had to do some reworking, adding and subtracting, and fine tuning.
But this is part of the fun, really shaping a book into becoming something substantial is part of the fun of being a writer.
   I'd heard someone say that writing is rewriting and in some ways I have to agree.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Mini Book Reviews

I've been trying to read more lately, and I've finished a few books that I wanted to share my thoughts about. At some point I will post a larger review on Goodreads, but I thought I'd put something smaller here first.

I'll start with:

The Queen's Vow by C.W Gortner - I've never been disappointed by anything Gortner has written. I'd been waiting for more on the Spanish royal family since The Last Queen, one of my absolute favorite works of historical fiction. The Queen's Vow is about the early years of Isabella of Castile, the mother of Juana, the main character in The Last Queen.
I thought I might be bothered by the fact that Isabella's whole life wasn't covered in this book but I wasn't. It covers from her childhood until just after she and Fernando have a huge win against the Moors and I think that was just enough. Gortner's skill with words is incredible, and few people can do what he does. I recommend all of his books, and I'm looking forward to see what he does with Lucrezia Borgia.

The Last Word by Lisa Lutz - I'm a bit obsessed with Isabel Spellman and the Spellman series. I wish she was my best friend in real life. It's rare that I laugh out loud when reading and I've done that with every Spellman book to date. Lutz has wrote some of my favorite characters ever and I look forward to them. She even did an etiquette book, which is amazing!
If you enjoy amazing characters, a mystery, and some laughs, I recommend any and all of Lisa Lutz's books.

The Secret Circle: The Initiation and The Captive Pt 1 by L.J Smith - It took a little while for this book to pick up but once it did, Holy Shit is all I can say. I want to go by the next one. Right Now. And that rarely happens to me.
I originally picked this up because I was a huge fan of the tv series, and when it got cancelled I needed to get my fix somewhere. It's not identical to the tv show, thank goodness, and its hard to put it down once it picks up. It still deals with Cassie and what happens to her when she is moved to New Salem (Chance Harbor to the show's fans) by her Mother. If you're a Y.A fan you should pick this series up. And I ask those Vampire Diaries fans, are those books good as well? I couldn't get into the tv show but if the books are half as good as Secret Circle then I'll pick them up.

What am I reading now? I'm waiting for my copy of The White Princess by Philippa Gregory to be delivered, and Omens by Kelley Armstrong is coming very soon. But I might be buying L.J Smith's books tonight. Jesus.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Smashwords 2013 Summer/Winter Promotion

Hello dear readers!

Are you interested in reading Rebirth, but haven't got a copy yet?

Well, do I have some great news for you!

Rebirth is FREE from today until July 26th as part of Smashwords's 2013 Summer/Winter Promotion!

It's a site wide promotion, so make sure you check out the other great books that are available! 

Type in the coupon code SW100 at checkout to get your free copy!

And don't forget to please review, tell your friends, share it around!


Monday, 8 July 2013

Leading up to

Hello all!

Next week will be the six month anniversary since I released Rebirth. And, I must say, what a ride!
Being an Indie author (some say self published, but I prefer indie. Tomato, Tomatoe, in my mind) is definitely an interesting part of this journey. When you do everything on your own you have to wear many different hats, and some of those hats take time to adjust to get a good fit, but I feel like I'm in a groove.
I'm constantly trying to learn and evolve, not only from my mistakes but from watching others, and I'm working on filling the holes of things that I don't know.

When I started I never ever thought I would be doing this all on my own. During college, I had forgone the idea of choosing my own cover and other simple, little things that a first time author would never get to do with a large company. There was a time when writing courses really pounded the idea that you need an agent or else into young writer's minds, and if you couldn't do that you were essentially screwed. Self publishing meant that you weren't good enough, that for whatever reason no one would touch you, and if you did end up putting your work out yourself you could kiss the idea of ever finding an agent goodbye.

But then. something changed.
I don't know exactly what it was, or who. So I won't try to say that I do. All I know is that something happened, and there was a shift. Self published authors became recognized and noteworthy, enough to develop a name change to indie. And now that a bit of the shame has been removed big things are happening, and books like WOOL  are paving the way for new and exciting things in the world of publishing. Authors will have more control.

Why did I decide to go indie? I've talked a bit about what happened with me, the name change, the shift over. The Rebirth, if you will. I decided to give this way a try because I could connect with my own work and the way it was being put out into the world in a different way. And while I have to rely on myself, I have no one to disappoint and no one or nothing to be disappointed by.
It's just me, and only me, and somehow that makes sense right now.
May I try something else? Maybe. I'm not a one trick pony. I do have other stories, The Afflicted is just where my focus is at this present moment. What's important to me is producing the best product I can and being able to connect with my readers.

So, enough of me, I have some news! I'm planning a free promotion leading up to July 20, the six month anniversary. I haven't figured it all out yet, but I will post more when I have more information.
Keep checking back, it's your chance to pick up a copy of Rebirth for absolutely free!!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Writer's Block

I will openly admit that since my Mother died a little over a year ago, I have gone through periods of writer's block that have been worse then any I have ever suffered.
I think they have been so brutal because writing has been where I have turned when things have got crazy in my life. When I couldn't deal with the world I would escape into my own, and after my Mother died the last place I wanted to be was in the regular world. But, I would put a blank screen or, more often, a blank page in front of me and nothing would want to come out. An idea would pop into my mind and quickly fizzle out, and I would be left with nothing other than frustration.

As most writer's have, I've read a lot about writer's block. What causes it, how to beat it, and how to never get it again. There isn't really a consensus on any of those subjects because it's different for everyone. And I've tried many things, and this current bout I decided to try to write through it. It doesn't matter if it sucks, just keep writing and see if it lifts.
For the most part, it's worked. I've been working on fresh material and doing more self editing of Book 2. I've been able to self edit during writer's block, its the fresh material I've had difficulty with.

So, dear readers, I put out a question to you.....what do you do for writer's block? Do you have any tips or tricks that you'd like to share with the world, because I'd love to hear them!

And, as I have said before, thank you to all of those who came to check out my blog, and who keep coming back. If it wasn't for you I wouldn't be coming up to 2500 page views! I am so excited!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


The winners of the rafflecopter giveaway are:

 April Parmelee

Tori Whitaker

Donna Clerkin

Please contact me to collect your prize! Thanks again to everyone who entered, come back soon for more contests!

Friday, 21 June 2013


Welcome to my first official giveaway!

Enter here to win one of four ebook copies of Rebirth!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Thanks for entering, and good luck!!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


For me, research is really part of the fun in writing something with history involved. I love being able to make what I see in my mind come alive, and being able to tie it to something that actually happened is amazing.

I have to say that with historically involved fiction research is a constant and ongoing process. It does not end, because as the story evolves you have to be able to keep it going and you need information to do that. So your mind is constantly spinning and things are constantly growing. And it is absolutely not true that you can find anything on the internet.

When it comes to Countess Bathory there was not a lot of information to begin with, and not very much in English. Raymond T McNally's book 'Dracula Was A Woman', at one time the book about the Countess, was released in 1984 (for a little perspective, I was two years old) and I was desperate for something more current. I found some of what I needed in Tony Thorne's book 'Countess Dracula' and Valentine Penrose's book 'The Bloody Countess', but I still felt like I was missing something.
I started work on Rebirth anyway, and left some blank spaces where I needed more information. And when I was about knee deep in it, I stumbled upon Dr. Kimberley Craft's biography 'Infamous Lady'. Since then she has also released 'The Private Letters of Countess Erzsebet Bathory', and my depiction of the Countess was shaped because of both these books.

Both books include translations of documents that have never been in English, Infamous Lady has trial transcripts and Private Letters has correspondence written in the Countess's own words. Infamous Lady is easy to read, unlike most royal biographies that are chalked full of the politics in the country at the time and very little about the actual person, you get a real sense of who this amazing woman was.

I spent a lot of time thinking about the moment the Countess enters the book. After watching this video of Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, and the amazing historian David Starkey and listening to them talk about the moment Henry VIII enters is really amazing, and I found it inspiring.


After Rebirth, writing the second book was a bit different. I'd developed habits, good and bad, for writing and researching and I fell into a groove and things began to gel rather well. I took on some new challenges for the research aspect, I had them going to new places and experiencing new things that I knew nothing about so I had to give myself a crash course in things like food, customs, and regional changes in Europe at the time. Because borders have changes, place names have changed also.

I have had amazing luck with a series of children's non fiction books published by DK. You know those great kids books that are full of pictures and laid out beautifully? I've used those quite a bit, for small details like names of weapons and clothing and little details that DK books are so amazing for.

I guess what I am getting at is when it comes to research you have to do what feels right for you. Someone may be able to recommend a book to you, but how you go about researching your work is a style all your own. Whatever works for you is exactly how you should do it.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Indie in the Indie

My only complaint about moving to the suburbs is the lack of really cool indie bookstores. I'm sure they will come eventually but, as of now, if I want to do the indie bookstore crawl I have to come into downtown Toronto.
Luckily the really good ones are all very close to each other so I can hit a few, then sit in one of my favorite coffee shops and peruse my purchases.

Today's hawl includes:
The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo Graphic novel Book 2 - I admit I have a bit of an obsession with this series (all versions), visually. Its darkness, and the avante garde look of Lisbeth Salander really speaks to a deeper part of my being.
The Queen's Pawn by Christy English - after reading many glowing reviews of this book I finally found a copy of it and I am very excited to crack it. Its hard to find a depiction of Eleanor of Aquitaine that's generally liked by everyone.

When We Were Gods by Colin Falconer - a novel about Cleopatra that is hard to find. I debated over this but when I went to put it back I physically couldn't because I knew I would regret it, and if I came back looking for it it would probably be gone. I am fascinated by Cleopatra and her sister, Arisone.

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran - children of infamous parents? Yes, please! I have been looking at this book for years and always had something more pressing to pick up, but now was the perfect time. Moran is apparently brilliant, I have Nefertiti and Madame Tussaud on my TBR pile.

I also do a lot of people watching in these stores because I'm curious about what other people pick up in a non mainstream situation.
And indies are my people. Its important for me to support the community, especially the locals.

So, if your ever in Toronto make sure you hit up BMV books, and Seekers Books on Bloor Street between Bathurst and Spadina. BMV has an enormous range, and a graphic novel section that can't be beat, and Seekers is eclectic and amazing, also with a wide range but not as much floor space.

Do you shop at indie bookstores? Give them a shout out any way you can!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

2000 and my thoughts on The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

Hi Everyone

The counter is just a few off from 2000, and I can't believe it! Thank you again to everyone for coming by, and for continuing to come back and read my ramblings. I appreciate it, and it means the world to me. Thank you.

I put up a review of The Rising on Goodreads for anyone who's interested, but I thought I'd write a bit more here.
The Rising, to me, really felt like 'the end', more then the end of Armstrong's adult series Thirteen did. The Rising is, really, the last of the Otherworld books for the foreseeable future and I am ok with that. Not that I wasn't ok with Thirteen and the way that it ended, I was. But this really felt like more of an ending for me. It left everyone in a comfortable place, with the possibility of more to come.
The Rising, for me, was really a book about the kids in the series deciding what to do. I won't get into too much detail because I don't want to give anything away, but readers of the series will know that these kids have had some crazy shit (for lack of a better phrase) thrown at them and they're still standing, with two Cabal's chasing after them. (Cabal's are huge multi national corporations run by supernaturals in Armstrong's world....have you read the series yet? You should, if you like the genre. She also has mystery books, but that's another post altogether).
So, it's really come down to what do they do? Their parents think they are dead, and they either get to keep running or come to some kind of of a decision on how best to deal with the Cabal's. I liked the resolution, and I think it really gave a taste of how much power these Cabal's really have.
Now, readers who know of Armstrong's series know that you aren't always going to like every narrator but that doesn't mean that you're going to stop reading. Maya wasn't my favorite, but neither was Hope and that's ok. I think that's part of what makes this series so amazing.

Armstrong really changed the game in so many ways with her supernatural series on so many levels. There are so many things that I'm not even sure I can name them. And in terms of a Y.A supernatural book, there is nothing silly about her work. The romantic aspect isn't in your face all the time, and it's not a bunch of bitchy teenage girls complaining about their problems. It's all very realistic and I like that. That was a key element throughout all her work that I think makes it so accessible and is something that I strive for in my own work.

So, supernatural fans should take a look at Armstrong's series, I think all the adult books are available in paperback now and the first Y.A trilogy, The Darkest Powers, is available in an omnibus as well. Totally worth it.

Friday, 5 April 2013

What I'm Reading

I have The Rising by Kelley Armstrong in my lap, waiting to crack it, and I thought I'd write a little post about what I am currently reading, and why I read how I read.
Well, I'm sure you all know that there are never enough hours in the day to read. Because of that I got in the habit of reading more than one book at a time (I just had a vision of myself with a book in each hand....its not like that!). The key to doing that is to make sure that they are different genres, or if you are a person who only reads one 'type' of book make sure the story is different enough that you won't get confused.
Right now I am reading A Game Of Thrones, this is my second attempt. The first time I didn't have the patience to really sit with it, but I am glad I finally did. It took about 100 pgs for the story to really pick up for me and now I am a bit obsessed with it.
I also have started The Painted Girls, about Degas's ballerina's. So far its very good, but I admit Game of Thrones has been taking my attention and I have to get back to it.
Now, with The Rising, it'll take me a few days if that. Armstrong has a way of keeping you sucked in, and its the last of her Y.A books so I am excited to get into it.

What are you reading? Any recommendations for me?
If your interested in what I love, check out my recommended reading section and/or my Goodreads pages.
Happy Reading!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Interview Links

Hello all

I recently had the opportunity to do an interview with the lovely Catherine Gardiner over at Books and Bites. Here's the link so you can check it out, make sure you show Catherine some love:


This is my first interview for Rebirth, so go check it out!

Friday, 22 March 2013

A Bit of Everything

Hello everyone!

As I'm sure some of you have already seen, there is a review of Rebirth on Amazon and Goodreads, and on the Young Adult and Teen Readers facebook page (one of the good people there were kind enough to review it for me). If you haven't seen it already go check it out!

I'm hard at work on a lot of things right now so I've been neglecting this blog a bit, and I apologize! When you put your book out yourself you wear a lot of hats, and some of these hats are new and exciting but very different from anything I have ever done so it's a new experience.
I am working on new material and getting things together to try to bring Ikon (Book 2) along. I am in a happy place with it, and I'm excited for people to read it. I also have to wear my cover designer hat when I am sitting with it, and that is a process that is quite outside of my box. The ideas are there but I don't always have the skills to execute them so its an interesting process for me (I heard a quote once that if you see in pictures you should write, and if you seen in words you should paint, and I totally agree).
The cover for Rebirth ended up coming together like I had visualized so I have high hopes.

And I am also borderline addicted to Game of Thrones. After watching the second season in a marathon with my fiance I went out and finally bought hard copies of the first four books (I have them in ebook but I had a hard time getting into them) and I am ankle deep in the first one and loving it. I wish there was 45 hours in a day so I could spend more time reading! I highly recommend it, but it does take a bit to get into so keep at it, it's totally worth it!

I am in the process of arranging some blog interviews and other fun stuff so I will keep you posted.

 But that's all for now. I'll be sure to write more soon. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Calling ALL Veronica Mars fans!!

I'm guessing you already know about this, and those who don't I will explain.
Series creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell started a Kickstarter campaign to try to raise $2M dollars in 30 days to make the Veronica Mars movie. If they pull it off, Warner Bros has agreed to help with distribution.

WELL, in literally a day, they have raised almost it. As of 8:47 pm in Toronto Ontario, they have  $1,969,505.

No, I'm not kidding. This is really going to happen! I am so excited I don't have the words.

Veronica Mars has been a huge inspiration in my work since I saw the first episode many moons ago. Since then I've wanted to write a good crime book with a kick ass girl at the helm.
It hasn't happened yet, but it might.

Anyways, if you don't know what Veronica Mars is, here's the wikipedia link.

And an article about all the action by the CBC

I always believed that Veronica Mars would change the world.

Here's the Kickstarter link:

And just in time for 1750....my first ebook review!!

As most authors in my position know, you spend a certain amount of your day maintaining and looking at your various web presences. Today I happily found my first ebook review on Amazon!
Of course I was pleasantly surprised. There is nothing like the feeling that you have done something right and you have achieved something that you set out to achieve, and that someone else has enjoyed it!

So, I have to send a big thank you to Heather....I appreciate your kind words.

Here's the link:


And I am hoping that by posting this it'll push my counter over 1750...which is another big hooray! Thanks for coming by, and thanks for coming back!

And if you haven't picked up your copy of Rebirth, it's now available on Barnes and Noble and Kobo as well as Kindle and Smashwords.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Now available at Barnes and Noble!

Hi folks!

Look what I just found on Barnes and Noble's website!


Movie Review: Oz the Great and Powerful

I really did not know what to expect from this movie.
Before I get into it I should say, I did not see it in 3D...yet.

Here's the synopsis from IMdb :
A small-time magician arrives in an enchanted land and is forced to decide if he will be a good man or a great one. (short and sweet, huh?)

I really wanted to see this movie for a variety of reason. I've become a bit of a special effects junkie, and I have to say that on that note, this movie did not disappoint. The China Doll is all I really feel like I need to say. And The Wizard of Oz brings me a lot of happy memories of my Mother, who loved Judy Garland.
In terms of the story, James Franco was good as Oscar, the man who would become Oz. In the beginning we see him, in black and white, as a magician in a traveling circus whose womanizing ways finally catch up with him. He gets into a hot air balloon and is sucked into a tornado, which transports him to Oz. The scenes in Kansas are in black and white and Oz is in glorious color, much like the original.
Michelle Williams makes a brief appearance in the black and white portion of the movie as Emma, a woman preparing to marry John Gale who as come to tell Oscar that she is moving on. Her appearance, I believe, is a nod to the original. I won't give it away, but Oz fans will get a kick out of it.
Once Oscar gets to Oz he meets Theodora, played by Mila Kunis. I have to say when Kunis came on the screen I was quite taken aback...she was so beautiful I was completely overwhelmed. I think it was a combo of the right makeup and how the director dealt with the transition into color (not that Kunis wasn't attractive to begin with) that created this absolutely stunning woman. Theodora decides Oscar is the wizard from a prophecy, and that she is in love with him, and the story really begins.

I won't give too much away in regards to plot for those who want to see it, but I will say that the story sticks true to Oz as I know it, adding a few interesting tidbits along the way. Rachel Weisz is stellar as Theodora's sister Evanora, in a way I felt like she was in fact too good. The other actors were good but once you put them in a scene with Weisz there was no comparison....except when it came to Mila Kunis. She is really the star of this movie. Her transition from good to wicked is remarkable, and she is just stunning.
Don't get me wrong, I like Michelle Williams. I think she was well cast as Glinda. I have to admit though, when I first heard her voice and she sounded like she was doing the Marilyn voice (the fluffy Jessica Rabbit-esque nonsense she did in My Week With Marilyn) I got really upset. Luckily she didn't, and she carried on in true Glinda fashion with smiles and sunshine and riding in a bubble. Not that she wasn't good, she just wasn't as good as Weisz and Kunis, in my opinion. Franco has proved himself time and time again, but he also suffered the same fate of being good, but not quite as good as the sisters.

The story tries to give some reasons why things are the way they are in the original, and I thought it all rang rather true to the original story, and was also a nod to Gregory Maguire's Wicked. I'm curious to see where Disney decides to take Oz after this.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Character Discussion: Building the Backdrop

Victorie, Mathilde, Morgana, Josephine, William: Building the Backdrop.

Every story has background characters. Some always stay in the background, others come to the forefront eventually, some aren't as far in the background as others.

When I decided I wanted The Afflicted to become a series, I knew that I was going to have to place some interesting characters into the story that I could bring forward later to create potential other 'afflicted'. So when I started building them, I had to keep many things in mind.

While they were details that were common things one would use while building a character, I had to keep certain elements in mind for what I wanted to do later.

In the case of Morgana, what happened in her past plays a big part of who she is now. She talks a little about what happened to her family back in Scotland, but we don't know the true horrors of the situation. She is a complex little person, and I thought that, considering the time period and what had been happening to those accused of witchcraft, that there is a certain way that I believed she would be, whether she was actually a witch or not. Someone who has seen the things that she's seen, lived what she's lived, was a reality in many places at the time. Its unfortunate but its true, women were burned without much question. I wanted that to be obvious in the way that Morgana behaves, her demeanor and her reactions to other people. She's guarded, and she's scary if she really needs to be. Its about so much more then her being traumatized or damaged.

And yes, I use those Character Profile worksheets - the ones that they suggest you use in almost every how-to writing book, but I've tailored it to suit my needs. Some are more elaborate than others, and some are not totally complete. In the case of Morgana, because of how her past has shaped her, her character profile is almost entirely complete. That seems to be the way that the character building works, the more information you need about the character from the beginning, the more you fill in, and if not other things get filled when they come to you.

In the case of Victorie, the idea I had for her did not come till much later, so her original character profile is very basic. But now that I've had this idea, which will probably begin in Book 4, I've started filling in more things. This does not mean that I have not and will not use her till then, it just means that she is still more in the background until what I have planned can be pulled out. The same thing happened with Mathilde once I got into writing the second draft of Ikon, and I'm excited to see what happens.

And then there's William. Originally when I had envisioned the series I had not thought I would make one of the men a narrator, but my fiance has lobbied for William from the beginning so I decided to explore the idea, and it is a real possibility. It would be new territory for me, I've never wrote anything with a male narrator before so it might be fun.

Who these people are, and who they were, is very important. In the supernatural realm of things I had to give them certain abilities, or powers in some cases, for what I intended later, and that would further their own story as well as the overall plot when needed. The supporting cast is always important and should never be overlooked.

It'll be an interesting ride, but that's what happens when you're one of The Afflicted.

Did you enjoy these posts? I sure enjoyed writing them! 
So, I thought I'd run a little contest. Here are the rules: 
Be the first person to comment on each Character Discussion post. You can comment on each post, but you will only win one copy if you are first. In a case of multiple firsts, the next comment will be a winner. 
In the comment, includes something about what you think makes great characters, following along with the theme of the character discussion. And if you've read the book and want to include something about the characters, you can do that too!
Post One: Memorable Main Characters
Post Two: Iconic Characters
Post Three: Dynamic Male Leads
Post Four: Villians
Post Five: Background Characters
I look forward to reading your comments.  
Contest ends March 16....or when someone leaves a comment!! 

Monday, 4 March 2013

Another Happy Milestone

Hello dear readers,

I have a very happy thing to share with you all. Rebirth is available through Kobo on chapters.indigo.ca!

Fellow Canadians will understand why this makes me so happy. Chapters and Indigo are really our local chain bookstores, and where most of the people I know buy their books from. It means a lot to me to be able to say to people I know, if they ask, that they can order the book off the Chapters website!

Here's the links for those who are interested:

I have to say, this is a very happy moment for me. I really officially feel like I have arrived!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Book Reviews....?

Hi everyone!

Wondering why I don't have very many book reviews on this blog? Well, the simple answer is that they are all on Goodreads! So, if you want something more in depth then my recommended reading section, I suggest you head over to my Goodreads page.


Now, on occasion I post a book review here, and I will continue to do that. But, if you really feel the need for something right now, please go over to Goodreads and take a look around.
At this time, I have not received books strictly for the purpose of reviewing. Anything that I have reviewed is something that I picked and read on my own. Why is that, you're wondering? No one has asked me to review their book!

But, in some cases I would consider it. If that ever comes up.

   I am also hunting for reviewers to read Rebirth. Are you interested? Leave me your info here or on facebook, and I will get in touch with you as soon as I possibly can.


Character Discussion: The Villain

Klara Von Dores: or one lab accident from becoming a super villain.

(I'm sorry about the title, but when someone says 'villain' that line from the television series called 'The Big Bang Theory' immediately comes to mind)

Oh Klara. My villain. I have to say, early on it was hard for me to come up with an idea for a villain that would seem appropriate for Katrine. But, then I had this brilliant idea when I thought of what goes on with girls of that age, meaning mid teens. And jealousy popped into my head, among other things.

I strongly believe that there are universal truths that would translate into any time period, and the same problems and issues that affect teenagers in this day and age would come up, on some level, in the past. The same problems, only evolving as the world does, but the same problems nonetheless.

I decided that Katrine needed a villain that was similar in some ways, such as age, but total opposite ends of the spectrum in others. Where Katrine was from a small village who lives a very sheltered life, her villain needed to come from a life of privilege. The villain needed to be an absolute spoiled brat who had everything handed to her on a silver platter, but it was never enough. And when she didn't get what she wanted she tore the world down around her.

Klara Von Dores is the only child of Baron Von Dores, and she is banished from her parents court for reasons that I will not discuss because, well, when you read the book you'll find out. She is used to having things fitting her station, and when they're taken away from her and someone who see perceives to be inferior to her getting things she wants it would drive her insane. Especially the attentions of men. She's controlled and makes her judgments based on her own overpowering emotions, something very common for teenage girls. Maybe her reactions are not the same, but what can I say? Teenage girls are what they are - nuts. I used to be one, so I can say that quite confidently. And to me, someone who wasn't so different then the main character made the perfect villain, which would be the way it would work at any time I think.

Of course Klara will not be the only villain of the series, but I think she is the most dynamic. What drives her are such basic human emotions and it makes her so complex that a vampire would be driven by such human emotions. But, like I said about teenage girls, and it translates across the board.

I had fun writing her because of her extreme emotions and reactions, and her indifference to how people feel about her. Getting to explore her more as a character was interesting, and its been a challenge as a writer to get into that head space. She's the girl you love to hate, and that was another of my early thoughts when I first went into creating her.

And I hope, as readers, that you enjoy her.

Klara was another character that I went on to explore further in the second book. I did not think I would be able to really get into her perspective, but once I did I really had a lot of fun, and I feel that her part in Ikon is one of the strongest so far. It's different in many ways but I like it. 

I hope you enjoying these posts, I know I am! And don't forget to check out Rebirth, available now on Kindle and Smashwords. And come visit me on facebook!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Character Discussion: Men!

Vincenzo Amori - Friend, Protector, Guide and the Dynamic Male Lead.

I wanted take this opportunity to talk about a different type of character. I had initially thought I would spend this particular entry to the character discussion, which I had intended to be about the men, talking about the love interests, or potential love interests. But I decided that talking about Vincenzo first would be the better idea.

Because I strongly believe that not every male character needs to be a love interest. I needed someone who could verbally spar with Grisela and who was interesting enough that not only do I want to learn more about him, but I hope that the readers do as well. There are so many things that go into making up a dynamic male lead, and I thought I would take this chance to talk about what I think those elements are.

First, he needs to have characteristics that would make him dynamic, and of course they would be in line with the story. For Vincenzo, he needed to be worldly and experienced, and have an err of sophistication about him that made him attractive, and would leave an imprint in your mind, as he does with Katrine on their first meeting. Who wouldn't be interested in tall, dark and well dressed with an accent?

Second, he doesn't necessarily need to be the most handsome man in the story. Handsome does not always relate to dynamic. His personality is part of what makes him alluring. He needs to have a background that is suggestive of something mysterious, which would make him more attractive.

Third, he needs to be intelligent and have something to offer the narrator and reader that no one else could. Vincenzo offers guidance to Katrine in a way that no one else can, and friendship in a situation where he could have easily taken advantage of her. He wants the best, but expects nothing in return. He needs to be interesting as a person, have things going on that make him fun to read about. This falls in line with interesting characteristics, which is the largest part of a dynamic male lead.

And last, but not least, he needs to be likable. I like him, I hope the reader does. His likeability would make you want him around, and you hope that he comes back when he's gone. He becomes Katrine's best friend and close companion, she relies on him as one would rely on a father. He balances the rest of the world out, especially Grisela. He's the level.

Vincenzo was a necessity for me in the story because of the sense of security he gave. I really feel that there needs to be someone there that Katrine can fall back on when things get nuts, and he's it. Katrine would not have gone with him if he didn't make her feel safe and secure. (you'll find out what I mean when you read Rebirth).

But dynamic male leads are a necessity beyond love interests. Because, in my opinion, sometimes the love interest isn't so interesting. And not only that, but sometimes they are horribly irritating! Vincenzo is great fun for me on a variety of levels, and in many ways I miss him when he's gone. 

Enjoying these posts? Come let me know! And don't forget to come by my facebook and say hi! 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Horray for 1600!

WOW! I cannot believe how quickly we've hit 1600!
Thanks everyone for coming back and reading a long, I know I say it a lot but I am constantly shocked when I come to this page and see how far the counter has moved. This has been such an amazing experience.

Keep checking back for more new content! And don't forget to check out Rebirth, available on Amazon and Smashwords right now!

Character Discussion: Creating an Icon

Grisela Delphine: Creating an Icon

When I was creating my supernatural characters for this book, there were certain things that I wanted, and certain types of characters that I was interested in having so I could explore their life further.

France has always interested me, not just because of my family heritage but from so many angles. I can't tell you how many projects I did on France in elementary school! But as an adult I started to see France from a different angle, and the fascinating people that it produced constantly interested me.

One historical fiction book/series that I highly recommend is Sandra Gulland's Josephine Bonaparte trilogy. I've never cried when reading a book before, and I cried more than once while reading this series. I knew after reading that that I wanted a true French woman to be part of one of my stories, and I was so fascinated by court life, even after the royal court was taken down by the French revolution, that I wanted my character to be someone who'd experienced court on a variety of levels.

Marie Antoinette has been a private obsession of mine, since I saw the movie The Affair of the Necklace many years ago. My local museum some time back had one of her gowns on display and a guest lecture by Caroline Weber, who's biography of the doomed queen 'Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore To The French Revolution' is amazing, and I was so enchanted by this dress and the queen's designer, Rose Bertin, that I knew that I wanted this to play a big part in the life of my French character. A regular courtier was too boring, in my mind, and if this character was to be a supernatural then they needed something more than that. They needed some depth and a perspective that would make the character engaging.

And, with that, Grisela Delphine was born.

She was a courtier, yes, but a courtesan. Educated, witty, beautiful, intelligent, all the things that one would expect from a French courtesan. Being a courtesan would give her a chance to be so many things that a traditional woman would not be, and experiences that the average person would never have. She's last in a line of courtesans, and, I thought, very interesting as a vampire. Maybe not the traditional take, but a vampire nonetheless.

She could be worldly, well known in many courts across Europe, and a beautiful figurehead for whatever I had my supernaturals doing. She would draw a crowd. She would get people talking. And she would be someone that a young girl from a small village would be in awe of.

But, of course, there had to be more to the story. What happened to her in her life? She's last in a line, what about her family? How did she become a vampire? I tried my best to establish all of this to make her seem more real, and then give me the chance to give her her own story, one day. Lay the groundwork so I could tell her story within the parameters of Rebirth, and hopefully have her as the center of her own book. And because of who she was, her family would be quite complicated, and how many of them were vampires as well? What are they like?

This was a key piece of information for me: Grisela's family. Because I really feel that they would end up as key players in the 'The Afflicted' scenario, and how the whole storyline across the series plays out. I've had this vision, and they are very important.

But Grisela Delphine is an icon, and Rebirth is just the beginning.

Thanks everyone for coming back and continuing to read. I've had lots of fun writing these posts and I hope you enjoyed them! Keep checking back, there will be more to come. 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Character Discussion: My Main Characters

Anastasia and Katrine: The Birth of A Legend

I'd wrote these posts some time ago, and took them down when the mess started. But with the release of Rebirth I thought I would revisit them.

The Character Discussion posts will be me talking a bit about some of the characters in Rebirth. and letting you, dear readers, learn something about them before you read the book. 
 The best place to start seemed to be with the two main characters, Anastasia and her daughter, Rebirth's narrator, Katrine.

I've talked at great length about the influence of Mary, and the stories that I've heard about the illegitimate children of royalty really shaped how I felt Anastasia would be (not that Mary was illegitimate, but how having that label impacted her was really influential in helping build my character). In many cases, the illegitimate child knew who the royal parent was, and it really shaped their existence, in many ways they profited from it.

But I couldn't help but wonder what happened to those who did not profit from it, who's lives could potentially be destroyed by this knowledge, because of who their birth parents are and what they had done.

In parts of Eastern Europe, the Bathory family was pretty infamous as well as influential, and when all was said and done with Countess Bathory's trial and sentence her name was not to be spoken in polite society. I could only imagine what a person would feel if someone walked into their house and told them their life was a lie, and throwing in the supernatural elements that I added it made it all the more overwhelming.

Someone told me a long time ago that 70% of personality is inherited (what does that say about you?) and I really kept that in mind when I was creating my two main characters, a mother and daughter, and what I would need later while shaping the infamous grandmother.

I had a lot of fun creating Anastasia and Katrine. With Katrine's life experience being so minimal, she would be very naive and quite clueless to the world around her, and I really felt that the reader could experience the shock and confusion of the world with her, and perhaps have that as a way to connect with her as the narrator. Her attachment to her mother is significant, and when things start to change she's unsure how to deal with it without her mother's guidance; a situation that lots of people, including myself, can identify with. Being so reliant on your parents then forced into standing on your own two feet can defeat even the best of people, and I really wanted Katrine to be able to do that regardless of her sheltered life. Because there were these personality aspects that ran through all three women, which I guess you could say was part of the legacy of these women. Their fierce loyalty and determination were important, and keeping that in mind with Katrine caused her to make some of the decisions that others would have backed away from.

Anastasia has always fascinated me, and as I continue to write about her she does more fascinating things. She had really stuck with me from the beginning, and when I first heard that Countess Bathory had an illegitimate daughter before her marriage I could see her, clear as day, I could hear her voice quite strongly. Her early life popped into my head fully formed and how she behaves as an adult and the choices she makes are really a testament to her character. Building her personality, in many ways, came from how I felt Countess Bathory would have been as a person: fierce, loyal, brilliant and utterly determined to do what she felt was best. The person I believed Countess Bathory to be came from Infamous Lady, Dr. Kimberley Craft's magnificent biography, and I think that the clear picture that she painted of the Countess, and the information that she presented so you could draw your own conclusions really shaped what she became, and with the written documents in Private Letters the clarity of that voice only grew stronger, and Anastasia would not be who she was without it. I'm excited now to dive deeper into her character and see how she handles the situation she is now in.

But, with how the story of Rebirth played out, Anastasia did not play as strong of a role as I had originally anticipated when I first had the idea for the book. At first I was a little disappointed, but in the end its all worked out rather well, and it will give me a chance to really tell what's become of her in the future.
And when I went and looked at what happens to Anastasia in the coming books, I realized that she was really meant to play a stronger part in coming events, and that more of her story could be told at another time. Part of that story will be told in Book 2, Ikon. 

I have to thank those who took the time to read this post originally, and who came back and took another look now. I had great fun writing it, and was happy that I could come back to it. 
There will be more posts like these in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!   

Friday, 22 February 2013



Are you a Pinterest user? I sure am!
I think its by far one of the best, and most fun, social media outlets for writers right now. I can share my visual inspirations with you, and now I have!
I've set up a board called 'The World of the Danse Macabre' so I can share some of my visual inspirations for Rebirth, and the whole series. Go check it out!

You can get to my Pinterest page directly in the links collum of this blog, over on the right side of the computer screen. Users can look ne up my searching the board name or me directly, my username is rtmaurice.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Hi everyone!

I've put Rebirth in for a giveaway that's being run by author Kim Scott over on her site. It's a giveaway for a young girl named Liliana, and to help raise awareness for heart defects. Go over and check it out, there are 45 great books and a Kindle up for grabs. And you would be in the running to win a copy of Rebirth!


Good Luck!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I'm baaacckk

Hello everyone!

So, here we are! Happy Release Day!

Thanks everyone for sticking around. Here the links of a few places you can find Rebirth right now. I'll continually add more as they come up.





And, I have to add, any errors in formatting are my own, it was my first time doing an ebook.

Come show me some love! Like Rebirth on facebook, some say hi on twitter @heartbamboo or drop me a line on Goodreads. I would love to hear from you!
If you like the book, great! Tell a friend, post a review, come let me know!

And stay tuned! There will be some new and exciting things to come....and also news of Book 2!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Happy Birthday Queen Mary I of England, or as I call her The Lady Mary

    Any longtime reader of this blog will know a bit about my love for Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I's older sister.

To be quite frank, I have thought of her quite a lot in the months since I lost my mother.
I never knew that grief could be physically painful, and I wonder if some of the health problems that Mary had were related to the grief that she could not appropriately express. I'd already felt like I understood Mary in relation to being set aside for Father's 'new life', but now I feel even more connected to her. Grief is a very powerful and sometimes completely overwhelming thing that no one can understand until you live it.

I've been following a Tudor related website called The Anne Boleyn files for some time now, and I can't say enough about not only the quality of the content but the continually fascinating posts by its creator, Claire Ridgeway. She does an amazing daily posts called 'Today in History' that I look forward to, and have been constantly inspired by.
She has three books, The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown, The Anne Boleyn Collection: The Real Truth About the Tudors, and On This Day In Tudor History that are available for download on Amazon. I just got them and I am looking forward to digging into them.

Here are a few links to posts about Mary from The Anne Boleyn Files, and its sister sight, The Elizabeth Files: 

 Any suggestions on a Mary related book/site/blog/movie/show I need to know about? Leave it in the comments section, or tweet me with the hashtag #mary and tell me about it! I am always looking for something new to read about her. I'd also love biography recommendations!

So, I ask today that you hug your mother and not only think of Mary and Catherine of Aragon, but of me. Because a time will come when she'll be gone, and you should cherish every single moment.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Happy 1500!

Hello everyone!

Happy 1500!
I have to say, I am humbled every time I look at that counter. The very idea, as I've said, that people read my every day thoughts and my stories is so amazing to me that I don't even have the proper words.

Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for coming back. I hope that you'll keep coming!

I'm hard at work on that formatting, as I'm sure my twitter readers know. It's a complicated process, but its worth it for the product to look nice in the end. And its nice that there are formatting 'rules', so people don't just post things willy nilly and that the readers don't end up scrolling through a ridiculous amount of blank pages. It'll be up and ready to go Feb 20, so keep checking back for the links.
That day is also my 31st birthday!

Tomorrow I'll be spending my first Valentines Day with my future husband, which I am really looking forward to. And shortly after that is Queen Mary I of England's birthday (or the Lady Mary Tudor, as I often refer to her), so I will be doing what I plan on making my yearly post about Mary. It will be her 497 birthday and all.

So, keep checking back for more updates!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

New Things!

Hi Everyone!

So, here are my latest updates:

As I'm sure you can see, I've put up a countdown for the release of the ebook - my projected date is February 20th (which also happens to be my 31st birthday!). Keep checking back for links to where you can pick up your copy!

The facebook page is live, and I am in the process of populating it. Go over and hit 'like', there is more coming!


Keep checking back for more stuff!

And how that I'm rolling onto the 1500 mark (pretty good, I think!) I have to admit, I'm pretty overwhelmed by the idea that not only do people want to read my random thoughts, but keep coming back!
So, thank you all!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Prepping for #rebirth

Hello all!

I wanted to fill you all in on my progress, and let you know about the exciting things that will be going on in the next few weeks!

I have decided it's about time that I relaunch myself and my debut novel, Rebirth. So in the next few weeks I will be prepping for the ebook release, which I am planning to have up on Kindle and Smashwords (unless I have some major technical difficulties!), and I am hoping to put the book back in print as soon as possible afterwards. In the coming weeks I will be reestablishing my online presence, creating a new facebook page, tweeting my progress (it's @heartbamboo if you're interested!), and putting up the book info on Goodreads. I'm also hoping to hook up with some great pages and bloggers I've met on facebook that are fighting the good fight for us indie authors. I'll be sure to update this page and my twitter, and the facebook when I get it up and running, with where I'm at and any other exciting stuff.

I also wanted to say thank you to everyone who has stuck with me during this hick-up, I appreciate all your kind words and encouragement! Don't worry, you won't have to wait for Book 2 forever - while all this exciting stuff is going on with Rebirth I am plugging away at editing Book 2 and making it as wonderful as I can. So, stay with me, because it's coming.

And I bet you are wondering what the #rebirth means in the subject of this blog? I will be attaching it to all book related tweets etc leading up to and around the launch of Rebirth. I would LOVE it if anyone who wants to tell me the story of their rebirth, words of encouragement, or fans who read the book by the other name and want to tell me what they loved about it, their favorite line, characters, anything, tweeted me and attached it to their tweet....come show me some love!

That's all for now! Keep checking back for more updates!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Movie Review: Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters

Hello everyone!

I am so happy that I'll have a chance to discuss this movie!
I read a lot of reviews before I went to the theatre, and I have to say that some people's complaints are unnecessary. You don't go see this sort of movie for historical accuracy! While I agree, it wouldn't hurt, but this is a full out action flick and such details are not expected.

The premise of this movie is pretty simple. After the infamous incident that made Hansel and his sister Gretel famous the duo turn into a ruthless pair of witch hunters, complete with leather outfits and some bad ass gear. They end up in a small town there children are being nabbed, but the incidents seem a little different. They discover more then they bargained for on a variety of levels, digging into their painful past and in the form Famke Janssen, the woman I will always know as 'the woman who didn't end up playing Erzsebet Bathory'.

This movie is a fantastic example of 3D used well. There were several times that I jumped when things came flying at the screen - my fiance jumped too, and that NEVER happens! Its gory where it should be, its smart, the CG effects are great, and its an all around fun time.
I love a fairy tale retelling. And while I agree with some other reviewers that there were some occasions to really push this movie that much further that weren't taken, I really liked this movie for what it was. I loved the subtle exploration of good and evil in the form of 'all witches are bad', and I thought the backstory of what happened to H&G's parents and why they did what they did was really well thought out, and the writer's had really done their homework. While I would have liked some things explored further, I didn't expect it from an action movie. This was fun to watch and kept me entertained.
Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the title characters are great. I've been a big fan of Arterton since Prince of Persia, and I think she brought the perfect blend of pretty and badass that this role desperately needed. Jeremy Renner has been great in every movie I have ever seen him in, and he did not disappoint here.

Overall a great movie, I think. It'll be interesting to see if they make a second, I will definitely go see it!
If you're on the fence, give it a try. You might be surprised, my fiance sure was. He even said 'it was a lot better then I thought it was going to be'. If you love a different kind of fairy tale mash up, you might enjoy this.
Anyone looking for historical accuracy in terms of wardrobe and small details, this isn't it. The only movie that I have ever heard of that would come close to accurate is The Duchess with Keira Knightley.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

And the rejections pile up....

And I am okay with that. I read in a writing book that you should hang up your rejection letters because they are important. I don't know if I will be doing that but I do agree.
I knew that this next step was going to be a rough road, and the chances of me having to make a go of it on my own are pretty good. And I am okay with that too.

Because beyond all the rejection and 'issues' and whatever, writing is my reality. Every time someone asks me when Book 2 is coming out it reminds me of that. I don't just do this for me, I do this because I want to share my stories. I want to interact with my readers as much as possible - I am still overwhelmed that I even have readers. The idea that people read my blog still totally floors me.

Because of the way the literary landscape is turning out writers can now take control in a way they never could before and this is not only acceptable, in many cases they are applauded for their courage. In my mind that's what self publishing takes, courage. You have to be strong, tough, and remarkable. I like to see myself that way but I don't know how much truth there is in that.
I have been through a lot this year. The unwavering ambition that drove me up until this point has gone into hiding, but I am quietly trying to coax it out of the dark corner its hiding in, and if it doesn't want to come out I will be trudging into the darkness with it because I need it back.

So that is my update in a way. Please stick with me, because it's.coming. I promice.