Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Creative Blockage: Go Sit in a Corner

 This Week's Topic: How to Find Inspiration When the Story Won't Come to Me

I'm the sort for whom the broad strokes of the story come easily. It's the details that can cause me to sit in a corner and drool. Sometimes, I'll bring an aluminum pot to bang on mindlessly while I'm there.

Does--does that actually help?

Ya know, yeah. Yeah, it does. Figuratively and, on occasion, literally. Letting my mind go utterly blank permits my subconscious to noodle over the problem. When my conscious mind is too chaotic, the monotonous thumping of the pot provides a singular focal point that eventually quiets the pandemonium and lulls the conscious mind so the whispers of my subconscious can be heard. 

Naturally, my subconscious doesn't acknowledge the concepts of deadlines, schedules, urgency, or even time itself. Like so many of us, my creative epiphany strikes at the most inconvenient moments. Say, whilst folding laundry, walking the dog, or at 0200hrs. Can I always remember the moment of brilliance until I get to a voice recorder or notebook? I so wish the answer to that was Yes. The gist lingers, however, and that's good enough to weave the bridges of minor events that connect the Big Moments. 

In a world of overscheduling and overstimulation, the key to conquering any kind of creative block is to give yourself time to simply...think. 

Aluminum pots are optional. 

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Marketing and Making Author Friends

2023 has been a whirlwind - I can't believe it's the end of the summer already! In Canada we have Labour Day Weekend this weekend and then the children go back to school on Tuesday. The last days of fun and frolic until we have to get serious and studious again. Sigh!


I'm finishing up a marketing course by Shelby Leigh and looking forward to implementing what I've learned this fall. Most authors don't have a degree or experience in marketing and it can seem overwhelming to promote our books. We can feel like it's impossible to be heard or that we can't find our readers. And much marketing advice for entrepreneurs doesn't translate quickly to the author setting. Finding those people who get it and can help us navigate the marketing waters is incredibly helpful. Shelby has been an important contributor to my knowledge and my confidence in promoting my books. And just in time, since it's Promo Week on the SFF 7 Authors blog!


Shelby helped me define the themes and emotions that go into my stories and will resonate with my readers. I've always been a fan of the Fated Mates trope and I love writing shifter stories. For me, these themes connect with reader's desires to read about a true connection and partnership between equals in romantic relationships, as well as our need for belonging and community. Shifters for me are about transformation and being our best selves while facing the evils of the world. Giving us hope for a better future.

You can read Book 2 in the Laurentian Mountain Clan series I'm writing. Mind's Peace introduces a geeky billionaire shifter and his curvy librarian soulmate who have to work together to discover where to find the ancient sorcerers who have attacked the shifter clan. Along the way, our librarian heroine comes to terms with her magical powers of prescience and controlling fires. 

He was looking for answers, not his Fated Mate.

After his cheating girlfriend dumps him, Thomas Ducharme, Lieutenant of the Laurentian Mountain Clan, believes he has nothing to offer. The Fated Mates prophecy will never apply to him. But shadowy supernaturals have allied with a rival clan and his energy is used best by discovering the origins of Frè res Gris Consortium.

Ever since Tatienne Laflamme lost her parents in a house fire, she has feared her fiery nightmares. She was left to raise her sister, but she can't stop her passion when she meets billionare ski mogul Thomas Ducharme. Thomas knows she belongs with him. She just has to let him in.

As Tatienne helps Thomas seek the truth of his foes, she becomes a target and is pulled into the world of shifters and the conflict between clans. When their enemies endanger her and her sister, Tatienne finds the courage to harness her dreams to find the Frè res Gris Consortium. Thomas' s pack gets closer to answers, and they can' t do it without her.

The fire in her heart can help them defeat the clan' s foes. But how can she confront her fears and accept the peace that Thomas offers?

Read in KU or get your copy here! Mind's Peace Book Link.

Making Author Friends

This spring I also contributed to a fantasy romance anthology, Bound in Magic, which featured a dazzling array of fantasy settings, lots of bada$$ women characters, and all kinds of true love. The limited edition collection of stories has concluded, but my friendships with the awesome group of authors continues (stay tuned for information about the next collection, coming spring 2024).

You can check out the amazing featured authors on instagram:

Coincidentally, this collection featured stories from three Canadian authors of fantasy romance! Elayna and Danielle are my fellow countrywomen and I'm thrilled to get to know them better along with the other authors in the anthology (special shout out to our fearless leader, Priscilla Rose!).

Danielle's first book came out in 2022, same as mine. (Funny story, that's how the Bound in Magic collection began, with a group of debut authors featured in the FaRoFeb blog.

Her Twingenuity series is a gorgeous take on twin sisters who change places. 

Amara was like any other princess from a once magical kingdom. Like most, she had secrets, her biggest one of all; She’s actually her twin sister Avery.

After Avery is taken from her ordinary life and brought to the mysterious kingdom of Soluna, she is introduced to the heir to the throne, and her twin sister, Amara.

Not everyone believes Amara is the rightful heir so she ventures off on the quest of her life to prove them wrong, leaving Avery behind to impersonate a sister and life she knows nothing about.

Follow both Avery and Amara as they discover more about themselves than they ever thought possible, including unbelievable powers.

You can read Book 1 here:  https://books2read.com/A-Kingdom-of-Sun-and-shadow/.

I'm thrilled to support Danielle and my fellow authors by buying and reading their books. Indie authors are a wonderful bunch of people! Check them out now. 

Love, Mimi

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Summer Book Recs!

Summer is winding down where I’m at—the fields of corn and beans are yellowing, the garden is slowing, and a few leaves have fallen. But we’re clinging on to the last bits of hot sun this week with our topic: Summer Promo! 

I don’t have anything new to share with you, but I have read some great books recently! In the beginning of August I shared a couple of sci-fi recs, which you can find here, Recoil and The Blighted Stars. And I can’t not put another science fiction book on the list, and this one has a heavy dose of romance to compliment the exemplary tech! Book three in the Starlight’s Shadow series:

book cover of Capture the Sun in oranges and reds, a man and woman's profiles silhouetted against a planet.
Capture the Sun

by Jessie Mihalik

Acclaimed author Jessie Mihalik returns with the thrilling conclusion to her Starlight’s Shadow trilogy. An intergalactic thief must join forces with the charming teleporter who stole her last job—and may now be her only hope for saving her former crew. As a recovery specialist, Lexi Bowen’s jobs typically require more trickery and thievery than honest work. Her former captain might not approve of her flexible morals, but stealing artifacts for rich assholes pays the bills, and Lexi’s had enough of war and death. The FHP left her to die once; she doesn’t plan to give them a chance to finish the job. Unfortunately, her latest contract takes her to Valovia itself—and right back into the orbit of Nilo Shoren, a Valovian teleporter who already cost her one payday and nearly stole her heart. Armored against his clever charm, Lexi plans to get in, get the job done, and get out. But when her former crew goes missing in Valovian space, Lexi will have to work with Nilo to figure out what happened—and stop it—before the galaxy’s two superpowers can use the disappearance as an excuse to return to war.

If you’re in the mood for some fantasy on the high seas I highly suggest:

Dark Water Daughter

by H.M. Long

A stormsinger and pirate hunter join forces against a deathless pirate lord in this swashbuckling Jacobean adventure on the high-seas.

Mary Firth is a Stormsinger: a woman whose voice can still hurricanes and shatter armadas. Faced with servitude to pirate lord Silvanus Lirr, Mary offers her skills to his arch-rival in exchange for protection - and, more importantly, his help sending Lirr to a watery grave. But her new ally has a vendetta of his own, and Mary's dreams are dark and full of ghistings, spectral creatures who inhabit the ancient forests of her homeland and the figureheads of ships.

Samuel Rosser is a disgraced naval officer serving aboard The Hart, an infamous privateer commissioned to bring Lirr to justice. He will stop at nothing to capture Lirr, restore his good name and reclaim the only thing that stands between himself and madness: a talisman stolen by Mary.

Finally, driven into the eternal ice at the limits of their world, Mary and Samuel must choose their loyalties and battle forces older and more powerful than the pirates who would make them slaves.

And one last, fantastic read. The magic system and all their rules is so good and the relationships will suck you in, proving you can run but you can’t hide—book two in the Renegades of Magic series!

Rogue Familiar

by Jeffe Kennedy

He left to save her from herself… But who will save him from her?

When Lady Seliah Phel wakes from a drugged sleep to find herself abandoned by her newly bonded wizard, she vows revenge—and to hunt him down. Tracking him through the familiar wilds of the marshlands of her home is the easy part; learning to use her nascent magical skills is something else entirely. So is facing the vast, uncaring society of the Convocation in a time of brewing war.

Jadren El-Adrel is not known for doing the right thing, but getting as far away from Seliah as possible before he drains her dry will be his one noble gesture. So what if she weeps a few tears. Better than her dying in his service—or enabling him to become the ravenous beast that crawls beneath his skin. Unfortunately, in his self-imposed exile, and without the power of his familiar, Jadren quickly runs afoul of the enemy.

As her vengeful quest for recapture becomes a rescue mission, Selly faces all she still doesn’t know about the greater world of wizards and familiars. And Jadren, once determined to walk his own path and stay far, far away from the idealistic fools of House Phel, finds himself aligning with them against the house of his birth. War is coming to the Convocation, which means a clever wizard should pick the side most likely to win.

Sadly, Jadren has never been all that clever…

I’ve shared some of mine, do you have any book recs for me?

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Preorder Now! TWISTED MAGIC (and a Snippet)

I'm working away on TWISTED MAGIC! The preorder links are mostly live. (I use Smashwords to distribute to Apple and Scribd. They flagged the book because I used the keyword "adult," saying I must categorize it as erotica. Which, it isn't. I meant adult fantasy as opposed to YA fantasy, but apparently adult means erotic now and I can't even.) Anyway, you can preorder pretty much everywhere now. 

And, because you all have been waiting so patiently, here is a snippet from the book in progress :-)

Jadren heaved a sigh and rolled his head back, staring at the ceiling. “If I were to hazard a guess, which I apparently am being coerced into doing, I’d say that she means she thinks I ran away only as a bargaining chip. She won’t believe that I don’t truly want, in the charred cinder of my withered heart, to be Lord El-Adrel after her. Katica can’t conceive of anyone not wanting her power. She’s used that to play her heirs against each other all these years.”

“Do you?” Selly asked.

He lifted his head and gazed at her. Blinked, long and slow. “Do I want to be Lord El-Adrel? Dark arts, no! What would possess you to even ask such a question?”

“It’s a reasonable question,” she answered, studying him.

“Not unless you think I’m enough of a monster that I want to become my mother,” he spat back.

“See, that’s not a reasonable answer. You can head your house without becoming your mother.”

“Oh, and I suppose you believe I should follow the example of the sainted Gabriel, Lord of House Phool?” he sneered. “If my choices are to become a tyrannical megalomaniac or an idealistic idiot merrily leading my house to doom, or a passive/aggressive wannabe like Chaim Refoel, then I’ll take option D: none of the above.”

Or,” she retorted, “you could make the role your own. You’re not one of your mother’s automatons, plodding along mindlessly in the footsteps of others. If you became Lord El-Adrel, you could make the house over into what you want it to be.”

He curled a lip. “Why, Seliah—have you been harboring a secret desire to become Lady El-Adrel? Perhaps all that half-feral swamp beast behavior of yours has been a cover for a heart that quietly yearns for the power and glory of a high house.”

“Be nice,” she warned him. “You know I don’t care about heading a high house and, for the record, I don’t care if you are Lord El-Adrel or not. But I think your people deserve better. And,” she added after a moment, “the house deserves better.”

“The house is a house. She doesn’t deserve anything. She can’t, because she’s not a person.”

“Then why do you talk about her like a person instead of an ‘it’?”

“Because she’s a right bitch,” he observed without rancor. “You saw what she did to us.”

“She helped us to escape,” Selly replied remorselessly. “Besides, I think she wants you to be Lord El-Adrel.”

He rolled his eyes. “I’m not letting an over-magicked dwelling make life choices for me.”




Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Summer Reads: Meet the Gatekeeper on a Mission from Hel

Book Cover Image: The Burned Spy
Gods. Always ready to screw you.

When Bix the Gatekeeper is summoned from exile by the goddess of the Norse Under World, the former Dark Ops agent knows there’s a catch. On the surface, the terms of the deal are simple. Someone attacked the pantheon’s ambassador to the Mid Worlds and left the ambassador in a coma. In exchange for early parole, Bix must identify the perpetrator and drag their soul to Hel.

It’d be a sweet contract, if not for the details. The ambassador is Bix’s ex-girlfriend, the lead suspect is the key witness from Bix’s trial, and the organization leading the official investigation is the same intelligence guild that disavowed Bix when a covert op went pear-shaped. Undeterred, Bix returns to her old stomping grounds where clues in the smoldering woods of Centralia, Pennsylvania, lead to the waterfront of Washington, DC, and Worlds beyond.

Once valued for her skills in creating passageways as small as a capillary or as large as a continent, Bix’s success now depends on the relationships she was forced to abandon. As she squares off against friends who betrayed her and enemies keen to destroy her, Bix follows a trail of secrets, torture, and treason that leads to the very superpowers who banished her. With her freedom on the line and revenge within reach, this highly-trained operative will take on Fates, dragons, angels, and gods to get exactly what she wants.

Hel hath no fury like a burned spy.

BUY IT NOW: Amazon | BN | Apple | Kobo | Google Play

Read the Completed Series: THE IMMORTAL SPY

Friday, August 25, 2023

Career Mulligans

 Who among us hasn't wished for a mulligan in career, relationships, or just life in general? We want do overs for a rough day or a shitty week or, if we really messed up, for an even longer stretch of time. Whether it's wisdom or naivete on my part, I don't entertain regrets about career much. There's no point. If I make a mistake, my only goal is to learn from it and do better going forward because there is no going back.

That being said, I feel pretty strongly that every book offers us a do over for free. I won't lie that I wish some things about my career, my life, and about me in general were different. I do. I wish I weren't a slow writer. I wish I weren't enmeshed in the life circumstance that I am WHILE AT THE SAME TIME recognizing just how privileged the circumstance is. I'm insane and I own that but I don't have to like it.

I did discover something quite by accident the other day about procrastination and I'm still processing it. It feels a little bit like a I got to pull all new cards from the deck, though, so I'll mention it on the off chance it's helpful to someone else. If you self-sabotage and you've done all the regular self-help work around it but can't seem to get traction, it's because you need to forgive yourself for past mistakes. Whatever they maybe. This can be old trauma - anything you wish had never happened. Maybe you hurt someone's feelings and were never able to make it right. Maybe you were a 9 or 10 year old kid home alone when something bad went down outside and you didn't know what to do, even though you tried, and there was no one around you could trust to ask for help and because of all of this, someone died. Oddly specific, I know.

I'm not saying you have to forgive someone else. If you were hurt, you don't have to forgive whoever hurt you. I'm saying it's time to give yourself grace and forgiveness. It's vital because no matter what happened, until you forgive your younger self for not knowing enough, not understanding enough, not being enough - you subconsciously carry around a weight that says you don't deserve any good thing. Forgiving oneself isn't easy but it is necessary. We're monstrously unfair to our younger selves because we look back with the wisdom of knowing what we ought to have done, said, or been and unfairly judge the ignorance of our inexperience.

If you're in a position to wish you could have a do over for just about anything in life, it's a fair bet that you need to practice forgiveness for yourself first. Recognize that you did the best you could with the information you had at the time. Then get busy shaping your future.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Would Today Make a Good Groundhog Day?

Alexia standing in her long floral dress in the middle of her cottage garden, holding a large, green, bok choy plant

Today is my birthday! 

I had a wonderful day and it ended with a beautiful sunset. There’s nothing about the day that I’d do-over. Which happens to be our topic of the week—is there a point in your writing career that you wish you could do-over? 

Like everyone, I make mistakes. They sometimes make me cringe and sometimes make me frown, but I like to look at mistakes or failings as points of growth. If I chose to re-do anything I would be doing so with knowledge gained from said instance…which would mean I would... lose that wisdom…? At that point I think it starts to become a convoluted loop of linear timelines that only the Flash can traverse. 

Oooo, which gives me a great plot idea!!! 

See! A cherry on top of an already great day! 

May your coming weekend be filled with words!

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Career Do Overs: In The Beginning...

 This Week's Topic: Do I have a point in my writing career that I wish I could do over?

Hahahaha! So many. {facepalm}  If I had to choose, I'd go with the beginning of my career. To give a sense of era: I started writing when queries were still done via snail mail and mss were printed and shipped between author and editor. In hindsight, I would've paid less attention to the gatekeepers of tradition and rolled more with the innovators and risk-takers breaking ground in the indie market. When I think of all the money spent, time invested, and expectations contorted just to get three minutes with an editor from a big publishing house or an agent with a golden key to the Big 6....{wince}. Don't get me wrong, the folks were nice enough, but it was akin to being an Idol wannabe showing up for an open casting call at the convention center. The odds were not in my favor. Alas, the end of the printed communications era led to the era of "no response means no" from the gatekeepers, which exacerbated the wretched situation of not knowing if your query or requested mss was received when sent into the maw of slushpiles. Hence, why in-person meetings with gatekeepers increased in value, though the odds of getting The Call didn't. In the beginning, I invested too much in playing the meet-and-greet game and not enough in putting my work in front of a hungry audience. Had I been braver (and less arrogant, tbh) I would've embraced indie publishing long before I actually did.

Sure, I definitely needed to be rejected and fall flat multiple times to hone my craft and find my voice. I wouldn't do away with those early experiences. Nor do I wish to unmake the friendships and acquaintances from that time--we were all hungry, desperate, and disillusioned together. Wait, we still are! Only now we bemoan capricious ad platforms, series that miss when we could've sworn they'd be hits, and emerging technologies that harm more than help. 

I certainly feel I have more control over my career now than I did in the beginning, and a lot of that comes from lessons learned from the good, the bad, and the oof-that's-leaving-a-mark. 

It's said if you wish you could go back and make different choices, it means you've not only recognized your mistakes but also have learned from them. Thanks, School of Hard Knocks!