Dance Across the Canvas – A Poem

*For Sylvia

You have taught me

a new way to use my voice.

The brush and pallet knife

are extensions of my arm.

I’m no longer afraid

to try new things

and explore the forest

of possibilities, to part the trees

or grass that block my path

until I can see the way forwards

with clarity, my vision taking shape

with every stroke of paint.

Every time I pick up my brush

or pallet knife,

I look at the white expanse,

wondering what I will find there,

how I will make

my imagination come alive.

More than anything else,

you have taught me to

dance across the canvas,

honouring the music that I hear

in the wind and attempting to

interpret its song.

Because of you,

I can lose myself in the dance

and find the pieces of myself

that I’d forgotten were there,

waiting to be shown

to the light.  

Beautiful Gift – A Poem

I wanted to get you

the most amazing gift,

something that would let you know

how much I love you,

an object that could hold

everything that you’ve ever wanted.

You are beautiful to me.

When I look into your eyes,

I see can see the waves

within your gaze

that first held my attention

and holds it still.

I look down towards our hands,

clasped together in support

of one another and the rings

that symbolize our bond

shine brightly as if

they hold a wish come true.

When I look at you again,

I can hear our hearts,

beating in tandem together.

You are the greatest gift

that my life has

ever given me.

As our heartbeats keep time,

I give you my heart

all over again,

knowing that our love

holds a world that we

will discover together.

The Weight of Water – A Poem

I am made of water.

It runs within the blood

that flows under my skin.

My body is heavy with it,

carrying this weight

of unshed tears.

I try to find something

to make my cry,

let the tears slide from my eyes

as if a wish is contained

inside each one.

Instead, when I close my eyes,

I can hear the song

of the waves within me.

They are part temptress

and part siren,

calling me to explore

the other regions of myself

at the same time

as pulling me under

the water.

Queen of Swords – I Predict the Future!

When I got back into reading Tarot, one of my coworkers kept joking with me when I pulled out my cards. “Ooooh!” he would say. “You’re about to predict my future! Do you know when the world is going to end? What are the stock markets like?”

I would laugh it off, telling him that Tarot cards didn’t predict that kind of future. For a long time, however, I believed that Tarot cards predicted the future in some way. I kept drawing cards from my Thoth deck, wanting to see a better future for myself than the present that I was currently living at the time.

I kept trying to skew what I saw in regard to the future that I wanted so desperately. At the time, I had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and was trying to let go of a really abusive relationship. Every answer the cards gave me was a negative one and I would find no clarity or hope in my readings. I earned a new hatred for the suit of Swords as the 10 of Swords kept coming up for me. I grew to almost fear what the cards would reveal.

There came a time when I realized that I had to change my thought pattern around the MS and the relationship that I was in. It took a lot of work and, though I still drew cards every day for myself, I had stopped asking what would happen. Instead, I focused on what I need to know or what I needed to focus on while I was going through my shift in the way I thought. The cards provided me with the guidance that I needed.

After the bad relationship was dealt with and ended for good, I realized that I had been using the cards in the wrong way. I had been looking to Tarot to fix my problems, to give me the bright future that I so desired, without wanting to do any of the work myself.

It took me a while, but I finally understood that Tarot is really an ally, not a crutch. It was not the be and end all and often wouldn’t answer my question but lead me in the direction of the work that I needed to do on myself. The cards were mirrors, showing me the work that I would have to do on myself so that I could move down that path that I was on.

When I began to write Queen of Swords, I knew that Jackie was a Tarot reader, but how attuned to the cards would she be? I decided to use the readings that Jackie gives herself throughout the book as kind of foreshadowing on what is about to happen or what she has to deal with to get to where she needs to go.

In every Tarot reading throughout the book, Jackie always draws The Queen of Swords. This card represents herself but also the work she needs to do on herself. One thing I’ve found with Tarot cards is that they will often keep appearing until we’ve confronted what they are trying to tell us or we have done the work we need to do to progress.

For example, at one point in the novel, Jackie draws the Queen of Swords, the Tower and the Sun. Now, I know as the author that Jackie will need to claim her true self and embrace the focus and coolness of the Queen of Swords if she is to survive the crumbling of the Tower and find joy when the Sun comes. The beauty of Tarot is that those three cards could have a completely different meaning. It could mean to stop fooling herself and get more self aware of who she is so that she can survive the tower and find the light in the dark. That’s the beauty of Tarot. The cards can be read so many different ways and it depends on how you read the cards together.

Part of the issue that I had with starting Queen of Swords was that Jackie was a seasoned Tarot reader, but how aware of her situation did I want her to be? Would I go the meta route and have Jackie aware that she was actually living in a real-life Tarot adventure? Or would I go the other route and, even with her Tarot cards, have Jackie remain clueless about what would happen next?

In the end, I chose not to make Jackie aware of the fact that she was living through a living Tarot deck. That would have been too much I think and knowing Jackie as I do, I know that she would have overanalyzed everything. The book would never have gotten past the first few chapters if she was constantly worrying about what was to come.

In the end, Jackie had to live through her own adventure and so did I during the writing of it. Even though I was writing the book, and drawing Tarot cards along the way about what should happen next, I’m the only one who could decide that for Jackie, no matter what the Tarot cards would say.

I took their guidance to heart, looked at myself in the windows that the cards provided, and learned about myself and Jackie along the way.

Queen of Swords is available now in paperback and in various ebook formats. Find it here:

Barnes and Noble



Apple Books

Thalia Books




 I do hope you enjoy Jackie’s tale and perhaps you’ll use the Tarot cards to look into what is coming for you? Either way, have fun!

Stuck With You by ‘Nathan Burgoine – A Book Review

Ben isn’t having any of it.

When his cell phone is broken while he is visiting his father, Ben survives by sheer will alone. Unable to text his mother or his friends for three weeks has put Ben in a bit of a foul temper. It doesn’t help that his father really doesn’t understand him or bother trying. Ben tells himself that he only has to put up with his father and Toronto for three weeks out of the year, but when one day feels like a long time, three weeks is forever.

All he’s looking forward to is the train ride home so that he can see his mother, stepfather Mick and his friends again. He just wants to pretend the last few weeks didn’t happen and get back to where he’s accepted. At this point, he just wants to be left alone. When he sees Caleb walking towards him, Ben groans inwardly. As if three weeks with his father isn’t enough, he has to spend the entire trip home with the guy who broke his phone.

However, even through the anger, Ben can’t deny how cute Caleb is. Ben also can’t deny how nice Caleb looks in a white t-shirt, if you like that kind of thing. However, when they begin to talk, Ben is surprised to know that Caleb knows who he is and that breaking the phone was an accident. Ben is used to riding the rials, going from point A to point B, not making waves or being seen. It’s more comfortable him that way.

As they continue talking, Ben realizes that he’s misjudged Caleb a little, even if he did break Ben’s phone. It gives them a common ground and somehow melts the ice between them, or at least the upset that Ben is holding onto. When their conversation turns to family, Ben is surprised when Caleb not only reveals that he has two gay dads.  

The fact that Ben is starting to develop a crush on Caleb and his gorgeous arms (no one should look that good in a t-shirt) is besides the point. When Caleb reveals that he’s bisexual, Ben starts to see Caleb, and himself, in a whole new light.

The train ride has gotten a lot more interesting…

I’m always amazed by ‘Nathan Burgoine. He always manages to fill his books with characters that are so real that by the ending of the book, I’ve met new friends that I feel like I know completely. He creates such real people that they live off the page. I’ve been thinking about Ben, Caleb, Raj and everyone in this book since I finished reading it. Burgoine manages to write characters that stay with you.

I love Ben so much. I see so much of myself in him. I was so introverted in high school and didn’t want people to notice me, mostly because I was so desperate to fit in. I did what I could to ride the rails and not make waves and not be seen, yet there was something within me that people saw anyways. Ben wants to hide, but he never hides who he is. He doesn’t hide the fact that he’s gay; in fact, that he’s a part of the Rainbow Club. I love the fact that though he wants to remain hidden, Ben doesn’t hide who he is.

The other thing that stuck out to me was that, while Caleb had well muscled arms, Burgoine makes it known that he doesn’t have a totally muscular physique. I love the fact that, though Caleb is athletic and plays basketball, he doesn’t have the typical jock physique; he’s just comfortable with who he is. He’s open about who he is and doesn’t care what others think about him or his sexuality. This really hit home for me and went against the norm. Caleb is a jock character who isn’t physically perfect and he’s openly bisexual. This plays totally against the jock character stereotype and I’m so thankful to see that on the page.

Stuck With You is such a wonderful story that goes beyond all of my expectations (and they were very high!). The story gave me all the feels and left me with a genuine feeling of joy and warmth that has stayed with me. I can’t wait read Stuck With You again and fall in love with the story and characters once more.

‘Nathan Burgoine has written a true gem of a book and boy, does it ever sparkle.

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