Beyond the Stone – In Audiobook!

I love audiobooks so much! They can connect you to a story in a way that reading it on the page or the e reader can’t. Someone else is telling the story to you and bringing it to life in your imagination. I’ve always loved the intimacy of audiobooks, the closeness. Nothing but you, the sound of a reader’s voice and a tale well told.

I was overjoyed when I found out from my wonderful publisher Renaissance Press that Beyond the Stone, the first book in The Clocktower Series, was becoming an audiobook! Better yet, I got to pick the actor. I would be working with them to make sure the book and the characters voices sounded just as I wanted them to.

After going through audition tapes, I chose actor Paul Milando. Even though I knew that I could have chosen a full cast to voice my book, and I’ve loved a few of these productions, I love the idea of one actor taking us on a journey. There’s something even more intimate about just one person telling the tale to you.

I would listen to each chapter as Paul finished them and give him notes on characters voices and how I wanted them to sound, also pronunciation of names, different magical races and character backgrounds. Paul was a total champion and dove right in. It was so wonderful listening to him bring my book to life. Listening to it chapter by chapter, he pulled me along and I was entranced by the story that I’d written as it came alive in my ears.

He truly has done an amazing job and the sad part is that we’re almost done the journey together. Paul sent me chapter 35 today and that means there is one chapter left. That makes me sad that our time together is almost over, but happy because it means that you will be able to hear it soon.

Listening to the novel this way has deepened my knowledge of the world that I’ve built and it will make the four novels to come. Within the Flame: The Clocktower Book Two is done! I finished the first draft a little over a week ago. I’m letting it sit for a while before I tackle it in edits.

Thankfully, we all have Paul’s amazing job with Beyond the Stone to look forward to. I can’t wait for you all to hear it! More news soon on when it becomes available!

The Flutter of Leaves and Birds’ Wings – A Poem

It happened so casually this time.

Whenever I walked,

the shadows would follow me.

There are more of them in the sunlight.

I could hear the flutter of birds wings

though there were no birds around me.

When I got home, I was startled to find

that the carpet had been replaced

by a fine layer of grass.

I took a moment to look at the walls

and knew what I would see.

Sunlight filtered through my windows

and cast shadows on my walls.

I could see the trees moving in a breeze

that only I could feel.

I stood looking at the entrance into the forest,

the sway of the trunks and the flutter of leaves,

birdsong filling my mind as a strong breeze blew.

I knew how easy it would be lose myself,

to let the sadness take me,

especially when I had not recognized

the flutter of leaves and birds’ wings

that was within me.

I looked deeper into the entrance of the forest,

tree branches welcoming me,

wanting to wrap me in an embrace

that would not let go.

I had been here before

and I would be here again,

each time I had to look away,

to turn my back on the trees,

the lies that the forest told,

ones of salvation and understanding.

I had to turn away

each and every time.

I had to be stronger than the forest,

the solace it promised.

Looking at my body,

I knew that it had already taken so much

blood from me. I would not give it more.

Letting out a breath

that I had not been aware that I was holding,

I turned my back on the trees of the forest

and the song of false promises

that flew on the back of wings that

were made of shadows.

Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers by Jen and Éric Desmarais – A Book Review

Kennedy lives a pretty busy life.

After graduating from university, her life seems full. It’s full of neighbours in her building that need her help, friends and coworkers that know that they can count on Kennedy for anything. Her time is filled with those that count on her and her job at Discreet Frills, a small boutique lingerie store. Everything is pretty boring and normal for Westmeath. Kennedy just wishes that her life was something…more.

That something more comes in the form of Jason Johnson. Kennedy runs into Jason when she is out doing errands and is immediately smitten. While walking away, she happens to look back to see him being attacked in an alleyway. She leaps into action, saving Jason from getting stabbed and is astounded when the attacker vanishes.

Her world is thrown into overdrive as she becomes more involved with Jason, who happens to be one of the Aetherborn. They are a community of people capable of magic, but not all of them are good. There are those Aetherborn who wish the world harm and people around them are disappearing. As if that weren’t enough to deal with, there is the Phantom, a mysterious superhero who is busy trying to save the streets of Westmeath.

Kennedy’s world is no longer the boring one that it once was. Kennedy and Jason will have to risk everything if they have a shot at saving the world…

I loved everything about this book. I’ve been a long-time fan of Éric Desmarais’ work and the world building he does and knew that Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers would be good and I was pretty sure what I was in for.

I was wrong, though. It was spectacular! Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers is not just a book you read. It’s a book you want to live in.

The book pulled me in from the first page and I love the character of Kennedy. Jen and Éric excel at creating characters that you end up caring for. By the end of the book, the characters of this book weren’t just people on the page; they were friends. I’ve been with them through so much, after all.

The plot is amazing, and it just rolls along at a breakneck speed. It’s one of those books where you think that you know where it’s going and then Jen and Éric take you down a whole other path you never even considered.

Even more amazing, none of it ever feels forced. The whole plot and the world building are top notch. Though Westmeath Ontario is a real place, I want to live in the one that the authors have created. After reading this book, I feel like I know the people that live there, and I know the streets well.

I think that the biggest achievement, more than the excellent plot, the fantastic characters and the incredible world building, is that it’s all written in the same voice. Writing a book with another person can be difficult and often times I’ve read a novel written by two different people and can guess who wrote each part of the book. Not so here! Jen and Éric are incredible writers and have pulled off a fantastic slight of hand that is just so much fun.

I’m also thrilled to learn that this is the first book in a series! I can’t wait for the next novel and to meet up with Kennedy and Jason again. I may not have known them when I first started the book, but I finished it with friends and people I care about.

Since reading this book, I can’t help but wonder if there is a secret world under the one I know so well. That’s how good Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers is. I can’t wait for my next adventure.

Lessons My Father Taught Me/What I Taught Myself – A Poem

Me, around the age of 8 or 9

My father taught me to read a person’s body language,

so that I could recognize when a punch was coming.

I taught myself to read what a person’s body was saying,

so that I could offer them comfort even if they didn’t say a thing.

My father taught me that it was better to hide,

because there was less of a chance that I would be hit.

I taught myself to shine brightly and to remain visible,

because even though I was afraid, I was tired of hiding.

My father taught me to hate myself and everything I was,

that I should be ashamed of the secret that I held within myself.

I struggle with self love and self care, but I finally believe

that I am worthy of both, and I no longer hide who I am.

My father taught me to hate everything that didn’t look like me,

that anyone who didn’t fit the right mold was worthy of disdain.

I taught myself to love those that don’t fit in, that don’t conform.

I’ve realized that life doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has

to be lived.

Overstood – A Poem

I thought I understood

but it appears that

I overstood the assignment.

In trying to figure out

who I am and

what I thought I was,

I’ve been listening to

what my mind wants

when I should have

been listening to my heart.

My body is sometimes

not my own as it rebels

against the boundaries

of its physical form

and I am pulled down

into the dark corridors

of my mind when what I want

is to know who I am.

I am in a world

full of misunderstandings,

slights of hand and everyday magic:

random bits of glass

that shine like diamonds,

caught for a moment in the sun,

the sound of someone’s voice

that reminds you of

a love that you had long ago,

the sight of a bird launching into flight

and you watch as the bird flies away,

a piece of red string in its beak.

It has been years that

I have not understood

where I belong,

but when I accepted who I was,

what I was capable of,

it appears that I’ve

overstood myself all along.

Looking at my fingertips,

I see a magic that defies

what I can and cannot do.

I simply am and that’s magic

enough.

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