Blog

Business Planning for Authors

I love making New Year’s resolutions (though I don’t always keep them). For 2019, I have resolved to be more purposeful in my business decisions. While I’m still pursuing projects I’m passionate about, I also plan to devote more time to developing career goals and specific objectives to accomplish them. In the past, I have taken more of a “try everything and see what sticks” approach but this year, I have developed a business plan to keep track of everything.

I presented a workshop on business planning at this year’s first meeting of the Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada. As part of my research and preparation for the workshop, I developed this Power Point presentation. I hope it is useful for some of my readers and fellow authors!

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Man’s Ruin now available in Spanish

Man’s Ruin is the second of my novels available in Spanish, and I am happy to share this translation by Maria Guaicara with you. I especially like the translated series title. In English, it translates to A Wolf at Work, which is very fitting for either the hero or heroine. They are both tough, loyal, and deadly in the right circumstances.

While Maria was translating the book, I learned of several interesting coincidences between her own life and the heroine. Like Magdalene, Maria attended a Catholic school as a child and her mother’s name is Carmen. In fact (minor spoiler alert), in the book Magdalene’s birth name is Maria!

Get your copy now

My first short film(s)!

I was an extra in the Lizzie Borden Chronicles.

As I have branched out into comic books and game writing in the past year (announcement coming soon!), I have also gotten interested in filmmaking. I have worked as an extra on a number of sets over the years – most recently the Lizzie Borden Chronicles starring Christina Ricci – and have always wanted to learn more about how movies are made. So this year, I decided to take a flying leap into making my own movies. After volunteering as a production assistant on a couple of short films to get more experience, I began to attend workshops at the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative in my hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Next, I applied for a film training program and some grant funding, and now I am very excited to be working on both a short documentary and a narrative short!Victim Impact

The Nova Scotia Victim Services Program offers support to victims of crime by providing information about the justice system and victims’ court cases, and by helping victims prepare Victim Impact Statements. But clients of the Victim Services Program have reported a lack of communication from program officers, inadequate funding for the counselling they were promised, and inadequate information about court proceedings. Through interviews with clients and stakeholders, Victim Impact provides a balanced view of the strengths and shortcomings of Nova Scotia’s Victim Services Program.

Welcome/Ahlan wa Sahlan

A fantasy romance about loss, acceptance, and love that spans the gap between two very different worlds. Shadia, a Syrian refugee, arrives in coastal Nova Scotia, and is lost in sorrow until she strikes up a friendship with a mermaid. When that friendship becomes something more, Shadia finds hope in this new world.

I am directing this movie and my friend/co-writer, Tim Hanley, is producing Welcome/Ahlan wa Sahlan. The mermaid will be played by Raina Mermaid, a professional mermaid, actress, model, and educator.

Raina Mermaid

Crowdfunding Basics

For those who have been following my comic book project, I am very excited to share that issue #2 of Wild Rose was fully funded on Kickstarter! As part of the promotion surrounding the crowdfunding campaign, I wrote a guest post about Crowdfunding for Feminist Creators over at Offbeat Home & Life.

This month, I also spoke to a group of talented teens enrolled in an entrepreneurship program at the MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning. More and more creators of all ages are becoming interested in crowdfunding their creative projects, so I thought I would share some of the things I have learned!

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Wild Rose Issue #2 is Live on Kickstarter!

Support Wild Rose – Issue #2 on Kickstarter

Issue #2: Fallen From Grace

Gravely wounded and abandoned by her lover, heroine Eliza Day must come to terms with her heartbreak and shame if she is to realize her revenge. Her only allies are the unlikely duo of a Catholic priest and a witch with secrets of their own.

Check out the first three pages of issue #2!

You’re Invited to the Wild Rose Launch Party

If you’re in Halifax, Nova Scotia on June 21, 2018 I would love to see you at the launch party for my comic, Wild Rose. The party will be hosted by the Good Robot brewery from 7-10 pm and I will be giving away some great door prizes. I will also have copies of issue #1 for sale.

The Good Robot Brewing Company is located at 2736 Robie Street in Halifax (see map below).

Come chat with fellow book and comic lovers, have a drink, and check out the first print run of Wild Rose!

 

 

 

 

 

#MeToo – On Writing About Violence Against Women

[Spoiler alert for minor plot points about Fury’s Kiss and Man’s Ruin.]

I have been feeling overwhelmed lately by the number of revelations from women in the media about sexual assault, harassment, and abuse, especially at the hands of their employers. I think it’s awesome that the world is finally taking notice of this horrendous cultural norm, but the #MeToo movement has reminded me of my own experiences with harassment, some of which I prefer not to think about. It also has me questioning whether I have been complicit in the exploitation of my own gender.

On February 3, Jessica Chastain tweeted this statement, which is both powerful and accurate:

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The thing is, I have used physical and sexual violence against a female character as a plot device. In my debut novel, Fury’s Kiss, the heroine manifests the powers of a Greek Fury when her life is endangered and she fights off her assailant. And Fury’s Kiss isn’t the only book in which I explore this type of interaction. In Man’s Ruin, there is a scene in which the threat of sexual violence is used by a villain to attempt the intimidation and subjugation of the heroine.

So how can I justify these scenes to myself and my readers?

I’ve devoted a lot of time to considering my reasons for writing about violence against women, and I think the reason I often circle back to it is because it is, or has been, a reality of everyday life for so many of us. The first time I was ever catcalled on the street, I was twelve years old. Twelve. When I was fifteen, I quit my first job because a man who was at least four decades older than me groped me on multiple occasions.

And as is the case for many (most?) women, it only got worse from then on.

I write about sexism and misogyny because I have experienced it. I think this is why I feel compelled to exorcise those demons through my writing. I’m sure that some critics might look at my work and find fault with it, but I can only write about the world as I see it.

When writing about violence, and specifically violence against women, I rely on these basic rules:

  • The violence must serve a purpose to the plot or theme of the work. It must not be gratuitous or titillating.
  • The woman wins in the end. Always.
  • No explicit violence against children or animals.

These are my boundaries, and what works for me may not work for others. For example, I have read books that depict violence against children in a way that furthers a message or makes sense in the context of the plot (Room by Emma Donoghue comes to mind), but it’s not something that I feel comfortable writing right now.