Monthly Archives: June 2015

Some Incredibly Exciting News!

Hey, guys! Celine Jeanjean has been a huge supporter of my work from the beginning, and it’s my pleasure to share the love. She’s looking for a few readers who might be interested in reading and reviewing her new book, which is available now for pre-order. If it looks like something you might be interested in, let her know! Early reviews are critical for new books, and hey, free books! Win-win. 🙂

Celine Jeanjean's Blog: Down the Rabbit Hole

My book, The Viper and the Urchin is finished! It is now a Thing That Exists, and that Thing (or rather the ebook copy for now) is available for pre-order on Amazon at the very bargain pre-launch price of $0.99. It will be properly out in the world late July. To say that I’m excited is an understatement of epic proportion, and likewise about being nervous.

D’you want to see the cover? Here it is in all its full-sized glory:
assassin_fullWhat do you think, do you like it? It’s by Ravven, and I’m so pleased with it! And not just because of my very childish excitement at seeing my name on the cover.

The story’s steampunk but set in a world of my creation — the tropical city of Damsport. There’s a bit of mystery and humour thrown in there for good measure too. Here’s the blurb:

The Viper and…

View original post 422 more words


H is for Heartleaf

Story ideas come from some weird places.

The inspiration for Bound came from two places: the first was a desire for a story that started with a decidedly non-badass girl saving a hero’s life… an idea that I quickly rejected in favour of her saving a villain’s life, because that’s far more interesting to me. And hey, I write what I want to read.

The other was my headaches.

I get a lot of them. My husband would call that the understatement of the century. All told, I’m insanely grateful if I get through a full day without any kind of pain. Most of the time it’s pain that’s very manageable with drugs, coffee, cold packs, and more drugs. I get through the day, I get my work done, the house doesn’t end up a complete disaster area.

Then there are the headaches that send me to bed because the light and noise of daily life are too much.

It’s not always the same kind of pain. Sometimes it’s a feeling like nausea, but in my skull. Sometimes it’s ice-picks stabbing at my eyes or my temples. Sometimes it feels like someone whacked me with a 2×4 on the back of the head, and sometimes it’s a seething, creeping, crawling pain that oozes around like a tiny monster trapped under the bones of my head.

It’s quite pleasant.

Wait… no. No, it sucks.

But the thing is, something good came of it. Something great, I think. I found a story. As I lay in bed with these monster headaches, or when my head was clear but I was too exhausted to do much else, I started to wonder what it would be like if there was a reason for the pain.

What if it had something to do with magic? What if it somehow hurt someone, made her feel pain like I felt?

What if it led to great adventure? To love, to self-discovery, to danger and wonder and a huge, wide world of possibility?

Well, my own headaches didn’t lead to any of that, but they did lead to me puzzling out a story that’s become a favourite of more people than I ever could have imagined.

Now, to work our way around to today’s topic…

In Bound, Rowan experiences headaches much like mine. At the beginning, she has no idea what’s causing them. No one does (which, it turns out, is probably a good thing for her). Doctors have been no help. The only relief Rowan can find from her pain is heartleaf tea, made from the inner bark of a tree that grows wild throughout Serath. The sweet-smelling, bitter-tasting tea keeps the pain at bay, at least for a while, and she’s learned to ask for nothing more than that.

Too bad for her when it becomes illegal to grow or possess it because of suspicions that it’s a magical substance.

For the record, I didn’t intend to make any statements about controlled substances there. Maybe I did… but I didn’t mean to.

Here’s a picture from my notes of the leaves that give the heartleaf tree its name.

Okay, so it looks a little like a tongue in my drawing… it’s way prettier in real life, I swear.

Tell me: When have you found inspiration in an unexpected place? What was the outcome?


Are Amazon *Really* Paying Authors Per Page Read? No. No, They’re Not. [Pause] Well…

Reblogging for author types who may be confused, or for anyone who sees click-bait headlines trying to freak people out. Authors are still getting paid the same amount as we were before for every book you purchase on Amazon. We still set our prices and get the same share. Amazon’s new payment system only affects borrows through Kindle Unlimited, and it now pays more for gripping, high-quality, and longer books than it does for short stories and books people don’t want to finish. I consider this a positive change, even if it means some of us need to make adjustments in our plans or marketing tactics. This post is a great explanation if you’re looking for one.

One Year Celebration (and giveaway!)

EDIT: Giveaway now closed. Thanks still apply.

It’s been quiet around here, hasn’t it? On the blog, I mean. Around HERE here, in my real life? Not so much.

But we’ll have time for news and project updates another day. Today we’re here to celebrate the fact that one year ago today, Bound became A Thing People Could Read.

First book of a trilogy.

First book for me.

First time in a long time that I had stepped so far out of my comfort zone that the stress made me physically ill, and the first time I’d ever chased a dream that hard.

It was also the first time I’d ever taken a risk that big and invested so much in what I suspected would amount to a whole lot of “well, at least a few people read it” and “I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t try, right?” and “It was a great learning experience.”

All of those things are true, but this year has gone SO much better than I ever expected.


Because of you guys.

Because of people who read my blog and commented on snippets that I posted on WIPpet Wednesdays, kind folks who commented on the first chapter when I posted it, and bloggers who helped out with the cover reveal and release-week posts. Because of writer friends who got me through tough moments, who let me vent about frustrations, and who were there to celebrate the victories and setbacks I didn’t want to talk about in public.

Most of all, it’s because of the people who read the book. Those who bought it when it was new and untested, or when they decided to take a chance on an unfamiliar author. Those who loved it, who recommended it to friends and family, who suggested Bound to their wine-drinking book clubs, who wrote reviews,who shared the book on their blogs and requested it at their local libraries, those who tweeted about it, who mentioned it on “what are you reading” and “who are your book crush” facebook posts…

I wish I could give every one of you a medal and a hug.

See, I wrote a book that I loved and I thought a few other people might enjoy, and I did what I could to make it the best it could be.

That’s about it. The rest of it, the rankings and the reviews and the recommendations? That was all you guys.

Pretty amazing.

It’s my job to make words work for me, to get them to express what I’m thinking, imagining, or feeling, but I continue to be at a complete loss when it comes to trying to thank you guys. It’s too much.

Thanks for making this author’s maiden voyage such an incredible adventure.


Okay, enough sappy stuff. Who wants free crap?

I mean… a book? WHO WANTS A BOOK?


This is a celebration, so let’s make the prize a good one. Let’s see what we’ve got here… How about a signed copy of the book of your choice (Bound or Torn), or a CD copy of the Bound audiobook? And let’s throw in some extra goodies. Some sea glass and a mermaid charm (my apologies for the fact that she has a fish tail… mammalian merfolk merchandise is hard to come by, and also a bit of a tongue twister). A couple of cover cards that you can use as bookmarks, or as posters for your Barbie Dream House (not judging), or whatever else floats your boat. Also, the last postcard I’ve got here. YAY!

Enter here, through rafflecopter.

To claim your blog post entry, comment below and tell me who your favourite character in the Bound trilogy is (so far) and why. If you’re just joining us and haven’t read the books, no problem! Tell me your favourite species of Fantasy creature, and don’t forget to claim your rafflecopter entry!

And please share! I’d love to see everyone who might be interested get a chance to enter this giveaway. You can tweet for an entry, or share this post on other social media platforms by clicking the wee buttons below.

Thanks again, guys.

I can’t wait for you to see what comes next.

G is for Griselda…and Going Places


Griselda Beaumage is a teacher at Ernis Albion’s school on Belleisle.

As we know from Torn, she’s a powerful Sorceress–an omnilinguist and an illusionist, to be precise, though she has other skills that Rowan knows nothing about. She’s tall and intimidating, and fiercely intelligent. She’s a bit of a hero for Rowan, who hasn’t really had a Sorceress to look up to. Sure, there are a few other female students at the school, but a true Sorceress is a rarity, and Griselda has had a lot longer than those students have to hone her skills.

She’s an adventurer, and has been spending significant time in Luid as the guest of the Tiernal family and as an ambassador.

She’s more than that, though.

Griselda is a scholar of magic. She’s far older than she appears (one of the benefits of strong magic), and has spent decades exploring the world outside of Serath. Her gifts with languages have allowed her to travel as she pleases, communicating with people and intelligent species the world over. She spent years among centaurs–previously a misunderstood and nearly legendary group, as far as her people were concerned. She has loved, and she has lost far more than she will ever let on in front of her students.

She’s also a character whose history I’d love to dig deeper into some day. She’s not the only one. If I were to write every story I wanted to that branched off from the Bound trilogy, I’d be looking at…

*counts on fingers*

*takes off socks, counts on toes*

A hell of a lot of work ahead of me. I’d love to follow the merfolk to their world, to explore new lands with Griselda, to seek out the Aeyer and witness their clan wars. A dragon’s story would be a challenge, but an interesting one.

And then there are the two trilogies I’m actually planning to set in this world, one historical and one set in the near future.

There was a time when I worried I’d run out of stories to tell. That was before I met my characters and realized that each one of them is the key to a door that opens up new lands, new worlds, and new adventures.

Have I mentioned that I love my job?

The Cadis Trilogy: BLOODLORE Released!

A few days late (oops!), but here’s the release announcement for the first book in Krista Walsh’s Cadis Trilogy, which we did the cover reveal for here a while back. Ebook is on sale for 99 cents! I read this one before publication. It’s a great read if you’re into adventure and intrigue, and if you love a salty-mouthed heroine as much as I do. Many of you are familiar with Krista’s work (and Venn) from the Meratis trilogy, and this is a good place to either jump in or continue the story. First chapter reveal included if you click through!

Bound A-Z: F is for Fairy Tales

A selection from my kids’ room, since mine are packed away. *sniffle*

If you’ve read Bound, I probably don’t need to explain why this entry is included here. Fairy tales are a big thread running through the story: talk of adventures and happy endings, of life not measuring up to fairy tales, the books that Rowan reads even though they’re as good as banned in her country.

I adore fairy tales. I loved them when I was a kid, and cried when I thought I was getting too old for them (my mom set me straight, thank goodness). I still love them now, though my interest has broadened somewhat. As a child I had only a few books to look through, mostly containing the familiar European tales that Disney tends to adapt. I found more as I grew older. My brother and I got a book for Christmas one year that had stories from all over the world. Though I’m ashamed to say that at the time I only wanted the same old stories, having access to tales from Africa and Australia and Asia helped me understand the range of stories there are to be told.

It’s deepened, too. Have you looked back at the history of fairy tales? Read older versions, read analyses of the intent and meaning behind them? It’s a journey I’m only starting on in my free time (feel free to laugh…), but it’s fascinating.

And yeah, I like to play with them. While I’ll probably never do a full novel-length re-telling of a fairy tale (the market seems pretty saturated with those these days, and people are doing amazing things), I did enjoy trying it with flash fiction (my urban fantasy version of Cinderella is posted here), and hope to do more in the future.

And of course, my Fantasy world that I’m working in these days is stuffed to the mer-gills with fairy tales. Myths, legends, superstitions, children’s stories and folklore would spill off of every page if I wasn’t afraid of readers being bored.

We all carry stories with us in our memories and our beliefs. My characters do, too, even if they won’t admit it.

Maybe some day the fairy tales of Tyrea will see the light of day. Anyone interested in hearing that story about the young woman who fell in love with the dragon? Want to hear about Pourana, the woman who guides the souls of the dead? What about the story of the Gryphon’s tear, or a little mer folklore?

I really need more time to write…

Tell me: What’s your favourite fairy tale? What is it about that story that you connect with?

Bound A-Z: E is for Ernis & Emalda


They say that it’s a mistake to give two characters names starting with the same letter.

I say it’s a bigger mistake to give kids in a family thematically-matching names, but I did both.


Man. I’m still a little disgusted with Lucilla over that one, but whatever.

What was I saying?

Oh, right. The Albions.

SPOILERS AHEAD if you haven’t read Bound or Torn. Fair warning.

We meet Ernis and Emalda at the end of Bound, when Aren follows Rowan to Belleisle to make sure she’s okay (awwww…). He finds several surprises there. The first is that these people are genuinely kind and generous, willing to take in a stranger and care for her–and that it doesn’t make them weak. It’s a confusing notion for Aren, who’s always been taught that kindness and love are weakness, and that one gains respect through fear. He’s learned otherwise from Rowan, but meeting Ernis Albion is another step along the path to realizing that his family’s ways aren’t necessarily the right ones.

The other surprise is, of course, that–AGAIN, SPOILERS–Ernis Albion, the peaceful and powerful Sorcerer and headmaster of that school, is Aren’s grandfather. Aren’s mother Magdalena left Belleisle to marry the king of Tyrea, and never returned home.

Emalda is not his grandmother, though. Potioners don’t live as long as Sorcerers, and Ernis’ previous wife was Magdalena’s mother. No, Emalda is a talented Potioner whose sister was a magic-user…who Aren accidentally killed when he started a riot that got out of control.

Family reunions are swell, aren’t they?

Ernis and Emalda aren’t major characters in the trilogy, but they’re among my favourites. Emalda may be vindictive toward Aren, keeping him tightly leashed and making his life miserable for a time as punishment for his crimes, but she’s also open to forgiveness and letting go of past hurts…eventually. Ernis brings warmth and humor, and displays a beautiful willingness to take the good from a bad situation. He lost his daughter to a horrible man who ended her life, but when his grandson shows up–cold, mistrustful, evasive and trapped in his father’s ways of thinking–Ernis embraces him in any way Aren will allow.

They’re not perfect people, but they love their family, their students, and their people. One seems weak on the outside (at least to Aren) and has steel within, and one is an enemy who learns to forgive.

Sometimes I feel like I could learn a lot from my characters.

Tell me: What minor character in a book has had a major impact on you?


Spotlight on A Season for Killing Blondes

Hey, guys! Today we welcome Joanne Guidoccio, who some of you may remember as the author of “Between Land and Sea” and a great supporter of my work, helping out with pre-release promos when Bound was nothing to anybody. Well, what goes around comes around in the indie community, and it’s my pleasure today to be a part of the pre-release festivities for her new book, A Season for Killing Blondes. We’ve got the blurb, the trailer, and anything else you might want, including a rafflecopter giveaway for an Amazon gift card.

Take it away, Joanne!


Countdown Blog Tour Banner - A Season For Killing Blondes-1 (2)

10 More Days!!

Kate, thanks for participating in the Countdown to A Season for Killing Blondes.


Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.



Carlo had removed his suit jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his light blue dress shirt. His tie lay on the desk. The rumpled look suited him to a tee. And his large black-rimmed glasses accentuated those unforgettable blue eyes. Bluer than blue. Sky blue. Cornflower blue. Robin’s egg blue. Years ago, Adele Martino and I had come up with thirty-seven descriptions of Carlo Fantin’s eyes when Mrs. Gillespie assigned one of her Monday morning English composition exercises. As I tried to recall the other thirty-three, I realized that Carlo was speaking to me.

“…he’ll be taking notes as well.”

Darn! Another officer in the room, and I had missed his name and more importantly, his title. Was he a detective or a constable? I’m sure Sofia would know. In the meantime, I better stop daydreaming and start listening. I nodded in the direction of the beefy officer. Dark hair. Dark eyes. Expertly trimmed moustache. A big bear of a man who reminded me of Magnum P.I.

Carlo cleared his throat. He was ready to get down to business. Police business. “It appears that Carrie Ann was your first client. You haven’t opened this office for business yet. How did that happen?”

My heart raced as I spoke. “After Sofia and my mother left…I’m not certain about the time…um…I…I heard a knock at the front window. I looked up and saw Carrie Ann. Hadn’t seen her in ages.” I paused and then added, “Still wearing the same pageboy hair style and

that blonde color—”

Carlo waved his hand. “Stick to the facts, please.”

I felt myself reddening as those piercing blue eyes bored right through me. “Oh, sorry. Um, I let Carrie Ann in.”

“And?” Carlo said when I hesitated.

I shrugged. “We just talked for a while, then, uh…” I closed my eyes and tried to recall the

conversation. But nothing concrete came to mind, only Carrie Ann’s infectious laugh and bubbly compliments about the decorating scheme. When I opened my eyes, the other officer offered me a water bottle. I thanked him and gulped down half the contents.

“You scheduled her for a session tomorrow morning,” Carlo said as he held up my appointment

book. “Carrie Ann is…was considered one of the best interior designers in town. Why would she need counseling from you?” His dark brows drew together in a suspicious frown. “Were you planning to tell her to give it up?”

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Guidoccio 001

In high school, Joanne dabbled in poetry, but it would be over three decades before she entertained the idea of writing as a career. She listened to her practical Italian side and earned degrees in mathematics and education. She experienced many fulfilling moments as she watched her students develop an appreciation (and sometimes, love) of mathematics. Later, she obtained a post-graduate diploma as a career development practitioner and put that skill set to use in the co-operative education classroom. She welcomed this opportunity to help her students experience personal growth and acquire career direction through their placements.

In 2008, she took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Where to find Joanne…








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