The Lion of the Sea COVER REVEAL!

“Perhaps the present, no matter how messy, is the perfect time to live.”

Family is not always blood, and home is where the heart is. It took Dain Alloway years to understand these foundational truths. Now the captain of The Maiden, surrounded by the found family he loves, Dain sets out to end a centuries-old genocide and prevent an oncoming war. But when the girl he loves is torn from his arms, Dain might be forced to choose between saving just her, or saving them all.

Can we all just bow to the greatness that is @gabriella.bujdoso please?!?! 😱  I’m just unbelievably grateful for her talent on this cover art! 😭👌🏻

I cannot wait for you all to read the second book in my The Maiden Ship trilogy! 🙌🙈🙌 Release date for The Lion of the Sea is February 7, 2021! You can PREORDER the paperback through my website/shop , the ebook on Amazon, or the exclusive hardcover edition through Faecrate.  (Preorder incentives pictured here are only available with the paperback through our Whimsical shop and are not included with Amazon or Faecrate orders.)

THE SHOP IS OPEN!

If you’ve missed following along on social media, my shop was closed for over a month due to health problems, but I just reopened it today, and pictured in the gallery above are a few samples of some of the new postcards that have gone up!  Click here to head to the shop now!

I am definitely playing a lot of catch up on things after being away so long, trying to get my commission work back on track, working at getting The Lion of the Sea out into the world (cover reveal coming November 14th), and trying to add fresh new items to the shop before Christmas hits. (I have some really great Caraval and Acotar inspired headbands coming soon, so keep your peepers peeled !) Also, in case you hadn’t heard, I’m so excited to announce that I got a two year contract with Sarah J Maas, she’s given me permission to not only sell ACOTAR inspired art, but I’m now allowed to sell TOG and CC art as well! I’ve added some of those fandoms into my shop already, but I look forward to creating new art for these in future too.

Apologies for any inconvenience my closure and absence may have caused, thank you so much for your patience. If there are any questions, needs, or concerns please feel free to email me.

Can We Actually Change the World?

   Can we actually change the world?

   I think so.

   I’m serious—I believe that every single person has to ability to affect change, and the more individuals who attempt it, the more compounded and wide spread the effects. However, I also know that it can be hard to find a way to even start. We might want to help, but then the world’s problems loom large—so overwhelming that we feel powerless and frozen. Where on earth does a person even start?

   I’ve read a lot books on writing over the past two years, and a common theme—or a common piece of advice given, is to write about what you know. I would take that advice a step further and tell you to write what you’re passionate about. We all have our things, the interests that light a fire in our belly and push us to pursue what we love. People’s range of interest can vary from gardening, to art, to space exploration, to math, to horses, to coding, to hospitality, to reading, to mechanics… You catch my drift, right? Well, the truth is, knowing what we care about most is often the best place to start on the journey of discovering how we might affect change. If we first focus on what we know—on what we are passionate about, it often leads us where we need to be.

   In my life, I first zeroed in on mental health because of how my son has and still suffers. It took years for me to realize the importance of mental health to cultural change, but I eventually made it my focus to try and raise money and awareness. I believe that a mental health renaissance and revolution will not only improve the lives of people who suffer with mental illnesses, but it will also improve the world as a whole. So, you’ll hear a lot about mental health from me, and in my shop I have a line of art dedicated to raising money toward it. Now, this doesn’t mean mental health is the only focus of my heart, I also have a transgender sibling who only just recently, after fifty years of staying silent, finally told her family (me included) who she really was. I’m super proud of her. And I’ve heard her talk about some of the struggles of facing the prejudice in our world today. Her story and plenty others led me toward fighting against social and racial injustice and I created a line of art to help come alongside two organizations who are currently on the ground working toward building a better, more diverse world culture. And then I also have an intense love of gardening and being outdoors, so my heart is very drawn to environmentalism. But, beyond being an avid recycler and trying to live more sustainably on a farm, I’ve yet to find my way in this area fully—I’m working on how I can do more for change here too. Above all, my faith, which is an integral part of who I am, calls me to love and so my passion in all of these areas is love; love for God, for my family, for others, and for the earth. Anyway—I tell you all this to demonstrate how your own life, interests, and passions can lead you to places where you can affect change.

   Now, please know that I celebrate the fact that your views, faith, or passions will be entirely different from mine. It would be sad if they were not, so many worthy causes would miss out otherwise. Perhaps you’re someone who believes that being politically active is the only way to change the world, or you’re someone whose heart leans toward education and the change it brings, or your heart is to simply feed the hungry, or your someone who steers toward animal rights and activism… Every cause is worthy, and the spectrum is broad, but that doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Do some soul searching, start small, find the things you know, the things where you are at in your own life right now, and then explore your passions around them. I promise, this kind of search will eventually lead to a place where you feel you can affect change. Then you focus on that one, two, or even three or more if you’re ambitious, and you go out and change the world.

P.S. Remember it’s a journey. I did not discover all the things that moved me overnight. Have grace with yourself, and take on only what you can handle. And then have grace for others as well, they might choose a different cause than you, let them, the world need them to.

Better Together

Did you know that there is a new charity product line in my shop called the Equality Campaign? Through learning and research over the past month, I discovered a charity that that doing great things toward healing and building a better future of equality in Canada:

Across Boundaries: Provides a dynamic range of mental health support and services and works within Anti-Racism/Anti-Black racism and Anti-Oppression frameworks. These frameworks address the negative impact of racism and discrimination on mental health and well-being.

100% of the proceeds from these new items in my shop will be donated to Across Boundaries. I’ll be updating my IG stories to let you know whenever a new donation is made. Hopefully sales will amount to enough to do at least semi-annual donations.

I was inspired to create the art and designs here from two different scriptures 1Cor ‪13:13‬b and Rev.7:9. In ancient times the palm leaf was a symbol of victory and peace, and obviously hearts are a symbol of love. Check out the rest of this product line by clicking >>> HERE!

 

Personal Grace

Do you ever think about grace? 

   Once upon a time, in my twenty-something days, I was the most graceless person on the face of the planet. No joke, you would not have liked me, at all! I was conceited, self-serving, and unkind. I had very little compassion for those around me, and I drove hard nails into the judgemental coffins I constructed. 

   It took years of health struggles, and a veritable volley—(Oooo, I like those two v-words together)—of real-life-kick-in-the-pants-problems, before I understood the true meaning of grace. It wasn’t until I’d walked in some hard shoes that I realized I had no right to judge. Most of us learn this life lesson first, and as a result, most of us get better about having grace for others. But what about having grace for ourselves too?

   Sometimes, I’m downright brutal; I berate myself for not getting all the things down, I’m by far my own worst critic, and I constantly focus on my mistakes. Sound familiar? 

   I think we treat ourselves poorly for a lot of reasons, but especially because we often believe its immodest to extend grace to ourselves—almost like we’re not being humble if we give ourselves some slack. Honestly though, self-abasement is abusive to the soul, and no matter how innately human, it draws us down a dark path. The truth is, we’re NOT perfect, the fact is, no one is. And the MOST graceless thing we can do to ourselves is to constantly focus on our shortcomings.

   For example: living with chronic illness is my reality. I can’t do ALL the things anymore, and in this, I need to have grace, either that or the frustration around my physical limitations will destroy me emotionally. I also need to have more grace for myself when I mess up. While I should definitely acknowledge my mistakes, I can’t let them define me… Mistakes can be used to help me grow, but afterwards, I need to move on.

   Personal grace will look different for each of us, but I honestly believe that if we don’t start extending more of it to ourselves, we’ll eventually have nothing left to give others. 

A Word of Encouragement About Reviews to New Authors

I wonder what the world would be like if everything we ever created was subject to reviews?

   Let’s imagine you spend three full months knitting a complex and detailed adult sweater, but, when it’s finished, you’re required to post that sweater online for reviews. Now, keeping in mind that most of the reviewers are not knitters themselves, what do you think the reviews will be like? My guess is that some people might feel your craftsmanship was exquisite even though they didn’t like the colour, others might love the colour but feel like the cable design was off, still others might love most of it but not like the texture.   

   This is the inevitable nature of reviews, isn’t it?

   People’s likes and dislikes are entirely subjective, and taste varies wildly from person to person…

   I just released my debut novel, The Maiden Ship on February 7, 2020 and this is my first real experience being open to public review as an author. It’s an interesting journey, and for the sake of bringing my point home, I want to share a few of the contrasts I’ve read in the reviews on my own book: one reviewer thought my main character’s pinnacle development moment came too abruptly while another thought he took forever to get there, another said my writing was not poetic enough while another called it too flowery, and while some loved that my novel maintained a male POV (point of view) throughout, some criticized this by saying that a girl (me) should not be writing in a male POV. Talk about variety, hey?!

   Quite honestly it’s impossible to be hurt by any of these, none of them are objective, they’re obviously based on personal bias and taste. I know all you veteran authors out there have this down pat already, but I just want to encourage the newbie authors out there, like me, not to take these reviews to heart.  That’s not to say constructive criticism from knowledgeable professionals should be ignored, not at all, but when it comes to the average online review, you need to take them all with a grain of salt. And NEVER, EVER let them discourage you, SIMPLY KEEP WRITING!

   P.S. I’ve also learned not to trust book reviews for my own reading choices. From now on, I plan to let a book speak for itself and I’ll no longer be turned off from reading something I’m interested in just because of a random two star review that was posted online—who’s to say that what didn’t suit that person won’t suit me? Of course if you still feel like you need reviews then let me suggest you seek out friends with similar tastes instead, that way you’ll be able to trust their recommendations whole heartedly. Happy reading!

Find Your Power

Mental health awareness is super important, and I’ve created several paintings over the past couple years dedicated to helping raise awareness. This new piece here is inspired by a dear friend @bookiblelecter who lived through and overcame a difficult childhood filled with depression and anxiety.
I won’t outline her whole tale, but through all of her life struggles she found a great deal of power in STORY—all forms of story actually; books, movies, and even games. I was particularly drawn to this small excerpt from what she shared with me:

‘My love of books gave me portals to the adventures in life I craved. I could find people like me within the pages or people I wished or aspired to be (which helped me become a braver, kinder person). I found a secret magic in books and I will FOREVER be grateful for these stories and the people who create them. I owe parts of my sanity to fictional characters who were my friends when I had no others. My innocence and wonder survived because of the magic within books. I’ll never be able to fully express it and I’ll forever cry thinking about it.❤’

I wanted to portray this magic she spoke of and the power she felt it gave her to always keep fighting. Hence the title I wrote above, ‘FIND YOUR POWER’. ✨

This painting is available in my shop as a fine art print (and in a couple weeks it’ll be available as a postcard too). ALL of the proceeds from the sale of this art will be donated to Tourette Canada which is a charity organization that supports and raises awareness for Tourette syndrome. My son suffers with TS, OCD, and depression and Tourette Canada did a great deal for our family while he was growing up by connecting us to resources and support.


If you’ve read this far, then you’re my hero! 😘 I also wanted to say that this character was greatly inspired by the aesthetic of the beautiful @n00tti , so please take a peek at her account and give her some love.
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And lastly HAPPY EASTER TO THOSE WHO CELEBRATE!!!🐣 🐰

What If? A Positive Spin on our World Crisis

From prehistoric life to the Roman Empire, from Medieval times to the Renaissance and the industrial revolution, beyond two world wars, countless revolutions, and scores of natural disasters, the human race has carried on. We might still be a mess in some areas, but we are resilient.

I’ve seen a lot of doom and gloom posts out in Internet Land lately. And at the risk of sounding insensitive to our current crisis, I want to tell you NOT to listen to them. Through all of the history loosely summarized above we’ve learned that we can survive, even come out somewhere ahead. Our current struggle is not the end of anything, in fact, it might even be the beginning of great things.

I’ve always found that the places in my life where I’ve learned or grown the most was during struggle or pain. We humans hate pain, we’ll do anything to make it better. Which leads me to the point that this pain we are in right now just might lead us to solutions, growth, and goodness that we never might have known otherwise. Well that’s what I’m praying and hoping for anyway. A good to rise from the bad. Let’s just project a few positive things: what if, beyond this pandemic, our governments focus more resources on medicine and healthcare, on unemployment and social development? What if their energies are turned to better protecting the future of this planet through the realization that things are not always in their control? What if they took more steps toward preparing our world for the unexpected? What if this crisis is a huge lesson in connectedness? What if it gives the world a common goal to draw together against and results in global friendships that are strong enough to one day curb wars and bring peace?

I know, I know, I hear the arguments rising; that will never happen, people are too greedy, too selfish, it’s an all for one world not a one for all. And you might be right, but maybe by constantly pointing that out, we perpetuate the greedy selfishness by giving it license. What if we simply spoke the opposite all the time? What if we said people are good, kind, and self sacrificing? What would happen if that’s what our children heard daily, would goodness rise from that? I think so.

We all know the power of positive thinking, mental health specialists teach people with anxiety disorders to combat negative intrusive thoughts with opposite thought patterns—good thought patterns, and I’ve seen this kind of training change people’s lives. What if that was applied globally? What if we took every horror the world has and will face and applied positive combat to it? Would something change?

I might be just blowing hot utopian air now, but either way I’m gonna quote my favourite character, Puddleglum, from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia:
“One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it.”

A TRIBUTE TO THOSE ON THE FRONT LINES OF THIS PANDEMIC!

This tribute of gratitude goes out to ALL of our front line heroes right now! I couldn’t perfectly represent all of you here in this art, but you know who you are! <3

To all our healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, care aids, scientists, first responders, firemen, paramedics, law enforcement, border guards, police, military, essential public servers, grocery store staff, pharmacists, janitors, factory workers, mail delivery staff, city service workers, child protection services, social service workers, uber and taxi drivers, truck drivers, and all those keeping us afloat like teachers, pastors, and people spreading positivity online… I know I’ve probably missed some of you, BUT WE ARE IMMENSELY GRATEFUL FOR YOU ALL!!! Thank you for keeping us going through this pandemic, you are REAL HEROES!

Show these heroes your gratitude and honour their sacrifice by staying home!

THE MAIDEN SHIP RELEASE DAY!!!

TODAY IS THE DAY!!! 🌙🌙🌙#themaidenship ‘s OFFICIAL birthday!!! 🐚⚓️🌊 Did you get your book yet, or are you still waiting? ⚓️

My main character, Dain, and I are one in the same. Life throws him some hefty curve balls in this story, and I know exactly how that feels. That’s not to say I’ve been chased by faceless demons, (though I suppose that depends on your definition of a demon 😜) but the curve balls I’ve faced have been equally relentless. (I’m sure many of you can relate to both my MC and I, am I right?) So, Dain’s tale was born out of my own, and I feel excited, terrified, and privileged to share it with so many of you. 🙈❤️

I SINCERELY hope you will enjoy Dain’s (my) adventure, and I even hope you might find a little piece of yourself in this story as well. I cannot begin to thank you all enough for supporting me in my ever shifting journey as an artist. All of you buoy me daily with your encouragement and love. 💕😭 I wouldn’t be here without you, BOTTOM of my heart grateful for you all! 🙇🏻‍♀️❤️🙏❤️🙇🏻‍♀️

If you have not yet purchased your copy of TMS, just click here!