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.

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.”


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!


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!

The Maiden Ship Release is on the Horizon!

It’s almost here, release date is FRIDAY! Only three more days left to preorder THE MAIDEN SHIP! Get your orders in quickly so that you don’t miss out on the FREE preorder art swag (pictured below)! You can also preorder TMS as an ebook on AMAZON as well (freebies are not included with the ebook ). Can’t wait for you all to set sail on this adventure!!!


Two Weeks Left!!!

Dain responded with equal passion, tangling his fingers through her hair. 💕 #themaidenship ⚓️

Two weeks left until the release! 😱⚓️😱
My family and I got all the international TMS preorders shipped in the mail yesterday!!! US & Canadian preorders will be shipped out beginning of next week! WOOT WOOT!!! 🙌

Also don’t forget, this leaves you only two weeks to preorder and receive the free goodies pictured below with your book!

Three Weeks Left!!!

Dain remained dumb as he watched the princess walk back through the moonslight toward the prow. He repeated her last words silently to himself. ‘Failure has a way of preparing us for victory.’
(Pssst… ‘moonslight’ is not a typo above, there are three moons in this world.) 🌙🌙🌙
THREE WEEKS LEFT until release day!!! WOOT WOOT! 🎉📚🎉 My arms were still not well enough to create a painting for today’s countdown quote, 😞(maybe next week), but I’d say these #princessileana cosplays from @macaylacarlene are a pretty AMAZING consolation prize! 😱😍🤤 Gah, she’s beautiful!!!
Still three weeks left to preorder the TMS paperback and receive free art goodies with your order! For those not ready for a physical book, #themaidenship ebook is available on Amazon! 😁

Four Weeks Until The Maiden Ship Releases!

Dain hesitated, palms sweating again. What if he didn’t want to see what was inside?

🌊⚓️🌊 #themaidenship 🌊⚓️🌊
Only 4 weeks until release day!!! FEBRUARY 7th!!! 😱😆
Pssst… don’t forget that if you preorder the TMS paperback, it comes with FREE art goodies! 😁 These freebies won’t be available after the release date.

The Maiden Ship Releases in Five Weeks!

 “Do you know why wildflowers are the most beautiful blossoms of all, my son?”
   Dain shook his little head.
   Soft waxen curls blew forward in the breeze as she lifted her storm-gray eyes to gaze out over the sea of petals. “Wildflowers are the loveliest of all because they grow in uncultivated soil, in those hard, rugged places where no one expects them to flourish. They are resilient in ways a garden bloom could never be. People are the same, son—the most exquisite souls are those who survive where others cannot.” ~The Maiden Ship by Micheline Ryckman
There is only 5 weeks left until my debut novel releases on February 7th! To countdown, I will be posting a TMS artwork along with a sneaky peek quote every Thursday! The release date is going to come fast, my Whimsies! Ultra excited, and ultra nervous!!! 🙈😅😆
You can preorder The Maiden Ship in my SHOP here on the ebook is also available on AMAZON.