The Maiden Ship Back Story

My firstborn was only three months old when I developed the story of The Maiden Ship. That was twenty-one years ago. The book didn’t get far back then because the demands of a new marriage, a new child, and so many other life callings forced me to set the story aside. It wasn’t until 2018 that I revisited The Maiden Ship. And that decision was brought on by several major life events: a mix of chronic health struggles, my firstborn leaving home for college (don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s easy when your children leave home—it is not), and a severely injured drawing arm. Art has always been my lifeline, and when my arm went, and that privilege was taken from me, a bout of depression inevitably followed. It was a tough season, and I was desperate for a creative outlet. I needed something to keep me sane amidst the chaos and pain.

So, I wrote.

Typing with my non-dominant hand took some getting used to. The process was arduous, and sometimes I used dictation when the pain was too severe. Yet, word by word, this book saved my life. This tale gave me a reason to wake up each day; it gave me a purpose. I am so thankful for this story.

I poured so much of my own personal life journey and lessons into this novel, and I’m hopeful that the premise and messages in this story will speak to the hearts of those who read it. <3

The Maiden Ship is available for PRE-ORDER!

Micheline Ryckman’s debut YA fantasy adventure novel, The Maiden Ship, releases February 7, 2020, and is NOW available >>> Paperback is HERE for PRE-ORDER! And the ebook is on amazon.com for pre-preorder as well!

  Dain Alloway was only nine years old when he began a new life with his father, sailing aboard The Maiden. Eight years later, the aristocratic city-boy turned merchant-sailor feels like he lives with one foot on land, and one foot in the sea. Life floats smoothly by until the night he wakes to find a mysterious woman in his cabin.

   The events that unfold after her appearance transform Dain’s world. Now, hunted by empty-faced demons, he finds himself thrown into a dangerous web of intrigue and magic. As the crisis grows, the young sailor discovers powerful gifts buried deep within, talents that might shift the tide of a centuries-old war. Whether or not he’s ready, Dain will have to risk it all for the salvation and freedom of those he loves.

Quick Update

If you happen to follow along on my social media sites IG and Facebook you’ll know exactly what I’ve been up to lately. It’s been  a busy fall season, but so many good things are coming! The most exciting news, however, is that on November 1st I’ll be posting the cover reveal and release date for THE MAIDEN SHIP! That’s right, my debut novel is finally complete, and I’m  super excited about sharing this fantasy adventure with you all!  (Pssst… The book will also be available for pre-order that day as well.)

So check back in on NOVEMBER 1st!!!

Vision vs Execution

“After a few months of practice, David lamented to his teacher, “But I can hear the music so much better in my head than I can get it out of my fingers.”

To which the Master replied, “What makes you think that ever changes?” “ ~ Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland

Yesterday I posted a portrait of my character, Sable, on IG and I hated it. I tried hard to convince myself to like it, but I couldn’t do it. She just did not look the same way she did in my head. It maddened me. I deleted it. And then today I started all over again. The portrait you see here is my fourth attempt at Sable. That’s right, yesterday was my third. She has been down right obstinate, and nearly impossible to capture.

If you are a creator, then I bet you too have faced this kind of frustration. Our vision rarely fits our execution. It’s like the image in our mind’s eye gets twisted, mucked up, and lost in translation. On rare occasions it manages to work out, but for the most part it’s much like Picasso said, “I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else.”

Now, we can do one of three things with this experience; we can simply give up, we can try again (and again, and again in my case), or we can just accept what Picasso calls “something else” and move onto the next creation. Nowadays, option two and three is where I usually land, but in the past I have given up. I don’t recommend it. It’s important to realize that our vision (the picture in our head) is, as the Master said to his student above, always going to exceed our abilities. And, in the end, this is NOT a bad thing. Without this vision we would never improve. The vision pushes us beyond ourselves. It asks greater things of us each time we create. While we strive to reach it, we grow. And growth is good.

Am I completely satisfied with how Sable came out today? That’s a good question. Maybe… She’s a bit better, I think… Either way, she’s taught me a lot. 😉

Sable is an original character from my up coming novel, The Maiden Ship.

What is the Point?

I’ve written about this before, how obsessing over numbers on social media can make me miserable. And I might be beating a dead horse with this new post, but apparently it’s still needs to be worked out of my system. It’s source is typically in that conundrum of working umpteen hours on a painting I’m proud of to have it flop on social media, verses doing a fast sketch that gets triple the love. It makes me shake my head in frustration, rail my fists at the social media gods, and even slump into minor bouts of depressive thinking. Maybe I should just quit? Why am I even doing all this work? What is the point?

Let’s just look at those questions a little closer.

Maybe I should just quit? This isn’t even a realistic question. Let’s be honest, I’m never going to quit. I love being creative so much so that quitting would be a greater injury to my soul than continuing on with no recognition at all. Which leads me realize that recognition and reward drive none of what I do. Surprised? So am I. Turns out I don’t actually need it to create. That painting I spent hours pouring my heart into, the one I was actually proud of, that’s my reward. The joy of capturing what I wanted, the sense of real accomplishment are far greater gifts than any number of likes on Instagram or Facebook. And now that I have realized this, I have also inadvertently answered my other two questions above as well. I do the work because the process is fulfilling. I love the process. I create because I love creating, that is the point, and honestly, it needs nothing more.

Now this is not to say that all the likes, comments, and interactions on social media mean nothing to me. They mean a great deal in the sense that they help me to make a living. Every interaction here helps my family buy groceries. It means I can work from home, and care for my son who cannot be alone. These are deeply meaningful things. However, what I cannot do is base my intrinsic worth as an artist on the interactions I receive here. Social media is a fickle friend, and while I might need her to survive, she doesn’t deserve to be in charge of my heart.

There, done, I think perhaps I’ve got this now. Hopefully it resonated with some of your hearts as well. <3

Embracing Uncertainty

At this point I just might be able to write a novel based upon the real events of my own life. If I carefully plotted out my forty-seven year old history, I’d end up with a story full of flawed characters, twisted turns, and insurmountable odds. Seriously, if you knew my tale, in all it’s strange and colourful glory, you’d probably agree that it’s near novel worthy. I am laughing inwardly now because, while I love fiction, I never really wanted my life to mimic it.

I’ve heard them, (you know them), say that the we are the authors of our own destiny. As a middle aged woman, with a fair amount of road now behind me, I know this isn’t 100% true. We do have a say in a large portion via our personal choices, but we have only to look at relationships, health struggles, accidents, and the larger world view to see that life is full of uncertainty. I’m going to quote scripture now, bear with, ’Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.’ (Proverbs 27:1)

Uncertainty is a universal truth, and if I’ve learned anything, rallying against it doesn’t work, but embracing it does.

Yesterday I learned that because of unforeseen circumstances Charting Stars will have to be put on hold for an indefinite period. (It was set to release October 1st.) I am obviously heartbroken by this, but I am trying to embrace the uncertainty (the fact that this is just life), so that I can carry on. Though I may feel like my life story could be novel material, I’m pretty sure it will not have that kind of cataclysmic finish that ends up on the bestseller list, but my prayerful hope is that, despite the uncertainty of every day yet to come, I will be able to live out whatever is left of my own story here moving forward in a positive, cheerful and worthy manner.

If you’ve read all of that, you are appreciated beyond words. Thanks for sticking with me.

The Maiden Ship

In my last post I shared with you about how The Maiden Ship came to be, today I’d like to share my first painting inspired from this new novel, and also give you a peek at the synopsis. I hope you enjoy! Remember to follow along on Instagram or Facebook for more daily posts. 🙂

  Dain Alloway was only nine years old when he began a new life with his father, sailing aboard The Maiden. Eight years later, the aristocratic city-boy turned merchant-sailor feels like he lives with one foot on land, and one foot in the sea. Life floats smoothly by until the night he wakes to find a mysterious woman in his cabin.

   The events that unfold after her appearance transform Dain’s world. Now, hunted by empty-faced demons, he finds himself thrown into a dangerous web of intrigue and magic. As the crisis grows, the young sailor discovers powerful gifts buried deep within, talents that might shift the tide of a centuries-old war. Whether or not he’s ready, Dain will have to risk it all for the salvation and freedom of those he loves.

From Adversity to Creativity

Isn’t it amazing how adversity can redirect our path? Most of you know that my drawing arm was severely injured six months ago, and for nearly five of those months I could not create art. It was an immense blow, not only financially, but emotionally. In addition to other chronic health struggles, this injury pushed me to my limits, and for the first couple of months I struggled through a profound depression. Eventually I sought professional counselling services, and for the sake of my mental health, I worked hard towards finding another creative outlet.  

It was writing that I steered towards. It was something I could do despite my physical state, I could dictate verbally when the pain was too great, and I could use my good arm to type on the better days. It became a way to get the pictures out of my head without being able to draw them, and it gave me a sense of purpose amidst the suffering.

Years ago, when my children were small, I started a novel called, ‘The Maiden Ship’. However, as work and the demands of life accumulated I set writing aside. After nearly a twenty year relapse I returned to this book, and I returned to it because of adversity. Surprisingly, I managed to finish the novel just as my arm slowly began healing at the five month mark. The book is completed and now in the editing phases. The thing is, if these struggles had not happened to me, I very likely would have never written the book. I would have been too busy making art. (Which is still obviously my favourite thing to do in the world. 😉 )

I know this is the first book I’ve ever attempted on my own, so it’s definitely not going to be a New York Times bestseller, but that was never the point. If, in the end, only three people read it, I’m good with that because, honestly, this novel has already proven it’s worth, it saved me. That’s what makes it special. 

All that to say, this is my first drawing related to my new novel, and I promise to share more details about these characters, the synopsis, and the release date soon, but for now, if you’re interested, take a peek at my Maiden Ship story highlight on Instagram to read some quotes and see some character aesthetics. 😘

If you read all the way down to here, then you are my hero, and the truest WHIMSY at heart. You are loved! ❤️

Mental Health and Tourette Awareness

Brittany was diagnosed with TS-plus at a young age. In her words:

When I was first diagnosed with TS-plus, I felt like I was drowning. But in a way where I was the only one under the water. Only I could hear my singing and everyone else heard nothing, saw nothing wrong. I didn’t have any friends and no one really wanted to interact with me. No one understood what I was going through even my family (outside my parents and brothers) never wanted to understand what it was. An extended family member I loved told me I had to stop my tics because it wasn’t ladylike and they were gross. That’s probably what made me want to hide to the most… But overtime I learned to use my music to express myself and find courage. I still try to hide it. It’s probably something I’ll never overcome. Now even though days can be a struggle, I am more comfortable with myself and I’m thankful for everyday.

Tourette Syndrome (TS) causes tics that are sudden, intermittent, repetitive, unpredictable, purposeless, nonrhythmic, involuntary movements or sounds. Tics can be either simple or complex. The most important thing to understand about the tics associated with Tourette Syndrome is they are the result of a neuropsychiatric condition. The sounds and behaviours are involuntary and are not being done by choice.

TS can often come with package of other syndromes, people can also have OCD, anxiety, ADHD, depression etc. While some medications are available to help with the symptoms they do not completely take them away and there is no cure.

This art was inspired by a song Brittany wrote. The painting is meant to represent a feeling of what can go on inside a person with mental health struggles, the reason the individual is pictured nude is to represent the vulnerability of that struggle, the hand coming down into the water represents courage and hope. Sometimes courage can be found in unlikely places and can take many different forms. In Brittany’s case, courage comes through her music.

First Part of Song

Second part of Song

There is hope and knowledge out there for those who need it, if you have any of these health concerns please know that you are not alone and that you should reach out to the available services; doctors, counsellors and people around you. You do not have to face it by yourself.

Along with our previous awareness art this new print is now available in our shop and soon we will have bookmarks and stickers available as well. All the proceeds from the sale of these items will be donated to Tourette Canada, tourette.ca . We truly believe that increased mental health awareness can drastically improve the lives of those who suffer.

Charting Stars Now Available as an EBOOK!

Good morning from Canada my friends! Just wanted to let you know that Charting Stars Book 1 is now available in an ebook version! We are hopeful that this option will finally give those who live really far away from us the opportunity to enjoy this story. Please take a peek in OUR SHOP!