Visiting the Îles-de-la-Madeleine

In the midst of the summertime, I wanted to come and say hi since I haven't been active on anything else other than getting my first book ready for launch. Now that that's done, I can focus on other things... like writing book #2... lol... 

But don't worry, I will take a break in between to restore all the energy I have poured into this beautiful passion-project and childhood dream. 

In a few weeks, I'll be spending some time away from the noise of the city and the turbulence of modern living, in a beautiful place called the Iles-de-la-madeleine

(Hint: this is where Gabrielle - the heroine of my first book comes from...)

I'll bring only my backpack, a notepad, and my camera. Wifi will be disconnected and days will be spent discovering the beauty of these islands. Can't wait to share these discoveries with you when I come back!

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I'm so looking forward to this trip since its been over 3 years now since my last solo adventure.

When I was single, I would make those solo trips every year, and I've enjoyed them so much that I've promised myself I would always reserve a few days of vacation for some me-time.

But, as you've probably guessed, I've been in a serious relationship for the past three years and have not been on one since. Now that I have a significant other to share my life with, I don't need to go out there in the crazy world alone. Well, I happen to be wrong. Spending time alone reflecting on my own life, what I want to do with it, and going to place I want to visit, sleep whenever I wanted to, wake up at 5 am because that's something that fuels me; all this is only possible because I have just myself to report to. No significant other. No kids. 

This might seem very egocentric, and maybe it is, but I've come to learn that if I do not take care of the fire that burns within me, if I don't take care of the love I have for Life, and if I don't show myself enough respect to do the things that I genuinely love, who will do it for me? And besides, everyone around you feels immediately better when you feel great.

Where would you like to go to unwide and enjoy yourself? Let me know in the comments section below!

Paperback here we come!

First, let me thank you, from the bottom of my heart for the fantastic launch. You guys were so fantastic in sending me encouragement, buying a copy and reviewing it online. And thank you for spreading the word with your friends and loved ones. It has been a phenomenal few weeks. Ps. If you won a prize in the giveaway, I'll be sending them over next week. I was waiting for another little surprise to add on to it. (Giveaway is closed.)

In case I haven't gotten around to sharing the news with your directly, know that the paperback version of Treasures of the unseen is ready to be ordered and shipped to you! Yay!

Just go to your online Amazon store and click on the paperback version. - For those who wanted to order directly from me, I'm sorry to say that I've sold out all my books in less than an hour when the box came in last weekend. I won't be ordering anymore soon, so make sure you grab your copy on the Amazon store... Thanks! 

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I still can't believe how beautiful and sleek the cover is.

When you're holding the book in your hands, you simply want to nest somewhere comfortable and read until the last page! It is so enjoyable and easy to read. I've received so many comments from readers who found themselves wanting to know more and wanting to dive right into the next book! 

I hear you... I, myself, am also eager to dive in and see what happens next. ;)

You might be surprised to hear that I don't really know what's gonna happen next. As a matter of fact, I don't always decide what I write; usually, the words come to me. I have a brief idea of what the story will be about, but the story itself, and how it wants to be shared, has a mind of its own and doesn't unravel all at once... 

Anyways, I'm super excited to be able to make this version available for you guys, so don't wait any longer and go grab your copy! ;) 

What its like to work with an editor

Before I wrote my first book, I thought the hard part was coming up with ideas, putting them nicely together and writing a full draft. 

Well, early on, I discovered that writing a draft is only part of the equation and just the beginning. 

After months (or more accurately, years) of working on my first book, I had no idea what was waiting for me after I've managed to write that first draft. I was exhausted from the late nights and early mornings trying to juggle real-life responsibilities and the call of duty with the nudge of my inspiration and my creativity. 

That's when I met my editor. 

Proudly entering the editing process, with months spent on self-editing, I was confident that my book was good and that not much change would be needed to make it even better. I couldn't have been further from the truth. 

I can remember it like it was yesterday. 

I was eager to have a professional eye set on my manuscript, and I was ready to welcome feedback. But what I didn't anticipate what the amount of work I would still need to do before I could ever say I have a book

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Here's how it went: 

  1. First, I wrote the draft;
  2. Then, I let it rest for a few weeks;
  3. I came back to the draft and changed a few things;
  4. A few rounds of self-edits (once with a printed version, the second on my laptop);
  5. Another few rounds of self-edits (once for the story plot, the second for characters, and settings);
  6. When done, and satisfied, I ran the whole manuscript through a grammar software;
  7. It was now ready to be sent to my editor (here's where the real work begins!);
  8. It came back alongside a few pages of valuable overall feedback AND more than 400 comments of things to change. (words, sentences, story, characters, timeline, pacing, plot; everything under the hood was looked at);
  9. So, I re-wrote the whole thing (altered the timeline, deleted scenes, added chapters, etc.) 
  10. Not once, 
  11. or twice, 
  12. but three times!
  13. I re-did a few rounds of self-edits;
  14. And rerun the whole thing through the grammar software;
  15. Now, it was time for early readers to go through it;
  16. When their comments came back, I made the changes;
  17. Re-did the self-edits/grammar process;
  18. And sent it over to my editor one last time for proofreading;
  19. It came back with 48 changes (not too bad!). 
  20. Motivated, but weary, I made the changes one by one until I was all done; 
  21. The final draft went a third time through the grammar process;
  22. And when that was done, I imported the file through my formatting software and read the whole book a few more times to catch mistakes and make it look good.
  23. Then, I created the files, and there it was; ready to be published!
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So, if you ever wondered why it takes so long for authors to write a book, that gives you a good idea why.

Oh, and by the way, new authors usually have to go through this while they are working a full-time job. That's when you wonder if we are crazy! I think we are yes, but now that I have gone through it all (and I can testify that it has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life), I know it's what I love doing and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Where I find inspiration

Long before Pinterest was a thing, I was gathering pictures from magazines, putting them together to create a mood or a vision board. I would gather quotes, images I found inspiring, or goals I wanted to achieve in my life, and I would glue those pictures on the cover of my school agenda. It was the one thing I have always loved and never stopped doing. 

Today, I don't cut magazines anymore, but I stay inspired by the beautiful variety of pictures the internet has to offer, and I create boards. 

I can almost find anything I am looking for. 

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When I come to Pinterest, I need to find something. I have a craving to look at beautiful pictures and see something that will spark my curiosity and deep emotions. From there, I am off to hours of discoveries.

For example, when I started to research for book two of the Under the soul series, I began to feel drawn to volcanos and lava stones. I had just been talking about going on a trip to Hawaï, and something about it was calling me. So, I searched the web for pictures of volcanos and stones. From there, a whole scene came to me. I then found out about the power of lava rocks and used it to craft the story even further. 

I do this process with almost everything. From one picture to the other, I assemble the elements until I have enough visual cues to sustain the writing of the first draft. 

Once this process is triggered, I will have insights one after the other; in the car, in the shower, or when relaxing in my bed on a Sunday morning. It's as if the doors to creativity are wide open. I can hear characters speak to one another, I can feel their emotions and see what they want to tell me, and they won't stop until I have put the pen down on paper and write their story. 

When I don't hear or feel any inspiration, I let it rest for a while. Usually, after a few days or weeks, or even months, the inspiration comes back with another parcel of their world.