BOOK 2 EXCERPT - RAW & UNPOLISHED

The chase seemed endless. Gabrielle stopped to catch her breath. She looked around her, and all she could see was a landscape filled with thick trees and muddy pathways to unknown places. Nothing reassuring to provide her with a safe hiding place. 

The small shed was too far away to even think of retrieving back there now. She wouldn’t have enough time. 

So, she continued to run. The air racing through her lungs burnt like wild flames eager to consume the last molecules of oxygen. Exhausted and out of breath, she collapsed on the ground.

The earth beneath her was cold and damp as if it had been raining for days. The wind was sharp and non-forgiving. It was not bringing more rain, but snow. A whole lot of it. 

The sun, unable to pierce through the thickness of the forest had already abandoned its warming task.

Gabrielle knew she had to keep moving. 

In an attempt to pull herself up, she reached for a branch above her head. As she stood, the branch cracked and echoed a sound that resonated miles away into the depths of the forest. The fall was even harder this time. 

“How can I get out of this?” she asked. Her adrenaline rush was slowly carving out. 

Her legs were bruised, and they hurt. Like the muscle pain of growing up, but ten times worst. Unable to support her own body, she remained glued to the musk. Behind her, she could hear manly voices coming closer. Dangerously close.

“She’s here somewhere,” one said.

“She can’t escape us,” the other replied. 

For the first time in her life, Gabrielle felt as if she was lying right next to her own death. She was terrified.

“This must be a dream. And I’m going to wake up soon,” she whispered afraid the man would hear that in such despair she couldn’t hold the words within her any longer.

Usually, when bad dreams happen, Gabrielle knows she can somehow control them. With a simple intention of waking up, she can escape the terror of those too frequent nightmares and wake up in her bed, safe and sound.

But this time, the tactic didn’t work. 

“I don’t want to die,” she said as her heart tightened. “Not yet. Not until I have truly loved.” 

She looked down at what was in her hand. Three lava stones, the size of ping-pong balls, were nesting comfortably inside her palm. 

She recalled her mother’s words. 

“If you ever reach this beautiful place before I get to speak to you about it, make sure you find the small sacred shed. You will recognize it with the fact that it has no windows and only one door. Go inside. You will find a treasure only you can see. Keep it with you under any circumstances. It will protect you and those you come in contact with.”

Prior to being chased by the unknown men, Gabrielle had stepped into the shed. It was like her mother had mentioned. No windows to look into and only one door. Inside, no light could pour in. It had encapsulated a smell of darkness. But not the kind of darkness that creeps in and scares us. No, it was a different kind of darkness. One that held the seed of tomorrow; the seed of growth.

Somehow it smelled like the fragrant of a new life; a newborn baby or a new existence raising from the ashes. The lava stones where the only thing she found. 

“I have the treasure mother; now what?” 

Out in the woods, something caught her attention. She scanned the forest but no signs of danger.

Then, she heard cracking branches a few inches from her. 

“Grab my hand.” A voice whispered. 

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IN THE HEART OF THE ISLANDS

Hope you are having a wonderful time enjoying the remaining of our hot summer.

As for me, I did enjoy some time away from home. Like I shared last month, I was heading to the Islands, on the East coast of Canada, to refuel (and do some beach explorations).

I must say that I was served with excellent weather (typically it's not that hot), and some time to reconnect with my soul. 

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View from the plane as we were getting ready to land... The colors coming from the sunset were unbelievable. I'm sure glad I was able to catch them. 

This trip has been a total blessing. It came out of the blue and surprised me with more beauty than I have seen in a while. It made me remember the road trip I took on route 1 in California a few years ago. Riding alongside the ocean, with the windows down, feeling the wind brushing throught. 

The islands were so calm. At the end of them, I was able to find multiple places of complete solitude. With nothing more than my heart and my laptop, I traveled to meet up with my muse. And she didn't disappoint. (She sent me great insights and inspiration for book 2! ;) 

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The pictures above are a typical representation of what you can find on the Islands... No trees, only endless lands of grass and sometimes, a few houses, here and there, popping from the ground like mushrooms. (That's how they describe it over there.)

The last picture, is the house Gabrielle grew up in. Not for real of course, but in my mind while I was writing the beginning of her story. I had only seen this house in my imagination, so when I went off-road on my first day and saw this beauty on top of the cliff, I knew. And funny enough, this house stands proudly in the middle of the Islands, in Havre-aux-Maisons, exactly where I had envisioned her family to be living. 

And what did I saw behind my rented home for the week? A beautiful horse, just like in the book! If this wasn't a sign from the Universe, I don't know what it was!

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During my stay, I would feel the earth shaking anytime she would run back to the barn, hearing her clip-clop from a distance. It was truly magical. Upon my arrival back at the house after a day at the beach, she would greet me with her neigh. I was fortunate enough to earn her trust and get this close-up picture.

What a beauty! 

This trip was needed. More than I knew at the time when I reserved. It allowed me to unwind completely, let go of my addiction to my phone, and recommit to my self-care practices. 

After six days, I was eager to go back home, integrate my learnings, and dive into my work wholeheartedly and with my muse alongside, thriving with joy.

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It is no surprise that Gabrielle has a deep attachment to the sea, as I do have a profound love for what it brings into my life. Re-uniting with the arms of the ocean, feeling its power and support, gave me the strength I needed to continue my journey.

I am grateful for the wonders mother nature offers us. What are you grateful for? 

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!