Machu Picchu!

Internets. It’s been a while. I’ve been, ya know, around.

I finished book 4 and got that up, and then suffered when it turned out due to an update error, the copy I approved wasn’t the correct one [ps, if you got a copy riddled with typos EMAIL me – mgakis@hotmail.com and I’ll send you a clean copy]

Then, I had some real life stuff.

But then, I finally crossed something off my bucket list! MACHU PICCHU!!

I’ve had a dream to go to Peru for a while. I don’t even know when it started, only that it’s been years. I finally made that trip! I was fortunate enough to be able to go with my sisters. We get along well and know what buttons need to be left alone, and which ones can be PUSHED.

I MADE IT TO MACHU PICCHU!!

AND I HIKED UP TO THE SUN GATE. Which, wow! At that altitude [and I’m in okay-ish shape] it was QUITE the hike.

Because of reasons, my sisters and I ended up hiking it alone – we were all there the same day and the same time, but Ann wanted to see how fast she could go, and Jennifer was sight seeing as she went and pausing with another tour-member to take pics, and so we ended up each on our own journey.

As I hiked, I had time to think about the hike. AND THINK ABOUT THE HIKE. AND THINK ABOUT THE HIKE. it’s all uphill, and though it may look like a mild gradient, I’m no athlete. But as I hiked, I started feeling/thinking – wow, this is like a metaphor for life.

You’re on this journey. and when it starts out, you’re like, okay, so this looks fun and cool.

img_6092

And you’re having fun

img_6110

And then you realize, wait. All I’m seeing is dull grey shit. I have to keep my head down to know where I’m going, but this view kind of sucks.

img_6094

So you look up and you realize, I have no idea how far I’ve gone, or how much is left.

img_6096

But then! All of a sudden, YOU CAN SEE HOW FAR YOU WENT!! [although you still have no idea how much further it is]

img_6116

But it’s FUN AGAIN! and you take some time to appreciate it.   img_6104

But then you turn the corner and you’re tired and this is hard and suddenly up in front of you, you see something and you think ARE YOU FOR SERIOUS?? LIKE…. WHY WOULD YOU PUT THIS HERE. img_6105  But you’ve got no choice so you keep GOING UP. And the view is kind of the same, but also different. img_6101  THEN YOU MAKE IT [and your sister may or may not already be at the top waiting for you and you may or may not just chillax for your other sister – individual results may vary ;)]

img_6371

img_6133And in those moments at the top, it doesn’t seem like it was all that hard [BUT IT WAS]. But you did it!

 

 

Share

Status Update – Dry Spells – unedited copy distributed between June 7-14

As noted on my FB page, I’ve confirmed that the wrong file was distributed to anyone that pre-ordered Dry Spells or ordered between June 7 and June 15. The right copy is being distributed now for NET NEW orders. For those that already have a copy, Amazon has to review the corrected version vs. the incorrect version and they get to determine if the changes are significant enough to warrant pushing out a new copy to people’s devices. That review is expected to be complete June 24.

The changes are significant.

The version that went out was my FIRST finished draft with no edits done by me or my editor. It’s NOT the version I approved to go out. Amazon thinks this is due to some kind of conversion error.

All I know is, if you have already read the book or are reading it now, I’m so sorry. That is not the book I hoped you’d enjoy.

Thank you to everyone that contacted me about the typos/errors. Without your help, I never would have known it was incorrect.

If you’d like a new version from me, please email me at mgakis@hotmail.com with your email addy.

M

Share

Rape Culture, Sexual Assault Survivors and Covencraft

Boys will be boys.

She was drunk and and at a party. What did she expect?

She didn’t say no, so meant yes.

He’s got such a bright future ahead of him, it would be a shame if he suffered for this.

Jesus, I’m so sick of rape culture. I’m sick of a society that STILL questions victims. A society in which EVERY OTHER CRIME the defendant is the one on trial, but with rape, the victim bears the burden.

If you take the things said about rape victims and say them about gun-shot victims, you can no longer ignore how ridiculous they are.

Did you wear that outfit on the off chance you might get shot? Didn’t you know that it’s legal to carry firearms in the USA so you could be shot at any time and by leaving your house, you were agreeing to potentially be shot? Did you tell the gunman, explicitly and several times, NOT to shoot you? Too bad. Your silence was taken as a yes.

When I hear that, I want to walk up to these people and ask them if they want to be punched, and then, before they can say ‘no’, punch them in the neck and let them know  I took their silence as consent.

Or how about flipping it around to mugging – by wearing that nice watch, weren’t you in fact asking to be mugged? Don’t you think that’s a message to all the muggers out there that you had a watch and if they wanted it, they could mug you because you were advertising it?

What about car accidents?

Car accident? Didn’t you agree  an accident could happen when you got behind the wheel? Isn’t driving on the freeway like saying you don’t care if you’re sideswiped? In fact, you’re open to it? Since you didn’t have a sign explicitly stating you didn’t want to be crashed into, isn’t it likely that you DID??

If you’re telling me that men cannot control themselves around women because of what women wear, then I say in return, why am I not locking PEOPLE UP BECAUSE THEY ARE UNCONTROLLABLE?? You know what we do to uncontrollable creatures? Creatures with no will power, with no higher reasoning, with no morals to discern what’s right and wrong? WE INCARCERATE THEM IN ZOOS AND JAILS. For they are animals and cannot abide by our society’s rules.

Rape culture is abhorrent to us all, or at least, it should be. Women should not live in a society where this is considered unavoidable behavior and men should not tolerate the notion that some members of society believe their sex is so animalistic, immoral and uncontrollable that they cannot be responsible for their own actions.

I was so incredibly moved to write this post by the recent letter of a rape victim to her rapist, which has since gone viral. Her words were raw, evocative, eloquent and haunting. While I found the entirety of her letter moving, the part that stuck with me the most was when she wrote if her rapist had acknowledged what he’d done, admitted guilt and remorse, she would have considered a lighter sentence. I have never read such grace and mercy on earth. She wanted the acknowledgement of what he’d done, and for him to admit it was wrong. She would listen to it. She would acknowledge it. And she could not even get that.

I’ve said before that people are often uncomfortable when I discuss rape culture. They should be. I am. It’s wrong. We should all be uncomfortable about rape it until it is erased.

In my Covencraft novels, my lead character, Jade, is a sexual assault survivor. Book 4 deals with her assault a lot more than any other book. I didn’t want to focus on the actual act of the assault or the violence of it, because I find that often happens in modern media. It’s only for the shock value. The immediacy of the violence. Instead, I hope I’ve conveyed what we don’t usually see in media – the aftermath. The media shows us the trial [if there was one],  the articles and the outrage, and the shock and horror. But there is still life afterward and each person approaches it differently (note, my book deals with a female protag, but I do not mean to exclude male victims of rape). My character Jade has an intimately related character, Lily, and while they both experienced the same thing, they process/deal with it differently. Each day afterward, each week, each month, each year, are individual experiences and no one is more real or authentic than the other.

I’m tired of seeing stories in entertainment media about rape that have no aftermath. I’m tired of reading about campus rapes, date rapes, other rapes where the media drops the story after the trial as if that were the end of it. I’m tired of seeing rape used as a plot device for a character, but most especially as motivation for a male character [as in, my significant other was raped, I must now go forth on my quest of vengeance and justice and nevermind MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER because I am the wronged party here!]. There are stories to be told in the aftermath. Survival stories, struggling stories, heartfelt stories of distrust, disillusionment and recovery. Or maybe not. Maybe there is no recovery. Maybe there is a victim that never feels like a survivor.  Someone who does not or cannot live with their assault. That story is worthy of being told as well. That story has value and merit; it is real and to never tell it, is to dishonor it.

Rape happens. Until we significantly shift and change our society, it will continue to happen. I don’t want it to be the end-all be-all of the narrative. I want to know what happens after. I want to know the victim as MORE THAN A VICTIM. I want to know her story. I want us to keep talking about it. We cannot fix what we will not talk about.

Share

Status Update – Covencraft, Historical romances

Hi all!

To keep the momentum of my writing, I decided to jump right into the next Covencraft story as soon as I finished book 4, Dry Spells. The next ‘story’ is Uncontrollable Burn and it deals with Jade’s feelings for Paris and a wildfire burning out of control.

OH THE SYMBOLISM

Le problem is I don’t know if Uncontrollable Burn will be a full length novel [80-110,000 words] or novella length [45-75000 words]. I thought it would be a novella, but as I work through the beginning, maybe it will be long, IDK.

Le struggles.

It will be done, no matter what the length. I just don’t now if it’s a novel or a novella. You’ll find out as I do!

That also means, I don’t know when I am returning to Margaux Gillis realm of historical romances. The next story will either be a sequel to Ravenwood, featuring Charlotte, or a new story – either a ghost story or a Jekyll and Hyde bit. STAY TUNED.!!

 

 

Share

Hope Floats – or maybe that’s just fat, IDK

My sisters and I tried Float therapy today! You go into a pod type thing that is filled with heavily salted water and… float. you can have music or lights, or nothing. It’s supposed to be meditative, introspective, contemplative and a bunch of other ‘-ives.’

gallery-3

Results – Ann and I liked it, Jennifer was sort of ‘meh’ about it. I was in a pod with no music and I opted for no lights as well. I was really looking for a meditative experience. What happened was I had a swim cap on and it was slowly letting water in and air out. There was a ‘puh-puh-puh’ sound, followed by an air bubble sneaking up the inside of my neck and escaping out the cap. I thought this was annoying at first, but then decided to use it as a kind of focus – I paid attention to the sound and the sensations and found it relaxing. I think if I go again, I’ll have it one degree warmer. I left a slight crack in the pod open to facilitate air circulation but whenever my toes drifted too close to the end of the pod, they were cold.

I thought I would find 90 minutes too long, but it felt okay. I’ve had meditation practice before and I’ve also worked on my mindfulness and my ability to ‘just be’ so I really looked at this as an opportunity to practice both those things.

It was warm. It was cozy. It was hard to ‘relax’ but that’s just our culture, I suspect.

It was SALTY. I think they said that there are 24 big bags of Epsom salts in each pod. But it sure does make you float-y. there is just no chance of you sinking. It’s very cushioned.

I definitely think I’ll go again. I found it relaxing and enjoyed it. But next time, I think I’ll bring my own shampoo and really wash my hair well after. I only did a quick wash today and I still feel kind of salty.

 

 

Share

Dry Spells [Covencraft #4] releases June 7!

Dry Spells will be released June 7! It’s up for pre-order at the moment and will be ready to download on June 7th! I’m very excited [as always!]

DrySpells_Cvr_MED
I struggle with each book in its own way and then when I get to the end I’m like, ‘huh. Why was that so hard?’ I didn’t know the ’emotional heart’ of this book for a long time, and then when I did figure it out, it was SO OBVIOUS I wondered if I had purposely been blind to it for some ‘as yet still unknown to me’ reason.

I’m always proud of my work. *pats self on back*.  Maybe it’s egotistical or narcissistic, but I work hard at my writing and hope I get better with each book. I’m always grateful I have the opportunity to write and that I finished another story – getting it out of my head and into the computer. The transition from brain to fingers to keyboard to actual-readable-book is a tumultuous one, but I find it rewarding.

I’m already working on the next installment of Covencraft, Uncontrollable Burn. I just don’t know yet if it will be a novella or a full length book. We’ll see how Jade and Paris [and Lily and Bruce and everyone else!] feels about it!

 

 

 

Share

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo!

Hi all!
The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo was this past weekend and, as per usual, I attended with my bro-in-law and my nephews [and a friend of my bro-in-law].
I’m getting so old. I was exhausted after only 5 hrs, lol.
My nephew and I decided to try for costumes this year! While I think they definitely need some work, I’m quite proud of our first attempts! My nephew went as a Warlock from the video game Destiny and I went as the Winter Soldier [BECAUSE EVEN WHEN STEVE HAD NOTHING, HE HAD BUCKY and also, Sebastian Stan].

As usual, I picked up some arty type stuff –  some pins this year and some Funkos.

IMG_4838 IMG_4810 I have a lot of art around my house from previous comic expos. If you want AMAZING ART that OTHER PEOPLE WON’T HAVE, then GET THEE TO A COMIC EXPO. the artists there are SO talented. It’s STUNNING.

I was super proud of my city! there were signs all around that Costumes did NOT equal CONSENT and that disrespectful behaviour would not be tolerated. AND! they had gender neutral bathrooms for those that would prefer that. I gave my nephews a big speech on why this was important. I don’t know if they ‘got it,’ but they are polite enough to listen and nod.

Also, because life wasn’t busy enough, my sister got two foster puppies from AARCS and we’ve had them for about three weeks. Normally puppies have a week turnaround time [before being adopted] but these guys had to wait a week before being fixed [due to them being  young] and now we’re waiting for some results and some paperwork to be processed. So it’s been busy at home. BUT SO FLUFFY and cute. I step in dog pee about 3 times a day, but then PUPPY SNUGGLES.

I’m almost done my edit of Dry Spells, and then it goes off to Donna for SPAG and another editor. FINGERS CROSSED.

 

 

Share

Dry Spells Cover Reveal!

LOOK WHAT I HAVE HERE!!

DrySpells_Cvr_MED
I’m just wrapping up the end of the first draft, and then two things happen – I go back to the beginning and start editing and it also goes out to my BFF/editor Donna for the “Yo, does this make sense mostly or is it a hot mess” initial read though. Usually, my first draft is rough, but I tend not to have too many plot holes or missing items – I don’t like to write out of order. I skipped over two scenes in this book and wrote one out of order, but other than that, I write from start to finish, so I shouldn’t have a hot mess when I’m done, but… I feel like I never know. I’m too close to it when I finish it to tell.

 

I’m still tweaking the book blurb [aka book jacket, aka the hardest thing I write, aka my least fave thing to do] but it should be ready shortly and then book 4 will go up for pre-order. I’m thinking a release date of June 7.

Unless it really IS A HOT MESS, lol. I will be eagerly awaiting Donna’s feedback.

Share

Feeling like a Princess!

Okay, so if you’re here for the fiction, this is not a post for you.

But if you love makeup like me, THIS IS YOUR JAM, Y’ALL.

I recently ordered some lipstick from Holt Renfrew. In my neck of the woods, Holts is like… the highest of the high end. You dream about shopping at Holts. You resent those that do. But it’s because you’re so jelly.

But I decided to TREAT MY SELF
treat_yo_self

I ordered three Lips and Boys from Tom Ford and a Charlotte Tilbury. OMG, I felt SO EXTRAVAGANT AND DECADENT.

AND THEN IT ARRIVED.

A BOX WITHIN A BOX. And that second box, hot pink and TIED WITH A RIBBON.  IMG_4508
And then I opened that and there was a little envelope with my receipt and shipping return label – AS IF I WOULD EVER RETURN LIPSTICK.

IMG_4509

AND THEN a little sticker keeping the tissue paper closed.
IMG_4511

INSERT CHOIRS OF ANGELS SINGING (okay, there is one lipstick missing from this pic and that’s because I HAD TO PULL IT OUT TO WEAR IT IMMEDIATELY. it smelled like vanilla bubblegum and I LOVE IT SO MUCH *sobs into her hanky)IMG_4512

LOOK AT THE PACKAGING (Yes, I’m totes abusing caps lock at this point, BUT THIS IS ALL CAPS LOCK WORTHY)IMG_4513

OMG, I ALMOST DON’T EVEN WANT TO USE IT, IT’S SO PRETTY *almost*
IMG_4514

IMG_4515

This, hands down, MADE MY DAY, MY WEEK, perhaps even my month. SO PRETTY. so much fun unwrapping! So lovely to hold, and smell and wear! I haven’t worn the TIlbury yet but the TF is a DREAM. The Lips and Boys collection is smaller than normal size, which makes me a little sad, but VANILLA BUBBLEGUM SMELL. OMG. I CAN’T.

Share

But if Less is More, just Think How Much More ‘More’ will be!

Wow.

Internets, I’m a woman on fire.

My day job has been non stop for about 18 months and I swear to god, I keep thinking I can’t get any more busy, but I do. I am BLESSED WITH WORK. I don’t like to complain about it because there are a lot of people out there who don’t have work right now. So yes, blessed with work. And I do like being busy and feeling useful. and TBH, I think I’m KILLING IT. no really! I feel very productive and like I’m doing a good job! and I’m getting some super nice and appreciative feedback.

so yes, blessed with work.

But that also means it’s tough to come home at nights and write. I’ve been trying to push it lately because I’m just barely still on target for Book 4, (Dry Spells, Covencraft #4). If I lose any momentum, I’ll start falling behind. I’m already behind where I wanted to be, but I planned for an early finish so there is wiggle room in my goal.

All that to say, I’m running at top speed lately. It makes the days/weeks/ months go by fast and I realized this month is six months since Portia passed. Sigh. I can’t believe it. Half a year already. I still have her pick on my screen saver on my phone. It took it when she was at the puppy hospital. I miss her tons.

IMG_3800

It does help to be busy. I’m at 65000 ish words for Dry Spells, and I project about 95000 usually for a book. so 2/3rds done. I feel like I’ll be pretty close to that word count, but then I always say that and somehow end up going over. We’ll see what happens! I’ve been in touch with the Cover Artist and have him booked for about March so I’m excited to see some cover art and get that motivating me even more.

After Dry Spells, I have the next story idea, but I think it will be a novella length. So, Dry Spells will be a full novel, then Uncontrollable Burn will be novella length, and then the next book will be back to full length.

And that’s all the shrimp there is.

Share