Friday, 27 February 2015

Nigh 2 is now available!

The faerie-pocalypse continues!

The mists have lifted, leaving behind a shattered world. Still reeling from the loss of her best friend, Alva Viola Taverner must trust the mysterious watchmaker to keep them safe.

But the road to safety is strewn with bodies and, up ahead, the faeries still thirst for human blood.

 "The first great serialized novel of 2015" - Black Gate Magazine

"Nigh’s first installment bodes simultaneously fantastic and terrifying for the balance of the novel." - The Page of Reviews

"There’s a soothing, almost seductive quality to Marie’s writing that lulls you into a sense of ordinariness, only to slam you with a new and rapidly changing reality that leaves you as breathless and reeling as the characters…over and over and over." - Linda Poitevin, author of the Grigori Legacy

"Bilodeau has embraced a storytelling method made popular by Charles Dickens, Armistead Maupin and Stephen King but she’s given it new life and an incredible sense of urgency. " - Jamieson Wolf, bestselling author

Monday, 9 February 2015

The Art of Terror

I stand on the edge of a crane, my toes over the edge, water shimmering below. My mouth is dry, my feet are numb.  I don't have glasses or corrective lenses on, so I just see the sprawling gray of doom below me.

The dive master gives me instructions: "I'm going to count down from five. When I'm done, you'll jump."

My mind can hardly process what I intend to do, so I ask for clarification.

"You mean jump that way?" I emphatically jab the empty air before me.

The dive master confirms it, probably thinking I'll never jump. I don't think I will, either.

He counts down from five. Each number is more terrifying than the last. By the time he reaches one, I think: If I don't do this now, I never will.

The opportunity is now.  I'm secured to a giant elastic. The dive master finishes his countdown.

I don't jump.  But I manage to let go and fall forward.

On still summer days, my screams can still be heard echoing through the quarry.

I am *terrified* of heights. But I let go, and I let myself fall, screaming like an extra in a Godzilla movie.  I slow down and bounce back up, which is even more terrifying.  I'd reached bottom! Why the heck am I going back up?  The mind is scared of falling. It's terrified of bouncing up with the threat of falling back down again.

Once I'm done bouncing, a boat comes to get me down.  I almost fall in the water trying to reach land too quickly.  Very heroic.

Fast foward ten years. I receive tickets to go to a conference in Tunisia. I'm to be a subject matter expert on smart things.  Last minute arrangements. I'm not sure where I'm going, how I'm getting places in Tunis, who my contact is.

I head to the airport, not sure I even have real tickets. The airport staff manages to issue my boarding passes, but only to get me to Paris. I'll have to see if I can board a plane to Tunisia from there.

No problem. Heck, I can think of worse things than being trapped in Paris. But I make it to Tunisia. The country has just had a revolution.  I had missed that bit in my short prep time. I walk around angry soldiers with machine guns.

I see the ruins of Carthage and I find myself in their beauty.


My last day in Tunisia, having been stuck at the conference most of my stay, a Tunisian woman sits beside me. She knows enough French that we muddle through a conversation. She finds out I'm from Canada. I tell her I'd like to see a camel, since I was flying out the next morning.

She tells me to follow her. I get in her car, thinking: This is how people get kidnapped.

She drives me to a cafĂ© in Tunis, where she informs me is the city's only camel (there needs to be a song about the lonely urban life of camels). The camel has a job: it pulls up the water from the well.  It is also apparently on break.

We go to stand by the Mediterranean and admire its shimmering vastness. Then we spot the camel, on the beach, alone.

She grabs my hand and we start running. I think: Wait, *this* is how people get kidnapped!

We visit with the camel. It has no attendant. It's eating rotten vegetables out of a box. I try to explain to her how suspicious the camel is, but linguistic or cultural barriers impede my message. She shoves me near the camel and takes a picture.

I don't care what anybody says. This is one heck of a suspicious camel.

She drives me to her apartment.  Her niece is finishing up a PhD in environmental studies and speaks perfect French. We chat for hours. She asks me if I've ever had almond tea. I say I haven't, guessing Tetley almond tea didn't qualify (I was totally right).

They drive me an hour up a mountain, where is served the best almond tea.  We make jokes, finding common ground. We don't get all of each other's jokes, but we laugh. We also sit in comfortable silence, enjoying the scenery. By then, I'm no longer thinking I'll be kidnapped.

I drink the best almond tea ever, and they drive me back to my hotel.

We hug. I don't know if I'll ever see them again.

Fast forward another four years. I have the chance to jump and become a full time writer. I have the savings, the budget, the sales and the ambition.

I'm terrified.

But not as terrified as jumping off a crane.  Not as terrified as I am of angry looking soldiers with machine guns.

I jump.

Learning to embrace the art of terror (without going splat or actually being kidnapped) is a must for artists.  We send in our stuff to be judged by editors, by critics, by audiences.

Embrace the Terror.  Learn to love it.

Become an Artist of Terror.*

*Note to self: get new business cards.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Nigh 2 Cover Reveal!

Cover revealf for Nigh 2! WOOO!
Coming out February 27. It's gonna be fun, my friends (if you define fun as terrifying).
Art by Kerri Elizabeth Gerow and design by Designs by Lynsey.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Six Months Ago, I Jumped

Six Months Ago

I worked as a full time communications (public relations/marketing) manager at a successful non-profit organization with a huge national portfolio. I was good at what I did and I liked it. In fact, I was so interested in my job that I was allocating most of my energy to it. Everything else was suffering.

In June, one giant national conference later (I *love* event organization), I was drained.  And I looked around and took stock of the situation. The first thing I noticed was that I had to put down my old cat, Battle Bart.  I hadn't noticed how bad he'd gotten, because I was busy not paying attention to life. That'll shamboozle anyone back to reality. The guilt alone was like a brick on the side of the head.

Yes, the cat did make me pay for that later.
Then I saw the multiple calls for storytelling shows I would have to turn down AND that my writing was doing well. Things were selling, money was coming in. My savings were doing great, since I hadn't had a social life in a while.

I thought: Mmmmm...

Then I Jumped

DISCLAIMER:  I have a high tolerance for risk. For the love of all that's pink and fluffy, DO NOT DO THIS unless you have good risk tolerance.  Plus, savings.  Have some savings. Back up plans. And a rich or well enough off partner. I had numbers one and two, but Roomy has made it clear she's not becoming my sugar mommy. (What's her problem, anyway? Well, at least she still makes bread.)

I did a reality check, because I know me and I know that I can jump like crazy whooping all the way until I land hard and break all of my bones (not always, but sometimes!) I'm impulsive. It's a strength (interesting) and a weakness (crazy).

Good writing friends drink with you and smack you
when you're being an idiot. My writing group is the best.
So I talked to my family about it, looked at my budget, talked to a bunch of people I respect, and then I jumped.  It wasn't easy or always fun. I lost some friendships over it, just because a move like this is scary for more than just the person doing it. And scared people sometimes leave.

I'm okay with it. It really highlights who your real supporters are.  I like obvious statements like that. I don't have to wonder about them.


That's my reaction every two weeks, thereabouts. I think it follows my old pay period at work. Thing is, when you don't have a steady job, you don't have a steady paycheque. Paycheques are *awesome.*

Sometimes I stop, wonder if I'm completely insane and realize what I did. I own a car. I own a house. I intend to keep both. Thankfully I didn't buy above my means. In the grand world of big purchases, both were very reasonable.

I am judged.
All. The. Time.
But my family and Roomy are smart and wise, and they know me. Heck, they've all known me for at least half my life. They know me well, have seen me fail on multiple enthusiastic occasions, and not one of them is worried for me. That's a good sign. Roomy especially, as she owns a house with me. When I doubt, I ask. They don't rose-colour their answers. They ask me questions. I answer honestly.

It's good to have people who can give you regular reality checks. Don't expect you'll be able to. You'll lose too much of yourself to art.

The Plan

I have three revenue streams.  Here's the plan:

1 - Writing
Not good for immediate income.  Take out some self-published stuff to get more immediate  and regular payments (starts three months after one work is out). I have a fan base and a team I can call on (and pay!) to help me make a great product.  This isn't going to be trash from my computer to Amazon, "keep my fingers crossed it's going to work." This will be good stuff. REALITY: It still might not work. But I'll get to do a heck of a lot more of it.

2 - Storytelling
Good for immediate income and there are mutliple audiences in Ottawa and nearby. Schools, businesses, associations... I can work it. I have a vast repertoire and can adapt it quickly and effectively.

3 - Freelancing
Let's be realistic. Sometimes, the art stuff doesn't work out. But I was a freelance writer before, and I can certainly take up some communications contracts as necessary.

So Far

The fall was awesome for storytelling shows. Scary stories for all!  Winter is slower, since no one wants to leave the house and travel the cold landscape of wintery death. But spring is filling up nicely with shows, as is summer.

I've been taking advantage of the cold weather to get more writing done. Nigh is starting to come out, and I'm hoping the serialization will lead to regular boosts in interest and people noticing it exists. So far, so good. I'm working on some other projects as well. I'm having a ball.


  • I don't know myself nearly as well as I thought I did. 
  • Writing is harder the more time you have to contribute to it.
  • My routine isn't as solid as I thought it was.
  • I like money.
  • I like coffee.

So far so good. This is an adventure.  I've learned a lot in the past six months already and am looking forward to learning more.  I didn't overtly announce that I was doing this in August because I was terrified. And failing alone is much easier than with an audience.  

But I have more of a footing now, and I really want to help others who are hoping to follow the same path. So I'll write about it. About what's helped, what was hard, new routines and realizations.  AND IF I FAIL I'LL EXPECT YOU ALL TO SCREAM IN TERROR WITH ME AS I GO DOWN IN FLAMES!! I shall make it spectacular!  I shall make it impressive!!!  

I'll label these posts with Writing Life. I hope this helps me and you learn a heck of a lot more about art, business, commercialization and, heck, life.  Plus, how to discourage cats from sitting on your keyboard.  

It's gonna be a heck of a journey. It's already been a heck of a journey.  *deep breath* Forward and onward.
Plus, I can  now keep track of neighbourhood controversies,
like the great squirrel-saltine takeover of 2014.