The Secret to Joy

I watched ‘The Secret’ last night, a documentary that is currently playing on Netflix. If you have not read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne or watched the documentary, there’s a message in the book that seems so simple to me.

You get what you put into life. If you want joy, exude joy, but if you focus on worries, you exude worries.

Shelley Kassian


2019 is almost gone. It’s December, the most wonderful time of the year, and I’m aware my written words have been lacking (worries). I passed the 30,000 word mark in my medieval saga recently, and in reaching this milestone, I felt like I’d jumped over a hurdle. I was exhausted. I focused on the exhaustion. I equated the effort to breathlessness after climbing the highest mountain. I sat on the plateau knowing I needed at least 30,000 more words (more worries). I couldn’t visualize where I wanted to travel next, which is a barrier to completing my work in progress. Huh!

I didn’t celebrate reaching my milestone. I didn’t sit at the top of a mountain with my arms outstretched, enjoying the work, feeling the joy, the success, that I had created far more than 30,000 words. A story is taking shape! My words bring characters to life. This is a fabulous effort. After watching The Secret, I realized I’ve been analyzing my writing goals in the wrong way.

An author blessed with imagination should not only focus on the work in progress, but also visualize the success of their finished book. Imagine it in your mind and hold it in your hands.

Shelley Kassian

If you’re not an author, what does success look like to you? This is what joy feels like at the top of a mountain:

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Happy female hiker, traveller, feeling, elation, joy, success, or other positive mood or feeling of wellbeing. She is high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains of Australia with Mount Solitary in shade and far in the distance are King Tablelands.


The Secret states that a person must “ask, believe, receive.” This message is written on The Secret website. I didn’t even know there was a website until today. Their mission statement is to bring joy to billions.

My takeaway? I’ve asked for joy. I believe each written word will bring me joy. What will I receive? A finished book that will give me and others joy. I hope. 🙂 What’s your secret and what does joy mean to you?

Opal Writers’ Magazine features Shelley Kassian

I am thrilled to announce that I will be a featured author in Opal Writers’ Magazine’s July/August edition. I’m so grateful to have been chosen, as the July issue will arrive prior to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, The Calgary Stampede.

The magazine will include the novel that celebrates The Calgary Stampede, The Half Mile of Baby Blue, which I wrote as part of the Women of Stampede series.

Opal Writers’ Magazine is a Calgary based magazine for authors and writers. Within its pages readers discover articles on writing craft and short fiction pieces. It’s a bi-monthly magazine, available by subscription or single copies.

To learn more about the novel, The Half Mile of Baby Blue, click here.

Kind heart. Brave mind. Fierce spirit!

No matter the social media platforms used, messages bombard. What’s real? What’s fake? Who knows for sure. Humanity’s messages are increasing at a dramatic and noisy pace, with every writer behind the words hoping to reach an audience, whether the words/video attract a customer, communicate with a friend, or in my case—reach a reader. Everyone is trying to initiate a conversation.

Kind heart. Brave mind. Fierce spirit.

I love quotes: Kind heart, brave mind, fierce spirit! I read this message somewhere this past week. I don’t remember where the quote originated from, maybe I scrolled past it on Facebook, but these keywords could assist my personal and professional goals. Maybe your goals, too. A kind heart in the ways I communicate with readers. A bravery, in that I’m not afraid to entertain new ideas. A fierceness, in the way I protect myself from adversity and the words I bring into my storytelling world.

Bravery plus fierceness equals risk. To go to the places—in storytelling and life—where I might not be comfortable. However, to be successful every goal-motivated person needs to assert a certain degree of risk.

In my opinion, the writers behind your screen are often shy solitary creatures. Authors hovering inside our hobby holes, crafting stories and hoping readers will find us. Perhaps, having a kind heart isn’t enough to win the world. Like Rocky Balboa, more often than not, a writer does have to get in the ring and fight. Grant me the courage this week to lose my shy tendencies and… get in the ring; to be kind, be brave and be fierce!

#MondayMotivation #BeKind. #BeBrave #BeFierce


The Walmart Launch Sale

Make your greatest escape for $4.99 or less! KOBO and Walmart have launched Walmart eBooks. I’m excited to share that six of my novels have been included in a month-long promotion (US only), which runs from August 22nd, to September 18th, 2018.

If you have not read my books, this is a fantastic opportunity to try my novels. I have given the books an excellent discount, from 50% to 75% OFF. Please note this offer is exclusive to KOBO and Walmart.

If you want to read excerpts or reviews prior to purchasing, check out my book page here.

If you’re ready to buy, the links are included in the captions below:


The Odin Saga

“Rich prose and intriguing characters make for an engaging story.” –– A.M. Westerling

Scarlett Mark, The - Shelley Kassian
The Scarlett Mark, Book 1

“Kassian takes us into a dark world of myth and magic. Her images are dark and evocative and at times entirely too realistic.” –– Katie O’Connor

The Ebony Queen, Book 2

Contemporary Romance

“Kassian offers a lively and fun romance with an auspicious setting.”⏤ The BookLife Prize in Fiction.

The Half Mile of Baby Blue

A Lasting Harmony

Historical Romance

“A truly unexpected storyline that captures you from the very beginning.” –– R, Goodreads reviewer

A Heart across the Ocean

A Sacrifice for Love


Career burnout: you can do anything, but not everything!

I knew I was in career burnout months ago. The signs were obvious but I chose to ignore the symptoms. I was tired. Insomnia began. I couldn’t fall asleep at night or I woke up far too early in the morning hours. Writing became a chore instead of a love of storytelling. I ‘hated it’ when my friends/family/colleagues asked me or invited me to be a part of anything. Except for my critique partner, I stopped seeing my friends. I posted less on social media. I sunk deeper into my work; writing/editing/formatting for up to twelve hours a day. I’ve worked this hard before, so I should have know better.

My saddest moment came recently when my daughter told me she’d never heard her author mother speak so darkly about her writing. Her statement made me think. I need to get back on track, with my health and my writing. What’s obvious to me now is that no matter who we are or which career we’ve chosen to be a part of…

We can do anything, but not everything.

As I move forward to write my next novel, it’s my goal to identify the stressors, reroute negative thinking, and adopt a more balanced life. I just told a colleague that I need a business plan. Hell, I need a wellness strategy to recharge the well of creativity and dispel the anxiety.

How do I plan to recharge? I’ll start by reading, listening to music, taking walks–breaks–visiting my favorite theme park and relocating to my cottage for a few days. Just the thought of my cottage, I breathe deeper and immediately relax. I’m most excited about joining my readers, and reading. I struggle reading while I’m writing, so I’m really looking forward to delving into a great book.

I leave you with this thought: We can do anything, but not everything. For me, step one to becoming healthier is acknowledging and accepting my boundaries. I’m human. I’m not a robot. I’ll write between the limits of allotted time.




Behind the scenes at The Calgary Stampede Parade

The Calgary Stampede Parade Committee receives a high five and an expression of gratitude from this author and her colleagues. On Thursday, July 5th, one day prior to the Calgary Stampede Parade, seven local ‘Women of Stampede’ authors saddled up for the ride, having been invited to the Participants BBQ and Parade Day breakfast.

From left to right: C.G. Furst, Maeve Buchanan, Shelley Kassian, Katie O’Connor, Nicole Roy, Alyssa Linn Palmer, and Brenda Sinclair.

The BBQ and breakfast is a happening place. The atmosphere is rife with excitement and entertainment; you can feel the vibe thrumming in the air as parade participants begin to arrive. All afternoon, trucks and trailers continually roll into Fort Calgary, parking along the fence line beside the Bow River. I watched in amazement as horses were unloaded, enjoying the presence of equines nickering and riders trotting along a ready made pathway, and one leader among the crowd who directed the drivers where to park all while riding his russet mare.


I’ve attended the Calgary Stampede for years, and I’ve always appreciated how the city celebrates a Western-themed event each year. It’s the direct reason I was inspired to write a contemporary romance novel, loosely based on the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, though I never imagined that a series project, which I oversaw with Katie O’Connor, might lead to this behind the scenes glimpse of the Calgary Stampede parade. I didn’t expect to be treated like a VIP. Standing in a long line of parade attendees, a volunteer noticed my badge and with a smile, escorted me to the VIP line. It felt great to be given such respect and care.

My most amazing moment of day one arrived when I met Kelly Sutherland. Oh my… I felt blessed and honored when he purchased my novel, The Half Mile of Baby Blue, plus the other six novels in the series. My fictional family discover a chuckwagon legacy, which sends them back to the race track, trying to achieve a win on the half mile of Hell. Kelly wanted to know if I’d based my characters on any drivers he might know. I assured him my story is purely fictional! Definitely a fan girl moment!

The greatest champion in chuckwagon racing history, Kelly Sutherland, and Shelley Kassian

The Women of Stampede authors arrived at Fort Calgary early on day two. The sun was just beginning to rise. Pancakes and sausages were already cooking on the grill and parade participants lined up early to eat. Six am! Approximately 600 volunteers work behind the scenes to feed and care for the parade participants. They were fantastic ambassadors for the Calgary Stampede. I extend my thanks to them! The food was delicious! 🙂


Like everything in life, good occasions must come to an end. I wish to thank the Calgary Stampede Parade Committee for inviting the Women of Stampede to their event and for treating us like royalty. I imagine, every guest might have felt that way!


The Half Mile of Baby Blue, A Women of Stampede romance novel, is available for purchase at Chapters, Indigo, and all places where digital books are sold.



Author Confessions

When I was asked this morning by author Win Day to share my author confessions, guilt plagued me. It’s not personal guilt like bad eating habits or not working out that upset me; it’s career guilt, and a favorite reader immediately comes to mind. His name is Pat. If you search for my books on Amazon, you’ll find one, maybe two reviews from Pat. You’ll quickly see why I ‘heart’ this man. PS: This is not my husband. I have not been able to get my husband to read my books. Yet…

Pat is my favorite reader. He’s the inspiration that gets my butt in the chair and keeps me writing. Yes. A writer needs inspiration and support from their readers. Please don’t be afraid to talk to us. But…

Guilt. It weighs heavily on my mind. Pat is part of my tribe. He’s one of the first readers of my books. He particularly loves my fantasy series, The Odin Saga. He says he really enjoyed The Scarlett Mark. I knew this admission was true when he shared the book with his friends and family, and I received subsequent letters from them. He enjoyed The Ebony Queen, too, in all her delicious deviousness and darkness. The Ebony Queen was published in the summer of 2016. Two years have passed since publishing this MedEvil Romantasy, and Pat, bless his heart, diligently waits for book three. While suffering through the drought, he reads my romance novels. I giggle a little here because Pat doesn’t normally read romance. I’ve driven him to romance… Between you and I, I think he likes the naughty bits, the love scenes. I’ll put one or two in book three, just for him!

An author confession? That I’ve somehow let my favorite reader down while pursuing other projects. Emotion. I will not to submit to tears. Deep breath. This is my promise to Pat. No more distractions. Book 3 will be coming soon!

Shelley’s recent novel, The Half Mile of Baby Blue, a contemporary romance, is currently available at Chapters/Indigo in Trade Paperback, and in digital format at all other e-tailers.

Find it here: books2read.com/u/bPJYjR

The Stampede Circuit

The Calgary Stampede might be The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, but the Stampede circuit has historic roots that stretch across the Province of Alberta. When I began researching my novel, The Half Mile of Baby Blue, I acknowledged that if my Western family were to race their chuckwagon, desiring to save their ranch and also pay tribute to their grandfather’s legacy, they’d not only have to train hard, they’d also have to start the season at the Grande Prairie Stompede.

According to the World Professional Chuckwagon Association, the first race of the season circles the barrels on the half mile of Hell at the Grande Prairie Stompede. This is where my fictional Wheeler family first takes to the track, driving the chuckwagon and thoroughbred horses to the starting line, risking family history to repeat itself.

In my fictional story, Cole Wheeler was the driver on the first race day. His sisters Kit and Samantha join him as outriders. They face a difficult challenge. The sport is favored with professional drivers and outriders, men more experienced and knowledgable about the sport then this fictional ranch family. Accidents happen. But like Eddie the Eagle or the Jamaican Bobsled team, a family, and female heroines will assume the risks.

I questioned why the sport is dominated with male hero’s. A woman has never competed at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, but the real world is changing and it’s pretty exciting that on May 30th, 2018, one of Cole Wheeler’s competitors would have been a woman, Rilee Letendre, a real Woman of Stampede. She finished 11th place overall for a second year in a row, proving that a woman does have the strength to drive thoroughbreds on the half mile of Hell and pursue her chuckwagon goals. Read more about Rilee Letendre here.

The race continues after the Grande Prairie Stompede, and professional drivers, outriders, helpers and their families travel across Alberta and Saskatchewan most of the summer to venues in Saskatoon, Medicine Hat, High River, and the Ponoka Stampede, all these races taking place prior to the Calgary Stampede.

Fans of the sport have many opportunities to watch their favorite professional chuckwagon champions all across the province. Makes me want to experience not only the smaller exhibitions but also the beautiful Province of Alberta.

This summer, experience the Stampede circuit and Travel Alberta.

The Half Mile of Baby Blue and The Women of Stampede Romance novels are available at Chapters / Indigo and other digital e-tailers.

I think I can

My Monday motivation comes from the childhood story: The Little Engine that Could. I’m caught between a rock and a hard place, an uncomfortable squeezing pressure where I know I need to write (the Odin Saga, a MedEvil Romantasy, set in the kingdom of Velez) but my motivation rests on the railroad track, staring straight ahead, scrutinizing the line, wondering if a heart has the strength to start the engine. I’m a storyteller. My job is to scribe words. All I need to do is press the ignition and start the engine, and I say to myself…

I think I can. I think I can… Go the distance?

I’ve been suffering from burnout. I knew I was encountering fatigue prior to the completion of the Women of Stampede series novels. When my mind couldn’t fall asleep at night and in the morning a body couldn’t get out of bed. In an attempt to return to a more balanced mind, I’ve been resting or trying to rest. But a gentle tug of will, a whisper in the wind, grasps me and leads me toward the ignition switch… Does this make any sense?

I’m sitting on the track. I’m gathering strength, preparing to start the writing engine.

I think I can. I think I can.

Write. One word at a time, returning to the Kingdom of Velez.


Family dynamics and Baby Blue

In my recent title: The Half Mile of Baby Blue, family dynamics contribute to the overall conflict that frustrates one of my favorite characters, Dot Wheeler, the matriarch and grandmother of the story.

Albeit, The Half Mile of Baby of Baby Blue is only a book, but when I speak of family dynamics, I utilize my own personal experiences to bring this story’s conflict alive.

The writing God’s do say, ‘write what you know,’ so why not draw from healthy and unhealthy resources from an author’s past.

When I talk about my recent release with readers, I speak of the distance or half mile a family must travel if they want to save their ranch from foreclosure. Dot Wheeler is seventy seven years old. She’s not interested in running races. Neither would she willingly place burdens on her family. Like anyone who is content in their home, she doesn’t want to lose the homestead where she has lived for over fifty years, but she’s willing to sacrifice physical possessions for the sake of her family. She’s made sacrifices, before…

Dot Wheeler has kept secrets from her family and sometimes secrets don’t stay hidden. Enter the discovery of a baby blue chuckwagon, and then photographs and letters unearthed inside an old suitcase, which reveal a Stampede heritage. The race is soon on to not only pay tribute to a chuckwagon legacy, but also to save the ranch. Still, a grandmother doesn’t want past hurts to repeat and she knows if her grandchildren take Baby Blue back to the circuit, history could spark new fears.

That’s conflict. The crux and risk in the story. When one woman is able to say goodbye to the past but not the emotional scars she still carries. And three determined grandchildren with destinies of their own, can’t fear the past when they have no knowledge of it. But once they do understand their legacy, like the turtle that rushes to the ocean, the young will assume the risks and run the half mile of Hell. To their grandmother’s chagrin.

Family dynamics, chemistry, the conflict and muscle that welcomes into the story the possibility of success, the fear of failure, and relationship surprises, too.

The Wheelers have a distance or half mile to run in order to save their ranch from foreclosure, and Kit Wheeler, one of the Wheeler grandchildren, just might discover a new appreciation for her family as she accepts the reins of responsibility, and a love interest too.

I believe this novel is my best to date. I hope you enjoy it.

The Half Mile of Baby Blue was written to celebrate: The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, The Calgary Stampede. Print copies are available at Chapters and Indigo locations in Calgary, Alberta, and digital editions are available through all your favorite e-tailers.

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