Tuesday, March 31, 2020

No Foolin Around - Serious #Awards & Announcements!

So much is going on!!
First, my IWSG post in conjunction with the culmination of my Beast World campaign.

The writing/blogging community is the best group of people out there! I've said it before, but they are so supportive! Today, I'm handing out some awards to recognize my helpers who gave me their most valuable asset--their TIME!

Based on the number, here are the top awards:

And here are the stats of all my wonderful volunteers and how much they helped!

I made new connections, found volunteers to review the Beast World series, was blessed with a wonderful new piece of art, and received offers to guest post at other blogs. And I re-pubbed the ebooks!

Never be afraid to ask the writing community for help--they come through!

* * * * *

I'm also more than happy to return the favor!

Today I'm very happy to share my time and blog space with one of my awesome writer friends to celebrate the release of her incredible book, which I absolutely adored!

Recognizing and Coping with the Early Stages of Dementia
by Jemi Fraser

Let's take a little more in-depth look into Jemi's life and her book. Her mom is the star, and with the recent restrictions at nursing homes, Jemi had to find a new way to see her--online!

Jemi: Thanks so much for doing this :) Mom is doing great despite the lockdown. Seeing her and chatting, with the help of the staff, makes everything so much easier for us. So thankful for those great people!

TT: Your book was so real. Though dementia is no laughing matter, it was pretty funny at times. Do you ever insert comedy in your fiction?

Jemi: Thanks!! I’m glad our crazy reality comes across. A strong sense of humour really gets us through!

My upcoming romantic-suspense series definitely has humour in it. My characters often have a sarcastic edge to them and that’s so much fun to write! I also think our family’s gallows humour comes through in several of my characters and the situations they get themselves into!

TT: I had to look up gallows humor--thanks for the new word!

I think you and your sister are saints the way you take care of your “mum” through so many trials and still kept working! Do you think you might write a book about her? or your own life someday?

Jemi: Wow - thank you! Definitely not saints, but we do love our mum! I don’t know if my heart is up to another true-to-life book at this point, but you never know. Mom’s had a fascinating life and I’ve thought about a YA historical romance set in the post WWII era based on it. Maybe one day!

TT: A YA historical in that era sounds fantastic!

The way your mother treated people, especially her second husband, reminded me of my grandmother, bossing folks around and doing as she pleased. It made me wonder if I’ll be that way when I’m older (have a lot of that in me now!) Do you ever wonder or worry how you will be later in life?

Jemi: Love it! Mom definitely enjoys being in charge and she believes she is ALWAYS the most qualified person in the room for any task or opinion. I have a wide and strong independent streak in me but I’ve always been quieter and more private than Mom. However, I suspect more of “Mom” will show up in me as I get older! My kids have been warned!

TT: Now for a couple of easy ones...

How do you like living in Canada?

Jemi: I wouldn’t live anywhere else!! Northern Ontario is beautiful and the people are awesome. Our fall leaves are spectacular. Our biggest con is probably how long the snow sticks around. While it is melting, we still have 2 to 3 foot snowbanks. In late March/early April that’s a definite con!

TT: Yes, you kept saying how wonderful the staff of most places was--I had to remind myself you were in Canada. I was jealous until I kept reading about the snow! haha

And lastly, What writing are you working on now?

Jemi: I’m planning to publish my Bloo Moose small-town romantic suspense series in the fall. Book 1 is ready to go, Book 2 is on the spit-and-polish round, Book 3 is in the final revision round. Book 5’s first draft is done, and Book 4 is still wandering around in my head (it’s the stubborn one). Ideas for Books 6-8 are there but need to be fleshed out. I’m hoping to publish at least 3 of them at the same time. Lots of fun ahead!

Holy Bullwinkle! That's a ton of stories! Congrats! I'll be around to read and help.

Recognizing and Coping with the Early Stages of Dementia
by Jemi Fraser

◊ Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
◊ Publisher: Just Jemi Books
◊ eBooks
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1-9991258-1-3

Dementia and Alzheimer’s touch the lives of millions around the world, but so much is still unknown.

As first-generation Canadians, we didn’t recognize the early warning signs. We didn’t know the differences between regular aging and the early stages of dementia. We’ve made mistakes but we’ve learned a lot.

•Identify those early warning signs
•Use visuals to improve communication
•Choose your words wisely
•Redirect and reassure
•Stay calm and cope with your own emotions
•Consider nursing home options
•Improve caregiver self-care

We’ve learned to dance the early steps of the disease with our love and laughter intact. If you are looking for help recognizing early signposts along with practical ways to cope with early Dementia and Alzheimer’s, this book is for you.


Amazon.com              Amazon.ca          Apple Books       Barnes & Noble          Kobo

Add DANCING WITH DEMENTIA to your Goodreads shelf

About the Author

Jemi Fraser writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her nonfiction work focuses on the ways that dementia has impacted her family. Her fiction work varies from contemporary romance to suspense and flash fiction. Years as a teacher have taught Jemi that life is short and that happy endings are a must.

She lives in Northern Ontario, Canada where snow is always a topic of conversation and the autumn leaves make everything better.

For more on Jemi and her writing, visit her following sites:

Amazon Page        BookBub      Goodreads       Facebook       Twitter

Finally, Enter this giveaway is for a $20 Amazon Gift Card. (open internationally)

Monday, March 23, 2020

Tips on Writing a Screenplay & a big REVEAL!

If you don't know Heather Holden, you should. She's a fantastic artist with a unique style. And she writes hilarious vampire/horror comics. I've been dying (haha) to have her draw something for me, and finally decided to commission Gabe - he needed a new look. And here he is!

Gabe Thorntry by Heather Holden

Now in this snapshot of Gabe, can you see he's short? He's also smart with his book (haha) and a little unsure of himself, but a pretty happy guy in high school. And he's a green goblin. That's a lot to get from a picture, but it's all there, captured by the artist!

And as my last guest post of the Taking Back Beast World campaign, I'm excited to be at Heather's place talking about Gabe's journey in visuals!

I re-published BROKEN BRANCH FALLS, Beast World Book One 
for KINDLE! Yippee!

Now, on to the topic at hand:


I love having so many terrific writers as friends--I get exposed to so many great stories! And I'd love to see them up on the big screen or as a series on the small screen. I've even offered to collaborate on writing screenplays with some of them. Unfortunately, it's just one more thing on my never ending want to do list... But it's definitely not at the bottom.

If you've ever pictured your book as a movie, you should try turning it into a screenplay! This is especially good for short stories, and you'll see why in a moment. You can also dive straight from an idea into a screenplay. Here, I've gathered some pros & cons & tips for writing a Screenplay:
  • Downsizing - This is the hardest part. If you start with a 300-400 page MS, you have to cut it down to 100-120 pages! This is because one page of a screenplay = one minute of film. And the pages are severely formatted, think minimalist. 
    • Things that are easy to cut: You don't need paragraphs describing the characters' inner thoughts--they're acted out. No detailed descriptions of scenes--they're part of the set. Any minor scenes that don't move the story along, cut 'em.
    • Things not so easy to cut: characters or scenes you love, but the story could be told without them. It's going to be hard to determine who stays and who goes. And some scenes will have to be rolled into one or rewritten entirely in the interest of time. This is why the movies are so often lacking when compared to the book... 
  • Formatting - There are many programs and software packages that will help you format your screenplay. I cannot afford such things, especially when I am willing to search for a cheaper alternative, which I found. There's a terrific Word Doc Template, and it's very easy to use, once you get the hang of it. But you definitely need to know this important part of the process!
  • Take Control - With all the cutting that must be done, you should be the one to do it. You know the story and know what is necessary and what isn't. You also have to be honest with yourself. You have to cut it down to the essentials only -- and you have to visualize what that looks like. Will it make a good movie? Can you juice up any scenes to make them more visually stimulating? Cut, cut, and rewrite, then cut some more.
  • Don't Lose Control - Make sure you are a part of any rewriting or editing decisions if your MS gets picked up. They never leave it as is. Be flexible, but be heard!
  • Research - So important to research! Go read a screenplay of a movie you know... many are available in the public domain! Sign up for Script Writing newsletters and follow other screenwriters who seem to know what they're doing. Read up on formatting and tips for pacing. SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder is a splendid guideline for writing a screenplay (or writing a book!) It has loads of info you'd never think of, but it's true and eye-opening. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Screenplay writing can be invigorating and exciting. It can also be somewhat traumatizing. Either way, it's something to consider, especially with so many competitive venues for visual entertainment.

One last thing... Funny how things work out!
I planned my Taking Back Beast World campaign post topics over a month ago--that way I don't have to scrounge up ideas to write about. As you know, this last week was Screenplays. Then, by happy coincidence, I just received some exciting news: I made it to the Quarter Finals of a Script-writing contest!

A few months ago, I transformed JOLISSA - AN ANTI-PRINCESS STORY into a screenplay and submitted it to an animated script contest. I was so excited to find out I made the first cut! I don't know how much farther I'll go, but I've been floating with that awesome recognition. Wish me luck!

Ever consider writing a screenplay? Go for it!
Are there any books you'd like to see on the big or small screen?

Still giving away free ebooks! Just ask!

Stay distant, but stay in touch!
Stay smart and stay safe!

Monday, March 16, 2020

7 Ways for #Writers to Get Noticed

Hope everyone is well!
If you're cooped up, it's a great time to write, right?

Last week, I talked about the lonely, secluded life of a writer. This week, I'm telling you to face your fears and get out there and show the world your stuff! If you want your stories to be read, you're going to have to take some risks.

7 Ways for Writers to Get Noticed...

  1. Make Connections - whether virtually or face-to-face, you have to say something if you want to get noticed. Go to a conference and meet other writers and readers. Comment on tweets, follow folks who say stuff you can relate to. See what you have in common and be open to what you don't. You never know who you'll meet!
  2. Come up with a Gimmick - Some people have natural charisma or charm, others have to create something that draws people to them. It doesn't have to be something dumb or fake--it should represent you and your books. Like that guy on tik tok who rides a unicycle all the time - have you seen the one where he takes down a Star Wars AT-AT Walker? It's great! I haven't found mine yet, but I keep trying...
  3. Give Stuff Away - Raffles, Giveaways, Sales, Prizes, Contests... People like free stuff and some of them will notice you when they enter for free stuff.
  4. Post Pithy Prose on the Socials - There are a few twitter peeps I love reading. Some of them come up with great quotes or funny pics or thought-provoking questions. They have tons of followers. That's the way to do it! Unfortunately, I usually come up with my funny stuff while I'm at school away from my phone... (sure, that's it)
  5. Try New Avenues - Find your readers. Where do they hang out? IRL and online. Create videos, pin stuff, make stuff and post pics of your success and/or failure. The more you do, the better.
  6. Give and you will Receive - Guest posts, interviews, reviews, a street team. All great ways you can help other writers and they will help you in return!
  7. Don't be afraid to look Silly! In fact, the sillier the better! But it has to be authentic. Sing, dance, recite, dress up, act something out. As long as nobody gets hurt, go nuts.
Even if you only get noticed by a few dozen people, that's a dozen more than knew you before. Maybe they'll pass along the great story about you to others. You never know... If you don't try, you'll never be noticed. Keep at it!

Speaking of getting noticed, I'm almost done with my Taking Back Beast World campaign. It's going pretty well! I've seen interest, made new connections, and republished. Always more to do, but very happy with how it's going. (Still making my rounds to commenters on my guest posts--a good problem to have!)

Today, I'm guest posting at Juneta's wonderful Writer's Gambit blog talking about self-publishing joys and woes, plus a surprise. And my buddy Christine Rains is giving me a super duper review shout out. Hope you can stop by!

And need some hand sanitizer? I'm doing my part with FREE E-books this week, plus Discounted paper books with a free hand sanitizer with each order! Here's the FORM

What advice do you have for getting noticed?
Ever meet someone who turned out to be a great contact?

Happy Writing!
and Wash your hands =)

Monday, March 9, 2020

#WritersLife can be Lonely

Many writers and artists are introverts. It can be a lonely occupation. We sit alone with our thoughts, expressing them through written words and images. It takes a lot of courage for creatives to put their work out into the public for scrutiny and judgment.

But we must! We need to share our hard work - everyone needs validation and approval, despite some negative feedback which should help us improve and grow stronger, right?

Starting slowly, we send our precious works out into the world. First, we recruit betas and critique partners who are the best encouragers, giving insightful, constructive advice. When we feel confident (haha) to move on, we can hire an editor, or polish it as shiny as possible, and try querying, continuing to improve with each rejection--which will be many!

Once you are published, (and you will be published, but only if you keep at it!) that's when the really hard work starts. Marketing.

As a teacher, I consider myself more outgoing since I get up in front of very critical audiences on a daily basis! I'm not afraid to go to events and put myself out there. But as a writer, I'm a one woman show. I have to set my own writing goals and deadlines. I have to look for the events and try new things and leave my comfort zone. I have to make a commitment to myself to keep writing and figure out ways to market my books without annoying all my friends!

It can be very difficult to keep going with so many negatives to overcome. And it's all on us. The negatives are a direct reflection on our work, so it's hard not to take it personally or let it get us down!

And that's why I'm so thankful (again!) for the writing community. We all know how it is. I can't say enough how much I appreciate my awesome writer friends. They understand and won't let me give up!

If you'd like to join our weekly twitter chat where we discuss writerly things and life in general, we'd love to have you. Don't forget the hashtag!

Now this...
I had another great week during the TAKING BACK BEAST WORLD campaign! ONWARD is out there, and apparently it will make you cry. I don't like to cry at movies, especially animated features.

But like I said, it was a fantastic week! I had so many visitors at C. Lee McKenzie's & Alex Cavanaugh's blogs, I'm still getting around to visiting back! So here's a big

This week, I'll be talking about School Presentations at Sherry Ellis's place. She's also a great example of excellent MG writing and putting herself out there. Hope you can stop by!

Are you an introvert? Do you go to writerly events?
What advice do you have to encourage writers to get out there?

Happy Daylight Savings!

Monday, March 2, 2020

The #WritingCommunity is Priceless

Happy March & Happy IWSG Day!
I am so thankful for the writing community and all the great friends I've made from all over the world. No matter where we're from, we can chat and laugh and share our dreams without judgment--like we're at a virtual slumber party!

Last week, I posted a self evaluation quiz about phone addiction. I was happy to see responses similar to mine. Basically we use the phone as a tool of communication and information, but we could live without it if we had to. This is probably because older generations have lived without "smart" technology. And we need to pass that revelation on to future generations, so they don't turn into zombies... ha ha

One of the best uses for the internet has been connecting with other writers. The support, advice, and shared commiseration I've received from my online writer friends has been essential to me sticking with my writing. I'm especially grateful for the continued Insecure Writing Support Group "meetings" which keep me blogging at least once a month! Thanks, Alex!

My writer friends have been especially wonderful through this latest turn of events and helping me out with my Taking Back Beast World campaign...

The Disney/Pixar movie Onward, similarly set in my Beast World, comes out Friday. So far, the reviews are not good. I'm not sure how I feel about that... I'm not going to judge it--probably won't see it until it's free on Disney +. But it's rather disappointing. Like they've ruined it for me. It also makes me want to go to Dreamworks and offer my alternative (I'm researching it, soooo hard to get a pinky toe in the door, nevermind a foot!). For now, I'm going to finish out my campaign with the help of my wonderful friends, and hope Beast World gets noticed by more folks looking for an inspirational, relatable, comical, fantasy adventure!

Last week, Jemi Fraser left me a couple of fantastic reviews -- I saved announcing them for this week as that's my campaign topic the week.

Also this week, I'm so honored to be appearing at...

Finally, I want to give some back and tell you about a wonderful romance writer I know...

She's got a fabulous new release!

by Elizabeth Seckman

Hayden Matthews is trying to get as far away from love as possible. After wasting eight years in a failed marriage, she's ready for a nice, peaceful life where she can raise her daughter to be strong, independent, and happy. But to make that happen, she must fix her own life first.

Cam Vorelli has pined for Hayden since he was in grade school. Always in the friend-zone, he stood on the sidelines, his heart breaking, as she said I do to the wrong man. A man he knew didn’t deserve her, who could never love her as he did. But what could he say? She was marrying into his family. Cam would never break a holy vow much less be disloyal to his kin.

Until he sees the bruises on Hayden. Abuse is a game changer.

Hayden knows leaving a husband like Tag, with a hot temper, a badge, and a gun will be tricky. She needs someone she can trust. Not looking for a romantic entanglement, she calls Cam, with her soon-to-be ex fearful of his former NFL cousin as a bonus.

Though Cam comes to her rescue with the purest of intentions, he won't deny fate if Hayden starts to feel the same for him...

And it's available NOW for FREE!

About the Author
Elizabeth is a multi-published author of books for people who are believers in happily-ever- after, true love, and stories with a bit of fun and twists with their plots. The mother of four young men, she tackles laundry daily and is the keeper of the kitchen. She lives along the shores of the Ohio River in West Virginia, but dreams daily of the beach.

You'll love her style. Take it from me.

Don't be afraid to ask your friends for help. 
We're all ready to be there for each other!

Hope your March is off to a Springy start!

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