Tuesday, 13 September 2016

9 Easy Ways To Create Conflict In Your Story

Stories need conflict otherwise your readers will have nothing to cheer for, nothing to be worried about, and no mystery to figure out. Conflict drives a story and keeps the plot moving forward. And most importantly, the conflict provides the catalyst for the growth of your characters.

Here are few sure fire tips you can start using today to get your character into hot water and keep your readers invested.

1. Let every stroke of good luck change the plot so that your character's path to their goal is now littered with new and potentially worse obstacles.

2. Get emotional! Show your characters' motivation in each scene. Pack it with resistance. Everyone can't be going for the same goal.

3. Your character should have a major flaw that prevents them from reaching their goal.

4. Give your protagonist two motives. They must sacrifice one goal in order to achieve the other.

5. Let the action be created by the character's decisions and not because of coincidence. This is especially effective if they make the wrong decision for the right reason.

6. When faced with choices, there should be positive and negative consequences. But your character must use motivation that makes sense for the situation.

7. Make sure that any solution they come up with to solve a problem actually makes things worse until they get it right.

8. Make one character passionately opinionated, always ready for an argument.

9. Take away your main character's greatest source of support at the most critical time.

I hope this was helpful. Happy writing!

Monday, 5 September 2016

A Second Chance

This past July the second book in the Nefertari Hughes Mystery series, DIADEM OF DEATH, was due to be launched. I was extremely excited about this book and head over heels in love with the cover. Unfortunately, Fierce Ink Books closed shop just shy of the publication date.

Based out of Halifax and dedicated to publishing quality young adult novels by Canadians, the staff behind Fierce worked tirelessly and passionately for four years, but ultimately they were not able to continue in the competitive field of publishing. I will always be appreciative for the experience with Fierce Ink and how they brought Asp of Ascension and its characters into the world.

Although it was a sticky situation to start shopping around a sequel, I didn't have to wait for long to find a home for the series. I'm thrilled to announce that Blue Moon Publishers has taken on the series and will be releasing Asp of Ascension and Diadem of Death in the Spring of 2017.

I'm not sure how the new covers will look, but I know Terry and Maude and the rest of the gang are in very capable hands. As of today, I'm busy writing the third book in the series and outlining ideas for a fourth.

Again, I'm grateful for what Fierce did for my writing career and I wish the team the best of luck in the future. They're all very talented and I'll be championing their future endeavors.

If you want to purchase the original Asp of Ascension, it's still available, but only for limited time.

Amazon (Canada)
Amazon (US)

Friday, 19 August 2016


Most people just skip this introductory paragraph so I'm not going to put anything important here. Oh, wait! There's a contest at the bottom of this post so make sure you enter.

Before we reveal the cover, a few quick facts about BLACK FRIDAY:

1. It's the second book in the NIGHT SHIFT series.

2. It's self published

3. There are a lot of twists so buckle up.

4. The original title was DISPLAY IN PROGRESS

5. It's 403 pages long. After editing, the novel was cut by 40, 000 words. I know, right? You're welcome.

6. There's a funeral.

7. You will cheer a few times.

8. You will laugh.

9. You will cry.

10. FINAL SALE will be the next and last book in this series.

Now, a bit about the novel...

Where there's smoke, there's fire.

It's been a month since nineteen-year-old Daniel Gale survived the brutal attack that almost cost him everything that he loved. As the culprit waits behind bars for a court date, Daniel and Mary spend every night shift researching Willard's history as a vaudeville theater and its main act, a ruined magician. They are searching for answers that will unlock the mystery of Mary's existence so she can finally escape the luxurious department store.

But an untimely death of an ally results in a shocking letter of confession from beyond the grave, making both Daniel and Mary question everything they thought was true. Under the watchful eye of a strict new night supervisor, Daniel desperately enlists assistance from a dubious source, unwilling to give up on saving Mary. However, his hope is soon shattered when new clues reveal the disturbing truth of Mary’s past—a truth that may destroy them both.

Oh, creepy! Now scroll down for the awesome cover.

Thanks to Emma Dolan who continues to give this series snazzy faces!

Here are some fun things to do...

Add BLACK FRIDAY on Goodreads.
Check out the Black Friday Pinterest board with character photos and soundtrack choices.

Available to buy now!
Amazon US
Amazon Canada

Congratulations, you made it to the end of this post. Now go ahead and enter the contest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 4 August 2016

I Am Currently...

Loving: That my garden is producing the most tasty peas, beans, and carrots. I can't wait for the tomotoes. It's a universal truth that a toasted bacon and tomato sandwich enjoyed with a cup of tea can fix anything. 

Reading: Reader, I Married Him. A collection of short stories edited by Tracy Chevalier, inspired by that epic line from Jane Eyre.  

Watching: I just finished season one of STRANGER THINGS. My thirteen-year-old son and I made a ritual of watching one episode (okay maybe two) every night. I loved the 80's references (JAWS poster, Tupperware, music...) and my son liked the sci-fi angle stating, "This is better than X-Files." 

The kids steal the series. They have cool bikes with lights and walkie talkies and play Dungeons and Dragons in the basement and call each other jerk face. And holy Hannah, everybody smokes! And don't even get me started on the fabulous hair and clothes. I miss the 80's, a time when people weren't bent over their cell phones. The series ends with some lingering questions, leaving room for a second season. I'll be listening to Duran Duran while I wait.

Thinking about: What to make for supper. Seriously. Every single night. Why is meal planning so hard? Please send me your 'family favourite' recipes.

Anticipating: Launching BLACK FRIDAY, the sequel to NIGHT SHIFT, my YA paranormal mystery series. I've been working on these books for eight years and I finally decided to self-publish the trilogy. It's been a sharp learning curve as an Indie author, but totally worth the result. My heart is so happy they're finally real books out in the real world. Check out the Pinterest board.

Here's the cover I made for Wattpad, the official fancy pants one from the designer will be revealed in style in a few weeks!

When a shocking letter of confession from beyond the grave makes Daniel and Mary question everything they thought was true, he desperately enlists assistance from a dubious source. However, his hope is soon shattered when new clues reveal the disturbing truth of Mary’s past—a truth that may destroy them both.

Wishing: Netflix would make a series out of the Night Shift. But who would play Daniel? Any suggestions?

Making me happy: Yoga. It helps my writer brain, plus my hip flexors have never had so much attention.

How about you?

Friday, 22 July 2016

Cover Reveal for HEAR THE WOLVES

It's survival of the strongest in a contemporary, girl-versus-wild middle-grade debut from Fire & Flood author Victoria Scott

Sloan is a hunter.

So she shouldn't be afraid of anything. But ever since her mom left the family and she lost hearing in one ear in a blizzard, it's been hard to talk to people, and near-impossible to go anywhere or do anything without her dad or big sister within eyesight -- it makes her too scared to be on her own.

When they leave her home alone for what should only be two nights, she's already panicked. Then the snow starts falling and doesn't stop. One of her neighbors is hurt in an accident. And the few people still left in Rusic need to make it to the river and the boat that's tied there -- their only way to get to a doctor from their isolated Alaska town.

But the woods are icy cold, and the wolves are hungry. Sloan and her group are running out of food, out of energy, and out of time. That's when the wolves start hunting them . . .

HEAR THE WOLVES, releasing from Scholastic on March 28, 2017

Scroll down for the eye candy, then enter the rafflecopter contest to win a galley copy!!


Enter the contest! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Who Will Survive NIGHT SHIFT

Who will survive NIGHT SHIFT?

I’m starting an online campaign to promote an upcoming sale of my young adult mystery, Night Shift. I’m hoping to sell enough copies to fund the publishing costs of the sequel, Black Friday. In order to promote this event, I’m using a platform called Thunderclap to flood Twitter and Facebook with links to the sale.
Thunderclap is a new website that allows people to pledge a Tweet or Facebook message all on the same day—and at the exact time—in order to achieve the maximum effect. It’s kind of like an online flash mob to drive potential readers to check out Night Shift.

Click this link to my Thunderclap page and chose either “Support with Tweeter” or “Support with Facebook” or both! It is completely safe and will automatically post one message on your behalf. Then add your name to the Thunderclap and on July 18th everyone that has signed up will automatically post a link to the message about Night Shift and help spread the word about the sale!

Never underestimate the power of one click! With your help thousands of people will be checking out Night Shift!

Why am I using Thunderclap?          

Night Shift is self-published so I’m responsible for paying for the editing services, ebook formatting, and cover design. In addition, I’ve been promoting Night Shift on my own, taking the paperback editions to bookstores to sell on consignment and organizing online contests and giveaways.
With Thunderclap, I have the ability to reach many more potential readers. I’m hoping the spotlight on Night Shift will engage a large enough audience to help me fund the publishing costs of the sequel, Black Friday
I need 100 people to sign up or the Thunderclap won't happen,so click on this link and create some good karma.

Thank you!

Friday, 8 July 2016

How Yoga Saved My Writing

I've been going to Halifax Yoga for almost three months and I'm completely in love with the classes. No matter how busy my day, I always make time for a trip to my mat.

But it's not only the physical benefits I enjoy (I can finally do The Crow Pose and it makes me feel like a superhero), it's the philosophy as well. During class the instructor will give encouragement to help you keep hold of a difficult pose by sharing certain yoga values. I believe I was trying not to fall out of Reverse Warrior when I heard this one...

Be present. This is your pose. Take what you need.

A lightbulb went off inside my heart (a true a-ha! moment). I relaxed, I focused, I let go of the fear, I reached higher...and then I fell to the floor. But that's okay because it meant I was going for what I needed. There was no sense of failure and when I did the pose on the other side, I totally nailed it.

The real epiphany though, happened on the walk home afterwards. I'd been wrestling with my writing career and felt like I was at a crossroads. Do I keep writing? Am I justified in giving so much of my free time to something that wasn't meeting my (or the publishing world's) expectations? There was a sense of panic I couldn't explain.

However, after that class, I felt a connection between the message to help me embrace the pose and how it crossed over into my everyday life. I'd forgotten how writing used to fulfill me. I was concerned with the opinions of strangers. Success seemed elusive. But once I was able to fully realize this truth and face the fear behind it, the worry and urgency slipped away.

I will write for enjoyment. I will take as long as I want to write the book of my heart. That will be my success. I will take what I need.
Since that class I've been cataloging some of my favourite a-ha! moments from yoga. I hope these little nuggets of inspiration help you with your writing—or whatever you are needing guidance with.

Your bliss is where your mind wanders, where your energy is focused. Follow that.

Trust that where you are is the right place for you at this moment.

You become what you judge.

If you're not getting back the energy you give, drop what isn't working and let it go.

Find that place of peace, that place of stillness inside you. It's always there.

It takes mindfulness to be still and in the moment.

Give gratitude for your abilities and rise to the possibilities.

All your energy should give back.

Force is fleeting. Power is courage. And courage is following your bliss when everyone else is doing something different.

Embrace challenges by knowing that even if you don't achieve your goal, you expand and are forever changed.

The light in me acknowledges and is grateful for the light in you.

Even in chaos there is opportunity to nurture and be grateful.

Know that seeds of future happiness have been planted for you already.

Imagine, wish, dream. Send out the vibration and you'll attract what you desire.

~Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post please share! Namaste.

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