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It’s good to lie to yourself…

I received another round of edits I wasn’t expecting from my agent. They’re calling them tweaks. To my mind, some are, some are more far-reaching.

This week is busy and I won’t settle into my annual writer retreat with awesome hostess Joan Leacott until Monday or Tuesday, so even though I had a couple of free hours this afternoon, I thought, “Screw this. There’s no point in starting now.”

Which means, of course, that the moment I walked away from the computer, my brain sent me the perfect fixes for two of the larger editting issues. I jotted them down by hand quick before I forgot and rebooted the computer.

Thank you, Brain. Sorry I tricked you… not!

Brain

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Nobody Wants to Read your Sh*t (And what you can do about it.)

This morning, I re-wrote the dark moment/all is lost scene in UNPLUGGED even though yesterday I’d declared it done.

Why? Because I’ve been listening to this awesome free book. BUT… It’s only free till the end of June, then it’s back to nearly $10 on Amazon just for the ebook. Me? I converted it to text and had VoiceDream read it to me while I walked the dog. Awesome learning and an entertaining read.

I’ll be checking out his “War of Art,” too, when I get the chance.

Steven-Pressfield_Nobody-Wants-To-Read-Your-Shit

 

Why do you write? No, really. I wanna know.

In this recent post, “I Hate Self-Promotion,” Tim Grahl, one of the marketing gurus who offers good content for free, asks, “What is Your Why?”  In other words, why do you write?

He says that if you understand your “why,” you will stop hating self-promotion. So I’m thinking about my why.

I know I write to entertain. My books usually contain humor–either direct jokes and puns, or humorous situations–but that’s not enough. My latest book, UNPLUGGED (title subject to change), deals with tragedy. Oh, sure, my hero has a wry wit and a keen sense of observation, but it’s not exactly funny. So entertaining, yes, but is that enough?

After more thought, I realize I also write to encourage diversity. My characters always represent my real world: they’re not all white, able-bodied, straight people. I feature characters of color, differing sexualities, and physical disabilities.

Since I’m a “think out loud” kinda person, let’s talk about it. Food for thought has very few calories, right? So let’s all answer the question: Why do you write?

Why do you write graphic

Right to Death, Live to Write

Do you ever find that things come to you exactly when you need them? No sooner had my agent said, “Everyone’s looking for YA contemporaries right now,” when writerly pal Sherry Isaac said something that triggered THE BIG HIGH CONCEPT (and later, more input that served to round out TBHC).

Then a friend of Mr. Grumpy’s called me to ask if I could help his friend get her book published. The friend turned out to be both awesome and a lawyer, just when my plot points needed legal guidance.

Then a flyer came through the door advertising a Town Hall during which the discussion topic would be PHYSICIAN ASSISTED DYING. Tragically, I know more about the politics of Westeros than of Ontario. So yesterday I did the most political thing I’d done since marching with pro-choice hero Henry Morgentaler back in the 90s.

I went. And I took notes. What a fascinating discussion. Our MP, Carolyn Bennett, a physician by training, began the town hall with an open forum on any topic. People asked a wide range of questions and she was eloquent, informed and passionate on every subject, whether it was about the other party’s behaviour, or the proposed use of the North-West Passage. Wow!

Then she intro’d two experts on the subject of Physician Assisted Dying, both reputable and knowledgeable persons from relevant organizations. In February of this year, the law preventing physician assisted dying had been declared unconstitutional and struck down. It leaves a hole in the legal system during which the status quo stands, but the system is charged with developing a replacement law by February 2016.

Me? I’m all for it. But that’s not what I want to get into here. I’m a writer, I was interested in the process of the forum.

Taking the highly emotional subject matter out of the equation, the discussion itself was fascinating to me.

Each expert spoke for 10 minutes, rationally, factually, obviously preparedly. But following the separate speeches, they were allowed to debate each other. Then the emotions came into play.

Although they were diametrically opposed on the yes/no of the issue, when they elaborated, they were surprisingly close on their reasoning.

The language they used was interesting. I wouldn’t call it spin-doctoring, since that has pejorative connotations, but each used language positive to their stance, which only makes sense.

Jack Pasht, Director of Dying with Dignity, used words like “end of life care,” “choice,” “dignity,” etc. Michael Bach, EVP, Community Living Ontario, used words like “interveners” and “suicide.”

While Jack was pro and Michael was con, they both shared all the same concerns, that other forms of care should be considered/accessed first such as palliative care and pain strategies. That the decision process must have checks and balances. Both sides were concerned about potential mis-use of the law, should it be granted.

If I were in charge, I’d let the Jacks of the world run things, but in active consultation with the Michaels. They need each other.

The Town Hall was held in a nursing home, so most of the attendees were seniors. The general consensus in the room was that people should be allowed to make their own choices, which more than mirrored the stated fact that 84% of Canadians are in favor of physician assisted dying. In fact, I heard nothing to the contrary.

I left before the comments got heated, but by that point, nobody had mentioned God or religion. I can’t help but wonder how Oregon and Washington managed to get it passed.

So for the first time in ages, I actually hold an informed opinion. YMMV.

I might attend more of these things.

.  This book was recommended. I might pick up a copy. LetMeDecide-coverfront

 

 

Starlight Presents… Storm Grant!

Starlight Presents was kind enough to interview me and post it here: http://debrajess.com/2015/01/lost-boys-2-0-by-storm-grant/

Lots of good stuff about writing and my latest book.

Check it out!

starlight presents

How to write more words…

For the first time in a decade and a half, I took two consecutive weekends off. GASP!!!

And I think I might be onto something. I spend a couple of days focused on not writing, and then I actually feel like writing when I get back to my computer.

It’s not that I’ve written every day for 15 years. It’s that on days I didn’t write, I felt guilty about it. Actually taking time off and NOT FEELING GUILTY? Is new.

Might try it again next weekend.

In the meantime, less than a week till LOST BOYS 2.0 releases. I’m excited. How ’bout you?

Lost Boys with frame

Last chance to hang with Chuck Wendig and his Terrible Mind!

Tonight is the signing at Bakka-Phoenix. And tomorrow the awesome all-day Workshop with Chuck Wendig. Be there!

Chuck workshop flyer

You’ll laugh! You’ll cry! You’ll flinch!

Chuck workshop flyer

Awesome review of FEW ARE CHOSEN by Storm Grant

The delightful Lexxie at Unconventional Reviews gave FEW ARE CHOSEN 4 stars.

Published by: Riptide Publishing, on 20 February 2012
Genres: LGBT, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult, [Multicultural, Humor]
Pages: 45, Format: [Available in all formats]
4 Stars

Review: Few Are Chosen – Storm Grant

Few Are Chosen

Sparks fly between virgin teenage demon hunters when the Chosen One turns out to be the Chosen . . . Two?

Apprentice warrior Blake St. Blake is the Chosen One, raised by an ancient order to defend the world against evil. Well, maybe not the whole world, but at least his neighborhood in downtown Detroit. When a dreaded reflux demon is sighted in a local cemetery, Blake is sent off to his very first battle, armed with his sword, his super-senses, his black leather duster, and a few well-rehearsed one-liners.

But another Chosen One gets in Blake’s way—an apprentice wizard named Shadow. While the boys argue about who’s the more chosen of the two, the demon escapes.

Blake wants to be angry, but it turns out he and Shadow have a lot in common. Besides, Shadow’s pretty cute, and Blake can’t help but think that the wizard’s skills (and hands and lips and other bits) might make the perfect complement to his. Blake and Shadow are brave enough to challenge the reflux demon in a second battle, but will they have the courage to tell each other how they feel?

*I received a free copy of Few Are Chosen from the author in exchange of an honest review*

Few are Chosen is a sweet paranormal young adult story where two boys meet and fall in love under pretty strange circumstances. There are demons, fights, and a creepy cemetery. As many other teenagers before them, both Blake and Shadow think they know better than the adults, and they are pretty sure they can fight their fights on their own.

It was a little funny to see how differently they have been raised, even if they’re both basically demon-hunters. Blake thinks he is The Chosen, whereas Shadow has always known that he’s the chosen one from his coven. When they fight a huge and disgusting demon together, they also check each other out a little, and their timidness is really cute. Written in first person from Blake’s point of view, it brings out both his sense of humor and his insecurities,

I would definitely read more about these two, it could be a prequel to a series, and I’d pick up the series in a heart-beat. There are some pretty hot scenes in a mausoleum towards the end, but I still maintain that Few Are Chosen is a YA story – everything happens in the dark.

He laid his hand on top of mine, and stared deep into my eyes. I glanced down at where his hand covered mine. Even in the near dark, I found the contrast of our light and dark skin tones exciting. To be honest, I found everything about him exciting.

“I can’t hold it much longer,” Shadow panted. “Slay the fucker. Now!”

He pulled away an inch or so, but I reached up and cupped my hands around his shoulders and pulled him back toward me. Our noses bumped when we both turned the same way, but we worked it out on the next try, and our lips met again, more firmly this time.

Lexxie signature (un)Conventional Bookviews

 

 

Thank you, Lexxie. You are awesome!

 

#1 with a bullet

This is what the Amazon listing pages for THE RELUCTANT REAPER look like for both the US and Canada: (I added the red burst.)

RR Bestseller

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