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Genre Hopping

Published July 4, 2012 by kendrajames4

Let’s talk about writing. Are you a reader or a writer? I know you will all say yes to the reader part. I don’t know any writers who aren’t voracious readers. It’s part of the writer’s package. We read and it stirs us to share our own words and thoughts. By reading, we learn what works and what doesn’t. We learn the grammar rules, develop our voice, and then learn what grammatical rules we can break in creating that voice.  

Myself, I LOVE rhetorical devices. I took an awesome course with the wonderful Margie Lawson and got to practice many of them. I think she teaches about 28 of them in her course. And, me, I was up to practice every one of them. I have to frequently rein myself in and delete some of my darling rhetorical devices. It’s usually when I read a piece in my writers critique group that I realize I am overdoing it. They tease me about being too ‘Harlequiny’. Then I have to decide which of my wonderful words or phrases I want to keep and which I will save for another day.

But oh it is so much fun playing with words. I guess that is why I am a writer. 

I also love writing in several genres. I think writers sell themselves short when they say they can only write romance or mystery or adult or children’s. Being a writer gives us license to write whatever we want. We may prefer one genre or age group over another, but it is only our own mind that is limiting us.

WHEN HEARTS COLLIDE was my first book published. It is still an ebook but is supposed to be coming out in print soon. The cover is gorgeous so I can’t wait to see it in print. I also have a another couple of romances that I am working on, one contemporary, one medical romance. But let my imagination wander and it will head toward a mystery. I love to come up with a nice, intriguing puzzle especially if it means I can develop some complicated bad guy and find some interesting way to bring him to justice. 

But I found that I also love writing children’s stories and have several that I may do something with. From Farley the pig, to Kiriana’s Power, a fantasy, to The Wooden Statue, a goosebumps novel…

I guess I’m a bit ADHD and find I loose interest easily. My creative juices work much better when I have more than one project to work one.

And we should be writing on more than one project. After getting many, many rejections, its nice to be more than a one book wonder and to have something else to offer when that acceptance letter or phone call or email finally comes. And if we keep working on improving our craft and sending it out there, someday, we will get the call, the email, the letter.

With myself, I got the offer for WHEN HEARTS COLLIDE from Soul Mate Publishing in the September of 2011. Then within a couple of days of Halloween I got an offer for GHOSTLY JUSTICE, a paranormal YA, which came out in April of this year. Wasn’t Halloween an apropos time for a contract for a ghost story. Then just before Christmas I got a contract for my women’s suspense, MISSING CLAYTON, due out in July. I also have two more contracts, one for IN HIS FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS, a YA adventure story, and WITHOUT CONSENT,  a medical/police thriller, both hopefully out before the end of the year. 

It is so much fun to expand our horizons, test our limits, let our imagination go wild. Who knows where you can go? Think it, dream it, live it. One day it will all be yours. 

 

 

RELEASE GHOSTLY JUSTICE

Published April 14, 2012 by kendrajames4

 Well, today is a very exciting day for me and I am thrilled to be  have the opportunity to share my excitement with you.  

Today is my BRD, my Book Release Day. GHOSTLY JUSTICE, my paranormal youth novel, is being released today. Actually Amazon and Barnes and Noble jumped the gun and it was up on their sites on April 12th. And somebody has already bought a copy. I have to confess. It was me. I couldn’t resist. I just had to have a copy on my ipad. I emailed a friend that it was out already and she bought one too. That’s two sold. 

So, I’m doing the happy dance. It has been a long road but all the time and effort is worth it. When you go to your publisher’s site, in this case, Black Opal Books, or go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and you see your name and the cover of your book, well did I say tingles all over. 

Here’s a bit about me. Known as my official bio an picture.

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Award-winning author, Bev Irwin, lives in London, Ontario, with three assorted cats. One that hid in her car when she moved from the farm and two others dropped off by her daughter on two different occasions. Her three children have flown the coup, but her granddaughter, Jasmine, is a frequent visitor.

As a registered nurse, she likes to add a touch of medical to her romance and mystery novels. She writes YA, children’s, and poetry. She prefers spending time in her garden, writing, and reading to being in the kitchen.

Her debut novel, WHEN HEARTS COLLIDE, a contemporary romance, came out in December of 2011 with Soul Mate Publishing under the pen name of Kendra James

That’s me and this is a bit about how I got here. The road has been long and full of twist and turns. There is so much work that leads up to this day. 

First, you have to want to write, have to write, otherwise you could never stick with it to the bitter end. Not that the end is bitter, hopefully not, but getting to the end of any book is not easy.  

There are so many challenges  

First, you have to create a world that readers want to spend time in, characters that they care about, a plot line, or series of events that carry them along to that bitter, or sweet ending. You have to have a beginning that grabs the reader in the first few lines. There is even a book for that called THE FIRST FIVE LINES.  

That sounds petty of readers not to give you more of a chance than that but everyone is so busy today that sometimes that is all you have. Not an easy task. Most writers do the beginning then go on to finish the book then come back to polish those first five lines. They read them over and over again just to get it the best it can be. 

It’s always fun to start a book. You have a great idea. You get your characters into action, develop inner and outer goals and conflicts. Then you run out of ‘real’ troubles for your characters. And you have to have troubles. Who wants to read about a character who is a goody-two-shoes and does everything right. Boring.  

We need to get our hero or heroine up at tree with a dog snapping at their heels so they have to stay up there for awhile. Then you might let them down for a bit (the dog fell asleep), but soon, you have to get them back up that tree with the dog awake and snapping again.  

This keeps up the readers interest and keeps the pages turning. 

This is hard work. It’s not easy to keep filling those pages and making every page interesting enough that readers don’t put the book down.  They might just pick up another book and forget all about yours. Now that would be a bad thing.  

So what do I do to help the creative juices flowing? As I live alone, I like having noise in the background, either a CD, or the television. I have a couple of ‘creative brain’ CD’s that I put on. I also have a hypnosis app on my itouch that I like to use. It has me sitting on my car as one of my goals to have financial freedom and have the car paid off. It also has a picture of me with Lee Child as my inspiration to be a bestselling author some day.

I think about the great plots in his book and it gets me thinking. I start with the ‘what ifs’. Try that for your story. It’s a great exercise to see what trouble you can find for your characters and which road will take them to the eventual resolution of the story.

I’m a registered nurse and I’ve worked in many areas of nursing which gives me a myriad of stories and ideas to draw from. 

Think about your job, your co-workers, your family, your neighbors. I’m sure there will be a few story ideas and ammunition to keep your story compelling, and that important detail, the reader turning the pages.

So get out your pen or computer out and get your characters up that tree and see how long you can keep them there.

Hope you enjoyed my bit of wisdom and thank you all for coming and sharing my special day. 

Here is GHOSTLY JUSTICE!!

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 Here is an excerpt   

                                        PROLOGUE

                                           AMANDA

After all these years, I could finally feel something. It was as if a jolt of electricity surged through me, and my heart almost began to beat again.

At first, I didn’t know what caused it. I only knew an undeniable force drew me to my bedroom window. With each step, the tingle of fingernails tracking down my spine increased. The thought passed through me, maybe I should be afraid. But really, what was there to be afraid of? It couldn’t get worse. What’s worse than being dead?

I floated toward the window. Two girls were walking in front of the house. They looked about my age, maybe younger – fifteen, sixteen. I was drawn to the one with the dark curly hair. Her friend called her Daria. I reached out my hand, called her name. She looked up at the window. She sensed me. I knew it. I saw her shudder, but she kept walking.

I watched until they turned the corner at Colburn Street. Then the energy vanished and a profound sadness filled me. Even playing the piano held no joy that day.

I have to talk to her. But how?

I gave up trying to contact the living years ago. It became so tiresome—appearing in front of them, touching them, talking to them, yet never being noticed.

Until now.

Every day, I watch for her. Every day, I try to make contact. Every day I plead for her to look up at my window again. Two weeks have passed now. And every day, she hurries past; her gaze focused on the street ahead.

I must talk to her.

Daria is the first person I’ve been able to communicate with since the day I was murdered.

 

And here are pre pub blurbs

                            KUDOS for Ghostly Justice

 

Ghostly Justice by Bev Irwin is one of those books that can easily span the bridge between YA and adult fiction. Though the characters are teenagers and still in high school, like Harry Potter and Twilight, the story is fascinating enough to appeal to much broader audiences. Our heroine, Daria, is young, but she’s also spunky, creative, clever, and reluctantly courageous—my favorite kind of gal. And she is most definitely not pleased when she discovers that she is psychic and can talk to ghosts. Well, one ghost, at least…Irwin has added a well-rounded cast of secondary characters to help Daria in her quest, and together with a strong plot, excellent dialogue and a few surprises along the way, they all combine to make this book a very enjoyable read. – Taylor, Reviewer

 

Ghostly Justice was not quite what I expected when I learned it was YA. Even though the characters are teens, the subject matter—some of it anyway—was very adult. However, Bev Irwin seems to be a talented author and handled the sensitive issues with the same aplomb with which she did the scenes where her teenage characters break into an abandoned house. Daria, our very reluctant heroine, doesn’t want to be special. She especially doesn’t want to talk to dead people or to hear her best friend’s thoughts. She wants to keep clear of her mom’s creepy boyfriend, snag a hot, sexy boyfriend of her own—who doesn’t—and to be left in peace…The other characters in the book are equally well-developed and three-dimensional, the plot has some very nice twists and turns, and Irwin’s writing is superb. – Regan, Reviewer

 

                     GHOSTLY JUSTICE will be available on April 14th!!!!

  

 

 

www.blackopalbooks.com/

www.soulmatepublishing.com

www.amazon.com   

www.barnesandnoble.com

www.bevirwin.com

 

            And here is    MISSING CLAYTON  coming in June with Black Opal Books

 

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I’m visiting Paris today, join me

Published March 21, 2012 by kendrajames4

Hello. Come join me. I’m on the road today. 

My alter ego is sitting at a cafe in Paris enjoying the sights and lapping up all that French culture and creme. I’m just sitting here drinking my French Vanilla Cappuccino and having a few crackers and brie.   Just watching and listening to the Parisienne people and the tourists from all over the world is giving me goosebumps. The coffee is hot and the men hotter. 

Come join me. If cappuccino is not to your taste how about a demitasse of expresso. Company would be wonderful. 

After Paris, I’m on to Tuscany, and later to the French Riviera to droll over the gorgeous French men in skimpy bathing suits. I’ll swoon as they speak one of the most romantic languages in the world.

Sure you don’t want to come. I’ve just ordered some delicious crepes. There’ll be enough 

Here’s a couple of new books that might help me realize my dream.

 

This middle-grade youth novel will be available on Amazon as soon as I figure out how to format it.

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This book will be available from Black Opal Press on April 14th!!!!

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Promotion yuck

Published February 15, 2012 by kendrajames4

Hello all

Its a beautiful day. Snow covering the ground, but not on the roads, and the sun is there somewhere. Yeah winter in Canada.

I should be doing edits on my next release but I’ve have spent a large part of the morning ordering promotional stuff.

Will it help?  Who knows.  It’s kind of like a crap shoot.  You try and write the best book you can. You really try. (But still people find mistakes. I did edit and reedit it, honest.) Then you get an publisher or an agent and you think your work is done. Wrong again. (Kind of like those edits you thought you caught).

This is where the work begins. And what works? Does anyone really know?

A great cover helps. Thank you to our Soul Mate cover artist who does an amazing job on our covers. I’m still thrilled with mine. Hoping to get Jimmy on my next book too.

So you’ve got a great cover. But that is only helpful if someone sees it.

Another problem. What is the best way to get it out there? Blogs, contests, interviews… I have a friend who set up a table at Walmart one or two days a week. He got lots of exposure. Me, I’d like to have that hot little cover (and the book behind it) to wave at everyone who goes to the checkout. That is until I see someone I know. Then I might turn away in embarrassment. But I want my book to sell so I’m going to get over that and book my table at Walmart as soon as I have a book in hand.

But I have to be like the priest I knew and say, “Have I got a deal for you.”

I get promotional stuff from Vista Print and when I show people my ‘trading card’ they all ask, “Can I keep this.” (Did I already say thank you to the great cover artist and Jimmy Thomas?) Doesn’t mean they are buying my book but maybe someone will see it and buy it.

And there comes the best way to sell your book. Have someone see it, read it, like it, and tell their friends. Not always the easiest. I’m not one to push my book on people I know.

Promotion can get so expensive. So here is where I tell you about that deal I mentioned.

When you order something from Vistaprint and get their emails, they offer some great deals that you don’t find out about by looking at their site. Like how does 250 business cards for free sound, or how about 100 postcards for free. I have ordered the postcards and put two images on the one. (If you call Vistaprint customer service they can help edit to get both on the one.) Then I cut them in half and I have 200 ‘trading cards to hand out.

Or this where I put one image and then my information on the other side. You can give it away like this or fold it in half and it makes a cute gift card with your image on the front and your info on the back. The inside is blank so you or someone else can write inside. I’d like to get a bunch of these out to conferences or writing workshops.

I’ve emailed out group the add as you have to have it to get the deals. they also have 250 free business cards, 50 small magnets for $4.74 and a small banner (50 cm/90cm) on sale for $3.99.  Tip: when you get the email and click on one item, it will take you there for that one offer. Put that in your cart and then go back to the email and click on the next deal you want until your cart is full of all the sale goodies. You can’t get the deals on the site.

So, I hope you like my deals. I have Scottish heritage, maiden name Wallace (yes related to the William Wallace in Barbs book). I do so love a deal.

Now back to my edits. But the most important tip for last. Write the next book and get it out there. When we are ‘discovered’ we don’t want to be a one book wonder.

Kendra waving to all.

 

Kendra on inspiration

Published January 25, 2012 by kendrajames4

Writers are often asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Where do I get them?

Everywhere.

But then that leads to a problem for me. I have so many ideas surfing around in my brain it makes it very confusing about which one should I follow. Which one will lead me along enough of a twisting path that a reader would want to continue the journey with me accepting that they may have to suspend belief along the way.

I also need to find an idea that I will want to continue with to the end. I am a great starter. I have so many projects started, WIP’s that may never see the light of day. But this year I want to change that. I have resolutions. To name a few: I want to get my house in order, give away cloths and possessions I no longer need, clean up papers I have been letting pile up for years, give away some of the books that are flooding my house, and most importantly, to organize my writing area so that I can find room to write. Hopefully, weeding through my house will make room for more to come into my life.

This year, I have goals.  Concrete goals. The main one is to finish off all the WIP’s and get them out there so they can find a home. I plan on shooting an arrow for the sun and if I hit a few stars on the way, that is okay too.

Too lofty you say. Maybe.

But I have a dream. A dream of having my writing be the only job I need to sustain my lifestyle, all the techy gadgets I love and the travelling I want to do, not to mention all those books I want to write.

Remember all those ideas surfing around in my brain. Well, with a lot of will power, a heaping dose of inspiration, and an angel on my shoulder, I hope to give those ideas a voice.

So here’s to inspiration!

Kendra James (also writing as Bev Irwin)

Christmas giving

Published December 21, 2011 by kendrajames4

Seasons Greetings to All

Well we are four days away from the big day and excitement is rising. Christmas trees are up and full of lights and beautiful decorations. Some have presents under the tree and some don’t. I know for myself, I am scaling way down this year and buying very little for my adult children. As for my nine year old granddaughter, Jasmine, she is not getting a lot. She doesn’t need much and her mother has told me that anything I buy for her stays at my house. So we are doing minimal this year.

She is a very creative child and I like to encourage that. My addiction to pens and papers and crafts goes a long way to entertain her when she visits.

I’m not sure I’m happy about the notes on my windows when the cat went missing for a couple of days. She wanted him to know we loved him and for him to come back. At least the notes were in glass scribblers. The felt ornaments she did made a lot less mess.

But I wanted to say thank you to the wonderful givers in this world.

I work at a facility for children with behavioural and mental problems. We have a school and a residence where children come and stay for varying lengths of time and we try to teach them better coping skills and how to make better choices in their actions. The children are not our only focus. We also help their families learn better methods to deal with the child and their behaviour.

The last couple of years have been hard for families, and this year was looking particularly bleak for some of them. Remember that tree  with the presents under it? Well some families don’t have any and have no chance of Santa coming to their house.

That is where the givers of this world came up to the plate. I am so thrilled to say that the staff and the community rallied up to our plate and now 85 of our families will have some presents under their tree.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas and may the new year be a year of peace, love, health and may all your dreams come true.

Kendra James

This is my children’s favorite cookie recipe.

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

4 ounces (115 grams) semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 large (90 grams)eggwhites

1/4 cup (25 grams) cocoa powder(regular or Dutch-processed)

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated whitesugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon purevanillaextract

2 1/2 cups (220 grams) sweetenedcoconut(shredded or flaked)

 

Happy dancing in galoshes

Published November 30, 2011 by kendrajames4

Hello from London, Ontario, Canada. It is officially winter!

White stuff! Everywhere.

Yes, we had our first snowfall last night. Of course I’m not ready. Snow tires are sitting nicely wrapped in plastic in the garage. Is somebody going to put those things on?

I guess that would be me. But its only November in Canada. Why would I think I needed them yet. That might be one thing I should have taken off my ever expanding to do list.

But the snow (brrrr) came a day to late for me. Unfortunately, it followed twenty-four hours of rain that flooded my basement with five inches of water. I wondered why the cat was crying down there but wouldn’t come up to see me. He finally made it unscathed and still dry. Maybe If he’d been wet I might have discovered the water sooner.

Alas, I came home at 10:30 pm from seeing Breaking Dawn (what an eye opening ending) to find water up to the bottom step. I had to go buy cat food and litter as their containers were floating around the basement. My cats haven’t learned to swim yet.

Thank heavens for wonderful neighbors. Kate saw my basement light at 11:30 pm and called to see if I had any flooding. (I did in the spring) Moments later she appeared at my back door in her rubber boots and sweats. I would have put on my rubber riding boots but did I mention they were in the basement under the five inches of water. Barefoot and jeans turned up to the knees was my second option.

Kate and I worked at getting rid of the majority of the water until 1 am. Do you know that a fish tank tubing works great to siphon water? We thought ourselves very inventive at that time of night.

The water is pretty well gone now but I’m exhausted from the effort. I don’t even want to think about all the stuff down that I will have to sift through and throw out do to water damage.

I took a ‘me’ day from work to deal with the mess and maybe, just maybe, get some writing done. There are so many ideas floating (oops bad pun) around in my head that want to make it onto the page. After I have a snooze, and recuperate, I might just catch some of those elusive critters and stick them to a page.

Well, next week I’ll be doing the happy dance. (Hopefully not still in my galoshes.) My book, WHERE HEARTS COLLIDE,  will be coming out with Soul Mate Publishing on Dec 7th, and will be available on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble shortly after that.

Today is the last day for the Soul Mate Author Contest, so leave a comment and get in line for some great prizes. The winner will be announced tomorrow. You might even win a copy of my book, or one of the other terrific books from the wonderful authors at Soul Mate. And if by some awful twist of fate you are not a romance reader, there are other great prizes to be won.

I’m off to check the basement again. Maybe it was all a bad dream and my basement will be dry as the proverbial bone. I did mention I like paranormal, didn’t I.

Kendra James