Announcing The Somewhere I See You Again by Nancy Thorne

About the Book:

Hannah will resort to anything to save her mother’s life. Including blackmail. Even if the target is the former boyfriend of her goody-goody best friend, Stacy.

Except, he just moved to the West Coast, and now it’s up to Hannah to convince Stacy to hitchhike with her cross-country to confront him.

It’s 1971. Change is happening. And Hannah’s understanding of the world is about to be tested by those she encounters along the way, including a gorgeous draft dodger.

Someone is about to face a deathly experience. But it’s not Hannah’s mother.

The Somewhere I See You Again is an extraordinary story about the life-changing power of love and friendship against insurmountable odds. The ebook was released on June 2nd, the print book will be released this August.

A bit about Nancy:

Inspired by the romance and courage of youth, Nancy Thorne is an award-winning YA novelist and short story writer.

When not writing books or reading, you can find Nancy going on road trips or conjuring up untested recipes for brave family members and friends.

She lives in Whitby with her family, along with an energetic Labrador and entertaining corgi.

Nancy is a member of the Historical Novel Society, CANSCAIP, Toronto Romance Writers, and The Writer’s Union of Canada.

Find The Somewhere I See You Again:

Amazon

Find Nancy:

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NancyThorne.com

Announcing The Girl Who Cried Banshee by Kim McDougall

About the Book

Kyra Greene is a pest controller, not an exterminator. She has to be clear about that when the pests can be anything from pixies to dragons. But when her fledgling business teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, Kyra takes on a job that blurs those lines.

Now she’s deep in the lawless Inbetween, trying to clear a mysterious infestation from a fishing village. But these homesteaders won’t make it easy for her. Superstitious natures are easily provoked. And a banshee living in the hills above the village makes a good scapegoat.

Can Kyra find the source of an infestation before the homesteaders force her to make a life-or-death decision?

Ride along with Kyra Greene—pest controller to extraordinary beasts—into the Inbetween, where magic is the only rule of law.

The Girl Who Cried Banshee is a Valkyrie Bestiary prequel and takes place ten years before Dragons Don’t Eat Meat.

A Bit About Kim

If Kim McDougall could have one magical superpower, it would be to talk to animals. Or maybe to shift into animal form. Definitely, fantastical critters and magic often feature in her stories. So until Kim can change into a griffin and fly away, she writes dark paranormal action and romance tales from her home in Ontario, Canada. Visit www.KimMcDougall.com for more information about Kim’s books and to join the her reading group.

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Announcing Double-Dog Dare Ya: D.E.M.ON. Tales Book 4 by MJ Moores and Nanci Pattenden

About the Book:

Grounded in Time

When an entire town is locked in déjà vu, the D.E.M.ON. agents are relieved to manage a simple case for a change. That is, until they link the disappearance of two young boys to the time-altering supernatural clouds invading Keswick – and discover the creature at fault.

It’s up to Junior to make a connection with the hormonal teen hatchling to save the kids. But not everyone wants the boys found or the beast banished …

Dive into the fourth installment of D.E.M.ON. tales, where Men in Black meets Supernatural in a tongue-in-cheek blend of action and humour. Double-Dog Dare Ya was released on April 30th.

A bit about MJ and Nanci:

Nanci Pattenden and MJ Moores have been writing critique partners for almost 10 years. They began writing very different genres, Nanci in historical mystery, and MJ in sci-fi / fantasy. But over the years, they rubbed off on each other. But in a good way. Nanci now dabbles in urban fantasy, and MJ has fallen for the Victorian era, writing young adult steampunk.

MJ and Nanci, our former WCYR Board Chair and Secretary respectively, remain very active volunteers for the Writers’ Community of York Region, and when permitted out in public at some future date, will continue to enjoy attending book events to ply their wares.

We thank them for all the work they have done and continue to do for the WCYR and look forward to reading their new novella.

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Get The Draft Done with Charles F. French

by Exsanguine Hart

You’ve done it. You’ve decided to be a writer. An aspiring writer. And that’s the first thing stopping you from getting your draft done. You are a writer. You don’t aspire, you write. A few things may still stand in your way: writers’ block, doubt, and time, but all of them are manageable. These obstacles were explained at the June WCYR event led by Charles F. French, a speculative writer and English professor.

Writers’ block and doubt generally go together. The former is caused by stress and fear, while the latter can be a result of self-doubt and lack of support for your work. An effective way to combat stress is deep breathing. Try to breathe in slowly, expanding your diaphragm and stomach, instead of lifting your shoulders. Hold your breath for a bit, then slowly breathe out. Doing this helps relax your body and gets you into a good headspace for writing. Next, try a few writing exercises, such as freewriting, which allows you to shake off doubt and perfectionism because there are no boundaries or expectations. Set a timer, for a minute or maybe five, and write whatever comes to mind. The goal is to avoid mulling over word choice or grammar to generate a burst of ideas.

How does all this apply to finishing your first draft? What if you’ve beat your writers’ block and your self-doubt, only to realize that you don’t have any time to write? Time can’t magically materialize. What you can do is increase your efficiency. While the best method is different for every writer, Charles suggests committing to a writing schedule, aiming to increase your daily word count over time, and experimenting with different settings, to find the best time and place to foster your productivity and creativity. Finally, to get to the end of your draft, you need to stop going back and revising every second sentence and just move forward to crafting the next scene or chapter. That’s the only way you’ll begin to see the finish line for your first draft. Don’t forget to treat yourself when you get there!

Charles F. French can be found on Twitter @WriterCharlesFFrench

Upcoming Events

Open House with Douglas Smith – September 12 @ 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm. FREE!

The Bookshelf – August 21 to 22

York Writers Conference 2021 – October 22 to 23

A Deep Dive into POV with Kim McDougall

by Exsanguine Hart

You may be familiar with a writer’s point of view (POV) — first, second, and third person — but how do you know which one to use, and how to use it effectively? And what about omniscient versus limited POV, or having multiple first-person narrators? There are two main rules for choosing. The first is your genre. For example, young adult (YA) books are usually written in first person. The second is your writing style. Choose the POV that you’re most comfortable writing. If you really enjoy writing in third person and feel uncomfortable in first person, go with third person.

Different POVs have different uses, advantages, and pitfalls. First person (I, we, us) is great for creating suspense because the reader can only know as much as the character. Second person (you) can work for short stories or paragraphs but tends to fall apart in longer works. Third person (he, she, they) can be limited, where the narrator does not have access to the thoughts of the characters, or omniscient, where the narrator does.

Deep POV is created by getting truly immersed in a character, which includes changes to word choice, such as eliminating filter words. For example, instead of saying she thought or she hoped, where thought and hoped are filter words, say what it is that the character thought outright. Deep POV doesn’t suit every story, but it is a valuable asset when it is used.

The main thing that interferes with any POV is head hopping. This occurs when an unintentional switch is made from the point of view of one character to another. It can be tricky to catch, which was why Kim had us do a few exercises to practice. Some ways to avoid head hopping are intentionally choosing POV characters and having a clearly defined, single POV for each scene.

No matter the POV, its main purpose is to connect your reader to the story. It gives the reader a view of the story, and choosing when to obstruct that view helps to create tension, suspense, and an emotional connection.

Find Kim Online:

https://www.kimmcdougall.com/

Upcoming Events:

Get the Draft Done! with Charles F. French – June 13 @ 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Open House with Douglas Smith – September 12 @ 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm. FREE!

The Bookshelf – August 21 to 22

York Writers Conference 2021 – October 22 to 23

Announcing Marina Royale, by Apricot Banks (Maaja Wentz)

About the Book:

Hubert is losing his best friend to a bully.

Meet Rainbow Reef’s fabulous fish kids: Emma and Aiden, the panicky pufferfish twins, Sparky the doggone friendly dogfish, Olga the eight-legged bully, Sturgeon the (wannabe) Surgeon, and Hubert, a tiny hermit crab with sky-high ambitions.

Hubert wants to play cards with his best friend Sparky the dogfish. Too bad Sparky’s other friend, Olga Octopus, thinks Hubert is too small to play. When Hubert accuses Olga of cheating, she carries him out past the drop-off and abandons him where the sea monsters live. Can Hubert outwit hungry sharks to get home safely?

Kids and adults will enjoy Hubert’s laugh-out-loud adventures! Marina Royale was released on May 13th, 2021.

Bonus: a treasure chest of card games and jokes inside.

A bit about Apricot:

Apricot Banks (Maaja Wentz) writes fun books for kids that adults like too. A teacher-librarian, she loves sharing funny, adventurous, imaginative books. Her chapter books for kids aged 5-9 are written to inspire a love of reading.

Maaja’s first novel, Feeding Frenzy: Curse of the Necromancer, was chosen as a Featured Story by Wattpad and then went on to win a Watty award.

With school closures and primary students working from home last spring, I was moved to create something for them. This book is dedicated to the kids I miss reading to in the school library. The goal was to write something I could read out on YouTube to make them feel special. Once the paperback arrives, I look forward to recording the story and giving the link to teachers so they can share it with their classes.

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Announcing Enough Already: 7 Yoga-Inspired Steps to Calm Amid Chaos by Elaine Jackson

About the Book:

In times of chaos, it’s normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed. But it’s also possible, even amid upheavals, to self-soothe and cultivate calm.

Begin by saying, “enough already.”

With threads of wisdom pulled from the yoga and Buddhist traditions, these personal reflections and allegories tackle a wide range of contemporary problems and ways to deal with them. Discover the path known as The Seven Factors of Awakening: concentration, mindfulness, curiosity and investigation, ethics and courage, relaxation, joy, and equanimity.

Embrace your enoughness, tackle the suffering that is avoidable, and make peace with your grief and pain. Learn to recognize poor habits and unhelpful ideas that make you feel lost. The everyday wisdom in Enough Already can lead you to creative coping, gratitude, and finally, compassionate action—even during personal and societal crises. Enough Already: 7 Yoga-Inspired Steps to Calm Amid Chaos was released in November 2020.

A bit about Elaine:

If Elaine had her way, she’d spend most of her time outside, curled up with a book, or sharing picnics with friends. She is a perpetual student, idea-collector, cyclist, cat momma, and explorer. After a long career as an occupational therapist and many years of teaching yoga and meditation, she’s fascinated with the power we have to heal ourselves—if only we are aware of it.

Find Enough Already: 7 Yoga-Inspired Steps to Calm Amid Chaos:

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Announcing Samba in Brazil, by Paul Yanuziello

About the Book:

Samba in Brazil, written by Paul Yanuziello with illustrations by Joshua Miller, is a fun story about a lovable puppy and his best friend on their first overseas vacation. In book two of the series, Samba the Bernese Mountain Dog and his best friend are ready for adventure in the land of beautiful beaches, samba dancing and Carnaval parades. Cuddle up and join in the fun with a delightful story that will transport you to a land of incredible beauty. Joshua Miller has captured the majesty of Salvador, Bahia, with breathtaking illustrations. Samba in Brazil was released on February 14th, 2021.

A bit about Paul:

Paul Yanuziello is a writer, storyteller, musician, martial arts instructor, and author. In 2019, he published his first children’s book, Samba on a Snowy Day to glowing reviews. Writing under his pen name, Paul J. Youngman, he has reviewed and reported on concerts, festivals, and recordings by the musical greats. A highly skilled martial artist, he now instructs adults and children in Japanese martial arts.

The opportunity to write and teach full time, as well as his passion for teaching and learning from children, became the motivational force to publish his first children’s book. He is delighted to introduce his second book in the series, Samba in Brazil. To keep up to date with Paul, visit paulyanuziello.com and remember, to subscribe to his blog, My Weekly Journal. When Yanuziello is not teaching or learning martial arts, he can be found writing, reading or practising shinrin-yoku (forest bathing).

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Writing Comedy with Steve Shrott

by Exsanguine Hart

The most difficult part of telling a joke is realizing that it wasn’t as funny to your audience as it was to you. Why wasn’t it effective? Step aside from the assertion that you are “just bad at humor,” and take a look at some of the tips for writing comedy presented by Steve Shrott, a mystery and comedy writer. The secret to humor, he explained at a recent WCYR workshop, is to remember that humour is subjective. It depends on context, on timing, and on your audience. The good news? Humour can be taught.

Steve began with the story of how he became a comedian, and told an IKEA joke. (Always trust people who make IKEA jokes.) As a teacher, Steve encourages his students to write down every joke they come up with, even the bad ones, and write down everyone else’s jokes too, then, analyze them to learn how to recognize what’s funny and what’s not. All humour is based on the same basic principles of delivery, including three-jokes and call-backs. Three-jokes are made up of three statements, where the first two seem regular and the third is unexpected and strange. Call-backs are references to previous jokes or situations that would be understood by a specific audience aware of the context. Other techniques, such as exaggeration, misinterpretation, and incongruity, are what make jokes memorable. At their core, all jokes are based on an unexpected contrast between two or more elements.

Experimentation and confidence will help you find the form of humour that fits your audience and allows you to connect with them. Try it out next time you’re writing dialogue or describing a character. A good laugh goes a long way.

Find Steve online:

https://steveshrottwriter.weebly.com/

Upcoming events:

Diving Deep into POV with Kim McDougall – May 27, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Free for members.)

Get the Draft Done with Charles F. French – June 13, 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Announcing China Girl, by Douglas Owen

About the Book:

Young women around the world keep disappearing.

Tasked with an impossible-to-solve investigation with only the heel of a shoe and three drops of blood, Detective Roberts must work with a reluctant Interpol officer to get a break.

The streets of a near-future Toronto become the hunting ground for victims of a new, addictive neural tech with killer side-effects. It’s up to Bruce and Mie to untangle a web of intrigue and influence as deep as the justice system itself. There’s nowhere to turn, no way to pin the murders on the crime boss. Lives are on the line – most of them underage.

Can they shut down the triad’s arm before more blood is spilled and the killers become untouchable?

This work contains strong language, adult situations, and violence. Reader discretion is advised. China Girl was released January 1, 2021.

A bit about Douglas:

Writer, author, editor, and publisher. He is also a former WCYR special events coordinator

Douglas Owen not only writes short stories and novels, he’s also known for his writer-centric column “A Written View,” which helps authors and writers hone their skills.

Doug also owns and runs the micro-press DAOwen Publications, which holds the imprints Love Knot Books, Science Fiction and Fantasy publications, Tumbleweed books, and Wicked Tales.

Find China Girl on Goodreads and Amazon

Find Douglas on Facebook and at daowen.ca

Branding and Marketing: With Patti Jefferson

by Exsanguine Hart

How do you sell your book without actually ‘selling’ your book? Branding and marketing (BAM) are both words that strike fear into the hearts of writers for this exact reason. Patti Jefferson, author of 365 Bright Ideas for Marketing Your Indie Books, joined us in April to share her approach to both essential skills. She told us that as an author, our audience consists of both the buyers and consumers of our book. If you write picture books, for example, your consumers are young children, but your buyers are most likely their parents. Knowing your audience will help you choose where to focus your marketing.

It’s never too early to establish an author platform. This includes getting a professional headshot, upping your social media presence, being consistently active on your social media channels, having a good website, and building an email contact list. Patti also reinforced what we learned in February’s social media workshop: make sure your branding is consistent across all your platforms, including details like your username and colour scheme. This brought us to the next point: brand yourself, not your book. If you decide to change genres or start a new series, branding yourself as an author will help you retain your readership. The domain name for your website should be your author name, not your book title.

For in-person events (whenever those will be ever allowed again), Patti advised working with local businesses that appeal to your targeted audience or choosing a location that ties into a location associated with your book’s theme or topic. For example, if your story has several scenes at a hockey rink, that’s where you could assemble your target audience for a launch party. You should also consider investing in marketing swag, such as bookmarks and business cards, to hand out to people you meet when you’re out and about. Finally, Patti suggested making sure you always have a few copies of your books with you wherever you go. Sales can happen in the most unexpected places, don’t lose an opportunity!

Find Patti on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PBJauthor

Upcoming events:

Diving Deep into POV with Kim McDougall May 27, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Free for members.)

The Bookshelf – August 21 to 22

York Writers Conference 2021 – October 22 to 23

Marketing Yourself and Your Work with MJ Moores

WCYR superstar MJ Moores led the March members-only workshop, sharing her experience marketing herself and her work. MJ was clear with us – she’s not a marketer. She’s a writer, who has done the research and found what works for her.

MJ let the group lead the discussion, asking: What do you want to know? The group asked and MJ answered.

Readers want to know you, the writer. MJ told us it is possible to differentiate between the person/writer and the books/products, but it is often easier to sell a book when there is a face to go with it. It is also important to be part of a writing community (like the WCYR), whether big or small, and to join a critique group or have a critique partner. While writing might be a solitary activity, there should be someone to talk writing with.

MJ also suggested a writer should have at least one point of online contact. If you like Twitter, open a Twitter author account (or whatever social media you are most comfortable with). Ann MacLachlan also discussed this in her social media presentation. MJ, as well as Ann and other marketing gurus, say be consistent. Whatever image you use for one profile or website, use it for all. Part of building a brand and marketing yourself and your work is helping people recognize you.

Being part of a writing community, in-person or online through Twitter, Facebook, etc., will give you a support system when you publish. Writers want to help other writers. However, remember that not all social media posts should be a hard sell. MJ recommended about one out of five. The remaining four posts should be about other things, such as what you’re interested in or the steps you’re taking in your writing journey. It does not necessarily need to be something personal. Readers are interested in readerly and writerly things.

MJ went on to talk about newsletters, emails lists, giveaways and promotions. It was an informative and fun evening. Remember, while you are creating your author identity, don’t give away your main content.

Find MJ on Facebook, Twitter, and mjmoores.com

Upcoming Events:

Writing Comedy with Steve Shrott – May 2, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Diving Deep into POV with Kim McDougall – May 27, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Free for members.)

The Bookshelf – August 21 to 22

York Writers Conference 2021 – October 22 to 23

Social Media Super-Chargers with Anne MacLachlan

How to handle social media is something many writers and artists struggle with. Which platforms should be used? How often to post? What kind of content should be created? Our presenter, Anne MacLachlan, simplified these questions for us. There are several things to think about when just starting out. What do you want to communicate? Every writer has a different audience, circumstance, and time commitments. What is your goal? If you answer these questions, you will have a better focus.

Once you are clear about your goal, now what? Anne advised us to be specific and make it measurable and tangible. For example, a tangible goal would be: “I want to have X followers by Y date.” As you start, follow people – authors, agents, editors, bloggers, etc. – along the way, on which ever social media platform(s) you have chosen. Interact. Find the key influences in your genre/industry. Who are your readers? Anne suggested creating a character sketch for your ideal reader. Once you understand who your reader is, you can then determine what platforms you should be on. Will it be Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Something else? The answer is it’s often a combination. A big consideration is the platforms you are already good at. Even if your readers are on Instagram, if you don’t like taking pictures or making graphics, that might not be the best place for you. Think about what kind of energy you are putting out there, and be deliberate with what you do.

Remember you are also creating an “internet identity” or brand. Be consistent with your profile picture. It should be the same across platforms and on your website. Colours and banners should align. You want your audience to recognize you. Join the community, respond to the people who are engaging with you and be part of the conversation, even if all you can do is one hour a month. Also remember, the internet is forever. Don’t post anything you don’t want future readers, agents, publishers, friends, or family to see. Anne suggested we keep evolving our online strategy, as there are many facets to social media and ways to make them work to our best advantage.

Upcoming Events:

Writing Comedy with Steve Shrott – May 2, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Diving Deep into POV with Kim McDougall – May 27, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Free for members.)

The Bookshelf – August 21 to 22

York Writers Conference 2021 – October 22 to 23

Write What You Know and Give It a Twist with Diane Bator

As writers, we are often told to write what you know. In Diane Bator’s February presentation, she talked to us about writing what we know, then giving it a twist.

Before the presentation began, the WCYR Board had a few announcements to make. First, the Board thanked members who have stepped up recently to volunteer for various positions. Our community runs on volunteers willing to give a few hours a month so that we can have the meetings, workshops, and write-ins that we all enjoy. Second, the Bookshelf is coming back! The WCYR is planning an in-person event for August 21st, and an online event on August 22nd. Pre-registration for members is is now open. Finally, the York Writers’ Conference will also be back this fall! It will be entirely virtual, held from October 23rd to 24th. The YWC committee is proud to announce the keynote speaker will be Andrew Pyper. Terry Fallis will also be back as our honorary patron!

After all the exciting announcements, Diane began by sharing who she is as a person and a writer, then we moved into her stories: cozy mysteries. She defined “cozy mystery” for us – a story about an amateur sleuth in a small town, solving a murder, no gore, very little blood. Diane went on to explain how she takes real life experiences and turns them into her novels. When Diane says, “write what you know and give it a twist,” she asks, “what if?” For example, when a protagonist moves to a new town, what if she was on the run? An author would need to craft a scenario requiring good knowledge of the geography of the town, including its downtown streets and shops. Familiarity with real-life places can inspire locations in a story, such as a coffee shop with a unique personality or a run-down house. What might have happened there? Another situation. What if a secretary was a naturally nosy person and found a body? Diane noted the protagonists of cozy mysteries are often “naturally nosy,” and she shared tips for adjusting real life to fit fictional worlds.

People are not always who they appear to be, especially in fiction. Diane’s suggestion is to apply the “what if” question to people you encounter while walking down the street. What if they hate the town where they live? What if they love shopping? What if there is a secret under their stairs? Is everyone a writer meets at risk of being in a story? Maybe so.

When you’re writing what you know with a twist, you add more flavour to the story. You can make it spicy. Or sweet. Or savoury. What flavour will your story take? You can decide.

Find Diane:

Upcoming Events:

BAM! Branding and Marketing for Indie Authors with Patti Jefferson – April 11, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Annual General Meeting 10th Anniversary Edition – April 11, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Writing Comedy with Steve Shrott – May 2, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Diving Deep into POV with Kim McDougall – May 27, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Free for members.)

Announcing All That Shines by Diane Bator

About the Book:

When Sage Miller’s sister Laken decides to host a fashion show as a grand opening for the new location of Vintage Sage, she’s not amused. Even less so when she discovers her sister hired a Hollywood fashion designer to help. Not only does the designer show up in the middle of renovations, but he drags along his protégé.

Then she finds Sebastian Hayward the Third dead in her store.

Suddenly it seems half of Los Angeles—all unwelcome guests from Laken’s past—appear in Vintage Sage seeking something Sebastian had in his possession. Sage has to deal with renovations, a fashion show, and a murder before she and Laken come unglued.

All That Shines was released in March 2021.

A bit about Diane:

Diane Bator is the author of several mystery novel and series. She’s a member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime Toronto, International Thriller Writers, and the Writers Union of Canada. When she’s not writing, she works in a small, professional theatre which will one day be subjected to immortality in a whole new series.

Find All That Shines:

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