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Just Jemi


Painful Plotting

  Posted by Jemi , 28 July 2014 · 10 views

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about Plotting. As I'm not a plotter, this should be interesting!

I'm attempting to plot out a rewrite. I love the story and the characters, but there are huge issues with the story - mainly lack of tension between the 2 MCs. It's a contemporary romance so (d'uh!) I need tension. They're both too sweet and nice and get along and... yeah, no tension. There's lots of external stuff to keep it going, but it's not enough. Not nearly.

Hence the need to plot! Hope you'll pop on over and join the discussion - I could use some suggestions!



Double Negative by C. Lee Mckenzie

  Posted by Jemi , 21 July 2014 · 16 views

The lovely and talented C. Lee McKenzie has a new book coming out!

Double Negative

Hutchison Mc Queen is a sixteen-year-old smart kid who screws up regularly. Hes a member of Larkston Highs loser clique, the boy whos on his way to nowhereunless juvenile hall counts as a destination. He squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. When that doesnt work, he goes to Fat Nyla, the one some mean girls are out to get and a person whos in on his secrethe can barely read. And then Maggie happens. For twenty-five years shes saved boys from their own bad choices. But she may not have time to save Hutch. Alzheimers disease is steadily stealing her keen mind.

Doesn't that sound awesome? Can't wait!!

Amazon (available this Friday July 25th!!)

If you haven't met Lee yet, here's where you can find her:
Website     Blog      Facebook

Want to enter to win? Of course you do!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just for fun, I tossed 3 Favourite  questions at Lee

Favorite beverage: That’s a time sensitive question. Coffee AM. Wine PM.

Favorite season: Summer. I get to eat fresh tomatoes.

Favorite high school course: Don’t laugh, but I loved geometry. Something about those theorums

(I totally get the theorum addiction - I love Math!)

How about you? Love Math too? Or those fresh tomatoes? Hoping Maggie can reach Hutch in time?



Put Downs or Build Ups?

  Posted by Jemi , 14 July 2014 · 31 views

There often seems to someone on the attack lately. I've been teaching for a lot of years and I've seen lots of attacks on books as well as attacks on people who choose to read certain books.

To me, the attacks are usually a waste of time & energy ... and just a little bit nuts.

Some people become absolutely inflamed because of what they think is in a book.

Whenever a new fuss pops up I think back to a student I'll call Amanda. She was in my split grade 6/7 classroom for 2 years. During our first reading conference of her Grade 6 year, Amanda admitted she'd never actually read a book on her own. Reading was very tough for her and by the time she finished sounding out words she'd almost always lost the meaning of the sentence.

She thought she might like some of the Goosebumps books everyone was talking about. There was a lot of fuss at the time from people who wanted to ban Stine's series from classrooms and libraries. There were people who claimed teachers were 'evil' for allowing kids to be exposed to them. (I question if any of those people actually read any of the books!!)

Being me, I had over 30 Goosebumps books to choose from. She selected 2 and I read them into tapes. She tried to read along with my voice during reading time.

Then she read one on her own.

Then another.

By the time she finished Grade 6, Amanda had read 17 Goosebumps books on her own.


Over the summer and during her Grade 7 year, she moved on to Stine's Fear Street series. And Christopher Pike. And Caroline B. Cooney. Then Lois Lowry and JK Rowling. And many, many more.

Her grade 8 teacher was shocked she'd been a non-reader 2 years before.

Ridiculing anyone for their choice of reading material is yet another kind of put down. The world has enough of those.

I'd rather see the build ups. I'd rather celebrate the Amandas of the world who demonstrate perseverance and are willing to admit to a difficulty and take the risks involved in becoming stronger.

If I only stocked my classroom with my favourite books, it would still be a very large library, but it wouldn't rival the 5000+ books I stock today. The more variety I have available, the easier it is to find those Home Run books for kids and turn them into avid readers. Do I have to personally like the books they choose? Nope. Do I have to support their right to like them.


How do you feel about the folks who want to dictate what we read or judge us based on the ones we choose?



J.K. Coi Likes a Challenge!

  Posted by Jemi , 07 July 2014 · 28 views

Please welcome JK Coi to the blog today!

How this paranormal author started writing contemporaries

When I first started writing, way back when in high school, I wrote about aliens. Specifically, aliens who possessed a teenage girl’s radio pretending to be the ghost of her dead boyfriend.

Now, without getting into all the things that were wrong with that (and all the things that were WAY COOL), it does illustrate the place from which my imagination was born. I’ve always written paranormal, or horror, or some form of supernatural. I’ve had vampires in my books, immortal warrior dudes with commitment issues, ballerina spies with metal and gears for legs, and werewolves involved in satanic rituals. The crazy list goes on.

So why did I suddenly decide to write a contemporary romance about two people starting their own tech companies at an industry convention in Antigua?

Well, the truth is, all the stories I’ve written have one thing in common besides the paranormal aspect: they challenged me in some way. One book I told in first person point of view because I’d never done it before; another book I wrote because I wanted to turn the trope upside down and make the heroine the vampire instead of the hero. I wanted to challenge myself to write a zombie book that could also be sexy. I wanted to challenge myself to write a series.

With IN BED WITH THE COMPETITION the challenge was to write a full length contemporary romance. I’d written short contemporaries before but not a full length book, and I always thought I would need serial killers, or bombs, or something abnormal to make a story about two regular people interesting enough to keep readers with me until the end.

But the truth is…I really liked it.

And now I’m writing another one. I bet you want to know what the challenge is going to be for the next book, don’t you? *grin*

JK Coi (www.jkcoi.com) is a multi-published, award winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance and urban fantasy, who loves writing dark, tortured characters that leap off the page and into readers hearts. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

This rivalry is too hot for the tropics…

Elizabeth Carlson and Ben Harrison used to be friends, coworkers...and almost lovers. But that was before Ben proposed mixing business with pleasure. Elizabeth refuses to lose her heart to a hotshot tycoon with a cutthroat, take-no-prisoners attitude. Not with the prospect of starting her own
company at stake.

Driven to succeed in all areas of his life, Ben couldn’t resist the temptation to make Liz his. But then she walked away, igniting a bitter rivalry. Competing for the same contract at a Caribbean conference ignites sparks too hot to ignore, and Ben’s determined to finish what they started, even if it’ll only last a few steamy, tropical nights.

Elizabeth’s resolve begins to crumble under Ben’s blatant seduction. Can she walk away from a hot island fling with the sexiest man she’s ever known with her heart intact, or will losing herself in Ben destroy everything she’s fought to achieve?

Book Link on Goodreads

Sounds like lots of fun! Can't wait to read it!

I love how J.K. switches genres for a challenge. I wrote my YA Steampunk for the same reason - and that MG sf idea refuses to go away completely!

How about you - do you have ideas for different genres knocking at your skull trying to get out?



Peepers on People!

  Posted by Jemi , 30 June 2014 · 25 views

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about People Watching tips. I LOVE to people watch and I've developed a few games I like to play. Watching people and looking for both the expected and unexpected is fun and I think it helps my writing. I think most writers are people watchers and look forward to hearing some of your stories!

I hope you'll check it out and add any tips of your own!



Wishing for Washington!

  Posted by Jemi , 23 June 2014 · 38 views

One of my favourite blog buddies has a book out!

The lovely Shelley Sly's debut novel Wishing for Washington is out and about and it is AWESOME!! Tallia is an awesome character and I LOVE Shelley's MG voice - fantastic! The kids never stop aiming for their goals no matter what happens - lots of fun in this story. And lots of heart as well! One of my favourite things about the book is the relationships the kids have with the adults - varied, fun and realistic. I really enjoyed this story and know my students will too!

As punishment for playing doorbell ditch, twelve-year-old Tallia Thompson and her goofball brother Isaiah are shipped off to their grandparents’ house for half the summer. There’s nothing fun about being stuck in Maryland, a.k.a. Snore-a-land, except for one thing: the close proximity to Washington, D.C.

Tallia would do anything for Isaiah, and what he wants most is to meet the President of the United States. So together, they formulate a plan to get to the White House—a plan that involves spending a bit of money and concocting a bunch of lies. And, ultimately, a plan that ends up changing Tallia’s perception of her family forever.

Completely awesome!! So, where can you pick up your e-copy? Try these...

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Goodreads     

If you're waiting for the print version, it should be ready on July 2nd, so not long to wait!

What do you think? How far would you go to meet the president (or prime minister or any of your heroes!)?

Congrats Shelley!



Out and About with Nutschell!

  Posted by Jemi , 11 June 2014 · 42 views

I'm over at The Writing Nut today talking to the lovely Nutschell!! We're talking about my Writer's Work Space - or lack thereof! 

Hope you'll pop on over! :)



Carol Kilgore's Secrets of Honor

  Posted by Jemi , 02 June 2014 · 42 views

There's going to be a new book under the Tiki Hut soon! The lovely Carol Kilgore is here today teasing us with the new cover - and it's awesome!

Once upon a time, there was a jewel thief. Her name was Katia. She worked for The Government. Yes, that government. But one day, Kat took something she shouldn’t have. She really shouldn't have done that.


By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitelysleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of the first lady’s dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learnthe real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.


Carol writes grocery lists, texts to her family, new lyrics to old songs for her dogs, love notes to her husband, and novels for herself. And for you. In between, she blogs weekly at Under the Tiki Hut and is active on Facebook and Twitter.

She sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially ones with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kissgives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.

You can connect with Carol and her books here:


Carol is a great writer and I can't wait to read her latest! What do you think of her newest cover?




  Posted by Jemi , 19 May 2014 · 43 views

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about resiliency - something we need in this journey to publication. I hope you'll pop over and contribute to the discussion!

Some of the kids I meet don't know how to be resilient. They give up easily, don't know how to stick with a problem if their first attempt at a solution doesn't work. I don't believe humans are born that way. Look at how joyfully a child fails when learning to walk or talk. I think resiliency is a natural trait but sometimes we UN-learn it. There are as many contributing factors to this as there are people. A few I've seen are:
  • helicopter parents. Kids need to learn to solve their own problems. If mom or dad is always doing it they're always going to wait for someone to fix things.
  • absent parents. Not necessarily physically absent, but emotionally. And yes, this contradicts the first point, but it's true. We all need support and kids are no exception. Parents need to find that middle ground.
  • too much passive activity for developing brains. TV, video games, computers, tablets etc. Few of these involve the brain on a truly active level. While there is some decision making in games, it's limited (although I do like the fact that some games require the user to persevere/think creatively and try again and again to achieve the next level!). Keeping that young mind active and mobile is vital. You need practice to become a creative problem solver. 
  • too little physical activity. What better way to learn resiliency than to play on a losing team? Or to be the last one picked in your favourite game? Or to be the smallest one at the playground? Learning to lose with grace and to come back and face the next game is incredibly powerful. 
Failure isn't permanent. Often it's not even a negative - it's just a step on the latest learning curve. Learning to fail yet come back excited to try again is vital.

I think as a group, writers are some of the most resilient people I know. So much to learn, so many ways to be rejected, so many steps to take. And for the most part, we do it willingly and with a smile. Gotta love it!

So how did you learn to be resilient?



We Need Diverse Books

  Posted by Jemi , 02 May 2014 · 52 views

We do.

Some fantabulous authors have created the We Need Diverse Books push. If you haven't seen it on tumblr or Twitter (#weneeddiversebooks), please check it out.

It's affirming how many people understand, know and believe this.

It's also horribly depressing that we need to have a push at all.

Books = power.
Books reflect society - as it is, as it might be.
Books let us walk a few steps in the lives of another.
Books give us hope for a better future.
Books spread knowledge, hope, love and understanding.
Books let everyone have a voice.

Diversity = power.
Diversity is normal.
Diversity is interesting.
Diversity makes life fascinating and brings so much joy.
Diversity is strength.
Diversity is us.

Give the thread a look. Add in your thoughts.

So why do you think we need diverse books?


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