Dystopian city

Dystopian – A Worse Society Than Before

D for dystopianWhat causes a dysptopian society? Usually the stories and movies that feature a dystopia have societies that rebuilt after an apocalyptic event. Something caused the end of the world and the new society is trying to bring back that world. Usually they try to make it better but it’s usually worse. The dystopian society pretends to be a utopia and on the surface it might look like everything is happy and good. But underneath there are the secrets, the conspiracies, the erosion of freedoms that cause the citizens (at least some of them) to eventually fight back. It’s usually one person or a small group who fight to make a change.

Even though I’m writing a dystopian trilogy and I have another dystopian stand alone book in the works I haven’t read a lot in the genre. But I do love dystopian movies. The what if questions get my mind thinking about how the world turned out the way it did in those movies. Before I started focusing on the genre I didn’t realize that a few of my favourite movies were dystopian. I thought they were just science fiction but upon looking into the dysopian genre I realized a lot of them fell into that category.

When I do a Google search for dystopian movies a list comes up, most of which I’ve seen. Among those listed is Serenity, my absolute favourite movie of all time so far. But it looks like I have a few other movies to watch.

Dystopian Elements in Standpoint

Futuristic girl

Copyright outsiderzone available on DepositPhotos.

The idea of Standpoint came to me on the way to work. At first I didn’t realize it was going to be a dystopian story or a trilogy yet. Originally it was going to be one book but there was too much story to tell. It has the oppressive government masquerading as a benevolent political system. There was a plague like event centuries earlier and the government rebuilt.

At the start of the story my main character is eager to do her duty. The propaganda bombarding them tells her she owes her country four years. But it’s not a one sided deal. She gets something out of it too like an education and a job. She wonders why people want to live differently than the way the government has provided for them. When she learns more about what the government is doing she has to make a choice. But if she goes against them she could put herself and her family in danger.

What’s your favourite dystopian story?

Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list. Just for signing up you get a copy of my horror short story Reflections for free.


Until next time…


*Feature image copyright kwest available on DepositPhotos.

Campus picture

Campus – It’s Not All Fun and Games

C is for campusWhen I think of campus I always think of higher learning. I also think about what I missed out on when I went to university. At the time I didn’t care that I lived with my parents and drove to the university every day for class. There were some things I didn’t miss out on. University is where I met my second boyfriend.

Looking back at my university years there are things I regret. I didn’t get to know many of my fellow classmates while I was there except the guy I would start dating. My best friend went to the university with me and I pretty much talked to her and that’s it. Maybe it was because university was so much bigger than high school and I was overwhelmed by the people. I was a little shy back then, liked to blend in, didn’t speak up in class.

Copyright Wavebreak Media Ltd. available at BigStock

Copyright Wavebreak Media Ltd. available at BigStock

I met one guy who was in third year and I can’t remember his name at all. I met a girl and actually went to her house to get something but I can’t remember her name either. There was a guy named Mark in one of my creative writing classes who was super cute but I didn’t do a lot of talking with him because I was seeing someone. The guy I met in the one math class we both thought we needed to take for our chosen major but it turns out he didn’t need to take it. And I changed my major second year and didn’t need the class either.

I regret not living on campus. I think I missed out on a lot by living with my parents and commuting to school. Before class started every day there would be a handful of those students who lived on campus and talked about the parties, the pub nights, the library. In the four years I went to the university I didn’t set foot in the library. My friends an I ventured into a pub once right after class but didn’t even stay for a drink.

Campus in Standpoint

My Standpoint trilogy is a new adult dystopian story with most of the first book taking place at Campus. Certain citizens get free education and a guaranteed job for “serving” their country and part of that requires them to attend Campus for four years. My main character is at first excited to be going away to school. She’s never left the small city where she grew up except for the occasional vacation when things were good financially. At the start of the story she’s excited about doing her civic duty.

Things change quickly once she gets to Campus and finds out it isn’t all just fun and games. It’s not the studying, work, essays, tests that she objects to. It’s the stuff they didn’t tell her about Campus. When she finds out what happens to students who disobey she has to make a choice. Fit in, keep her nose down and not make waves. Or rile the place up and help those who can’t help themselves.

What’s your fondest memory about school? Any school – University, college, high school, grade school.

Get behind the scenes information about the Standpoint trilogy by joining Campus. Some areas of Campus are open to everyone but you need to be a member to get the whole scoop.


Until next time…



*Feature photo copyright kzlobastov available on DepositPhotos.


Bunker – An Apocalypse Must Have

B is for BunkerI was a teenager in the 80s so I wasn’t around when there was a threat of nuclear war every day and everyone wanted a bunker. Though they’re scary when you think of why you need one I always wanted one because I liked the idea of a safe place with everything in it you might need to survive. When I was a teenager my introduction to nuclear issues was The Day After. It was the first time I realized the world I was living in could be destroyed and destroyed so quickly. The budding writing in me always remembered that and over the years I thought about various ways the world could end.

Bunker in Movies

I still remember the bomb shelter scene in Grease 2 when Louis was trying to convince Sharon to “do it for our country”. And the use bunkers has appeared in other movies that have nothing to do with an apocalypse. But I’m more interested in when bunkers are used to protect the characters from a virus, invasion, zombies. They’re waiting out some crisis hoping the earth will be able to sustain them again some day.

Copyright ronniechua and available at BigStock

Copyright ronniechua and available at BigStock

Recently my husband and I saw a movie called Hidden. It’s a slow build movie with tension, suspense and a hint of horror. It pulls you in slowly but once you’re hooked there’s nothing you can do but root for the characters who don’t know how long they’ll have to survive in the bunker. The flashbacks were woven in perfectly. The reveal, I thought, happened at just the right time. I would watch it again to see if I can pick up all the clues to the twist. If you plan on watching it don’t read any spoilers.

Bunker in Standpoint

There’s a small part for a bunker in the first book in my trilogy. Small but recurring part actually. It’s important to the story but they aren’t using it to protect themselves from an outbreak. The outbreak part is long over and the province has rebuilt. There’s some semblance of order again. The bunker in the story will feature prominently in the prequel trilogy to the Standpoint trilogy though.

There’s no telling what secrets the characters will find in the bunker. Where it will lead to. How it changes them and the way they view Campus after they find it.

What’s your favourite movie or story that features a bunker?

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Until next time…


*Feature photo of bunker copyright sssccc and available at DepositPhotos.

Dictionary definition of the word Addiction.

Addicted to Sugar – The Struggle Is Real

A badgeWhen most people think of addiction they think of someone being addicted to drugs or alcohol. Those are the two biggies that probably get the most attention. But there are a lot of other types of addiction based on the dictionary definition of addiction which is in part: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful. By that definition and knowing what sugar can do to the body sugar is a substance you can become addicted to.

Are you addicted to sugar?

There are lots of different online quizzes you can take to find out if you’re addicted to sugar. Do I really need one to tell me I should cut back on my sugar intake? Probably not. While I don’t think I’m actually addicted to sugar I might be getting close. I do like my sweets but I love my savoury snacks too.
There are hundreds of books about combatting sugar addiction. And don’t get me started on the online articles. It could take forever to read through everything on the subject but none of it matters if you don’t do anything about your sugar intake.

So are you addicted? Do you eat when you’re not hungry due to cravings? Do you have a sweet tooth that won’t go away. Does cutting back on sugar make you uncomfortable? Too much sugar can be dangerous so you should try to cut back as much as you can. Check out this article and this one for more information. But there are thousands of hits so you can also Google sugar addiction.

I don’t always eat due to cravings. Sometimes it’s because I’m bored. Or anxious. Or stressed. Because I’m pre-diabetic I’m trying to reduce my sugar intake. That means I gave up pop. I try to keep junk food out of the house because if it’s here I’ll eat it. I will start keeping healthy snacks in the house and make sure I eat healthy food.

Addiction in the Standpoint Trilogy

Addicted to sugar

Copyright lunamarina available at DepositPhotos

While there is more than one addiction in my trilogy my main character Undine is addicted to sugar. At the beginning of the story she works in a candy store which helps feed her addiction. When she goes off to Campus she smuggles candy in, knowing she won’t be able to get a lot of it while at school. Part of the stress for her at Campus is hiding the candy but that turns out to be the least of her worries when she learns the secrets of Campus.
Since one of the major themes in my trilogy is addiction there are a number of characters who are addicted to various things. It’s not just sugar. There are other things characters are addicted to. Drugs. Alcohol. Food. Shopping.

Keep up to date with my new releases and Undine’s experiences at Campus. Get behind the scenes information about the Standpoint Trilogy by joining Campus.


Until next time…


*Addiction definition photo copyright Devon from DepositPhotos

A to Z Blogging Challenge Theme

A2Z-BADGE [2016]This year I decided to jump into the blogging challenge late and with topics figured out only up to J. But I’m determined to do this. I decided so late that it was after the theme reveal posts for March 21. Since I missed that I decided to do a very late reveal so my followers know I’ll be doing this. So for 2016 my theme is going to be dystopian/post apocalyptic. Some of the letters will deal with themes common to those types of stories. And some of the letters will be directly related to my dystopian trilogy. So far I only have the first book written but I will be writing book two during the challenge. Maybe that will help me figure out the rest of the topics. If I can’t figure out letters that suit the theme I might stretch into the suspense/crime arena for things to talk about. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that but you never know. With the ghostwriting project plus book two in the trilogy on the go my creativity might be tapped out.

My goals for the challenge (besides finishing it) are to increase my Twitter followers, increase blog followers, and hopefully pique interest enough in my trilogy that I get some mailing list sign ups.

I’ll try to keep the posts short and sweet and entertaining. The trick to writing twenty-six blog posts in a month will be organization and brevity. I also plan to use my credits at DepositPhotos a lot this month so each post will have at least one picture.

I hope you’ll follow along, read some of the other blogs taking part in the challenge and have a great time. I’ve already downloaded the badges for every letter so I’m determined to finish the challenge this year. Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list. Just for signing up you get a copy of my horror short story Reflections for free.


Until next time…


Cozy Mystery for Coffee Lovers – Feature Friday

Cozy mysteries are light and fun but I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love the cozy mystery TV shows and thought I would love cozy mystery books. So when I picked a few up I was surprised that I didn’t love them as much as I thought I would. Mostly it was because they were in first person. And if you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know I hate reading first person. At least I thought I hated it. Turns out I only hate it when it’s done poorly but I still shy away from first person stories. So colour me surprised when I picked up some cozy mysteries recently, written in first person, that I liked. A lot.

Once a month I will be doing a feature Friday where I highlight a book I’m reading or have read and enjoyed. I hope others check them out and enjoy them too.

Expresso Messo is the sixth story in a series but I think you can still enjoy it if you haven’t read all the books in the series. I’ve read the first two and then jumped to this one because it has a Valentine’s theme and that day is just around the corner. Plus it takes place in Florida. With it being -12C as I write this and getting colder the idea of escaping to a warmer climate even through a book appeals to me a lot.

I like the small town feel of cozies and the Sweet Home stories have that in spades. It’s a tight knit community and I like all the characters. They feel like people I would like to spend time with. The main character owns a coffee shop with her aunts and I love coffee. I wish the coffee shop near me had the Valentine’s Day drinks the Cabana has.

If you like cozy mysteries check it out!

A missing redhead, a secret admirer’s column, and special syrup

When one of Sweet Home’s residents goes missing, Lily decides to put her sleuthing cap on. With her fiancé Eli and his father away on a fishing trip, it’s up to Lily to unearth the how and why of the disappearance. But not before she and Jules discover some odd goings on at Reva’s café. A secret admirer’s column in Jules newspaper is also causing quite a stir at the local hair salon where Lily finds a nemesis of the porcelain kind.

Find out what happens when Lily dives deep into all sorts of crazy mischief.

Caffeine and sugar warning: This book contains visions of red velvet hot chocolate and raspberry lattes.


Until next time…



Life is About Change

Seasons change

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Copyright Cindy Carroll

Change isn’t easy for most people. If I surveyed my family and friends I’m sure 99% of them would say they dislike change. I would be one of those people who like things to stay the same, provided things are ticking along okay. No ripples. When things are bad I can’t wait for change. Almost every month last year I hoped for something to change. There are reasons people stay in jobs they hate. Neighbourhoods they’re tired of. Relationships that are dead. Change is hard. There’s comfort in the familiar eve if it drives you nuts. But change is a part of life. Why not embrace it?

There are different kinds of change. Good. Bad. Natural and unstoppable. Anything that makes my routine, my day to day life as I know it, different is welcome if it’s good. Winning money, a raise, unexpected praise from someone I admire. If the change is bad the universe can take it back. The hard times last year were decidedly unwelcome. But is there ever a silver lining when things are bad? I’ve looked into ways to deal better with change and part of that is saying yes when you really want to say no.

Can Bad Things Turn Good?

A cancer diagnosis in the family last year was bad. More bad news came on job fronts. Health issues came on pet fronts. None of that change was good. The only good that came out of it was me discovering my employer is hugely understanding. They let me work form home for three months while I attempted to not fall apart. The good part about working form home was at the end of my work day I was already home. I could start writing right away. No one hour commute.

If it weren’t for the sucktastic year that was 2015 I wouldn’t have started ghostwriting. I’m glad that I did but now I’ll have to deal with a whole can of tax worms I wouldn’t have had to deal with otherwise. On the other hand it has broadened my writing horizons and that will serve me well in the future.

I’d still prefer for those changes not to have happened.

Change For the Sake of Change

I hate this kind of change too. Businesses do this a lot. I know a company that changes its tagline and focus just about every year. They changed their cubicle structure to an open office set up because some of the big companies use that set up. Gotta jump on the trends!

One of the banks I deal with changed its online banking layout to make it easier for customers to find things. The layout is horrible. Everything is huge, forcing me to scroll to find things I could see right away before. They moved things that fell mid screen to the top of the page. To me it looks like a change for the sake of change. It’s a New Year we need to do an update!

Change for the Good

As much as I like routine, for things to stay the same, sometimes the same doesn’t work anymore. Sometimes change is needed for things to improve. I am so happy the publishing industry changed and that self publishing isn’t just feasible but authors can actually make a living publishing on their won. To embrace that though I had to think differently. Gradually, after hearing all the success stories, I decided I would change my publishing strategy.

When I first jumped in short erotica was selling like crazy. Readers would pay $2.99 for a short erotica story, leaving those authors pretty flush with cash. Then Amazon made changes (there’s that word again) and they were offering a borrowing experience. Authors still did well in Kindle Unlimited 1.0 because they were still getting an amount comparable to a royalty. But when Amazon changed the pay structure of KU to be less than a penny per page read a lot of erotica authors had to reevaluate.

This year I’ve decided to leave the secret erotica pen names behind (not for good, just for now) and focus on my books. I have New Adult dystopian stories to tell, urban fantasies to explore, serial killers that need to be caught. So other than the ghostwriting most writing this year will be to bring those stories to life. Novels sell better than short stories so it’s time I worked on full length books.

Of course since nothing in life stays the same I could be singing a different tune a few months from now.

How about you? Do you resist change or embrace it?

Until next time…


A Reading Challenge Mashup

Magic of reading

From Bigstock photo – copyright Sergey Nivens

Before I talk about reading I want to tell you about music mashups. I love song mashups. My husband got me into them and they’re a lot of fun and can be very creative. There are music mashups I’ve listened to so many times that when I hear one of the songs on the radio I automatically go into the second song at the appropriate places. The songs just don’t sound right anymore unless they’re mashed together. What do song mashups have to do with a reading challenge? I’m getting to that.

So one of my goals for the year is to read more. It’s always a goal and I usually set my target at twenty-five books read for the year. I originally was only going to do the Read Harder Challenge but then I found the Alphabet Soup Challenge. So I’m doing both! Before you think I’m completely crazy the Read Harder Challenge allows you to double up categories. Demon Seed that qualifies for a horror novel also fits the criteria for book published in the decade I was born. And that means for the Alphabet Soup Challenge I have my D novel. With no crossover books the mashup will mean reading fifty books. But with the crossovers I’m hoping it will be around thirty. It will depend on how many books I can add to the Read Harder list with different letters.

Last year out of the twenty-five books I wanted to read I actually read six. Yes, six. I can blame the horrible things that happened last year. I can blame work. I can blame a lot of things but the truth is I didn’t make time for reading. As a writer I need to read to keep on top of the market, not to mention the pure enjoyment factor of plunging into different worlds. I schedule time for writing but I didn’t schedule time for reading. My eight year-old niece reads like I used to read. At every opportunity. She will be my new reading role model.

A new year means a new chance to accomplish goals. When I told someone my reading goal for last year and what I actually read she asked me why I was doing this mashup this year. If I know I can for sure read six books why not make the “challenge” six books? But where’s the challenge in that? The purpose of a challenge is to push yourself to do more than you thought you could, expand your horizons. I achieved that in spades with the writing last year. And there was a time when I could read two books a weeks. Other writers manage to read one hundred books a year and still write, still have a family who remembers them. I can too!

So this year the goal is between thirty to fifty books. Check out my Goodreads Challenge Shelf to follow along.

First book up (because it’s the January book for book club) is A Wise Man’s Fear. It satisfies the book over 500 pages criteria.

Any suggestions for books for either challenge? Throw them at me!

Until next time…



It’s a New Year – Time to Get Focused

Copyright jamesstar on Depositphotos

Copyright jamesstar purchased from Depositphotos

Happy New Year everyone! I’m so happy that 2015 is over. Last year was incredibly sucktastic with a lot of things going on that crushed my spirit. It took a while to get it back and it’s still not 100% back to normal. Despite that I wrote more last year than I had in any year before that. But it was all over the place. In my quest to diversify my writing I was all over the place. Though I have twenty-two works published on Amazon (and other retailers) I will only publicly claim five of them and two of them are under a pen name. I improved my craft and had fun but I have nothing to show for it really.

This year will be different. I’m determined to make 2016 my year. It’s time for me to focus on my stories. Novels and series I’ve had in the works and can’t wait to see available online. Standpoint, the first book in my dystopian trilogy still isn’t finished so I need to finish writing that as well as the other two books in the series. It’s time I finished revising Almost Normal and released that as well as book two. I have plans for a non-fiction book about my time in Citizens Police Academy.

Out of necessity last year I started ghostwriting. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve expanded the kinds of stories I’m able to write because of it. I will continue to ghostwrite while also working on stories that will be released under my name.

Because of my new focus this year’s goals will be short and sweet and totally doable.

1. Stick to a writing schedule to get my target 85,000 words a month written
2. Read 26 books (I’ll be posting about my reading challenge later this month)
3. Release Standpoint Trilogy
4. Release Almost Normal
5. Grow ghostwriting business
6. Exercise and eat better
7. Spend time with family
8. Blog regularly (one day a week to start)

Anyone else out there have goals for this year? Anyone refuse to do goals?

Keep up to date with my releases by signing up for my mailing list here: Mailing list

Until next time…


Zombie Crawl 2 – My First Zombie Movie

Copyright clearviewstock

Copyright clearviewstock

I’m excited to be participating in the Zombie Crawl this year. I have to admit that I had no idea what I was going to write about. I don’t have a zombie story out yet. And I don’t have one in progress either but I do have an idea simmering on the back burner. So with no zombie fiction in my immediate future what would I write about? It got me thinking about zombie movies. Of all the ones I’ve seen I still love the one that got me started on the genre to begin with. The first zombie movie I ever saw was Night of the Comet. It’s been ages since I’ve seen it so I don’t remember all of it. It’s a horror comedy about Valley girls who survive a comet that turns people into zombies. The ones it didn’t kill and turn to dust that is. I remember why the survivors of the comet survived. The things that stick out the most are the sisters hitting the mall. I remember the guy they find when they think no one else survived. I vaguely remember the end of the movie. I think I remember the sisters the most because I watched the movie with my sister. We talked about it a lot over the years because we loved the mall scenes. What teenage girl wouldn’t love to go to a mall and be able to take anything they wanted with no consequences? I’d looked for the movie on DVD after we watched it but didn’t find it until at least ten years later. I did buy it. We both liked it but she didn’t move on to other zombie movies like I did.

Of course I like the classics – Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead. New classics – 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Shaun of the Dead. I loved Warm Bodies. After watching, and liking World War Z I want to read the book. With today being Halloween it’s the perfect day to get comfy on the sofa, make some popcorn and throw on some zombie movies.

-Now for the GIVEAWAY!-

PRIZE: $10 Amazon gift card!

Three ways to enter:
1. Like my Facebook OR Twitter. (one entry per follow)
2. Sign up for my newsletter (one entry)
3. Leave a comment telling me what steps you’ve done above and tell me what your favourite zombie movie is. (one entry)

NOTE: The contest will stay open through out the blog tour, ending October 31st.

Make sure you visit ALL the participants throughout the tour to get your complete zombie fix!

z crawl schedule

Zombie Crawl 2 – Blog Party

October 22 – 31, 2015

by Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans

How it works: Each day, the scheduled authors and bloggers will post awesome zombie-tastic content for your enjoyment along with a giveaway on their site/blog/page. You can hop around to all of the participating sites and enter as many giveaways as you like! If you would like to be emailed links to the new posts each day, join this Zombie Crawl Daily Digest list which will ensure you don’t miss a post (or join the party on Facebook to get notifications). Make sure to leave comments and interact with the participating sites. Thanks for joining the party!

The Schedule:

OCTOBER 22 – Thursday

Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans (Party & Grand Prize Host)

Jo Michaels Blog (author)

Rissa Blakeley (author)

OCTOBER 23 – Friday

Claire C. Riley (author)

2 Girls & A Book (blog)

Emily Shore (author)

OCTOBER 24 – Saturday

Kathy Dinisi (author)

Us Girls & A Book (blog)

The Voluptuous Book Diva (blog 18+)

OCTOBER 25 – Sunday

Casey L. Bond (author)

THE KATY blog (blog)

OCTOBER 26 – Monday

Saul Tanpepper (author)

Warren Fielding (author)

The Leighgendarium (blog)

OCTOBER 27 – Tuesday

Kody Boye (author)

Rhiannon Frater (author)

ER Arroyo (author)

OCTOBER 28 – Wednesday

Allen Gamboa (author)

Armand Rosamilia (author)

Ethan @ One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads (blog)

OCTOBER 29 – Thursday

Kate L. Mary (author)

aftershockzombieseries (author)

Eli Constant (author)

OCTOBER 30 – Friday

Aria Michaels (author)

Brian Parker (author)

Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps (blog)

OCTOBER 31 – Saturday

Cindy Carroll (author)

M. R. Pritchard (author)

Toni L.H. Boughton (author)

Digital Dirty Girl (blog)

To learn more about Band of Dystopian and/or to enter our Grand Prize Giveaway, visit BandofDystopian.com and don’t forget to join the group on Facebook!