The Antonym to Stereotypes and Archetypes

We all know we shouldn’t use stereotypes for the hero or heroine in our novels.

Stereotypes are conventional and predictable and often boring, and it is therefore difficult to keep the reader’s interest with a stereotypical character. We use them for minor characters—the nerd for example. Stereotypes go hand in hand with tropes, which can best be described as the expected (or predictable) behavior of the stereotypical character. The nerd will probably wear glasses, have a dorky haircut, and be a wizard on computers. We all know that, and the readers expect it.

We tend to use archetypes for our primary characters, as defined by psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. Typical archetypes are the hero, the villain, the rebel, the healer, the mentor, etc.

We know they will portray and follow universal patterns of human behavior, which enables us to make them more realistic, because we understand what their motivations would…

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The Art of Writing a Review …

So, you’ve read a great book lately have you? Maybe even found yourself a new “keeper” author. Can’t wait for that next great read?

Like any other entertainment professional, authors need encouragement. Validation over and above the initial sale. Where do we get that much-needed encouragement? Through an honest review.

'The end. Well, time for bed. What are you writing?'
Tips for leaving a review

  • Most importantly, a review can be short. Don’t feel like you have to recap the entire book. That’s the sole purpose of the posted blurb. Two to three sentences outlining your reaction is more than enough. And, of course, set the ‘star’ ranking.
    • Example: “I usually don’t care for secret baby stories, but this one was different. Cody was the smartest, cutest thing ever. Sometimes adults are so stupidly blind, but that’s what makes love grand! Great story.”~ 5-star Amazon Review for Home is Where the Hunk is
  • If you do choose…

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Writing the Blurb for your Book

This is my latest post on the Soul Mate Publishing blog.

I don’t know about you, but I find writing the Facebook hook and the blurb one of the most difficult tasks of all. It’s far more difficult than writing the story. I believe this is probably because it is so important. It’s either going to make people want to buy your book or pass it over.

My first word of advice is start early—as soon as your manuscript is accepted—and don’t be afraid to tweak it often, or change it totally, but do have it ready by the time your publisher asks for it.

Over time, I’ve done a lot of research. I even bought and read several books on copywriting. The following is what I’ve come up with:

Facebook Hook: (Why won’t readers be able to put your book down?)

WHO is the protagonist of your story. WHAT goal are the striving for? WHAT obstacle is in their path?…

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You Can Write a Best-Seller

Never give up hope!

Almost every writer has a dream about breaking out—or achieving best-seller status. Many of us think it’s an impossibility, but recently I read something to change all of that.

I joined Romance Writers of America (RWA), and one of the two significant positives I’ve gained from belonging to the organization is their monthly magazine. In the March issue, five authors who have recently broken out are interviewed. The crazy thing—no one author could offer a single specific strategy that caused her book to break out.

Brenda Novak says she didn’t do anything particularly different with Trust Me, her seventh single title.

Robyn Carr broke out with her 25th novel, Virgin River Christmas, 30 years after selling her first book. She had embarked on an aggressive marketing promotion when she started her Virgin River series, but she didn’t do anything to focus on that particular book, the 4

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First Page – No Kiss Good-Night

The day of his thirty-ninth birthday, relationship counsellor Gus Adams was completely alone. He was supposed to have a birthday bash, surrounded by friends and coworkers, but everyone cancelled for this reason or that. Gus—left with a silly Staples birthday banner and chilled champagne, sans company—realized he had no one upon whom to depend, no one to love.
With sudden determination, Gus decided to find love—real, substantial love—before his dreaded fortieth birthday. After all, he knows how to make a relationship work. He spent his career listening to other people talk about their relationships. He knew what worked and what didn’t, but Gus hadn’t been in a romantic relationship in over ten years, since a heartless vixen tossed him out on the metaphorical curb.

Kevin Zdrill

Realizing I was perilously close to executing an Olympic-quality somersault, I stepped back from the fifteenth-floor railing. My second dismal thought was that no one would know if I had gone over. I was alone inside my Winnipeg apartment. On any other day of the year, the silence was an accepted normal, but today it was a defeat. Today I turned thirty-nine, and I’d had a plan to tackle the dreaded experience with a show of force. With focused determination, I’d gained the commitment of my most cherished friends, family and acquaintances to form a protective circle around me as we celebrated the end of my favourite decade, my thirties.

This morning my phone rang at 9:00 a.m., and I dashed toward it with a large grin, preparing to hear the well-wishes of a thoughtful friend. It was my sister, Julia Adams. She was flying in this afternoon from her home in Minneapolis, one of the guaranteed members of my protective birthday circle. Except today was my birthday and Julia’s plane ticket was one weekend off. Julia was calling from the airport—ticket, bag and gift in hand—mere hours away from joining my circle. In her zest for supporting her brother she’d given the airline the wrong date for her day of departure. Julia had a heart of gold but her pocketbook wasn’t lined with it. The airline wanted $900 to change her flight. End of the line. Julia asked if it would be okay for her to hang on to my gift until I saw her at Christmas when I came to visit. Yes, it would. Strike one from my protective circle.

I thanked Julia for calling. I still had confidence my remaining troops would take up the slack. I spent the rest of the morning getting silly from blowing up a few coloured balloons I’d bought at the Dollar Store. I chose a stack of CDs to play during the party, including my favourites by Streetheart, Loverboy Harlequin and Neil Young; I pulled out my wrinkled Twister mat in case the party got wild and stuck 39 candles into the vanilla cake I’d bought the day before at Safeway.

Lonny Wood rang my phone at 12:30 p.m. He was my best friend, my only friend, a part of my circle, and it looked like he was not going to show up. Lonny had intended to drive in from Brandon today after selling his cell phones to various farming communities. He explained that while he was having breakfast that morning at the Double Decker Restaurant in Brandon, he’d bumped into a “harem” of girls paying their bills at the same time he did. The girls were heading off to a Passion Party one of the women at Double Decker was hosting. Thirty women equaled thirty potential cell phone sales, maybe a phone number or two for Lonny and a free sex toy thrown in by the hostess. “Business is business,” he said. Lonny promised to drop off my birthday gift the next time we got together.

After Lonny bailed on my final thirties party, slight panic set in, but I pulled out the two bottles of Barefoot champagne that I had chilling in the fridge and left two champagne glasses in the cupboard. I set the bottles on the kitchen table alongside the remaining three glasses. I liked that odd number. It was lucky.

First Page – Only Love Twice

A Cross-Cultural Romance by Kat Canfield

In the aftermath of 9/11 Americans have largely become suspicious of persons of Saudi heritage. But a fifty-something retired police officer from South Florida takes a chance in meeting a man a bit younger than her who is a Saudi National. Being a businessman who grew up in England as the son of a diplomat, he is used to western ways.

Communicating through the Internet and smartphones, Madison and Saleem become friends and find they share much in common. Madison is a widow of two years whose driving passions are her horse showing and her business. She has no children so her horse is her child. Meanwhile Saleem is an oil company executive, divorced, with four children and a bit of a playboy reputation. To further complicate matters, Madison is Jewish. But she has a curiosity about the Muslim faith and a love of the Middle East in general. Can these two polar opposites find the second love of their lives in a post 9/11 world? 

Chapter 1

     How the world had changed in a few short years. No one could do anything without a computer, and everyone had a phone in his or her pocket. There was nothing you could not do with a computer and a smartphone. And the technology made it so easy to make money now. Who would have thought you could become a millionaire with a webcam and a domain name? The fifty-something
red-haired wonder had done just that. Madison made her millions selling sex to perverts on the Internet. Well, maybe not all of them were perverts. They were just faceless persons who watched
the women she employed perform for the camera. The girls enjoyed getting paid to perform as solo acts, and they did not have to see the people they performed for. It was a nice combination for them.

     Madison Kelly, though anonymous, made a few friends of the customers. No one saw her face or knew her true name. They just chatted online, told her things they would like to see, and she told the girls what someone wanted to see. They did the work; she did the selling. What was the old saying? A fool and his money are soon parted. That was how her business ran for the past few years.
     She had recently met a person online who captured her attention. The problem with anonymous Internet is you can’t tell about someone just by chatting, but she felt sure this was a man and he interested her. They had been chatting for about eight months. One of the short flicks she had posted showed an Arab woman pleasuring herself. The woman wore a veil so her face could not be seen. He seemed to think that would never happen as Arab men would never let a woman have needs of pleasure without him taking care of those needs. That conversation evolved to a friendship online. Now she thought she would like to take the next step and see the face behind the conversation. She…

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Untreed Reads Ebook Challenge

Untreed Reads is a great company who distribute books to sites all over the world.

They’re holding a great competition where you can win some good books, and we all know how hard it is to find good books these days with so many being offered free.

This is how it works:

1. Send your name and email address to . If you’re participating in another reading challenge on the Internet, be sure to let us know that too. We won’t EVER share your info with anyone else, but we’ll add you to our New Releases newsletter so you can see the great new books coming down the pike…plus get even more coupons!
2. Each month we’ll send you a coupon good for a free download from our store ( You can choose any title up to $5.99 and in any format you prefer: EPUB, PDF or Kindle.
3. Read the book and leave a review in our store and as many other places you can, such as Amazon and Goodreads. Please leave an honest review! You’ll also need to include in your review that you received a free copy of the book in exchange for a review. The government requires that. Darn red tape!

Goodbye, Madiba

I was born and raised in Africa, and having lived in South Africa for many years I feel that it would be fitting for me to write something about Nelson Mandela’s passing.  He was a great leader revered by many for his humility.
The media loves to report that Nelson Mandela was a saint and he was illegally imprisoned by a racist regime for opposing apartheid, but that’s simply not true.  Nelson Mandela was a member of the communist-backed ANC party. Together with Joe Slovo, a Lithuanian  Jew, Mandela formed and headed up the communist party’s uMkhonto we Sizwe – the Spear of the Nation. Under his leadership, many innocent men, women and children of all races lost their lives in bombings in public places in South Africa.
In 1962, Mandela was arrested, together with several other communist party members both black and white.  Between them they were tried for 221 acts of sabotage against the South African government.

Apartheid in South Africa was wrong, as was the racial discrimination that took place in the US in the ’60’s, but any government would do the same to political criminals who conspired against them and murdered their citizens.

Mandela could have been sentenced to death, but instead he received a life sentence.
In 1989, the moderate, F. W. de Klerk became the president of South Africa and soon announced his policy of reform and his plan to end apartheid.  He legalized the South African Communist Party and met with Nelson Mandela at the prison. In time, Mandela was released and subsequently voted in to become president.
In his years as president, Mandela was known by the nickname Madiba, a tribal title of respect. Mandela strove to relieve racial tensions and succeeded in bringing the people of South Africa together, which gained the country the name  ‘Rainbow Nation’. 
Madiba’s humility is probably what made him great. In books and speeches he made a point of admitting his errors and stating that he was flawed just like the rest of us.
Nelson Mandela  made his mark on the world and will be remembered by many with respect and affection.
Rest in Peace, Madiba.
Trish Jackson is the author of several  romantic suspense fiction novels.

Editing and Formatting Services

I always try to support indie writers by buying their books, but more often than not I am disappointed and unable to read to the end. Why? Because they have not been edited. Yes, they’ve been spell checked. But I just can’t read books that clearly need help.

Everyone needs to have their work edited. Even best selling authors have editors, and I am thrilled to have started to offer editing services at my website:

I recently offered to help my old friend Chris Pocock in Zimbabwe self-publish his book on Amazon’s Createspace.

When he sent the manuscript to me he said he had not had a chance to have it edited, and asked if I would also do that for him.

I was glad he recognized the importance of editing, and because he and I have been friends since we rode horses together in our high school days, I agreed.

His book is non-fiction, entitled The Story of Polocrosse in Zimbabwe, and it covers 60 years of history of the sport. I was very impressed with the amount of information it contained, and how much work Chris had done putting it all in order, together with a lot of photographs and line drawings.

He was quite right, it did need editing, and I found that I really enjoyed that part. It also needed to be formatted for publication, which is not too difficult once you have done it a few times.

Chris had an idea of what he wanted for a cover, but he didn’t know how to create one that would conform to Createspace’s specifications. This is what we came up with when we put our head together:

Next, we had to figure out what we were going to do with the back cover, and here it is. It took some adjustments to get it right for publication, but the book will be available any day now, as soon as it has passed the review process.
I have also been helping a friend in Australia to format and submit his book, “SILF” and its cover to Createspace. He designed the cover himself. The book is now available, which is great.

I enjoyed it so much that I decided to offer my services to others, but it is very time consuming, and I work, so I have to charge something for doing it, but I’ve made it as inexpensive as I possible can. This is my new website:

I’m ready and willing to start helping independent authors, so please contact me for pricing info. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.