Thursday, 18 May 2017


Authors on the Guelph Partners in Crime panel enjoyed sharing their expertise on writing first chapters, character development, self-editing, and developing an author's brand during the May 17 workshop on, "Nuts and Bolts of Writing" at the Guelph Main Library. Gloria Ferris, normally a panel member, offered to be our photographer.
L-R: Alison Bruce, Donna Warner, Liz Lindsay (writing with Pam Blance as Jamie Tremain), and panel moderator, Joanne Guidoccio.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

DEATH'S FOOTPRINT (Book 2 in a Blair & Piermont Crime Thriller Series)

What’s your life worth? If the price isn’t right….You die!

They call him Dr. Death. Not a surprise. Lucas Stride’s Death's Reality lectures promote humanitarian actions since one never knows when the Grim Reaper will come for you.
The professor receives a threat. He must assign a cash value to his life. If the author of the extortion demand isn’t satisfied with the dollar amount, Lucas dies.
Toronto cop, Jordan Blair, arrives for a tryst with private investigator, Darcy Piermont. As a first-time visitor to Quebec City, sightseeing, fine dining, and blissful hours in Darcy’s bed are her priorities. Plans derail after Darcy is asked to locate a family friend, missing after his class tour of the morgue. In the search for the professor, Jordan and Darcy uncover a series of crimes that conclude with the reality of — death.

Buy eBook & paperback on Amazon from, and eBook from KOBO, and other book vendors worldwide. 

Thursday, 27 April 2017


Author Panel
Have a story plot brewing? Join local published, mystery authors, Alison Bruce, Joanne Guidoccio, Liz Lindsay, and Donna Warner. Bring your questions and participate in an open forum on the art, craft, and business of fiction writing.
Book sales and signings by the panel of Crime Writers of Canada Authors.
Free Admission
Door Prizes
Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Place: Guelph Public Library, Main Branch

Friday, 7 April 2017


It's a pleasure to have Canadian author, Jamie Tremain, guest on my blog today to share their journey to published author. Book launch for "The Silk Shroud" is April 23/17.

Writing a book? Want to be a published author? Here is what Jamie Tremain has learned along the way to becoming published.

While you are crafting your story, there’s something else you need to think about. Creating and building your online presence in advance of even searching out an agent or publisher can be beneficial to your success.

Several years ago we, as Jamie Tremain, began writing not one, but two stories. Eventually we settled on polishing “The Silk Shroud”.  Once we began to seriously consider that we might indeed be published one day, we decided to venture into the world of social media. At first it was a blog, chronicling our foray into the writing world and our journey of writing.

As we became more involved with the writing community – networking being another vital component to success – we began to attend writing workshops and even conferences whenever possible. After all, writing can be a very solitary process. So it’s a welcome relief to enjoy the company of others. And without a doubt the writing community is among the most supportive and encouraging you’ll ever find. If possible, join a writing group where you can have your work critiqued and learn from others first hand.

As our network grew, the name Jamie Tremain began to gain recognition, and we decided to try our hand at interviewing established authors for the blog. This was a great success and became another building block in establishing our brand.

All the while, we continued to write and revise. Once we felt The Silk Shroud was finished, we began sending out query letters to both publishers and agents. A very long process and being organized cannot be over emphasized!  A spreadsheet to track responses and contacts is helpful.
From the blog, we then moved to creating a Twitter profile and of course, a page on Facebook dedicated to all things Jamie Tremain and writing.

The more involved we became within the writing community the more we realized, much to our chagrin, how much of the promotion and marketing would fall upon us, the lowly author, should a contract to publish be offered. So we began to really watch how other authors were promoting themselves. What seemed to work, what didn’t. Everyone is different, and it can take a while to find your own style. It can be overwhelming to read all the “advice” out there. We found our own methods which worked for us. We determined that unless an editor wanted us to do something different, we’d stick to what we knew and what enabled us to keep the creativity flowing.

The author interviews on our blog became our style and has received moderate success. Even to the point of “Jamie Tremain” being approached by publishers and authors to review and/or interview other authors. 

We believe that when potential publishers saw that Jamie Tremain was indeed serious about this writing business, we were not so easily dismissed, in part because we had built a following. Which translates into sales.

The norm in today’s world for an author means YOU do the lion’s share of marketing and promotion. If you already have a presence online, you’re off to a good start.

Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Reddit, Goodreads, along with your own blog and/or web site will become a necessary evil, so the sooner you see them as tools of your trade the better. Create an account with VistaPrint or other sites where you can easily create your own promotional materials. From bookmarks to banners and everything in between. And remember to keep those receipts!
Can the process be discouraging at times? Absolutely. Do you wonder if it’s worth it? More times than you can count. But perseverance and belief in yourself will carry you through.  And when that day comes and you hold in your hand, YOUR book, the smile on your face will let everyone know it was worth it.

Happy writing!

L-R: Authors Elizabeth Lindsay & Pam Blance writing as Jamie Tremain
 Contact and/or Follow Jamie Tremain:
Web Site    

Thursday, 2 March 2017


After reading two of Douglas E. Richards' amazing techno-thrillers, I invited him to be a  guest on my blog today.  I'm delighted he agreed and has some  words of encouragement for those of us tackling writing a novel, whether it's  our first or next one.

If you are a fan of near-future science fiction thrillers as I am, I highly recommend adding, "Game Changer" to your reading list.

Donna J. Warner

Richards Game Changer on Amazon 

Writing a Novel is Impossible! (But Here's my Advice on How to do it, anyway.)

I realize that many of those reading the above title might question if writing a novel is truly impossible, since millions and millions of novels have, in fact, been written. 

I understand the logical conundrum. I’ve written fifteen of them myself.

And yet I stand behind this statement. Because every time I write one, every single time, I come to a point in the process where I find myself screaming at the top of my lungs (much to my wife’s chagrin) “This is impossible! It can’t be done!”
So far I’ve managed not to throw my computer through the window while I’m screaming, but it’s been a very close call on several occasions. And the fact that I’ve actually finished a number of novels makes me no less certain that I can’t possibly do it again. 

It was actually easier in the beginning. I didn’t know what a daunting task it was to come up with characters, and settings, and action, and plot, and prose enough to fill hundreds and hundreds of pages. Writing was an experiment. An adventure. When I wrote my first-ever chapter, I wasn’t thinking, “Now what?” I wasn’t panicking because I had sixty more chapters to go, and no idea how I might fill these sixty chapters, how I might sustain a narrative and the proper pacing for another hundred thousand words. In fact, I was reading the chapter and thinking, “Wow, this isn’t as bad as I thought. It almost sounds professional.” 

Since then I’ve learned a lot. So I thought I’d offer just a few words of advice for anyone contemplating this monumental undertaking for the first time, which I hope will resonate with seasoned writers as well.

The first advice I’d give you is to go back and reread your all-time favorite books, but this time with a writer’s eye. What about these books is most appealing to you? How much of their greatness is due to their characters, action, suspense, mystery, pacing, plot, or prose? I think the most important thing you can do as an aspiring author is to write a book that you, yourself, would love to read. The more you understand exactly what most appeals to you, and why, the better. 

Second, you need to understand that you can’t map out your entire novel before you dive in—not even close. If you’re waiting until you have everything buttoned up, you’ll never begin.

When I set out to write my first novel, I thought I could map out the entire route, at least in broad brush strokes. Why not? Get out some filing cards and sketch out what happens in each chapter, until you have a perfect outline for an entire book. The problem is that your novel needs to evolve. And when you begin to transform your outline into a novel, you often discover that scenes and ideas you thought would work contain fatal flaws. Or you fall in love with incidental characters you didn’t even know would exist from a mere outline, and realize you can use them elsewhere. The more you flesh out your outline, the more pieces you have to play with, and the more inspiration you get that you couldn’t have predicted beforehand.

The fact that you have to figure out significant portions of your work as you go is also quite terrifying, and the principle reason I’m convinced that novels are impossible. I’m never able to figure out the twists and turns of my novels, and their startling conclusions, until I’m more than halfway through them. And then only after weeks of being certain that I’ve written myself into a corner, and there is no satisfactory way to complete the work. 

This is when the screaming begins. And the hair-pulling. And the more screaming. And my wife reminding me that I go through this every time, and I always somehow manage to find my way back out of the maze. Except each time I’m convinced that I was lucky all of the other times, and that I’ve finally met my match. 

The saving grace is that your novel is your universe, which means you can go back in time and fix things to suit your needs. You don’t have to know in chapter one that a character in chapter sixty will be handcuffed and in need of a paperclip to pick the lock. You don’t need to see that far into the future, to prepare for all eventualities. When you reach chapter sixty, you can simply go back and rewrite chapter one, adding a paragraph describing the character shoving a paperclip in his pocket for some justifiable reason, a paperclip the reader will dutifully forget about until the character needs it in chapter sixty. No matter what roadblock you encounter, you always have the option of reworking earlier scenes to find a way around it. 

While I could write an entire novel about writing entire novels, in the interest of brevity, I will conclude with this: have fun, and don’t second guess yourself. Fight the demon within telling you that your writing sucks, making you doubt each scene and each choice. Self-consciousness kills good writing every time. And don’t get hung up with perfection on your first pass through a scene. Write it as fast and furiously as you possibly can, not worrying about details or character names or grammar or punctuation. Vomit the scene onto the page in one long heave. When I proceed like a tortoise, agonizing over every word choice, every sentence, I don’t do my best work. It’s too rigid, too constrained. Inspiration, flow, comes from letting the writer within have free rein, without pauses and second guessing and self-consciousness. There will be plenty of time to clean it up later, plenty of time to flesh it out and agonize over word choices once the underlying foundation has been laid.

Remember, writing an entire novel is an arduous process that requires stamina, perseverance, and stubbornness. It is an absolutely impossible task. But don’t let that stop you. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy’s words regarding the Moon initiative, “We don’t choose to do this because it’s easy. We choose to do this because it’s hard.” 

To all of you who reach the finish line and complete a novel, no matter how good or bad, commercially successful or unsuccessful, and no matter how many others have done so in the past, you have great reason to be enormously proud of yourself. This is truly an awesome accomplishment. 

But then again, doing the impossible always is.

Author, Douglas E. Richards

Douglas E. Richards is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of WIRED and numerous other near-future science fiction thrillers. A former biotechnology executive and Director of Biotechnology Licensing at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Richards earned a BS in microbiology from the Ohio State University, a master's degree in genetic engineering from the University of Wisconsin (where he engineered mutant viruses now named after him), and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

In recognition of his work, Richards was selected to be a "special guest" at San Diego Comic-Con International, along with such icons as Stan Lee and Ray Bradbury. His essays have been featured in National Geographic, the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Earth & Sky, Today's Parent, and many others.

The author currently lives in San Diego, California, with his wife and two dogs.
You can friend Richards on Facebook at Douglas E. Richards Author, visit his website at, and write to him at