Writing Talk

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Book Spotlight – Birthdays of a Princess – Helga Zeiner

Published 11/06/2013 by julierkendrick




Almost from age one, Tiara has been a star of the American Child Beauty Circuit. When she grows too old to win anymore, her mother leaves Texas and returns to Vancouver. Tiara is twelve years old, she refuses to attend school or interact with other children, becoming more and more reclusive. Her relationship with her mother deteriorates and they become estranged.

One morning, three years later, Tiara’s mother is shocked to find her daughter the subject of a big story on the morning news. A violent assault has just occurred at a local coffee shop and it seems Tiara is the perpetrator. The brutal and seemingly unprovoked assault lands her in the Burnaby Secure Youth Centre for a court ordered psychological assessment.

When the police investigate the incident they begin to slowly unravel her confused and dark childhood. They discover her history as a child beauty queen star, managed by her mother and aunt while living in Texas. It also becomes increasingly apparent that explicit photos of Tiara were taken and posted to many internet sites The photos seem to capture Tiara over many years and lead the detectives to wonder whether she is the victim rather than the perpetrator.

Tiara herself cannot provide any insight. She has buried the memories of her childhood deep in her sub-consciousness, and even if she could remember, she is deeply traumatized and unresponsive. Any attempts by the authorities to probe result in more withdrawal and unexplained expressions of grief and anger.

Carefully guided by the adolescent forensic psychiatrist in charge at the Secure Youth Centre, she begins to write a journal, anchoring her memories on her birthdays as she remembers them. At the same time, her mother tries to explain the past from her own perspective, insisting she only wanted the best for her daughter and refusing to acknowledge any responsibility at all for what Tiara has experienced. It becomes very obvious that Tiara has been greatly damaged by her childhood.

Slowly the two story-lines merge until they arrive at the moment when mother and daughter recall the trauma that eventually leads to the attack. Tiara begins to understand the horrific nature of her abnormal childhood. She allows the psychiatrist to read the notes in her journal, subconsciously guiding him toward the truth.

But the truth is not clear cut. Tiara is guilty of aggravated assault. Even the detectives can’t find motive to explain her action, which means the judicial system has no choice but to keep her locked up as a dangerous juvenile criminal. Tiara remembers much of her past but she has no idea why she stabbed a strange woman in a coffee shop. Her mental isolation doesn’t allow her to confront this important question. Only the psychiatrist, with the assistance of the detectives who keep digging in the past, might be able to unlock the secret buried in her soul.

And they are successful, but in a way they never expected. When Tia remembers all that had happened and what had motivated her to attack another human being, the final answer, the solution to the puzzle, surprises them all.

Author Bio

Helga Zeiner

Helga Zeiner

Born and educated in Germany, Helga left her home country when she was 18 to travel the world and experience the magic of life she was passionately reading about.

She spent the next 15 years in exotic places like India, Thailand, Australia and Hong Kong, where she worked her way up into excellent managerial positions in large international companies. To achieve this she had to further her education and enrolled at night classes at the ‘Chinese University of Hong Kong’ for her Diploma in Management Studies.
Love eluded her for many years. She was nearly 40 when she finally met her dream man and settled in Canada, where she now lives, neatly tucked away in the wilderness. She has previously written several suspense novels which have been published in Germany.
Her first novel written and published in English is called. ‘Section 132”. A thrilling fact-based page-turner about a young girl forced into a polygamous marriage that has received countless 5-star reviews.
Birthdays of a Princess’ is her second novel and will be published in June 2013.

Buy Birthdays of a Princess here.

A is for Author

Published 03/05/2013 by julierkendrick

Well it is the start of my new blogging journey. Blogging from A – Z. Unsurprisingly I will be starting with A and I think it would be silly if I didn’t write about being an author.

Most authors have someone who inspired them to start writing.  It may have been a teacher or parent but I would guess that for most it is someone who wrote the books they loved to read as a child. I, like most little girls growing up in the 70’s and 80’s loved Enid Blyton. I devoured everything I could get my hands on that had been penned by her from The Wishing Chair to Malory Towers.  So quintessentially English but nothing like the childhood I knew.   Growing up in the heart of East London couldn’t be further removed from the beautiful countryside and lashings of ginger beer the Famous Five were used to. But for me that was the appeal. Stories of boarding school, children detectives, a wonderland at the top of a tree and a chair that could fly constantly stimulated my imagination and the stories I wrote in my wallpaper covered exercise books were full of amazing fairies and rainbows and don’t forget lashing of ginger beer.

Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton

As I grew older my love for reading grew with me. I moved on to books by Judy Blume which helped me through my teenage years with stories such as “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?” and Deenie. I still had a good stock of Enid Blyton’s to read and re-read though.

It was when I reached the age of about 15 that I discovered horror, in the form of none other than Stephen King. I still remember the first book of his I read; Cujo, the story of a dog who catches rabies told from the dog’s point of view. Amazing! This was a whole new world of reading for me and probably the first book that made me cry (I could never watch the film). This book was quickly followed by Pet Semetary, Thinner, Salem’s Lot and It (which was the inspiration for my story Chuckles). How could one author, scare me, amuse me and make me cry all in one book? I just wanted to be able to do that too.  Richard Laymon, James Herbert, Dean Koontz, Sean Hutson are amazing horror writers all of whom have inspired me and continue to do so.

The Original Cover I Had

The Original Cover I Had

Stephen King

Stephen King

Now, though there is an new genre it’s called YA or young adult. Wow, this didn’t exist when I was a young adult. So there was nothing to ease us in to the world of adult fiction.   That’s not necessarily a bad thing but I am envious of the teenagers of today, so many authors writing just for them.  The world of writing has expanded like never before and as subject matter pretty much anything goes. Young adults are not stupid or gullible and they don’t like to be patronised or humoured with watered down adult fiction. Oh no, YA tackles gritty subjects like  death, puberty, sex, divorce and an endless list of issues that affect the youth of today. But they are also still very young at heart and have the joy of books like Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. In fact the YA genre has exploded on to the scene so comprehensively that more adults than ever are buying books from this section.  Some of my new favourite authors write for the YA market, Amanda Hocking, Cassandra Clare and Lauren Kate to name but 3 and there are more being published every day.

So with all of this inspiration, all of these wonderful stories written by extremely talented authors how the hell will I ever measure up? You know what? It doesn’t matter, but I wont know until I try.

With 14 published short stories under my belt I am now in the process of writing two books, both aimed at the YA market. One is a paranormal romance and the other a genre fusion of paranormal and crime. I’ll keep you updated with how they progress.

Oh and by the way I still have a copy of The Wishing Chair on my shelf.

Wishing Chair

Wishing Chair

See you all soon.

Julie 🙂

The Goodreads Extravaganza

Published 08/01/2013 by julierkendrick

Last year I was lucky enough to stumble upon a website that you probably know called Goodreads. I have no idea how I missed this great site for so long but once I found it I was completely hooked. For those of you who have yet to experience the delights of Goodreads I’ll explain a little about it here.

When you sign up you will be asked questions about the kind of books you like to read and your lifestyle etc. Once you have done this you will see on the homepage recommendations based on the answers you gave. This is great because you will find books on the genres you love that you had forgotten about or have read and want to read again or brand new books that you just have to read.  You get to rate the books and compile your own lists of those you have read, those you want to read and the book you are currently reading. Sounds good so far but not amazing? Ah there’s more.


You can join forums to chat about anything literature related, you can vote for books in Goodreads polls. You can answer quiz questions about books, authors or film adaptations and you can even make your own quizzes, challenge your friends and other like minded readers.

There are two things about Goodreads that I really love. The first is my author page. Once you become a published writer you can set yourself up as an author member with your own page, links to your books and a blog if you wish. You can also link this to your Twitter and Facebook accounts thus improving your writing profile. Once you do this you will find more and more requests to be your friend. Unlike FB you don’t update statuses or talk about your personal life this is purely about reading so your ‘friends’ will be following your literary life, seeing what you are reading, commenting on your books reviews etc etc. Goodreads is used by well known authors too so you never know you may find that you have Stephen King or Phillipa Gregory taking an interest in you.

The second thing I love about this site is the challenges you can set yourself. I personally do the yearly book challenge where you have to nominate the number of books you will read in a year. Last year I said I would read 73 and I managed 75. This year I have challenged myself to read 80.  This is great for me because I have such a massive bucket list of books I want to read, I find myself making time to read so I don’t fall behind on my challenge. It keeps up with you and tells you what percentage you have left to go or if you are falling behind too.

So to sum up. Goodreads is great. A definite favourite you should add to your task-bar.

Here is a link and don’t forget to look me up and ask to be my friend.


Look forward to seeing you there.

Julie 🙂

The Living Dead 2

Published 27/11/2012 by julierkendrick


Just  a quickie. Today  had one of those “I wish I had written that” moments. I read a story in the book The Living Dead 2 called “Zombie Gigalo” by S G Browne.  Completely gross, totally absorbing, hugely funny and brilliantly written.

If gross horror is your thing, and this story is very tongue in cheek you must buy this book.

There are stories by some very prominent authors in this anthology, Kelley Armstrong, Max Brooks, Simon R Green and many others. You will definitely find something you love here.

Click here to be taken to the Waterstones website.




Points of Views, Yours, Mine, Whoever

Published 25/11/2012 by julierkendrick


Point of view or POV was something I never really gave much thought to when I started out writing. Practically everything I wrote was in the third person and I was always quite happy with that. It was only when I started to write seriously that I found there were two other main POV’s in which I could write.

So what is POV and how does it impact on writing style and stories?

Third Person

This is where you have what is called a God’s eye view. You tell the story as an onlooker so you can see what everyone in your story does and get inside everyone’s heads. This type of narration is most commonly used in fiction as it is the one that provides the most flexibility to the author. As the storyteller you are the narrator and never actually become part of the story.

First Person

First person POV is where you are telling the story from your perspective, you will be a part of the story although not necessarily the main character. You may be a side character that watches the story unfold from a distance but nevertheless it is your story to tell.  However this can be quite limiting because you can only tell the story as you see it. You will not be able to tell the reader what others are doing when they are not in the scene as you will not be able to see them or get inside their heads.  This kind of information usually comes to light when other characters are speaking. A significant benefit from writing in the first person is that you can tell the story with deeper feeling as you are the one who is conveying how things and situations actually feel to you and the effects that this may or may not have in the story.  The use of taste, touch, smell etc are a wonderful way of describing your surroundings.  Another aspect that is worth considering is the fact that you are speaking directly to the reader and in this regard you must have fully fleshed out your character if you want your reader to symapthise with you; remember they are along with you for the ride and want to be as fully invested in the story as you are.  I have friends that will only pick up a book if it is written in the first person because they find they can relate better to the story if they are with the narrator on their journey.

Second Person

This is perhaps the most limiting of POV’s but also the most interesting, I think. It is where the author refers to one of the characters as “you”, making the reader feel as if they are being addressed personally.  You will see that this style is almost always used in song lyrics and on children’s television shows where the presenters act as if they are actually speaking through the TV at the child watching. It is an immediate engagement and I have found a great style to use for shock factor. In my story “Obsession” which was published in the book “House of Terrors“, I used the second person POV to portray the mindset of a stalker. Addressing the reader directly helped me to scare them by making them think that someone was actually after them. Similarly in my story “That Sinking Feeling” from the book “Picnic Nightmares” I used this POV to write as a serial killer. Of course if you are not a horror writer like myself, then this would be a lovely POV to use in romantic fiction. Once again you cannot jump heads or scenes that don’t involve the storyteller but once mastered this style is very rewarding to use.

These are the main POV’s but there are others. Third person single vision, multiple vision, first person present, first person past, and you can also jump heads using first person to third person and so on. There are many places to find out more information of these POV’s if you want to experiment with your narration but I hope that this had shed a little light on the subject for you, a springboard if you will, to greater things.

Good luck and please share your experiences.

Julie 🙂

Publishers Hate Authors

Published 14/11/2012 by julierkendrick

I have just come across another very interesting article, this time from the publishers point of view. As authors we like to think that we are respected by publishers who, after all, we are doing our best to impress. But are we?

This article talks about some of the problems publishers encounter whilst dealing with the like of ‘us’. Let’s just hope none of ‘us’ are really like this.

Read the article here.