Monthly Archives: September 2013

Brotherhood of Man

Hey everyone!

As I sit here right now I can’t help but feeling a little proud of myself. Last night I finished a novel that I’ve been working on for a while. Initially I began work on it last spring, but after about six weeks I stopped because the material was becoming difficult to deal with. It’s not often that a character comes into your brain fully formed, but Charlie Gower did just that.  Here’s what happened.

I can’t remember how long ago it was now, maybe a year or two, there was a story about how our local children’s hospital was making severe cuts to mental health services. A number of beds were to be closed as they ‘no longer had the need’ for them. The waiting list at the hospital had been cut from over a thousand kids to just under one hundred. A spokesperson for the hospital was interviewed by the local news and said that services were not going to be affected, even though the cuts were going to be pretty large scale.

As she was talking, my husband and I looked at each other and at the same moment said, ‘She doesn’t believe what she’s saying.’ It was one of those times when you see a spokesperson simply towing the line, reciting what they’ve been told to recite. It was mechanical and totally without feeling. She knew she was standing up there lying and moreover, she knew that everyone watching was going to know it too.

The story disappeared from the headlines for a week or so, but reappeared later when someone did some digging and found out that the reason the wait list had gone from over one thousand to under one hundred is because someone had simply gone in and deleted names. Letters were sent to parents asking if their child still needed mental health assistance. If they didn’t answer they were bumped off the list without as much as a notification. Some would argue that it was the parent’s job to respond, but lo and behold, the very next week there were parents in the media saying, “What letter? We didn’t get a letter.” If it was one or two who said that you could say they were slack or the letter got lost in the mail, but almost a thousand letters?

Now, far be it from me to criticize the IWK. They’ve done great things and are largely a great children’s hospital. They’ve always been there at our time of need when my kids were sick and I know people who have spent lots of time there with very sick children and would gladly sing their praises. But let’s face it, it doesn’t take a genius to see what was going on here. It’s the same thing that goes on with the adult patients who suffer from mental illness.

The powers that be were suffering from what I call, ‘Shut up and go away syndrome.’  Sadly I’ve seen it time and again. I’ve had to access mental health services for myself and people close to me. I also volunteered on a crisis line about eight years back and have heard this story from multiple people. Basically what happens is sometimes people go to the hospital in need of help and are refused. Suicidal people are turned away routinely. If you’ve never taken a suicidal person to the hospital right now you’re saying, ‘what do you mean? Don’t they HAVE to take them?’  Nope.  I took someone close to me to the hospital because they were threatening suicide. They had attempted before and had a history of severe mental illness. A doctor looked me straight in the face and said, ‘If he wants to kill himself, we can’t stop him.’  We were sent home. ‘Shut up and go away syndrome’ is very common and it really thrives when you cut services to mental health.

Of course you’re never outright told to shut up and go away, but that got me thinking, what would it look like if you did? What if we lived in a society that not only encouraged troubled people, or people who are not fully productive for whatever reason, to commit suicide? What if it were not just encouraged? What if it were subsidised by the government as a means of saving money?

That’s when Charlie Gower walked in, sat down on my couch and basically said, ‘Here’s what it would look like. Here is my story.’ It was all there in a flash and I started writing.

As you know if you follow this blog at all I have been pretty open about my struggle with mental illness and suicidal thoughts have been a part of that struggle. I’ve had days where I’ve laid in bed and had to force myself to count my reasons to live. I suspect a lot of people do. For that reason this book was difficult to write. It forced me to take a look at some of the thoughts and beliefs that I’ve held and that others have had toward me.

I put it away for a few months, but came back to it. Largely because I keep seeing news stories of young people who have taken their own lives recently. It takes me back to a time in junior high when a boy in my class committed suicide. I remember the devastation it caused all of us. My school was very small, one of those places where everybody knows everybody. I remember that funeral and how awful it was, and If I’m being honest, the times over the years when I’ve contemplated taking my own life, I have gone back to that time in my mind and remembered how horrific it was for everyone involved.

It seems to be the thing to say now when you’re mad at someone or have a disagreement that someone spouts the phrase, ‘you should just go kill yourself’.  Don’t believe me? Go look at the comments section of YouTube. This has become like a plague. For that reason I had to pick it up again. I had to finish.  Who is anyone else to say you should remove yourself from the world? Every life matters, and that’s the basic theme of this work.

I’m very proud of this book. It’s set in Halifax (in an alternate reality of course) and will be out hopefully next summer.


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One Crow Sorrow by Jessica MacIntyre Review

One Crow Sorrow by Jessica MacIntyre Review.

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Jessica MacIntyre’s NaNoWriMo Page

So, today I wanted to talk to you about something that I’ve decided to do. I’ve thought about doing NaNoWriMo ever since I found out about it last year. I was too late for last November, but with the event still well over a month away I’ve decided to give it a go this year.

If you don’t know what that is I’m going to post a link to their website below. Basically what happens is that during the month of November, writers from all over the world embark on creating a 50,000 word novel. There is also a youth program that involves a more flexible word count for people between the ages of 13 and 18. My daughter is participating as well.

Here’s the thing though. I didn’t want to do it alone. The point of NaNoWriMo, it seems, is to create a network of people who are all doing the same thing you are. Even though I have four books in print now with more on the way, writing a new book is always a challenge. My usual workload for the day is normally never above one to two thousand words. I just find I get sloppy after that. I’ve never written a book in a month. I’ve always given myself at least two to three months of writing time, so this will be a first for me.  For that reason I’ve decided to create a page on Facebook with others who are going to participate this year.

But then I decided I’d take it a step further. Not only am I going to attempt to write my own book, I’m going to coach other people, as much as I can, with their attempt. Meaning I want to get as many people as possible on that page who’ve never written a novel before. Since I’ve put my work out there I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who’ve told me that they’ve either always wanted to write a book, or that they started writing a book at some point and then got stonewalled. I’ve struggled with this myself in the past, but in the last few years, I’ve learned a few tricks that may help you push through. The important part is getting to the end and learning not to worry about anything else until you do.

So with NaNoWriMo just around the corner I’d like to invite you to join my Facebook group. If you have been dreaming of starting your novel, now is the time. I’d love to see you in the group. Come on over and introduce yourselves, and have a look around at NaNoWriMo’s page. You might be amazed at what you can accomplish with a deadline and some coaching. We can do this together! Let’s go!


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Two of my books are FREE this weekend. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Links below. 🙂

US Kindle Store

The Vampires of Soldiers Cove:

When 24 year old Rachel Landry, who suffers from a debilitating mental illness, receives a knock at her door one night from a stranger she gets an offer she can’t refuse.  The chance to live as a vampire, gaining eternal life and relative sanity seems like a great plan.  Soon she comes to realize she has been turned for a specific purpose and her vampire existence may be short lived.  Also the handsome stranger may not be as much of a stranger as she thought.  Facing her demons along with new enemies she must come to rely on her own strength to save her life, and the life of her new clan.    

The Slave Queen (paranormal erotica):

After being chosen by a King to be his bride, Lady Iliya is taken to a castle far away to be wed to King Roman. On the night of her wedding, just as she is about to discover the mysteries a man holds, she is kidnapped and taken to an underground world full of strange creatures. The Satyr King, Ramses, wants her not just to be a Queen in his strange world, but to be a sexual Queen in his bed both with him, and others who he will choose. Now it is up to King Roman, with the help of his knights, including young Sir Henry who is also in love with the Queen, to rescue her.

Canadian Kindle Store

The Vampires of Soldiers Cove

The Slave Queen


UK Kindle Store

The Vampires of Soldiers Cove:

The Slave Queen:




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Hey writers! Cut this out!!

So as I’m trolling through my Facebook newsfeed I’ve been coming across something that other writers are posting more and more. It’s starting to irk me a little bit. Now, I certainly don’t mean to insult anyone here, that’s not my aim. This post is made purely out of confusion…and maybe a tad of anger.

What I’m seeing are questions like this:

“Hey guys! What do you want to see more of in the books you read?”

“What do you guys think is over done?”

“Should I write my next book about witches or about demons?”

It puzzles me when I see these pop up from authors for a multitude of reasons.  Firstly I think to myself, “Why do you care?” Why do you care what people want to see more of in the books they read? That’s not a question you should be asking your potential audience. That’s a question that as a writer, you should be asking only YOURSELF.

I strongly feel that to be a writer you need to be able to sit down and write the book that YOU want to read. Vampires are not what a lot of people want to read about right now. I can’t tell you how many times people have rolled their eyes at me when I’ve told them I’m working on a vampire series and said, “Yuck! I’m so sick of vampires.” You know what? Fuck you! I like vampires and I especially like mine and if you have no love for the undead then go find another book to read. It’s not my job as an artist to please you. It’s my job to write the story I need to tell. If it involves vampires and you are cynical about that, well, that’s just too freakin’ bad buddy. Go find something else. I’m not writing for you. Not that I don’t appreciate the people who do like my stories, because I do. I appreciate the hell out of those people, but I can’t exist to please them.

I think a lot of this attitude comes from my early years of writing. When I decided that I was going to attempt to write seriously, about ten years ago now, what I first wrote were screenplays. I read everything I could get my hands on about how to write a screenplay and I apply a lot of those lessons to my novels. For instance, I have NO PATIENCE for filler! When I’m reading a book I can always smell padding. I try my best not to do it and I HATE reading books that are padded. One book I read recently, of a very popular series, was about four hundred pages. You know what? That book could have cut out at least a hundred pages and not lost any of the story at all. I won’t read the rest because a lot of it is just padding. I’d rather read a two hundred and fifty page story that is ALL story than to sift through four hundred pages of filler and purple prose.

Something else you learn as you study screenwriting is that the worst thing you can do is to try and write for the market place. Screenwriters (and other writers too I would imagine, but this is the first place I personally learned of this concept) have a word for people who write based on what’s popular or what other people tell them is a good idea. That word is HACK! When you try to write simply for sales or for the sake of gaining popularity you will quickly lose the respect of other screenwriters, the good ones anyway.

It makes me shake my head whenever I see a young writer (or any writer) asking the masses, “What should I write?” If you need to ask, perhaps you’re not a writer OR you’re ignoring the real writer within you. Writers KNOW what they want to write and do it no matter what anyone else thinks. If you want to write that rock opera staring grumpy cat then do it! If that’s what’s in your heart then write it, just give it some fucking feeling, and don’t pad it full of crap I don’t need to know and don’t care about! Make it all story, just write what’s in your heart. The world doesn’t need what other people think you should give. The world needs what you know instinctively that you have. Don’t shortchange yourself, and don’t shortchange your readers out of giving something that only you can provide.  Even if it’s a topic that has been well worn, nobody will tell it quite the way you will. You don’t need anyone’s approval to write what’s in your heart, so stop asking! Grow some balls and write YOUR story!

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