Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

   LornaSuzukiCU zps4409475e Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!
Lorna Suzuki and I have been trying to connect in person for some months now, but she is a busy girl so we have been connecting virtually. I am hoping we can get her teaching a workshop at VSW on writing fight and action scenes. Recently she invited me to a major Tweetchat she hosted where she was unveiling some big news. But first, who is Lorna Suzuki? Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!  Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

Lorna is a local indie author, and martial arts expert, who has written an epic fantasy novel series, The Imago Chronicles, which was optioned for movie rights. In a writer’s world that means the film may or may not be made.

Until the rights are actually bought and paid for, and a producer is on board and they are casting, one never knows.Yet, last week Lorna revealed at Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon that the film will be going forward and in her Tweetchat last week revealed who the producer will be. Read on below a few of the answers she gave her highly interested fans (the chat started trending on Twitter).  And below that, follow the link to the Vancouver Sun article on her success, and beyond that do look at some of my low-cost events around Vancouver this coming month.

LornaSuzukiCU zps4409475e Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

Lorna Suzuki @LornaSuzuki
The Producer is…. Don Carmody’s Oscar winners include Good Will Hunting & the musical Chicago. He best known for the Resident Evil Franchise #ImagoMovie

 Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

Kathrin Lake@kathrin_lake
I told people you had a hand in choreography or consulting on fight scenes or something like that. Can you tell us more?

LornaSuzukiCU zps4409475e Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

Lorna Suzuki@LornaSuzuki
@liltohi I’ve been forewarned by exec.producer that me & my hubby (9th dan black belt) may be teaching martial arts to actors.

LornaSuzukiCU zps4409475e Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

@LornaSuzuki: .@laurazera Casting has already started! Some big-name actors are in the running, but unit contracts R signed, can’t say! …

LornaSuzukiCU zps4409475e Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

Lorna Suzuki@LornaSuzuki
.@liltohi Part of the deal with this film project was to include A-list actors that will have immediate box office recognition!


LornaSuzukiCU zps4409475e Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

Lorna Suzuki@LornaSuzuki  RT @jsubject: Brand Story to Watch: Imago Chronicles – A Warrior’s Tale http://t.co/jQMTroBQdo#ImagoMovie@LornaSuzuki

 Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

Kathrin Lake@kathrin_lake
Lorna Suzuki is asked if she was disappointed about giving up control, that someone else was writing the screenplay

LornaSuzukiCU zps4409475e Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

Lorna Suzuki@LornaSuzuki  .@TheLoneOlive For me, the screenplay adaptation was so well done, it was wonderful, when so many authors fear this process! #imagomovie

LornaSuzukiCU zps4409475e Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

Lorna Suzuki@LornaSuzuki  @CuttingRoomMRB The 1st time seeing Nayla coming to life in the prelim visuals was & still is surreal! #imagomovie

LornaSuzukiCU zps4409475e Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

Lorna Suzuki@LornaSuzuki  @CuttingRoomMRB It was such a relief to finally share the film news at #ECCC! With 75k scifi & fantasy fans! it was great! #imagomovie

 Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood! LornaSuzukiCU zps4409475e Lorna Suzuki: Author and Martial Arts Expert Strikes it in Hollywood!

Email to me from Lorna after the TweetChat:


Thanks so much for joining in on the live chat! OMG! It was more stressful than the panels I did at Emerald City Comicon! The #ImagoMovie hashtag was trending & with 566 tweets shared by almost 6 million, word is spreading about the Imago movies!


BTW, the 1st panel had a line forming 45 mins before the doors opened. Once all the seats were taken, the rest in the line up were turned away! I did a Writing Fight Scenes panel and also  a fun one called Page to Screen where the conceptual artist & I discussed collaboration process to bring my words to life with his talent onto the big Screen.


It was crazy busy with 75,000 in attendance & I suspect even more writers will converge next year as the Writers Block portion was new and put together at the last minute!

As it goes, the organizers have already asked me back & hoping I can do more panels/workshops!

Again, thanks for joining in yesterday Kathrin!

In the meantime, you might want to check this out as it’ll answer more questions you may have had:



OR See full article in the Vancouver Sun:



Writing Contest Scams

Writing Contests (& Publishing Scams)

writingcontestscams zps96352dcf Writing Contest Scams

Today I got an email asking me to enter the “prestigious eLit book contest” and immediately my suspicions were aroused; I am not on their list.

Whenever you have suspicions, or even if you don’t, check every contest out before you enter (most have entrance fees). For legit contests, they are paying their judges, costs for administration, marketing, prizes, etc. But there are plenty of scams. The way I test for scams is to put the “name of the contest” and the word “scam” and also “reputation” behind it into Google and see what comes up.

This time I got this great blog site called Writers Beware put out by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Writers Beware’s purpose is to debunk these kind of scams along with the many, many, publishing scams. Here:


is the blog article I found out more about the contest I had been “invited” to, and

www.writerbeware.com is put out by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America

Check it out.

And yes, the eLit was a scam from a company that does many of them and they are changing names all the time, so even if it is not listed as a scam if you can’t find several people vouching for the contest then DON’T DO IT!
In fact, after I told a few people about my Writers Beware I did get a person who admitted they had entered a competition and lost a good packet of money and never heard a thing but it was possibly legit. Most contests will email entrants and say who did win, but it depends on the contest. Even legit contests can be long shots. I only enter legit contests I truly think I can win and have a real plan of what to do with the “prize” and the publicity should I win or place.

Since someone recently asked about the Amazon Break-through Novel Award, this is what one comment on the WB site said that I would agree with.

Amazon Breakthrough is legitimate and popular (and free). But–assuming that an entrant has a marketable manuscript–I think the odds of getting a publishing contract via this contest are probably lower than by simply submitting in the normal way, given the vagaries of crowdsourced judging and the enormous number of entrants.

Remember you do much of your own marketing for a book even with a publisher and a contract. Unless they are giving a you a huge, six figure advance, and that is pretty damn rare and reserved for quasi famous people, you have to be very active in your own promotion. So learn how to do that, before you chase competitions and publishing “contracts.” Going to the Bestsellers Weekend is one way to keep on top of the latest in promotion for indie authors and even for traditionally published authors.
You have my permission to republish this email in your blogs! Spread the word to beware but do keep on writing!

The Birth of a Magazine: Pulp Literature

FoundersOfPulpLiteratureMag The Birth of a Magazine: Pulp LiteratureToni Morrison is famous for saying, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” We three writers (Jen Landels, Sue Pieters, and Mel Anastasiou)  took that advice seriously and created our new fiction magazine, Pulp Literature in Vancouver, BC, to take to the world.

In hindsight, the concept is brilliantly simple. We wanted a magazine that was as comfortable as the bed Goldilocks fell asleep in, something not too hard and not too soft. Most magazines are particular in focus, either narrowly literary fiction like Glimmer Train or limited to a fixed genre like Fantasy and Science Fiction.  We wished for one magazine to combine everything in one place, across genres.  We wanted “pulp” action stories together with “literature” and finely crafted prose.  We wanted to see graphic novels and illustrations alongside poetry and novellas. The idea grew for a hybrid magazine where we could read the pulp and the literature together.
Winter 2014 cover proof The Birth of a Magazine: Pulp LiteratureWriters are truly the most generous group on earth. The first authors to step up to the plate and pledge us their stories were CC Humphreys and JJ Lee. We knew them personally and they supported our concept of cross-genre writing with their own stories. Chris is normally a historical fiction swashbuckler, but he sent us gripping contemporary literary fiction.  And JJ Lee, writer of the multiple award-nominated memoir, The Measure of a Man, painted a cover for the second issue and promised to send us a macabre teddy-bear-gone-bad Sci- Fi horror story. We were ecstatic.

Star power led to more star power, and the writing community poured in its support.  Historical romance writer Susanna Kearsley provided a zombie story she had written as a Christmas present for her husband. Award winning playwright Joan MacLeod and historical fiction superstar Jack Whyte are also future contributors.  With these big names lending us their credentials, the submissions started to roll in. We planned beyond our first issue to our first year of four quarterly issues, and were ready to sell subscriptions.
 The Birth of a Magazine: Pulp Literature The Birth of a Magazine: Pulp Literature
We opted to raise funds through Kickstarter (a crowdfunding internet service for raising start-up capital), which had just opened up in Canada in September. The timing was perfect for us, and two good Canadian omens bracketed our campaign: short fiction author Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for literature in October, and on the day we achieved our funding goal, Lynn Coady won the Giller prize for her short story collection, Hellgoing.  Something hovered in the air to bless short fiction inCanada, and we felt we were in the right place at the right time.

Four months from inception, our first issue is at the printer and will be available before Christmas.  We daren’t count the hours we spent in preparation; we plan only to drink deeply at our launch party at Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay on December 20th. We invite you to join us there and invite everyone writing in every genre to submit your short fiction, poetry and sequential art to a locally-based market where you will be read and edited by friends.

The moral of this story for other authors?  There are more options in publishing than what you now see before you. If you dare to imagine something new, we advise you to grasp it with both hands. Our magazine is a hybrid, both in content and creation. We are indie authors and love the flexibility, control and ownership that self-publishing offers.  But like traditional publishers, we select material carefully, edit painstakingly, and offer paying contracts. We feel personally involved with our writers and commit time and energy to developing pieces that aren’t quite there yet.

Be encouraged. The categories that publishers used in the past are disappearing. The divisions are crumbling between genres, publishers, writers, and marketers.  There is a brave new future for writers and publishers alike, because now we can be both.

susan pieters 3 200x300 The Birth of a Magazine: Pulp LiteratureSusan Pieters is an editor at Pulp Literature magazine. She has a Masters degree in English, and has taught the language in China, the US and Canada.  She writes in a variety of genres and has won awards for her short stories and essays. Contact her through the magazine: http://pulpliterature.com/

Link to submissions page on website:
For new writers: We encourage submissions from emerging talent and this is part of our mandate; our better-known authors support Pulp Literature in order to help new writers enter the market and gain publication credentials.  We take the time to read every single submission. We sell  both electronic and print copies. To understand our taste and to support our project, please subscribe at our website AND…

Get a special one-time VSW subscription deal at: http://pulpliterature.com/vsw-special/

an invitation The Birth of a Magazine: Pulp LiteratureYOU ARE INVITED to the PULP LITERATURE LAUNCH:
Friday December 20, 7 pm at Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay (412 W Hastings).  Single copies of the first issue will be on sale at our launch party on.  Advance tickets only: $16 through our website http://pulpliterature.com/subscribe/.

4 Days Left
Remember that November 30th is the last day for our early bird special for advance booking a spot at our 1-week Mexico Writing Retreats  for only $447.
DATES:  January 20 – 26, 2014   or    February 17 – 23rd, 2014 INFO: http://vancouverschoolofwriting.com/events/writing-retreats/
SAVE 25% with a $200 deposit fully refundable until Dec. 15th.

Banner 1 The Birth of a Magazine: Pulp Literature
pixel The Birth of a Magazine: Pulp Literature



A Ticket to See Anne Rice: Vampires & Women Writers

anne rice 002 1024x539 A Ticket to See Anne Rice: Vampires & Women Writers

ticket signed by Anne Rice

Ann Rice and Ellen Chauvet 300x295 A Ticket to See Anne Rice: Vampires & Women Writers

Ellen Chauvet with Anne Rice








anne rice 001 264x300 A Ticket to See Anne Rice: Vampires & Women Writers

Last week, I went to see Anne Rice with a few of my vampire, horror and supernatural genre friends. She was in town and on the book tour for her latest book, the second in her new werewolves series, The Wolves of Midwinter.

Many know that Anne Rice was single-handedly responsible for what you might call the second wave of vampire novel interest.  The first wave being Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897, after which there were mostly B movies based on Dracula. In the 20′s with Nosferatu, and the 30′s with star Bela Lugosi, when vampires started to become sexy, which continued to heat up on the big screen all through the 1950′s and 60′s. Yet, there was nothing really in the way of original or popular novels for this genre until women writers started picking it up. And this had its break-through in 1976 with one woman, Anne Rice, and her novel, Interview with a Vampire.

At our event, 37 years later, when Anne Rice takes the stage to enthusiastic applause, we couldn’t help but be struck by how a woman of 72 years and 37 novels, looked supernaturally well preserved. She talked about the vampire who started it all, the one she first “interviewed,” L’estat. Naturally, people asked if he would ever make a reappearance, (or was she stuck on wolves now).  She admitted she wasn’t, and told us that although it has been 40 years since L’estat first appeared to her, he is such a strong character inside her that if she let him out of the box again she was sure he would give her eight more novels.

women writers vampires A Ticket to See Anne Rice: Vampires & Women Writers

In fact, the woman has been hugely flexible since her first vampire series and moved from them to The Mayfair Witches series, the Seraphin angels series, a series on Christ, and her erotica S&M books written under her other pen names (Anne Rampling and A. N. Roquelaure) which includes the Beauty series. Now, she is back to the supernatural with Werewolves, a subject that a T.V. producer casually suggested to her and she took up with her usual prolific dedication.

So other than the one TV producer, where does this supernatural genre mistress get her true inspirations from? The answers are relatively easy. Her Catholic upbringing was clearly a source for pondering ideas of mortality vs. immortality and dovetails nicely with her fascination with vampires, witches and the supernatural forces. Catholicism is also the undercurrent for repressed S&M sexuality in her erotica, which explores the master-slave relationship as not one of cruelty, but co-dependence. Naturally, her religion is also very much behind her books on Christ the Lord.

Another huge source for her inspiration is location. She told us she misses the magic that is New Orleans horribly. The Big Easy was a powerful setting for her first two series of books. Yet, her new home, in Northern California (where she went to be closer to her son), has been an equally powerful inspiration for angels and now werewolves among tall, rain-soaked redwoods.

When we asked her about her writing process, I heard my friend Ellen beside me breathe an audible sigh of relief to hear Anne say that she “does not write everyday.” Early on, Rice tells us, she was told by an “expert” that if she didn’t write every day, she was not a real writer. But she never has. She prefers to have flexibility to travel and see her favorite places (like Florence), with long passages of non-writing time. And then, when she sits down to write, she doesn’t want to stop until its done.

 A Ticket to See Anne Rice: Vampires & Women Writers A Ticket to See Anne Rice: Vampires & Women Writers
Rice is up on all the TV and movie series going on based on books, both in supernatural genres and other genres, like Game of Thrones, and told us that in her opinion, television, not movies, is at its finest point in history to tell the stories. She is, herself, in negotiation for a couple of her book series for development into TV series.

When asked which was her own favorites of her books, she hesitated but finally focused on one she felt had been passed over critically as a novel, the first of the Songs of Seraphin books, Angel Time, which will be made into a TV series by CBS. When someone stood up and told her they also thought those were her best books, she was very grateful to hear it. It makes me realize, that no matter how successful we are, no matter how immortal our words may become, we are mortal writers who never get tired of hearing face-to-face that someone loved our work.

Need to get away from in all to write like Anne Rice does? ... but with some stellar support. Remember that November 30th is the last day for our early bird special for advance booking a spot at our 1-week Mexico Writing Retreats  for only $447.

DATES: January 20 – 26, 2014   or    February 17 – 23rd, 2014 INFO: http://vancouverschoolofwriting.com/events/writing-retreats/

SAVE 25% with a $200 deposit fully refundable until Dec. 15th.

Banner 1 A Ticket to See Anne Rice: Vampires & Women Writers
pixel A Ticket to See Anne Rice: Vampires & Women Writers



Three views of the Bestsellers Weekend

NEXT: Bestseller’s Weekend March 22/23 – $150 off until Dec. 30th (additional $30 if you are on our VSW email list and email to request coupon code) Find out here .

The Bestsellers Weekend Three views of the Bestsellers Weekend

Three participants report on The Bestseller’s Weekend 2013. What they expected, what they got, and what they are doing with it now.

The Key We’ve Been Looking For

BSWkdp 300x253 Three views of the Bestsellers WeekendEarly in the spring, my wife showed me an advertisement for The Bestsellers Weekend, an upcoming workshop on eBooks and how to do it yourself. My wife had just employed an existing printing house, which I had used in the past to produce her new book and an eBook, and it cost a fair amount of coin! This did not include promotion, which is the key to all or any sales.

Being a natural-born skeptic, I reluctantly agreed to tag along to see what was going on in the eBook world. There was a nice gathering of about 40 people at The Bestsellers Weekend. Several published authors and many wanna-be authors gathered in the assembly hall. I looked around the room and saw many faces that wanted to believe that what we were about to hear would change our lives.

It took little time for the numbers to come out and the fact that both of the authors talking to us were relatively unknown two years ago. Having been the author of thirteen books, with seven international best sellers, I was all ears. They laid out plans on how to, with one click of the mouse, get the work, that you love so much, before the public and get them to buy. It seemed too easy, but in reality, it is not. It is a planned attack to get your work seen and appreciated. It was well thought out and presented to this enthusiastic group. I turned to my wife within the first hours and simply said, “Either this is pure bullshit or this is the key we have been looking for.” It is the key!  We listened, asked questions, and got the answers we needed to get our product to market. We got what we came for.

Since The Bestsellers Weekend, one month ago, my wife has re-edited one of my books that in the past, over two editions traditionally published, had sold over 130,000 copies worldwide. I have been reworking the images of this book and am excited how the new technology has made them come alive again. I made a small announcement on my Facebook page dedicated to the book and from about 300-400 hits a day the numbers spiked to 33,000+ in one day! It has leveled off to about 9,000 hits a day with constant inquires about a launch date. We have learned a tremendous amount about this process through the guidance of Martin and Kathrin and are excited about our planned December 1st launch date.

Are you considering taking The Bestsellers Weekend? We are considering taking it again!

allen delaplante3 150x150 Three views of the Bestsellers WeekendAllan de la Plante is an artist, photographer and author. His photographic career has spanned over fifty years with eleven books including seven international bestsellers on subjects that range from Pope John Paul II, Formula One legend Gilles Villeneuve, Canadian firefighters and even a book on B-B-Q cooking. He has been the official photographer at the Olympics and over 100 one-man shows internationally and continues to produce thought-provoking images.www.allandelaplante.com

Spine to Spine with the Best

The biggest reason I took The Bestsellers Weekend workshop was that the “primer” for the course was Martin Crosbie’s recent bestseller, How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle: An Easy-To-Follow Self-Publishing Guidebook. Notice he doesn’t call it “How to sell one million books.” That’s because he’s 100 percent transparent; he hasn’t sold 1M books. Yet.

spinetospine 300x144 Three views of the Bestsellers WeekendA mentor of mine once said, “It’s okay to be a copycat; just be sure you copy the right cat!”

Martin’s first book, My Temporary Life, hit Amazon’s top ten list, hopping over such notables as The Hunger Games and the Twilight series. So, I figured I was at least following the right cat.

That said, the ugly truth is that I went into The Bestsellers Weekend with two dirty little secrets. First, I was disappointed with the quality of the “indie” or self-published books I had read.  Second, although I wanted to learn to self-publish, I harbored a deep-seated desire to be published traditionally, as a “real” author. So, I thought, I’ll take the workshop and then figure out which way to go, later.

Imagine my delight when I quickly discovered that quality, both in the writing as well as the presentation of our books, was Kathrin Lake and Martin’s number one priority. To quote Martin, “I want my self-published books to stand spine-by-spine with those that are traditionally published.” And his do; not only his e-books, but the print versions that he has in bookstores, order via Amazon, or find at the library.

Dirty secrets aside, within the first half-day of the two-day Bestsellers Weekend, I knew I was going to self-publish—and, I was going to do with my head held high. Teaching us how to produce the best book we possibly could, was the overriding theme of the weekend.

I happen to enjoy marketing. However, most writers would sooner jump off a cliff face-first than have to promote themselves. Prior to The Bestsellers Weekend, I had managed to learn some of the tips of the unique world of indie publishing, but I was missing the logical, organized, step-by-step blueprint that allowed me to hit the ground running.

I can say, categorically, that without The Bestsellers Weekend I would not be at the stage I am with my first book. In just over three weeks since taking the Weekend, I have sent my manuscript out to 13 beta readers and made the necessary revisions. I’ve hired my editor, as well as my cover designer. I know what to do when my editor gets back to me and exactly what the next steps are to get my book formatted and uploaded to Amazon, both as an e-book and in print version. I also understand the intricacies of marketing and promoting my book without coming off as sleazy or cheesy.

WWCFkindlecopycover 200x300 Three views of the Bestsellers WeekendAll this has come directly from what I learned at the workshop. Every contact, link, prices provided when feasible, have come directly from Martin and Kathrin’s course. I loved that we had two workshop leaders. Kathrin Lake, author of Writing with Cold Feet, was perfect in catering to the specific needs of the non-fiction writers in the group. We had the best of both each with their unique perspectives. Every day, I literally use their material as my bible.

Add to the mix that the price of the entire two-days was a quarter of what I’ve paid for courses of lesser value, and I’d have to say that I copied the right cats!

Karen Dodd cropped Three views of the Bestsellers WeekendKaren Dodd has been a serial entrepreneur for most of her life. She currently blogs on platform strategy for emerging fiction authors, and is working on her first novel, Deadly Switch: A Stone Suspense. She lives in Lions Bay, BC with her husband, a laid-back Mexican beach dog, and an assertive cat. Learn more about Karen at: www.karendodd.com


Over Being Overwhelmed

As an aspiring author working on my first novel, I know it’s a lot of work and a lot of re-writing. I know the importance of a good editor and I know I’m diving into a career that involves a lot of self-promotion. I also see that traditional publishing is almost impossible to achieve and time consuming to chase. Self-publishing was the obvious choice, but how? Who do I choose? Can I self-publish and be successful? How do I promote my book? Do I offer a hard copy and e-book? So many questions and doubts that left me confused and overwhelmed, until The Bestsellers Weekend.

After the first day of The Bestsellers Weekend, my doubts about self-publishing are shattered by the examples of many very successful, self-published authors inCanada and theUnited States.

I’m introduced to new marketing strategies that can skyrocket my book towards the bestsellers list. I’m shown clear and easy instructions on how to navigate the world of Amazon and Create Space. The world of self-publishing becomes far less daunting than I thought, and much more possible than I ever believed.

During the presentation, when I try to remember the last point that I missed (because I can’t type fast enough), I’m told to relax because the entire presentation will be emailed to me tonight.Indie Success stories slide 300x227 Three views of the Bestsellers Weekend

By the end of the weekend, I feel excited about the world of self-publishing and the potential for me to be successful in it. I know how to create my platform, find readers, and promote my book so I too can shoot up the bestseller list. But most importantly, I’m inspired to finish my book and self-publish it. Who knows, maybe one day, my name will be on the list of successful authors that get announced at the next Bestsellers Weekend.

lylarock 150x150 Three views of the Bestsellers WeekendLyla Rock is a counselor, divorce recovery specialist, and aspiring author. She lives in Vancouver and is passionate about writing and helping others recover from a painful life experience. She is in the process of completing her first book, A Shattered Diamond: A Story of Devotion, Denial and Divorce, and outlining her second book, a non-fiction, divorce survival guide. www.lylarock.com

The Bestsellers Weekend Three views of the Bestsellers WeekendCLICK THIS LINK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NEXT Bestsellers Weekend IN MARCH 2014.

NEXT: Bestseller’s Weekend March 22/23 – $150 off until Dec. 30th (additional $30 if you are on our VSW email list and email to request coupon code) Find out here .

Should an author incorporate? What’s the deal?

Dave Crawley Guest Blogs for VSW

BestsellerwkndFeature Should an author incorporate? Whats the deal?

At the end of VSW’s Bestsellers Weekend event in Vancouver, the instructors, Martin Crosbie and Kathrin Lake, were asked a question about whether or not an author should incorporate.  As a chartered accountant, I thought that Kathrin gave pretty much the correct answer.  As I recall, her answer was something like, “Don’t incorporate unless your income is fairly high in which case, you might consider it. Regardless, talk to your tax advisor first.”

I thought I’d weigh in and provide a more complete answer to the question using my expertise.  Please note that this is a summary response that does not consider the specifics of any individual tax situation and thus may not apply to everyone. As Kathrin said, anyone considering incorporating should consult his/her tax advisor first.

legally incorporating authors 300x199 Should an author incorporate? Whats the deal?In general, there’s a potential advantage to incorporating your writing business if your income is reasonably high (i.e.: approaching six figures) and some of following conditions exist.

Consider incorporating if you are making close to six figures a year in your writing income and…

1)     You don’t plan to spend all your earnings for personal purposes right away and you don’t have RRSP contribution room.  In this case, you’ll want to defer about half the income tax on the income you wish to save by keeping the money inside the corporation.

2)      Your writing income fluctuates significantly from year to year. A corporation will allow you to smooth the income across years, such that you don’t pay taxes at the highest marginal rate during boom periods.  Bear in mind, though, that marginal tax rates don’t increase all that much at higher income levels anymore.

3)     You have a spouse who doesn’t earn much income. Through a corporation, you can split your writing income between yourself and your spouse and thus take advantage of lower individual tax rates.  NOTE, however, that you can probably do this without a corporation if you pay your spouse a salary and can demonstrate that he/she did something to justify it.

4)     You want more flexibility over how you characterize the income you receive (i.e.: dividends vs. salary vs. contractor payments).  For example, in some cases you can reduce your taxes a little by paying income out as dividends. When you do the math here, though, the advantages of this benefit alone aren’t usually all that great. Canada Revenue spends a fair bit of effort trying to make sure that income tax can’t be avoided just by re-characterizing income.

5)     You have other business activity in addition to writing and you are concerned that the writing activity will expose your other business activity to tax or other liability exposure risk. Having your writing activity in a corporation might give an extra layer of protection between it and your other business activities.

If none of the above conditions exist, there’s no real benefit to incorporating for authors.

This disadvantages of incorporating are:

1)      It’s an administrative hassle which will probably  cost you around $2,000/year (or more) to administer.  Also, it becomes yet another administrative thing that you have to take the time to understand.

2)     As Kathrin pointed out, it’s more difficult to deduct early losses against other income when those losses are contained in a corporation.

In most cases, the disadvantages will outweigh the advantages and it will not be worthwhile to incorporate. Now you have some insight, do seek out your own tax accountant before you take the plunge.

david crawley cropped Should an author incorporate? Whats the deal?

Dave Crawley is a musician, song-writer and an aspiring author who has been working as a chartered accountant for the past twenty five years servicing small growing companies.  He lives in North Vancouver with his wife and two teenagers. He is presently in the beta reader stage with his first novel, The Scottish Play, and is also hard at work developing websites and marketing plans for his writing business. The website for his chartered accountant activity is:  www.extemporal.ca



Goodbye Elmore Leonard, though I never knew you at all…

My friend just sent the below to me on the heels of a another friend who told me Elmore Leonard passed away today.

“My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers:

when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.”

~Elmore Leonard

October 11, 1925 – August 20, 2013

Truth be told, I can’t remember if I ever read any of Elmore Leonard’s novels, but his name sticks in my head, and his screenplays certainly do. He was an American crime fiction writer who transitioned into successful screenplay and teleplay writing, and many of his own novels were adapted for the screen, most notably Get Shorty. Other novels and stories adapted into movies people remember are: 3:10 to Yuma, Out of Sight, and Jackie Brown came from his novel Rum Punch.

get shorty card Goodbye Elmore Leonard, though I never knew you at all...When you look over a writer’s life you realize that volume as well as quality is important. Volume means persistence and being clear about who you are: a storyteller.

The quote at the top suggests a man who wrote for readers. He wrote for an audience. And it served him well.

Goodbye Elmore and thanks for all the books and movies that outlast you. And though I never knew you at all, thanks for your wisdom to writers and all those you inspired.

(PS – You will notice that the figure of Gene Hackman in the Get Shorty movie resembles Elmore in his goatee and glasses)

Woody Allen Sued by a Dead Guy

What can we learn about copyright?

The predictable end to a literary vs. celebrity legal battle was put to bed 10 days ago. Sony Pictures, representing Woody Allen’s movie, Midnight in Paris, was sued by the estate of William Faulkner for Woody’s writing. In the movie, Allen’s main character, played by Owen Wilson, finds a fissure in time and meets all the great literary and artistic greats who worked in Paris in the 30’s and 40’s.

aimageswamip zps72c5e750 Woody Allen Sued by a Dead Guy

In the offending piece, Owen Wilson’s character says:

“The past is not dead! Actually, it’s not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner. And he was right. And I met him, too. I ran into him at a dinner party.”


This is actually a slight misquote or paraphrase by Woody of what Faulkner said in his book, Requiem for a Nun which was, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”


Sony Pictures said at the onset that this was a frivolous law suit against a top grossing film (151 million), and many agreed including the presiding judge.

But what can we learn?
In effect, you can quote without permission as long as it is “de minimis” which means that the amount of material copied is so small that the court permits it without even going to a further analysis for what is called “fair use.”

Sony argued that the reference in the movie was both de minimis and a “fair use.” In determining whether the use of a copyrighted work is a fair use, courts weigh four factors:


1) The purpose and character of the use

2) The nature of the copyrighted work

3) The amount and substantiality of the portion copied in relation to copyrighted work as a whole

4) The potential adverse effect on the market for, and value of, the copyrighted work.  

Copyright terms zps582b79fc Woody Allen Sued by a Dead Guy

“Fair uses” can be comments, criticism, parody, news, teaching, and research, to name some. In many cases it is also considered “transformative use.” In other words, it bears no resemblance to the original work.


U.S. District Judge Michael Mills said that in addition to it beingde minimis” the quote was dialogue in a film, not even another piece of writing meant to read, and therefore transformative and doubly “fair use.”

The judge also lambasted the frivolous suit by saying:


“How Hollywood’s flattering and artful use of literary allusion is a point of litigation, not celebration, is beyond this court’s comprehension.”


As one anonymous blog commenter pointed out:


“99% of Americans don’t know who Faulkner was… But 99% know who Owen Wilson is. Having him mention Faulkner’s name in a film is worth gold. The Faulkner estate doesn’t understand that they already massively profited from the alleged infraction.”

voteyestocopyrightcourse zps094dbbce Woody Allen Sued by a Dead Guy


In this case, many agree it seems like sour grapes. The lawyer for the Faulkner estate (a well-known Hollywood entertainment lawyer), argued that they thought it was a case for permission of use (versus a royalty), and he could charge a permission license fee. Courts are more and more frowning on this practice if the permission is considered under fair use, as did the judge in this case.


No doubt the Faulkner estate lawyer was aiming for a shot across the bow for anyone else that didn’t ask permission, but it backfired and he is getting crucified in the court of public opinion.

Faulkner was right, the past is never dead.


Sources: Hollywood Reporter, Rumpus, Stanford Law School, CNN, Mark Litwak, Deadline Hollywood, Public documents.

Woman Mercenary? An Interview with Lindsay Buroker

INTERVIEW: Lindsay Buroker
Author of A Female Mercenary Story 
emperors edge by lindsay buroker1 zpscf21b024 Woman Mercenary? An Interview with Lindsay Buroker
The first of the Emperor’s Edge series



Today on the Vancouver School of Writing’s blog I have the privilege of interviewing one of my favourite successful Indie Authors, Lindsay Buroker, who is the creator of her Emperor’s Edge series, which is currently a 5 book fantasy fiction series, soon to be 6 books, as well she has another series and several novellas and short stories all connected to the same fictional world. She has tens of thousands of sales and even larger readership and a very rare 300 online reviews on Amazon! Wow!
So welcome Lindsay.

Thank you for having me Kathrin! Happy to be here.

Your books are often categorized in the steampunk genre of fantasy, because they are in a quasi industrialized society, although not recognizable as any time in earth history, can you talk a little bit about your genre and how you may have tried to differentiate yourself from your successful contemporaries in your genre?
quotelb zps17e7e49b Woman Mercenary? An Interview with Lindsay Buroker
Like a lot of writers I didn’t really start out thinking about what genre, category or niche I was in, and the next series I will because that’s a much better way to market yourself. First you want to be true to yourself and write the story you enjoy, and worry about how to categorize it later. But this series is what I would call high fantasy, which has a secondary world, like Star Wars, but because it is in an industrialized world people have called it Steampunk and I have gone with it and added more gadgets, I have fun with that stuff.

But your world still has fantastic elements like magic in it?

We are seeing steampunk go both ways, science fiction and fantasy that is more traditional medieval setting. I don’t care about that and I don’t think Amazon cares about categorizing those fantasy distinctions either.

You are a bit of an anomaly but some of the best stuff is.
May I tell you two things I love about the series?

EEfanart zps3dd0ab8a Woman Mercenary? An Interview with Lindsay Buroker
Fan Art found on Pinterest

Of course, we never get tired of hearing about that.

The first is Amaranthe is a woman protagonist who is heading a group of mercenaries who are all men, which is a unique twist. The other thing is you have sustained the sexual tension between Amaranthe and her dangerous love interest, Sicarius, for 5 full books, which is not easy to do. So a great writing technique.

Thank you.

You have been successful in creating a great genre series and also a large and loyal readership mostly on Kindle. What’s your best tip for successful marketing on Kindle?

The best thing for Kindle is to think about how you are going to market it ahead of time. If I had to do it again, I would say think like a publisher. Publishers know the value of thinking about what genre and category they fit into. They think about the value of a good synopsis. They know about titles and covers. I’ve learned a lot. If I had to do it all again, for the Emperor’s Edge, I would have had a professional cover that really told people which genre I was writing in and gave them an idea of it. I also would have really thought about what to call the series that would have helped. So, that is my best tip, think like a publisher.

Great, I love that, think like a publisher, I am always trying to get my students and clients to think more marketing first so I appreciate that one.
Is there one marketing activity that you hear often recommended but to you, was totally a waste of time?

I think blog tours and videos are very time consuming and don’t get you a lot. I think a lot of writers are told they have to have a platform so they try to create that before the book is even done. That may work for non-fiction but doesn’t work for fiction. I think you need to focus on the book first and figure out your genre, publish it, get a website and do the basic things like a good synopsis and a good profile on Author Central.

What is one activity that is an absolute must?

Creating an email list. Get a sign up box on your website and other places where they can sign up to get on your email list. Mail Chimp can do that automatically and other programs, Awebber, and others. I have a couple of thousand on my email list now and when a new book comes out I just email it out and I don’t have to start marketing all over again.

What advice do you give new writers now?

lindsayburoker zps3b3b77c9 Woman Mercenary? An Interview with Lindsay Buroker
Lindsay Buroker

Take your time. Writers are in a hurry to get things out there maybe because we are in the age of self-publishing that makes it easier and we want to share our stories, but you don’t have to rush. It took me seven years to write my first book, in between life and other things while I was figuring out how to make money at this. Hang out with other writers in your genre, get feedback from other writers, listen to their critiques that way you learn about genres. Some like to go to writing courses, workshops, have mentors and learn about everything you can. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes a minimum of 10,000 hours to master something, so when you see someone who seems like they may have gotten lucky, kind of like Shades of Gray, if it seems like an overnight success then you know that they have spent a lot of time getting to know their area. I listen to my readers and see what they want too.

Readers love your characters and that hooks people into the series. And, the first book was free, so when you get hooked into characters you are more likely to want to read the second book, and so on.

I have had the first book as free for over a year now and that has really helped gain me more readers. I love sharing with readers and if I could do all my books as free, and still make money I would. It’s been a great marketing for me to have the first book free.

Your readers really love your characters and have even started a Pinterest page of how they imagine each of your characters look which is fascinating to see the different versions of Amaranthe, Sicarias, Maldynaldo and the other characters. I know Peggy Richardson mentions it in our Blogging for Authors online course we are about to launch, how did that start?

That started with some of my readers saying they wanted to start a forum to discuss the EE series and I was, wow cool, someone wants me to have forum. Then they started creating Fan Art in the forum and created a Pinterest Page.
(Pinterest link here: http://pinterest.com/lindsayburoker/emperor-s-edge-fan-art/)

That’s fabulous and shows how much your fans love you and your work. Your next book is due out shortly, do you have a launch date?

I’m not that detailed, but trying for end of May, 2013.

Well I am happy to let our followers know about that when it comes out.
Thanks for your time in talking to us Lindsay.

Always happy to help new writers.

4daysleft zps84f51fad Woman Mercenary? An Interview with Lindsay Buroker

4 DAYS LEFT for EARLY BIRD PRICE. This May, we are doing a countdown for the end of the early bird special where you will save $150 off this important event, The Bestsellers List Secrets Weekend.
  See below to get in on this before tickets are gone and this discount is over.
If you want to talk to someone in person about this, or other events please call 778-300-5152 and leave a message.

Blog to Bestseller: Lessons from the Deathbed

Bronnie Ware Blog to Bestseller: Lessons from the DeathbedBronnie Ware is a palliative care nurse in Australia who recorded in her blog her patients realizations as they were dying. Her blog became so popular and interesting to others that she made it into a book called, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. For the full stories read the book, but these are the lessons in a nutshell.

“When questioned about any regrets they had, or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again,” Ware reported.

Here are the top five regrets of the dying according to her observations:
 Blog to Bestseller: Lessons from the Deathbed

 Blog to Bestseller: Lessons from the Deathbed

Click cover to learn more about book

1) I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

2) I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
“All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. …They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners.” Women in this generation can have that same regret now more acutely.

3) I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence.”

4) I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks … Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by …”
5) I wish that I had let myself be happier.
“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. … Fear of change had them pretending that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

Courage to Change
If you could project into the future, being on your deathbed, what do you think one of your top regrets would be? Do you have the ability to change it? Then start today. If one of your dreams is to write and publish a book, I am giving you an excellent opportunity to fix it. You can get a one-hour initial writing coaching consultation (normally 75 dollars) for 55 dollars to see if you are ready, and how we can structure your book to succeed. Then we can create a plan to keep it on target. Just click here to book and reserve your appointment, adding your contact info in notes area, and we will contact you to schedule a call, Skype or in-person meeting in Vancouver. For more info, leave a message at 778-300-5152 and we will get back to you promptly.