Vlog: Writing Matters

Here’s my Youtube Vlog: Writing Matters


Writing Matters

By Janice Seagraves


When we write, everything matters. From sentence structure to what our characters are eating and drinking.

It has to happen in the proper order or it won’t make sense. And if it doesn’t make sense then it won’t make sense to your readers.

I was watching Malibu Country with Reba McEntire (I love anything Reba is in). In a scene where she talked to her Mamma, I started watching what Reba was doing. Reba picked up a mug and added a tea bag. I could see that little square that hung over the edge of her mug. She added hot water. Walked around. Took a sip, then another. Talked some more and drank more tea. Half her cup seemed to be empty, before she walked back to the counter and added sugar.

Do you see what was wrong here? Reba did something out of order. She’s such a pro that this struck me as odd.

One of the things I check for in the final read through of my writing, is what my characters are doing. Is it logical? Does it make sense? Is it in the right order? Are they adding the milk to the cereal, or cereal to the milk?

One of my daughter’s old PBS cartoons she used to watch had been really bad about doing things that defied logic. Characters would talk with a fork still in their mouths. Really? Wouldn’t that break their teeth?

Have you ever noticed something that happened in a book, movie or your child’s cartoon that didn’t make sense?



Alien Heart, the first of a whole new SF series.


Blurb: Divorcee and single mom, hardworking Audrey Westberry is the host of a cable TV show called Miz Fixit.
Romance was the last thing on Audrey’s mind when two handsome extraterrestrials join the audience of her show.
Soon Audrey finds out a single word “mated” has different meaning when you are born a galaxy away. After a wonderful night of passion, Audrey finds herself far from home, impregnated and her life turned upside down.
Will she ever be able to leave the alien compound, see her son again, or get home in time to film the fall season of her Miz Fixit show?
But what’s a girl to do with two aliens that smell like candy, and their kisses taste like it, too?

Excerpt: “Good show, everyone.” Derek, the director, walked through the dressing room. “So Audrey, how are you going to spend your summer hiatus?” Tall, dark-haired, with hazel eyes, and oh so married. He leaned on her chair and looked into the mirror at Audrey.“Oh hi, Derek.” Kendra made eyes at him again.Audrey frowned at her. If his wife ever saw her do that, she’d go ballistic.

To Audrey he was just a dear friend and director, who’d guided her through the complexity of cable television. “I was going to spend it with my son, but I got a call from my ex. Tony is going away to camp for eight weeks.”

“Camp?” He blinked in surprise. “Whose idea was that?”

“Tony and his best friend decided they wanted to go. My ex put him on the phone, so he could tell me.”

“Ouch.” Derek pulled down the corners of his mouth. “Best friend one, mom zero.”

“Yeah,” Audrey sighed, still feeling the sting of rejection. “He’s at an age now when friends are more important than mommy.”

“And, this is the dressing room where our star puts on her makeup for the camera.” Fox Watanabe, Audrey’s agent, was nattily dressed.  His straight midnight hair and dark eyes marked him as pure Native American. He seemed to be acting as a tour guide to the aliens.

A cameraman entered the dressing room ahead of the aliens, walking backward as he snapped pictures.

Audrey grimaced. God, what’s Fox doing now?

“The aliens look like elves,” Derek muttered under his breath.

“Yeah, they do.” Audrey noticed their pointed ears and long faces. “They could’ve played extras on the Lord of the Ring movies.”

“Got to go, things to do.” Derek headed toward the exit, but he slowed, and his back stiffened as he got near her agent.

Audrey tensed. Please don’t let them get into another argument over me.


“This is our little show’s director, Derek Alcorn.” Fox gestured toward him.

“Nice to meet you.” Derek gave a nod to the aliens. “I’ve got to button up the set.”

He hurried out of the room.

Fox turned back to the aliens. “He’s a busy man, lots of responsibilities.”

Audrey let out a breath. Fox had once again ignored the subtle dig Derek’s quick exit meant. The show’s director didn’t like chitchat, but he hated her agent even more.

“They have three penises each,” Kendra whispered in Audrey’s ear. She used a soaked cotton ball and ran it over the side of Audrey’s face to clean off the makeup.

Audrey turned to stare at her. “What?”

Kendra pinched Audrey’s chin, moving her head over to clean the other side.

“I saw a picture on the internet.” She whispered, “Two long ones and a little one. It makes you wonder what their women look like down there.”

Audrey licked her lips, trying to imagine the male aliens naked. Would their equipment look like my favorite toy?

Kendra moved back and smiled. “All done.”

Fox walked over to her, with the aliens in tow. “Here’s our Miz Fixit, Audrey Westberry.”

God, what a thing to tell me, just before I’m introduced to them. “How do you do?” Standing, Audrey held out her hand and tried not to glance at their crotches.



Vlog: The Black Moment

The Black Moment

by Janice Seagraves


The black moment is near the end of your story, right before the climax. It can also be the moment you’ve been foreshadowing during the entire story.


It’s the darkest part of your story, where everything looks the worst so you reader will keep turning pages just to find out if . . . your couple will get back together. The hero or heroine will survive the encounter with the bad guy.  Or in the Movies: is Luke’s Father going back to the evil Empire’s side. The Mercenaries are going to kill Tree of Souls, and neither Jake nor the Na’vi can stop them.


Where it looks like all is lost.


So why do we write the black moments?


Because it make for a more compelling read and it makes the climax even more interesting, because that’s when you hero or heroine saves the day.

In my book Windswept Shores, my black moment involves pirates. Not the sexy pirates of the Caribbean, but modern day, nasty, thieving pirates of the Bahamas.


Excerpt, Windswept Shores:

Closer to camp, she heard voices. Oh, the self-styled-natives must be visiting again. Megan looked forward to their infrequent visits, and her Spanish was improving with use. They had also taken a second letter to her sons, if it ever made its way to the states, anyway. Maybe I can talk them into selling me some fuel?

With a lighter heart, she walked out of the bush, only to see suitcases and clothes flying out of her tent. Her wicker door had been cut off and tossed to the side. The deflated raft lay near it.

“Hey, what are you doing? Stop that.”

A dark head popped out of her tent. “Bueno dias, senorita,” he said with a gap-toothed leer, making Megan self-conscious in the bikini and sarong she wore.

A thump from the boat made her glance from the ugly man to the Dinki-Di. Someone was digging through the built-in tool box and setting things to the side. “Get out of the boat. It doesn’t belong to you.”

“Who might you be, little lady?” asked a man with dirty blond hair and a slight southern accent. He seemed to be supervising the men. He sucked on a cigar, blowing out a cloud of vile-smelling smoke.

“None of your business, that’s who. Tell your men to get out of my stuff,” she snapped. “You’re trespassing.”

“Trespassing is a matter of opinion, especially since your boat’s a derelict. We claim salvage rights.”

“The Dinki-Di is my home. It’s not a derelict.”

The man from the tent snatched her basket and stepped over to the blond man, stuffing fruit into his mouth. Juice dripped down his chin.

Startled by his hyena laugh, she took a step back. “Jerk. You guys are no better than thieves, you’re pirates.”

The blond tossed his cigar, took out a fruit, and shined it on his shirt before he bit into it. “Pirate is such an out of date word. I prefer the term entrepreneur, and these men are my employees.” He frowned at the plundered plum. “Ugh, it’s overripe.”

Madre de Dios,” exclaimed the one in the boat, standing up as he dropped one of Seth’s huge sandals.

“Who else is here with you?” demanded the blond man, pitching his fruit to the side and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

Megan glanced around at the strangers’ hard expressions. All at once, she realized what they saw; a short, unarmed, scantily clad female all alone on a deserted island. They even took my basket away. I could have thrown my produce at them and ran. God, there are no police! No people. Just us. They can do whatever they want, and who would stop them? Feeling like she had just swallowed a lump of ice, Megan took a deep breath and yelled, “Seth, help. I need you.”

That’s all I have for now. Before I go can you please like and subscribe. Thank you for watching.

Trade paperback: https://www.createspace.com/4084680
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AS9NDNO

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Janice Seagraves’s website: http://janiceseagraves.org/

Vlog: Conflict in Writing by Janice Seagraves

Conflict in writing

By Janice Seagraves


Most writers know that to have an interesting story which draws the reader in, you must have conflict.

Conflict = story.

One way to have conflict is to make your main character an underdog.

Why an underdog?

Because people love to root for an underdog.

Example: Remember Charlie Brown, trying every year to kick that football? Didn’t you root for him, even though you knew Lucy would pull that ball away each and every time, he tried to kick it?

That’s conflict.

Let’s face it, no one wants to root for Ken and Barbie who live an idyllic life in suburbia.

In my book Windswept Shores, I have my heroine, Megan have a really bad day:

Windswept Shores Excerpt:

If she had to spend one more day on this godforsaken island, she’d go stark raving mad. The thought spurred Megan into rolling a large log with one foot then the other, until it was near the bonfire. “God, this thing is heavy.” With a grunt, she lifted one end until it teetered upright then gave it a shove. It landed in the fire, embers swirling in the air.

Breathing hard, she flicked a glance at the teal-colored sea. She’d thought a vacation to the Bahamas would be the perfect getaway, would be a solution to the problems she and Jonathan had faced. She’d been wrong—dead wrong. Tears of grief filled her eyes. The never-ending crash of the waves on the beach and the cries of the seagulls seemed to mock her with the reminder she was utterly alone.


Another way to have conflict in a romance is to have newly divorced Ken, (Barbie ran off with G.I. Joe), have a miserable day—conflict.

Example: Say Ken’s Porsche breaks down on the way to work and he has to have it towed. As he waits impatiently for the tow truck driver, he’s mentally marking off all the things that went wrong that week (conflict). Just after he’s comes to the fact that he is alone and unloved the tow truck driver arrives. But a pretty woman steps out. It’s P.J. The baggy coveralls can’t hide her full (Mattel) figure and the grease smudges on her (plastic) face can’t cover up her lovely face or her Malibu tan.  Maybe P.J.’s father or uncle owns the business, or maybe she owns it herself.  Or maybe she’s not a tow truck driver, but a pick-up service for a car rental agency.

So Ken thanks his lucky star that he’s spotted this beauty, but when he asks P.J. out she turns him down—flat.

Why? Conflict.

No conflict—no story.

In my book Windswept Shores, I have Megan alone on a deserted island, until Seth washes up on shore. The first thing he does is sniff her hair.

Why? Conflict.

Windswept Shores excerpt:

“Are you from England?”

“Naw,” he rubbed his eyes, “I hail from Sidney, but my port of call these days is Fort Lauderdale.” He blinked up at her. “You?”

Ah, he’s an Aussie. “I’m Megan Lorry, from Anaheim, California,” she said, barely loud enough to be heard above the sounds of the surf and the roar from the fire. “Are you a survivor of Air Bahamas flight 227, too?”

“G’day, Megz,” he answered, struggling to sit-up. “Sorry, I’m not from your plane.”

Megan slipped an arm around him lifting his back off the sand. Turning his head to her hair, he took in a couple of short breaths. Megan pulled back staring at him. “What the—did you just sniff me?”

“Ya smell too good not to.” He grinned, causing his cheeks to dimple.  “Name’s Seth Dawson.”


Whatever your conflict is, you’ve got to either keep it going or bring in some new conflict. New conflict is great, especially if you overlay it with the old conflict.

Example: Charlie Brown gets depressed about not kicking the football and visit Lucy at her psychiatrist’s help booth to tell her all his troubles. Then she basically calls him a loser.

Why? For additional conflict.

Lucy is the antagonist; her job is to cause conflict.

Back to Ken. He’s finally got P.J. to go on a date with him. Everything is great in Ken’s life right?  But what if her business partner doesn’t like Ken and tells him so right to his face?

Why? For additional conflict. That partner is the antagonist for Ken’s story. He’ll keep poor Ken on his toes for the rest of the story.

In Windswept Shores, I have the wild pigs that inhabit their island for additional conflict. They are the antagonist and keep my characters down or at least running for their lives. I have them in place way before things getting hot and heavy between my couple.

Windswept Shores excerpt:

“You can’t charge boars barehanded. They have long, sharp tusks.” She frowned. “The last time I ran across a wild pig, I had to climb a tree.”

He slammed his fist on the boat’s railing. “I should have taken the offal out last night and buried them.” Opening a chest, Seth took out a spear gun. “You know how to use one of these?”

“No, I’ve only seen them on TV.” She set the eggs on the swivel chair.

“It’s just like on the box. You point and pull the trigger.” Seth demonstrated, loading it with a long spear with a wicked looking barb.

“What are you going to do?” She took the spear-gun.

Seth pushed the sharp end away from him. “I’m gonna make a bullroarer.” He brought out some heavy duty fishing line, tying a pointed weight to the end of it. “If I get charged, shoot. But try not to hit me.”

“I’ll try,” she said softly.

“Try a little harder than that, luv.” He grinned as he climbed down the ladder.




How to Advid Filter Words With Video

Hi, I’m Janice Seagraves and I’m posting about filter words.

Filter words get between you and your reader.

Words like: 


Allow the unfiltered words to carry the weight of the scene.

Example: He seemed like a large, ungangly man. She felt that he wasn’t refined enough for a true romantic relationship.

Without filter words: He was a large, ungangly man. He wasn’t refined enough for a true romantic relationship.

But here he was with a fist full of flowers.



“Mom.” Rain waved at Maya. “Someone is here to see you.”
“Oh?” With one last swat at her clothes, Maya marched over.
“He says he’s a merchant.” Rain gestured at Steen.
Maya scanned his attire and snorted. “Tell your commander, nice try.”
His stomach dropped. “Huh? What did I do wrong?”
“Whoever coached you was misguided. For one thing, your clothes are the wrong type. Merchants don’t wear rough weave.” Maya rubbed the fabric of his sleeve between her thumb and forefinger. “That’s for peasants. Too fine a weave would be clan, so you’d have to find something in-between.” She stared at his eyes a moment. “Are those contacts?”
He rubbed his eyelids. “Implants. I can tolerate the bright sun with them.”
She gave a nod. “You’ll need it here. Nice touch with the hair, by the way.”
He fingered a braid. “At least I did something right.”
“It’s a little long for so many braids. And the skin tone… Is that a skin dye?” She stared at his face.
“DNA treatments.”
“How about the Zeeman dual belly buttons?”
Steen pulled up his shirt.
“Wow. Which is fake?”
“The top.” He handed her his tote. “I brought a gift for you.”
She cocked her head to the side and sighed. Taking the tote, she nodded toward the house. “Will you come in for some tea?”
“Yes, thank you.” He bowed low, hiding a smile.
Maya led the way up on the porch. He did what she did, removing his shoes, washing his feet in the basin then pulling on a pair of house slippers she handed him.
“Nice. You invoked guest privilege,” Rain said in his ear. “Mother is human but practices the ways of the Zeeman.”
“I know.” He smirked at her.
With a reluctant expression, Maya held the door open for him. “Tea won’t be but a moment.”
“Goddess tea.” He bowed again.
“Of course.” Maya disappeared into the kitchen.
Rain showed him the dining table. “My father and brother probably won’t be as nice as my mom.”
He sat on the richly carved black ironwood chair next to Rain. “You’re an attractive young female. Maybe I should have said I came here to woo you?”
Interest lit her gaze. “And then you’d have to answer a lot of questions from both my parents. We take wooing very seriously here in Zama.”

Matrix Crystal Rebels: https://www.amazon.com/Matrix-Crystal-Rebels-Book-Four-ebook/dp/B078HL6113/
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Janice’s Amazon page, where you can see all her books: https://www.amazon.com/Janice-Seagraves/e/B0056D223Y/
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