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Gotta Find a Home

Telling The Stories of Those Too Often Ignored

Throughout the past four years I have met many people, now friends, who for various reasons are, or were, homeless.

Antonio, slept on a park bench and was beaten, had his teeth kicked out, for no other reason than his choice to sleep outdoors. He is a small, gentle man who has a phobia about enclosed spaces.

Craig, slept on the sidewalk in the freezing cold. I saw him every morning,  was never sure if, when I lifted the corner of his sleeping bag, I would find him dead or alive. Sometimes, he confided, he would have preferred never to awake.

Joy,  fell on hard times. She slept behind a dumpster in back of Starbucks. I saw her with blackened eyes, bruised legs, cracked ribs, cut and swollen lips. I usually see her sitting on the sidewalk 'panning' for change.

I can't do much for these people except to show them love, compassion, an ear to listen, perhaps a breakfast sandwich and a coffee. I want to do more. To know them is to love them. What was seen cannot be unseen.

I am  writing an account of their daily lives. Identities and locations have been changed to protect the usual suspects. My book, Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People, is published by Karenzo Media.  I thank publisher, Karen Silvestri for helping to realize my dream. Release date was June 4, 2014.  All profits will be used to support those forced onto the streets and the Ottawa Innercity Ministries, Street Outreach Program.

Purpose: OIM’s Street Outreach teams come to walk alongside the poor and homeless in the downtown core. Volunteer teams provide relief provisions, pastoral care, crisis intervention and referrals. Street Outreach is the main component of OIM’s work. Through Street Outreach our trained volunteers meet men and women living on the street, create trusting relationships, and can work to filling both physical and personal needs. Last year (2012) OIM connected with 7,672 individuals on the street in downtown Ottawa, 2,735 of whom were youth.

The Red Vests If you see two or more people walking down the street wearing a bright red vest with the OIM logo on it then you have run into one of our mobile outreach teams! OIM’s Street Outreach volunteers are out meeting with people and handing out snacks and toiletries six days a week. We have teams on the street Monday to Thursday nights (7pm – 9pm), including late Wednesday (9pm-Midnight). Additional teams are out during the day on Wednesdays & Saturdays (10am-1pm) and Thursdays & Fridays (1-3pm).


ParaDon Books Publishing

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Inspiration and Writing

Taking time out, especially when travelling, focuses the imagination upon the passing trivia, amongst other things, and the potential in that as well as the challenge of the less mundane when it presents itself. I refer to trains sometimes in my stories, because I like travelling in them I suppose. I love their sedate rhythm and pace, even high speed seems to relax one into silent reflection. A mini encampment of reticule and essential items within easy reach,I travel light, is a comforting reminder of self-sufficiency and the welcome prospect of an unencumbered continuation to the journey. Room to stretch imagination and limbs. These self-imposed limitations facilitate wider opportunities to observe and contemplate. Extracting a mood out of which to create the next sentence, or catch a new idea for a title and theme.  

 As the hours eat up the miles I think of the different accounts each fellow traveller might give, Chaucer like, on the move, to lessen the load of that potentially wearisome predicament.  Then I lapse into the luxury of closing my eyes and drifting into sleepy momentum where the thoughts tumble and retreat and images come to mind.  On opening them again, now rested, the view from the window has changed. It’s a long journey.

This is where the sight of the spontaneous juxtaposition is for me a thrill. A limping grey tabby, suddenly moving quite quickly, in spite of its disability, along the detritus and graffiti adorned walls of the back of a block of flats, as the train reaches the near edges of the next urban mass.Here we will interrupt the miles and make a connection underground. Another set of possibilities. At what point do we meet the characters in their day? They speed past inside the crowded, metallic containers, our eyes meeting and parting fleetingly, before the shapes disappear from view into the dark. Full of short stories and anecdotes, sometimes poetic gems, like small films, made in focussed frames and concentrated space. These players exit too soon and the moment is passed. But an expression and stance remains with me which I will hold on to.

Another screen appears to be deciphered anxiously, and the crowd, waiting to be connected, using time until the sign to join their chosen carrier appears, suddenly surges towards the point of imminent departure. Carriage, seat, high or low? The perspective and position start to work on the imagination again.   

I have an idea as I watch the woman, sitting underneath the image of a sleeping mobile phone, rushing to find her phone, which is ringing loudly, emphatically. She fumbles with embarrassment and is amused at the same time. What does this tell me about her and the menage she is part of, or apart from?

All is at peace once more and the reflection, on the ceiling, from the seat in front, gazes at me because I seemed to find something amusing. Our reflections meet, I turn away and imagine what someone else must make of my reactions.

Suddenly the landscape changes and the houses become familiar, standing rectangular and light in isolated groupings which will soon become larger settlements and eventually a reason to leave this temporary, scenic route.

Watching the exits and entrances as the train waits, the platform is wet,but the people seem at one and in quiet acceptance of it. The glass lift propels them heaven wards and we move out. Time to collect my thoughts and hope I remember what entertained and perplexed. I wrote some of it down, but held the rest at bay as I wanted to mull it over.

The air is cooler than usual as we step out and the mood calmly serious, unflustered and functional.

Three men walk ahead in automatic conversation, their accents different,their gait sympathetic with each other’s. They are in their own story which might have begun as ours had, earlier on in the day, but in another place with a different course to run. They are intent and edgy as they turn off the main drag and disappear, without turning. I have another idea to conjour with, new dynamics to explore and define, an entrance for that fleeting expression of fixed bewilderment which passed by as I stood, waiting for the right connection.      


ParaDon Books Publishing

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Tellers of Tales

Tellers of Tales

A traditional ballad singer sings within the framework of the ballad form, and an experienced and skilled performer uses techniques of improvisation, decoration and emphasis, where it is appropriate and which may emotionally transcend the boundaries of the form in the experience of the listener. The ballad often includes a repeated line, which is in itself a powerful technique and accentuates the accumulating drama of the piece.

The tune also can be sparse, yet its cadence is often emotionally expansive as the singer articulates and describes the action. Action that might be murderous, magical, funny, heroic, tragic or erotic. Long or short, spoken or sung, the telling of the tale is a skill which requires practice and imaginative integrity. Voices in the tale are not static and the writer’s, speaker’s or singer’s voice, at its best, orchestrates and brings them to life with a subtle empathy. Finding voices and bringing them to life is a vast subject and I will develop this theme at some other time.

Knowing one’s form, and the techniques within that form, intimately, whether as a singer of tales or as a writer of them, is something essential to the ease of telling the story and how comfortably it is received. One’s readers and listeners love to suspend disbelief, be moved and involved with the lives of the characters, care about them and carry the atmosphere beyond the ending. Think of that profound silence which exists at the end of a great performance, leaving the audience still attached to what has gone on and in mutual harmony with its components and their effect and weight. This is a palpable response and something a teller, or writer, of tales should seek to evoke.

Rigour and discipline within the form allows freedom of imagination if one recognises that possibility, however, over prescription, within rigour and discipline, produces weightless and lifeless pages and empty renditions. An over emphasis upon the obvious as opposed to a creative pathway towards one’s conclusion.

Imagination is a marvellous human attribute and we all have it. It marries well within form and content and at its best creates an elegant truth, communicating succinctly and with emotional integrity to the audience.


Jenny Dunbar               

ParaDon Books Publishing

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Well, here I am about a month before the launch of THE XERCES FACTOR. I’ve been through the drill before but never get used to the ‘hurry-up-and-wait’ madness.

I’ve dutifully implemented the action items from my project management spreadsheet; they seem to come in bunches…a day or two of frenetic activity and then days of waiting until the next bunch comes along.

And there’s the frustration of waiting for someone else to do something…but no one’s fault. It’s the nature of the process. Oh how I would like to have the cover art and ISBN number now; I could update websites, put together promos and get ahead of the game.

And, how nice it would be to have the proof for line editing a little early. Although I’ve tried to mentally ‘put the book to bed’, ideas keep popping into my mind…not major revisions, but little things to make the book better. I dare not open the manuscript file and tinker…a sure path to disaster.

But, nooooooo…the process proceeds at its glacial pace, not designed with the author’s mental health in mind…perhaps the opposite?!

With this tirade complete I check the calendar. Less than a month till launch. It will come, but through a quirk of physics the passage of time slows.

By the way, an excerpt from THE XERCES FACTOR is found at!the-characters-speak/csv5

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One of our facebook group members has suggested that we could get to know each other face to face. I think it's a good idea. As we are all in various parts of the world, it would be a good idea if we know how many people are in the same location and have the same interest. As a first step, please check the box that you feel best explain you. Thank you all.

Join the Poll at and be among the 3,400+ voters, and 24,000+ active users.

Tell us if you are an authorreaderpublishereditorreviewerbloggeragentnet-workerbook-selleramazon affiliate etc.

Add one hundred (100) members / friends to the Amazon Book Clubs and we will enroll you as a Premium Member of the Indie Writers Support network. Benefits of being a premium member includes one-on-one tutorial coaching, free pdf downloads, resourceful articles, conferencing, free book promotions and formatting, free publishing/editing&marketing software's, book reviewing service, exclusive inside tips etc.. Best of all, we will even produce a thrilling website like this one 'Against Their Will' for you, if you can add 200 or more friends.

Go ahead and invite your friends to the Amazon Book Clubs and lets make this book-loving group the largest and most intellectual traffic on the social media.


ParaDon Books Publishing

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Many self-published writers have to find ways to market themselves nowadays if they still want to remain in the game. Writing alone is a full-time job, but having to do the marketing by yourself, makes it an overtime job. In today's lesson, I will show you some helpful websites that can bring daily customers to your published book.

Book auctioning websites attract millions of debit card owners every hour, and most of them are looking for valuable items to buy / own. EBay is the largest auctioning website in the world right now, and its service is not restricted to authors who were willing to market their own autographed books to buyers.

Auctioning off your published books online is fairly easy to do, and may require that you (the author) have many copies of your own books handy and ready to ship out to buyers. Any published author may order copies of their own books directly from their published at a fairly cheap price, of at least 50% off. These self-marketing authors may then market their own books at the local venues and invites, thereby doubling their earnings on every book, and gaining experiences with their readers who may thereby become permanent fans.

Self- marketing is no longer shameful practice, and Author J.R.R. Tolkien had proven it since way back in the early-mid 1900's when he self-published and marketed what are now his world renowned books.

Before I give you the auctioning websites that may increase your daily book sales, I want to give you one last advice pertaining to the pricing of your book at the websites. For instance (and for safe practice), if your book's original price is $21.00, and you can get a copy from your publisher for only $6.00, then it will wise if you start your bidding for the sale of the book (autographed or not) between $15 to $20, this way, you will attract more buyers, your effort will still be profitable, and you'll receive instant incomes (mostly through PayPal). The final bidding price for your autographed book may even double if the buyers are very eager enough to have the treasure (book) in the hand.

List of free Book Auctioning Websites:

To generate more buyers to your book-auction-sites after they are created, you may freely post the website URLs to I.W.S network, or published them as wall posts on Amazon Book Clubs. Every book adverts on Amazon Book Clubs instantly streams on and I.W.S to expand their views. Every twitter posts with #IndieWriterSupp also streams on I.W.S and for the free reading public.

ParaDon Books Publishing

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How Hashtagging your Books can equal sales

Using Facebook and Twitter Hashtags for Book promotions.

Hashtag is a new word that was developed by the millennial generation. It is also a very powerful, up-to-the-minute, news feeding media platform.

Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet or posts. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages, and has broadened to other networks such as Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.
Hashtags (#) make it possible to group messages in any of these specific networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & Instagram), and anyone can search for the hashtag and get the recent set of messages that was recently published with it. Tweets and Facebook Posts may be tagged by putting "#" before, within, or at the end of a sentence (preferably one with a link to your published book). Here is an example, even though LinkedIn doesn't support the hashtag system as of yet:
"LinkedIn please add #LinkedIn to your network so authors may use it as well."
You will see that the hashtag (#LinkedIn) was included in the sentence above, and will thereby stream as one of the results in twitter (and other networks) if it was tweeted.

Using hashtags to categorize Tweets by keyword:

  • People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram Searches.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets & Posts marked with that keyword.
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.
  • If you Tweet or post with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet
  • Don't over-tag a single Tweet. Recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.
  • Use hashtags only on tweets, posts, and messages relevant to the topic.

Now that you have gotten the full gist of hashtags and its global system, I will now show you how you can use it to promote your books to the worldwide readers.

The list of literary-related hashtags below will tremendously help any author with their book sales if they use them sparingly with their Facebook posts and Twitter tweets.

  • #amwriting: Useful on both Facebook ( and Twitter (, this hashtag is designed specifically for writers who are experiencing writers block and just want to relieve the anxiety.
  • #AmazonCart: The latest innovative thinking brought about by twitter and amazon, in a joint agreement. The hashtag is useful on both Facebook ( and Twitter (, and the ability to log into your amazon account with twitter gives it a fine tone for a great e-commerce partnership, one that will guarantee more book sales and free promotions for authors.
  • #eBook: Is useful on both Facebook ( and Twitter (, and gives the latest posts, accordingly.
  • #Books: Same use as the previous hashtag. Useful on both Facebook ( and Twitter (, and gives the latest posts, accordingly.
  • #Reading: Same use as the previous two. This hashtag is dominated by GoodReads users who are also on Twitter (
  • #Nook: Useful on both Facebook ( and Twitter (, and gives the latest posts according to Nook published books.
  • #ePub: Created specifically for independently published authors, this hashtag platform promotes eBooks published on Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, Nook etc. Useful on both Facebook ( and Twitter (
  • #Amazon: Considered the mother of all tweets. Here you can find everything Amazon related, most particularly books. Useful on both Facebook ( and Twitter (
  • #AmazonKindle: Same as the one above, but more useful for sale of Kindle Devices and eBooks. Useful on both Facebook ( and Twitter (
  • #KindleUnlimited: If your book is enrolled in the KDP Select program, then this hashtag is for you. It is where thousands of Kindle owners browse every hour in search of their next free book to download. As part of the new Kindle Unlimited program, anyone may now sign up to download free and unlimited amount of Kindle eBook for only $6.99 a month. #KindleUnlimited is, therefore, the most active book tweeting platform for readers and writers, and you can get involve too. Useful on both Facebook ( and Twitter (
  • #IndieWriterSupp: Created by the @IndieWriterSupp twitter account, this hashtag is quickly catching on fire as far as free book promotions go  for indie writers, because the #IndieWriterSupp tweets automatically streams on ReadersBooks.infoIndieWriterSupport.comIndieWriterSupport.organd instantly, thereby generating hundreds of free views every day.
  • #Askagent: Literary agents are very busy people. Many of them are aware of this hashtag tweet and sometimes uses it. If you want to converse with one or query them via Twitter, you may use it as well, even if it is only to ask book related questions.
  • #readwomen2014: Created by writer Joanna Walsh (@badaude), this is a place for people to talk about the books they are reading, the authors they admire, link to relevant essays and articles and even share quotes from some of the books. It’s great to have a hashtag (and a Twitter handle) that encourages people to read more books by female writers.
  • #indiebooksbeseen: Useful on Twitter only, this hashtag is also catching fire among indie writers online.
  • #WeNeedDiverseBooks: We Need Diverse Books “is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature.” Writers and publishing professionals have teamed up to tackle an important issue. The best part of this hashtag is that the movement started on Twitter. It just goes to show how conversations between a few people can lead to an actual movement. Useful on both Facebook ( and Twitter (
  • #Fridayreads: One of the most popular literary hashtags of all time on twitter. It even generated a global trend at one period of a time. Started by writer and book critic Bethanne Patrick several years ago, it is still one of the best ways to find out about good books. Useful on both Facebook ( and Twitter (
  • #writingprompt: Sometimes a 140 word or less prompt is all that you need to nudge you back into your writing action, and there is a community of writers here for you. Useful on both Facebook ( and Twitter (

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Anatomy of a Story

The mark of a serious writer/author is the willingness to improve. The pursuit of excellence includes any combination of 1) formal schooling, 2) seminars, 3) reading, 4) organizations/groups, 5) research, 6) writing, 7) editing. You can probably think of other avenues.

Pablo Casals was a pre-eminent cellist and conductor (1876-1973) who blessed us with music. When in his 90's it is said that someone asked why he continued to practice so many hours each day. His answer: "I think I'm getting it."

After 58 years of writing (news articles, journal articles, non-fiction, short stories, and novels), I am learning something every day. Some of it is new, some of it things forgotten.

Yes, I read, but with the sloppy way publishers are conducting business today, one must be careful. The best information comes from those who write well and share their understanding of the craft. I learn from these writers and authors, and in turn share writing techniques on a bi-monthly eFile. (I detest the word "blog". It sounds like some disgusting noises cows emit when confined to a coral.)

You are invited to Anatomy of a Story and leave comments that can help others in our craft.

ParaDon Books Publishing

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Patient and Practice with Writing

Fine wine needs to be nurtured, rested, watched and turned until ready for drinking.

I think words require a little care too. Serious writers probably have a couple of pages on the go at the same time. Maybe a dormant chapter or manuscript waiting in the wings to be revisited or re-enacted.

I find it a necessity to leave and come back, leave and come back yet again, until I feel I have a complete work, indeed will it ever be complete? It is that detail in the organisation of the narrative that, if ignored, can so easily make or mar the end product. It is often impatience that makes us avoid that essential writing task.

Once the brain becomes attuned and in tune with the process of ‘story’ it has an automatic flick response, that's what I call it, which reminds us of what we need to be thinking of next and to which the kinaesthetic readily responds. 

In another life I performed as singer and musician and had to learn a variety of repertoires, including, at one time, a new instrument. I went through a process until the flick, kicked in! But you cannot leave the flick, if you do it will not respond with that agility which facilitates coherence and fluency. It becomes part of the routine of life, though needs escaping from sometimes, in order to refresh the practitioner and creator.

The complexities and tribulations that accompany writing, for me, I cannot and would not speak for anyone else, can temporarily over absorb and possess the creator. This state of being accompanies other areas of creativity and it is important to recognise the symptoms of overload. Actors have tools and techniques to cope with tension and stress. Deeply learnt and imprinted methods of relaxation for example as part of their training.

As for removing writing stress, simply walking away or walking out for an hour are good antidotes to an exhausted or too busy mind-set. Brooding and analysing in an over serious way can alter the mood so much that it destroys the ability to select and organise, contributing to a long term writers block.

I believe these responses are all to do with the rigour and discipline serious writers have to contend with and those who do not know, do not understand.     

There is something deeply satisfying when one begins to feel the narrative moves and flows in the way it should. One hopes one’s readers will also feel that as they turn the pages. It can be a relief when the manuscript is set loose to fend for itself after many hours and days of turning, resting and maturing.

Pinot Noir or Chablis? Rioja or Muscat ? Which shall it be?   

Patience and consistency, fine words and fine wine! 

Jenny Dunbar



ParaDon Books Publishing

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