This book was a cool experiment with AI. I used the AI interface to generate thousands of writing prompts over the course of three weeks, carefully curating them so there would be a variety of genres and writing techniques, including dialogue, narrative, showing and not telling, and writing descriptive passages. Prompts were selected, re-written, edited, and revised until they were ready for publication. The result is a unique writing journal, sure to provide all writers with inspiration for a long time.
Here is the BookTok for my new release, 365-Day Writing Challenge: A Year of Writing Prompts.
This book is perfect for writers of all levels who need a little inspiration. With 365 unique prompts, you’ll never run out of ideas. From romance to horror, from poetry to memoir, this book has it all. Plus, the prompts are designed to help you practice different writing techniques, so you’ll improve your skills along the way.
And the best part? You can go at your own pace. Complete one prompt a day, one a week, or whenever you have the time. The choice is yours. But one thing is for sure: with this book, you’ll never have writer’s block again.
So, are you up for the challenge? Let’s write our hearts out for the next 365 days. Don’t forget to like and follow me for more great book recommendations and writing tips. Let’s do this!
You can purchase 365-Day Writing Challenge: A Year of Writing Prompts on Amazon. If you’d like a free copy for review, please leave a comment or send me an email. If you’ve already read it, please let me know by posting a review, and don’t forget to like this video and follow me for more BookToks and new releases.
Here is the BookTok for my new release, Braelynn’s Birthright–Book 2: Fallen Angel. I am currently brainstorming the third book in the series, tentatively called Origins.
Fallen Angel is the thrilling sequel to Wendigo. In the second book in the Braelynn’s Birthright series, Braelynn and her friends are back, and this time, they face an even bigger challenge.
It’s been a few years since Braelynn inherited her grandmother’s ring and the curse that came with it. After graduating from high school, Braelynn and her friends opened a sort of detective agency, figuring out how to help people who have problems with supernatural entities. But when more and more of the creatures start giving her the same chilling message that something powerful is coming, she realizes that an evil being is at play.
Will Braelynn be able to take down a fallen angel hell bent on stealing her soul?
Get ready for an action-packed adventure with Braelynn and her friends in Braelynn’s Birthright—Book 2: Fallen Angel.
This book unites characters from Wendigo with those in my other books, Revamped and The Revenant to create a common world.
If you’d like a free copy for review, please leave a comment or send me an email. If you’ve already read it, please let me know by posting a review, and don’t forget to like this video and follow me for more BookToks and new releases.
The above definition was “written” by the ChatGPT interface, an artificial intelligence.
I had the idea to use AI after reading a book on how to generate passive income. I played with it a bit and decided to see if I could do what the book suggested, let AI generate a year’s worth of blog posts in a week to free up some of my time. I soon learned that this was easier said than done.
There is a pattern to the way AI—and ChatGPT in particular—formulates its blog posts. For example, the structure of most posts it generates is the same, beginning with an introduction, providing a list of three to five items complete with subtitles, and ending with a conclusion that says virtually the same thing as the introduction. If you don’t like what the AI produces for you, it can be regenerated, but there is no guarantee the new content will be significantly different.
It took me close to two weeks to generate enough content for 52 blog posts for my sister site, largely because I had to rewrite, revise, and pad most of the blog posts. Rumour has it that Google won’t index blogs it thinks use AI, so I had to do some heavy editing to make the text sound more like me than directly copied and pasted from the AI interface. I did, however, do a few plagiarism checks using Grammarly, but there was no indication that the AI had written anything that might be considered plagiarized.
From generating blog posts, I switched focus to having the AI generate an entire book for me. I decided to create a writing journal-type book with 365 writing prompts. I call it 365-Day Writing Challenge: A Year of Writing Prompts. This took me three weeks to generate enough unique and doable prompts. I learned that AI likes fantasy. Both ChatGPT and Boo.ai sites seemed to default to prompts about people time travelling, losing their memories, inheriting haunted places, travelling to alternate realities, or writing from the point of inanimate objects, which was frustrating. I witnessed the machine learning aspect of AI firsthand when, after more than a week and getting prompts close to what I was looking for, I cleared the list of questions I had asked ChatGPT, and it stopped giving me answers I liked. It took a few days to re-train it to give me get good results again.
As for the question of whether AI lives up to the hype? The jury is hung on this one. It is a great tool for writing blog posts and outlines or getting ideas when you have writer’s block (it can outline whole novels for you if you ask it to and work with it long enough). It’s also good for writing advertising copy after a good revision and edit.
Could students use AI to outline their essays for them? Probably. Will they be good enough to pass teacher scrutiny? Not likely. AI writing tends to be superficial at best. For example, when I asked it to write advertising copy for this website, it took keywords I used in my last few posts and extrapolated that to write the blurb. According to it, I have written all sorts of books in genres I have never attempted (like romance). It also lists book titles I have never written and states that one of my books is a series when it is a standalone book.
In my opinion, the kind of text written by AI is limited. It cannot generate unique ideas, but it can repackage old ones. If you use AI to assist you in outlining your book, it might help you to get started on your writing journey, but if you plan to use it to flesh out your book in its entirety? I will let ChatGPT answer that question for you:
AI-generated writing is typically based on patterns and algorithms that the machine has learned from a large amount of input data. This means that the output is often formulaic and lacks the creativity and originality of human writing. Additionally, AI may not be able to capture the nuances and complexities of human emotions and experiences that are often the hallmark of great fiction.
Moreover, using AI to write an entire fiction novel raises ethical questions around intellectual property and authorship. It is unclear who would own the rights to an AI-generated novel, and whether it would be considered original work or plagiarism.
One of the things I see in my editing is that many authors are unsure as to how to show the possessive of a proper noun ending in S. Here are some things to remember to clear up this confusion.
Tip 1: When you have a name that ends in an S, add an apostrophe to show belonging, but only if the apostrophe S is not pronounced.
The ball belongs to Sanders.
It’s Sanders’ ball.
NOT: It’s Sander’s ball. [the S is a part of the name and cannot be separated to add the comma]
Tip 2: If you would pronounce the S to show the possessive, you must add an apostrophe S at the end of the name.
The ball belongs to Cyrus.
It’s Cyrus’s ball.
Tip 3: If a family name ends in S and you want to show the possessive for the whole family, add es’ to the end of the name.
The ball belongs to the Sanderses. [the whole of the Sanders family]
It’s the Sanderses’ ball.
Tip 4: Limit the apostrophes to one per name (or word).
It’s Cyrus’s ball.
NOT: It’s Cyrus’s’ ball.
Keeping these tips in mind as you write is sure to help you avoid these mistakes in the future. It has been said that, on average, it takes about a month to build a habit, so the more you practice applying these tips, the quicker these rules will become second nature.
If you are still unsure of whether you are using apostrophes to show the possessive form of proper nouns, be sure to use a grammar-checker like the ones built into Microsoft Word or Google Docs or an AI grammar-checker like Grammarly to help you with this.
Mahjong is a centuries-old Chinese game with tiles, usually with four players (and a fifth so players can rotate out and have a break), with the goal of making up hands containing sets and runs. I grew up with my mother playing Mahj every Wednesday. Once every four or five weeks, her weekly game was held at our house, and we were confined to the upstairs from seven o’clock until bedtime. That didn’t stop us from hearing the click of the tiles and their voices calling out the values of the discarded tiles (“One bam.” “Five crack.” “Soap.” “Flower.”). The best part of Mahj night was around 8:30 or so when the ladies took a snack break in which we were allowed to participate. We always tried to persuade my mother to order pizza for break time at our house. That’s also where I learned my appreciation for anchovies and tomatoes on pizzas, something I still enjoy today.
As an adult, my mother always suggested that she teach me, my sister-in-law and my daughters how to play so we could have a regular game of our own. We thought there would always be time for that, and one day she would teach us, but then she took sick and lived out the last four or five years of her life in and out of hospitals and the last three years of her life in the hospital. She passed away nine months ago, and her dream of teaching us never came to fruition.
After she died, I inherited her Mahjong set, and it seemed a shame to let it sit around and continue to collect dust as it had the previous twenty years or so. My sister-in-law and I mentioned this to our cousins and their Majh group, who graciously agreed to teach us how to play. Later, we taught my daughters and began playing semi-regular games, sometimes with my mother’s set.
There’s something about playing the game, especially when we use my mother’s set, that feels as if I am honouring her with every click of a tile and every call of a discarded tile. Playing evokes a warm nostalgia hearkening back to one Wednesday a month in my childhood when my mother and her friends (all of which have now passed) used to play, tinged though it might be with regret that she wasn’t the one to teach us.
A huge shoutout to Bare Canvas Marketing for their wonderful 3rd Annual Jingle Bell Market. The turnout was amazing!
Thanks also for these amazing photos of me and my merchandise.
If you can’t make any of my shows, all of my books are available on Amazon, and my merchandise is available on Etsy.
Cookies and Holly Jolly Market
My next show is on Saturday, November 26, 2022 at Monsignor Percy Johnson Catholic High School, 2170 Kipling Avenue, Etobicoke from 10 am to 3 pm. With over 40 vendors, this looks like it will be awesome!
After that is the Holiday Market at Temple Sinai on Sunday, November 27, 2022 from 2 to 5 pm. Come on out for some great holiday gifts and (in the case of my merchandise), some unique hand made gifts, as well.
Old Fashioned Christmas Craft Show
My last stop (so far) this year is the 7th Annual Old Fashioned Christmas Craft Show on Saturday, December 3, 2022 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Newmarket Community Centre, 200 Doug Duncan Drive. This always proves to be an amazing show with a great turnout and some amazing gifts from (over 70!) talented people. This show is worth the wait!
A booktok is a video posted on TikTok in which readers discuss books they’ve read. This is supposed to be a great marketing tool, as well, so I’ve decided to dip my foot into the TikTok waters.
Creating this video was no mean feat. First, I had to write the script. Next, I filmed myself which necessitated getting used to seeing myself on the screen. After more than twenty takes, I managed to de-sensitize myself to this phenomenon. Lastly–and perhaps the most daunting–I had to figure out how to edit the video. This meant learning how to use Adobe Premiere Pro. If you’ve ever used any Adobe Suite products, you know just how complicated and confusing a task this can be. I managed to find an amazing video describing the basics (Thanks to Justin Brown an Saj Adibs for their amazing YouTube how tos).
The result is fairly successful (I think), particularly for a first try. Take a look for yourself (see video embedded above).
Here is the transcript for this booktok:
Author Elise Abram here with what I hope will be one of many more BookToks to come.
Today’s book is Braelynn’s Birthright—Book 1: Wendigo. If you’re a fan of Supernatural, the Nancy Drew television series, or Legacies, you’re sure to be a fan of this book.
In the book, Braelynn inherits her grandmother’s ring, but the ring has been cursed, making her a magnet for supernatural entities. As she learns to navigate her new powers, she’s joined by her friends Sommer, Shannon (who happens to be a werewolf), and Winona, an Ojibwe shaman-in-training. The four of them band together to vanquish the wendigo threatening to destroy the local watershed.
This book explores what It’s like to feel as if you are different from everyone else and you don’t belong. It shows how powerful you can be when you embrace your differences instead of try to fit in and be like everyone else.
Braelynn’s Birthright is available at all major online retailers.
I hope you’ll let me know what you think if you read it.
Until next time, goodbye!
To buy Braelynn’s Birthright–Book 1: Wendigo, please see my list of YA books for purchase links.
I am proud to have published Braelynn’s Birthright–Book 1: Wendigo. This is the first in what I hope will be a series of books featuring the same set of characters. Book1: Wendigo is a young adult supernatural/horror urban fantasy novel.
Book 2: Fallen Angel is near completion. This book is a new adult novel, taking place a few years after Book 1. It also unites characters from a number of my books including Phase Shift, The Revenant, and Revamped. Look for the release of Book 2: Fallen Angel in November of this year.
If you’re a fan of Supernatural, Nancy Drew (current TV series), or Legacies (Vampire Diaries spin-off) you will love the Braelynn’s Birthright series, as well as the other books mentioned here.
Here is a closer look at what Braelynn’s Birthright–Book 1: Wendigo is about:
Imagine a world where the creatures of nightmare are real. This becomes fifteen-year-old Braelynn Hanlon’s world once she inherits her birthright in the form of her grandmother’s ring and is tricked into putting it on. You see, the women in her family have been cursed, doomed to defend humanity from things that go bump in the night. On the upside, the ring comes with super-healing powers, but it also makes her a magnet for all things supernatural. Her mother has had years to come to terms with her fate, but Braelynn’s about to get a crash course on how to be a hunter of all things paranormal.
Her boyfriend, Seth, turns out to be a vampire. When Braelynn vanquishes him, the leader of Seth’s gang sends a bugbear to seek revenge. If that’s not bad enough, her best friend, Shannon, is a werewolf, and Shannon’s girl crush is enchanted. To make matters worse, the school’s activist, Winona, is an Ojibwe shaman in training, hot on the trail of a wendigo disguised as a local businessman who is threatening to destroy the local watershed. Braelynn and her friends agree to help Winona vanquish the wendigo, but will her ring and her new-found powers be enough to keep her safe?
I went shopping this week and picked up the most gorgeous berries I’ve ever seen. The blueberries were at least a centimetre in diameter and the blackberries were at least two centimetres long. Not only did they look phenominal, but they tasted better than any berries I’d had in a long time. I knew I had to do something special with them.
That “something special” was berry cheesecake waffles. This recipe combines my standard pancake and waffle recipe with a slightly sweet cheesecake topping that makes this an over-the-top yet keto-friendly meal. My mouth watered so strongly while photographing it, I almost couldn’t wait. And the flavours and texture did not dissapoint.
Without further ado, here is my berry cheesecake waffle recipe along with approximate carb counts.
For the waffles:
2 large eggs (1 net carb)
2 tablespoons almond flour (1 net carb)
0.5 teaspoons coconut flour (<1 net carb)
0.5 teaspoons psyllium husk fibre (<1 net carb)
0.5 teaspoon baking powder
0.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt
For the topping:
2 tablespoons cream cheese at room temperature (2 net carbs)
1 tablespoon butter at room temperature (0 net carbs)
1 tablespoon Swerve confectioner’s sugar (0 net carbs)
0.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Tutti graham style crumbs (~1 net carb?
6 blackberries (1 net carb)
8 blueberries (1 net carb)
Mix waffle ingredients well and allow to sit a few minutes while waffle maker heats up. Pour batter into waffle maker and wait until preferred doneness.
While cooking, use a whisk to beat topping ingredients minus the graham style crumbs and berries. The consistency should resemble melted marshmallows when ready.
When waffle is done, top with berries. Drizzle cream cheese topping over berries and waffle. Sprinkle graham style crumbs over top.