Yet Another Book I Thought I’d Never Write

If you would’ve told me when I set out on this writing journey that I was going to write a book about zombies, I would have laughed. Me? No way! Once again, I’ve learned to never say never.

On November 18, alongside co-author Christine Steendam, I launched my third book, The High-Maintenance Ladies of the Zombie Apocalypse. It’s my first book for grown-ups, first zombie book, first co-authored book. So many firsts. 

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This book was so much fun to write. I hope that it’s equally as fun to read. It’s got humor and the gore you expect from zombie fic. It’s The Walking Dead meet Sex and the City.

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Here’s the back cover copy:

Seriously, we need a synopsis? Doesn’t the title say enough? Okay, if we must . . .

Only the finest will do for Maddie and Vanessa. From Yoga to spa days to the best bottles of wine—life is good until a routine pedicure turns violent.

With an unknown and highly contagious illness sweeping the city, Maddie and Vanessa attempt to maintain their lifestyle as supplies run low.  To survive, the high maintenance ladies must fight off blood-thirsty, decaying hordes while armed with only a baseball bat, a tennis racquet, and an awesome pair of stilettos.

So crack open a box of wine. It’s the zombie apocalypse.

Find it on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats. Click here.

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Weird Stuff People Say at Book Signings

booksigingA couple weeks ago at a book signing, an older gentleman took a look at Enslavement and proceeded to tell me how he didn’t read science fiction by female authors. It was tempting to get offended, but I took the comment in stride. I engaged him on why he felt that way and wished him all the best. It wasn’t the first odd comment I’d received. People have said some weird stuff to me at book signings.

At the same signing, after giving a brief synopsis of my book, a woman told me that the government truly was watching us all. She came back later in the day to remind me, “They’re watching us.”

book signingLast fall, a man seemed particularly interested in my book. He asked what it was about, and I gave him my quick pitch. “It takes place in the future. It’s about a seventeen-year-old girl who is sold into slavery because of her family’s beliefs.” He informed me that the title indicated it could be about S&M bondage. I told him it was definitely not about that, that he may have my book confused with another book. He insisted that it was about bondage. “But, it’s not. I wrote it. I know.” He ended up buying the book, because he was sure I was wrong.

I can’t tell you how many people, after giving my pitch–“It takes place in the future…”–have asked me if it’s a true story. I resist the urge to say, “Yes, absolutely true. I can see into the future and this is going to happen. For $20 I’ll give you lottery numbers.”

My absolute favourite, though, is, “Are you famous?” If you have to ask, I’m probably not.

I maintain my belief–people are weird. But are they ever entertaining!

Do you have a book signing story? Have people said anything memorable to you? Please share in the comments.

 

 

Why This Writer Supports Independent Film

film fest1Because of my involvement in the Winnipeg Real to Reel Film Festival, I’ve been asked on several occasions if I’m involved in film making in some way. The answer is “no”. I’m simply involved because I want to support independent artists. As a writer, I was familiar with the writing and publishing industry, but I was curious about the film industry and thought the best way to learn more was to talk to people involved.

This year I had the privilege of seeing some great independent films, chauffeuring Toronto filmmaker, Zahra Faraji, around Winnipeg and leading talkback sessions for four films. Each time I introduced myself to theater patrons, I opened with the following, which I think encapsulates why I continue to volunteer at the festival:

“My name is Melinda Friesen. I’m an author, and I also work for a local publishing company. I believe strongly in supporting independent artists because not every great book is found on a bestsellers table, not every engaging piece of music makes it to the Grammy stage, and not every worthwhile film lands at the Cineplex. It’s festivals like this one that open our eyes and our ears to new perspectives and new voices.”

I encourage everyone to find ways to support and champion local and independent artists. Not only will you encounter some new and amazing material, but you might even get the opportunity to interact with creatives. You may be surprised what you discover.

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Filmmaker panel.

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Presenting the Enslavement Book Trailer!

I’ve wanted this trailer for a long time, not only as a promotional tool, but as a showcase for this beautiful song. You only get a snippet of it here, so I’ll be posting the whole thing in the future.

A huge thank you to award-winning filmmaker, Corbin Saleken, for all your hard work in putting this together for me. And to Ariel Friesen, thank you for composing this beautiful, inspiring song that will always be score for Enslavement. I’m surrounded by brilliant people.

To Reluctant Readers and Those Who are Concerned for Them

girlreading1I’m in a minority among writers. Most author bios I read refer to the their lifelong love of reading, that they started reading at a young age and devoured book after book.

I am not one of those writers. Don’t get me wrong–I love to read. Now. Not when I was a kid. When I was a kid, reading was the last thing I wanted to do. 

I vividly remember my first grade teacher calling a meeting with my mother. They discussed how I was behind, how I just wasn’t picking up on reading the way I should be. They wanted to put me in a special reading group. I’m not making a judgement call on the teacher, regardless it made me feel like I wasn’t very smart. All the other kids were getting it and I wasn’t. Before that point, I hadn’t been concerned. I felt like I was learning and slowly getting better. I was trying hard to do classroom-488375_1280what the other kids were doing. After the meeting, I felt there was something wrong with me. I was embarrassed when they pulled me out of class for the special reading help. To add to my negative feelings, I was also placed in speech therapy. I needed it. I’m glad they did it. But, as a kid, it didn’t feel good. It reinforced my growing belief that something was wrong with me.

My second grade year was much the same. I was in the lowest reading group. Going to the library made me nervous. Books were for people who were good at reading. If I checked out a book at my level, the other kids would know I could only read baby books. Classmates would discuss books they’d read and I’d always find a way out of the conversation or lie and say I’d read the book and agree with whatever they said about it.

girlreadingWhen I changed schools for grade three my file followed me. Again, I was in the lowest reading group. I hated it. I looked at the kids in the higher groups and envied them. I changed schools again the year after and the year after that. I loved story time, when the teachers read to us, but reading for myself was tough. I could read, but I was slow. I couldn’t skim and it took me a painfully long time to get through a book, but I got it. I understood all of it. I hated being in the low group because the stories were too simplistic. I wanted more even though I knew it would be hard.

In the sixth grade I changed schools again, only this time there was a glitch. My new teacher told me that my file hadn’t arrived yet and he wanted to know what reading level I’d been in the year before. So I lied. I’d been in the highest level, of course. He put me in that group and I was determined to stay there. I worked hard. When my file arrived, my teacher and I had a little talk. In the end, he allowed me to stay in the group since I seemed to be doing well there. 

In junior high I was moved into the talented and gifted program and continued on in advanced classes all through high school.

Now, I’m an avid reader and a writer. I’m still a slow reader. I still can’t skim. I still read every single word, but I feel that it’s made me a stronger writer. 

What I’m hoping you take home from this–don’t write kids off if they don’t pick-up on reading when you think they should. Give them time. Help them to feel good about reading instead of feeling a ball of anxiety in their gut every time they look at a book. 

And if you’re a kid like I was, don’t label yourself. You are smart. You are a reader. Find someone to help you find a book you can read and that you’re interested in. And whatever you do, keep reading. Do NOT give up on yourself!

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