Doing my first live stream podcast interview and Medium personal essay about caring for the elderly during COVID

Many months ago I was booked for an interview on the Lurking for Legends podcast and totally forgot about it until the host Richard H. Stephens sent an email with the live podcast link! Since my last blog post, my 106 year old grandma passed, so I had been busy planning another funeral and dealing with over zealous relatives who all have opinions but at the end of the day only me and my siblings were paying for this funeral.

Having done a few interviews in the past, the biggest difference in live streaming is the lack of opportunity to correct mistakes. It’s similar to giving a talk in public. It’s a good exercise in practicing improvisation because there will be questions asked which are not scripted and you have to pull yourself together to speak clearly. There were also questions from the audience via the Facebook live feed and I had to answer these on the fly too. I always think afterwards about how I could have sold things better (my husband says I am the worst salesperson!) but every experience makes the next one better.

Link to the interview here: https://fb.watch/bEvr6vdY34/

I haven’t written anything in a while, so I wrote a long personal essay called How COVID Affected the Care and Death of the Elderly In My Family. It’s a recap of what has happened over the last few months with my mother and grandmother before they died. Death is final and even conspiracy theorists can agree that such a thing will happen to all of us! Or maybe not…

Have a look at the essay here if you have time and please follow me on Medium if you can. To qualify for their partner program I need 100 followers but I only have 2. Yes, pretty sad, I know. In the near future I will be posting more on Medium and then mentioning them on my WordPress blog as larger pieces fit there better I think.

Have a great day and please stay safe!

The 105 Year Old Woman Who Wouldn’t Die

The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die is the name of a memoir I want to write one day about my grandmother. While planning mom’s funeral last October, grandma was hospitalized and I was told I will be planning her funeral in a week.

Flash forward, it’s February and she turned 106! She is still alive to the astonishment of the staff at the nursing home. At least they stopped telling me she will pass soon, which was getting annoying on a daily basis. Since the staff thought she was in trouble, they asked my family to feed all the meals since each meal takes 3-4 hours and their staff has fifteen minutes per person per meal.

However, last week, she was hospitalized again and it’s up to her if she wants to stay or go. We support her either way but draw the line at feeding tubes and other invasive measures.

Some friends have said I haven’t had time to grieve mom’s death because I am too busy with work and grandma. Mom always worried about grandma (her mother-in-law) starving to death from lack of attention in the nursing home, so I know mom would tell me to stop crying and take care of grandma and my child. There are other relatives around who have opinions but are not here…

Taking it one day at a time…shelved a lot of my writing projects for now. The only thing I published recently was my kid’s book series about marbles because of parental guilt since I am sacrificing time with my child to take care of grandma more. The marble books are whimsical stories about Fred the marble and his silly friends. Only a kid can write these type of stories! On Amazon here if you have marble crazed kids, talking marble stories are pretty niche!

https://www.amazon.com/Marble-Crew-Book-ebook/dp/B09K64VY24/

Free mindfulness guide to overcoming dog anxiety

My colleague and fellow Canadian author, Alice Weldon asked me to help her spread word about her mindfulness guide to overcoming dog anxiety. It’s free from 12:01 AM Tuesday November 9th until Thursday, November 11th at midnight PST. You can also pick up the beautifully illustrated companion journal for free once you download the book.

In our busy, stress-filled world, who doesn’t know what anxiety feels like? Just as we can become nervous or stressed, so can our dogs. Author Alice Weldon is mourning the loss of a long-time canine friend who “crossed the rainbow bridge” in October. To honour the memory of her beloved furbudy, she’s giving away copies of her eBook on Overcoming Dog Anxiety that’s especially helpful for people who are physically going back to work and who now leave their pets at home alone for a longer time period.

Here are the links to get your copy:
Amazon Canada
Amazon USA
Amazon Australia
Amazon UK

The Idea Shop X CAA – Free Book Marketing Seminar

On Thursday, October 28, 2021 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. EST Via Zoom I will be hosting a panel called ” Book Marketing 101 with The Idea Shop.” Chris Houston, the Marketing Guru of The Idea Shop, has over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. He’ll share his tips and stories about his best marketing campaigns, and explain why it’s important to let the world know that you have a unique book that they need to discover! 

Register for free here: http://canadianauthors.org/toronto/events/

Nastasha Alli answers “Why is research important in your “Exploring Filipino Kitchens” podcast?”

Nastasha Alli was born and raised in the Philippines and came to Canada in 2007. For her writing at the intersection of food and diaspora communities, she won a Food Sustainability Media Award from the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Her work has been featured on CBC Radio and her recipe published in a “top cookbook of 2018” by the San Francisco Chronicle.

She answers the question “Why is research important in your “Exploring Filipino Kitchens” podcast?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 12. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.

Nastasha’s website is https://www.nastasha.ca/  

The Artsy Raven podcast about writing & publishing episodes are on Spotify & Youtube: https://jfgarrard.com/arpodcast/

Kevin Wong answers “What inspired you to write stories about Hong Kong?” on Artsy Raven Eps 9

Kevin Wong was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia: the same hometown as Sidney Crosby and Sarah McLachlan. He has always loved writing and creating art, and even as a child he was constantly drawing, painting, writing stories, and telling tales to his friends and family.

He answers the question “What inspired you to write stories about Hong Kong?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 9. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.

The Artsy Raven podcast about writing & publishing episodes are on Spotify & Youtube: https://jfgarrard.com/arpodcast/

Corey Rosen answers “How does a writer make their story more clear?” on Artsy Raven Eps 7

Corey Rosen is an Emmy-award winning writer, actor, and storytelling teacher. He has hosted over 100 live events for The Moth, The Moth StorySlam, and GrandSlams. A performer at BATS Improv, he is also a head writer at Tippett Studio.

He answers the question “How does a writer make their story more clear?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 7. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.

For more information about Corey, visit https://www.coreyrosen.com, https://themoth.org and https://www.improv.org/actors/corey-rosen.

The Artsy Raven podcast about writing & publishing episodes are on Spotify & Youtube: https://jfgarrard.com/arpodcast/

The Idea Shop answers “Why should an author hire a marketer?” on Artsy Raven Eps 5 podcast

Chris Houston, the Marketing Guru of The Idea Shop has over 20 years of experience in book marketing. The Idea Shop is a one-stop shop for fresh new ideas on how to promote creative endeavors of all kinds, from books to podcasts. The Idea Shop can be heard each month on Sauga 960 AM radio.

He answers the question “Why should an author hire a marketer?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 5. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.

To contact the Idea Shop on how your book can be marketed to the world, find Chris at https://theideashop.ca/

The Artsy Raven podcast about writing & publishing episodes are on Spotify & Youtube: https://jfgarrard.com/arpodcast/

Maya Svevak video clip answer to “Why did you choose #hybridpublishing?” on the #ArtsyRaven #podcast about #writing and #publishing!

The second episode of The Artsy Raven podcast features Maya Svevak, a scientist, lawyer, activist and author of Svevi Avatar: Persecution of Constantina. This clip is a preview to the full episode!

She tells us her answer to “Why did you choose #hybridpublishing?” and how an agent influenced her.

The Artsy Raven podcast about writing & publishing episodes are on Spotify & Youtube: https://www.patreon.com/posts/published

Tools to make an awesome #lowbudget #video for #socialmedia!

Recently I signed up my indie publishing company, Dark Helix Press, to be a vendor at FIYAHCON, a virtual convention centering the perspectives and celebrating the contributions of BIPOC in speculative fiction. (I’ll be speaking about publishing there too, will release details when I have them.)

At FIYAHCON the vendors are setting up a virtual table on a platform called AirMeet which I have never used before. One of the items I needed to upload was a video and I don’t have any book trailers for Dark Helix Press. In the past I made a book trailer for The Undead Sorceress which was ok, but with new tools available, making a trailer now is much faster than ever before! The concept of making a trailer is the same to make any video for social media, once you learn how to make on video, it’s a skill which can be used for lots of creative fun!

The trailer I made below took about three hours, because I was fiddling with fonts/colors/layout and made some custom graphics for the Dark Helix Press Threadless Shop merchandise because I wanted “clean cut” items that would “pop out.” I had to use a graphic editor to do that (did it quick and dirty with the free Paint.net graphic program) because video programs have limited graphics editing capabilities. Note I had $0 budget, but the video looks pretty good for zero dollars!

Steps used to make a book trailer:

  1. List out what you want to put in each “slide” which is really a short video. Pretend it’s a PowerPoint and on each slide think about what message or text you want to convey.
  2. Find videos for each slide. There are a couple of sites you can download free videos, such as Pexels, Pixabay, Mixkit, etc. We used Pixabay.
    • For one video we wanted 14 seconds, but the shot we downloaded was 10 seconds, so we extended the video time by slowing down the speed of the footage.
  3. If you are adding extra graphics to the video, you will need to clean up with a graphics editor such as Paint.net, Krita, Adobe Photoshop, etc. We used Paint.net.
  4. Pick a program to compile the videos – Canva, Filmgora, iMovie, etc. We used Canva.
  5. Upload the videos into the program, add text, music (we used the music provided in the program) and graphics.
  6. In some of the programs you can modify the layout and animate the graphics/fonts.
  7. Upload onto Youtube and publish.
    • Read carefully on the sites where you gathered graphics, videos and music. Some of the licenses ask for attribution in lieu of payment and there may be restrictions on use.

I hope this information was useful to you! After you do it once, the subsequent videos will be easier next time!