Parca is the Roman Goddess of Childbirth and Destiny and after you get to know me, you will see why I believe she has, without doubt, made me her Poster Child. I deal with the odd serious issue but for the most part, my posts are just some cheeky fun. You'll find satire with the odd parody tossed in....and most definitely a generous helping of hyperbole, with a dollop of facetiousness.

I am Canadian so expect a bit of politeness too. Sorry.

2) MY eBook Trailers are on YOUTUBE
3) My website:denisesevierfries.com
4) My Photo-Art Youtube Trailer is here too.

5) My old monthly column: The Lighter Side of Self Publishing

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Yes, I know, the word is ‘praiseworthy’, but hey…words are what I do. One perk of writing is being able to make up words and languages. Ask J.R.R Tolkien*.
*Looking at the massively famous/popular/prolific JRRTolkien and GRRMartin, I am considering changing my name to DRRSevier-Fries. The RR has got to be some sort of demonic, sell-your-soul-to-the-devil symbol, which, by the way, I am totally open to…

To receive fame and fortune was never a goal of my wanting to be a writer. Fame would be cool for a while but from what I can see of celebrity, well, I think I’ll pass. As far as fortune goes, the truth is, I was married to a wealthy man and had more security and cash than one should hope for in a lifetime, and I was miserable. I had a stalemate, not a soulmate.

At present, I am a busy quill pusher who supplements my writing career by running (with my fine, imported soulmate) a wee family oriented motel in the bowl of a rim of mountains called Hope, BC Canada and although we live simply and have a steady but decidedly average income, I could not be happier. (*well, not unless Sean Bean came to town dressed as Boromir and wanted me to test every mattress in the place with him…but that might not happen.) 

But as happy as I am, I am over-the-moon happier today because of one incident. It reinforced the one thing I have discovered that I DO want to get out of my writing: Praise. I received a smidgeon of unexpected praise today and it blew me away. Far too much, obviously, but it was a rush nonetheless:

An innocuous little blurb from a stranger on a Face Book group made my day. My week. My month. 

I got a 5 star rating for my book once that sent me reeling too, but somehow, this praise was even more validating. Go figure. Maybe I am just an insecure storyteller who appeals to 2 or 3 people.

Well then…so be it. But those 2 or 3 people are now in my Will.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Newspaper Virgin: How I Kept My Hyphen Intact

My last AUTHOR MINGLE article was all about faces and the ones we offer the public via our work (profile pics, avatars, dust jacket portraits, etc…). I crooned about how I would only use my most flattering images regardless of how illogically youthful or outdated they were. My image was mine own!

Little did I know that I would soon be scrounging through every drawer in the house looking for an ‘original’ picture of myself for my first newspaper interview.

The irony was so thick I could almost taste metal. None of my good old standby photos (read: de-wrinkled) of myself would suffice because they were scanned. The paper needed an original file for optimum clarity in their article. I was trapped. 

But that happened after the interview. The beginning was far worse. Or should I say, the pre-beginning was worse. The reporter was to call at 1:00 p.m. my time and by 12:30, I was pacing up and down the room in front of the phone, wondering what questions were going to be asked and what the hell the names of my main characters were.  I had written and self-pubbed three books. Why the hell did I have to write three? What were they about again? My mind was beyond blank and verging on implosion.

And then The Big One hit: should I spell my name with or without a hyphen? Which looked less complicated…more memorable…attractive? Which looked less feminist…or did I want it more Gloria Steinemesque?

Thus begun my virginal foray into the world of newspaper interviews. 

The phone interview with a reporter from my hometown newspaper turned out to be a valuable exercise in self-awareness: I was aware of my much-too-loud laugh, my raspy voice that sounded like I was born smoking a cigar, my inability to string four words together without adding the ever-so-eloquent ‘ummm’ and my propensity to think faster than my lips would move. Oh, and I became keenly aware that when being recorded on tape, I get the inexplicable urge to belt out a Tarzan/Carole Burnett-like jungle call and/or giggle uncontrollably like Betty Boop on laughing gas.

The clock proved that the interview took 20 minutes, but it felt like 2. What had I said? Did I just ruin my career and put a giant cork in my bottle of opportunity? I vaguely remember saying the words Hitler, mother and church. Did that mean I said my mother met Hitler at church? 

I moaned my way to the bathroom and sat on the edge of the tub with my head in my hands, trying to decide if I should drown myself in it, but I knew there was a part of me that still yearned to see, at least once, an article in the newspaper about my books. Even if I couldn’t recall their titles. *I think I said one was called Twilight and another one Harry Potter something-or-other…

I then recalled every important detail I forgot to mention and turned on the water. 

In the end though, I didn’t do a swan-dive with a half twist into my bathtub and I didn’t actually embarrass myself too badly in the article. I took five million selfies and tried not to look like my great-grandfather after one-too-many potato-distilled vodkas, and my sister Rhonda helped choose the least ridiculous of the lot and I sent it in, hoping it would be stamp-sized and airbrushed.

It was neither. The photo took up 2/3 of the page and my black Leno streak in my silver hair looked like I was wearing Pepe Le Pew on my head. But it was done. I had survived and apparently, I was still a ‘Sevier-Fries’.

So, despite being scared and nervous, my first time wasn’t as painful as I feared, my hyphen remained intact and I could still claim my name as untouched.

What more could a girl ask for?

**Here is the article, although you may have to subscribe to The Dauphin Herald to view the following link…sorry!

Link to the most charming lil' newspaper in Manitoba: Dauphin Herald article

Thursday, August 15, 2013


This email exchange had me laughing out loud and I needed to share. I have hidden the insurance lady's name for her protection. Not that she could get fired from her job, but from an influx of requests for this very select insurance...



From: ---------
To: denisesf5@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: Insurance quote
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2013 18:08:18 +0000
Hi Denise,
Sorry about that, I understand that your premium would have been less before with your condom policy. This is a “tenants package” which do tend to be more that an “owned” property policy.
Hi -----,

Hmmm...I have never heard of a 'condom' policy before...but I imagine it offers good protection against unwanted tenants in small places.

Cheers...and thanks for the giggle of the day!

OMG, Im sorry, Condominium.
*I wonder, as a mother of 5, if I should have written "My old condom policy is full of holes..." ?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Facing Reality: Choosing An Author Cover Picture

There are myriad reasons why writers write: to purge their souls and rid themselves of inner demons; to offer the world insight and hope; to give themselves and others the gift of another world made from the uniqueness of their personal fantasies; to simply be creative and tell a good story.

My reasons for writing are twofold and not in the aforementioned list. They are: 
     1)  Sean Bean. Yes, my ultimate goal is to write a bestseller that gets made into a movie starring Sean Bean.  I will consult on set. Closely.

     2)  To have my picture on a book. 

But not just any picture. 

Many believe that in facing the reality of publishing , we should show our real face.  I disagree. Writers usually deal in altered realities, so why not alter one more?

The task of taking a new profile picture for one’s website or author’s page, or choosing the one best suited to grace the back cover of one’s book is a gargantuan undertaking. For some. I am willing to concede that there may be an author or two out there who could care less about what his or her cover picture looks like, but they either model on the side or make The Elephant Man look suave and debonair so it doesn’t really matter.

I like putting my best face forward. Even if I don’t have it any more. 

It seems every time I have to choose a new head shot to download, I get younger.  My Amazon Author’s page picture was taken in my late 40’s. My Twitter profile shot was taken in my mid-30’s and I was in the last year of my 20’s in my current Author Mingle picture. If you ever see a published book with the picture of a fetus on the back cover, that’ll be me.

This has not been intentional. Well, not at first. The first time I had to send in a profile picture that would introduce me to the world, I chose one that was relatively new and wasn’t clear enough to count my wrinkles.  Vanity thy name is Denise.

The next one had to be different, for whatever reason, so I chose one even younger, but not from ego, but, honestly, from a lack of choice. I am the family photographer and am rarely alone in any pictures. The few that are around belong on the cover of The National Enquirer alongside sightings of aliens and Elvis at Dunkin’ Donuts, so I decided to be kind to the collective eyes of the reading public and offer them a Vintage Me that had only one chin, most of my own teeth and Sex In The City hair. 

And really…who would care? The fact is, any form of you, whether it be present day or Teen Heartthrob from the 60’s, it is still you. It is the face you want your readers to meet alongside that particular book. 

The way I figure it, my visual identity is mine to give or hide, play with or re-arrange as I see fit.  A picture of me is a piece of my real self that I will offer the public at my own pace, and, to be frank, when I get one that people won’t mistake for Gandalf with a perm.  

Maybe finding my current face will become a game, like Where’s Waldo (minus the hat), or a mystery like the elusive Great Garbo (minus the glamor) or the reclusive Howard Hughes (minus the Spruce Goose and the billions).

I make one promise though: should I ever get published in hardcover, I will send in a recent picture. It may even be one of me.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


As some of you may already know from previous posts, I believe in Signs. When something is beyond coincidental or just too bizarre for words…I call it a Sign, and I should be paying attention to what it may mean. Most of the time I simply see it as a confirmation that I am at the right place and the right time in my life and my choices have been good. 

I have found lost, tiny diamonds from my rings in places that I had no business even looking, but the Hand of God (or index finger of Buddha) pointed me in the right direction; I have experienced circumstances that border miraculous (scroll down and see my Dec.10.2010 post) and I have been guided by a Guardian Angel in finding a lost child in a Mall the size of Texas…


NOTHING has been as mind-blowing as the day I had last week. It was a Sign Tsunami and I barely kept my head above the water. I can only write of it now after giving it due thought. Here’s how it went (with my initial responses in parentheses):

1) a- Driving my daughter Katja to school in the morning, we get on the subject of Jurassic Park and the fat guy who gets eaten by a prehistoric fan-faced lizard. Cool scene. You know…amiable, pre-school-time blood and guts death scene chit-chat. Starts the day out warm and fuzzy.

b- When she gets home, I tell her that I came across a picture of the fat man and lizard in the news online shortly after I got home. Did NOT look for it! She jokingly suggests that that it’s a Sign referring to me (the fat man…yes I’ve gained few pounds, thank you) and her oldest sister who is arguing with me at present: she is the lizard attacking me, you see. She laughs at the comparison but stops when I tell her that her big sister once had the name Lizard. “That’s kinda weird, Mom.” Indeed.  (*Well…that’s a bit bizarre. Double bizarre. Picture AND nickname!)

2) a- Went to the library and a random book title caught my eye that I thought was a favorite play of mine, Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’. It ended up being ‘Turn of the Screw’, by Henry James.  I put it back.

  b- That afternoon I see a video clip that has one character say to another, ‘The key is on the bookshelf. Look behind the book called Turn of the Screw. (*Wow! What are the odds?)

3) a- I see my doctor for a prescription refill and ask her about a safe diet she can recommend. She says The South Beach Diet is perfect. Try it.

b- A few hours later, I get an obvious SPAM email touting the benefits and magic of The South Beach Diet. My doctor does not know my email addy and I have never looked it up. (*Holy crap! Am I paranoid, or what?)

4) a- After school, Katja and I drive to Value Village to find some pieces to make a cowgirl costume for School Spirit Day. While driving, she asks me to recommend a few Moldy Oldies tunes to download on her iPod.  So, I grab at a distant memory and mention Mr. Roboto by Styx and sing a few bars: Domo arigato Mr. Roboto! Domo! We laugh. Silly song. We’ll have to ask Scotty, her big brother, what that means. He speaks Japanese quite well after having lived in Japan after university.

b- 10 minutes later, it comes on the radio. I hadn’t heard it for 10 years! “Mom…isn’t that the song you were just singing?” (*Bloody hell! What's next? A Japanese robot at the next stop sign?)

5) a- We get to Value Village to find some cheap cowboy vests and boots…cheap horse maybe. Preferably stuffed.

b- Katja sits down and starts to put on a rather perfect pair of ladies cowboy boots when I tell her to stop and listen closely to the piped in music humming overhead throughout the store.  She stops mid-pull, looks up to me with huge, surprised eyes and says, “Oh my God! Is that Nancy Sinatra? Freaky!” (Yes, my 13 year old likes Nancy) And yes. You guessed it. ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’’ was our boot-hunting back-up music. (*Holy shit!)

6) a- That evening, my son Steven calls from Alberta and we chat. TV shows I get for free online come up in the conversation and I mention that I am hooked on The Big Bang Theory. He loves that show and asks if I have seen The Ball Pit episode yet. Too funny Mom! Killer hilarious!

b- You know what I’m going to say, right? After we hang up, Katja and I sit on the computer and bring up the next episode on the list. Half-way through, guess what scene pops up? The Ball Pit Scene. It’s great, but I am too flustered by this time to enjoy it fully. (*Feckin Feckity Feck! Out of 6 seasons of 23 episodes each…let’s see, that’s a possible 138 episodes,  that one comes on just then! I need to buy a lottery ticket.)

7) a- Before tackling my all-night book writing session (as I do nightly), I watch a little ‘TV’ online. I am currently watching LOST. We gave up TV but we still watch what we want online. Saves cash, it’s commercial free and makes us all read a lot more. SO…I watch the next episode…but wish I hadn’t. Without going into a long explanation of what happens, let me just say that in it, one character tells another a story about how he won the lottery and got the numbers from a guy way far away in a place called Kalgoorlie, Australia. It was a man who was fighting with his son and he wished he had the guts to call him on the phone.

b- This REALLY blew me away…after a day of endless blow-aways:  My daughter, the aforementioned Lizard who is on the outs with me right now (and who I wish I could call) lived in Kalgoorlie, Australia and JUST moved out of it! (*Okay. Fine. Is that a Sign to call? Was that a punch in the gut or what! What am I supposed to do! AAARRGGGHHH!)

This was all blog-worthy, crazy–ass stuff I knew I should write about, but the straw that broke the camel’s back happened the next morning at breakfast.  I KNEW I had to get this all down for the world to see, if only as evidence to my now 100% belief in SIGNS and my new goal in discovering what the Sam Hell they mean! What happened, you ask? Well…

8) a- I had slept in after a 5:00 a.m. bedtime (I write better at night) so I had breakfast alone and late (not usual)…about 10:00 a.m. I had bought a treat for Katja the week prior and got her a sugar cereal (again, not a usual) and decided that I was craving some of her Captain Crunch. Why not? The South Beach could wait. Mom’s can have some fun too, right?

b- Wrong. What happened next was not 'fun'. It was insane! So much, that I even took a picture of it. I sat down to eat my Captain Crunch and watch one of my favorite comedians, Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report. THIS is what came on as I ate:

You can imagine me sitting there, spoon frozen mid-way to my mouth, looking at the Captain. I hadn’t eaten CC for years, but there it was. RIGHT IN MY FACE! Here is a bowl shot for further proof:
 And the ONLY thing that was even MORE bizarre, was this:

 Yes…I was reminded that my husband is from Germany. (*I surrender. Strike me down with lightning and take me now.)
Here is a 60 second clip of it (I won't even go into the 'coincidence' that my ex-husband is a dentist. My head might explode.):

I am either exceedingly perspicacious or just headed for some kick-ass Enlightenment! All these Signs! What am I to do with this information?
I haven't a bloody clue. Somebody give me a Sign!

MY FIRST INTERVIEW: Feeling Kinda Special Now...But It'll Pass.

You Oughta Know Author Denise Sevier-Fries

Filed in Authors You Oughta Know by on June 22, 2013
Profile PictureWhat is the name of your book and if you had to sum up a description in 40 words or less, what would you say? The name of my book is The Saving of NATION. Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun married a mere 36 hours before committing joint suicide. This seems a fruitless gesture unless you see how it would legitimize their child. A child hidden and raised in Canada postwar. This is his story.

Where did you get your idea for your book? I got my inspiration for this book from my father-in-law, now deceased, whom I never met. One day he was a carefree young man, a carpenter’s apprentice with a bright future and a girl he was drumming up the courage to propose to, and the next day, he was a soldier in Hitler’s army. He left his home a sweet young boy and returned a bitter man with only one eye and more scars than the ones caused by shrapnel too deep to remove safely. I married his son, who was visiting Canada one year…a decent , kind and loving man affected but not ruined by his father’s fate. After wondering how my husband turned out to be so much the opposite of such a damaged father, I began to wonder how a son of Hitler might have turned out, especially after finding out his true identity upon becoming a man on his 18th birthday. Could anything good come from such evil…or would his blood be his poison?

When did you publish this book? I self-published this book April 2 2013 on Amazon KDP Select.

Is your book part of a series? No. Not yet anyway. Should it become a bestseller, I might write a sequel!

What is the most important thing about your book you would like to share with potential readers? The Saving of NATION is not a story about war or Hitler as such, but a message of how we all, despite our pasts or predestined fate, have the choice to control our own destiny.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? The hardest part of writing this book was balancing my life around the actual writing of it; I have a husband, five children and a cat and when I write, I disappear and they are not a part of my world anymore. Slipping back into reality can be draining. Luckily, they were all very supportive, due in no small part, to my threatening to use their names as horrible characters in my book should they pester me and make me lose my train of thought…

What is your next writing project? I am knee deep in a novel about the tragically, and shamefully, forgotten segment of Canadian history that saw tens of thousands of Ukrainian immigrants and Landed Immigrants alike, imprisoned in concentration camps in Canada during the First World War. Even librarians try to correct me and say only the Japanese were interned in Canada during the Second World War and I have to give them a history lesson. Shockingly and sadly enough, my college Sociology professor didn’t know either, and that was my inspiration to finally write this new book.

What formats are your book available in: The Saving of NATION is currently an ebook available on Amazon.

Where can readers find you?
The Saving of NATION
Blog: Parca’s Chosen


Twitter: @denisesf5

What is your name and where are you located? I am Denise Sevier-Fries and I live in Comox, BC.

Do you write under a pen name?No. I will take the full credit and lumps that come with people knowing your identity.

What books have influenced your writing? I love the Jack Whyte historical fiction series The Dream of Eagles; Diana Gabaldon’s Highlander series; Anita Diamant’s inspiring The Red Tent and thousands of others! I also love the classics Pride and Prejudice, The Grapes of Wrath and To Kill A Mockingbird.

What inspired you to first write? I am a storyteller and love to engage people in my tales…so putting the words down on paper was the natural evolution of that inherent trait, I suppose.

What have you learned the most about being a writer/author? I have birthed 5 books and 5 children and it is hard to decide which was the least painful. They have all caused me, at one time or another, immeasurable joy, unholy suffering and fodder for my blogs and books. I have also learned that my husband and my children may be my heart and soul, but writing and photography are my air and water and I need them all to survive. I have also learned that writing, even with all its extreme ups and downs, is by far, MUCH easier than trying to get published and having ones work actually read.

Do you see writing as a career? Indeed I do. When I began this book (which was the first I’d ever written), it was in the wee hours of the morning and I was so engaged in writing it, that when my daughter returned to my desk to give me a second kiss goodbye before hurrying off to school, I chastised her for dillydallying and told her she was going to be late…but she looked at me with a puzzled look on her face and said, “But mom…I just came back from school. That was a kiss hello.” I was stunned. The whole day had passed and it had felt like a minute. I had found my vocation; for better or worse, I was a writer. So, yes, I need to believe that I can eventually feed myself from this job that chose me so persuasively.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? Jack Whyte or JK Rowling would be a massive treat!

Do you have any advice for other writers? Compare yourself to everybody and nobody.

What is the one most important thing others should know about you? I am not Norman Mailer. (*yes…there is a story behind that)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Open Letter To Michael Kozlowski

Open Letter to Michael Kozlowski in reply to his article Self-Published Authors Are Destroying Literature:

Dear Mr. Kozlowski,
I would like to congratulate you on your article of June 17th 2013 on Good E Reader entitled Self-Published Authors Are Destroying Literature. I know you have endured some harsh criticism because of it, but please know that you do have support on this topic and are completely in the right. 

I am a fledgling writer myself and although I have refrained from falling into the cesspool of self-indulgent word molestation that is self-publishing for the very reasons you have listed. When the time comes when I have completed college or university, hired a professional editor and paid my dues by being picked up by a real publisher, then, by God I will self-publish! And not a minute sooner! 

Being in my fifties shouldn’t hold me back from starting school again. I earned straight A’s in English, Psychology and Sociology in the 3 years I did go to college, though sadly, a family member’s sickness required me to drop out, but now that they’re dead, no worries! I can start again! My five kids are almost all grown and dang it if they or my grandkids need me around all the time! It’s time for me to buckle up and get that degree so I can aim for that self-publishing dream. And it may be hard to pay for an editor to tackle my book since I will have to quit my job to attend school full time (part-time is not an option at my quickly advancing age) but with a little bit of luck I can probably sell off a few things like my car or furniture and make enough cash to snag a really expensive editor because we all know the more you pay, the better you get. You’ll get no arguments from me there!

I am so glad you sited 95% of eBooks as being insufferable, because the eBook I will write falls into the 5% that isn’t. Mine is not a ‘crime, science fiction, fantasy, romance or humor based’ story, but a historical fiction. Who knew that so few were out there? You sure have your finger on the ePulse of the nation! Like you said, these scam-artist writers are just trying to emulate successful published authors. I don’t know what emulate means ‘cause I haven’t finished college yet, but I assume it is a bad, bad thing. Your Bowker Market Research report was quite impressive too, I might add, but I got lost in all those percentage points and gozintas: I’m a writer, not a mathematician. (*Do you remember the Beverly Hillbillies and Jethro who was so good at math and his gozintas? Five gozinta five one times, five gozinta ten two times?)
But I digress.

What I really want to say is thank you. Thank you for setting out the criteria for what it takes to be worthy of self-publishing: like Bella Andre. She, as you say, ‘cut her teeth with major publishers’ then decided to self-pub so she could have more control. She ‘got a major deal and went back to self-publishing’.  Now that’s the right way to…just wait…I’m confused. If she cut her teeth with a publisher, how can she go ‘back’ to self-publishing? Going back implies that she started as a self-pubber. I don’t understand…but that must be my lack of college-grown perspicaciousness. *okay, I admit it…I looked that up in my online dictionary (they have those now! Cool, huh?). I was just trying to impress you ‘cause you’re my hero and all. Hope I used it correctly!

And I think it very wise of you to imply that if one is rejected by a publisher, we are not good enough to call ourselves writers. I agree that only after being published can one dare to give themselves that exalted label.  True writers who were good enough to be published and never were rejected by a publisher, like Stephen King and JK Rowling, will surely agree with you as well. Before they were published, they were useless! They never… oh wait…they both were heavily rejected weren’t they. Never mind.  Bad example. *see that! Another example of my lack of verisimilitude! **okay…I looked that big word up too and it’s definition confused the heck outta me but it looked good so I used it anyhow.  

As far as the blatant marketing onslaughts of Indie writers are concerned, I too am so sick of their ‘in your face’ begging and gimmicks, and over-exposed advertising. Why not calm down and take it nice and slow like the professionals? Geez…I didn’t even know when the Harry Potter books were coming out or if I could pre-pay for them! And The Twilight and Hunger Games series? I didn’t even realize they were books! It was all so low-key and unobtrusive. 

In closing, I just want to say that you, and Andrew Franklin of Profile Books are spot on in your assertion that Indie writers ‘devalue the work of legitimate published authors’ who ‘ have an editor and are considered accomplished, or at least well-read’.  I cannot agree with you more! Legitimately published books like ‘Walter The Farting Dog’;  ‘How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art’; ‘If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs’ and my personal  favorite, ‘Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Power: How to Increase the Other 90% of Your Mind to Increase the Size of Your Breasts’ will only lose their well-read followers and highly regarded reputations should Indie writers continue with their uncouth, self-published garbage. Real publishers are necessary to maintain the dignity and pride of the legitimate publishing industry and its commitment to fine literature.

My hat is off to you Sir, and if you don't mind me saying, I was quite smitten with your charming profile picture. I can only hope you will write an article soon that advises us all on how to choose the perfect photograph for our author’s page, online blogs or dust jackets. Your talents run in so many directions!

Sincerely yours in writing,

Denise Sevier-Fries