Brisbane Author

How did I get Published?

Is Writing Your Dream?

It can be a long, lonely slog, this writing caper. That’s why books like this anthology from Serenity Press are so valuable in keeping your mojo, and therefore your muse, happy.

Writing The Dream is out now:

No two writers are the same, but they have one thing in common: they are storytellers at heart and their deepest desire is to be heard.

Writing the Dream shares the stories of twenty-five Australian writers, from emerging to established authors. Some are traditionally published, while others have taken the self-publishing route. Some have faced rejection after rejection, while others have had a dream path. But, while their writing journeys are different, all of them strive to create, entertain, inspire and inform. And all of them have unique and creative voices that deserve to be heard.

It’s full of tips and tricks, the good the bad and the ugly on being a published author.

 

Writing The Dream

Each author has also included five tips for writers, along with their journey to publication.

Here’s a sneak peek:

My Five Tips for Writers:


  1. Persevere: you know the one thing that all published books have in common? They were finished. Keep going (…as long as you are enjoying it.) Even on the days it sounds like crud, stick with it. You can always edit a bad page, but you can’t fix a blank one. (Except for those grey days when the muse calls in sick entirely, then I recommend buying stationary – file cards, Post-Its – knock yourself out).
  2. Find your pack: Writing is an isolating occupation. It’s true that I write by instinct, but when instinct fails, craft takes over. That’s when you need ‘handholds’: a cheer squad, hints and tips, writerly advice to keep you moving forward, and the best support comes from other writers. Publishing is an industry based on relationships: with bloggers, with editors, with readers, and between authors. It is the best use for Facebook I’ve found.
  3. Read: Read lots. Let real books be your bible. (Even the bad ones are useful, as you (a) notice (and feel clever) and (b) feel better about your own writing.)
  4. There is no one way to write: be wary of the person who tries to tell you to ‘plot’ when it the very idea makes you sweat, or ‘wing it’ when the very thought makes your eye twitch. Treat any advice like a smorgasbord. Taste it all. See if you like it, but at the end of the day, only eat the bits you like. There are no rules (except for these -these are gold J) It’s just what you have the skill to get away with.  Masters’ of their craft can get away with murder if they do it right, and with purpose.
  5. Readers aren’t idiots: Leave a gap for the reader to fill – to join the dots, to place the last piece of the puzzle, to feel involved. Sometimes you have to pull back to make people lean in, so you  don’t need to spell out everything (show not tell – but don’t do both).

Buy Ebook now on Amazon for $3.99

Buy Paperback version now from Serenity Press  (free notebook for a limited time

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More Than You Ever Needed To Know On How I Write

The Elusive Writing Process.

Contemporary Romance Author Lily Malone: queen of the simile, master of the detail, has kindly tagged me to answer some questions on How I Write. And well, after stroking my ego by saying nice things about me on her blog again, I couldn’t refuse. (That’s not entirely true – who can resist a rare chance to talk about themselves?)

In the year or so I’ve been fluffing around with one story, Lily (the beanie-clad beauty you see there) has managed to churn out THREE fabulous new releases. The latest, Fairway to Heaven is a fun, fresh read. It’s all about the utterly likeable Jenn, and how she got her Mojo back. But Fairway to Heaven offers a lot more than that. Whilst not the central storyline, it’s the first book I’ve read that paints a realistic picture of life with a toddler.  Brilliant stuff, Lily. 

FTHLilyMaloneIf you haven’t discovered Lily’s work, what are you waiting for? 

So, enough about me and Lily, here’s more about me:

More Than You Ever Needed To Know On: How I Write

What am I working on?   Other than folding a weeks-worth-of-washing….my second novel. In the tradition of Losing Kate, it has a what really happened  kind of suspense, but still has a love story as central to the conflict. It’s currently called Unguarded Moments, but my editor has a habit of changing titles on me so that may be temporary (I do trust you Bev!).  I don’t know exactly what it is yet (a tad disconcerting 90 thousand in, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise for myself!?). In essence it’s a catalogue of all the raw, unguarded moments the main characters share, and how each impacts on their lives. At least, I think…

How does my work differ from others of its genre?   Perhaps I’m a commitment-phobe, but I like to think of myself as cross-genre; a little lovin’, a little suspense, a lot of relationship dissecting. It’s eclectic. It’s honest. It’s unashamedly Australian.  

Why do I write what I do?  I guess I write about relationships, as, like a lot of women, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about them. Finding them. Ending them. Improving them. At sixteen it was when will I have one, at twenty-two it was when will I have a good one, and lately it’s changed into fine tuning the right one; he knows me so well so why can’t he read my mind, God damn it!

How does my writing process work?  I read somewhere that writing a novel is a bit like driving at night; you can’t see very far ahead, but you can make the whole trip that way. I’m very much a Pantser; I make it up as I go along. Often it’s a conglomeration of random ideas, little snippets that inspired me, or lyrics that challenged my view on something. These become the spice that are thrown in the slow-cooker in my head – they may, or may not go together. I just drive on till I see where I land. So let’s hope I don’t end up in a ditch with a horrible stew!  But if I do that’s okay, it’s all about the journey.

 So that’s it from me; I’ve done my dash, now it’s time to pass on the Blog Baton to another unsuspecting blogger. Only problem is, everyone I’ve asked was either (a) too shy, (b) too busy (c) done it.  This leaves me in a bit of bother, really. Perhaps someone could help me out. Perhaps you may wish to share how you write with us, make us feel less alone in this rather isolated profession…any takers??  Drop us a line if you do!

(BTW – since this post, the lovely Ali Morris will be picking up the baton. Thanks so much Ali (and Lily for being the go-between… you are making a habit of that!?))

 Losing Kate; a Women’s General Fiction, is being published by Random House Australia and is available on Ebook 26h March, and in Trade paperback 1st April.   

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Pre-order for your Kindle, or US copy at  Amazon

Pre-Order for ibooks at itunes.

Or  you can get the print version at Angus & Robertson – free delivery Australia Wide.

Will I ever just read again?

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I’m new to this gig. I am a shiny faced front-rower, wide-eyed and willing to take it all in, and I’m enjoying the ride. However, one thing I haven’t gotten used to, is that I can’t seem to just read a novel anymore without my editor cap firmly pushing on my ears. I hone in on opening paras, get suspicious of throw away lines, analyse hooks and red herrings. I assess tense, point of view, even commas get my attention. Whilst I’m learning, I wonder if I will ever simply read again!

I love books, and want to get to know them better. Learn how they tick.  But it’s a bit like watching your favourite TV show faithfully for years, enjoying the escapism, and suddenly being invited backstage. You see the actors, the scripts, the set, and come to realise … they’re not real!? They’re trying to fool me! Somebody made it all up! (Okay, I wasn’t actually sitting on my couch watching Grey’s Anatomy thinking McDreamy was living in Seattle all this time, but you can only dream…).

I blame it on the edit. It can be an all-consuming process.

I’m a “Pantser”, not a “Planner” when it comes to writing.  Unlike Stephanie Meyer, I wasn’t hit with a fabulously vivid dream and plotted a few best sellers from there. I made it up as I went along. It was great fun, but resulted in a hell of a lot of rework. Logic tells me I should rethink that second time around if only for efficiency, but I write because I enjoy it, and it just doesn’t seem as fun when you know the end before you type in Chapter 1. Perhaps a little of both is the right balance.

I spent longer editing my manuscript, than writing it.  For me, editing was far less enjoyable than the freedom and excitement of writing that first draft (and Lily Malone, you can vouch for the fact that it definitely needed a cut and polish from those early drafts!? Not to mention extensive panel work…).  I think I cut about 20,000 words (and missed none of them). There is something to be said for authors writing themselves into the story, only to chop it out. Start where the story starts…I can hear you saying it Lily!

As I leave the editing phase for a while, and embark on a second novel, perhaps I can also muster a quiet read for enjoyment, and appreciate someone else’s hard yards.

I can only hope.

 

 

Parenting Articles

For all the parents out there who like a dose of reality (instead of unrealistic, eternally heartwarming stories that are commonplace), have a browse of the latest My Child Australia Magazine.

Along with a lot of facts on pregnancy and childbirth, you will find honest accounts of parenting in the naughties in my columns.

I’m no expert. The wheels fall off for me every day at some point.  But I hope that sharing my thoughts on the challenges of family life, might just make a fellow parent feel less alone in the daily grind.