Kylie Kaden

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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Diagnosis: Spirited


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I have what they politely call ‘spirited’ children. You know the ones: the type checkout operators suddenly open extra lanes for, that you hear coming before they arrive. Children that, while others sip babycinos on their mother’s laps, are hell-bent trying to pull apart the fire-extinguisher. While my boys are generally well mannered, kind natured kids, their tenacity makes them question every request, push every boundary, test every rule.  They’re energetic, curious beasts with determination in spades and wills of steel. It can be hard to reign in all that brilliance.

Diagnosis of such a condition is made via their caregivers; symptoms ranging from a nervous twitch and mismatched shoes, to never having their full attention in conversation as they wait for the next crisis to unfold.  While they present with a slightly disheveled look and a thick epidermis from years of judgement, caregivers of these often-extreme kids are masters at disaster management and prevention.  Behaviours include: forever recalculating their parenting plan/reward chart/kids diet as strategies that work for many just don’t seem to cut it. They perpetually feel like ‘they’re doing it wrong’.

I tried to suck the spirit out of them. I did. I like to be liked, hate to be judged, and with a sticky brood of boys in tow, frequent looks of dismay from the public is my reality. It still gets to me – the smugness of some parents that have children with amiable temperaments, that think they’ve trained theirs to behave – why haven’t I bothered?  All I can say is – all children were not created equal. (And as for judgemental non-parents, I was a perfect parent too, before I had kids).

Perhaps I’ve lowered the bar compared to some, perhaps my kids would be less unruly with a superhero parent, but I’ve learned to pick my battles. If they are not destroying property or pestering people, I let it fly. I realise squabbling children is not what restaurant goers pay to be around, so we eat take-away.  I hang out with parents with robust kids that can take the onslaught mine dish out. And as for managing the grocery trip, I’ve learned one fool-proof parenting strategy: click and collect.

I see my role as a parent as helping my kids be the best version of themselves they can. I’m far from perfect, but my kids were never going to be wall-flowers – regardless of who brought them up.   The way I see it, parenting is not an insidious journey whereby we slowly replace free thought with concrete rules, cull adventurous spirit by lecturing the dangers of risk, and erase all curiosity until children are ‘seen and not heard’.

The day we expect young children to behave like adults is a sad day indeed. Respectful of others (within realistic limits for a young child) sure, but let’s not be a society that sees the role of parents as sapping the spirit out of young minds, carving off the curved edges until they sit squarely in society’s ‘holes’. Since when does developing maturity equate to diluting all sense of self?

What a boring world of clones that would be…

 

By Kylie Kaden

First printed in She Brisbane – for all women, but the women of Brisbane. Love our city!

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W :  kyliekaden.com.au

F  :  Kylie Kaden Author Page

T  :  @KylieKadenAU

Buy her books here

 

Image kindly provided by stockimages via freedigitalphotos.net

Australia Day 2016

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I’m feeling patriotic this year. So here’s what Australia is, to me:

School breaks that stretched forever, days filled with monopoly marathons, fighting for the front seat and inventing stupid ways to avoid the swelter.

Days lost pestering soldier-crabs running ink-blue stains across the beach. It’s about sand in your sheets and suncream in your nails, riding your bike as far as daylight allowed (to be home before the streetlights flickered).

It’s the joy of eating king prawns sandwiched between fresh white bread, the art of licking mango juice dripping between your fingers, sneaking to the sleep-out come dishes time to avoid your turn.

It’s days spent lying in the spinifex with an always-damp towel and library book, bolting across tacky bitumen to line for hot chips with chicken salt.

Australia is eternally sunburn shoulders stinging in the shower, bagsing bbq’s for sunset sausage fry-ups listening to a chorus of cicadas.

It’s about making memories with those you love, being who you want to be, and not taking yourself, or life too seriously.

I hope you’re soaking up the sun somewhere special today, making new memories, feeling grateful to be here. Because I sure am.

Happy Australia Day!Australia Day Book Giveaway.

Book Giveaway!

To celebrate, I have one signed copy of either Losing Kate or Missing You (both set in Queensland) up for grabs for one lucky Aussie Resident.

cropped-LosingKate_MissingYou_FacebookImage_1200x628.jpgThe competition opens 24th Jan and closes Midnight Wed 27th January 2016. (I won’t make you sell your soul to enter – just add a blog comment.)  Here’s the link to leave your entry:  COMPETITION CLOSED
ENTER HERE

The winner will be chosen via random.org and notified by the email address you provide by next weekend (your email will not be used for any other purpose).

Jean B is our lucky random winner! Congratulations! I have emailed you regarding your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered and for your lovely comments. 

There’s a lot to love about our country – including the plethora of Aussie authors who exploit the great landscapes we share for their literary pursuits. Find many of them (including dozens more Australian Books up for grabs) here on this blog hop!

Click here for more chances for free Aussie books at the Bookdout Blog-Hop Giveaway

 

The Finish Line; A published Book. But will it change me or the way I write?

Losing Kate Kylie KadenMost writers spend months (years?) wondering if their little story has enough gumption for the big bad world, and I was no different. But my secrets out. It has happened – my final  copies of Losing Kate have arrived – with much fanfare (our dog bailing up the courier, and my three boys running naked in the yard with water-pistols).

I’ve had a busy few weeks flaunting Kate about, and now that the dust has settled it has finally sunk in. Publishing a book feels like a child leaving home. A hope that you’ve done your best, that you’ve brought them up right.

She’s gone. Out in the world. Alone. With only a thin coat of high-gloss and that fresh-book-smell to keep her Bembo-Font warm.

But so far, LK seems to be doing just fine; holding her own, keeping out of trouble – and has even been asked to pop over to Germany! (Guten Tag!) I am no longer worried that she’ll turn up at my door (by the box-full), demanding her old room back. She seems to be reveling in her new-found independence and I hear quite a few not-insane people outside-my-family have actually bought it!  So not a dismal failure! Phew!

So has the simple act of ticking “publish a book” off my bucket list, changed me?

I’m a fairly down to earth person (and still have the odd thought that perhaps Bev and Lex might’ve gone a bit nutty in that slush-pile-room picking my script). So I was sure this writing caper – that started as nothing more than a housework avoidance strategy, would not overwhelm me. I’ve never considered myself an arty person. I value honesty and saying it like it is. I’m not into art galleries, poetry, naval gazing, or the like.  I’ve always been one to not speak out unless I’m absolutely sure what I have to say is relevant, correct, and not about to bother anybody else.  I have confidence in my writing, and I am proud of my debut novel, but part of me has a slight twinge of unworthiness, being categorised as an “artist”. (Who asked me anyway?).

But now that my work, which despite being fiction, has pieces of me hiding-in-plain-sight on every page (even if it’s just a description of a person I observed on a train or the anecdote told to me over coffee), the rules have changed. In deciding to publish, I’ve been given the chance to speak, so by all fairness, the reader has the right of reply.  And of course, any self-obsessed author wants to know about it when they do.

I’ll admit, since the launch of Losing Kate a few weeks back I’ve become one of those self-obsessed people that Google their own name. All the time. Variations, just to be sure I haven’t missed a review, a mention, a new plug. And I tell you, self-obsession can be very draining! Even with corker reviews.  Although I am sure my condition is temporary..,I hope. (There’s washing to be done!)

When asked if it gets easier (with subsequent books) Helene Young, at her recent Brisbane launch of Safe Harbour, said, “No, it get’s harder!”.

And I think that will prove correct. Your first book was written in your own time with no one anticipating it. With subsequent works, readers have expectations, publishers have deadlines, writers can feel rushed (enter second book syndrome).

Last week (whilst self-googling, as you do, as a legitimate branding/business management strategy (cough)) I noticed Losing Kate sitting pretty at #1 on iTunes. In a mad panic I took a screenshot, thinking I’ll blink and miss this moment in (no-one-cares-but-me) history, only to be replaced by a proper-authory-person. But by some miracle LK darted back-and-forth in the big league between some esteemed company for a respectable few weeks, until Matthew Rielly and all his fabulousness took the reigns with a book or three ;). Yes, those self doubts may never go away (and perhaps they shouldn’t).

At the end of the day, I can’t take this gig too seriously, I make stuff up for a living. It’s storytelling, after all – not world peace or a cure for cancer, as this quote eloquently points out:

“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armour and attacked a hot fudge sundae”  — Kurt Vonnegut, American novelist

So I plan to take any success or lack-there-of in my stride.  You can’t please everyone, no matter how good you think (or don’t) think you are.

Where you can find me:

Thanks to all the reviewers who have taken the time to invest time in a newbie and share your valued viewpoints (you can read some insights on Losing Kate at Goodreads).  Here is a link to a few.

Brisvegas dwellers, I’ll be out and about at local libraries and bookshops soon (calendar below). I am also making my way down to Sydney to meet up with RWA members, and attend the ARRA book signing on Saturday 9th August. (along with an array of other authors).  This is a ticketed event and you can buy tickets here. Please come say hi (I’m not too scary, unless you happen to be one of my son’s and haven’t eaten your peas, then I get pretty hard-core. I may even spit a little.).

Or if you’re a bit shy, drop me a line at contact@kyliekaden.com.au. I’d love to hear about your favourite characters, the annoying bits, and parts you liked best.

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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.

Blog Hop – Lily Malone Book Giveaway

Lily Malone Blog Hop Giveaway.

Golf. It can be defined as:

      a)    That peculiar practice of intentionally hitting a ball away, only to go find it again. Over and over …

(     b)    A reverse-anagram of flog.

(     c)    The sport responsible for widowing wives (from all walks of life) in the early hours of each Saturday, only to allow participants to return to the fold tired, and unable to complete domestic tasks set by said wife.

(      d)    The activity that helped Jenn get her Mojo back in Fairway to Heaven.

(      e)    All of the above!

You may have clued. I’m not a huge fan of Golf; golf courses, golf bats, I mean clubs… In fact, I’ve been rather resentful of all of these in the past, for spending more quality time with my husband than me. But alas, I’ve been asked by fellow author and friend Lily Malone, to participate in a great Blog Hop. Doing so means writing about Golf. So here I am.  

Writing.  About Golf.  Any minute now, a kind, interesting thing to write about Golf will hit me…I must say, this is feeling a little like penning a eulogy. Not that golf is dead (that would be a tragedy), but in terms of the principle of saying nice things about someone, even though you may not have had much time for them when they were still kicking. But my mother told me that there’s good to be found in everyone. So if I extrapolate this notion to everything…I do like golf buggies! I became rather fond of them when I was a bridesmaid, using one to jet about between photo-shoot locations with an Esky of Champagne in the back. Good times. My relationship with Golf Buggies was cemented further in a recent trip to Hamilton Island – as the only means of transport there, we hired one during our stay. Hmm, let’s see. Golf is also responsible for ensuring great chunks of land remain undeveloped, groundsmen get lots of practice tending too-perfect-to-be-real fairways and, local kids can still make an honest quid fishing out balls from water hazards.  

So that’s at least three positive things. Who would have thought? (Maybe mum was right).

But by far the best experience I have had with the sport has been in recently finishing Lily Malone’s new novel Fairway to Heaven.  Now, as you quite perceptively picked up, I am not a golfer, nor likely to be, but I loved FTH.

And, so too will you – as, you guessed it, I shall be giving 2 copies away to two lucky Blog-readers!  Don’t worry non-golfers. Golf may be in the first scene (err…and a final one) but the middle is a melding of vividly drawn characters, fresh succinct descriptions, and a heart-warming story of love and friendship – not to mention getting your mojo back after finding yourself down-and-out-in-the-rough with an unplayable -ball. (Proud Lily? I threw in a golf analogy!) Best of all, Fairway to Heaven is set (no, not on a golf course), but in a charming beach cottage you’ll want to take home, just as much as the man who inhabits it.

It’s Golf. But not as you know it.

To enter, “like” my author page  Kylie Kaden – Author  by 10th January 2014 or  if you prefer,  email me at kyliekaden@optusnet.com.au. Winners will be announced on this blog by 13th January 2014. Good luck!

This competition has now closed – congratulations to the lucky winners D. Huffer and K Foster. Your Smashwords gift copies of Fairway to Heaven should be in your inbox as I type…

Just like the best people, some of the best books are an eclectic mix.

GenreCon

Just like the best people, some of the best books are an eclectic mix.

For those that don’t know, GenreCon (run by the fabulous Queensland Writers Centre)  is a meeting of the minds, a conference for the writers amongst us that have their stories shelved in their own corner of the book shop.

Whilst, in fact, that isn’t me, I decided to gatecrash anyway, and see what I could glean from their writing conventions, their readers expectations, and their valuable experience.

I write general women’s fiction, and at times, wish I had a few “conventions” to give me some guidance on what readers want and expect. But mostly I think I’m just not creative enough to invent parallel universes or my own species. Similarly to historicals, I’m just too damn lazy to research if a certain poem existed in Federation Australia, or when the zip was invented, before I include it in a novel.

I like to think that the strength in my writing comes from being “real”, the polar-opposite of most genre fiction. Even romance beds itself (pardon the pun) on escapism, with the fantasy hero and all those heart palpitations and visceral reactions. But we all need that escape sometimes, and it delivers that in spades.   After all, who want’s to read about taking public transport or changing nappies? Those experiences are real, but aren’t exactly entertaining.

Hopefully, my strength isn’t in the detailed description of world-building, it’s in the ability for readers to relate. (That’s not to say that people can’t relate to a two headed zombie having a relationship with a vampire, but I’m far too boring to pull that off.)

Whilst you could say I write love-stories, you could say I write suspense, I think I write reality. Reality Fiction. There’s a new genre for you.  I like to think I write in a frank manner that people can relate to – because it’s honest. About relationships. About friendship. About people. And whilst sometimes we want to be drawn away into another time and place, sometimes we just want to make sense of the world we’re in.  I know many of the conflicts of fantasy and sci-fi are universal, but it’s nice to read how someone not-unlike-yourself, got themselves out of a dilemma too.

GenreCon was great. I caught up with some old friends, and made some new ones, and enjoyed the variety of speakers and workshops on offer. But I came away wondering, what is Genre anyway, but a marketing tool? A way to define a work in order to sell it? I understand readers need to be aware of what they’re getting into.  I hate investing time in a breezy chick-lit, only to find the main love interest turns out to be a ghost part-way through (sorry, the ghost thing doesn’t do it for me. Yes. I’m a skeptic to the core).

Genre is useful for that, for creating expectations. But what about cross-genres, and stories with square edges that just don’t fit in the round holes marketers need? Can’t the world hear those stories too? Books are as individual as people. Whilst they have defined personality traits (a bit like genres), there is no accounting for those eccentrics that just rewrite the rules (and, from my experience, some of the best people (and books) are eccentrics).  I’m still not sure what genre Losing Kate is – a mystery? A love story? A general fiction? Who knows (and who cares?!). It is what it is. Eclectic. Skizoid. Weird. The fact that it straddles genres may have made it harder to pitch, harder to sell (and shelve) but it did get picked up. So your cross-genre story can too.

Write the story in you, not the one that fits into a popular genre or the next trend.

Is the very existence of “genres” sucking the originality of our stories, with writers grinding away those rough edges to fit their novels firmly into the pigeon hole their publisher/agent needs?  Let’s hope not.

That would be a sad story.

Praise for Walking On Trampolines

Go Brisbane Writers!

After seven years in the making, Frances Whiting, our favourite Brissy columnist, has released her first novel, Walking on Trampolines.

And it’s a keeper.

She’s Australia’s Marian Keyes – both of whom write stories rich with characters you want to take home, and have you laughing and crying (often on the same page).

I had the pleasure of meeting Frances at her book launch and was not surprised when she was as delightful in real life as she is on the page.

Although not officially set in Brisbane, elements were strangely familiar, and made me feel right at home. I love Australian fiction.

All I can say is I hope the second book has a shorter gestation period…

Walking on Trampolines? Straight to the pool-room.

 

 

 

 

Being a Mother Of Boys….

Oh Boy.

However they get here – whether by surprise, eight IVF attempts, through the existing exit, or a newly carved one, they change your life. For better. For worse. And there is no refunds or returns.

The first one made you a parent. The second, a family. And for those that kept going – welcome to the MOB. Whether they’re all girls, all boys, or a neat mix of both – parenting is never easy. But some kids, and some combinations, have a unique set of challenges.

This post thread is all about those of us blessed with Boys. One, three, thirteen…. they have a distinct temperament, a certain swagger about them that is unique. They are all about argy-bargy, noise and fun. In some ways, they are easier (wardrobe choice and hair styling for example). Yet in others, a sticky brood of boys can challenge the most dedicated mum.

I intend to blog about the good, the bad, and the ugly of raising boys – a survival guide for the downtrodden, a pick me up for the helpless, and a lesson that there are other mums out there that are outnumbered by the male variety offspring.

It can be tough being the only one that pee’s sitting down in a household of hoses.  I have three of them, aged 1, 6 and 7.  My toilet usually smells like a urinal. My carpet is full of concealed Lego mines. My computer is usually on creative mode in a Minecraft world. I know ever element in Skylanders. I am a MOB.

If you are too, either recently, or a veteran, one or a dozen times over – welcome to the (not so) exclusive club!

Let me know your Mum of Boys experiences!