I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
They know me here...


Friday, January 29, 2010

Write What You Know

How many times have I heard that saying bandied around? Lots. Heaps. Oodles.

Well, this particular saying certainly applies to the guest author visiting my blog on Tuesday, 2nd February. Debut Aussie author, Helene Young, is dropping by to chat about her exciting career as the captain of a Dash-8 for Qantaslink and her first release BORDER WATCH, published by Hachette Australia.

Living in sunny, tropical Cairns with her husband, she writes gripping romantic suspense. Strangely enough (grin*) her heroine and hero are a border security pilot and customs agent involved in keeping our shores safe from international threats.

Helene's also giving away a copy of her debut book. So, in the interest of broadening her horizons tell her about your favourite place in Australia and why she should visit it! Comments close 3pm, Sunday 7th Feb. The lucky person will be announced on my blog by Tuesday, 9th Feb.

Mark the dates everyone and good luck!!! You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Temptation Quote

"A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in.
This is too much of a temptation to the editor."
(Ring Lardner)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day

Australia Day, January 26th, is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet from Great Britain to Sydney Cove in 1788.

For most Australians it's a day of reflection and celebration (much like Independence Day in the USA) - to think about what it means to be Australian, the achievements we've made as a nation and as individuals, and to consider our future.

That's the official version.

What does it mean to me?
  • The celebration of a modern day, multicultural nation.
  • Singing Advance Australia Fair, our national anthem.
  • The Southern Cross & Union Jack (on the flag).
  • Being especially proud to call myself an Australian.
  • Enjoying the freedoms a lot of other countries around the world don't have - eg. the right to vote, to be lead by a democratically elected government etc.
  • Backyard BBQ - complete with flies.
  • Cricket (a very popular national sport) & sport in general.
  • Thongs (also called flip-flops & jandals by others).
  • Playing cricket in the backyard in thongs with friends.
  • Hot summers.
  • Living in a bloody great place, one I wouldn't swap for any other place in the world.
Happy Australia Day, everyone!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Bloody Good Read

Ever read something that just sideswipes your emotions and you find yourself crying, laughing, cheering or sighing with contentment ALL the way through the book? Hang on to it if you have - they're a "keeper".

The "keepers" on my bookshelf are growing. I'm pretty ruthless these days when I add one as I have limited shelf space, so when I read something it really has to impact me and be a book I can go back and read more than once or twice.

I was over at Writers' Gone Wild Blog late last week and Maree Anderson posted a great blog on "That Scene I Just Can't Seem to Forget" and it got me really thinking about what has grabbed me in the past.

I discovered paranormal romance author, Lora Leigh's, Breed series before I realised she wrote for Ellora's Cave in their Romantica genre. Checking out her back-list I found her Men of August and Bound Hearts series and bought every single one I could lay my hands on.

Marly's Choice was the first book in the Men of August series and the first Romantica book I read. Forbidden Pleasure in the Bound Heart series was the second.

MC was hot as it was dark in it content, dealing with a pretty unpleasant issue (the issue brought out in this book was one I never thought to see in a "romance", especially considering how some people would find it objectionable). FP was hotter and the premise of a stalker preying on the heroine was pretty creepy. Full kudos to Ms.Leigh for handling both in such an amazing way. The emotion in both grabbed you from the start and ripped you through to the end.

For those of you who've read either of these books, you'll understand what I mean.

For those of you who haven't here are the blurbs...

Marly's Choice
Marly's love for Cade has spanned her teenage years, and survived strong, and intact into womanhood. Her fantasies and daydreams have sustained her, but she's no longer content with merely imagining the touch of his hands, the taste of his kiss. It's time to seduce the tough, sexy cowboy.
She's heard the rumours for years, the tales of his sexual preferences. She's prepared herself to accept his desires. Prepared her body for his touch. But she wasn't prepared for the choice to come...
Cade's dark desires, his sexual excesses are based in the past. In a time where pain, shame and blood stains his very soul. He carries a secret shared only with his brothers. A secret that has scarred the bond, the ability to be a brother or to accept the love of the men he was raised with. He knows the only way to prove his loyalty, his love for those brothers...and Marly will be the key.
She has a choice. She can surrender to Cade's needs, his soul deep desires, or she can walk away. A choice only Marly can make. A choice that will change her life forever.

Forbidden Pleasure
People have heard rumours about The Club, located just outside Washington, DC. And only its members know where men fo when they want to indulge the desire to share their women with a carefully selected male partner...
Former FBI agent John "Mac" McCoy resigned his membership from The Club when he married Keiley Hardin. Tenpting and innocent, sweet and secy, she would never accept Mac's desire to share her with another man. However, Keiley's growing curousite and Mac's own fantasies of sharing his wife haunt his dreams. And his passions.
Unable to wait any longer, Mac invites his best friend, Jethro Riggs, to their home with the intention of drawing Keiley into the pleasures that can only be achieved when two men love the same woman. But there's more going on in Mac's neck of the woods than a little additional pleasure. A past case involving a stalker who likes to play games has turned up again, but now Keiley is in the middle of it all. Passion and pleasure, danger and desire comine as the forbidden landscape becomes an addiction none of them can escape.

As I said, it was the emotion imbedded in books, the way Ms.Leigh used it within and between her characters to such astounding effect that captured me and left me so wrung out by the end.

I didn't just shelve the books afterwards - I ended up rereading both of them again straight away - they were so powerful I wanted to experience it all again and pick up on the bits I'd missed.

After visiting Maree's blog I decided I would reread both again - for the umpteenth time.

So, do you have a "keeper" on your shelf?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blogging 2010

Over the coming months I'll be inviting a screed of guest bloggers to my site. I've wanted to do this for a while now but like most things it takes time and organisation to get events like this rolling.
My aim in doing this is two-fold - to support and promote local DownUnder authors and writers; and to introduce you to new authors or revisit old favourites :-) .
Who's visiting the blog?
Well, hold onto your bookmarks, everyone. First guest author is fellow Aussie, Helene Young. Her debut book BORDER WATCH, published with Hachette Australia, hits shelves in March 2010.
Also visiting in the coming months will be Nalini Singh, Erica Hayes, Tracey O'Hara, Cathryn Brunet, Christina Phillips and Bronwen Evans.
Stay tuned for some exciting visits!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Look

Well, I decided with the new year should come a new, updated look to not only my blog site but my website.
Let me know what you think.

Friday, January 15, 2010

CRAFT: Query Letters & Agent Hunting

At the end of 2009 my agent, Jenny, unfortunately had to close her agency due to the economic situation in the US - the recession has hit the publishing industry pretty hard. I've no doubt Jenny's decision was difficult as it meant not only the ending of many professional relationships with her clients but the closure ot her dreams of being an agent with her own agency. I wish her well in her future ventures, whatever they may be.
So, 2010 sees me on the hunt for a new agent. I've already started. I've surfed the 'net, looking at websites, updating my Top 10 agent wish-list, researching submission procedures and writing new query letters.
It's time consuming, sometimes monotonous but always a challenge. Writing that query letter just so, to hook the interest of an agent, is no easy thing. I spent the better part of today fine tuning individual QL's, checking formatting and spelling etc. and then emailing it off to my first chosen few.
What do I put in my QL's?
An introductory paragraph - ms title, word count, genre/target market. Sometimes this is also the paragraph I remind an agent they previously requested a full manuscript in an earlier submission (it doesn't hurt to remind them you've had former contact with them, they might even remember you!).
2nd paragraph - a description of the manuscript (I tend to write mine like the back cover blurb of a book).
3rd paragraph - the credentials of the manuscript being pitched (its contest placings, any publications etc.).
4th paragraph - a statement to the effect that I'm enclosing in the body* of the email what the individual agent required as a submission (eg. 3 chapters & a synopsis).
5th paragraph - a statement saying that I'd be more than happy to send them the full ms if the query interests them and that I'm looking forward to hearing from them.
Sign off with full contact details - name, address, phone number (including international area code) and email address.
*Most agencies filter out emails with attachments and unless the agent has specifically requested your work as an attachment, put it in the body of your email, after your query letter. Chapters or sample work first then synopsis.
Most agencies on my Top 10 list accept email queries and submissions. Some don't, so check carefully when researching information about your chosen agent or agency.
I also jot down, usually on my calendar when I sent a query, partial, full to an agent and when I'll follow up on the query (some agencies state when to check back with them after a certain period time) as well as who sent back a rejection, a rejections with feedback and so on.
Once I've done the rounds of sending out queries, I then sit back and wait, and continue writing the next book. It makes the time pass faster.
So, here's to a successful 2010 - Year of Hunting for a New Agent.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Garbage & Writing Quote

"Don't let a single day go by without writing.
Even if it's garbage, if garbage is all you can write, write it.
Garbage eventually becomes compost with a little treatment."

Friday, January 8, 2010


A bit of a composite blog today - related to writing but not.
As an outing, and to develop camaraderie and foster the bonds of friendship, my Rural Fire Service unit have a social get-together every time there's a fifth Sunday in the month.
A couple of Sunday's ago we had our usual training session followed by a BBQ at my place. Partners and kids came too - they're often the silent ones when it comes to volunteering time to the unit. They give up their time with their family or help out with welfare (making food and delivering drinks when the RFS logistics stuff up).
The socialising is a chance to relax beyond the lines of the fire-front or outside the ranks of training. And I think we're a better unit for doing this. You get to know others through conversation, learning about their life experiences and skills you might never have known about, even mucking around and having fun with them. Nothing strengthens a group of people more than by training, working and having fun together.
While most of us have known each other ten years or more we have a couple of new members who're just starting out. One's an ex-student of mine (that makes me feel so old :-( ). He's going to benefit from the older members' experiences and with the socialising, he'll be able to relate to us as adult to adult now instead of adult to child, another layer to our bonding.
The same can be said of writing - new writers and established authors, within a structured setting such as a workshop as opposed to the cocktail party or morning tea at conference. Formal verses social, developing skills and building acquaintances or life-long friendships.
Are you developing a writing network? Writing or otherwise?
Care to share?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Living in Australia

I love living out in the bush here in Australia. Just take a look at what I wake up to early in the mornings - Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.
This mob of 'roos have been frequenting my backyard, front yard and nature strip of late as I'm watering my lawn to keep it alive and the place cool over the hot Summer months.
Everywhere else is brown as brown and the grass is literally greener on my side of the fence for these guys.
This photo shows the huuuuge patriarch of the mob. When upright he stands just over 2m tall (6ft)! There are several females, including one with a large, dark spot of fur on her ribs that he's courting, a couple of juvenile males, and a female with a joey in her pouch and a young one at her side.
The 'roo's graze from dusk to just after dawn (Panda, one of my cats, has taken to stalking them - my neighbours and I just laugh and think she's got Buckley's of catching one!).
The mob are great natural lawn mowers as well as a fantastic source of natural fertilizer!
Did I mention I love living in the country?