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


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Guest Author: Erica Hayes

Before becoming one of RWAustralia’s newly published authors, Erica turned her hand at a number of careers - law student, air force officer, editorial assistant and musician. She writes erotic dark urban fantasy and is published with St.Martin’s Griffin. In her own words she has “the best job in the world – imagining.”

Her imagination creates worlds and stories inhabited by fairies, spriggans, banshees, demons, incubi, succubi, vampire gangsters, glamour and magic.

Today Erica’s visiting to share some not-so-serious details about her life and where she’s headed next in her career.

Hi, Erica, it's great to have you here! Let's start with some basic facts ;-) .

Author name: Erica Hayes.

Published genre/s: urban fantasy/romance/erotica. One day I wanna do some space opera. Or a post-apocalyptic punk noir with aliens. 

I'd love to read one of those genres, E. - can't wait for you to get them drafted! Please hurry :-) .

Favourite childhood toy: X-box 360 and Supernatural DVDs... Oh, you mean my small-person childhood? I had a little stuffed rabbit called Peter, from whom I was apparently inseparable. After a while, his eyes fell out — too much tough love — so Mum had to perform surgery on him. 
Also an orange hippo with a hat, named Groonk-Groonk. Yeah. He was stuffed with beans or dried peas or something, and ‘grooonk’ was the noise he made when you sat on him.

Greatest Vice: Chocolate. Closely followed by the DVD section at amazon.com. Guess which one’s more expensive?

Hmm, the C-word! The secret behind every good writer is a block and half of yummy choc-latey goodness while watching your favourite DVD!

Book you’re reading now: Ummm... just finished Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake. My TBR shelf is diminishing slowly, but only because there are no good bookshops in Newcastle. I was in Borders today with loads of cash and didn’t buy ANYTHING.

Most intriguing place you’ve visited: I holidayed in Egypt once, and visited the temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel. After a week spent gazing at pyramids and tombs and Tutankhamen’s treasure, I thought I was immune to awestruck goggling. I was wrong.

So many places, so much goggling to do, so little time ... sigh...

A place you’ve yet to visit and want to: I wanna see the Grand Canyon. Y’know, that glass platform where you go out over the edge? Yeah. I’m going to RWA in Nashville this year, so this might be my chance...

Oh, the Grand Canyon! When I visited (last century) one piece of advise I was given was, if I ever fall over the edge, don't close my eyes - you have the best view of anyone on the way down, why spoil it by shutting them. Something to remember when you visit, Erica, *grin*!

Author/s in your genre who you enjoy reading: Lots of them. I like Keri Arthur, Ann Aguirre, Rob Thurman, Jim Butcher....

Who or what influenced you to write in the genre/s you’re now published in? I guess it just seemed like a good idea at the time... Everything I’d ever written had fantasy/sci-fi elements of some kind, and I’d tried high fantasy and a kind of quasi-contemporary magicians-and-aliens-in-the-outback mishmash (dustpunk?) but I hadn’t hit on anything particularly special. So I decided I’d try something dark and gritty and a bit sexy. Look what happened. Don’t try this at home, folks :)

When developing a story who tends to appear first in your mind, the hero or heroine, and why? Usually it’s the heroine. My stories are fantasy foremost — the hero’s more of an antagonist, really, and the plot is primarily based around the heroine. But the one I’m working on now arrived hero-first, and I had to make up a heroine to suit him, or in his case to drive him crazy.

Writing Milestone/s: You mean, like, goals? At the moment, it’s finish the damn book. Right now I’m in the middle of book 4 of my Shadowfae series and let me tell you, it’s like flossing your teeth with wet spaghetti: tricky, but fun once you get started. Once I’ve finished that one... well, we’ll see. Maybe more Shadowfae. Maybe onto something different for a while.

Latest release/project: I have SHADOWGLASS coming out on 2 March. It’s book 2 in the Shadowfae series, and it’s about fairies!
The heroine, Ice, is a waterfae thief hunting for that big score, and she gets more than she anticipated when she steals a demon’s magic mirror. 
The hero is Indigo, a haughty metalfairy with a dark secret. SHADOWGLASS has vengeful demons, confused angels, nasty shapeshifting gangsters and a lovesick serial killer. What’s not to like?

If you care to, you can read an excerpt and watch the book trailer at my site: http://www.shadowfae.net

Erica also has a free short story called Hellcursed on her site, based around the character of Jade, the heroine who appears in her first book, SHADOWFAE. It's a great read! Check it out.

In your recent release/latest work, what about your hero or heroine inspired you? Ice from SHADOWGLASS is one of the little people. There are so many urban fantasies out there where the heroine is kick-ass and powerful. I wanted to write about a normal girl who gets out of her depth in a mean world, and has to step up to survive. I mean, sure, Ice is cute and cheeky and knows a trick or two, and kicks some bad-guy ass in her own way. But she’s up against enemies who are way more powerful than she is, and so she has to live by her wits and wiles. I’d love to be like her!

As for the hero, well. He’s blue, and has wings. I’m inspired already :)

Well, I've already placed an order for this book and I can't wait to read it, E. There's something definitely intriguing and appealing about a heroine who faces overwhelming odds yet manages to triumph, not to mention a winged, blue hero!

Thanks for dropping in and sharing! :-) Thanks for having me!

Now for a little fun! I can't let readers go away empty-handed, so I've asked Erica to set you a little challenge. The dangly carrot? An autographed copy of her first book, SHADOWFAE! You just have to answer this question ... If you found a magic mirror that was bound to tell you the truth — what would you ask it?
You have until 12 noon on Monday, 1st March 2010 to leave your comment. The lucky visitor will be announced here on Tuesday, 2nd March. 

Have fun leaving a comment!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Enjoy What You Do

"If you enjoy what you are doing, you can always find time for whatever you want to do."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Positive Attitudes

For most writers, the whole process can be pretty isolating. Physically, mentally and geographically. So keeping in contact with like minded people is essential. Networking, sharing the good, bad and ugly moments of your writing life, receiving and giving support and encouragement to others, learning about writing related topics - all this is a valuable part of your growth as a writer.

Being a part of a writing e-list is a great way to do this. Over the last couple of weeks there's been a huge amount of traffic on a couple of the loops I regularly participate in - the ROMAUS, RWNZ and BI50D loops, as well as their pages on Facebook. Most of it has been good news - sales, releases, reviews, The Calls, contests finalists, contest placings, requests, new agents etc.

After reading hundreds of messages, the one quality that stands out is that positive attitudes reinforce the success of the group as a whole. And it's not just a one-off occurrence. It continues to be a perpetuating cycle of encouragement and support, bolstering everyone all of the time.

Reminds me of the old adage - "success breeds success".

Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Valentine's weekend was a particularly anxious weekend for me. Why? Because the results for the West Houston RWA Emily contest (all sections) were announced at their Awards luncheon on Saturday, 13th Feb.

Fellow RWOz members Alison Leake, Rebecca Sampson and I had all received word we'd finalled in our respective sections (Al and myself in the Paranormal, Bec in the Contemporary series sections).

Unable to sleep, I checked my emails early this morning (try 3.30am - Australian time! lol) and there were the results. I am very, very pleased to share the contents.

My ms, BLOODBORN, was awarded 1st place in the Paranormal section! And Chris Keesler from Dorchester has requested the full manuscript!

So, guess what I was doing this morning? Hmm mmm, emailing the full ASAP.

Bec placed 1st in her section and Alison placed 4th and BOTH have also had a full manuscript requests. Fantastic news all round!!!

We'll all be orbiting the moon for the next several days, I think :-) .

PROMO: Erica Hayes

Visiting my blog on Saturday 27th February is none other than Aussie urban fantasy author, Erica Hayes. Spread the word - tell you friends, shout it from the rooftops, send out messenger owls because this is a visit not to be missed!

Her debut book SHADOWFAE is out now and the second in The Chronicles series, SHADOWGLASS, is due for release on 2nd March 2010.

I met Erica via another friend in an email then had the pleasure of meeting her face to face at the RWOz annual conference in Brisbane. We then both flew over to attend the RWNZ conference.

In the photo, Erica is dressed up as a wicked looking fairy at the RWNZ Awards dinner. What a great night that was!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

Have you ever wondered how this special day came about? To me it means sending a special something to someone to tell them you care or love them - a flower, a small gift, a card, a message or love letter with the accompanying sentiment coming from deep in your heart. But was it always like this?

No. The most popular version of the origins of Valentine’s Day comes from ancient Roman times. The church wanted their people to convert from paganism to Christianity. They needed a suitable patron to replace the pagan god and his love festival, and they discovered the story of Valentine.

Around 270 BC, Emperor Claudius needed soldiers for his army but discovered men in love and married men weren’t keen to join up and fight so he cancelled all marriages and engagements. As you would expect, this didn’t go down well with his soldiers.

Valentine, a Roman soldier and priest, disagreed with the decree and married couples in secret. When Claudius found out he threw Valentine in prison. The prison guard’s blind daughter used to keep him company as he awaited his death sentence. Of course, they fell in love (his love eventually cured her blindness) and on the day of Valentine’s death – February 14th – he left her a message and signed it, “From Your Valentine”.

The church decided to use this as a commemorative holiday to replace the pagan love festival and now people all over the world use it as a day to show affection to the one they love.

Traditions abound on Valentine’s Day. Have a look at some of the things people did or believed about this day in the past.
  • In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.
  • In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favourite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"
  • Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.
  • Think of five or six names of boys or girls you might marry. As you twist the stem of an apple, recite the names until the stem comes off. You will marry the person whose name you were saying when the stem fell off.
  • Pick a dandelion that has gone to seed. Take a deep breath and blow the seeds into the wind. Count the seeds that remain on the stem. That is the number of children you will have.
If you’re looking for a special way to celebrate Valentine’s Day why not watch a classic movie like Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Roman Holiday, From Here to Eternity, An Affair to Remember or Romeo and Juliette.

Or how about something with a little history, adventure and romance – Doctor Zhivargo, Out of Africa, The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Australia.

Maybe, if you’re like me, you’re into the quirky, offbeat romances like The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Casanova, Kate & Leopold or Paperback Hero (coincidently, both these movies star Hugh Jackman!!!).

To finish I’d like to share a beautiful quote from Helen Keller - The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.

However you celebrate it, may your Valentine’s Day be a good one!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Birthday!

A friend of mine who owns a craft shop business called Robyn's Crafty Celebrations celebrates its 1st birthday on Valentine's Day. Hard to believe it's been a year since she opened its doors!

Robyn is the crafter who made my incredible front and back door stained glass windows that you've seen on my website.

She also knits, patchworks, scroll-saws, Paverpols, crochets, sews, creates wooden toys, makes knick-knacks, runs craft days for kids and workshops for adults and sells various craft products. A multi-talented lady!

She's also just created her own website. You can link to her site here.

Happy 1st Birthday, RCC!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Helene Young: BORDER WATCH winner!

Thank you to everyone who left comments and told Helene about their favourite Aussie place to visit and why - there were some wonderful places mentioned and a couple I wouldn't mind adding to my holiday itinerary!

Without further ado, the winner of Helene's debut novel, BORDER WATCH, is...

Kerry Scott with her comment on Alice Springs!

Congratulations, Kerry! If you could contact me on kyliegriffin at clearmail dot com dot au then we can make arrangements to send BORDER WATCH to you!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I'm sure everyone has received one of those chain letter set of questions that ask about your favourite ice cream or whether you prefer diamonds or pearls or the places you lived and then asks you to return them to your friend who sent it to you then forward it on to 10 friends. Sometimes I find them annoying, other times it fun to read fact about someone you thought you knew well.
One of the questions asked what jobs had I done in the past and it got me to thinking about all the varied employment I've taken on in years gone by, paid and volunteer. It's an interesting list and most brought back good memories.
  • Babysitting (I only ever took on jobs where the child could talk and tell me what was wrong - babies terrified me)
  • Rock picker (dad's attempt to clear his paddocks of rocks - he paid me half a cent a rock - talk about child slave labour!)
  • Roustabout (working in the shearing shed helping throw the fleece, clean up the dags and then put it in the baler was hard work but an honest day's work)
  • Corn tassler (for CSIRO - blisters - I lasted only 3 days at that job)
  • Weed sprayer (at least I got to sit on a custom made bench hitched on the front of a tractor for this one, but the hours were long and the days hot)
  • Vacation Care supervisor (did this through college for spending money)
  • Gardner & lawn mower (always nice to make a place look good)
  • Window Washer (not easy when you're short!)
  • Waitress (believe it or not I did this as a second job when I first started teaching to help out a local restaurant until they could find a permanent staff member)
  • English teacher (I taught the Chinese cook at the preciously mentioned restaurant to speak and read English - he gave me free meals in kind)
  • House-sitter (did this a few times for friends who lived on properties when they took their annual holiday - ended up pulling three calves - the "cows shouldn't calve until we get back" just didn't cut it after that, not fun)
  • Youth Group leader
  • Cook & Cleaner (at a Christian Youth camp)
  • Scarf knitter (helping a friend who owns a craft shop build up winter stock)
  • Librarian (coordinator and weekly volunteer)
  • Secretary (for numerous volunteer organisations)
  • Community Transport Driver (taking people to personal appointments)
  • Meals on Wheels Driver (delivering meals to people within the local area)
  • Movie Theatre ticket seller
  • Rural Fire Service firefighter
  • Controller & Dept.Controller of the local State Emergency Service unit (for search and rescue, rescue, floods, storm damage, general rescue, road crash rescue and first aid)
  • Community First Responder (ambulance trained to assist in emergency call outs)

Chase the Dream

Phew! It's Sunday already, where has the week gone?

It's been a bit of chaotic lately with life throwing in some challenging events but one bright moment amidst the busyness was an email from Rachelle Chase letting me know I was a finalist in the Chase the Dream 2010 contest.

It's a free 8 week contest, run online by romance author's Rachelle Chase and Leigh Michaels. Contestants enter 1000 words of the opening chapter of their romance manuscript (any genre, any length) and a finalist and mini-critique are chosen each week. Both authors post comments on the winning entry and mini-crit winner. The comments are insightful, telling you what appealed to them about the entry as well as offering constructive feedback. Readers can also offer their own thoughts on the pieces, too.

After all the finalist entries have been posted, readers will vote for their favourite from March 3, 2010 to March 10, 2010 for the top three places (so don't forget to come and vote!). A contest panel of experts (aka editors/agents) will also review the finalist entries.

Pretty awesome, huh? This is the first time I've entered the contest, so being a finalist was quite a thrill. What was even better was that Maggie Le Page, a friend from RWNZ, won the mini-critique this week! DownUnder girls rock!

If you're interested in entering the contest, check out the Chase the Dream website for the rules, conditions and prizes, but you'd better hurry as there are only 4 weeks left in this contest! Good luck!

Friday, February 5, 2010


"It rarely takes more than a page to reognize that you're in the presence of someone who can write, but it only takes a sentence to know you're dealing with someone who can't."
(Josh Olson)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Guest Author: Helene Young

My special guest today is fellow Aussie author, Helene Young. By day she's pilot with a major regional airline here in Australia, but in her spare time she writes romantic suspense for Hachette Australia.

Hi, Helene, thanks for dropping in to answer to a few questions.
Thanks for inviting me, Kylie, it's great to be here. I love your new look website! It's wonderfully evocative. (Thanks!)

One of the first things I noticed while reading your blog is your love for Australia. You talked about magpies, beaches, the Sydney to Hobart Yatch race, possums (in hobnail boots), and the places you’ve lived or visited. Do you have an absolute, will-always-love, favourite part of Australia? Are you a city or country girl?
I'm a water lover, be that in the city, the country or on the coast. Sailing, swimming, drifting on water, in lakes, oceans or rivers, would be my favourite place but then... I love the outback and the colour of the earth. And then there's the ancient mountains and the endless deserts. Confused? So am I...

I lived in the UK for three years back in the mid 80's. (I brought home my very own souvenir who's still my husband.) Like a lot of Aussies, while I loved England, I developed a new appreciation of the diverse and wonderful Australian landscape. Absence really brings home how fortunate we are to live here. I just need to find the time to go exploring more than just the eastern half!

Your job as a pilot takes you all over Australia but have you ever been abroad? Where would you most like to visit?
I've been to a few place overseas - mainly Europe, but I think my most amazing trip was to Antarctica  on a 26 day cruise into McMurdo Sound. The immense power of the land and its silence was amazing. The historic huts were literally frozen in time and you got such a clear sense of what enormous hardship those early explorers faced.

Africa is on my must see list, but so's Canada, Argentina, USA, Portugal, Iceland, Borneo, more of New Zealand... So if I could just win lotto and take off travelling that would be great! Any hints on the numbers?

How special your Antarctica trip sounds. I hope you took some memorable pictures! Maybe you might be able to make the RWNZ conference this year - you'll be able to tick NZ off on that list :-) .
Have your work colleagues been supportive of your second career as a published author?

For the main part, my colleagues have been supportive (there are always exceptions...). Of course, working predominantly with men means there's the usual comments -'So are there sex scenes in this book of yours?' I can just see them reading it, then looking at me sidewards with that, 'We know what you do in bed' look...

And you can't convince people that the story is purely a work of fiction...

You had a solid contest resume before publishing with Hachette Australia – placing in the Emma Darcy Award & RWNZ Strictly Single, a finalist in the RWAmerica Golden Heart & RWAustralia STALI competitions. What was your purpose for entering contests?
Contests, wonderful contests! The feedback was an addiction. It didn't matter whether it was good, bad or very ugly, (and I got some of that :-D) the reader's reaction was important. It gave me confidence to keep writing. The critiques could be quite confronting, but that toughened me up for rejections and also the editing process. They also taught me an enormous amount about my craft and where my voice actually fitted. The time some judges took to explain clearly what they meant was humbling. I hope when I've judged comps I've managed to do the same. There are some wonderful fledgling voices out there just waiting to fly.

And we hope to see you up on the stage for the Golden Heart in 2010! (Now that would be an achievement!)

Ahh, nice to see another contest junkie! But seriously, yes, you can't beat that valuable feedback! And speaking of feedback - do you belong to critique group or have a critique partner? How have you developed your skills as a writer?
I had a go at a crit partnership which was disastrous. It left me battered enough that I didn't write for a month. She had very strong opinions...

So I went back to what I've always done.  I write my first draft, give it to my husband who reads it for the big picture, and then to my sister who does a more detailed fault-find. The wonderful Bernadette Foley, my publisher, also looked at the first draft for my second book and has given me some great advice (as well as the thumbs up, which is a huge relief!!).

I always love the RWA conferences and the wonderful sessions they offer.  A veritable forest of light bulbs illuminate in my brain. I haven't read many of the 'How To' books but probably should - especially the grammar and punctuation kind!
I notice you don’t have an agent. Is that a deliberate decision on your part or are you actively looking for one?
I have an agent waiting (hopefully) in the wings. I was fortunate enough to get my contract with Hachette without an agent - by pitching at an RWA conference - but I have had discussions with one for future books. The collective wisdom seems to be that they will help you with your career in total, rather than just the books you currently write. 

The cover of BORDER WATCH is visually appealing. Not only is the setting gorgeous but I liked that your title and name are so clear. Did you have any input into the design? Do you know if the sea theme will follow through on the covers of your trilogy?
The cover's beautiful isn't it? Hachette designed it and I love it! I did have some input because we needed to get the right aircraft type (and they have) but I thought it caught the spirit of North Queensland perfectly. The next cover is a similar concept, but the colours are different. They're Lauren's colours and she's all sunlight and gold. 

I can't wait to see that cover, Helene, it sounds great! It'll be a good example of branding when they follow through with that cover style. Besides the BORDER WATCH trilogy you’re writing, have you started developing any ideas for future books? What will they involve?
I do have several other books which I'd love to see on the shelves one day. North Queensland will feature prominently for a couple more, but then I've had an idea bubbling around since we stopped at Macquarie Island on the way home from Antarctica!

Promo time! Tell me about BEYOND THE BORDERS, the next book in your series coming out in 2011.
BEYOND THE BORDERS is Lauren's story. She's a secondary character in BORDER WATCH who has to deal with a great tragedy. Now a captain herself, she uncovers an operation trafficking in women for the sex slave trade.  As she heads deep into the Australian wilderness she’ll need the reluctant help of a Navy Patrol Boat captain, Callam Granger, who’s already demonstrated his contempt for her. Ultimately she'll have to outwit, outrun and outfly the traffickers before she'll earn his respect and free the women.

Helene, thanks again for being my guest! It’s been great having you here.
It's been fabulous, Kylie!

And all the best for your next release BEYOND THE BORDERS!

Take a look and discover more about Helene and her books by checking out her website www.heleneyoung.com

Helene's generously giving away a copy of BORDER WATCH to one lucky person - all you have to do is leave a comment and tell her about your favourite place in Australia and why she should visit it.
Comments close 3pm (Aust.Daylight Savings Time), Sunday 7th Feb. The lucky person will be announced here - Tuesday, 9th Feb.