Thursday, December 29, 2011


It has been a good year for me. I managed to to get some short stories published here in Australia, and for the first time broke into the overseas market - thanks to The Weekly News in the UK. I've had several articles published in the Fellowship of Australian Writers, Writers Voice; they've really boosted my confidence in wanting to share my knowledge/opinions with other writers. Being a part of the novella, Sounds and Silence, brought together by various members of the FAW (NSW) Isolated Writers' Branch was an enjoyable experience for me. I can't even explain the awesome feeling of holding my first published novel, Dream Keeper, in my hands - magic! I surprised myself this year and maintained my writing focus which also enabled me to draft out a non-fiction book and another novel. No, not bragging, just acknowledging to myself that with focus and determination I am able to complete tasks that I set for myself!

I'm looking forward to 2012. I'm pumped up and feeling confident. Yes, there is still so much to learn, but to me that's what living is about - learning. I am passionate about inspiring new writers along their writing journey while I continue my own journey to improve my writing skills as I further nurture my craft.

I've been reading various blogs about setting writing goals. There are those who are dead-set against it and those who wisely advise not to set your expectations too high, but do set some goals. Personally, I will be setting myself some goals because I need that sense of direction.

What are your opinions about goal setting and will you be setting yourself writing goals for 2012? I would very much like to hear from you.

Well, I'm off to set myself some goals for 2012...

Keep writing....

Friday, December 23, 2011


As another year comes to a close I would like to congratulate all of you on your writing successes this year. I also would like to congratulate all those writers starting out for persevering, for being determined and for not giving up - your turn will come. It's the perseverance and determination that does get you there in the end!
Blogging has opened up a world to me which I feel very privileged to be a part of. I have made many good friends who have supported and encouraged me along my journey. People who have taught me that rejection is part of the writing process and the whole experience of the writing journey is to become a better writer. I have learnt so much; from being informed of writing markets to the creative process itself. Thank you for opening up your world to me.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas and may 2012 be a great one!

Keep writing....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I once read writing a novel is the easy part. At the time I wasn't sure exactly what that meant. But now as I market my novel, Dream Keeper, I know exactly what that means. I'm not all that comfortable with self-promotion but I do know it is something I need to do to make readers aware of my book. I write, as I'm sure many others do, to be read. I'm trying to bring the attention of Dream Keeper to my obvious market, the readers. I had this idea to join readers forums so I could let as many readers out there know of my novel's existence. I am finding promoting one's book on such sites is considered spam and has left me wondering how does a writer promote their novel on line? I even tried to leave my website address as my signature; I wasn't able to do that because that too is considered spam. I really don't see what is so wrong about promoting a novel you've put your heart and soul in, to readers, in readers' forums.

Has anybody got any ideas how I can promote my novel online without upsetting the so called 'powers that be' ?

I feel like I have hit a brick wall. But, on the up side, I came across an interesting saying the other day: 'If you hit a brick wall don't hit your head up against it - find a way around it!'

So if anybody out there has any suggestions about how I can find a way around my brick wall, I would be very grateful.

Keep writing... keep reading...

Sunday, December 4, 2011


We have a dream. We write. We arm ourselves with persistence and determination. We get rejected, but we keep on going because we have a dream and we strive to make that dream come true. The publication of my first novel, DREAM KEEPER, brought tears of joy to my eyes when I held the first copy of my novel. This is why I persevered and I held on tight to my dream - for this moment! Dream Keeper is available through my author website, where you can read what the novel is about and there are links to online stores where you can order a copy if  you wish. But, for me the hard work is far from over - marketing! So armed with another load of persistence and determination I will do the best I can to bring my novel to the reader, so they too can enjoy the journey of Dream Keeper - It's time to face your fears!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Today I finished typing 82,000 words of my novel manuscript. I can't believe how quick this novel has come about. I had so much fun writing it. The story unravelled in my mind so fast sometimes I had problems keeping up with the material that came from...the muse? Between you and me I think he was showing off. The next thing I plan to do is read the whole manuscript from start to finish, check the story line and that all the stories within the main story connect, check the flow and all those basics such as making sure character descriptions are consistent. Then it's the hard part of putting the manuscript away and bringing it out with fresh eyes. I know I must be patient with this.

What would you suggest is a good length of time to put the manuscript away before revising it? I'd probably be lucky to last a month before I brought it out again. What about you?

Meanwhile for me, it's back to writing short stories. I'm looking forward to that.

Keep writing....

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Set yourself a writing project. I remember as a child standing in a library. I was in awe at all the books lining the shelves. I always had the greatest respect and admiration for authors. Writers have this gift where they are able to entwine thousands of words together to create a story which transports the reader into another world. The reader becomes a part of this other world where they are able to see and feel what the characters see and feel. A book that is able to mesmerise and take the reader away from their real world, to me is magical. I stood there in that library all those years ago and I knew that day what I wanted to accomplish in my life. I wanted to have my books up on those shelves.

If you’re up for it your very first writing project can very well be your novel, or you can opt to take one step at a time. Prepare yourself. A writing course would be a good starting point for you to learn the basics, from grammar to story structure. Subscribing to writer’s newsletters and journals will give insight into what is happening in the writer’s world. You will be provided with information on writing tips, competitions and markets. Read writer’s blogs and visit writer’s forums. You can learn from other writers. Reading about how published writers go about the business of writing is a huge stepping stone along your journey. It’s interesting reading the processes of other writers. Process is something you experience, it is something you learn. Part of these processes will be something you use as you nurture your own writing process - eventually you will have your own process. When you feel you are prepared to venture out and create your own piece of writing decide on your writing project:

Deciding on your first writing project can be as simple as a letter to a magazine. For me knowing that the editor wanted to publish what I wrote gave me some confidence. Getting paid for it was a bonus. Sometimes the magazines may ask about your opinion or experiences on a particular topic, you could submit a letter about something humorous or thought provoking or you could simply write in to let them know what you like about their magazine.

Think of something you are particularly good at, or have some knowledge about and write about it. It could be anything from gardening or cooking tips, family budgets, travelling hot spots, to how you overcame a hurdle in life or beat an illness.

Poetry comes in many forms; from three line haikus, to rhyming to free verse. Poets are finding an audience for their work by places which provide a venue for their readings; pubs, libraries, writers groups etc. There are also competitions, literary journals and other writers’ magazines which accept submissions of poetry. Use your imagination and create music with your words!

What sort of story do you enjoy reading? Focus on creating your very own short story. You be in the driver’s seat and take the reader on a journey. It takes practise to create a concise piece of writing with a beginning, middle and end. A story with conflict and resolution that has to be achieved in a certain number of words is challenging, but it is fun too.

Once you have decided which age group to write for read as many children’s books as you can. The range is varied; from children’s picture books to young adults. Summon your inner child and let your imagination do the rest.

Writing a novel is a huge challenge, but a rewarding one. Here you have your main story and main character intertwined with stories inside your stories that bring the characters together. What genre are you particularly passionate about? This would be a good starting point for you. 

So, no matter what your writing project is, don’t think about it, JUST DO IT!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Recently I was asked;  How long is a chapter? For me, a chapter is as long as it needs to be. I work out what I am trying to say without any word limit in mind. I think it's important that the chapter is not a means to increasing your word count - a dead spot, it has to move the story along in an entertaining way where perhaps the reader is learning more about the characters - who they are and the conflicts that need to be resolved, something is revealed, or information supplied which links in with an incident that happens later on in the story. I believe it is important too to end your chapter with the reader keen to turn that page in eagerness to read your next chapter. 

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


My muse, bless his little heart, is still in generous mode as I power through my novel. I am really enjoying meeting the characters who are bringing together a story I am having so much fun writing. There are those characters, which I will take credit for, who are a bits and pieces of people I have come across in my life and yes bits of me in there too. And then there are the characters who are appearing, out of nowhere it seems, but who have the knack of taking my story in exciting directions and opening doors I hadn't considered. The muse? Perhaps. Instinct? Maybe. Wherever they come from I'm running with it. These characters are inspiring me and I've stopped asking those kind of questions and am going on with the business (and enjoyment) of writing it. (Mine is not to question why, mine is just to write, write, write!)
Where do your characters come from?

Keep writing....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


My muse is my best friend at the moment. I've been really pleased how much progress I'm making on my new novel. I typed like a demon today and have reached 20,000 words. Recently I was questioning my drafting process. I write everything in my notepad and then I type it out. I wondered if I was making twice the work for myself, but today as I typed my hand written notes I noticed I was able to expand on these same notes and fill in all those missing pieces - everything just seemed to fall into place. Although I do have a laptop, so no excuse of where I can type, I find it comforting the old fashioned way - pen and paper.

I always find it interesting learning about how other writers go about their process of writing. I wonder if there ever has been a writer that writes from the beginning all the way to the end? When I started this novel I intended to start at Chapter One and let it unfold from there. Chapter by chapter. Sounds good in theory. But it doesn't seem to work that way, well not for me anyway. Already I've drafted a few chapters that will appear towards the end of the novel. After all these years I accept that the chapters in between haven't presented themselves yet, because whatever I need to hear or see or even realise hasn't happened yet.

Writing is a beautiful thing. It keeps my head in a good place and it gives me a sense of who I am. That is important to me. I woke up early this morning and I had a full writing day. The satisfaction I feel right now is priceless. My day flew by and in this moment I feel content just being me, a writer.

Keep writing....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I have been inspired by recent short story acceptances, preparations for the cover art of my first novel Dream Keeper and a desire from an agent for me to send the rest of my second novel manuscript! (She had read the first few chapters and wants to read more!) The confidence all this has given me is having a truly positive effect on my writing. Over the weekend, not sure how it happened, this scene jumped into my head. I knew it wasn't a short story. I scribbled down notes like a demon and there it was the seeds to my third novel was planted. I am going to tackle my new novel one chapter at a time and as soon as a new character appears I will create a character outline. If my thoughts wander ahead I have allocated lots of space at the back of my note book to jot things down (whether it is for another chapter, character or scene further along) - this way nothing will be forgotten and there will be no regrets. Every day I have promised myself to write at the very least five hundred words of this novel.

Why am I posting this? Because I need this in writing - it will help keep me focused and motivated. It will also remind me of the goal I have set for myself and the feelings of confidence I am enjoying right now. Well, that is the plan! Will keep you posted.

Keep writing....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


A productive day for me! I finished the final draft of a twist in the tale short story. This got me thinking about twists and how I go about writing them. The challenge of the twist is to create the illusion and provide the diversion – that’s what makes the reader assume.

I begin by knowing what my twist will be and then draft everything leading up to the twist. Think of it as writing a story backwards. This is how I go about doing the twist:

Think of an ending then work out how you are going to reach that ending. Imply the view you wish your reader to assume. Have some fun by guiding the reader up that proverbial garden path – let them assume without deceiving them. You need to plant things which will fit in to the real outcome of your story without being too obvious. Weave in just enough hints to make the outcome plausible. You know your ending, so be clever here and use incidents/descriptions/emotions that would also relate to an idea entirely different to your ending. Even the title of your story can get readers assuming.

The twist in the tale is not about concealing the truth from the reader, it’s about slight hints, subtle signposts or clues that will end with your twist AND tie in with the ‘misconception’ you are building.

Do not reveal essential clues too early. Leave that until later on in your story; the last paragraph or even the final sentence.

Here some ideas you might like to use to get you twisting:

The main character appears to be young but turns out be old.
The hero turns out to be the villain or vice versa.
Mother assumes teenage son up to no good but quite the opposite.
Elderly mother overhears conversation about ‘being put away’ but turns out to be an inanimate object they are talking about.
The main character appears to be on a doomed flight but is really stuck in a Ferris wheel.
The main character appears to be on holiday, lying on the beach, but is actually in a sandpit.

Twist stories do take some planning and plotting. They are a challenge. But with some persistence and smart thinking a successful twist story is a joy to write, a pleasure to read and the publishers love them!

Keep writing ….

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Thank you to Rosemary Gemmell for this award. One of the special things for me that has come out of blogging are the wonderful friends I have made, and it meant a lot to me to be considered a 'friendly blogger'. There are so many bloggers I have come across that I would also like to pass this award onto. I've included those who haven't (as far as I know) received this award and are deserving of it. Here is a short list of bloggers, because if I were to post a link to all the friendly bloggers I know, this post would be never-ending:

Patsy Collins, Sarah Duncan, Womagwriter, Janice Horton, Gail Crane and Suzanne Jones .

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Further to my post IT'S A BIG BOAT I just had to let you know after riding those rough seas of rejection and despite those low feelings that come with that, I sailed through with loads of persistence and determination and found that island of acceptance. Woo Hoo! I just found out I have had two stories accepted! Not only am I over the moon at having the short stories accepted (been a while for me between acceptances) but I have finally cracked the UK market - a first for me.

Sending good vibes to all you writers out there. Keep positive and arm yourself with that all important persistence and determination.

Keep writing....

Monday, October 3, 2011


I've been aiming at posting once a week on my blog and had been happy with myself when I managed to achieve this, until one of the tips I got from Angela from The Bookshelf Muse was to try and post twice a week - this I will have to work towards. If you are interested in making your blog stand out and like me, wondering how to increase your following, The Bookshelf Muse has posted a series on blogging tips.

Today I sat poised staring at a blank page for a ridiculous amount of time wondering what to blog about. Eventually, I asked myself what is it I like reading in blogs? I do enjoy information about writing; from tips, writing experiences to markets. I also enjoy reading snippets of information about writers - the lives they lead outside of their writing world and what makes them tick.

What draws you to a particular blog? What do you enjoy reading about in blogs?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Some may call it an addiction while others, an obsession or even a fetish. Whatever you want to call it I have been craving an acceptance fix. I had all the symptoms: frustration, restlessness, grumpiness, desperation etc. Although I am still writing short stories (something I will always do) that acceptance has not been forthcoming! Over the last few months I decided to think outside of my usual box and write articles as well. The good news is my efforts have been rewarded. Writers Voice, the quarterly bulletin of the Fellowship of Australian Writers, accepted my fourth article in a row today – giving me my acceptance fix. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

So, if you’re craving your acceptance fix why not think outside your usual box? Use your creativity to expand your chances of getting something published (trust me, the boost in confidence it gives you makes it worth your while) – try a letter to a magazine, poem, article or enter a writing competition. To get you started there is this 100 word story competition with a chance to win ₤1000. I was excited about this until I found out my geography was all wrong. So if you live in the UK give it a go!

I’m off to do some more writing…

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I thought I was in a little row boat lost in rough seas – all alone – no life jacket. I felt like I was sinking in my disappointment and despair and it was only a matter of time before I was drowning in all those rejections BUT then I read some blogs and got a few emails. I’m not in a little row boat at all; I’m on an ocean liner! There are a lot of us in the same boat.

There are many writers expressing my own concerns:- the amount of rejections must be some kind of record, long time between acceptances, I’m feeling inspired and think I’m writing well but not a crumb of good news or a hint of some hope.

I am finding that reading how other writers deal with rejection is motivating – even the simple fact that other writers experience rejection and go through the emotions of being deflated as they question their abilities and wonder whether they will ever sell another piece of writing is comforting to me (to know I am not alone) and makes me more aware that rejection is part of the process of writing – perhaps it is what sorts out the real writers from the wannabes? I’m thinking rejection is what makes us question how we can do things better and eventually this is what makes us become better writers.

So if it’s been a long time between published stories climb on board, and as we cruise along we will become better writers and sometime soon that island of acceptance will appear on the horizon.

Keep on writing….

Thursday, September 15, 2011


It was a glorious spring day today. I was stuck on a short story I was working on and my head was buzzing with ideas that were going absolutely nowhere. Deciding it would be a shame to waste such a beautiful day I took 'the boss of me' - my four year old daughter - to the beach.

There wasn't a cloud in the blue sky, the yellow sands stretched far on either side of us and when I saw the smile on Jessi's face, I knew I'd made the right decision. Jessi jumped up and down in the waves, squealing with delight as though she'd never been on a beach before. I suppose to a little one last summer was a life time ago. I did venture out knee deep and thought either of two things were happening here; an enormous iceberg somewhere far beyond the horizon has melted or my little angel had no feeling in her small body - perhaps she was numbed by the cold? The water was freezing!

It was a calming day (for the both of us) - listening to the waves rolling in, with one eye on Jessi and the other taking in the beautiful surrounds:- golden sands, shells glittering in the sunlight, sea birds diving into the depths of blue to catch their feed, water crashing against the rocks of the headland and sailing boats appearing and disappearing behind the islands.

I did do some writing on the beach. I wrote a shopping list. Does that count as writing? Perhaps not.

But the beauty of it all was that I made a little girl very happy (hopefully she sleeps early and sleeps all night) and when I came home my mind wasn't buzzing and swirling around. I was able to finish writing that short story and am pleased with the result.

So do take some time out for yourself or for someone else and recharge those batteries. It is truly worth it....

Friday, September 9, 2011


I have read many novels in my time but Dangerous Deceit by Romy Gemmell was my first historical romance. And what a fantastic introduction for me to this genre!

This novel is an entertaining read from beginning to end; a real page turner. It has everything from romance, humour and suspense to of course danger and deceit. I was transported back in time to the early years of the nineteenth century. I was impressed with the skilful use of imagery, the portrayal of the attitudes and beliefs of that time, the smooth transition of viewpoint change and the talent to evoke emotions. The conflict leads to a resolution that leaves the reader feeling completely satisfied.

Dangerous Deceit definitely gets the thumbs up from me!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


It warmed my heart when I read how Anthony Lambert, the Editor of Fast Fiction opened the Spring Issue. I just had to share this with you. Anthony Lambert wrote:

“Writing might be a solitary profession, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be so. As editor of Fast Fiction over the past few years I’ve slowly become aware of a vast and intricate network which writers use to support themselves. Not financially, but with constructive criticism of each other’s work, news about who’s buying what and when, writing tips and simple friendly chat. It was odd, but barely would I begin buying stories for a particular issue of the magazine, than contributors from Cornwall to Cairns would seem to know. It was uncanny. And I think I was all the more shocked because I’m a man. I believe this spirit of cooperation and support is a mostly female phenomenon, an immensely positive thing which gives women short fiction writers quite an edge over their male counterparts. I hope to bring you more news on this informal network in future issues. But certainly, if you are a writer, or thinking of writing, it must be heart-warming to know you’re not on your own, that it’s not a collection of individuals that makes Fast Fiction, but a community, a real community.”

Anthony Lambert’s words warmed my heart because what he wrote is so very true and because he was moved enough with his findings to make mention of it. In my experiences writers celebrate each other’s achievements, help wherever we can and encourage and support each other when it’s needed – How special is that?

Keep writing….

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I've just read my first ever issue of Writers Forum, and am so impressed I decided to post about it. What a writing tool! The magazine is not only a way of keeping in touch with what is going on in the writing world, the articles have useful information from how other writers succeed in a very competitive field to tips on writing novels, children's books, short stories, poetry and more.

Writers Forum also runs a monthly fiction and poetry competition and also discusses the winning entries which gives an insight into why these pieces are winners.

So, whether you are looking for a useful resource to enhance your writing skills or a market to submit your stories, poetry or articles; you will find it in Writers Forum.

Keep writing....

Thursday, August 11, 2011


In my opinion the ideal position to be in as a writer (besides getting a story acceptance or reading your published piece in a magazine) is being involved in a writing project. Ideally the muse triggers something in my brain and gives me a kick-start, but left to my own devices here are a few things I do to get myself started on a writing project:-

I read short stories in magazines and set myself a project to write for a particular magazine. I take note of the variety of writing styles, the genres and how the twist stories work. I enjoy the challenge of tackling a project outside my comfort zone. If you usually write murder/mystery try a twist.

Scanning the newspapers is a good trigger for writing projects. Headlines can spark up an idea and letters to the editors can get you asking questions. What if that person against junk mail deliveries decides to take matters into their own hands and it backfires? Read what gets up people’s noses; be those characters – the ones with the gripes or the ones being ‘griped’ (I just made that word up) about and see where your story takes you.

Visit writing forums online. The aspiring writer is keen to improve their writing skills (Aren’t we all?). If I can answer a question because I’ve travelled that road and found a way to overcome a particular writing dilemma, I set myself a project to write an article to submit to a writing magazine. (And yes, if I can help in the forum, I do.)

I drag out stories I wrote years ago. I revamp them with fresh eyes and what I like to think the capabilities of a more experienced writer. Sometimes a change in point of view or adjustments in the plot transforms it into a better story, but more often than not a major overhaul is required.

What do you do to get yourself started on a writing project?

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Many of us have been passionate about taking a proactive approach to the dwindling short story market and doing something about it. I have noticed that the consequences of our actions have reaped some positive outcomes:-

Articles, emails and messages left on magazine facebook pages of those who have dropped the fiction slot, have made magazines aware of our disappointment; not only as writers, but as readers. We have been acknowledged and assured that our feelings are heard.

Take a Break’s Fiction is still accepting the occasional story and Fiction Feast seems to be still going strong (sigh of relief). That’s Life and That’s Life Fast Fiction has not let us down! There are other magazines that I know of who accept unsolicited manuscripts; Womans Weekly, The Weekly News, Yours, Peoples Friend and Womans World. We all hope they will continue their fiction slots, so it is important for us to let them know that their fiction is read and enjoyed.

There has been a return of fiction to Best magazine. Hopefully this will prove to be a successful venture and the trend continues.

The Lady and Candis will read anything sent in and if it is ‘brilliant’ they’ll publish it. Which makes me wonder whether an exceptionally good story sent to any of the mags who have dropped fiction might stand a chance of getting published!

The facebook page, Bring Back Fiction to Women’s Magazines, has grown to 113 members and rising.

It’s fantastic how writers have united. We congratulate each other on our successes and we support each other through the hard times. How good is that? So, although the reality remains that we do need more markets and that our quest is far from over – there is hope for the short story!

Keep on writing ….

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I woke Diane up at 1.30am this morning (chuckle, chuckle). She told me to go away but my persistence won over in the end. Her memory of ignoring me on previous occasions was pretty sharp and back then although she told herself she'd write it all down in the morning she sat there, pen poised with a blank look on her face. Diane kicked herself so many times for ignoring me, the pain of the bruising lingered on for some time.
So there she was in the early hours writing like a woman possessed, and if I may say so myself, Diane was impressed with the material I had on for offer. She stumbled back into bed grumbling something that sounded like a vague gesture of thanks.
Her little one woke her at 5.30am sharp (more chuckles) and as Diane recalled the night before she flung open her note pad and realising our encounter was not a dream, a wide grin spread across her tired face. I'm feeling quite chuffed that Diane is excited about her new writing project; perhaps now she will pay particular attention when I present her with words that flow, instead of telling me where to go.
So beware writers because I, the muse, may strike at any time of the day or night in any location whether you're prepared or not, and although your first impression of my timing may be a hostile one, make an effort; take heed and listen. But most importantly write it down. I can promise you it will be worth your while. Trust me, you'll be glad that you did!

The Muse

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I have been running around in circles looking for that incentive to motivate me. Not all that long ago I was pumping out stories with an enthusiasm that surprised me. I was always inspired and ideas for my stories came from a seemingly endless fountain of creativity. The dwindling of short story markets and the difficulty of making a mark in the novel publishing industry had left me feeling discouraged.
I hung in there. I hoped for the best. I waited for incentive to find me – and that’s exactly what happened today. Turning the pages of That’s Life Magazine a photo of myself smiled back at me. The caption read; ‘I’ll never stop writing.’

I had been interviewed by the magazine a few months ago and hoped they would run a story promoting my novel Dream Keeper, but had no idea it was out in this week’s issue.

The article titled: ‘My Dream Became A Novel’, reminded me of my aspirations as a writer and the journey I had travelled from unpublished to published writer; which took a lot of perseverance and determination – every bit of it worth it! The article is a great promotional tool for my novel and I am very grateful for that, but more importantly it reminded me of who I am and why I write.

Today I have found my incentive and I feel inspired, so I’m off to do what makes me happy …. WRITE!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I have been reading Ghost Writing (How to write for Others) by Lynne Hackles. This book has completely changed my perception and attitude of this avenue of writing from a negative one to a positive one. I used to think: Why put in all the hard work only for someone else to get all the credit? But Lynne points out; ‘Everyone has a story but not everyone can write their story. Your work can help people achieve their dreams and share their stories.’

This has opened my eyes to the prospects of branching out as a writer. We are all painfully aware of the dwindling story markets, and being able to apply our creative skills to bring someone’s story to life would be a rewarding experience. Lynne also points out; ‘It’s worth remembering that a ghost will get paid for their work whether it gets into print or not.’ How good is that? The added beauty of ghost writing is that it’s a project that can be tackled alongside your usual writing.

Writers need markets and in reading Ghost Writing I have learned there is a huge market for ghost writers – not everyone has the gift of successfully expressing the written word. Here are just a few of those markets:- celebrity autobiographies, specialised subjects, blogs, websites, speeches, novels, articles, history of a town and memoirs.

The book, Ghost Writing, is a comprehensive easy to read guide which covers everything from the opportunities available, finding clients, marketing your services, setting up your business, meeting and interviewing potential clients, dealing with contracts, writing and selling the client’s story and everything in between. It really is a worthwhile read!

So, if you are thinking about taking your writing skills to another level, opening up your options and branching out, consider ghost writing.

Keep writing :-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I found some interesting quotes that I liked. I hope you like them too:

Never stop trying. A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.
- Richard Bach

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. Sometimes you need to actively seek your sources of inspiration.
- Jack London

Show, don't tell. Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
- Anton Chekhov

Keep your writing interesting. The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.
- Samuel Johnson

Follow your instincts and do what you feel you must. A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
- Maya Angelou

Let success happen in its own time. Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it… Success is shy – it won't come out while you're watching.
- Tennessee Williams

Keep on writing....

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


As optimistic as I try to be (I'm one of those people who strive on turning a negative into a positive) the last couple of days have been a true tester of my resilience. Not one, two or three, but eight story rejections! That has to be some kind of record - perhaps that is the positive? I don't think so.

The increase in writers and the dwindling of magazines publishing stories is making it increasingly difficult to secure that elusive acceptance. What are the options?

Option 1 - Accept that the battle is already lost and hang up the pen. This option I would prefer other writers to take, which in theory should reduce the supply of stories therefore increasing the demand for my stories (laughing).

Option 2 - Focus on giving my stories the edge. Write to create a story which stands out from the rest, for all the right reasons. Revise and edit until I am true to myself and know it is a publishable story. Resubmit my stories. As I remember it was only a couple of weeks ago the same story I sent three times to the same publisher  was finally accepted, there is a glimmer of hope.

I choose Option 2.

So, in conclusion, I will continue to be optimistic and I will turn this negative into a positive by using those rejections to challenge myself to become a better writer.

At the end of the day, despite the dwindling short story market and the mountain of rejections, I know what I want - I want to write!

Keep on writing ....

Saturday, June 25, 2011


As writers we eventually develop our own writing processes for each stage of the creation of our story. The page is blank. You know you want to write a story, but where do you start?

I have been guilty many times of procrastinating. I know what I want but I run around in circles searching for that starting point, or worse still I busy myself with other things which shifts my mind’s focus. I’ve come to realise this doesn’t achieve anything, because I’m only satisfied when I accomplish the goal I set. Wasting time procrastinating is a useless endeavour. I’ve learned I am a much happier person when I set myself a goal and just do it!

The first thing I do is believe in myself. I trust that the material for my story will present itself. Armed with this belief and trust I search for the inspiration that will plant the seed of my story:

Ideally an idea pops into my head; the jist of a story.

If I am completely lost (more often than not) I set myself a project. It could be a specific genre, word count or a story with a twist. I read a lot of short stories and set myself a task of writing a story to the guidelines of a specific magazine.

I search for inspiration by going for a walk and becoming the observer. I watch the characters in my outside world and the situations that unfold. I ask myself a lot of ‘what ifs’.

Watching television, reading newspapers, magazines, fiction and non-fiction books stirs up my creative juices and sparks up ideas. It could be something that is thought provoking, moves me emotionally, something I’m passionate about, something funny, intriguing or mysterious that makes me wonder and ask questions. It may give me ideas for a beginning, middle, ending or simply a title to a story. I take whatever comes and build from there. Once there are words on my page and I have something to work with, there is hope.

Your story won’t write itself. Believe and trust in your ability as a writer and search for inspiration. Don’t think about it – JUST DO IT!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I have to say that I am impressed with all the readers and writers who have put an effort in and joined the crusade to bring back fiction to women’s magazines. THANK YOU!

The facebook page, Bring Back Fiction to Women’s Magazines, begun by Julie Phillips has reached 74 members, and growing.

People have commented on the various magazines facebook pages and have written letters to the editors of the magazines. On a positive note some of these magazines have read these requests and have passed on the request to see fiction returned.

If you are interested in saving the short story and bringing back fiction to women’s magazines please post your comment on the magazines’ facebook pages and write letters to the editors.

The magazines that I know of who have dropped fiction are:

Australia – The Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day and New Idea.

UK - Chat, That's Life, Best, Bella, Woman, Woman's Own, The Lady, Take A Break (weekly) and Candis.

We are a huge voice when we stand united, and I believe if we all put an effort in to make our voice heard we will achieve positive results!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Further to my post SAVING THE SHORT STORY MARKET, I have made an attempt to show the magazines that we are interested in reading short stories by leaving messages on their facebook pages. I’ve included some links and am hoping you too can show your support by visiting Facebook and ‘liking’ my comment, adding to it or creating a comment of your own: (Australian Women’s Weekly) (Pat Posner started the comment for Woman magazine – thank you Pat)

If the UK short story writers would be kind enough to post some links to the magazines that have stopped publishing fiction it would be greatly appreciated, and I would be more than happy to express my interest in short stories being again published in their magazines. THANK YOU! J

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I enjoy reading short stories and I enjoy writing short stories. I write because I am passionate about it. Writing puts my head in a good place. When you are passionate about something, you persevere and you never ever give up.

How precious is that feeling when a publisher accepts your story? How gratifying is it when an editor feels your story is so good that they want to pay you? How exciting is it seeing your story in print and knowing so many people are going to read it? EXTREMELY!

I (and I am sure there are many others) am painfully aware that the supply of stories exceeds the demand. Unless you’ve been living under a rock on a planet in a galaxy far, far away you would have noticed that the short story market is dwindling. We’ve lost far too many markets. It is disheartening as competition to get published becomes fiercer than it has ever been. What to do?

Persevere - Improve your skills. Read, read, read, write, write, write and read and write some more. It’s time to raise that proverbial bar. Don’t be disheartened or panic; polish your story until it shines. Set yourself a goal to be one of those writers that other writers envy.

Be Proactive – If we, our family, friends, acquaintances and neighbours write into magazines showing an interest in reading short stories this will bring back the demand for the short story.

We can hope, wish and some may even pray for the short story market to improve, or we can do something about it – at the least we have to try.

Meanwhile… keep on writing and never ever give up!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I have to admit the marketing side of writing takes me completely out of my comfort zone. The butterflies in my stomach go crazy as they collide into each other not really knowing which way to fly. So, out of the way butterflies, as marketing is a part of writing and something I need to do. Here I go:-

DREAM KEEPER is a contemporary fantasy novel. The dream travellers’ desires to fulfil what is missing in their waking world imprison them in their dreams. Dream Keeper is building his kingdom; The Dream Tunnels. People are falling asleep and not waking up. How was Senior Investigator Macarthur T Egan supposed to apprehend and arrest someone who popped in and out of dreams? DREAM KEEPER is about our desires and the consequences. It is also about facing our fears!

DREAM KEEPER is available at a pre-release price through the publisher at for $US13.50 plus postage.

Happy reading....

Monday, May 30, 2011


As writers when we are drafting our stories we ask many questions. The right questions deliver us the answers we need. Too many questions can leave us feeling frustrated and confused.
Over-thinking has brought me undone many times. Perhaps it has been a lack of confidence in myself as a writer. I have finally come to realise there is a huge difference putting thought into something to produce a better result to over-thinking and doing an injustice to my story.

My over-thinking confessions and what I have learned:-

Word Count – Focusing too much on word limits can result in creating a story that is not complete, or on the flip side, a story which has too much padding. If each and every word in your story is needed to move that story along to reach a satisfying conclusion, then that is the word count your story needs to be.

Interrupting the Flow – Searching for answers to questions interrupts the flow of my writing, and I lose my focus on where I am heading. Whether it is questions about my characters’ names, descriptions or connections to later scenes, I avoid dwelling on them. I jot down the questions (to return to them later) and keep on writing.

Hitting a Brick Wall – It is so annoying when the words are flowing like a fountain, and then nothing. Instead of hitting the panic button and thinking too much about what happens next, I either jump to the following scene or accept that what I need to inspire me to complete that story hasn’t happened yet and I begin another writing project.

I think in our endeavour to create something that is publishable we need to bear in mind that putting thought into our creations is a good thing. So write your stories, revise and polish them until they shine, but over-thinking is a frustrating exercise best to be avoided.

Happy writing ....

Thursday, May 26, 2011



Short story markets have sprung up overnight.
The demand for stories exceeds the supply.
I have received not one, but two contracts to write weekly stories - from popular national and international magazines.
My publisher informs me my novel, Dream Keeper, is in the best seller's list and requests a sequel. No, make that a series.
I'm struggling juggling my time between writing, interview requests and replying to fan mail.
Everything I write turns to gold - literally.
What is writer's block? Inspiration and ideas reign supreme.
I have no memory of rejection.
I have sponsors which include computer, clothing, motor vehicle and holiday resort companies.
My Cadbury chocolate has magically transformed into a never ending block. Yummy.


Saturday, May 21, 2011


It is inspiring when from nothing you can create something!

I was supposed to be tidying up my bookshelves when I stumbled across an article I had published in NewsWrite, the newsletter of the NSW Writers’ Centre back in 1997. I remember I was suffering writer’s block at the time and was determined to put pen to paper … no matter what. I just had to share this with you:-


I sit in my usual place, a white plastic chair in the sun. Pen poised, ready to touch paper. White paper that glares at me. I glare back. I plan to write magical musical words that flow from a fountain of creativity down my arm, into my hand, through the ink in my pen and onto white blinding paper. This excites me. The nib of my pen touches and teases the paper when….

Husband informs me he’s been on the phone to the W.I.R.E.S. people. A red belly black snake is sunning itself in the garden. They’re coming to relocate it. I watch the snake curl up on dry leaves in the sun. A creature looking for warmth on a land he has as much right to – in a quiet place, not bothering anyone. My sun, your sun, everyone’s sun – even the red belly black snake’s sun.

“They’re coming to take you away,” I tell it.

Husband asks if I’ve chewed on one too many pens.

I write, ‘Red Belly black snake’, and I sit in the sun for a long time thinking. This is known by some as Writer’s Block, and can reach devastating proportions if you let it! “He probably wants to collect his thoughts. I can understand that, and when he unravels them all, he will have succeeded.”

Husband chooses to ignore me. There is relief on his face when the people from W.I.R.E.S. drive up. They leave without the snake. The creature has outsmarted them. I smile. ONE! For the red belly black snake. I spend time thinking the snake is an omen. A short story? A poem? There are projects I have started and cannot nourish to their full potential until the words come. For now I must wait and begin something new. I must always create. I need to.

I dust my desk and tidy my drawers while I give it some thought. I write:- Words are endless, not ink in a pen. And I can’t help but wonder why not another word comes? They lay dormant. Waiting. I’ll wait and when they come I’ll be there.

I am a real writer – some people just don’t know it yet.

At dinner I push my fork into the roast chicken. I hear a bird screech. I wonder whether the red belly black snake has caught its dinner. I lift my glass of water. “To procrastination,” I say.

“Writers are weird,” comments eight year old.

It pleases and thrills me that she recognises me as a writer. I enjoy my chicken, toss out my water and open a bottle of wine!

The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary tells me:- PROCRASTINATE – put off doing things, leave things undone as long as possible.

I wonder whether the red belly black snake is in fact procrastinating.

I am back on the white plastic chair in the sun. I bite into a mandarin. Its juices wet my mouth. I suck on it. My tongue breaks the inner skin. Cool and sweet. I drink its juice, until there is none. Nothing. I leave it in the sun, to dry and shrivel.

And just when I really begin to wonder about myself. I am stunned … a letter of acceptance arrives in the mail. They want to publish my short story, and they want to pay me! Oh, what a feeling! I leave the road side mail boxes and run up the steep drive. This is what it’s all about – you’ve got something to say, and they want to listen! The whole mountain knows I’m happy!

I ponder the possibility I am ‘a real writer’. My writing is blossoming and will do so until my final written word. I am determined.

Confidence draws a powerful energy.

The second man from W.I.R.E.S. rides up on a motor bike. I hear him say that red belly black snakes are docile … I think how the snake has eluded man, sunned himself each day every day for the last ten days … and wonder who is docile? The second man from W.I.R.E.S. rides away on his motorbike without the red belly black snake. TWO! for the red belly black snake.

The red belly black snake who doesn’t want to be caught. Who doesn’t want to be released somewhere into the bush. Who doesn’t want to be collected into a dark bag and taken away. Wants to stay where he is and enjoy the sun. My sun, your sun, everyone’s sun, even the red belly black snake’s sun. Snakes need sun … it helps them survive! Writers need readers … it keeps them alive!

Four year old chases a ball into the garden … the same garden the red belly black snake suns himself in. I realise husband’s fears. Death is a scraping and slicing of shovel on rock. Hearing life being taken away disturbs me. Sometimes we have to do what has to be done. Goodbye red belly black snake.

I sit in my usual place, a white plastic chair in the sun. I listen.

The Voice: You haven’t put pen to paper in days.
Me: I have so.
The Voice: Those few words, scattered here and there?
Me: Words join, make sentences. They blend.
The Voice: Tell me more.
Me: I’m in the thinking stage … again. I’m absorbing – people, voices, faces, sound, colour ….
The Voice: Writer’s Block huh?
Me: I hear it sorts out the real writers from the pretend ones.
The Voice: Are you a real writer?
Me: Can I get back to you on that?

* * *

Well, I better get back to tidying up those bookshelves. I wonder what else I will find?

Happy writing ….

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Here are some interesting writing prompts I came across and wanted to share them with you. I hope you find them useful:-

A baby sitter is snooping around her employer’s house and finds a disturbing photograph….

You come home and check your phone messages. You get to your third message and freeze….

A drunk man sits next to you in a bar, thinks you’re his buddy and starts confessing ‘the truth’. Write about what the truth is, and what you do with that information.

Write for ten minutes using, ‘I used to think….’

What would you do with three wishes?

Describe a perfect world.

Write a letter to someone you feel you need to spend more time with.

Write about one of the most difficult decisions you’ve made in your life.

Begin your story with:

    This time her boss had gone too far…

    The garden was overgrown now…

    He’d never noticed a door there before…

    She’d have to hitch a ride home…

    She touched the little box in her pocket and

Happy Writing ….

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Thank you to my writing friends Teresa Ashby and Rosemary Gemmell for the Stylish and Versatile Blogger Awards. Here are seven things about myself that I hope you find interesting:

I love the beach and getting out there on my body board. I get a lot of smiles and waves from the shore and wonder whether it's admiration or a thank you for the humorous sight of seeing a 47 year old carrying on like a big kid.

I enjoy the seclusion, excitement and adventure of camping; nothing beats cooking outdoors, the sights and sounds of the wild life and the sense of freedom. I love Australia!

I worked in a law firm for ten years - started out as a junior and worked my way up to a para-legal. I learned a lot about people, patience and organisational skills which has served me well in life.

I love chocolate - Cadbury - Yummy!

I adore my kids. My Mum was spot on when she said no matter how old your kids are you always worry about them. I have a 25, 21 and a 4 year old.

I struggled with my personal identity for a long time. I am a first generation Australian. My parents were born in Malta. It was tough growing up and having to deal with racism. On the upside it instilled in me the importance of being empathetic towards others and celebrating the multi-culturalism of my country and home - Australia. Writing is something that gives me a sense of self - of who I am and what I am about.

I strive to one day be remembered and respected for writing something that impacts on people's lives in an uplifting and positive way.

I am going to take the easy way out here and pass on awards to anyone who hasn't received one yet. Please post your name in this post so we can all wander over and learn seven things about you. Thank you for taking the time to read my post and learn a little more about me. It's your turn now. I would very much like to learn more about you!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Inspiration is infinite – the possibilities endless!

The seed for story ideas, descriptions of characters and scenery can sprout from many sources. Here are a few suggestions:-

OBSERVATIONS: The quiet observer can discover a treasure trove of inspiration. By venturing out for a walk, a ride on a bus, standing in a queue and even doing some shopping presents a vast array of potential material for your writing.

Characters - Pay attention to the people around you; what they wear, how they speak, how they react to certain situations and their body language in general. The description of one or a combination of several of these people has the potential to become a character in one of your stories.

Story Ideas - Hearing a snippet of conversation can be the inspiration for your next story, or at the very least something to work with. Get in the habit of asking yourself questions which will open the doors of your creative mind. For example, you overhear the elderly lady at the bus stop saying when she came inside from getting the washing off the line, half the biscuits she had cooling on the tray were gone. She still didn’t know to this day who took those biscuits. But here is where you, the writer, sees the potential for a story and ask yourself questions. Who took those biscuits? What if the person that took those biscuits was hiding somewhere in the house, or he comes back later that night? Who is he? Perhaps he is someone from the elderly lady’s past! What does he want and why is he hiding from her?

Scenery – Absorb the world around you. Use all your senses. Be aware and notice what you see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Whether you’re writing a scene that involves nature or one indoors; take it all in. Make the reader feel as though they are there; seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling everything you are describing. Allow your words to come alive by writing your own experiences.

READING: This is a great inspiration jogger. It could be a headline or an advertisement in a newspaper that stands out, a story where you ask yourself; ‘But what if this happened instead?’ Two of my short stories were inspired by a personal ad and a for sale notice in a newspaper, and both stories have been published. Allow your creative process to entertain you, so that you may entertain your reader.

DREAMS: Many stories from sci-fi, fantasy to romance have been created from dreams. Whether it is a scene, an emotion or a concept, focus your creativity on it and see where it takes you.

Those creative influences are in your memories, your dreams, your thoughts and in the world around you. Live your life and be inspired.

Happy Writing ….