Monday, September 10, 2012


In this post I wanted to share with you some interesting information about Stephen King on short stories. The following he wrote about very early in his career when the little bit of extra income he needed came from the short stories he was able to sell: "The stories when they sold (they didn't always), were simply a welcome bit of found money. I viewed them as a series of pinatas I banged on, not with a stick but my imagination. Sometimes they broke and showered down a few hundred bucks. Other times, they didn't."

As Stephen King became involved in his novel writing he wrote fewer and fewer short stories. He became dismayed. There were stories he no longer knew how to write, these stories were eluding him. "There are a lot of things in life that are like riding a bike, but writing short stories isn't one of them. You can forget how. Certainly it never occurred to me that writing short stories is a fragile craft, one that can be forgotten if it isn't used almost constantly. It didn't feel fragile to me then." Stephen King thought if he read enough short fiction, immersed himself in it he might be able to recapture some of the effortlessness that had been slipping away. He didn't see losing his ability to write short stories as a fair exchange for a wallet load of credit cards. From there he read hundreds of stories during his year as a guest editor for Best American Short Stories and as he had hoped he got excited all over again and started writing short stories again.

After reading this I have come to the following conclusions:

Even the best of writers struggled long and hard before their careers took off. It was their persistence, determination and hard work that fulfilled their hopes and dreams.

The absolute importance of using your creative ability constantly so it doesn't become lost.

Keep writing....

Friday, August 24, 2012


I've been in limbo searching for an idea for a blog post, so I did an inventory of my writing instead. This is where I'm at:-

My novel Dream Keeper is now available in multi-format ebook through Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble Nook Store, Apple istore and Google ebooks. Dream Keeper is being represented at international book expos.

Novel manuscripts submitted = 2

Short stories accepted and being published in September = 2

Short stories submitted AKA 'playing the waiting game' = 105. (mind boggling)

Short stories in the drafting process = 4

Article accepted and being published in September = 1

Entered short story in FableCroft anthology competition. (fingers crossed)

Received an email requesting I cut the word count of 3 short stories and resubmit. (This is hopeful.)

When I consider the ratio of stories submitted to the ones accepted, that becomes a scary thought to me. Recently my ratio rate was one in nine stories accepted and the editor's comment was, 'It's actually a pretty good success rate!' Makes you sit back and think doesn't it? I figure to improve on that ratio I've got to write more, revise and tighten up rejected stories to ensure they're the best I can make them be ... and never ever give up!

Keep writing....


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


When I create characters I spend time thinking about their names, how they look, what motivates them, their strengths and their weaknesses. I observe the world around me and take 'snippets' of people to create new people. I wondered about other authors and their thoughts on characters and wanted to share this with you:

Dean Koontz - One dimensional characters do not engage the reader's empathy, and if the reader does not worry about what might happen to them, suspense is aborted.

Stephen King - It's dialogue that gives your cast their voices, and is crucial in defining their characters - only what people do tells us more about what they're like, and talk is sneaky: what people say often conveys their characters to others in ways of which they, the speakers, are completley unaware. Well crafted dialogue will indicate if a character is smart or dumb, honest or dishonest, amusing or an old sobersides.

Sidney Sheldon - When I begin a book, I start out with a character. I have no plot in mind. the character begets other characters and soon they begin to take over the novel and chart their own destinies.

W. Somerset Maugham - People are too elusive, too shadowy, to be copied; and they are also too incoherent and contradictory. The writer does not copy his originals; he takes what he wants from them, a few traits that have caught his attention, a turn of mind that has fired his imagination, and therefrom constructs his character.

How do you go about creating your characters?

Keep writing....

Monday, July 30, 2012


Does the title of your story spark interest?

Read your story aloud ensuring that it flows from beginning to end - eliminate the stumbles.

Does your story capture the reader's attention from the beginning wanting them to read more? Ensure each and every word is a progression to your ending advancing the plot; be ruthless and remove unnecessary padding - irrelevant information that does not progress your story is not the solution to meeting a word count. Is your ending surprising yet fitting and altogether a satisfying conclusion?

Be consistent with your point of view, the tense (past or present), names, descriptions of characters (hair, eyes, clothing etc).

Check the POV used. Would your story work better if it was told in a different POV?

Do your words paint pictures in the reader's mind?

Double check the basics of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Follow editors guidelines and meet their requirements; word count, genre, presentation and whether they prefer emails or traditional post.

Above is a short story checklist I started for myself. I hope it helps you in some way. If there are any points you can improve on or better still, add to the checklist please let me know in your comments. It's a good thing to help each other :-)

Keep writing....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I've been enjoying reading Patricia Briggs who writes urban fantasy which she describes as a fusion of horror, noir mystery, detective mystery, and fantasy with bits of romance thrown in. Here's what she has to say about an important thing fiction of any kind does:

"Fiction, good fiction, allows the reader to see the world through someone else's eyes. When I read I can be a black man or a young child. I can be an old woman or a deer named Bambi. Understanding how someone else thinks is the first step to accepting their differences. In a world that between faster communication and growing population, decreases in size every day, and in the light of the events of 9/11, it is imprtant for us to be able to walk a mile in another's moccasins. Books are, in my opinion, the single best medium to develop the understanding necessary to live together on our earth."

Keep writing....

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I've heard it before and I've asked the same questions myself; How does one achieve writing success when there are obstacles such as the decline of the short story market, the bombardment of rejections because the supply exceeds the demand and the fierce competition from writers who seem to have secured their niche with certain magazines? How indeed!

In my writing world I have been fortunate to have experienced the odd years where I've surprised even myself with the amount of short stories I've had published, and then there have been the years where the amount of rejections I've received has to be some kind of world record. In those times I began doubting myself. This put me in a bad place. Writing gives me a sense of self, so giving up was not an option. I reassessed my situation. I knew a story acceptance would renew the faith I had in myself, and always a short story sale sparks something inside of me which motivates and inspires - the magic returns and more acceptances follow. I was determined and I persevered.

It had been many months since I'd seen one of my short stories published and now I'm happy to say within a fortnight I've had five sales. What changed? My attitude.

Achieving writing success is about working hard, commitment, believing in yourself and continuing to put the effort in despite all obstacles.

If you don't believe me here is what two successful writers have to say on the subject:

"I will gladly testify that craft is terribly important, that the often tiresome process of draft, redraft, and then draft again is necessary to produce good work, and that hard work is the only acceptable practice for those of us who have some talent but little or no genius." - Stephen King

"When I first went full-time, I worked about fifty to sixty hours a week. I assumed that when and if I became successful, I'd be able to relax a little. Now I work seventy hours most weeks, and as much as eighty hours when I'm especially captivated by a piece." - Dean Koontz

Keep writing....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


It can be difficult to find a publishing house that accepts unsolicited manuscripts. I can't count the number of times I've read 'we do not accept unsolicited manuscripts' or 'we will only read manuscripts which are sent via an agent'. Here are links to publishers who are willing to give both new and emerging authors a chance:

Allen and Unwin - The Friday Pitch

Pan Macmillan -  Manuscript Monday

Penguin Books - The Monthly Catch

Penguin Ireland

Harlequin Mills and Boon 

So if you've got a manuscript looking for a home check out the above guidelines - good luck!

Keep writing....

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I nearly fell of my chair today when I received an email accepting three short stories. It has been a while between sales for me, and I've never sold three stories in one hit before - the drought has been broken!
I feel rewarded, encouraged and motivated. Oh, what a feeling!

What have I learned from playing this waiting game? Be persistent, keep writing and be patient. Sometimes it does seem like I'm putting the effort in and not seeing a result, but in the end the fact remains the more stories I submit the more chance I have of making a sale OR perhaps it was Jeff Hargett weaving his magic when he left his comment on my post Writing Blues:

"I'm sending clouds of creativity over there to rain ideas down upon you. May their droplets of inspiration cling to you, their lightning electrify your prose and their breeze bring brilliance to the next sell you're about to write."

Thank you to all my writing friends who lift my spirits, who encourage and who inspire me.

Keep writing....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


The Positively Productive Writer by Simon Whaley has become my new best friend. This book is divided into four parts:

Setting Achievable Writing Goals
Learn To Look On The Bright Side Of Life
Putting It Into Practise
A Positive Writer's Year - Strategies To Succeed

The best way I can sum up this encouraging book is by quoting the intro:

"This book is dedicated to all writers who sit down regularly to write. Some days we find it far easier to do this, than others. This book is for those other days."

The Positively Productive Writer guides, inspires and motivates. I give it the thumbs up!

Are there any books on writing that have inspired and motivated you?

Keep writing....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


A few years ago a friend of mine told me that I needed to lower my expectations, that I was continually setting myself  high expectations which in turn was setting myself up for a fall. Truth hurts.

Today his words sprang to mind and I found myself relating them to my writing. I used to set myself writing goals, a 'to do' list for each day. I expected a lot from myself and by the end of each day having not succeeded to complete this list I would be disappointed. Felt like a failure.

I stopped doing these lists and decided to write what I wanted when I wanted to. Discipline went out the window and my achievement rate when down hill really fast. This plan was not working. Needed a new plan.

After many long walks last week I re-assessed my situation and came up with a new plan:- Back to the daily 'to do' lists BUT make it achievable, still challenging but achievable. I think this will give me some direction and bring balance and order to my writing regime. Have expectations but make them achievable!

How do you go about your writing day? Do you have a plan?

Keep writing....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


You know that feeling when you finish writing a piece and you think, 'Wow, that's good! Did I write that?' Well, I haven't felt that in a while. It has been a long time between short story sales for me. So today I've decided to hang up the pen and go for a walk. I need to shake out the old cobwebs and be inspired by the world around me. I have been writing .... starting stories and then hitting a brick wall - very frustrating. I have submitted lots of stories and am a firm believer that while one plays the waiting game one must keep writing. In this extremely competitive writing world of ours I think we have to create something that stands out from the rest - something special. So my plan today is to take a break and venture outdoors in the hope that the fresh air and exercise energises and inspires me.

Mmmmm I think it is going to be a long, long walk!

Keep writing.... but take a break too :-)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I've read many good stand alone books. I enjoy studying writers' talents; the way they show their versatility by creating new characters, settings and sometimes writing in different genres. Their creativity seems boundless.

There was a time when a series of books didn't appeal to me. Over the last year I became curious about how writers tackle creating a series of books, so between indulging in reading stand alone books, I ventured into reading authors who write a series of books. As a writer and reader I do become fond of particular characters. I am keen to travel more of there journies, to see what else life throws at them and how they tackle different situations.

I've enjoyed reading a variety of series in different genres:

James Patterson - Alex Cross and Michael Bennett. Dean Koontz - Odd Thomas and Frankenstein. Laurell K Hamilton - Anita Blake. Michael Koryta - Lincoln Perry. Patricia Brigg - Anna and Charles. Janet Evanovich - Stephanie Plum. Jennifer Lyon - Wing Slayer Hunters.

Are there any series of books that you have particularly enjoyed?

Keep writing... and reading...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


There are many ways writers tackle the various stages of putting together a story. Here is a guideline to the process of plot:

- Introduce your character.
- The ‘incident’ which changes your character’s life as she knew it.
- First turning point where something happens which alters her thought patterns on solving her problem; perhaps forcing her to venture out of her comfort zone.
- Second turning point introducing more conflict, where for example her behaviour changes. She finds something inside of her she didn’t know she had. Bring out the hero inside of your character!
- Crisis point where your character has the choice to stand and fight for what she wants and believes in, or run for all she is worth.
- The climatic point where the truth is revealed, followed by the resolution that leaves your reader fulfilled by the outcome of the story.

Here is what David B Silva had to say about the successful novel writer Dean Koontz:

If you want it direct and succinct, here’s the way Koontz does it:

1. He gives us main characters that we will care about.

2. He places these characters in immediate and often desperate situations. They must overcome right away if they are to survive.

3. He never allows the readers to catch up with him. There are always new and unanticipated surprises just around the bend.

Keep writing....

Friday, April 27, 2012


Suspense - keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. Techniques for building suspense takes practice, loads of reading and is developed over time as the writer learns their craft.
The Dean Koontz Companion has some interesting points to make on suspense:

Suspense in fiction results primarily from the reader's identification with and concern about lead characters who are complex, convincing and appealing. Anticipation of violence is infinitely more suspenseful than the violence itself.
Style is as important as good characterization and anticipation. As the anticipation sequence builds towards the moment of violence or the dreaded encounter, the writer sometimes will employ more short sentences, simpler words, shorter clauses and phrases - all of which give the reader a sense of headlong, hellbent forward motion.
Suspense cannot be created in a vacuum. It is generated only as a by-product of good characterization, good pacing, an awareness of the value of anticipation as a prelude to action, strong stylistic control, and an ability - and willingness - to write complex characters and complex scenes that encourages the reader to suspend his disbelief and enter fully into the world of make-believe.

Authors who I believe have mastered the art of suspense and keep me on the edge of my seat are Dean Koontz and Stephen King.

Keep writing....

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I've been wanting to read Stephen King's, From a Buick 8, for some time time now. It did not disappoint. As a writer, a particular paragraph grabbed my attention:-

"Tell me everything. But - this is important - tell me a story, one that has a beginning and a middle and an end where everything is explained. Because I deserve that. Don't shake the rattle of your ambiguity in my face. I deny its place. I repudiate its claim. I want a story."

Keep writing....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary defines 'bookworm' as 'consuming maggot, great reader'. I choose to apply the second definition to myself. Over the last few months I have read piles of books. The genres range from contemporary, thrillers, suspense, crime, paranormal, horrow, sci-fi to erotic fiction. At first guilt set in. Was all this reading a form of procrastination? Was I neglecting my writing? No. Absolutely not. I came to the conclusion that I was doing research - to become a better writer! I made a point of being aware of the various styles of writing used by the authors. The way they employed the use of their craft and what made their novels popular.

Settings - extraordinary worlds (supernatural, paranormal and sci-fi) were made real and believable by the successful use of conflict and resolution, descriptions, emotions, identifying in some way to the characters; their hardships, their hopes and their dreams. I was cheering for the good guys to defeat those darker elements.

Point of View - it was interesting for me to take note of how POV was used in the various novels:-

* One POV throughout the novel.
* One POV with some chapters past tense and some present tense.
* One main POV combined with other chapters focusing on   
   different POV's.
* Two POV's in same chapter. (Something I wouldn't consider
   doing but was pleasantly surprised how the author pulled it off.)

Balance - I found a good balance when reading the intense novels. The suspence and 'thriller' aspect was there, but the right ingredients of humour and sometimes even romance topped it off nicely for me.

I've been enjoying my role as a Bookworm. Reading as a writer. Researching what makes a publishable novel. Learning about various styles and how to piece together a successful plot. Being aware of the structure of a story.

Reading is a great way to relax and escape. Reading also helps us to become better writers!

Keep writing.... and reading.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I remember as a kid standing in the library in awe. In that moment I knew what I wanted; to see my novel on those shelves. Now all these years later I'm in. Dream Keeper is on the library shelf. Mission accomplished! :-)

Novel marketing is not one of my favourite things; I'm more an introvert than an extrovert. I took a teaspoon of cement (to harden up) and approached That's Life magazine offering copies of Dream Keeper as prizes. They have kindly accepted my offer which will be happening as an online promotion in the near future.

I'm going well writing articles. The Fellowship of Australian Writers have accepted and published five in a row. The state president of FAW NSW also will be reviewing Dream Keeper in an upcoming issue. I'm hoping this helps with sales.

So far this year I've managed to accomplish another goal and broke into the overseas markets with short story sales in the UK and SA.

As we all know with writing it's not all good news. (We wish.)The rejections, lack of motivation, inspiration and procrastination at times can be very draining. TL mag here in Australia - my favourite mag who have published the bulk of my short stories in the past (my very first short story sale to them in 1994) - haven't bought a story from me in almost a year! This concerns me, big time, as over here it is the only paying short story mag market. Why? Why? Why? I don't know.

I've submitted a huge stack of short stories, both revamped and new to various publishers and now I play the game that none of us like to play - the waiting game.

My other two novel manuscripts sit in a publisher's email box waiting to be reviewed. Apparently if they do not contact me within three months of submission I am to assume that they have decided not to pursue my manuscripts. I have two months to go. Fingers and everything else crossed for me please.

I've read a couple of blogs on the topic of increased postage costs. I can't help but wonder why in this day and age of modern technology there still are mags/publishers who only accept submissions via post. Why is that? Can anyone enlighten me?

So, in my writing world I have concluded I am doing all I can, and while I wait and live in hope, I write.

Keep writing....

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Usually it's my old friend The Muse who wakes me from slumber with a good idea, but this time my gratitude goes to Patsy. I've been tagged! So here I am at 5.00am drafting this post. It's a lucky 7 theme and the idea is to use your current piece of work ; but Patsy made a good point of saying 'rules are made to be broken', so I am going to use this as an opportunity to do some much needed promotion of my first novel, DREAM KEEPER, which was published this year. I have to turn to page 77, go to line 7 and copy out the next 7 lines, sentences or paragraphs and then tag 7 people.
Here goes:

Mac sat on the floor of The Dream Clinic. He couldn't stop staring at the colour portrait. The whole place had been trashed by vandals. There was paint on the walls, floors and ceilings. Shards of glass were everywhere. There was not a single thing left untouched, except the colour portrait of Dream Keeper on the stone wall. He was in his entire purple garb and clutched his sceptre in his hands. It was Dream Keeper's eyes that freaked Mac out. Dream Keeper was quite human in his appearance. He was extraordinary in his height and build, but still human. It was his eyes. The black glass in the human eye sockets glowed. The colour specks danced in the blackness, until they leapt from the portrait and collated in an oblong shape that became a bright purple door of light. Mac entered the purple light.

My turn to tag. I choose to tag Simon, Pat, Sally, Janice, Della, Liz and David.

Keep writing....

Monday, March 19, 2012


I received a much needed email from a writing friend. I wanted to use this post to share her wisdom with you, in the hope it may help you in times of doubt:

"This writing life is very much a roller-coaster. The ‘quiet times’ do lead to all sorts of questions and doubts unfortunately, but we all go through that no matter how many sales under the belt. At times like that all you can do is focus on the writing itself and the love of writing itself, enjoy that feeling of putting The End on a new story. Whatever you do, don’t doubt yourself please.

Regarding not knowing why stories don’t get selected, I’ve got stories with an editor that I think are just perfect for that particular mag and yet they don’t get snapped up and I’m not sure why either. And the ones that do sell I can’t work out why those, and not the other ones that I think are as good, or even better. At another mag it’s the same. I never ever have any idea what will sell. A sale this week to them I was totally shocked by (I didn’t think the story had a chance). So really, you can only go crazy trying to work out editors minds. Write, send, forget. Sales will come."

Keep writing....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I found myself reading through short stories I'd written - wait for it - over a decade ago! Oh my gawd, I don't wonder now why they got rejected. After my first reaction, EMBARRASSMENT, that I sent them out in the first place and my second reaction, LAUGHTER, I read over them again with a fresh eye and with something I have now that I didn't have before; EXPERIENCE.

Some of my earlier stories lack satisfying conclusions, others have some good paragraphs in them that I could create a new story around and others, well let me just say, 'What was I thinking?'

I've decided to do a list, two in fact, one list of hopefuls that I've got loads of material to work with and another list which although needs a lot of creative work are possibilities.

Well, I'm off to revamp.

Keep writing....

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Patsy, who I consider a little ray of sunshine was kind enough to pass on to me the Sunshine Award.
To accept this award I have to tell you what makes me happy then pass on the award to other deserving bloggers. So, in no particular order these are some of the things that make me happy:

1. Sunshine and blue skies.
2. Spending the day at the beach walking, exploring the rock pools or mucking around on my body board.
3. WRITING - that really makes me happy, and top that off with a short story acceptance and I am over the moon.
4. Cadbury dairy milk chocolate.... yummy!
5. Strolling through the botanical gardens, especially in Spring.
6. When my kids say, 'I love you Mum.'
7.When people acknowledge me by commenting on my blog and I see my 'following' is growing.
8. Reading
9. When somebody says, 'You inspire me.'
10.Building friendships with writers from all over the world. Their support and encouragement really does make me happy!

Now I would like to pass this Sunshine Award onto Suzanne, Angie, Joanne, Deb, Valerie, and Rae. Please spread the sunshine around and go visit these blogs and say hello. :-)

Keep writing....

Friday, March 2, 2012


I am always inspired by successful writers taking the time out to encourage. Here are a few tips I would like to share with you:

"Read a lot and write a lot." Reading and understanding different styles is integral to finding your own style. Stephen King

Keep your day job. John Grisham suggests finding your career outside of writing. Experience life, suffering, and love to be able to write effectively.

Don't be afraid of failure. "A ratio of failures is built into the process of writing. The wastebasket has evolved for a reason." Margaret Atwood

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

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Roald Dahl

Keep writing...

Monday, February 20, 2012


I was reading Jane Green's, 'The Beach House' where one of the characters who after many years rediscovers her muse and writes again, says she has learned the secret - the magic tool that separates the true writers from the people who merely dream of being writers, who have a wonderful idea but never get started, or get started but never finish. She has learned the secret of discipline, of plowing through even when it feel like she has nothing to say; of writing even when there are days, like today, when she is fighting the excitement of the party (or anything else that our lives may preoccupy us with).

Discipline. It's so true, isn't it? To be disciplined and to write, no matter what. Even to use the obstacles and adversities life throws at us to be creative - the situations, the emotions, the conflicts, solutions or outcomes. Through discipline we realise our full potential as writers.

Keep writing....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I’m always on the lookout for short ideas and very interested to learn where other writers get their ideas from. Reading loads of stories fact and fiction often inspires me. It could be a news headline, a sentence or me asking what if this happened instead – where would the story go then? Overhearing conversations sparks my imagination, or observing an interesting character will prompt my creativity. My dreams help and of course there is my muse, when stories just pop into my head and I gratefully snatch them. I have also found other ways to be inspired. Paula Williams has a regular spot in Writer’s Forum (UK mag) called The Writers’ Idea Store where she presents a fiction square where you roll a dice and circle all the ingredients for your next story. Today I stumbled across a website which lists short story ideas. This got the juices fired up.

Where do you get your story ideas from? Do tell!

Keep writing….

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Finally I have launched off the starting blocks and made my first short story sales for 2012. I had my fingers crossed and there was a whisper of a prayer as I started up my computer this morning. Oh the joy when I read the email from You magazine accepting two short stories. High five's all round!

Note to self: In future when those short story acceptances are few and far between, keep writing. Push through the disappointment and dejection. Ignore that little voice that keeps asking, 'Why are you doing this again?' Keep writing. Keep submitting. Re-read, re-work those rejections. Be on the lookout for new markets. Always remember that panic is not an option. Doubting oneself is not helpful. Belief is the key that makes the magic happen - makes it real. Do the best that I can do and when it does fall in to place it is all worth it... like today :-)

Never give up.

Keep writing....

Monday, February 6, 2012


‘If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.’ I’ve been doing a large amount of reading, and I did wonder if that was me procrastinating. Apparently not. In fact I’ve been making time and gathering tools to write.

Part of the book ‘On Writing’ shows incidents and life situations which made Stephen King the writer he is today and the rest is on writing itself.

Here are some of the things that Stephen King said about writing that stood out for me:

There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers: good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky. Two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognise them when they show up.

Periods of idleness followed by periods of workaholic frenzy. (This really struck a chord in me.)

The Great Commandment – Read a lot, write a lot.

In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.

‘On Writing’ was a worthwhile read for me. It showed me that even a writer of Stephen King’s calibre travelled the roller coaster ride of the writer’s journey to get where he is today.

Keep writing…. J

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I am not having a good day! I caught the self-pity bug. You may have suffered from this from time to time? You know all that writing, all that effort trying to stay positive...wondering when your next acceptance will come along? I spent the day with Stephen King, Under the Dome. A huge novel, in many ways, 1074 pages. Great story, believable characters. I was transported into another world... a strange world but his expertise as a writer made it a believable world. He sure can write! I experienced many emotions.. all the ups and downs the characters were going through. Stephen King's writing impressed me, awed me and yes, made me envious. His writing ability is definitely something to aspire to.

After reading a couple of hundred pages I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself. I thought time to stop hitting the panic button, keep writing and that acceptance will come and then another will follow. That is usually the way it is with me.. nothing and then two or three. I decided to come online and read other writer's blogs, that always inspires me and gets me in a better mood. Well, did I hit the panic button over and over... my blog had disappeared. It was gone! Not there! Of course common sense told me not to panic, but all I could think about was all those posts I made, the following that has started to grow and how much I look forward to blogging. All gone! No sooner had I posted in the google help forum when my blog magically re-appeared. I am so relieved, confused but relieved.

So, after the non-writing day I have just had, (thank goodness Stephen King was here to keep me company) I will stop my complaining and give your ears (perhaps eyes?) a rest.

Tomorrow is a new day....

Friday, January 27, 2012


I haven’t made my first short story sale yet for 2012. I have had an article accepted though … woo hoo! I’ve written four new stories so far this year and am working on three others which are in the drafting stage. My latest short story was inspired by pics I saw on The Librarian’s blog. I started writing this story and hit a brick wall when my muse decided to go on vacation. Mr Muse recently returned (I think he missed me) and the rest of the story flowed with ease. It’s not the usual story I would write. I do enjoy challenging myself. Pushing those boundaries. Exploring new territory. And I had so much fun writing it! I’ve submitted the short story feeling hopeful and dare I say, confident? Time will tell.

While I wait to hear some news on those two novel manuscript proposals I’ve sent to Pan MacMillan I’ve taken the author cap off and donned the short story writer cap.

Come on Muse back to short story drafting. Slave driver you say? I wink at him. Welcome home Muse!

Keep writing….

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Fear not fellow writers. If you, like me, are having problems stringing together a sentence I have heard on the grape vine aka the muse vine that there is a general meeting of the muses. They are all there on a tropical island, sipping cocktails, enjoying the sun and laughing at our demise. Fear not, they will return (ETA unknown at this stage) but they need us as much as we need them. (Important that we believe this.)

Meanwhile there is a way to entice the little bugger back; go for a walk and indulge your senses, read a book or a batch of short stories, dig out those old stories and give them a revamp. Read inspiring blogs! Write a blog post - even if it is to express your desperation (like me). Inspiration could be just around the corner, sometimes you just have to go look for it!

The muse shall return... hopefully sooner rather than later :-)

Please come home muse....

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I have been determined to read genres that I don’t usually read. I stumbled across Brava books and began reading erotic romance, both contemporary and paranormal. (Most definitely out of my reading comfort zone.) I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The plots were great and the stories entertaining. I’m always interested in other writers’ styles, their thoughts and their writing process, so when I stumbled across Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent, I couldn’t resist borrowing a copy from the library.

Alison Kent says:

I find the number-one telling difference between traditional romance and erotic romance is that characters in erotic romance tend to fall into bed and then fall in love.

PLOT: Establishing motives, goals and conflict. A character’s outward desire (goal) and the exterior force behind it (motive) create the momentum of the external plot. Both the desire and the force behind it must be clearly defined, as together they will push the character into making choices and taking action. Throwing obstacles (conflict) between a character and his goal makes for compelling fiction, as it gives readers a hero to root for. Once you’ve established your character’s external goal and motive, you can then have fun deciding how to tell his or her story.

It’s not the position or the location that makes the scene erotic or edgy. It’s what’s at stake for the characters, the risks they’re taking, the conflict to which they’re closing their eyes that sends such a consummation scene into envelope-pushing territory.

Use sharp evocative words and short sentences to give a scene a sense of urgency. Longer descriptive sentences that employ more adjectives or metaphors will give a languorous quality to a dreamy or sensual scene.

Of course some of the good advice Alison Kent gives here can apply to all genres. Well, now for a change of genre, I’m off to read an action thriller - By the Light of the Moon by Dean Koontz.

Keep writing… and reading!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Momentum is magic when you've got it going. When I'm in the writing zone I feel complete. BUT after a visit from my parents (I see them once a year) I found it difficult this morning to get back into the swing of things. My momentum had come to a stand still and although I have many writing projects to tackle I just couldn't get into it. I paced around the house for the first half of the day searching for my muse. He had found a good hiding place! After convincing myself that I wasn't going to be happy until I achieved something today, and needed to be disciplined to get on with it, I eventually found my muse. My momentum returned and I completed that book proposal I've been wanting to do for my non-fiction manuscript. I also managed to do some further drafting on a short story I'm working on. I'm happy now!

Today I learned when momentum stops I need to push myself to get going again. It is worth the effort - the sense of achievement at the end of my day has made me a much happier writer.

Keep writing....

Friday, January 13, 2012


A book proposal generally consists of three parts:
  • Covering letter
  • Synopsis
  • The first two or three chapters
The Covering Letter

Keep it simple and brief. State what you are enclosing, include the title of your book, word count, genre, theme and if you have any other publications.

Example: I enclose for your consideration a synopsis and the first three chapters of a 100,000 word supernatural thriller called, ‘After Midnight’. ‘After Midnight’ is a story about a detective who is looking for a murderer who is on a killing spree in a usually peaceful coastal village. He soon discovers he isn’t dealing with your average murderer. After Midnight’ is my second novel.

The Synopsis

The main reason for writing a synopsis is to attract an editor’s attention. Let us not fool ourselves, competition is fierce, the supply exceeds the demand and your task here is to get your manuscript read. Your synopsis is your sales pitch.

From your synopsis an editor will decide whether your story is a commercially viable product. So do not underestimate the power of your synopsis. Is your story unique? Does it have some special quality?

A synopsis is usually one or two pages long. In a general synopsis you should include:

  • Title and setting
  • Introduce your main characters
  • The conflict and drama
  • The mood/tone/atmosphere
  • What is special and unique about your story
  • Turning point of your story. Which scene changes everything?
  • The climax
  • Conclusion – draft a satisfying sentence
NOTE: Some genres need to be treated a little differently. For example in a crime synopsis you would include the progress of the investigation, revealing the clues and twists and turns. An editor wants to know if the story works and the plot is believable.

The first two or three chapters

The opening paragraph must contain a hook which grabs the reader’s attention; a clue as to the content of your book. The first page should set the tone of your book; romance, thriller, science fiction etc. The first chapter is of crucial importance – pivotal. It needs to be interesting enough to stimulate the reader’s interest or curiosity to want to read more. There is no point if your story swings into action in chapter five. From the very first page of your novel your task is to lure the reader into your story. Strive to make your manuscript a winner from the beginning to the end.

NOTE: Always check with editors/agents what their requirements are. There may be certain variations from the above information. Give yourself the best possible chance in the first place by meeting their requested requirements.

Keep writing....

Monday, January 9, 2012


The recent blog interviews about my novel Dream Keeper done by Rosemary Gemmell and Teresa Ashby have made me one happy writer. I can’t even begin to express the gratitude and excitement that these two popular and successful writers have made me feel. Thank you. If you haven’t already please visit these blogs where you can learn more about Dream Keeper and me as a writer. Both these interviews are a good example of what makes an interesting interview – the questions.

Many years ago I did a writing course by correspondence. I’ve always enjoyed writing but I knew I needed the tools to nurture my craft. I embarked on a journey which at times, many times, was frustrating. Competition was always fierce –and all those brick walls! I wanted to hit my head up against them. I was driven by passion. I still am. I persevered and eventually learned that rejection is part of the process. It still is. But to me, one acceptance erases many rejections. It still does.

These author interviews have made me feel acknowledged and accepted. They have made me feel important enough to be made mention of. My journey so far, the ups and the many downs, has all been worth it to get me to this point. I have been truly inspired to continue to nurture my craft. I am one happy writer!

Keep writing…

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I've sent my first 2012 short story off to That's Life (fingers crossed). I have also submitted my new novel manuscript to Allen and Unwin who run 'Friday Pitch' where they accept unsolicited manuscripts, and my second novel manuscript I wrote to Pan Macmillan Australia who run Manuscript Monday. I have also managed to dig up some old short stories which haven't been anywhere in a while and submitted them. I've been in the mood to make things happen, so I thought, why not take advantage of the frame of mind I am in? I have another new short story which I am drafting and last night drafted out an article.

I can only hope I can maintain this momentum. My muse has been very obliging.... so far!

What have you been up to?

Keep writing...

Monday, January 2, 2012


This is a list of goals I have set for myself for 2012. I have recorded them here as an added incentive to me to stay focused and determined – because I know that recording this here and having witnesses to this list will help me to put in the effort that is needed. Well, that is my plan anyway! Sounds good in theory, don’t you think?

01    Beat record of short stories sold in one calendar year.
02    Read, revise and submit non-fiction book manuscript.
03    Read, revise and submit second novel manuscript.
04    Read, revise and submit third novel manuscript.
05    Continue marketing first published novel, Dream Keeper.
06    Write one short story per week.
07    Write and submit articles.
08    Begin drafting new novel manuscript.
09    Blog once per week.
10    Search for new writing markets/opportunities.

NOTE TO SELF: As long as I do my absolute best to achieve this list, in my eyes I have succeeded! (This is my back up plan/attitude – it takes the pressure off, and prevents me from going into panic mode if the year is coming to a close and I am wishing I hadn’t had such high expectations of myself.) J

Keep writing….