Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Sale

I got the best Christmas present this morning. My lovely Avalon editor emailed to say they love my story Outback Hero and have scheduled it for a Dec 2009 release. That means I'll have two books coming out next year. 'Stuck' in April and 'Outback Hero' in December!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Slowing down for year's end

Not a lot happening at the moment. We've had our last writer's group meet, the term is winding down with one week to go, I'm thinking vaguely about those gifts I can't not buy and thinking more about my latest pair of characters.

Plus the vacuum cleaner exploded yesterday just as my husband finished the family room. Big bang complete with a shoot of flames from its rear end and a noxious burnt plastic pong. Looks like it's a new vac for Christmas LOL

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blog Interview

I'm interviewed on Christina Phillip's blog spot today. Come over and say hi

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Cover

Here is the cover for my next Avalon release 'Stuck'. My editor assures me the top won't be cut off as in this image. I think it's perfect. Ive been incredibly lucky with my Avalon cover artists. They're brilliant.
'Stuck' comes out in April 2009

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sad news from next door

Over the last few weeks we've realised that the neighbour's lovely big dogs--Malamuts--have been very quiet. They live across the laneway between our houses and one of them, Denali, always barked when someone walked past his fenceline. He had a deep resonant woof --a proper doggy bark.

Denali's other personal quirk was howling when he heard a police siren or ambulance. That would set his companion, Cess, off and they'd both howl like wolves. Long, mournful wails. It never failed to make us laugh. When the sirens faded they'd both stop immediately.

Denali was the inspiration for Harry's dog Woof, in my first book, The Right Chord.

Today my husband discovered both dogs, one after the other, had been diagnosed with cancer about a month ago and have subsequently died. Our neighbours are heartbroken.

I'm glad I named Denali in the acknowledgements and I'm going to give my neighbours a copy of my book.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Giveaway winner

Noelene Jenkinson of Victoria, Australia won a copy of Coming Home, my second book for Avalon.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Hop over to my website for a last chance to enter the draw to win a copy of my book 'Coming Home.'

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Guest author spot

Go here to read what I had to say to author Anne Whitfield

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Strings Attached out today

My The Wild Rose Press ebook comes out Friday 17th US time which I guess is actually tomorrow in Australia.

This book is a long time favourite --full of funny stories and situations and two characters I love. Hannah and Jack. The first half is basically a road trip, the second half stays put in Sydney. I'm so happy this one is finally out there.

Go to to order your copy. It comes out in print in January

Monday, September 29, 2008

Book Giveaway -- Coming Home

I have a copy of my new book from Avalon to give away. Go to my website to enter the draw for Coming Home.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Exciting News

My grant application for funding to attend the next RWA conference in Washington 2009 was successful!!! Last year I missed out but they gave me a few pointers on strengthening the application this time round and it worked. I can't believe I actually got it. I've amazed myself. See the logo? That's part of the deal--the ACT Government is now my official supporter. How cool is that?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Literary trivia

The Canberra Romance Writers have put together a team for the ACT Writers Centre Literary Trivia night in October. Do we know anything about the wide world of writers and books? It remains to be seen. We've decided to dress up and fulfil their expectations of romance writers. If we're not the most knowleadgable table we figure we'll be the noisiest and possibly the group having the most fun.

Sample question from the organiser. Who is the Pirate in Treasure Island? I know that one!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Aussie conference

We're all home from another terrific get together at the Langham in Melbourne. What a blast these conferences are! If you've ever been to one I need say no more. If you haven't--GO.

I was thrilled that The Right Chord was voted Best Short Novel Cover --in a three way tie but I'm sure none of us mind that. There were 98 entries.

Two of the Canberra girls had very exciting news while there. Tracey O'Hara was contracted by Avon for her dark Vampire book 'Night's Cold Kiss' plus two sequels and Erika Hayes won the much coveted Valerie Parv Award. The prize is a year of mentoring by the very experienced, very generous and very talented writer Valerie Parv.

Next year we invade Brisbane and no-one can wait!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Avalon cover and music

You can see the beautiful Avalon cover for my second book, Coming Home, on my website. I had trouble uploading it here because it's in the wrong format. Too technical pour moi. LOL

While you're there, go to the About page and listen to me in action with the Aeolus Wind Trio. We provide elegant, sophisticated background music at weddings and functions.

One day I'll write a book incorporating all the bizarre happenings and venues we've played or performed at.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

New book 'Stuck'

Avalon will keep the working title of Stuck for my third book. I'm so pleased and relieved because it sums up the book perfectly and would have been very difficult to improve upon.

Here's the blurb.

When Gina Tait and Brad Harding spend ninety minutes stuck in an elevator together, neither can deny an intense physical attraction. Neither can they deny that in the real world, their ambitions and life views are the complete polar opposites.

Despite a constant nagging desire to stay in contact both Brad and Gina agree nothing could ever come of a relationship between an ambitious, single, city girl and a laid back widowed father of two from a small country town. Better not to start.

Fate, however, in the form of a raging storm and Brad’s twelve year old daughter, Claire, has other plans.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Australian Romance Reader's Convention

This is an exciting new venture for Aussie romance lovers. The inaugural ARRC will be held in Melbourne from Feb 20-22, 2009. I received the registration form and brochure yesterday and it looks like being a blast! Plenty of name authors have already signed up to talk and sign books or just be there to chat to readers and each other.

Dh and I are planning a fun weekend away in Melbourne. What a good excuse!
Here's the link for information

Saturday, July 19, 2008

War and Peace

ABC 2 showed War and Peace last night. A 3 and a half hour marathon starring Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda who sounded and looked rather out of place as a Russian. What a massive cast. The battle scenes were extraordinary and remember this is pre computer enhancement. There must have been tens of thousands of people re-enacting the cavalry charges and infantry fighting. And the winter scenes! Absolutely freezing, struggling knee deep in snow with horses and artillery when Napoleon was forced to retreat from Moscow.

Seeing that movie made me pick up the book and continue my marathon read. I can put faces to the names now and some of the characters are clearer. All the Russian officers seem to be Princes or Counts and it gets rather confusing especially with their triple barrel names. It's a surprisingly accessible writing style though and I am enjoying it. I haven't reached the part where flighty and beautiful young Natasha pledges her allegiance to Prince Andrew, he goes off to fight the French and in the interim she is swept off her little feet by the caddish womanizer Anatol. Audrey Hepburn was so young and lovely in the role. I'm looking forward to that part.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Short story

I've just been notified that my entry in a jazz short story contest run by magazine Jazz Planet , has been shortlisted. Woohoo! Don't know how many entries went in or how many are shortlisted but hey . . . making the first cut is great. The winning three authors will be notified by the end of July.

This isn't a romantic story at all. I've been married to a jazz drummer for thirty five years, my son is a bass player and my brother's 3 children are jazz musos as well--I've had plenty of experience to draw on.

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Sale

A lovely surprise this morning waiting in my Inbox. Avalon love my latest submission. This will be book number 3 for them and I am absolutely thrilled. The release date is April 2009.

I'm not sure whether the working title "Stuck" will . . .umm. . . stick ( sorry) but that's what the book is about. My characters become stuck in all manner of ways--physically, by mental attitude, lifestyle, work choices. The hero is a single dad trying to handle daughters-- a rebellious 12 year old, a sweet 5 year old--plus a kitten, and the sophisticated, upwardly mobile, child averse heroine.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Painted Veil

I've finished the book now and can report that the movie quite dramatically changed the relationship between Walter and Kitty from the original. They both chart Kitty's growth both in maturity and emotionally but the movie turns the marriage into a late blooming love affair when it never is in the book. Interesting. Basic events remain the same but the movie fills in a lot of detail, particularly to do with the cholera epidemic-- treatment, causes, cultural impediments etc--which is very interesting and adds to the story, really. We learn much more about the character of Walter through his work. In the book Kitty comes to admire him greatly for his skill and compassion but says several times she could never love him.

I think this is a case of a movie enhancing a book but adding the love affair part was probably a marketing device. Kitty's spiritual awakening isn't such a drawcard perhaps!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Books and films

My book group has devised a course of meetings where we read a book and see the film version for comparison. Our first one is The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham.

I read a lot of S Maugham when I was in my twenties. Absolutely loved his depictions of the British colonial life and his succinct sparse prose which cut straight to the heart of his characters revealing all their weaknesses and foibles. His short stories are wonderful. He deals with life's basics--love, loyalty, hate, fear, greed. Emotions which cross all boundaries of time, culture and race.

I enjoyed The Painted Veil as a movie but hadn't read the book. I'd forgotten just how good a writer he is. So far, the movie is a very faithful rendition. Naomi Watts and Edward Norton are easy to picture, as I read, in their roles of Kitty and Walter Fane. Similarly the countryside of China is beautifully filmed and having been to China twice I can visualise the sights and sounds, see the local people. Some things in rural China won't have changed very much since the 1920s.

Some book/film transitions are woeful eg I couldn't bring myself to watch Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Couldn't get my head around the concept of Nicholas Cage having anything to do with such a wonderful book. From the snippets I have seen it seems the story was absolutely gutted.

So far so good with The Painted Veil.

Anyone else read and seen it? Or have any other pet hates/loves?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Release date at last

Waiting for the release date of your latest baby is tough. All those months and months of rewriting and editing on top of months and sometimes years of waiting for a response to a submission and all that after the hard slog of writing the thing in the first place! Just when you think everything is good to go --more waiting while the book goes into the production phase.

E-publishing is faster, of course, than the traditional print firms. The lead time for my Avalon books is by necessity nearly a year whereas the complete The Wild Rose Press process has taken place within a year from submission to e publication.

It's all good exciting stuff and quite by chance my next two releases happen within a week of each other in October. The 17th for Strings and the 24th for Coming Home. And my birthday is right in between on the 19th!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Meditation for creativity

Like every writer I often have knotty problems to solve in regard to plot or character development. I sometimes lie in bed and turn things over and over to no result.

I've been a Tai Chi instructor for 18 years and practising Tai Chi for 21. Meditation, or as we call it, Chi Kung, is an important component of the practice. It's amazing how many times during one of my daily sessions a solution or an idea has popped into my head from nowhere.

Meditation clears all the rubbish out of your head. It's said the mind is like a pool of clear water and thoughts are the ripples on the surface obscuring the depths. By calming the mind the thoughts, ripples, are smoothed away and the deeper, subconscious thoughts are able to surface.
Of course the benefits are far more widereaching than just for writing. Regular practice brings a sense of calm and wellbeing to everday life, a sense of perspective to problems and confrontations.

As with anything of value, learning to meditate takes time, diligence and perseverance but the end result is worth it -- just like writing!

For more information and some interesting articles on the subject check out the link on my website to the Tai Chi and Chi Kung Academy.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Working Titles

In the latest issue of Hearts Talk (the RWAustralia newsletter ) there is a very good article by Aussie Harlequin M&B author Ally Blake on the importance of a working title. (Checkout her site on my website links)

It really hit the spot for me. She quoted quite a few well known authors who say their working title sums up the essence or the theme of the book. The title is often changed by the publisher, but for them this is the core, the lodestone of the story while they write.

My first book The Right Chord, was Leopard's Spots. For me that sums up Grace's dilemma. She wants to change her personality from affable and obliging to tough and direct, but can't get it right because it goes against her true nature. The self awareness achieved by attempting the change results in a different Grace by the end of the story.

Strings Attached was always the same title. It's perfect even if I do say so myself ! Jack doesn't like his women with strings attached, but Hannah, in his words 'has more strings attached than a harp.'

My forthcoming Avalon release Coming Home was initially Lame Duck but I knew (sorry in advance :) )that title would never fly. Coming Home does a pretty good job summing up the storyline though. All the main characters find their home both physically and emotionally.

Ally's article made me think about the importance of the working title. I'd always liked to work with a title on the top of the page and I realise now why that was so. It's a guidelight. My current wip didn't have one except for the heroine's name, but as I'm a seat of the pantser that didn't help beyond a certain point. The wip had been muddling along for a while. I had a big think and came up with The Right Place and for me that sums up what my heroine is searching for. The hero has already found his place in the world, but she hasn't and at the moment neither of them can believe it's with him.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Free Read

The Wild Rose Press is starting a promo for our books using short stories as free downloads. My hero Jack features in both my free read story and Strings Attached. I wrote the story ages before the book but Jack was too good a character to leave behind.

Keep an eye on the TWRP website for details of the free downloads. As soon as I have news of release dates I'll post them.
Happy reading

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

That was fast!

Well, here it is already. My cover for Strings Attached.
What do you think?
To read an exerpt go to my website.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


My Wild Rose Press editor tells me my cover for Strings Attached will be available in 3-4 weeks. Knowing the vagaries of cover art and despite having filled out a form re my characters' occupations, hair colour, important items or objects in the book etc, I had a sudden awful thought that the artist may do something connected with puppets.
What a nightmare that would be!

Apart from the fact I detest puppets in any shape or form, my book is about music. My heroine is a violinist and my hero a photographer.
My Avalon cover, as you can see, is beautiful. Avalon covers are. They have wonderful artists and I'm looking forward to seeing what appears for Coming Home. Have to wait till about June, perhaps for that one.

In the meantime help me send thought waves to my TWRP cover artist. No puppets, no puppets, no puppets . . .

Monday, April 21, 2008

Reading, crosswords and increasing your vocabulary

My 82 year old Mum is very good at Cryptic Crosswords. I'm not bad either. Our local paper has two cryptics and a quick each day plus a nine letter Focus anagram word puzzle so there is plenty to practise on.

Today's Focus letters are EET
Find words with O in them of 4 letters or more, and the 9 letter word. 14 words is Good, 18 Very Good and 24 Excellent

Writers need a big and varied vocabulary and doing crosswords is a good way of expanding the archive.
The best way of expanding not just your vocab but your knowledge base is to read--LOTS. And in a wide variety of genres. By that I don't mean romance genres, I mean all sorts of books.

Try this fun site

Monday, April 7, 2008

Conferences and costs

Conferences are a terrific way of boosting flagging writing energy. Here in Australia we have our national Romance Writers of Australia get together in August. This year we're in Melbourne at the luxuxious Langham Hotel on Southbank. Travels plans and bookings are being made, workshop sessions mulled over and chosen, pennies saved.

One year my aim is to make it to the US for the massive American version. Next year may be the one. I would love to have gone to San Fran in July but the dates are awkward for me in regard to my teaching terms. Washington is a couple of weeks earlier--much more doable.

Then, of course, there is the cost of any international travel for us in Australia. The US exchange rate is good at the moment so that's a bonus but still . . .
Today I'm attending an info session by our local government Arts grants body. Missed out last time round, this time I'll be better prepared.

If you're thinking of attending a conference--DO. If you can't afford it at the moment--look for a grant to help fund the travel or the accommodation or both. Every little bit helps. Try to get along to any workshop sessions on offer or the smaller regional conferences the RWA branches hold in the US. You won't regret it. You'll learn a lot, you'll meet like minded, friendly people and you'll be immersed in the world of writing for hours or even days.
And it's FUN.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Great results!!

Well! The Aussies have done amazingly well in the newly announced RITA and Golden Heart finals lists. My good friend and fellow Canberra Romance Writer Tracey O'Hara has finalled in the GH Paranormal section with Night's Cold Kiss. She's now excitedly preparing to fly to San Fran.

Anna Campbell has finalled twice in the same section, Anne Gracie, Kelly Hunter and Emily Gee (Kiwi). We'll be hearing the cheering from way down here come July.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On reading

The book I'm reading at the moment is not from the library. I don't restrict myself totally to the alphabetical system. A while back I read an article about Alexander Mc Call Smith's No.1 Ladies Detective Agency books, set in Botswana. My brother picked up this copy abandoned at the airport and it's doing the rounds of the family. Makes a delightful change from the gritty, gory and or smart talking, hip crime fiction books flooding the market these days. Plus the setting and cultural milieu is interesting.

I like a good murder. My local discussion group has been meeting for over twenty years. Our subject is crime fiction this term. The next book in the course is Dorothy L Sayers 'Strong Poison' starring the inimitable Lord Peter Wimsey. Very dated but still witty, clever and downright funny in places.

In between library and other books I have War and Peace on the go. It is surprisingly readable except I forget who all the multi titled Russians are between outings.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


About twenty five years ago I decided to start readng my way through my local library. You know what's it's like in the library. You go back to the same authors because you can't remember that name someone recommended, or you wander up and down the aisles aimlessly browsing and not deciding.

That day I'd had enough indecision. I went to the first two or three books in the A section and took them. Next visit I took the next few. I didn't cheat if the title or genre put me off--I read whatever was there. I didn't always finish a book. Some were just too deadly but I came across some wonderful authors I never would have read. I've read an amazing cross section of styles and storylines.

My library has shifted premises twice in those twenty five or so years but i find my place and continue on.

Guess what letter I'm on at present . . . .

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Hmmm. I've been tagged, which is nice, but being knee deep in editing/ revising my two coming releases, revising and tweaking what will hopefully be my third book for Avalon, plus keeping tabs on my wip, and revising a mainstream story--whew! Oh--and managing the short story contest run by RWAustralia, plus working---you get the drift? Blogging playtime is limited.
Plus I can't figure out how to add a links section. I thought I did it but it hasn't shown up on the page. I got the photos etc up in a fit of expertise but I seem to have lost the knowledge. Oh well.

Sorry, Suzanne, who tagged me. Here's the view from my writing room window with just a glimpse of the now departed Herbie.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Farewell Herbie

The time has finally come to sell my beloved 1969 VW Beetle 'Herbie'. He gave good and faithful service for 20 years, taught both my children to drive, and got them through their driving tests.
My son's comment was "My God, woman! Are you mad?" If he wasn't a double bass player he'd be driving Herbie himself.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Olympic Torch in Australia

The Olympic torch relay comes through Canberra on April 24th. My Tai Chi Academy has been asked to provide people (about 100) to do Tai Chi for twenty minutes just before dawn as part of the starting celebrations. Hot air balloons will lift off as well. All this on the shores of our beautiful lake. (Have a look at the photos on my website). How exciting to be part of such an event!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Wayward characters

I've reached a point in my wip where the heroine wants to leave town because she feels there is nothing left for her. The hero is backing off and won't say what he needs to, to keep her.

They seem to be telling me very strongly what they're going to do even though neither really wants to take that course of action and I want them to get together.

Does this sound familiar? It happens quite often. Your characters should take on a life of their own-- within reason, of course. They need to follow their natural path or your scenes and actions will feel and read as contrived. Nothing worse than manufacturing a plot point because you want such and such to happen.

Good writers make even the most bizarre twists seem logical because they flow so naturally from the characters personalities. As a reader you believe implicitly in the way the heroine reacts even though you may be thinking, "Oh no! Don't run away. Stay."

Saturday, January 26, 2008


An article in today's paper said that Australians are falling behind in the area of second language speaking. We are a country of migrants but only a third of the population speaks a language other than English fluently. A percentage of these are of course our own indigenous population. Many Asians and Europeans are multi-lingual and language skills will become more and more important as the world shrinks. Purely English speakers cannot rely on everyone knowing English even though it is widely spoken.

How impressive it is to hear the players in the Australian Open being interviewed in English when it isn't their first language. No doubt many of them could manage an interview in French or another 'foreign to them' language as well.

How many of you can speak more than one language? I can just about manage in French, German and Italian--or I could if I had a brush up. Far from fluent!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Things are happening

This is me smiling because January has been a very good month!
The Wild Rose Press has accepted my book Strings Attached for their Champagne Rose line. No details as to release date yet or even if they will keep the title but I'm really really happy to find a home for Hannah and Jack.
Yesterday I had official confirmation of the acceptance of my second book for Avalon. It will be released in October. Not sure of the title but at the moment it's called 'Coming Home'.