Jul 27, 2015 - General    No Comments

Community Fundraisers

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I spent my Saturday working on a BBQ / sausage sizzle fundraiser for our Scout Troop this weekend.

To me, the good old-fashioned community fundraiser is such a vital part of a strong community – whether that be a small town, or a neighbourhood within a larger town or city. While some people can’t go past the smell of sausages and onion on the barbie, others are drawn to the cake stall for mouthwatering homemade goodies, or the handicraft stall for a dazzling array of handmade handiwork.

And what about the school fete with fun like face painting and jumping castles? Or the book stalls that entice you to “fill a bag for $2″? Always a very dangerous place for me to visit! Or the ever popular trivia night?

Unfortunately with people being so time-poor these days, many fundraisers like these that rely on volunteers are slowly dying out. Schools and community groups like sports & Scouts/Guides have had to introduce an option of allowing parents to donate either time or money for the fundraising – and many are choosing to donate the money. I hope it’s a trend that reverses, as I think community fundraisers fill more than just a “make money” hole.

In our sausage sizzle last weekend, it gave our Scouts valuable experience in cooking, taking money (and working out change!) and interacting with the public, as well as the social aspect of them all working together for a common cause. On the other side of the table, we had several people stop to buy because they were former Scouts and wanted to have a chat and a reminisce about their Scouting days. We even had a few donations as well! People take the extra few minutes to stop, slow down and have a chat while they’re being served.

So tell me, what community fundraiser is your favourite? What can’t you go past?

 

Jul 22, 2015 - Conference    No Comments

Countdown to Conference!

It’s that time of year again – when those of us going to the Romance Writers of Australia conference start the countdown in earnest – usually with a discussion about cocktail party costumes. This year is the 24th conference – and my 5th.

It’s a chance to catch up with fellow authors – many of whom have become good friends over the years – and meet many new ones. It’s a chance to learn new skills and to pitch your work to top publishers and agents. A chance to network and to hang with other people who also hear voices in their head. :)

It’s three days of taking in so much information your brain hurts, letting your hair down and socialising, and generally eating far more than you need to :)

I always come back incredibly inspired from conference. And also exhausted! Not only from the packed schedule, but also from talking to so many people!

This year is in Melbourne from the 21st – 23rd August. And I am already so excited about it! At this time in 4 weeks, I’ll be frantically packing, rehearsing my pitch and doing all the last minute preparation ready for my flight the next day!

I cannot wait!

The highs and lows of contributing to a series

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Working on the fictional town of Bindarra Creek as part of a series with other authors has been a unique experience.

I was in on the series from very early on in its creation, so I’ve had a hand in shaping what the town of Bindarra Creek looks like. But it’s been a very interesting exercise to write a story based around a town that’s populated by other people’s buildings and characters.

We’ve got a very active email loop happening, databases of characters, buildings and events, and a pinterest board to help keep everyone on the same page. There have been many emails firing back and forth as we write – “I need a babysitter – anyone got an older lady who’d like to babysit for my heroine’s kids?”, “Yes, I do – my minor character Mrs Kafoops is great with kids! They keep her young!”, “Can I make such-and-such bridge one lane?” and so on.

It’s been both exciting and challenging – it’s interesting to see how other people think a building looks, when you may have a different idea in mind for it. (Whoever lays claim first gets dibs on describing it!) It can be a challenge to describe someone else’s character, or how they talk, when you haven’t invented them. But on the other hand, having so many characters already created can be great for inspiration. (And let’s not talk about how many hot guys happen to call Bindarra Creek home!)

It’s been fun adding in a reference to someone else’s characters while writing – I know when I read a series, I love that glimpse into old friends.

Through good fortune, and good management (lots of guidelines set in place from the beginning), the group has all worked really well together, with no skirmishes or disagreements. It’s honestly being a pleasure working with the other 12 authors.

Would I do it again? Possibly – although not straight away. I’m looking forward to diving back into Hope Creek in a couple of months!

 

 

Welcome to Bindarra Creek!

Bindarra Creek Romance

13 romances.      13 authors.      13 months.

Welcome to Bindarra Creek, a struggling country community whose townspeople work hard and love deeply.  Set in the tablelands of New England, Australia, the fictional Bindarra Creek is a drought stricken community full of intrigue, adventure, drama and honest country goodness. Life and love in a small country town has never been more challenging.

This is the series I’m part of, along with 12 other wonderful authors. You can find out more at http://bindarracreekromance.com/

Starting this month with SE Gilchrist’s Bindarra Creek Makeover, and following over the next 12 months, we hope you’ll grow to love the town of Bindarra Creek as much as we all have. We all want to move there – and the hot guys are only part of the reason :) (Okay, maybe a big part of the reason!)

My contribution, Reach for the Stars, will be available in November. 

And to further whet your appetite – check out the video below for the 1st 6 books in the series.

 

Work-in-Progress Progress

reach for the stars- Kerrie Paterson - th

Reach for the Stars now has a cover! I’ll be able to tell you more about the series hopefully soon, but it’s a part of series with 12 other authors set around a fictional town called Bindarra Creek.

So far I’m up to 20,000 words in my 1st draft and am around the half way mark. Reality hasn’t quite measured up to my good intentions of writing 1K/day, but progress has definitely kicked up a notch as I’m falling in love with the characters. As in real life, it takes me a while to warm up!

This is the blurb (subject to a bit of tweaking!)

In the small community of Bindarra Creek, Stevie Ryan pours her heart and soul into running Reach for the Stars – her outdoor adventure program for at-risk kids. For her, it’s more than a business, it’s personal. Unfortunately, unless she can gain funding, she’ll have to shut the program down or sell her childhood home.

Journalist Luke Fraser seems like the answer to her prayers when he arrives from Sydney to write a story about her charity, but he’s not who he seems. When he’s exposed as a potential benefactor Secret Millionaire-style, their growing relationship comes under threat. Rich, pampered, city businessmen have no place in her world, especially ones who lie. Her cheating ex-husband taught her that lesson.

But she has bigger problems to face when one of her at-risk teens disappears and their world is rocked with fear. And it’s not the untamed landscape that’s the danger.

 

Letting Go Release Day

Letting go - Kerrie Paterson-th

Today I released Letting Go into the world. Technically it went live last night, because I didn’t want it being late due to timezones. So I woke up this morning and my 1st thought was “I’m a published author!” Now I doubt my life is about to change because I’ve released one book, but it’s a big deal to me.

In 2009 I made the commitment that I wanted to write a book. It took a few stops and starts, a few changes of genre, but I finished my first novel in 2012. No matter how good I thought it was at the time, it will never see the light of day in its original format :) Since then I’ve written another full-length (80K) novel, and 2 novellas (40K), of which Letting Go is the latest. It’s only been in the last 12-18 months that I’ve been finalling in contests and getting requests for fulls from publishers to make me think my writing is good enough to put out there. While I haven’t cracked a contract from a publisher (yet) – either print or ebook, hopefully that will be my next milestone. In the meantime I have plans to keep self-publishing – starting with my next release, part of the Bindarra Creek Romance series plus I have plans for at least 3 or 4 more novellas in the Hope Creek series.

It takes a village to write a book! While I’ve managed to acknowledge many people who have helped with Letting Go, there are so many more people who have helped me along the way. So if you’ve ever given me a supportive comment, taught me something new or just been part of this wonderful romance writing community I stumbled across – thank you!

acknowledgements

 

Jun 8, 2015 - General, Writing    No Comments

Motivation

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Not just my motivation. My character’s.

I wrote well the first 2 days and made my 1K goal.  Then I was thwarted by a few days that were really busy – I did find some words, but not as many as I could have. If I was really into the story, I would have made many more. It wasn’t until I had a hard look at my characters, particularly my hero, that I realised the problem – who my character was telling me he was, did not gel with the motivations I had plotted for him being there.

When I was new to writing, I’d hear people say things like that and think oh come on, you’re the writer, it’s not like they’re real people. But the weird thing is, they do surprise me by revealing parts of themselves I hadn’t thought of. Suddenly my happy-go-lucky party boy was revealing himself as a workaholic with a troubled childhood. Huh?! That’s not supposed to happen! But I’m learning to trust my subconscious.

So a brainstorm with my critique partners, a walk in the afternoon sunshine and I think I’m back on track. I wrote over 2K words today and I’m excited about the story.

 

Wordcount: 5251 (updated 8th June)

Jun 1, 2015 - General    6 Comments

Procrastination Central on Limbo Line

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Uggghhh! I’m having the world’s worst time getting writing again. I have a book scheduled for November that’s part of a series with other authors so I have to meet the deadline. Which means I have to finish the 1st draft this month to get a decent amount of time editing, sending to beta readers etc. And I haven’t even started.

My mind feels like it’s in limbo – always waiting. Waiting to hear back from publishers, waiting to release Letting Go. Something is stopping me. I have a rough outline of the story, I like the characters but I’m finding every excuse under the sun not to put bum in chair, fingers on keyboard. Oh look – pinterest! Oh, I need to make a teaser graphic! Stock photo sites! Surely it all counts as writing, right?!

Wrong!

I’m putting it out there. I’m committing to 1000 words / day this month on my new WIP, tentatively titled Reach for the Stars. (Don’t get too attached to that title – I suck at titles and they inevitably change several times during the process).

Starting today.

Wordcount: 1404 (updated 1st June)
 

Cover reveal – Letting Go!

A sneak peek of my cover for Letting Go. I’m currently making a few final edits and will publish on Amazon and Smashwords etc in June – date to be advised.

Letting GoFollowing the loss of her teenagers in a car accident, Rachel Graham travels country New South Wales talking to students about road safety. But with teen road deaths still high, she’s feeling it’s a losing battle.

Close to burnout, she arrives in Hope Creek for a presentation and immediately feels like she’s come home. Her overnight stay turns into several weeks when she volunteers to help fundraise for a youth drop-in centre in the town.

She finds herself increasingly drawn to the townspeople. Especially widowed foreman and wildlife rescuer, Bluey Morrison and his mixed-up teenage daughter, Jess. Perhaps in this tranquil town, Rachel will find the peace she so desperately needs.

Before long, Bluey, with his caring and gentle nature, awakens her frozen heart but is a second chance at love possible?

How can she move on with her life without betraying the memory of her children?

Apr 28, 2015 - Contests, Writing    3 Comments

Emerald finalist!

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Many of you would have heard me tooting my horn on social media last week – I was so excited to be named as an Emerald finalist. (And thank you all for your congratulations and sharing my excitement! It’s made even more special to share it with all my lovely friends!) The RWA Emerald award is a reader judged competition for a full manuscript. Now that I’ve made it to the top 3, my manuscript has gone into the hands of Malle Vallik, Director of Harlequin Digital (Toronto) for final judging. Which, even though my manuscript doesn’t really fit in the category genre, is pretty squeee worthy to me :)

I wanted to share the funny story behind my “call” to tell me I was a finalist. During the time I had no power or internet from the storms, I could occasionally get a burst of mobile signal which would let me receive emails. I live in a black spot for mobile signal normally, and with many mobile towers not having power, as well as the networks being overwhelmed, those bursts were pretty few and far between! So they were pretty exciting when they happened – there was still a world out there!

In one of those flurries of emails, I received one from the Emerald contest co-ordinator who said she had been trying to phone me and getting a “Not in service” message. Did I have another contact number? I hastily typed in a reply saying I had no power or phone, and sporadic internet so it would probably be a few days before she could call me. Sending that message took ages – with me wandering around the house and backyard trying to get enough signal for it to send. And hoping against hope that she was trying to phone me with good news!

A few hours later I received an email back from her telling me that normally she’d phone, but she’d have to tell me via email – I’d made it through to the top 3! That was a pretty exciting moment – and slightly surreal while I was trying to cook pasta on an open fire by the light of a lantern :)

The really funny thing to me though is the coincidence. The manuscript that made it through is called Polly’s Patisserie and is a romantic suspense where the final black moment happens in a storm very similar to the one we’d just experienced.

Remind me not to write about bushfires or cyclones, please :)

 

 

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