Aug 26, 2015 - Uncategorized    2 Comments

Looking forward, looking back…

Rather than setting calendar year goals for my writing, I set them after conference each year, so Aug – Aug. I started this because each conference I tend to be blindsided by an epiphany, or gain new knowledge of the market, or learn something that may change my goals.

This year was my 5th RWA conference, and I wanted to look back at how far I’ve come so far. I think it’s worth doing that frequently – we tend to trudge along in pursuit of goals, but rarely acknowledge our progress.

2011 – Melbourne. My 1st conference. I think I’d written about 30,000 words – as the start of 3 different manuscripts but couldn’t get any further. I had started a children’s book, and a couple of category romances. I learnt so much that conference, but the thing that still sticks out was Bob Mayer saying  ‘If you died right now, would the book that you’re writing now be the one that you’d want to be known for?’ (roughly paraphrased!) That convinced me to start writing my women’s fiction, Sisters. Seeing people get their 1st sale ribbon, and being one of the few sitting down at Anne Gracie’s “stand-ups” gave me the fire that I wanted that – I wanted the 1st sale ribbon, and I wanted to have a manuscript complete by the following conference.

2012 – Gold Coast. I finished writing the 1st draft of my 1st manuscript in July 2012, just in time for the conference! My main epiphany that year was Alexandra Sokoloff’s advice on structuring your novel, which I still base my manuscripts around. Finally I could stand up in the “stand-ups” because I’d finished a manuscript. Goal #1 tick :)

2013 – Fremantle. In late 2012, I finally decided on my pen name, and Kerrie Paterson was born :) Sisters made it through to the 2nd round of the Emerald in early 2013, and while it didn’t make it through to the 3rd round, it came 6th in round 2, which gave me the confidence to begin submitting to agents. And receive my 1st rejections :) I began to write a 2nd women’s fiction, Elsie’s Place. At the Freo conference, I pitched for the first time (with Sisters) – a major step.

2014 – Sydney. In early 2014, Elsie’s Place came 2nd in the Ripping Start competition – Goal #2 – to final in a writing competition – tick :) I received a request for a full from an agent, but heard nothing back, so turned my attention to submitting to publishers. I began a new romantic suspense novella, Polly’s Patisserie. At conference in 2014, I took as many business related workshops as craft ones and began to research self-publishing.

2015 – Melbourne. In late 2014, I decided to take time off from writing. I had a lot of stress in my personal life and I’d lost the love of writing. The 6 weeks I took off was the best thing I could have done. I started 2015 with fresh goals, a business plan and renewed enthusiasm. I wrote a Little Gems story which made it into the anthology – Goal #3 – to have a short story published – tick! I self-published my “missed it by that much” Little Gems short story (Moonstone Cottage), wrote a small-town / rural romance novella (Letting Go) and self-published it. Goal #4 – self-publish a novella – tick! Polly’s Patisserie finalled in the Emerald – Goal #5 – final in the Emerald – tick! I wrote a new novella to be self-published in November. After 5 years of coveting a 1st Sale ribbon, I was finally able to stand up and be presented with it at this year’s conference!! Goal #6 – 1st Sale Ribbon – tick! I pitched Elsie’s Place to 3 different publishers at conference and received requests for fulls from all of them. I took a mixture of business and craft related workshops again.

My apprenticeship has been slow, but this last year things have really started to come together. I’ve set my goals for the next 12 months and the next 5 years – it will be very interesting to see how it all pans out! Thanks for being there with me :)

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Reach for the Stars is complete – for now!

reach for the stars- Kerrie Paterson - th I finally finished writing my Bindarra Creek romance, Reach for the Stars late on Sunday night. This was starting to feel like one of those books that would never end, but applying a bit of bum-glue, I got to those magical words, THE END. So now it has winged its way to my critique partners and I start the nervous wait to see what they think of it. It still needs some polish, and probably some deepening emotion, but hopefully they don’t discover any major plot holes, unfinished threads or hate the whole story!

I’ve set a release date of 15th November, so still plenty of time to finish the process. Once it comes back from my CPs, I’ll make any changes they highlight, give it another polish, and then send it off for a professional edit, and also send to my wonderful beta readers so they can give me their feedback.

In the meantime, I’m catching up on tasks I’ve been neglecting. (One of those should be housework, but hey, lets not get too carried away!) I have blurbs to write, a pitch to prepare for conference as well as other conference preparation. Yes, the Romance Writers of Australia conference is less than 2 weeks away. It’s seriously the highlight of my year! I can’t wait to catch up with all my writing friends.

After conference – and a week or so to recover! – it will be time to turn my attention to the next book. I’m still undecided, but it will most likely be Book 2 of the Hope Creek series. I can’t wait to delve back into the world of Hope Creek again and catch up with my favourite characters.

Jul 27, 2015 - General    1 Comment

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

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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

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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!

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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)
 

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