Apr 23, 2015 - General    2 Comments

Everyday heroes

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The Hunter Valley, where I live, has just gone through devastating floods. My family and I were lucky – we incurred no damage, and only the minor inconvenience of being without power, phone and internet for almost 36 hours. Many people in the area are still without power, internet, phone and even water. Many have suffered damage to their home or properties. Unfortunately some lives have also been lost. It’s been a big wake up call to the ferocity of Mother Nature.

Since I got back online – and let me tell you, being isolated from the outside world for so long is a very strange feeling! – I’ve been hearing so many stories of everyday heroes. From those who risked their own lives to rescue people or animals from flood waters, to the thousands of volunteers and paid workers out clearing roads and properties with organisations like the State Emergency Service, Rural Fire Service, and emergency services. The thousands of workers working around the clock to reconnect power and phone services. Organisations opening their doors for people to drop by, shower and recharge their phones, or offering free meals to the volunteer services. People making food for the volunteers or donating supplies.

I choke up when I hear many of the stories. One in particular where a family lost everything except literally the clothes on their back when their house was swept away by the floodwaters. Other townspeople scoured the banks of the river to collect any possessions they could return to them.

Some days I despair of our society. Some days it seems people do nothing but whinge and complain, or attack others because of their beliefs.

But then a disaster happens and people pull together. And I’m reminded when push comes to shove, the world is full of everyday heroes.

Thank you to each and every one of you for making a difference!

Mar 30, 2015 - General, Writing    2 Comments

Music and memories

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“Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it. – Stevie Wonder”

I was driving along the other day and Dragon’s “April Sun in Cuba” came on the radio. Immediately I was transported back in time to sitting in a friend’s bedroom with other girls – it may even have been a sleepover. I remember the bedroom, the sun coming in the window but I don’t remember whose house it was, who else was there or how old I was. I do vividly recall though the sense of anticipation, freedom and happiness, and whenever I hear that song, I feel uplifted. On the other hand, I only have to hear Elton John’s “Daniel” to feel melancholy and recall standing by the front door, staring out into space and pining after a boy.

I’ve noticed I unconsciously use a lot of music in my writing – especially when writing my favourite tropes, friends to lovers or second chance at love. Hearing a song from your past can invoke such powerful emotion and stir up memories long buried. These days, I stick to mentioning only artists and song titles as they aren’t copyright, however in my 1st completed novel, I used a chunk of lyrics from “You are my sunshine”. I had a vague idea that I’d need to get permission but figured a publisher would deal with that. Next year I plan to rewrite that novel and publish it, but those lyrics are, to me, an integral part of the scene. What to do?

So I was very happy to have this article appear in my feed reader this week, and have immediately bookmarked it for when I need it. How to Use Lyrics Without Paying a Fortune or a Lawyer Based on the advice in that article, I’ve found out who holds the copyright for the song and will continue the process of applying for permission when I’m ready. Of course, if the fee comes back as exorbitant, I might need to rethink how important the lyrics really are!

In other news, as you can see by my photo above, I did get to sit around the campfire over the weekend! It’s been an exhausting week, with not much for time for writing, but I did get some editing done. I’m looking forward to the Easter break to catch up to where I should be.

What I’m reading: I’m still reading the Nora Roberts and Girl 43 – making slow progress. Last week I read Karly Lane’s Poppy’s Dilemma and LOVED it! It was a library copy, so now I’ll be keeping an eye out for a copy to buy. I also read Wife on the Run by Fiona Higgins. I liked it – some great descriptions, good secondary characters and a realistic resolution under the circumstances. It wasn’t a keeper but a good women’s fiction read nonetheless.

What I’m looking forward to: I’m really looking forward to the Easter break, and a couple of days off before we plunge into final rehearsals for The Secret Garden. We had a rough run yesterday with both casts and it’s coming together well!

Hope you have a great week!


Mar 23, 2015 - General, Writing    9 Comments

Don’t forget to breathe…



I admit it. I have chronic volunteer-itis. Which is fine most weeks – the load is usually spread relatively evenly.

But then along comes a week like I’ve got this week where all of my commitments seem to reach fever-pitch and all the balls I’m juggling are in danger of hurtling to the ground. Yeah that. I’m sure many of you can understand, as I know I’m not alone in this volunteer-itis.

So this week I have 3 Scouting events I’m involved in planning, prepping and / or running, one rehearsal, more props to source, RWA webmistress commitments, as well as all of the usual paid work and after school activities. Oh and a thing called writing. I think I remember that…

But then I stop, take a minute to breathe and be so very thankful for my life. Yes, my house may look like it’s been turned over by very messy burglars, but I have a home, a loving family, amazing friends, and, in comparison with much of the world’s population, a very privileged lifestyle.

Writery stuff:

We had a small but productive meeting with the Hunter Romance Writers on Saturday.

I’ve been busy playing around with a few cover ideas for Letting Go which I’ll self-publish in May or June. Now I have feedback from my CPs, I’ve also started editing said novella.

I’m not a visual person – I’m the type that skips over chunks of description in books, so I know I have an issue of not including enough description in my writing. (I need more “green” as Margie Lawson would say). To help me with my description, I’ve been adding pins to a new Pinterest board – https://www.pinterest.com/kerriepaterson3/letting-go-novella/ if anyone is interested.

Oh and I finally got around to booking in for the RWA conference in August! Can’t wait!

What I’m reading: I’m still reading the Nora Roberts and Girl 43. I finished the Lisa Heidke book, It started with a kiss, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I whizzed through an autobiography of Shane Jacobson called The Long Road to Overnight Success. Very funny and a great read. Currently I’m reading Maggie Alderson How to break your own heart. It’s got some things that are really annoying me about it, but I’m intrigued enough to read on to find out how its going to end.

What I’m looking forward to: I’m really looking forward to an overnight hike with our Scout troop this weekend. It’s only a small hike, but I can’t wait to get out in nature, breathe in the fresh air – and possibly even toast a marshmallow over the fire!

Hope you all have a magical week. Don’t forget to stop and breathe, and be grateful for what you have!

Mar 16, 2015 - Uncategorized    2 Comments

Put interesting title here

While my novella, Letting Go, is with my CPs for feedback, I’ve been letting it sit and turning my mind to the next novella. It’s a rural / small-town romance I’ll be self-publishing in November, still untitled. After some brainstorming, I have an idea of my main characters, and a one page summary of the plot. I’ll let “the boys in the basement” chew over the storyline for me while I get back into editing Letting Go and playing around with cover designs.

I’ve also been doing lots of those peripheral writery things like setting up author profiles, filling in tax paperwork, opening a bank account, starting a Pinterest account etc. Oh and I edited my Little Gems short story, Lost Love, according to the instructions and sent it off to be included in the anthology. I can’t wait until August to see it in print :)

What I’m reading: I’ve pretty much always got a Nora Roberts on the go – she’s my comfort reading. Currently I’m re-reading Jewels of the Sun – the 1st book in one of her Irish trilogies. I’m also half-way through – and loving – Lisa Heidke’s It Started with a Kiss. And for times when I want something a little darker, I’m also part way through Girl 43 by Maree Giles – a novel based on the Parramatta Girls Home (a Sydney home for “wayward girls” which has been the subject of enquiries recently).

What I’m looking forward to: Our writers’ group meets on Saturday so that always great to get together and talk writing. I’m props person for a play my son’s drama group is putting on at the end of April, so I’m looking forward to scrounging a few more op-shops looking for props and sitting in on rehearsals this weekend.

Some love for you all:

I hope everyone has a great week!

Mar 5, 2015 - Uncategorized    10 Comments

Little Gems Excitement!

I’m jumping out of my skin with excitement to announce that I’ve made it into this year’s RWA Little Gems Anthology! My short story, Lost Love, will be part of this year’s Peridot themed anthology of romantic shorts. See here for the official announcement! https://romanceaustralia.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/21366/

Congrats to my fellow anthologists :) Big “thank yous” to all the contest co-ordinators and judges who have helped me tick another item off my writing goal list!


Mar 2, 2015 - General, Release Day, Writing    3 Comments

Moonstone Cottage is live!

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll probably already know this – but if not, I finally bit the bullet last week and sent my short story live on Amazon and Smashwords.


moonstonecottage-fullsize-cloudsNearing the second anniversary of her daughter’s murder, Peta Collins flees the media scrum by renting a cottage in the Hunter Valley.

Unknown to her, the cottage is owned by Daniel Woodman, the retired detective formerly in charge of her daughter’s murder investigation.

Peta has come here seeking to forget and the cottage is the perfect place with its reputation for healing. But she finds herself increasingly drawn to Daniel.

How can they have a future when he reminds her of everything she lost?

Moonstone Cottage is a sweet, contemporary romance short story of 3,000 words.

It’s available at all good ebook stores :)






Feb 23, 2015 - General, Writing    No Comments

Take a pause


As planned,  I did get the 1st draft of Letting Go finished the week before last. I had great plans to do a quick edit and send it off to my CPs by the end of last week. Unfortunately, an extended family member passed away suddenly so the week was a bit of a write-off as far as finding the time and the right head-space. So I decided to take the week off and give myself the gift of a pause.

My head is back in the game this week. I will finish the first edit. I have a few scenes that need to be rewritten in a different POV, some scenes that probably need to be expanded and I’m not 100% happy with the ending yet. I plan to send that off to my CPs by the end of the week so they can give me their initial thoughts – what needs strengthening, does the plot work and hit the right beats, are the characters relatable, distinct, do they grow etc? All those structural things that have to be right, before I get stuck into more in-depth editing.

And I’m also looking at rewriting the ending to Moonstone Cottage before I send it out into the world. I’m not sure if that’s just a procrastination excuse as I’m scared to send it off, or not. It’s a big step!

Oh and how could I forget! It was announced that my romantic suspense novella has made it through to the second round of the RWA’s Emerald competition! Please keep your fingers crossed for me as it goes into the next round of judging!

Have a great week!

Feb 9, 2015 - Cover Reveal, General, Writing    6 Comments

Cover reveal and flexible goal posts!

I moved my goal posts last week. I said I was going to write 3000 words on Letting Go. I wrote 1600, but I also finished editing my romantic suspense novella, AND I created a cover for the short story I’m going to self-publish. Which was great fun but a major time suck!



So now I’m slightly behind schedule for Letting Go. I want to get the first draft finished this week, so it’s bum on seat and my major focus will be on writing! No word count goal, but I have about 8 scenes left to write.

I survived the first week of being Coke Free – despite the inevitable headaches which arrived on cue around Day 3 and lasted a few days. I think I’ve eaten too much chocolate to compensate though!

Hope you all have a great week, and I’d love to hear your opinion on my cover.

Feb 2, 2015 - General, Writing    6 Comments

Back into routine…

I think the universe likes to test me.

From when I posted my goals last week, I had several time-consuming and emotionally involved issues thrown at me that had to be dealt with. They would have been the perfect excuse not to get my writing done, but I couldn’t bear to come back after the first week and say I’d failed! So it meant a big writing day on Sunday, but I made my 3000 words! I’m really loving rediscovering these characters again, and fingers crossed, the words are coming reasonably easily.

This week I’m aiming for another 3000 words. School is back, and while for many authors with school-age kids, it means more time for writing, since I homeschool, it means less for me! My son is quite independent with his learning, but I’m still needed to drive him to classes and be there when he wants to discuss or ask questions. And of course, it means all the extra-curricular activities start back for us both.

Speaking of my son, I have to share with you the amazing video he made, featuring me! Some of you may have already seen it on Facebook. I may be slightly biased, but I think he’s done a fantastic job!

I start the RWA self-publishing course with Cathleen Ross today – I’m looking forward to learning all about it!

I’ve also decided to unofficially join FebFast by giving up Coke for the month of February – and hopefully, maybe, for good. I did it before, years ago, and was off it for about 18 months – lost a heap of weight and felt so much better. Once it creeps back into my life, I find it hard to stop. But for now, I’ll focus on a day at a time for 27 days (since I only decided to start today).

Have a great week!

Jan 28, 2015 - General, Writing    6 Comments

This year’s for writing!

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I got sidetracked last year. By quite a few other things, but possibly especially by my photography and the 365 challenge I undertook. I certainly don’t regret it but this year I have one goal – to focus on my writing.

Last year had its good points. I wrote a Little Gems entry that missed out by *this much* on being in the anthology. My women’s fiction novel, Elsie’s Place, came 2nd in the Ripping Start and 6th in the 2nd round of the Emerald. I subbed to agents and got a request for a full, but that, unfortunately, was the last I heard from said agent. I then subbed it to all the major traditional publishers with no response.

I started another women’s fiction, then got side-tracked by a shiny new idea which turned into a romantic suspense novella. I subbed it too early, but got a useful rejection back, and was able to expand and deepen the story quite significantly. It came equal 7th in the Ripping Start this year and is currently in the Emerald Rd 1. (Fingers crossed!)

So yeah, when I write it all out, it was still a reasonably productive year. As you probably remember, I had a lot going on at the end of last year and pretty much fell in a heap saying ‘No more!’. I took a break from writing for 6 weeks – which was the best thing I could have done. I’ve come back to it refreshed and brimming over with ideas and plans. While on holidays, I wrote a Little Gems story, formulated my goals and even wrote a business plan and schedule.

I’ve decided to dip my toe into the self-publishing waters this year, while also attempting to get a publishing contract with my romantic suspense novella and Elsie’s Place. I’ve signed up for Cathleen Ross’s online course through RWA about self-publishing and have a plan to publish my ‘missed-it-by-that-much’ 2014 Little Gems short story, as well as two (still to be written) rural / small-town contemporary romance novellas during the year. My hope is that self-publishing will give me a new challenge, deadlines and – eeek – people to actually read my words! (And if I make a couple of dollars, that would be nice too!)

In an attempt to stay on track, I’m going to use this blog to stay accountable. There’s nothing like putting my goals out in public to make me reach them! I’m using both Rescue Time and Freedom on my computer to limit & monitor my internet usage. I have weekly word counts that are doable given all my other commitments (if I put bum on seat!), and importantly for me, I’ve built a few breaks in through the year.

So here goes.

The novella I’m working on is actually a revamped version of the women’s fiction I started and didn’t finish last year, tentatively titled “Letting Go”. My goal this week is to write 3000 words. I’ve only done 770 of them so far, so had best pull my finger out!

Thanks for reading and for your support :)