May 18, 2015 - Cover Reveal, Writing    3 Comments

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 - 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 :)



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 – 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!

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.