Monday, December 24, 2012

Make Believe Giveaways and Christmas Cheer

Today: Over at Burning Impossibly Bright Ambur is interviewing all six authors in the Make Believe anthology. How awesome is that? She is also hosting a fabulous giveaway, so pop on over and check it out.

December 28th: there will be a review of Make Believe at Once Upon a Time, plus a giveaway.

December 31st: Kindle and Me will be hosting a spotlight and review of Make Believe plus there will be another e-book giveaway. Woot!

I will be enjoying the Christmas break with family and friends and will return in the new year.

Please have a peaceful Christmas 
and a safe and happy New Year.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Make Believe Blog Tour with J C Martin

Today I'm with J C Martin, fabulous author of Oracle, a fantastic crime thiller which I highly recommend. JC will be interviewing me about life, the universe and everything. Okay, so maybe no quite as deep as that, but pop on over for a visit, and we will talk about scary things like what might be my catch phrase... (You'll know what I mean when you read it)

This is part of the blog tour for Make Believe, an anthology of fantasy and paranormal stories inspired by the cover.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas in Australia and #MakeBelieve

It's time for the Holiday Spirit Blogfest hosted by Denise and Donna for the Romantic Friday Writers group. They are looking for fiction, non-fiction, memoir, recipes, traditions, inspirational articles...or just photos of your decorated home. Your choice. Share in the Holiday Spirit Blogfest. To see a list of those taking part, click here.

Christmas in Australia
Due to my Make Believe book tour, I've been super unorganised this Christmas. I don't even have my tree up yet. With only a few more days to go, the tree is probably not going to happen. This will be the first time ever that I won't have a decorated tree up for Christmas. While this makes me a sad panda, a tree does not make Christmas.

I usually spend Christmas with family and, despite the hot weather, we enjoy a hot roast lunch. The afternoon involves sitting around chatting and/or sleeping, and in the evening we gather around the dining table and play poker. We bet using one and two cent pieces, which then get returned to the coin bottle at the end of the day for another year.

Another thing us Aussies do around this time of year is travel. The weather is perfect for luxurious cruises, visits to tropical islands, and lounging in the sun. The image above is a photo I recently took on the South Pacific island of Lifou. A gorgeous place of powder-white sand and turquoise waters.
This is a photo my hubby took of me writing while on the cruise. Yes, cruises are currently my favourite form of travel. What's your favourite form of travel? What's your Christmas tradition?

If you'd like to know what I was like in high school, and other unusual things, then pop on over to Rebecca Hart's blog where she is interviewing me as part of the Make Believe book tour. I'd love to see you over there. Click HERE.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Make Believe with Julie Reece

Today, as part of the Make Believe anthology book tour, I’m with the lovely Julie Reece, author of Crux. She will be interviewing me. Exciting!! So I encourage you to pop on over. I’d love to see you there. Please click HERE.

Also, there will be an ebook giveaway of Make Believe over at Michelle's Paranormal Vault of Books.

Libby Heily is giving away 5 copies of her book, Tough Girl, on Goodreads for US residents.

Congrats to Terri Rochenski for signing a two book deal with J Taylor Publishing for her Pool of Souls series, including Eye of the Soul and Secrets of the Soul. Woo hoo, Terri!!

I also received The Addictive Blog Award from Melissa Maygrove. Thank you so much!!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Character Interview and Review for #MakeBelieve

Christa is the main character in Birthright, my story published in the Make Believe anthology. For something a little different, she will be with Susan Rocan today at mywithershins for an interview. If you'd like to learn more, please pop on over. I'd love to see you there. Click HERE.

Susan also wrote up a wonderful review of Birthright, which really made my weekend. You can read it here.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Meet the Authors of Make Believe

I’ve always been interested in what draws people toward writing and how they got started, so today I’m asking the authors of the Make Believe anthology this very question:  What got you started in writing?

In order of their story appearance in the anthology:

Terri Rochenski
I went to public school starting in 8th grade. Those 'choose your own adventure' stories were all the craze. I read every one the library had to offer and thought, "I can do this!" I wrote three or four which I read to my younger brothers till they fell apart. Then I thought, "I'm going to write a novel". It was a fantasy adventure about a little gnome named Gundi. That was only the beginning of my dreaming. :)

J. Keller Ford
I started writing when I was around five years old but it wasn’t until high school I realized I had potential. My English teachers loved my writing and encouraged me to pursue my talents. Like so many of us, though, I ended up going a different direction and I put my writing aside. Twenty-five years later, I returned to writing. In 2011, I completed the first manuscript in a YA fantasy trilogy. I am currently working on the remaining two, and my short story, The Amulet of Ormisez, was published by J. Taylor Publishing. Other short stories are in the submission stage.

Lynda R. Young
I blame an ear infection. Sounds odd, but it rendered me close to deaf when I was young. For a long time no one suspected because I’d learned to read lips. But I didn’t catch everything, so I stopped trying and retreated into my own little worlds. My mum discovered the problem and I had an operation which fixed my hearing, but by then it was too late. I’d fallen in love with those worlds. Matched with the discovery of the joys of reading, it was inevitable I’d turn to writing.

Kelly Said
I started writing as soon as I learned how to hold a pencil to paper. I would find a quiet space to drift away into my own little world, sketching scenes and scribbling short stories. My mom still has some of those early pieces, hehe! It wasn’t until after I graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in drawing though, that I started letting the words fly, dedicating time to honing my ability to bring my imagination to life. It’s exciting to experience that flash of an idea, to write it out, edit, and rewrite until it’s told just right.

Jennifer M. Eaton
I have been writing ever since the bug hit me in high school, when for some demented reason I decided to write a story for my friends. I ended up writing one chapter a night (under high peer pressure) and 800 or pages later (yeah, ouch) I had my first novel. Well... several novels later I finally decided to try and get something published, and Whalla! Here I am. Before now, writing was more of a pleasure sport for me. I really enjoy the process and the creation of a new world. I am so thrilled to now be able to share one of my stories with the world. It is really an amazing feeling.

J.A. Belfield
What got me into writing is a question I get asked a lot. Whilst I’d love to have some deep and meaningful answer, I just don’t. The truth of the matter is, the reason I started writing was because I had crazy-a$$ed dreams most nights, and even crazier-a$$ed daydreams, and way too much time on my hands due to being a housewife and the kidlets being in school. I mean, there’s only so much housework a bird can do before she starts to get a little stir-crazy, right? So, I sat down one day … and I began to write.

How did you get started in writing?

As part of the Make Believe Blog Tour:

I’m over with Kelly Said at her blog for a glimpse into my writing world (scary). I'd love to see you over there. Click here.

I am also over with Jennifer M Eaton so I strapped on those roller skates again. I'd love to see you over there. Click here.


Monday, December 10, 2012

6 Reasons Writers Should Read

Today I’m discussing 6 Reasons Writers Should Read over at Carol Kilgore’s awesome blog, Under the Tiki Hut. This is another stop on the exciting Make Believe Blog Tour. I’d love to see you over there. Click HERE.

Today is also the start of AlexFest, officially titled, ‘Cheers, Cavanaugh BlogFest.’ It’s hosted by the marvellous Mark Koopmans, the fabulous Morgan Shamy, the great David King Powers, and the irrepressible Stephen Tremp. This fest is all about celebrating a terrific writer, blogger and friend: Alex J Cavanaugh, author of CassaStar, CassaFire, and soon to be released, CassaStorm. Because Alex is such an amazing person, I’m taking a moment’s pause in my busy Blog Tour schedule to take part. 

What does Alex look like? Below is my impression of what Alex looks like. Between scheduling and visiting, I whipped this image up in photoshop. Sorry, Alex, I just had to reveal the truth!
Who could play Alex in a documentary? Johnny Depp. But then, Johnny could play anyone and I’d be more than happy to watch him.

Who does Alex remind you of? Someone who lives by his faith, who is generous with his time, and humble. A cowboy wearing a white hat!

A flash fiction using all these prompts: Cavanaugh, Ninja, IWSG, Cosbolt, Guitar.
The Lost Ninjas
The cosbolt named Cavanaugh shoots through space carrying a band of guitar-carrying ninjas on their way to planet IWSG. Their trajectory swerves, the ship stutters off course. Warning lights blink on, but the ninjas don’t notice. They’re too busy fighting over who will get to read CassaStorm first. They’ve missed IWSG and are careening into unknown space, never to be seen from again.

A comment for Mrs Cavanaugh: Thank you for looking after our Alex, for keeping him sane while he writes, for enjoying his music and supporting him in everything he does. As we all know, behind every great man stands an even greater woman. You must be truly amazing. Blessings to you, Mrs Cavanaugh.

To see a list of everyone taking part, click HERE.

Thank you to Rachna for showcasing Make Believe last Friday. You are a good friend.

And don’t forget to visit Carol under the tiki hut! Click HERE.

Make Believe

Saturday, December 8, 2012

8 Benefits of Writing Short Stories

The lovely Theresa Milstein has kindly offered to be a part of my Make Believe Anthology Tour. I didn't even have to twist her arm (which is good because my brother tells me I twist like a girl). I will be talking about 8 Benefits of Writing Short Stories. Yes, there are benefits! I'd love to see you over there. Click HERE!

I am also over with Terri Rochenski at Scribbler's Sojourn being interviewed! Yikes!! I'm in two places at once! I must be a super hero (or just a crazy person on roller skates which seems more likely). I'd love to see you over there!! Click HERE!

If you have time and want a little chuckle, Chris Andrews, an Aussie writer I met at GenreCon 2012, has written up a hilarious post: Successfully Pitching to an Agent or Editor – The Cretin’s Guide

Thursday, December 6, 2012

J. A. Belfield Interviewed, Author of Blue Moon

Today I'm privileged to have J. A. Belfield here with me. She willingly accepted to be my very first interview victim subject:

Tell us about your exciting new book release, Blue Moon. What’s the story about?
Oh lordy! How to explain without massive spoilers?
Hmm, okay, Blue Moon is the second full length novel in the Holloway Pack series and shows how Jem’s place in the pack has become more established since Darkness & Light. It also shows how her relationships with other pack members have developed. So when a couple of the male pack members find themselves new girlfriends—or the new girlfriends find them—Jem believes she has every right to a say on the matter. And with good reason. ;)

What makes this story stand out from other werewolf stories?
This ain’t just about werewolves howling at the moon and searching for a mate to have steamy romance scenes with. It’s full of a whole lot of magic that drives the story forward and takes the reader on a completely different journey to Darkness & Light even.

How did the creation and inspiration for the story evolve?
Honestly? I wanted magic in my book, so I perused a tome of traditional spells (apparently all tried and tested), found some seriously cool ones, and worked out how I could weave a story around those.

You are also the headline author for the Make Believe anthology. How have you managed to juggle your time, what with all the writing, deadlines, marketing, networking and life in general?
I don’t juggle—if I do, I end up dropping all the balls. ;)
I’m naturally very disorganised, and my head flitters a LOT. So I have to mark every single thing I need to remember outside of my WIP in a calendar and set reminders so I don’t forget. As for the networking around writing? That’s the easy bit. It’s called procrastination. ;)

Sweet or savoury? Depends on my mood? Okay, I’ll go with sweet—simply because it’s far more important to my mental health to have chocolate in the house than it is a pork pie. ;)

Which of the 12 dwarfs would you be? Bwahahahahaha, crikey, I dunno. Probably Dopey. Ha!

Favourite colour? Blue in general. Grey in clothes.

Mountains or the Ocean? Both. That cheating? I do a lot of coastal walks with the fam, so we tend to be on kind of mountainous edges whilst overlooking the sea. But if I abso had to choose, it’d probably be ocean. That stuff can drown out even the roughest of nightmares.

Tea or coffee? COFFEE!!!!!!!!

And lastly, how can we find you? 
Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

J. A. Belfield lives in Solihull, England, with her husband, two children, three cats, and a dog. She writes paranormal romance with a second love for urban fantasy.

Blue Moon Purchase Links:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Books On Board

Congrats: I'd also like to quickly send out a huge congrats to PK Hrezo for signing with an agent! Woot!

Make Believe: Taneesha at Kaidan's Seduction will be posting up a review of Make Believe as part of the tour. You can check it out HERE

Author Interview: Also, as part of the Make Believe tour, I'm over at J A Belfield's blog being interviewed. I'd love to see you over there! You can find out a little more about me and the inspiration behind my short story, Birthright. Click HERE.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I’m Not a Real Writer If…

‘I’m not a real writer if…’ statements might sound absurd, but I’ve heard them muttered by more than a few writers. We use them when our doubts begin to wash in. Before long, they threaten to  carry away our confidence*.

I’m not a real writer if I don’t write every day.
By the same logic doctors aren’t real doctors if they don’t see patients every day. Writers need to live a little to be able to write because our best writing comes from experience. We need to earn a living since writing doesn’t pay except for the rare few. We can be constantly thinking about writing, constantly observing the world, but we don’t have to be writing all the time or every day. There are benefits of writing every day, as I’ve explained in a previous post, but it doesn’t somehow make you a failure if you can’t.

I’m not a real writer if I’m not published.
For a long time I didn’t tell anyone I was a writer because the first response I got was, “Oh, you’re a writer! Where have you been published?” While I’m able to answer that question now with a happy collection of short story achievements, for a long time I thought publication validated me as a writer. But here’s the truth: Publication doesn’t make a writer, it’s simply a means of sharing a writer’s work.

I’m not a real writer if I haven’t written a novel.
I know plenty of writers who have found a fulfilling career from writing short stories. None of them are somehow less of a writer. They found a niche they take a great deal of enjoyment from.

I’m not a real writer if I don’t have more than one idea for a story.
For a long while I stressed over this one because I struggled to come up with new ideas. After a reminder from my hubby that I have a tendency to focus on my current project in a way that sets up blinders to everything else, I realised that’s okay. The moment I finished the manuscript, the ideas started flooding in. But even if you are a writer with one idea, that’s okay too. Pour all you have into that idea and give it all you’ve got. If you do, then you’ll create something special.

I’m not a real writer if I take more than a year to write a book.
Tolkien took around 12 years to write The Lord of the Rings. Apparently Suzanne Collins took about two years to write The Hunger Games. George R R Martin, author of the Game of Thrones, is notorious for being a slow writer with 10 years between books. And let’s not forget it takes a while for the ideas to percolate before a writer even starts to write.

There are, of course, more statements I could add here, but I think I’ve made my point. We all work differently and what works for one writer may not work for you, and that’s okay.

Whether you're a writer or not, do you have a tendency to think this way? What do you do to remove this kind of negative thinking?

This post was written for the Insecure Writers' Support Group hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh. We post on the first Wednesday of every month.

*This is not to say our confidence is a coconut but I just had to use this pic I took on the Isle of Pines ;)

And now for the Giveaway of an ebook copy of Make Believe. Everyone's names of those who helped me with the launch and will be helping me in the tour went into the sparkly hat. A huge thank you to everyone who took part, but there could only be one winner. My adorable husband drew the winning name...

And the Winner is...
Congratulations, Libby!! 
Please send me an email detailing which e-format you'd like Make Believe in.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Make Believe Author Interview and Thanks

Today is the Make Believe Tour Day 2. I’ll be over at J. Keller Ford’s blog. Jenny is the author of The Amulet of Ormisez, the second story featured in the Make Believe anthology. She will be interviewing me today. Exciting! Check it out HERE.

Before you pop on over to read the interview, I’d like to give a special thanks to everyone who has generously helped out on launch day to spread the word about Make Believe. Tomorrow I will announce the winner of an ebook copy of the anthology. More excitement!

An extra special thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh, Carol Riggs, Libby Heily, Carol Kilgore, Medeia Sharif, Leslie S. Rose, Rachel Morgan, Golden Eagle, Marta Szemik, Nick Wilford who went to the extra trouble of finding and posting those pesky purchase links because I was unable to hand them out before I lost access to the internet.

I’d also like to thank M.L.Swift, a new follower who found my blog via Google, and ‘fell head-over-heels in like’. Aw, thank you so much for the support!

And to Susan Swiderski for the fabulous champagne launch post.

I’d also like to thank Nas from Romance Reader for sending me not one but three romance novels!! Wow! You’re awesome! Dr Chandler’s Sleeping Beauty by Melanie Milburne, St Piran’s Rescuing Pregnant Cinderella by Carol Marinelli, and St Piran’s The Wedding of the Year by Caroline Anderson. I have much wonderful reading to do this month.

Australian and New Zealand Romance authors might be interested in this post about Escape Publishing. 

While I was away I read Leigh T. Moore’s novel, Rouge. Wow! I loved it! It’s set in historical New Orleans and shows the darker side of theatre life. It sucked me right into the story and didn’t let go. Leigh has a wonderful talent for bringing setting and characters alive. I’d recommend this more for adults rather than teens, but it’s well worth the read. I’ll write up a full review soon, but I just had to mention it here.

Read any good books lately?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Launch Day! Let's Celebrate #MakeBelieve

This is it. The time has come. After what felt like a mammoth wait, my short story, Birthright, has finally been published by J. Taylor Publishing!! Happy, happy, happy dance!!

You'll find Birthright in the Make Believe anthology which is officially launched as an e-book TODAY! The collection of stories range from paranormal romance to fantasy, all inspired by the image on the cover. So exciting!!
Birthright by Lynda R. Young
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible.

She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her.

Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead. 

Blurbs from all the stories included in Make Believe can be found on the J. Taylor Publishing website HERE.

Purchase Links: 
Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Amazon UK / All Romance / Diesel eBooks / Books on Board

And so the tour begins:

To kick off the blog tour, Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance will be hosting an e-book giveaway. After you've enjoyed some celebratory cake, please pop on over to check it out.
A huge thank you to everyone who has rallied around with their enthusiasm and generosity to celebrate this exciting event with me (listed below and in my Blog Tour). Have some extra virtual cake, bubbly and streamers... and lots and lots of chocolate!!!

A special thank you to Carol Riggs who kindly offered her expert critique of my short story while it was still in its early stages. You rock!

I will pop around to everyone as soon as I can get back online.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Exciting Announcement

Not long now before my short story, Birthright, will be published in Make Believe and released into the big wide world on 3rd December. So exciting!!

A couple of early reviews have already trickled in and I’m thrilled to say they are all positive. One that was specific to my story brought on a massive smile and a happy dance in the middle of the room:
“…the enigmatic Jack really takes the spotlight. His enthusiasm for his museum and Christa is exciting. I could easily read a novel-length version of this piece.” Danielle Villano. 
Pop on over to Danielle's blog at The Reader’s Commute for a full review of all the stories.

Make Believe Blog Tour
I’ve finally posted the Make Believe Blog Tour list.
You can see it in all its glory on my Blog Tour tab HERE

A huge thank you to everyone who has generously given their time and enthusiasm for celebrating this event, and sharing the news. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: You are all so awesome.

Unfortunately I won’t have internet access for a week before the launch, so this is my last post before the anthology’s launch. Eek! Consequently I’d like to send out a special thanks to all who have already signed up to celebrate the release on launch day, 3rd December. Extra virtual cake for you! And MORE!

Announcement: I'd like to GIVEAWAY an ebook copy of Make Believe to one lucky person who has signed up and helps spread the word about Make Believe on Launch day (I'll also include those signed up for the Blog Tour). I'll draw a name from a sparkly hat and announce the winner on 5th December*

Note: In case of late sign-up, or I can’t get an email out to you in time, everything you’ll need for launch day should be on my Make Believe Tab.

*If you haven’t signed up for launch day celebrations and would like to, there's still time and I'll enter you into the giveaway. Please sign up below.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Are You Too Busy Being a Writer to Write?

There is so much a writer needs to do to achieve a successful writing career. We need to network, research, market, critique, edit, mentor, go to workshops, attend conventions, listen to seminars, learn the craft, pitch, blog, tweet, Facebook, email, query, promote, read.

Oh, and write. Don't forget the writing.

The problem is we do forget to write. It gets buried under all the other stuff. It gets shoved away and pushed aside, dropping to the bottom of our list of priorities.

There is only one answer: We need to remember to write. This might sound easy, but it means recalling our passion for the craft, practising discipline, and making the time to write. Our writing sessions don't have to go on for hours so long as we write. 

There is nothing more important to our writing career than our writing.

Are you too busy being a writer to write? What holds you back? What helps you to remember?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Gain Quality Feedback from Your Critique Partners

In my last post, I covered How to Pick a Good Critique Partner. Today I will cover what to do next to gain quality feedback from that partner, communication being the key factor:

Be specific about the kind of feedback you want. State what you want and when you want it, and be as clear as possible. This is important because if you give your critique partners little-to-no direction, then their comments will likely reflect this. For example, if you’re uncertain about your dialogue, then ask them if your dialogue works. You could even ask something as vague as, ‘I know something isn’t working in this scene, but I don’t know what it might be’. Note: don’t ask for your partners to look for too many things. A giant list of questions about your work will only overwhelm them.

State the genre and the target market. Don’t let your critique partners go in blind when you hand over your manuscript. It’s important they know what genre and market you are aiming for. What may work for a crime novel, may not work for a fantasy. Likewise, what may work for adult fiction, may not work for young adult. Knowing these details about your story will help your critique partners focus their comments.

Be specific about when you want the feedback. Be sure to give your critique partners plenty of time to go through your manuscript without rushing. However, without setting a finish date, you could be waiting a long time.

Nurture open communication. This is so you can easily clarify any comments your critique partners make. A relationship between writer and critiquer is far stronger if both parties feel comfortable with each other. There’ll be a better chance of gaining truthful comments, not comments the critiquer thinks the writer wants to hear.

Use more than one critique partner. Three critique partners will give you a clearer overview of your work than just one. What one person doesn’t like in your manuscript, two others may love. When there is a conflict in the feedback, I tend to go with the majority.

Approach your feedback with an open mind. Sometimes writers won’t recognize fantastic feedback because deep down they don’t want to hear their baby needs more work. While critiques are simply opinions, if you’ve picked your partners well, then most of those opinions will be educated. It’s worth listening to them. This doesn’t mean you should treat those opinions or suggestions like the law. Weigh everything you hear and then decide for yourself whether you agree, but do it with an open mind.

Do you struggle to get helpful feedback?

J Taylor Publishing is giving away five copies of the Make Believe anthology. If you'd like to hop on over for a chance at a copy, then click HERE! But be quick because the offer ends on November 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm Eastern Time

Monday, November 12, 2012

How to Pick a Good Critique Partner

This post is not so much on how to find critique partners. Finding them is easy, but picking good ones is a lot harder. Finding a partner who can give you the kind of feedback you need for your manuscript is just as elusive as trying to find that perfect cup of coffee (or, in my case, that perfect hot chocolate). Everyone’s tastes are different, everyone’s needs are different. You have to find the one that suits you, which means you need to be mindful in the choosing process:

Pick someone who can give you the type of feedback you want. Firstly, this requires knowing what you want. If you want professional level feedback, then it’s best not to go to your family or friends—unless, of course, they have industry experience. If you want feedback that’s mostly encouragement, then it’s best not to go to a busy editor. You need to pick a partner with the appropriate skill level for your needs.

Pick someone with critiquing experience. Sure, everyone has an opinion on what they like and don’t like, but not everyone has the skill to be able to communicate that in a helpful way. For example, knowing what works in the manuscript is just as important as knowing what doesn’t work. This balanced feedback is the best kind.

Pick someone you can trust. If you can’t trust your critique partner, or you’re not comfortable talking openly and honestly about your work, then you’ve wasted everyone’s time, including your own. You’ll need to find someone whose feedback you can trust on a personal and professional level.

Pick someone who understands your genre. This doesn’t necessarily mean only pick writers who also write in the same genre. I’ve found writers of different genres often approach my manuscripts with a fresh eye. However, a certain level of understanding of your genre is necessary for quality feedback since every genre has certain expectations within them that should be met.

Pick someone who likes your genre. Not everyone likes all genres. If you find a critique partner who is a great critiquer but doesn’t enjoy reading your type of stories, then you’ll be less likely to get good feedback, and less likely to hold on to them for long. They may even terminate the job midway through.

Pick someone with good time management skills. Otherwise you could be waiting a long time for any feedback.

My next post will be How to Gain Quality Feedback from Your Critique Partners.

What are the qualities of your favourite critique partners? Without naming names, have you had any bad experiences with critique partners?

A New Adult Urban Fantasy with a contemporary sci-fi twist, The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear is the first book in a new series written by M. Pax. And it’s now out!

Graduation from community college isn’t the magic elixir Hetty Locklear counts on for becoming an adult. Her parents, who work the Renaissance fair circuit, insist she spend part of the summer with them. Hetty doubts pretending to live in the Middle Ages will help her find her way.

To make it worse, an entity haunts her at her dead-end job, warning her of a dangerous man she doesn’t know. The ghost leads her to a lover who has a lot of secrets. He pulls her farther into peril and into a strange, hidden world of genetic experimentation.

Available as an ebook at Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords / iTunes / Kobo
Visit for more links.

M. Pax is celebrating her latest release with a jousting tournament and contest at Cheer for the knights to help them win the grand prize, and you’ll be put in a drawing to win an ebook copy of The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear. Five will be given away. Huzzah!

Kyra Lennon's Blindsided is also now available on kindle at Amazon. Her exciting blog tour for this book will be November 26th to December 7th.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Guest Post: Third Person vs. First Person

Please welcome Emi Gayle, author of the great young adult paranormal romance, After Dark. Take it away, Emi!

Third person vs. 1st person ... that is the question.

Does it really have to be one or the other?

Sure, in the real world, a single book is written in a single person - either 1st, 2nd or 3rd, though 2nd is not used nearly as much as 1st or 3rd.

And by reader-base, there seems to be a mix. I’ve seen crime novels in 1st, YA books in 3rd and romance in both. Some have said romance should always be 3rd, but who are they to say?

In reality, a writer writes what they are comfortable with ... what they engage with themselves. I love 3rd person books. I read them, so I write them. But I also love 1st person books ... I read them so I write them too.

From a marketing perspective, though, I’m told that readers don’t like it when a writer they come to love shifts person ... so someone who typically writers 3rd, writing 1st is ‘just plain weird’. Vice versa applies, too.

How then can someone who loves both fulfill both needs and preferences?

Well, like me! I write 1st person for the YA crowd and my atler-ego writes 3rd person for the adult crowd. Yep, the best of both worlds. This is why After Dark is writting in 1st person - because it’s for the YA crowd.

Though the switch back and forth is not easy. The nuances of writing each are very different -- almost taxing a part of the brain some of us would rather not do.

Like in 3rd person, I can switch to another person’s perspective to show off part of the story. In 1st person, I have to stick to the one person who’s telling the story. In 3rd, there’s omniscient opportunities (though I personally don’t like these) where as in 1st, the reader can only know what the speaking character knows. See? Nuances.

That, though, makes the challenge of writing a good book even more fun. If you’re competitive like me, this is the perfect way to stretch those mental muscles and learn to write in multiple ways.

Try it sometime. You might find that you like writing in both and that depending on the story, the ‘person’ really fits.

Book details:
What eighteen year old Mac Thorne doesn’t know will probably kill her.

In exactly eight months, five days, three hours and thirteen minutes, Mac has to choose what she’ll be for the rest of her life.

She has no choice but to pick. As a Changeling, it’s her birthright. To Mac, it’s a birthchore. Like going to school with humans, interacting with humans, and pretending to be human during the pesky daylight hours.

Once darkness descends, Mac can change into any supernatural form that exists — which makes her as happy as she can be. That is, until Winn Thomas, the biggest geek in her senior class figures out there’s more to what hides in the dark than most are willing to acknowledge.

In this first of the 19th Year Trilogy, Winn might know more about Mac than even she does, and that knowledge could end their lives, unless Mac ensures the powers-that-be have no choice but to keep him around.

Winn and Mac were perfect for each other in every way possible. It was like two magnets finally finding each other and connecting.” — Good Choice Reading

Awesome beyond awesome! For lovers of YA Paranormal, this is a MUST READ!!!” — Romancing the Book

Talk about can't put down...I accidentally opened this one instead of the book I was scheduled to read. Made the mistake of reading the first paragraph -- and I have not been able to put my iPad down since!” — Parajunkee


Buy links:
Barnes and Noble

Author details:
Emi Gayle just wants to be young again. She lives vicariously through her youthful characters, while simultaneously acting as chief-Mom to her teenaged son and searching for a way to keep her two daughters from ever reaching the dreaded teen years.

Ironically, those years were some of Emi's favorite times. She met the man of her dreams at 14, was engaged to him at 19, married him at 20 and she's still in love with him to this day. She'll never forget what it was like to fall in love at such a young age — emotions she wants everyone to feel.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Some Tips I learned from Genre Con 2012 #gcoz

Over the weekend I attended Genre Con, a three day convention for Australian fans and professionals working within the fields of romance, mystery, science fiction, crime, fantasy, horror, and more. I met so many aspiring authors, established authors, agents, editors and other industry professionals. I had a brilliant time. Below are some highlights:

Peter Ball stressed the importance of having defined goals for your writing career, preferably developing a five year plan.

Alex Adsett, consultant and literary agent, spoke about contracts in the digital age, including great information on copyright laws and royalties.

I attended a panel of editors and publishers including, Jodi Cleghorn, Sarah JH Fletcher, Bernadette Foley and Irina Dunn. They spoke about many things including how editing should be approached as a discussion between two people about a piece of work. Also of note, they discussed how sometimes aspiring writers ask for professional level feedback from friends and family. They gave suggestions on how best to get quality feedback.

International guest, Joe Abercrombie, author of many dark fantasy novels including the First Law trilogy and his latest standalone, Red Country, spoke about how it’s important to find something you’re passionate about. If you are bored, then how can you expect anyone else to get excited about your work?

Ginger Clark, New York agent with Curtis Brown LTD, had a fantastic talk about the future of agenting, the role of an agent, and how it’s changed so much in the last few years. Tip: publishers want books more polished because they no longer have as much time to develop them. So, authors, don’t get complacent and think, 'near enough is good enough'. Make sure your manuscript is the best it can be before you send it off.

There were other fantastic workshops and panels, for example, the three stages of a writers career, practical worldbuilding, how to develop your author platform, and much more. The weekend finished with a hilarious debate, Plotters vs Pantsers.

I came away inspired, excited, and exhausted all at once. Meeting so many people in the industry was such a buzz. This weekend reminded me how important it is to connect with other writers and industry professionals. If you haven’t gone to a convention before, then my advice is do it!

Have you ever been to a convention? If not, what’s holding you back? What’s the best thing about the conventions you’ve attended?

This post was written for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group. This group is the brain child of Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post every first Wednesday of the month (I love to be a rebel).

Note: I made the list Masters in English published recognising the Top 25 Reading and Writing Resources for English Buffs.

Thanks: A huge thanks to Alison Stuart. I won a generous prize pack from this lovely author.

Make Believe: A HUGE thank you to those who have already put their name down to help me celebrate the launch of the Make Believe anthology on December 3rd. You are AWESOME!!! I have placed the list on my Make Believe Tab found HERE. There's still time to add your name. There will be cake.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why it’s Good to Embrace Distractions

Distractions are a writer’s best excuse to avoid the scene that’s causing trouble, the editing that’s causing frustration, the character who won’t do what he’s supposed to do. Because of this, we tend to treat distractions as a bad thing. We beat ourselves up over not remaining focussed on our writing.

However, distractions can be good for the creative mind because, if we are more open to them and view them more as opportunities, then we can gain so much more from the experience.

Distractions can be serendipitous events that inspire us to take a different route in the plot.They can trigger whole new ideas for stories, they can give us a deeper understanding of the world around us.

Distractions can give us a new experience from which to draw.

Note: We still need to be wary of the Solitaire distractions, the internet distractions, the ones where we say we’ll just spend five minutes check our email and an hour later we’re still there.

Do you get impatient with distractions? What’s your greatest distraction?

My short story, Birthright, will be published in the Make Believe anthology in a month! Eek! My goodness, that came up fast. I’m super excited and would love to celebrate the launch with all my friends. If you’d like to join me on 3rd December, launch day, and share the exciting news, please sign up below.

Flower Photo: I took this photo of my newest addition in the garden. Does it make a nice distraction? ;)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blogging Break

I'll be taking a mini blogging break. I'll be back on 1st November.

In the meantime, please enjoy this picture I took of a dandilion, a little ray of sunshine:


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Guest Post: The natural order of writing

Today I have the lovely Jocelyn Adams visiting. She is the author of The Glass Man and Shadowborn, which is a new release. Take it away, Jocelyn:

Writing a story is complicated. What, you ask? Just slap down a bunch of words onto a page and voila!

If only it were that simple, we’d all be J.K. Rowling and be rolling in the dough, right? :)

There are certain rules that often—not always—should be followed to make a story work. The one I’m going to talk about is how to create a scene—which is an event that takes place within a book. A novel is a collection of scenes that progress the story from beginning to climax.

Scenes need a natural order. In life we do things in a certain sequence, and we usually have a reason for doing them.

First, our character—let’s call her Jane—needs a goal in this scene. It makes for a more compelling story when there are obstacles making it hard for her to reach that goal.

Goal: Jane is trying to get to work on time. Simple, right? Goals don’t need to be complicated, and one goal can span multiple scenes.

Conflict: The phone rings. Without thinking, she answers it.

Disaster: It’s a woman who asks for Jane’s husband, and when Jane asks who’s calling, the woman hangs up.

Here’s where we get into the natural order.

In real life, when faced with a crisis, we tend to follow this sequence:

Emotion: Perhaps Jane cries or whips the phone against the wall because she assumes her husband is having an affair. Her stomach clenches, maybe she rants.

Thought: Maybe she overreacted? Maybe it was the florist confirming a delivery her husband had arranged for Jane’s birthday? Or maybe it’s that floozy two doors down who’s always making eyes at him? Jane could *69 the call to find out who she is. Or call and confront her husband. Either one would make her late for work, and she’d probably end up fired since she was late every day this week.

Decision: Although Jane is furious, she decides work comes first, and she’ll worry about the mystery woman later.

Action: She gets her butt to work. The next scene begins with a new goal, to find out who the woman is.

Even though each of these elements may not appear in every scene, the ones that do should be in order, creating a magical ebb and flow in the story.

Back of the Book, Shadowborn:
Why me?
That’s the question Lila Gray asks every time yet another bad guy tries to destroy the earth, and she learns she’s the only one who can stop it. Once again, something’s on the prowl, leaving hundreds of comatose, soulless victims in its wake.
Couldn’t the deadliest assassins of the Otherworld go after someone else instead of the brand new Queen of the Seelie? One who still hasn’t adapted to her new role.
Lila would ask Liam Kane, King of the Unseelie, for advice, but something’s off with him, too. He’s holding back. In some way. About some thing. In fact, he refuses to tell her what’s going on.
The truth holds Lila back from the greatness of her role—the people she was born to lead—the man who she desperately loves—and the solution to the latest war raging around her.
To find the answers, she’ll need to fight through her own darkness and embark on a journey through her psyche.
If she doesn’t succeed, the Shadowborn will claim not only her world, but her soul.

Connect with Jocelyn Adams:

Shadowborn: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
The Glass Man: Amazon, Barnes & Noble


Monday, October 15, 2012

Sudoku and the Art of Writing

I love puzzles. The more difficult, the better. Sudoku* is one of those puzzle games that varies in difficulty, but when I find a challenging one, I can't let it go. The other day I was pulling my hair out over an expert level Sudoku puzzle and I realised how similar it was to writing. Here's what I learned:

Practise improves performance. The more I do the puzzles, the better I am at solving them. I grow familiar with what to look out for, plus it takes me less time to get it right. The same with writing. The more I write, the better I become. I grow more skilled at creating believable characters, I grow more familiar with what to look out for to improve the story, and it takes me less time to get it right.

A methodical approach aids clarity of thought. When I approach Sudoku in a haphazard way, I inevitably get lost in the maze of possibilities and I make a mistake. When I approach the puzzle in a more methodical way, carefully mapping out, and taking note of the possibilities, mistakes are far fewer. The same goes with writing.

Patience eases the process. When I'm in a hurry to solve a puzzle, I invariably make a mistake or I simply don't do a good job. The process becomes a struggle and, when I'm in that frame of mind, I'll be more likely to give up. Writing also takes time and requires oodles of patience to get it right. And without patience, I forget to enjoy the process.

Breaks are necessary for clearing the mind. For the more difficult puzzles, I'll get stumped and can't move on. If I take a break from the puzzle, then when I return I'm more able to spot the solution because I'm looking at it with a clearer mind. Writing requires me to take occasional breaks from it as well. If I don't take a break then I get mired in the little details and can't see the big picture, or my writing simply becomes stale.

Sometimes it takes stubborn persistence to finish. While some Sudoku puzzles seem impossible, I know there is always a solution. It just takes some persistence to get it done. The same goes for writing. If I stick with it, I'll get the result I want.

Just because the way is messy, doesn't mean the end result can't be achieved. I might be an artist, but I'm terrible at visualising an end result. I have to write or draw everything down to be able to 'see' it. I guess that's why I love to outline first. For Sudoku, this means I write down all the number possibilities in the little boxes. As you can see in the picture, there's hardly enough room for all that mess, but it brings me the result I crave: a solved puzzle. With writing, I make a similar mess in the outlining process. I used to stress about the amount of notes I needed, about the scribbled changes, the tangled arrows, the scratched out ideas. Then I realised that mess is great if it gets me the end result I want. Besides, no one will see the process. They will only ever see the shiny finished manuscript.

Which of these points resonates with you the most? Can you add any other similarities? Have you ever played Sudoku?

*Sudoku is a puzzle traditionally solved when each of the digits 1 to 9 appear once in each of the 9 rows, 9 columns and 9 3x3 boxes.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Winner! Awards! And Other Cool Things!

Last Thursday I put an advanced reader's copy of Make Believe up for grabs. Thanks to all of you who entered and thank you to all the encouraging comments I received regarding reviews. Your responses really warmed my heart.

And now to announce the winner of Make Believe:

Rachel Morgan!!!

Yay!! Congrats, Rachel!!

It seems my name turned up in a list of those eligible for the 2013 Ditmar Awards for my short story, The Red Button. It's an award that recognises achievement in Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror. I'm only eligible for the prize, but it's the first step. How super cool is that?

I was also recently awarded 'Dezmond's Angel', in the Hollywood Spy's 2012 awards. Thanks Dezzy. I've visited your site for many years now and it's still the primary place I go to get in the Hollywood know.

Other Cool Things:
I know I promised in the title there'd be other cool things in this post, but really all I can share is this image of some ice crystals… (giggle).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Guest Post: The Darker Side of Writing

Theresa Milstein writes about writing teaching and life at Theresa’s Tales

She’s visiting to get the word out about her short story “My Moment”, which is included in From Stage Door Shadows and looks at the darker side of show business. Today she tackles the darker side of writing.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Lynda.

 Writing takes mental stamina.

I’m not saying it’s the hardest job. It's certainly not harder than working in the heat, lifting heavy objects, or dealing in customer service.

But we do a lot of upfront work with no feedback. So, some days we’re like, “That’s brilliant! Did that just come out of MY head?” We sit in our seats a little straighter, knowing that this is THE book.

Panster or plotter, when we’re done, there’s all this tidying up to do. Sure, there are some rough spots, but we’ve done it all with no help. We’re AWESOME! And when we tell our writer friends on Twitter and Facebook, they bask us in the glow of congratulations.

Yeah, that’s the best.

But, even with those nice virtual pats on the back, this part of the journey has mostly been walked alone. Now it’s time to pass our precious, perfect papers to persons with more distance to peruse our papers with a pen.


When we receive our feedback, we’re tempted to argue. But we don’t because someone has been nice enough to tear our works of art into tatters take their time to make us better writers. There might be rants, pints spoonfuls of ice cream consumed, and bottles glasses of red wine gulped.

We sit on the critique. While we do, some of those comments, though painful, make sense. Yeah, why did I think it was a good idea to kill off the only romantic interest in chapter one of my romance novel?

Other suggestions might not sit so well with us. No, I don’t think my YA protagonist should be seven years old because it would be cute if she had the IQ of 2500 and had to skip a bunch of grades to have all these teen experiences.

Then we hunker down and fix the worst piece of drivel since… there is no since. I’m a hack. Why am I wasting my time? Why did I waste anyone’s time in the hopes they could suggest a way out to fix this mess. I’m pathetic. the manuscript until it shines like my eyes filled with tears.

And we repeat this process until it sparkles.

Yeah, this could take a while.

Then it’s time to write the query a million few times, research agents, and hit send…

…only to receive rejections in return.


But there’s always hope that one person reads our query and pages and requests the rest and loves the book and signs you on and shops your manuscript and gets a bunch of offers and there’s a bidding war and they give you cruise-ship-fulls of money and the book winds up on the NYT Bestseller List and sells more copies than that big hot mess novel everyone is raving about…


It could happen.

Hope for more, prepare for less, and be happy with anything in between.

Good luck!

Writers, how do you maintain mental stamina?

Want to add From Stage Door Shadows to your list?

Purchase info:
Barnes and Noble
The Book Depository
eMergent Publishing

On the emergent site, the book is $19.99 and the ebook formats are $4.95.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Giveaway of an ARC of Make Believe!

Since today is the first Wednesday of the month, it's time to post for Alex J Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers' Support Group. To find out more about the group, or to join our growing masses, click HERE.

For this group I try to write mostly encouraging posts or ways to deal with insecurities writers might harbour. Today, however, I must confess an insecurity of my own: the dreaded review.

I've not had to worry about reviews before today. The most I've had is star ratings attached to some of my published works, and thankfully I've received good ratings, but an actual review, where strangers spell out why they liked or didn't like my stories? Nope.

Reviews are one of those things that are both exciting and terrifying at once. Exciting, because it means I’ll get honest feedback from my readers. Terrifying, because it means I’ll get honest feedback from my readers.

What if they don’t like my work? What if they find a terrible flaw in my story that I somehow missed even though it’s as big as an elephant? What if they say I should quit now and never return to writing ever again?

I know I’ll keep writing no matter what is said. I know I can’t please everyone. But the thought of someone reviewing my work sends me into a spin because it’s based on a work that has been deemed finished—no more fixes, no more tweaking, no more excuses.

However, hoping there will be many reviews written about my published works, I need to be less of a princess about it, suck it up and accept that reviews happen: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And you know what? That's part of the joy and agony of being a writer.

And now for the scary/exciting bit: 
The Giveaway!
I'm offering an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of Make Believe (in ebook) to one of my readers in exchange for a review. My short story, Birthright, features in this anthology. Yay!

If you enjoy reading fantasy, urban fantasy and romance, and you are willing to write up a review and post it up in all the cool places before December, then please say in the comments you'd like to enter. I will announce the WINNER on Thursday 11th October.

This Giveaway is also hosted by the other wonderful authors featured in this anthology, so feel free to check them out:
J.A. Belfield
Jennifer M. Eaton
J. Keller Ford
Terri Rochenski
Kelly Said


Monday, September 24, 2012

6 Benefits of Writing Every Day

Firstly I’d like to stress that if you can’t write every day then this doesn’t somehow make you less of a writer. However, there are some clear benefits of making the time to write on a daily basis. Here is what I’ve learned the hard way:  

1. Practice makes perfect: In so much of life it’s about quality, not quantity. In writing, however, I believe quantity is essential to achieve quality. By doing we learn, we stretch ourselves, we hone our skills. When we write only occasionally it takes us a while to loosen our stiff writing muscles. When those muscles have limbered up, our work becomes smooth and our words flow.

2.  For confidence: When we write a lot we grow in confidence—confidence in ourselves, our words, our stories. We gain the courage to step away from the current trends and write the stories our characters call for, those special stories caught in our heart.  

3. Less pressure to get it right first try: When we write now and then, our work tends to need to be good. We’ll agonise over the few words we have, we’ll stress over our rare moments of creativity, and we’ll feel like a failure if the work isn’t perfect. When we write every day—or, at least, frequently—then instant perfection matters less because we suddenly have more to offer. We’ve given ourselves more time to try different things, to experiment, to play. The pressure isn’t there and the perverseness of that simple fact means we tend to write better. Go figure.  

4. To build discipline: As most writers will tell you: Writing ain’t easy! A certain level of discipline is required to turn a writing hobby in a writing career. If it’s a career you want, then by writing every day you’ll practise the kind of discipline you’ll need to shape that career.

5. To ward off writer’s block: I believe that waiting for inspiration is one of the major causes of writer’s block. This is because inspiration is always late to a party and is never around when you need her. By making the decision to write every day, we can’t wait for her. We have to write anyway.  

6. To achieve those goals and dreams: The more we write the faster we write. My first novel took me nine years to complete because I didn’t write every day. I only wrote when I felt like it, which in the beginning wasn’t often. Now that I write close to every day, I’ve written three novels in two years and they are a gazillion times better than that first novel.  

What are some other benefits to writing every day? Do you think there may be some disadvantages?

WINNERS: A big congratulations to LG Smith for winning an ebook copy of Justine Dell’s Recaptured Dreams. Congrats also to Tonja and Shelley for being bookmark winners!!!  

Note: I will return to posting on Wednesday 3rd Oct with an exciting giveaway and a post for the Insecure Writers' Support Group. In the meanwhile, I'll still be around the blogsphere.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Guest Post: Justine Dell and Giveaway

Please welcome the lovely Justine Dell who is here today sharing with us what she learned while writing her latest book, Recaptured Dreams. She is also offering an exciting giveaway. More on that later. Take it away, Justine. 

Probably the most important thing I learned while writing this particular book was: sometimes less is more.

You see, this book is only 63,506 words. The original version was only 42,000. Of course it’s changed and grown since then, but I learned the importance of keeping the focus on the hero and heroine in the story. For me I enjoy romances that are succinct, capturing only what’s needed to be captured instead of adding all those other characters and plot layers.

I love romance stories because of the developing relationship between the two main characters and when I wrote this, I learned just how hard it was to stay focused on them. It was so easy to veer in the wrong direction or add stuff that didn’t really add to the story or developing relationship. So while I like reading stories like that, I found it very difficult to actually do. However, because this story was originally written for a specific line with a specific word count, I had to keep the word count low. Hardest thing I’ve ever done. But one of the greatest lessons, too. I learned, that while hard, I can write a powerful and compelling love story and do it with as few words as possible, keeping the attention and focus on what matters: the building relationship.

Book blurb: Ten years, the Atlantic Ocean, and several rungs in society have kept Xavier Cain from having Sophia Montel. Now twenty-seven, he’s spent his entire adult life building a fashion empire that could finally prove his worth to her family. When fate reunites him with Sophia at London’s premiere fashion show, one problem lodges in Xavier’s path: Sophia doesn’t remember him.

The only obstacle that has kept Sophia from Xavier is a horrific car crash that erased her memory at seventeen. She’s spent the last ten years fighting to reclaim a sliver of her past that her mother refuses to help her remember. When Sophia meets Xavier at the London show, however, all her fantasies come to life in one night of passion. Discovering he is the missing link, she is determined to find all the pieces to their love story and her memory.

Xavier wants forever. Sophia wants her memory. If they take this chance, they’ll have to start over. How far are they willing to go get what they want? And when the past catches up to them, can they handle the truths it has hidden? Contact Justine by email:

Recaptured Dreams on Amazon
Recaptured Dreams on Goodreads.
Recaptured Dreams on Facebook.
Friend her on Facebook
Check out her Blog.
Find her on Twitter.
Find Recaptured Dreams on Goodreads Profile

And don't forget to check out Omnific Publishing. Romance ... without the rules.

Giveaway: Justine will give a copy of her ebook at EACH blog stop! All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment. At the end of every day she'll do the random number generator thing and pick a winner. I'll need the winning blogger's email address and all the prizes will be sent out at the end of the month. On top of that, she'll be hosting a contest on her blog for the entire month. she's going to give away a signed copy of the book, several other new releases, bookmarks, cool, random stuff, and gift cards!