Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Liebster Blog Award Nomination

I am excited to have been nominated the Liebster Blog Award.  Thank you so much Crescent Moon from http://theread-a-holic.blogspot.com.au

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated, and to help spread the word about new blogs.

I read on a blog recently that you are not a real writer until you get one. Well, thank god for this then! I actually kind of thought of myself as a real writer anyone but at least now I know for sure. *coughs now I'm finished gloating here are the rules.


1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you;

2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator and create 11 questions for your nominees;

3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserves to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

11 Questions for Me:

1.            What's a book you decided to read by judging it's cover?
Twilight! But, that was long before all the hype.

2.            Jelly or Jam? 
I'm an Aussie there is only one answer - Jam!

3.            If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Italy! I have always dreamed of exploring the places from my grandfather's childhood stories.

4.            What's one sentence you use to define yourself?
Geez, that's a tough one. Someone who dreams, and someone who does.

5.            Do you play an instrument?
The only instruments I wield are my mind, my tongue and my imagination.

6.            If you have one, what is your guilty obsession?  
Gossip... Okay I said it. I love to hear the juiciness. 'Really, my ex-boyfriend came into your shop and has gone bald?' lol Not so much, honestly I just love hearing about people lives and how their minds work. Call it research. Maybe why I'm a twitter-holic?

7.            Your favourite childhood show?
The Fairytale Theatre. Not many people know of it, but it was the best. I play it for my own kids now.

8.            Do you prefer cursive or print, with pen or pencil?
Print and Pen. I like the simplicity.

9.            Do you sing along while listening to music whether it's out loud, ear buds, or in your head?
Out loud to the radio. My husband loooves it... Maybe not, but the kids think it's wonderful. Bless their tone-deaf little hearts.

10.         Favourite fruit?
Berries. Any kind, anyway, anyhow.

11.         What was the first thought to pop into your head after reading my questions?
How little I really know myself compared to how well I know other people.

Questions for My Nominee's

1. Describe your current MS in three sentences?
2. What is the most important thing you try to achieve within your own writing?
3. What has been your biggest writing high?
4. What are your three favourite books?
5. What is the primary focus of your blog?
6. Name three interesting Bloggers/Tweeters that you would like to know better?
7. What is the single best piece of writing advice you ever heard/read?
8. How would you sum up your writing experience?
9. What's your plan for publication? Query Agents, Submit Direct to publishers or Self pub and why?
10. What's been your biggest challenge as a writer?
11. What keeps you going?

My nominees are awesome. Really, I chose them for their extreme goodness :) Why not follow them on Twitter as well as their blog?

1. Rachel Pudelek
Someone I am just getting to know and who is amazing. Visit her blog and read the blurb of her novel DARK WATERS. I fully expect to see big things from this lady. YA Author
Twitter: @rachelpud  Blog: http://www.rachelpudelek.blogspot.com.au/

2. Cassandra Page
A beautiful and friendly Aussie YA writer.
Twitter: @CassandraPage01 Blog:  http://cassandrapage.com/

3. Colleen Hampton
Someone I am enjoying getting to know on Twitter. Useful writey advice on her blog. YA Author
Twitter: @writefully_so Blog:http://adventures-in-word.blogspot.com.au/

4. Marnee Bailey
A lovely romance writer.
Twitter: @marneejo Blog: http://marneebailey.blogspot.com.au/

5. Caitlen O'Connell
YA Historical Writer
Twitter: @Caitlin_Renata Blog:http://teaandbiscuits42.blogspot.com.au/

6. Nikki Urang
YA Writer
Twitter @Nikkiurang Blog: http://nikkiurang.wordpress.com/

7. Fiona Marsden
@FionaMMarsden http://apleasantbook.blogspot.com.au/
A writer whose tweets I love. A Category Romance Junkie!!

8. Stacey Nash
An Aussie YA writer worth following :)
Twitter @staceynash Blog: http://www.staceynash.com/blog/

9. Susan Francino
A lovely lady and one of my first blog followers
Twitter @SusanFrancino Blog: http://thefeatherandtherose.blogspot.com.au/

10. Roz Groves
Has a pretty little Romance Review Blog
Twitter @roz_groves  Blog: http://mywrittenromance.wordpress.com/

11. Susan Hocking
Another Aussie YA writer I am really enjoying getting to know in cyber-space :)
Twitter: @SuseHocking Blog: http://thescribblingpost.wordpress.com/

Friday, 18 January 2013

My Agent Speed date entry

Hi all,

Today I'm asking for some help. Tomorrow I am putting forward my entry to the Cupids Literary Connection Blind Speed-dating contest. I would love any feedback that you would be prepared to offer! Thank you!
I just noticed how wonky the formatting I showing up on blogger! Not sure why, will try and fix when I get home...

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 90,000


A captive girl learns to see the prince inside the beast in A BEAUTIFUL NIGHTMARE; a figurative and contemporary retelling of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

Angelina is an expert at keeping her demons hidden. With high school behind her, Angelina is looking to the work force to fill her urgent need to keep busy. Her plans are derailed when she meets enthralling and exotic older man Haithem before a critical job interview. Haithem's passionate intensity sends Angelina running.  What she doesn't expect is for him to find her.

Angelina is still deeply in denial over the death of her twin brother to Leukaemia. While she longs for freedom from the smothering affections of her grief stricken family, she is bound to them by guilt and sorrow. When Angelina is mistakenly abducted by Haithem's employee, she is thrown into a perilous environment she does not understand.  To protect Angelina's life Haithem must do the one thing that will destroy her; keep her forever.

Concern for her family is just the beginning of Angelina's nightmare. The close confines of Haithem's yacht hold no distractions for her troubled mind. Angelina's walls crumble and she forced to face all she has buried. Through it all, it is the monster that holds her captive who is the only person to ever see through her defenses  For the first time Angelina discovers true compassion and understanding. Haithem's beastly facade cannot disguise the beauty that Angelina senses beneath.

Seeking to relieve her torment, Haithem gives Angelina one chance to contact her family and put their minds at ease. In exchange Angelina must give Haithem her parole. But when opportunity arises Angelina must decide what she is really prepared to sacrifice for love...

First 250

The fabric of my skirt suit felt damp against my skin. Sweaty armpits were something I would rather do without forty-five minutes before a job interview.

Just concentrate Angelina!

I slid the jacket from my shoulders and draped it over the back of the cafe chair. The laptop sat open on the table taunting me with its interview questions. I took a breath attempting to focus on what I was there for, and not the gossiping mothers in front of me, or the sweet, rich air that promised yet more coffee and maybe even a pastry... I shook my head slightly and focused.

What are my weaknesses?

The air puffed back out of my lips and I tapped my finger on the mouse pad. China clinked on glass. I looked up in time to see the waitress turn around after dumping my overfilled Cappuccino on the tabletop. Brown foam oozed over the full rim. With a sigh I picked up the messy coffee, and inhaled deeply savoring that perfect first sip smell.

My gaze drifted from the cup of steaming goodness in my hands. Huge dark brown eyes collided with mine. I blinked. They did not move on. They did not look past me. If anything they focused in, like a hook sinking in to me tugging at me gently like a fish. His large body straightened, turning ever so slightly towards me. Breath rushed from my chest. People moved around him, but he stood firm. 

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

One Lovely Blog!

I’ve been tagged in the One Lovely Blog Award, by the one lovely Cassandra Page  This is an award that writers give to each other, so I am honored to have received it!

The Rules
·        You must share seven things about yourself
·        You must pass the award to seven other bloggers

So here are seven things about me you may not know
1. I started reading romance novels (Julia Garwood & Johanna Lindsey), at the ripe-old age of eleven. Yeah, it was widely inappropriate and I learnt much more about sex from them than I ever did from sex ed. Perhaps I can blame them for my warped quixotic mind? However, I have those books to thank for my love of reading, my desire to write, and my obsession for romance.
2. I started writing when I was in a drug-induced stupor. Not as bad as it sounds people. Legal, and medically required drugs. I have always wanted to write I just never believed I could. I always had a writer's brain but it wasn't until a year ago when I was ill and had way too much cough syrup, that I actually had the nerve to write something down.
3. I am a wearer of many hats. Mother of a baby and a toddler, a graphic/web designer, business owner, housewife, writer, blogger, reviewer, and I am still technically employed in my government job.
4. I am terrified of public speaking. I can deal with nearly any emergency situation with grace and ease, but stand me up on front of a crowd and I shake like a leaf. Not so good if you want to pitch your MS to agents and conferences! I will work on that.
5. As a child I suffered from learning difficulties. Ironic since I grew to excel at learning as an adult. I attribute it to the bulling I encountered in my early years. To me it is tangible proof of how a child's environment can affect all aspects of their life and development.  
6. I am a chronic Yo-Yo dieter! Enough said.
7. If I couldn't be a writer my dream would be to run a fabulous online matchmaking service. I love online dating. Yes, I am married so I can't use it myself, but I love interfering in the love-life of others helping my single friends browse profiles. See, quixotic mind and romance obsession.
The seven people I tag are:

Saturday, 12 January 2013

10 Essential Tweeters for aspiring authors to follow

When I first completed my MS someone told me that if I really wanted to be a writer I HAD to join Twitter.  I didn't know where to start, who to follow, our even why I was doing it. Was it simply because agents/publishers expect writers to come with already established social-media platforms? 

Since joining Twitter I have discovered what a warm and supportive community exists for writers. If that wasn't enough of an incentive, my twitter stream has become an invaluable source of information and opportunity. Whether you are looking to connect with other writers, learn more about your craft, or you are trying to find an agent, the opportunities are there just waiting for you to seize them. For this reason I have put together a list of the 10 Tweeters I have found most valuable.

Top 5 Tweeters to follow for Writing Tips & Opportunities
It was hard to narrow it down to just five, but these awesome people actively tweet valuable info for writers. 
If you are un-agented writer seeking representation you want to follow Brenda Drake. As well as being a very pleasant person to follow, Brenda's Tweets often include details for unique agent pitch contests and opportunities.
Cupid's Literary Connection - Agent pitching competitions and contests.
Fantastic writing tips tweeted regularly.
Aimee L Salter was one of the first people I followed on Twitter. Excellent writing tips and amazing blog.
Rebecca Berto Tweets great writing tips
Top 5 Tweeters to follow for Query Tips & Agent answers
There are so many amazing agents that are worth following on Twitter. Below is simply a list of 5 that I have found provide a great deal of advice on Twitter
There are so many reasons to follow Brittany Howard. If you are a YA writer follow and learn. Brittany is one of the most informative agents I have come across. She tweets everything from her slush pile to general advise and tips. There are often opportunities to ask questions.
Jordy Albert often provides tips and advice as well as tweeting about her slush pile. Jordy also uses hashtags such as #askagent to engage writers.
Jenny Bent tweets tips and also actively uses hashtags such #askagent to engage writers.
Julia Weber tweets tips, advise and also uses hashtags such as #askagent and #querytip to engage writers. 
Sara Tweets a wealth of advice for writers. She uses hashtags like #5pagesin5tweets to feedback her submission impressions. 

Thank you for visiting. Please don't forget to join this blog!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The cost of writing

Today I started off planning to blog about what I have learned from the knocks I have taken as a writer. But when I put my fingers on the keys I couldn't do it. I was not in the right headspace. While I have learned so much from taking those hits, in some cases I have gained immensely from them, I am just having a giant case of the writer sads at the moment.

I have shared enough of your journey's to know I am not alone in this. It's usual to feel defeated sometimes. It is a tough business after all isn't it? I know that now, and you probably do to. I didn't when I first began this path with my completed MS and all my blissfully ignorant optimism. But, I have accepted it. I have prepared myself for it, and I am certainly willing to work hard.
What I had not been prepared for was how much writing might cost me. Becoming serious about being a writer has permeated every part of my life, forcing my old life to bend around this new intrusion. It is so much more than just the time that gets put into the actual writing. It means that as well as now caring for two children under three, running my own Web Design Business (where I am also the Web Designer), maintaining a home, I am also taking online courses, weekend workshops, reading blogs, blogging, reading books, taking the time to review, making sure to work on building my social media following...  And writing! Revising old MS, working on new MS, drafting more ideas.... Not to mention the critiquing; digesting and following up on my critiques, and critiquing others!

Yeah I'm complaining about the amount of work aren't I? Okay, I'm fine with that, I can live with that, it's all the other stuff that comes as a consequence. The costs... It's the work I am not taking on in order to spend more time writing, the financial burden of earning less and spending more - on learning - on books - on booking into interstate writer's conferences. It's the time I should be playing with my kids but I'm checking my Tweets and replying to them. It's the lack of sleep that makes me tired, and cranky, and out of patience with my family. It's the time I used to spend curled on the couch with hubby but I now spend with headphones in and hands on keyboard. It the arguments we have because well - I'm just not paying attention... to anything. When a scene pops into my mind I switch mode, I don't hear a word being said to me.
It's going to the supermarket for one thing, one single household item, and coming home with a dozen items except for that one thing because I was listening to some kick-ass dialogue in my head.  It's leaving my credit card at the shops, and my phone in the doctor's surgery, realising halfway through a meeting my shirt is inside out, and no longer ever paying my bills on time. It's my children no longer getting their clothes from their wardrobe, but the clean washing basket because the days of folding, and ironing, and putting away are over. It's the mess that I can never seem to get on top of, and never being able to find anything.

The thing is - it's not just me who has to pay the price. It's my whole family, my husband and my children. As supportive as they are, how long can I fairly expect them to live like this? For the sake of what? What is the light at the end of the tunnel? Because if I am honest, if I am realistic I know that I may never be published. Even if my MS is amazing it just might never happen. It might take ten years, I might have to write twenty more MS's before anything I write ever sees anything other than the bottom of a giant slush pile.
So I have to ask myself is it worth it? What is it that I even want? When I asked myself that question I was not even sure what my goal was. Yeah, it is somehow wrapped up in getting published but it's not for recognition. It's not so I can say 'I am a published author'. It's not because I have delusions about celebrity, I mean I even do all this under another name... It's not about money, other than I would like for my passion to be my job, okay and maybe I'd like it if someone else came and did my housework. It's just that I want to be able to write, because I need to write.

That's what it all comes down to. I just need to write. My dream, my goal, is to someday have that writing available for people to read, and that maybe; just maybe, it might touch a few people. I want to find a way to balance writing and life. I want to write all day without other career obligations and spend my evenings with my family. But will it ever happen? Only if I make it happen.
So when I think about the cost, I also think about what it would cost me to not do this. That cost, would be greater than I could bear. So when I don't win that contest, when someone says something negative about my work, when I get a form letter rejection, when my blog views feel non-existent, without comment, and I ask myself who the hell am I to talk to other people about writing? I remind myself of the alternative. I hold on to the few shreds of proof I have that I am nearly there, the published authors who have told me so, and the almost made it's.

The one thing I have learned about writing is that once it is truly in you it cannot be turned off. I am doing my best to turn these dreams into realities; I just wish I could always do it with a smile.  

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Hashtags all aspiring writers should know

Using Hashtags correctly enables you not only to connect with other writers and industry experts, but to find and filter information.  

There are hundreds of Hashtags. If you have been connecting with other writers you have probably seen #amwriting and #writetip floating around.  They are both very useful, but there are some others that may help you on your way if you are serious about finding an agent or getting published. Following agent Hashtags will help you improve your querying, get to know agents you want to query, and may occasionally offer opportunities to pitch to agents.

Agent/Publisher Hashtags
Agents usually announce when they will be open on this Hashtag so monitor it regularly and follow agents who use it. It is a unique opportunity to ask all the agent question's you have wondered about.  

Agents tweet ten queries from their slushpile. Useful stuff, especially if it is an agent you are planning to query.

#Querytip #Query
Agents offer Query tips as they come to mind. These are often humorous or sarcastic.


Agents from Corvisiero Literary Agency often tweet their slushpile on this hashtag 

Pitching Opportunities
Keep an eye out for #pitch Hashtags. Pitching opportunities have occurred in the past with Hashtags such as #PitchMadness, #Pitchwars, #Pitchon

Useful Hashtags for connecting with Writers
#MGLit (Middle Grade Lit)
#RWA (Romance Writers of America)

Hashtags for Writing Information and Tips

Blogging Hashtags
These are just to name a few! It I have missed any out in the Agent/Query/Pitch Hashtags please comment and I will try to keep this list current.

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