Monthly Archives: May 2013

Ten Awkward Author Questions with Michelle Elliot

In this segment, authors will be subjected to a list of awkward questions that may reveal more about themselves than they really wish to share, and they will receive a score on the ‘Braveometer’. If they choose to answer only five questions, they are a ‘Brave Author’, if they answer 6 to 9 questions they are a ‘Mega-Brave Author’, and if they answer all 10 questions they are an ‘Ultra-Brave Author’! 

book front - CopyPlease welcome Michelle Elliot!

 

1. If only one of your books could have been / could be published, which one would you choose? (C’mon, I don’t want to hear ‘Oh, I love them all, there’s no way I could choose.’ Time to be ruthless, these are the Ten Awkward Questions after all!)

I would definitely opt to publish “Until We Meet” above the others. I feel that it’s probably my most mature book. I have enough experience of messing up so much with all the other books that I feel this one came out best 😉

 

2. Okay, now which one of your children/family members would you… nah, just kidding! Which of the following words most accurately describes your best personality trait (you must pick only one!):

Punctual. Good listener. Neat.  Graceful. Generous. Cheerful.

I think everyone I know would say “Generous” and in most cases this is probably really accurate – except in any situations regarding chocolate. I am never generous in sharing chocolate!

 

3. Which of the following words most accurately describes your worst most challenging personality trait (even if you’re perfect, you must pick one):

Always late. Blabbermouth. Slob. Complete klutz. Scrooge. Grumpy pants.

I am definitely a complete klutz! I am so clumsy it is unbelievable. I will fall over my own feet or quite simply – fresh air! And I mess everything up at least ten times before I get it right!

 

4. Have you ever had a romantic crush on one of your characters? Who and why?

Yes – Two of the characters in my book “Until We Meet”. Why? Well the book, although fictional is actually based around real life events and dates I have been on myself and so it’s natural I actually fancied these ‘characters’ – and in the real life versions too!!

 

5. When writing an important scene, do you act it out to allow you to better describe what’s happening?

Does going on dates with my own book characters count as ‘acting it out’? If so, then absolutely – and it was great fun too!

 

6. Do you talk to yourself when writing or coming up with plot ideas?

I talk to myself when I’m not writing but I think I probably do it about ten times more when I am! I have ‘conversations’ with myself about good ideas and bad ones before writing things down.

 

7. Who would be ideal to play YOU in a movie of your life?

Absolutely a female version of Adam Sandler. He seems to play the daft, clumsy but rather romantic person in most of his films and I think he’d be perfect for playing me – Er, if he was a woman that is!

 

8. If you could be any book character for one day, who would you be and why?

I would be Ana Steele (50 Shades of Grey!) – and not for the pleasure of Mr Grey himself but definitely for the luxury of his private helicopter and very cute sounding brother!

 

9. You’re about to be left on a deserted island for a year, and while your basic food and water needs will be met, you can only bring one extra thing from the following. Which would you choose?

a) A pen and notepad that never runs out

b) An unlimited supply of books

c) An unlimited supply of chocolate, coffee, or alcohol (your choice)

d) A gorgeous man/woman depending on your preference

I’d opt for the pen and pad. I think in a year with nothing else to do or occupy myself with I could probably throw out a belter of a book!!

 

10. If you had the attention of the whole world for two minutes what would you say?

Don’t be afraid to love, trust and take risks even if you get your heart broken. You can only learn from your mistakes and some of the biggest ones can make awesome books *wink*

 

Congrats Michelle, you’ve been awarded Ultra-Brave Author status on the Braveometer!

You can visit Michelle online at her website and blog.

Ultra-BraveAuthor

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FRIDAY FEAST with Juliet Madison

I’m visiting Cathryn Hein’s blog today with a quick, tasty, and healthy meal for those on a deadline or those who are just plain busy! 🙂

Are you feeling the Friday love, Feasters? I am. Not only to my beloved Sydney Swans, THE best looking AFL team in the comp, take on the Collywobbles tonight at the mighty MCG, Juliet_Madison300dpiI have a gorgeous new author on today. Humorous and heart-warming women’s fiction in the name of Juliet Madison’s game, and does she deliver!

I know this because I’ve read her wonderful short story, Sisters At Heart. But Juliet now has a full length novel out, and if the raves from my writing buddies and multiple Goodreads 5 star ratings are anything to go by, it’s a beauty.

Take a look at Fast Forward, a romantic comedy with a time twist.

 

FAST FORWARD

 

FASTFORWARD-JulietMadisonAspiring supermodel, Kelli Crawford seems destined to marry her hotshot boyfriend, but on her twenty-fifth birthday she wakes in the future as a fifty-year-old suburban housewife married to the now…

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Call for Submissions

The Escapades

Here’s a fun fact: if you submit to Escape now, you can be a published (or multi-published) author by Christmas. We’re working to an aggressive publishing program, and we want stories!

I’m going to list some subgenres/themes that I’m very interested in, but please note: we publish all subgenres all the time. So if yours doesn’t necessarily fit in to the list, I still want to read it.

Here’s our submission page: http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/submission

Why submit to Escape?

  • Australian location, global reach
  • Actively seeking risky, niche, or cross-genre stories
  • Publishes short stories (of more than 5000 words), novellas, and short and long-length novels
  • Small, flexible team, with the backing of Harlequin’s knowledge, experience, and professionalism
  • No synopsis required! Just a 100-word blurb.
  • Two-week turn-around guarantee for initial response

So what are you waiting for?

Subgenres/themes that I’m particularly interested in:

  • Romantic suspense
  • Erotic romance
  • Historical romance (any period/any time/any…

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Past, Present, & Future with Jacqui Jacoby

In celebration of the release of my debut novel, Fast Forward, I’m doing a series of interviews with authors about their past, present & future. Today, please welcome Jacqui Jacoby who also has a book to give away for one lucky reader…

 

PAST:
QMFront1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid it was called being a stewardess. Today the politically correct term is a flight attendant. I had dreams of travelling the world.

2. What did you do before you became a writer?

I graduated UCLA before I wrote my first story and then I became a housewife and a stay at home Mom, raising my three kids. In fact, it’s the same thing I did as I was a writer, too.

3. What is one of your most treasured memories from the past?

My favourite memory is not from the distant past, but one that occurred just ten years ago. My husband and I renewed our wedding vows on board The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California for our twentieth anniversary. Our kids stood up for us: my oldest daughter as the maid of honour, our son as the best man and my youngest as the flower girl.

 

PRESENT:
FinalWithAVengeance_250x4. What’s your latest/upcoming release about and/or what are you currently working on?

My upcoming novel, With a Vengeance, is my debut release. It’s about two friends who realize they want more from their relationship. It’s set in the backdrop of CIA action and adventure. The project I am working on now is also a romantic suspense. It’s about a Russian hero and the heroine who figures out his secret. I’m hoping to have it completed by my birthday in May.

5. What’s a typical day like for you? (If there is such a thing!)

When I had the kids at home, my days were unpredictable and full of surprises. I could never know what was coming next and always had to be prepared for the unexpected. Now that they are grown and I am entering into the anticipated “Empty Nest” my days are more routine. I rise late – one of the perks of the kids being grown – and take my walk. Walking is good to clear the mind and get it ready to work. I come home, shower, watch a little bit of Twilight Zone or M*A*S*H – another Empty Nest perk . Then I hit the computer to get started on the day’s work. What I am working on depends on what is due. Right now I am editing a suspense novel for submission and getting ready for The Brenda Novak auction where I will be auctioning off a mentor program.

6. Name three things you are grateful for in your life right now:
1. My relationship with my husband of thirty years.
2. The relationships I have with each of my three children, and the relationships they have with each other.
3. That I was able to be a Stay at Home Mom while working in a career that I love. I got the best of both worlds.

 

FUTURE:
JJ7. If you could fast forward in time to any age or year for just one day, what would you choose & why?

To my fiftieth anniversary where my husband and I will renew our wedding vows one more time and my oldest daughter will stand as maiden of honour, my youngest daughter as a bridesmaid and my son as my husband’s best man. All our grandchildren will be there and their children, too. It will be euphoric!!

8. If you could have any new technology or invention in the future that would make your life a whole lot easier (or more fun), what would it be?

It would be a machine that takes the ideas for stories and characters straight from my brain and puts them onto the page without me having to type everything out.

9. What are your hopes & dreams for the future?

I’m a frustrated French student trapped in the body of a fifty-year-old woman. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to speak a second or even a third language. My hope and dream is that I will return to the university this coming fall to obtain a degree in Modern Languages (French/Spanish). I don’t have any plans to travel with the degree, but it certainly would be possible to visit Paris and Barcelona.

 

Thanks for visiting the blog, Jacqui!

>>To WIN an e-copy of Jacqui’s book, WITH A VENGEANCE, please leave a comment below. Winner will be drawn on Wed 22nd May and notified on this blog and via email. Good luck!

Visit Jacqui online at her website, blog, facebook, and twitter. You can also check out her book at Amazon and via her publisher.

Editing Tip: 10 Words to Search For in Your Manuscript

967211_magnifying_glassWhen I’m editing, and before I do a final read through and tweaking of my manuscript, I use Microsoft Word’s ‘find’ feature to search for the following ten words. These words can usually be deleted in order to tighten up the writing and focus on ‘showing vs telling’.

1. almost
Sometimes ‘almost’ can work but often it’s not needed. Eg: With his sunken eyes and pallor he almost looked like a ghost. An example where it may work could be: She almost slammed the door in his face. Or instead of that, it could be changed to: She resisted the urge to slam the door in his face.
2. very
Usually there is a stronger word available to replace the need for ‘very’, or the phrase can be changed completely to something else. Eg: ‘very sad’ could become ‘despondent’. Eg: It was very sunny. Better: It was sunny. Even better: She squinted as the sun’s glare rebounded off the pavement and hit her eyes.
3. started
When this is used alongside ‘to’, as in ‘started to’, it’s probably not needed. Eg: She started to get dressed. Better: She got dressed. Even better: She zipped her jeans and put on a t-shirt.
4. began
This is similar to ‘started’. Eg: It began to rain. Better: Droplets of rain dampened her hair, or: He flicked on the windscreen wipers as rain blurred the road ahead.
5. stood up
Remove the word ‘up’. If someone stood, it’s obviously up.
6. sat down
Remove the word ‘down’. If someone is going from a standing position to a sitting position it is obviously ‘down’. Except if the person is lying down and then changes to a sitting position.
7. heard/hear
Removing ‘heard’ or ‘hear’ gives the reader a more vivid experience. Eg: She heard someone call her name. Better: A voice called her name. Eg: I could hear the rain pelting against the window. Better: rain pelted against the window.
8. saw/see
Same as with ‘heard’. Eg: She saw his face through the window. Better: His eyes glared at her through the window. Eg: I could see him coming towards me. Better: He came towards me.
9. felt
Telling a reader what a character felt is not as powerful as showing them. Eg: She felt relaxed and happy. Better: She leaned back in the chair and a smile eased onto her face.
10. just
Eg: If she could just find a way to get through to him, he might understand. Eg: “The shop is just around the corner.”

 

There are more suggestions of words to search for at this very useful site.
Have a search of your manuscript and see how many of these words you can find and change to improve your book.
Are there words that you often overuse in your writing?

Fave Five

I’m discussing my top five favourite chick lit books over at the International Chick Lit Month website…

My Top 5 Chick Lit Books
by Juliet Madison

Juliet_Madison300dpiIt’s hard to pick favourites when there are so many fabulous books out there, but these are the five books that stand out for me (in no particular order – c’mon, it was hard enough picking five books, I can’t possibly put them in order!!)…

1. Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella:
This is my favourite of Sophie Kinsella’s books… maybe it’s because I write stories with a hint of the supernatural in them too, or maybe it’s because it simply hit all the right buttons for me. It was fast-paced, funny, the character had a clear goal to achieve (find a missing necklace), and many obstacles in her way. Plus, it had a ghost! Not a scary, run-for-your-life ghost, but a wacky, annoying, dancing ghost! I found the interactions between Lara and her great aunt Sadie very entertaining, and I enjoyed…

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Mothers Day Giveaway – books up for grabs!

926565_gift300dpiHappy Mother’s Day for Sunday 12th to all the mums, moms, step-mothers, mothers-in-law, mothers-to-be, single dads, and mothers-at-heart! Read on for a chance to win some books…

I celebrated an early Mothers Day with my mum a week ago, so this Mothers Day I plan on having a relaxing day of reading (I doubt my son will bring me breakfast in bed, but that’s okay because I’m not really a fan of the whole crumbs in bed thing!). I’ve been writing like mad lately, so I think a day on the ‘other side’ might be just what the doctor ordered. 😉

With the special day on my mind, I’ve been thinking about motherhood in fiction (which was the topic of an article I wrote on the Australian Bookshelf blog). Have you read many books with mothers as main characters?

The main character in my novel, FAST FORWARD, Kelli, starts out as a childless twenty-five-year-old until she’s propelled into the future and finds herself as a fifty-year-old mother of two and a grandmother-to-be. Motherhood may be challenging, but it’s even more challenging when it’s suddenly bestowed upon you!

>> I asked around about different books that feature mothers as main characters, and here are a few that were mentioned…

A Man Like Mike by Sami Lee; Want to know a Secret? by Sue Moorcroft; Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips; Hello, It’s Me, by Wendy Markham; I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson; The Girl, The Gold Tooth & Everything by Francine LaSala, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.

So if you like reading about mothers as characters, why not check them out!

>> And now, the part of this post you’ve been waiting for – the book giveaway!

PRIZE:

I’m gifting one lucky person three ebooks from my publisher: Escape Publishing. There are fifty books to choose from, and the winner can pick three they would like. I’ll be gifting them from Amazon.com, so before entering make sure you can receive ebooks from Amazon.com (ie, not UK). You can keep all three ebooks to yourself, or you can choose to on-gift one or all of them to your mother, or a special someone.

HOW TO WIN:

1. For ONE entry into the draw, simply leave a comment below and tell me what your ideal Mothers Day Present would be. If you’re not a mother, you can still let me know what your ideal present would be.

2. For TWO entries into the draw, do the same as above and also subscribe to this blog via email (in the subscription section on the top right corner of the page). In your comment please mention that you’ve subscribed. If you’re already a subscriber, simply say ‘I’m a subscriber’ in your comment.

3. For THREE entries, do the same as above (comment and subscribe), and tweet about this giveaway using one of the sample tweets at the bottom of this post. Include your twitter handle in your comment. So, your comment might look like this:

My ideal Mothers Day present would be a day on a Greek Island with a good book. I’m a subscriber. My twitter handle is @MyHandle

The winner will be drawn on Monday 13th May. Good luck, and please share this giveaway with your friends!

 

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED***

 

Tweet this post >> Copy & paste any of the following into a tweet:

#MothersDay Giveaway – books up for grabs! via @Juliet_Madison http://wp.me/p1jJti-he

#WIN three ebooks, your choice! #MothersDay competition via @Juliet_Madison http://wp.me/p1jJti-he

What would be your ideal #MothersDay present? Tell us and win books! via @Juliet_Madison http://wp.me/p1jJti-he

Ten Awkward Author Questions with Pamela Cook

In this segment, authors will be subjected to a list of awkward questions that may reveal more about themselves than they really wish to share, and they will receive a score on the ‘Braveometer’. If they choose to answer only five questions, they are a ‘Brave Author’, if they answer 6 to 9 questions they are a ‘Mega-Brave Author’, and if they answer all 10 questions they are an ‘Ultra-Brave Author’!

Please welcome Australian rural fiction author, Pamela Cook!

PC1. If only one of your books could have been / could be published, which one would you choose? (C’mon, I don’t want to hear ‘Oh, I love them all, there’s no way I could choose.’ Time to be ruthless, these are the Ten Awkward Questions after all!)

As I’ve only had one book published so far that’s a tricky question but … in an ideal world I would have chosen the first book I wrote. It’s Literary rather than Genre fiction and closer to my heart, probably because it’s the first one and I spent so long on it. The same reasons why it hasn’t been published to date – it’s easier to be ruthless with writing you’re not so attached to. Having said all that I am over the moon about having Blackwattle Lake out there on the bookstore shelves. And to be working on my next book.

2. Okay, now which one of your children/family members would you… nah, just kidding! Which of the following words most accurately describes your best personality trait (you must pick only one!):

Punctual. Good listener. Neat.  Graceful. Generous. Cheerful.

You certainly make it hard Juliet! I’m rarely punctual (just ask my friends), I’m certainly not neat. I’d like to think I’m graceful, generous and cheerful (at least most of the time) but if I have to pick one it would be that I’m a good listener.

3. Which of the following words most accurately describes your worst most challenging personality trait (even if you’re perfect, you must pick one):

Always late. Blabbermouth. Slob. Complete klutz. Scrooge. Grumpy pants.

Definitely the first – I’m always late. For pretty much everything!

BLACKWATTLE_LAKE_Cover4. Have you ever had a romantic crush on one of your characters? Who and why?

Absolutely. I adore Jack from Blackwattle Lake. He’s handsome, down to earth, has a great body and a killer smile. But he’s also scarred by his past which makes him vulnerable and in need of a hug. Although I have to say that Vincent, a character from my current wip could soon take Jack’s place in my heart.

5. When writing an important scene, do you act it out to allow you to better describe what’s happening?

I definitely act it out in my head but I often sit at my computer making crazy arm gestures and pulling bizarre faces to try to get the movements and expressions of the characters right.

6. Do you talk to yourself when writing or coming up with plot ideas?

I certainly do! Thankfully my study, where I write most of the time, is tucked away in a corner away from the main living areas of the house. My family already think I’m a nut case – they don’t need any more ammunition.

7. Who would be ideal to play YOU in a movie of your life?

The toughest question yet. I have to say a movie about my life would be very dull so whoever played me would have to be expert at making the mundane seem extraordinary. Based on that criteria I’d go with Nicole Kidman. Not that we look alike (I wish) but she’s an amazing actor, I know she can ride horses and is a city girl who loves the country. Like me!

8. If you could be any book character for one day, who would you be and why?

I would be Elizabeth Bennet, after her marriage to Mr Darcy. Do I really need to explain why?

9. You’re about to be left on a deserted island for a year, and while your basic food and water needs will be met, you can only bring one extra thing from the following. Which would you choose?

a) A pen and notepad that never runs out

b) An unlimited supply of books

c) An unlimited supply of chocolate, coffee, or alcohol (your choice)

d) A gorgeous man/woman depending on your preference

As much as c and d are appealing it’s definitely between the first two. And although I’d love a whole year to read as many books as possible without being disturbed the thought of having total solitude and an exotic location to write in is irresistible.

10. If you had the attention of the whole world for two minutes what would you say?

I know I’d be tongue tied so I’d read one of my favourite poems, something by Robert Frost or Mary Oliver. Perhaps even Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese. You can hear Mary Oliver reading it herself right here:

 

Thanks for having me Juliet. The questions were a lot of fun. 🙂

You’re welcome, Pamela… and you have been awarded Ultra-Brave Author status on the Braveometer!

Ultra-BraveAuthor

You can visit Pamela on the web:

website  blog  facebook  twitter

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