Monthly Archives: November 2013
Fast Forward the sequel?
I promised when I got to 50 reviews on Amazon for FAST FORWARD I would share the first scene of the sequel (or spin-off, whatever you like to call it), so now that there are 50 reviews that’s exactly what I’m going to do! I figured 50 was an appropriate number considering the book is about 25 year old Kelli waking up as a 50 year old with no recollection of the last 25 years.
Before I do though, I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has downloaded the book, and especially those who have left a review on either Goodreads or Amazon. I’m thrilled that the majority of readers have loved the book and left 4 and 5 star ratings. Thank you! You can read some of the reviews here.
Now, onto this sequel business.
Let me say first that although I am about to share the first scene, this is all I’ve written so far!! So I’m sorry to say there is no sequel about to be published just yet, but it is something I definitely want to keep writing, though I am working on some other things at the moment. But I’m a fast writer so I’ll do my best to not take too long!
The sequel is titled DIORA’S DAY OFF, and if you’ve read the book you’ll know who Diora is. So for this book, the story will be from Diora’s point of view, not Kelli’s. But Kelli WILL be in the book (and hehe, did you notice that pun I just did? No? Read it again… got it?). Oh alright, I’ll spell it out for you. The character ‘Will’ will also be in the book! Yep, Will and Kelli McSnelly will be gracing the pages, but Kelli will be 55 years old! The story is set 5 years after the events of Fast Forward (that is to say, 30 years in the future). All your favourite gadgets and technology will be back (and some new ones), as well as the cast of quirky secondary characters.
Without giving too much away, the story is a cross between Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Parenthood (probably both the movie and the TV series). And yes, there will be something magical happening in the storyline. For Kelli in Fast Forward it was time travel, for Diora it will be something different… hmm, I might keep it a secret for now! Any guesses? It’s a tricky concept but I hope I can pull it off and not end up saying to myself: “What in the name of Dior was I thinking?”
Right, well I better stop babbling on and share this scene. If you’ve read this far, well done. But wait – there’s more!
DIORA’S DAY OFF – excerpt from work-in-progress:
Having big boobs is overrated. I’m serious. Who in their right minds would want the bloody things? They get in the way, get bumped and grazed by random strangers brushing past you in public, and wobble like there’s no tomorrow during everyday tasks like cleaning the kitchen benchtops. If I was ever lucky enough to have the luxury of a professional back massage, I’d need two extra holes in the massage table as well as the one for my face. And in hot weather, or even mildly warm weather, the girls need their own anti-perspirant. But nobody makes one for boobs, do they? Can underarm deodorant be used in your cleavage?
I rolled a tube of Lady Fresh down the front of my chest and under the weighty appendages, then fed my arms through the straps of the first non-nursing bra I’d worn in five years, having just finished weaning my youngest child a week ago. It looked like it could pass for an inflatable pool toy if you folded it in half, sewed it together, and blew air into the curved chambers through a straw. Maybe I needn’t have bought those expensive floaties for Sophie after all, I could just strap a couple of these babies onto her arms and she’d be good to go.
I put on my shirt and bent down to get my shoes from under the bed.
What was that?
I straightened up, then bent down again.
I’m only twenty-eight, surely that can’t be my joints? Or has having four kids under the age of six finally caught up with me and soon I’ll be getting heartburn and indigestion along with my arthritic joints? I walked to the bathroom to do my hair, my arms swinging gently by my side.
Creak, creak, creak!
It’s not my joints. It’s my freaking bra! I swung my arms with the enthusiasm of a marching soldier, then rotated them like an Olympic backstroker. Yep. The bra. Why is it creaking? I twisted my head to the side and peered over my shoulder, sliding my hand under my shirt and feeling the metal clasps holding the straps in place. It hadn’t creaked when I tried it on at the department store yesterday. Then again I’d only put in on briefly to check if it fitted, then ripped it off. Was it like a new pair of shoes that you had to wear in? Or did I give my bra arthritis from the cumbersome load I’d destined it to endure? Oh well, there was no time to change back into one of my worn out maternity bras, I had to get Lucas, Sophie, and Sebastian ready so we could get to Aurora’s school concert in time.
‘What’s taking you so long?’ my husband, Jason, asked as he peered into the bathroom.
‘My bra is creaking, and I haven’t done my hair yet.’ I ruffled my black tresses then smoothed them back into a tight ponytail. Creak, creak, creak. ‘See, can you hear that?’
‘Hear what? All I can hear is the ticking of the clock.’
I watched his reflection in the mirror as he lifted his wrist to his ear. ‘Clocks don’t tick these days, Jase. Unless you’ve switched your e-pad to one of those vintage pieces that are coming into fashion?’ I closed my eyes and finished my hair with a spray of Lady Sculpt, then turned to my husband with my hands on my hips and chest raised in a flirty pose. ‘How do I look?’
He coughed at the hairspray and barely looked at me. ‘Fine, now let’s go.’
Yep, to top it all off, even these whoppers failed to attract the red blooded male who promised to love me till death do us part. Not just today, but he’d barely cast a second glance at me since … um … how long had it been? Did we even have sex to conceive Lucas? Maybe I fell asleep during it and forgot about the whole thing, until a year ago of course when Lucas dashed, skidded, and tumbled out of my birth canal. It was no immaculate birth let alone conception. Hmm, it had been a long time. And Jason seemed … distracted, and disinterested. Something was definitely wrong.
* * *
There you have it. First scene laid bare for all to see. I’m kind of nervous now. 😉
As this book is yet to be written, I’m open to suggestions for what you would like to see, what things/characters you liked about Fast Forward that you would like me to revisit or expand on (SlimFX Magic Suit Version 3.0 anyone??).
I’d be happy to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks for reading 🙂
And check the blog again on Wednesday for another excerpt, this time from my upcoming release, THE JANUARY WISH…
Freebies & Giveaways!
With November being Escape Publishing’s 1st birthday, there are lots of giveaways and freebies going around, so I thought I’d share some of them here so you can nab a bargain or a prize!
>>First, here are two ebooks that are FREE right now for a limited time:
1. WHITE CHRISTMAS by Ros Baxter (free for preorders)
2. THE SECRET DIARY OF LADY CATHERINE BEXLEY by Viveka Portman
>>And here are four giveaways to win books from Escape Publishing (including some by yours truly ;))
1. Win I DREAM OF JOHNNY at Novel Escapes (Hurry! Ends soon!)
2. Win a five-pack of ebooks, including FAST FORWARD, at Chick Lit Club.
3. Win one of nine ebook bundles in various genres at Delighted Reader.
4. Win a five-pack of contemporary romance ebooks at Into The Night Reviews.
So get in quick and stock your e-reader with some holiday reading!
And once again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ESCAPE PUBLISHING! 🙂
Happy Birthday to Escape Publishing! Interview with Managing Editor Kate Cuthbert
It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the fabulous managing editor of Escape Publishing, Kate Cuthbert! She’s here today for Escape’s one year birthday to discuss the past year and what the future holds for Escape, and how you could be a part of this innovative imprint!
1. Happy Birthday Escape! So tell me, if you could receive any birthday present to commemorate your first year as Managing Editor, what would you choose?
Is it mercenary to ask for 50 Shades level sales? Probably, huh? 🙂 Alright, first anniversary is paper. So how about a certificate of achievement. Something old school like you used to get in primary school, that I can frame on my wall that says, ‘Hey! Escape! One year down, many to go!’
2. What are one or two of your biggest highlights from working with Escape over the past year?
The biggest highlight for me is the community of authors that we’ve built up, the Escape Artists. Their talent, their enthusiasm, their professionalism – just a great bunch of writers and a fantastic bunch of people.
The second highlight is the range of stories that we unearthed over the year – we’ve covered so much ground, put so much out there. I’m really proud of the variety of quality stories that we’ve published.
3. As managing editor you read and consider all submissions for acquisition, what are the other tasks involved with your job?
Apart from a monstrous amount of reading, I’m also heavily involved in editorial direction (which means identifying holes in our catalogue and looking to fill them, as well as some future-gazing into what we think will be the next big sellers), marketing, briefing for covers, reviews, blogging, social media – pretty much all aspects of Escape barring the technical stuff which is handled by people much more adept than me!
4. Escape has published books in a wide variety of sub-genres. What have been the three most successful genres for Escape so far?
Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Australian Rural Romance.
5. Escape does fabulous book covers. Do you have a few favourites out of all the wonderful designs so far? (Or is that like choosing between kids?)
Oh wow. Umm…I really really love the covers for the erotic historical novellas The Secret Diaries… and The Wicked Confessions…from Viveka Portman – they just encapsulate the stories so well, and are incredibly sexy and classy. We couldn’t have found a better image for Fast Forward, and I love the candy colours of that cover. And Words Once Spoken by Carly Drake and Awakening by Lara Morgan are just beautiful fantasy covers.
6. How many submissions do you get on average each week? How many of these do you request the full manuscript of?
On average I receive 10 – 15 manuscripts a week. I probably request fulls of 25% of those, and publish 15% of the whole.
7. What are three key ingredients in a successful submission for Escape?
Following the submission guidelines is a good first step! But the way to get published by Escape (and, really, anyone) is to have the three components of a good book: excellent pacing, fantastic characters, and breathtaking emotional development.
8. When you’re not reading submissions, what books/authors do you like to read for fun?
You may find this hard to believe that I still love to read romance! But I’ve been getting into crime fiction and non-fiction recently as well. I met Kathryn Fox at GenreCon and have been enjoying her novels (slowly, between submissions). The next three must-reads for me are Cecilia Grant’s A Woman Entangled, Julia Quinn’s The Sum of All Kisses, and Laura Lee Guhrke’s When the Marquess Met His Match.
9. What are the benefits of publishing with Escape Publishing?
I like to say we have the four F’s – fun, fearless, flexible, and fast. We take risks, we really understand and love romance fiction, and we’re dedicated to building careers as well as our imprint.
10. Now that Escape has turned one, what’s the vision for Escape over the coming months and years?
Our first year was about building a catalogue, getting a backlist up, and mapping out a place in the Australian publishing landscape. Our next steps are establishing and cementing that place, identifying and promoting key authors, and building reader trust in our brand.
11. Could you offer some advice for authors wanting to submit to Escape? And how can they submit to you?
Make sure that your story is the best it can possibly be. Edit, revise, rework. Make sure someone you trust to be honest reads it, and listen to them. Take advice, but don’t compromise your voice. Take risks and write your story, not the story you think will sell.
And, for goodness’ sake, begin your story and narrative at the same point. The number one reason I have for rejecting a manuscript is the narrative starting long before the story, or starting and then looking backwards.
Escape is always open for submissions, via our website, www.escapepublishing.com.au. Submission guidelines are available there, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Thanks Kate! So c’mon writers, polish up those manuscripts and send them to Kate, and readers, head over to the Escape website and check out the fabulous titles available!
COVER REVEAL! The January Wish
Ta da! What do you think? It’s amazing to finally see this story come to life as it’s been a long road to publication for this one. I think the cover really suits the feeling and emotion of the story, and hints at the secrets hiding behind the characters and this small coastal town.
Thanks to the team at Harlequin Australia / Escape Publishing for another fab cover!
The January Wish will release on 1st January 2014 and kickstarts my Tarrin’s Bay Series, and the good news is you won’t have to wait long for the second installment – February or Forever releases a month later, on 1st February! Yep, I’ve been hard at work making sure I could have the second one ready for readers right away 😉
So what is The January Wish about? It’s a sweet, emotional romance about the pleasures of making a wish and seeing it come true. It’s a blend of contemporary romance and women’s fiction, perfect for fans of Susan Wiggs and Sherryl Woods. This story is unique in that it is told in three points of view, one of which belongs to an eighteen-year-old girl whose journey and romance of her own make this a New Adult (NA) and Adult story in one! It’s also a small town romance, a coastal romance, and a medical romance (just to cover all bases, you know?) 😉
When Dr Sylvia Greene makes an impromptu wish at the Tarrin’s Bay Wishing Festival, it’s the most out of character action she can think of. Hers is not a life of wishes. Hers is a controlled life of order, plans and preparation…of science and research and diagnosis and treatment. But her past has been weighing on her mind, and decisions made long ago have far-reaching consequences.
A week later, the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen arrives in Sylvia’s small coastal town with secrets that can’t be shared. Between feelings of guilt, gossip, and a growing attraction to an emotionally unavailable colleague, Sylvia’s well-ordered life is soon thrown into chaos. She is no longer alone, and for the first time she feels as if her world is open to possibilities.
They say be careful what you wish for, but, for Sylvia, the unexpected consequences may be just what the doctor ordered.
This book was the second book I ever wrote, and went through lots of revisions to make it the best it could be, and I was thrilled when it was announced one of the six finalists in the Choc Lit Publishing Search for an Australian Star contest in 2012.
The setting of the story, Tarrin’s Bay, is based closely on the town I live in on the South Coast of NSW, Australia, so I hope I’ve captured the heart and soul of this special place on the page for reader’s to enjoy… Tarrin’s Bay is known as The Town of New Beginnings.
If you’d like to see some pictorial inspiration for The January Wish, you can visit my Pinterest board here. And add it to your Goodreads shelf here!
So until January 1st… I hope your wishes come true 🙂
~ Juliet xx
News! I’ve Signed With An Agent
Almost four years to the day when I started writing my first novel, I’ve signed with a literary agent!
The novel I submitted, THE LIFE MAKEOVER CLUB, came about during my own life makeover, and had many makeovers of its own (revisions, revisions, revisions) and I’m so glad it’s finally ready to be ‘out there’ and has caught the attention of Joelle Delbourgo from Joelle Delbourgo Associates, Inc in New Jersey, USA.
This milestone has made me realise how far I’ve come in the last four years. So often we keep thinking about the future, wanting to get somewhere, achieve new things, that we can forget what we have achieved already. When was the last time you took a step back and celebrated your progress in life?
Since I made the commitment to being a writer in October 2009, I’ve written five novels (3 with publishing contracts), two novellas (both published), several short stories, and a few partials (3 chapters and synopsis of a potential story), as well as MANY title and plot ideas! I have a title fetish. I collect them and think of new ones all the time, jotting them down on my title list. For me, a simple, catchy title can inspire a whole story idea.
When I came up with the title for The Life Makeover Club, I knew it was something I had to write. I’d been trying to think up an idea for my first story. All I knew was that I wanted to write a novel. I’d participated in a couple of self improvement and business coaching programs, and thought it would be fun to write about people who wanted to change their lives in some way, and who took major action to make their dreams a reality. And so this book was born.
After about seventy queries to agents over three months, I am now one step closer to my dream of having this book published. I had several requests for the full manuscript, a few for the partial, and two offers of representation. Of course, I could only accept one, and let me tell you – it was a very hard decision to make! Especially as during that week I was dealing with the sadness of our old home burning down in the Blue Mountains bushfires. My son grew up there, and the house was mostly designed by my mum, and so much work had been done on it. But it’s the memories we had there that made it so sad. It was heartbreaking to see it burning on the TV news, and then to see the mess of the rubble in photographs afterwards. They say big things often happen all at once, and over those few days they certainly did! Anyway, I was thrilled with both agent offers, and ultimately decided to put myself in the capable hands of Joelle.
Next step: make some improvements to the manuscript to prepare it for submission, then wait and hope a publisher (or two, or three…) wants it! 😉
I’m ready, I’m excited, and I hope to be sharing this story with you soon! 🙂