Happy Easter to those who celebrate! And wow, April is here already.
April is my birthday month, so of course it would have to be one of my favourite months of the year 😉 And APRIL’S GLOW was one of my favourite stories to write.
What was my inspiration behind this novel?
Candles are pretty self explanatory, I LOVE candles and all the beautiful scents and colours and jars they come in and always wanted to write about a character who runs a candle store… and as for neighbours, I don’t mean the Australian TV show, but the idea of exploring how two people not looking for a relationship, yet undeniably attracted to each other, end up as neighbours and how this close proximity forces them to face the demons of their past, and trust in an uncertain future.
In this book I also wanted to explore two imperfect characters; one physically restricted and one psychologically restricted, and bring them together to help them help each other.
April is an amputee who has learned to live with her physical disability, but is still scarred by emotional wounds from her accident, and Zac is a recovering alcoholic with post-traumatic agoraphobia… hence the need to have most of his scenes at his home, with April as the next door neighbour.
Another thing I always wanted to do was write a character who writes poetry, as poetry was a big part of my life growing up and helped me express myself and get through difficult times during adolescence. So it felt natural to bring this element into April’s Glow, through Zac, who writes to help cope with his psychological issues.
Writing novels is a way to express parts ourselves that we wish to explore, while also discovering new concepts and characters that are completely different from our own lives. To me, writing is like living multiple lives, and being in control of the outcomes. There is a great deal of fulfilment in writing a book. And seeing it come to life, feeling as though it is a real story about real people, is very rewarding.
With each new story I discover something new about life, and about myself, and I can’t wait to see what I discover next… 🙂
Hope you have a wonderful Easter, and happy reading!
READ APRIL’S GLOW; >> http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9781760370312
~ Juliet xo
P.S. – Thanks to those who attended my recent talk at Shellharbour library!
Happy International Women’s Day! 😀😘
Who are your favourite female fictional characters?
I love writing about brave, authentic women who become empowered throughtheir challenges to live their best life possible… and after 17 books (15 fiction), it’s hard to choose a favourite, but if I had to I’d say April from April’s Glow…
I love that she speaks her mind without fear, even if it gets her into trouble, and that despite being an amputee she doesn’t let her disability define her, but simply does the best she can within her limitations. I also love that even after promising to stand by her fiance when he develops quadriplegia, and he shuts her out of his life to spare her the difficulty, she moves on with grace and hope towards a new future, starting a fresh life running her own business in Tarrin’s Bay. And then after all she’s been through, and dealing with an alcoholic father, she falls for a recovering alcoholic. She worries he will be just like her dad… but still she gives him a chance, and learns about the healing power of unconditional love and acceptance.
April was an amazing character to write, and when I think of my own challenges I am reminded of those who are dealing with so much more, and I am grateful.
Let’s celebrate the power of amazing female characters in fiction who have the power to remind us of our own strength, as well as giving us an entertaining story.
Books are important. Women are important. And you are too. 👍😊👊✌️
>>> And to celebrate International Women’s Day, I’m giving a library talk this weekend about my writing journey over the past several years!
If you’d like to come and don’t live too far away, it’s at Shellharbour City Library, on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia, on Sat March 10 at 1pm.
See flyer below for details and how to book your free seat. You can also register quickly and easily online here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/author-talk-juliet-madison-tickets-43152568494
To finish up the celebrations for the month of my 5th publishing anniversary, I’m having one last giveaway for February, a signed copy of my young adult supernatural mystery novel, SIGHT, which is book 1 in the Delta Girls series. If you like shows like Charmed, Ghost Whisperer, and enjoy books with mystery, suspense, humour, sisterhood and family dynamics, and young love, then you might like this series!
Below I am sharing Chapter One of SIGHT to give you a “taste” (title of Book 4, no pun intended!) 😉
Hope you enjoy, and read below to the bottom of the page for details on how to win a copy…
SIGHT (THE DELTA GIRLS #1) – CHAPTER ONE:
I always thought I’d spend my sixteenth birthday at home with my four sisters and closest friends having the sleepover of all sleepovers with streamers and balloons overtaking the living room, a bottomless bowl of salt and vinegar potato chips, and enough chocolate to feed a small country. We’d watch movies, pausing occasionally to drool over hot actors, before turning up the music and dancing around like lunatics. My eldest sister, Talia, and her twin, Tamara, would probably bring out their Ouija board and freak the crap out of all of us. With our nervous systems on high alert for an impending ghost visitation, it’d be more like a no sleepover. Add the fuel of excess sugar and hormones to the fire of fear, and we’d be up all night for sure.
Instead, I spent my birthday fast asleep. In a coma, to be exact. Not exactly the picture I had in mind, and I doubt the picture my sisters had in mind either. As the youngest child in the family, everyone always treated me as though I was made of fragile glass; and as one of triplets, my birthday parties were always shared with Serena and Sasha. But, for the momentous occasion of my sweet sixteenth, we were separated by my inconvenient lack of consciousness. Not so sweet after all.
I wasn’t aware of my birthday taking place, or aware of anything for that matter. I only remembered the heavy, drowsy sensation after the anesthesiologist put the mask on my face, and then everything around me faded to black. It was a risky operation, no doubt about that. I’d been given the choice of living my life with the ticking time bomb of a brain aneurysm, or having surgery to hopefully repair the damn thing, giving me the possibility of a so-called normal life. As any teenager would have done, I reached for the hope of a normal life—that Holy Grail of adolescence and the need to fit in, to be accepted, and to figure out who the heck I was. The idea of walking around with a head that could explode at any minute was about as appealing as wearing the pink sweater with a trail of fluffy pom-poms down each sleeve that Grandma knitted me two Christmas’s earlier.
I was told to expect a shocking headache on waking after the operation, but what I didn’t expect was not waking up at all. There was no headache, no lights, and no doctors and nurses hovering around me—okay, there could have been, but I wasn’t aware of them. I was trapped in a prison of darkness with no way out.
That was until the fourteenth of April, two months after being wheeled into the operating room, when a strange jolt coursed through my body. Warmth flushed my skin, and a kind of bubbly sensation tickled me from the inside; and for the first time in a long while, I saw something. The image was as clear as day; I knew it was real.
And then I opened my eyes.
“Did you feel that?”
“I thought I heard…”
The sound of my sisters’ voices became apparent as light soaked into my aching eyes, drowning in a thick blur of white.
“Oh my God. Savannah!”
“Quick, someone get Mom!”
I wanted so much to sit up and hug them, feel that I was indeed alive, but my muscles were deaf to my brain’s commands. At least my ears weren’t. The mismatched symphony of sounds gnawed at my eardrums, but I didn’t care. I was alive. My family was with me. The familiar click- clack of my mother’s shoes grew near, followed by her soft breath and cold palm on my face before it was quickly replaced by a sharp light protruding into my eyes.
“Savannah, can you hear me?” an unfamiliar male voice asked. “Blink twice if you can hear me.”
I blinked. Twice.
“She really is awake! Honey, it’s Mom. Everything’s going to be all right.”
“I…know.” It was as though I was speaking for the first time. The words sounded like strangers hijacking my throat as it scratched and strained in effort. It felt weird, but at the same time, it felt pretty awesome.
Three Months Later…
I’d forgotten how delicious ice cream was. Since my operation, eating ice cream had always been rewarded with a sharp, cold headache, but not today. Today I was rewarded with the bliss of boysenberry ripple cooling my tongue and delivering a burst of sweetness to my eager taste buds. I wiped at globs of ice cream as they dripped down my chin and giggled. Serena, my older sister by two and a half minutes, eyed me strangely.
“What?” I asked.
“Huh? Oh, nothing.” She flicked her slender hand. “It’s just good to hear you laugh again, that’s all.”
Smiling, I stepped onto the beach, reveling in the luscious, warm sand oozing between my toes. People laughed and chatted around us, children squealed and giggled, and seagulls squawked overhead; all relishing the freedom of the summer holidays. Flags marking the safe section of beach in which to swim flapped in the breeze as lifeguards watched over the crowd. The five of us dawdled along, licking our ice creams and inhaling the salty ocean air that tickled our skin as it swept around us.
Talia stopped and glanced at her feet, her wavy locks tumbling over her shoulders.
“What is it?” we asked in unison.
Bewilderment creasing her face, Talia raised her head. “I don’t know. But being here…it reminds me of something.” As though giving up trying to figure out what that something was, she shrugged, causing a spaghetti strap from her maxi dress to fall off one of her tanned shoulders. She returned it to its rightful position and we continued walking.
A dull thud knocked my head sideways a tad. “Hey!”
My gaze darted to the beach volleyballers nearby who were now missing a ball. I tucked the tip of my foot under the offending item, sharply flicked it up, and caught it in one hand. Good to know my soccer skills hadn’t died along with the aneurysm. “I’d say that shot was out,” I called across to the group of golden-skinned teenagers.
“Ya think?” a boy about my age, maybe older, replied. His hand shaded his face, but when he removed it to reveal beautifully proportioned perfection, I almost dropped the ball. And the ice cream.
Gulp. Maybe moving here away from my friends wasn’t so bad after all.
“So, are you gonna give it back or what?” He frowned. “Or can’t you throw that far?”
I’d spoken too soon. What an ass.
“Here, hold this.” I thrust my half-eaten ice cream cone into Talia’s unsuspecting hand and turned away from my sisters.
“Savannah, what’re you doing?” Sasha, my older sister by six minutes asked, lifting her sunglasses onto her forehead. “Just give the ball back.”
“Oh, I’ll give it back,” I said, confidence raising my chin. Or was it the desire for payback?
“Savvy,” said Talia, in her I’m-your-big-sister-and-I- know-what’s-best voice. “Don’t do anything stupid. The doctor warned you not to overdo it. Come back.”
She grasped my arm, but I flung her hand away. “I had an aneurysm. Had. It got fixed. I’m not a freaking invalid!” Geez, my sisters drove me mad sometimes, especially Talia. They treated me like a baby before the condition, but now it was ten times worse. They might as well have covered me in bubble wrap and attached me to a leash or something.
Talia crossed her arms and twisted her lips to one side as I approached the beach volleyballers. I stood at the corner of their makeshift court and shot a laser glare at Mr. I’m- So-Hot-It-Hurts. He stood at the ready, shifting his weight from one muscled leg to the other. Luckily, soccer wasn’t my only forte. It’d been a while since I’d played volleyball, but I remembered how to do a mean serve. And I was determined that this would be my meanest.
My eyes pinned the location I was aiming for. I stepped back on my right foot and tossed the ball in the air, meeting it on its descent with the side of my thumb as my fingers clenched into a fist. Bam! The ball went over the net toward the incredibly gorgeous and incredibly infuriating guy, who lunged for it and missed. The ball left a kind of mini UFO crop circle in its wake on the sand. Sucked in, hotshot.
“Woo-hoo!” yelled a girl on my side of the net, approaching me with a high-five. “That was awesome. You’re welcome to join us if you like.”
I glanced toward Talia who tapped at her watch as if we were running late for something. The sun reflected off the silver and I squinted at the glare. Then I held up my hand and mouthed, “Five minutes.” I turned back to the girl. “Thanks, I’d love to.”
I felt confident, powerful—alive. Hottie kept hitting the ball in my direction and only once did I miss. “I missed that on purpose,” I said. “Thought I better let you have at least one point.” He pretended to laugh, and I forced myself to look away from the silky ripple of a smile on his cheeks. I had to admit, he was pretty tough competition, but the thrill of opposing his every move sent a rush through my body I hadn’t felt in a long time. Not since… Oh. My. God.
I stopped. “Um, thanks guys, but I have to go now.” I waved awkwardly to the group then rushed over to my sisters who’d actually been cheering on the sidelines.
“What’s wrong, Savvy?” asked Talia, her brow furrowed.
“Nothing. But…I saw this.” I gestured toward the volleyball match. “Everything that just happened, I’ve already seen it. Back in the hospital, right before I woke up.” I placed my hands on my denim-clad hips and panted, catching my breath; from the exercise or the realization, I didn’t know which. Silence followed as they were probably trying to process what I’d said.
Talia stepped closer to me, her height making me tilt my head up slightly. She nibbled on her bottom lip as though she was trying to work out a nice way of saying, “You’re crazy, little sis.” But she didn’t. Quite the opposite, actually. “So did I. Only, I didn’t see it, I felt it. The sand giving way under my feet, the warmth of the sun on my skin, the ice cream cones in my hands. Right before you woke up,” she confessed.
My gaze locked on her intense blue eyes. I glanced at my other sisters who shifted awkwardly on the spot. At least if they thought I was crazy, my eldest sister would share the load with me. She’d felt this moment. I’d seen it. That was a fact, crazy or not.
Serena cleared her throat and scratched her cheek. “Me too,” she whispered, stepping closer in alliance. “Moments before you woke, I heard you giggle, just like you did back there.” She pointed to the ice cream van and squinted at the sun, crinkling her freckled nose. “I thought it was just a vivid memory at the time. I also heard the pop of the volleyball against everyone’s hands, only I didn’t realize what it was until now.”
My heart rate kicked up a notch. And as though encouraged by our revelations, Sasha and Tamara looked at each other curiously and nodded.
“I could taste the ice cream,” said Tamara, tucking a curly tendril of hair behind her ear, her round cheeks rosy under the heat of the sun.
“Wow, this is unbelievable,” said Sasha. “I could smell the salty air and the sunscreen lotion.” She shivered, despite the warm temperature.
The noise of the crowds and the splash of the waves subsided like we were the only people on the beach. My sisters’ words floated through my mind, crisscrossing into a weave of realization. The five senses. One for each of us. “So what you’re saying is, you all sensed this moment, in one way or another, right before I woke up?”
“Holy crap.” I ran my fingers through my dark, bobbed hair until they met the hot sweat at the back of my neck. How could this be possible? “What were you doing at the time?” I asked, my mind searching for a plausible explanation.
Talia threaded her fingers together then stretched and wrung her hands. “We were thinking you might never wake up, and Serena started crying. She wouldn’t let go of your hand,” she explained.
“Then Talia put her arm around me,” Serena added, glancing briefly at our sister.
“And we all joined hands around your bed,” Talia said. “Next thing I knew, I could feel sand under my feet and this wonderful, warm sensation came over me.”
“Me too, just as I heard Savvy’s laughter in my mind,” Serena piped up. “And I felt kind of…I dunno…” She circled her hands as though trying to summon the sensation back into her body.
“Bubbly?” I asked, tilting my head a little.
Serena’s jaw opened, and she gripped her smooth, dark ponytail, which hung over her shoulder. “Exactly! As though soda was inside me, bubbling up from my toes to my head.”
“How the hell?” Tamara shook her head from side to side, her curls bouncing around her face. “Amazing.”
“Do you think it’ll ever happen again?” Sasha asked, crossing one foot over the other and placing a manicured hand on her hip.
I flashed a grin and held out my hands. “Only one way to find out.”
*Copyright Juliet Madison.
Read the rest of SIGHT, and all 5 Delta Girls books, here:
~ Amazon (ebook, paperback, audiobook)
~ Book Depository (paperback, free worldwide shipping)
> ENTER TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF SIGHT! Plus some gemstone earrings… Head over to my Facebook page and follow the instructions on the post titled ‘GIVEAWAY!’ and dated Feb 23. Winner drawn 1st March.
It’s time for the third giveaway this month for my 5th publishing anniversary (you can read my original post about how I became a writer HERE)!
This week a signed copy of my inspirational colouring and activity book, COLOR YOUR DREAMS is up for grabs, plus a beautiful notebook and a pencil case! This giveaway is open worldwide and I’ll draw the winner on Thursday 22nd.
To enter, visit my Facebook page HERE and check out the giveaway post dated Feb 15.
COLOR YOUR DREAMS contains 100 positive words, each drawn into an inspiring colouring page based around the theme of that word, and in addition, each has an activity page of empowering written exercises to get the most out of the theme and attract more of that positive element into your life.
I had the BEST time creating this book, and I love seeing what people do with the pages in my colouring group on Facebook!
Here are some sample pages from inside the book…
Enter HERE. Good luck!
Thanks to all those who congratulated me on my 5th Publishaversary last week! If you haven’t read my post on How Becoming a Writer Helped Me Become Myself, you can do so here.
To celebrate my 5th anniversary of being published, I’m having some giveaways this month… congrats to Karen who was the lucky winner of last week’s giveaway; a signed copy of THE SECRET LETTERS PROJECT plus a beautiful journal!
Keep reading to see how you could win this week’s prize pack…
February is a time for love, and with Valentine’s Day almost here, it’s the perfect time to get those warm fuzzy feelings happening inside with a heartwarming romantic read. FEBRUARY OR FOREVER is one of my most popular bestselling stories, and explores an exciting ‘what if?’ question: “What if your favourite celebrity fell in love with YOU?” I’m sure our teenage selves wondered that at some stage! And this story shows how Chrissie, a single mother and yoga teacher who has just moved to Tarrin’s Bay, deals with that very scenario when she’s given the job of private yoga instructor to Drew Williams, her favourite singer-songwriter, while he’s in town for the month.
Yoga teacher and single mother, Chrissie Burns has a plan: move into the rundown beach house left to her by her deceased aunt, renovate it, sell it, and move on. The scene of a terrible accident years ago, the house needs to get out of Chrissie’s hands as soon as possible.
But Tarrin’s Bay, where the house stands, has more to offer than bad memories. The town is lovely, the people friendly, and even Chrissie’s young son finds friends and begins coming out of his shell. Employed at Serendipity Retreat as a yoga instructor, Chrissie is shocked to be given the role of private teacher to Drew Williams, Australia’s top singer/songwriter for the month.
Relationships between instructors and clients are strictly forbidden, but Drew draws happiness out of Chrissie with his down-to-earth nature and sense of humour. Days of stretching and bending may bring Chrissie unexpected peace and strength, but she knows that this interlude must end, and there’s no pose or position to aid her if Drew walks away and leaves her broken-hearted.
This book is part of my Tarrin’s Bay series which has books for each month of the year and is now up to ‘May’, and has guaranteed happy endings and new beginnings! You can start with The January Wish, or whichever story you feel most drawn to as they can also be read as stand-alone stories.
AND for the next week you will have the chance to WIN a copy of FEBRUARY OR FOREVER in print as part of the MORE TIME FOR THE BEACH anthology of 3-in-1 bestsellers! Included in this prize pack is a beautiful scented ‘coastal hideaway’ candle in a tin. Best of all, the contest is OPEN WORLDWIDE, despite shocking postage costs from Australia! 😛 I love hosting giveaways and I value my international readers as well as my Australian ones, so when I can I like to include some international giveaways too.
To enter this giveaway, please visit my Facebook page and find the GIVEAWAY post dated February 8th. I will draw the winner the day after Valentine’s day, on Thurs 15th.
Good luck, and stay tuned next Thursday for another special giveaway!
P.S. ~ If you’re a writer and love to write love stories, you might be interested in my upcoming online course, How To Write A Lovella (romance novella). It starts Feb 25th and goes for 2 weeks. All the details and registrations are HERE.
Today is the 5th anniversary of being a published author. It’s my publishaversary! 😀
(Psst! Keep reading to the bottom of this post for a chance to win a signed copy of one of my books, and a journal… 🙂 )
It’s days like this that make you think back on your journey and how far you’ve come…
Since my first book, FAST FORWARD, was published in 2013, 16 more books have followed, and 4 anthologies/collections (see my BOOKS page for all the details). I’ve written romantic comedy, women’s fiction and coastal/small town romance, young adult supernatural mystery, and self help. I love diversity, and writing different genres helps me to feel creatively fulfilled.
I’ve learned a lot over the past five years of being in the industry (and also my eight years of writing), about writing itself, the editing and publishing process, cover design, marketing, and have experienced all the ups and downs including getting new contracts, getting an agent, getting rejections, getting good reviews and bad reviews, having the genres I choose to write both celebrated and ridiculed, and being both on time and behind with deadlines… the writing life is definitely a rollercoaster! I’ve also come to teach what I’ve learned by running online courses and doing coaching and critiquing for other writers, with Writing Mojo Academy.
But today, I want to write about something else:
How Becoming A Writer Helped Me Become Myself…
I’ve been reading a lot about authenticity lately, about the courage to be yourself, and coming into awareness of who you really are. Writing has, I feel, helped me to find my authentic voice, both in my writing and in my personal life, and discover and create who I really am.
When I think back to that person I was when I first opened a word document and wrote, Chapter One, she is so different to the person I now am.
My writing journey started when another journey had ended… my successful career as a naturopath, online health coach, and business owner. It didn’t end in a bad way, my circumstances simply changed, and with them, I had to change. My priorities had shifted, and deciding to put the wellbeing of my son first, I left my career, took him out of school, and facilitated his high school education myself through distance learning (a form of homeschooling, done through a high school). This decision not only helped him (he is now 21 and has not only written a couple of novels himself, but is pursuing a career in acting and also photography), but it also helped me, even though I felt guilty leaving my patients behind and wondering how on earth I was now going to pay my bills.
It was when this change began that I started reading again, never having had much time for it unless it was a medical or health book, or a research manual. I got back into fiction, and then ideas started to form in my mind. I would like to try writing a book… I think I can do it… I just want to know what it feels like to write a complete novel… thoughts roamed around my head, until that day I wrote ‘Chapter One’. From that moment on, I never stopped. I found my passion, my calling; to be a storyteller and to bring entertainment and inspiration to other people.
But I had no idea at the time that my writing journey would become an intensely personal journey of self-discovery.
When I started, I was undergoing immense change from being a successful working single mother, to a stay at home single mother homeschooling a child with special needs. I became isolated. Lonely. Withdrawn. I had also started developing a health issue that continued for many years, and for the next five years or so, every day was a struggle just to get by. To have the energy to get through the school lessons. To do the household chores. Even the grocery shopping took all my energy and effort for the day. But still I wrote. Writing became my outlet, my therapy …my healing.
I had loved working in the health field and was a confident and highly-regarded practitioner, but inside, I was struggling to understand and accept who I was as a person. An individual. A woman. Not only a mother or a practitioner. I hadn’t yet become aware of the fullness or truth of my identity. In some ways, I was scared to be myself.
Writing gave me a voice.
It gave me confidence.
It gave me self-expression.
Through my characters I dealt with life’s challenges, I found ways to understand things that had happened to me, I processed my emotions through my character’s emotions, and I enjoyed the thrill of my characters’ experiences.
By creating new lives through the art of fiction, I created my own new life.
I was not only becoming a writer, I was becoming myself. My true self, that until then, hadn’t been fully expressed.
And when I became published, I became heard. I hadn’t felt truly ‘heard‘ before. This was both exciting and scary, but the more I found out that readers enjoyed my books, the more confident I became, in my writing, and in myself.
Writing books, meeting other writers, reading their books, and immersing myself in this wonderful world of words, made me feel like I had found people who ‘got’ me. Who I could relate to. And I developed many new friendships as a result.
The more and more I wrote, the more and more my life started to become something resembling a novel! Sometimes funny, sometimes sweet, and sometimes heartbreaking. My career blossomed, and so did I. I started connecting with more and more people, trying new experiences, enjoying greater health by finally looking after myself and not just my patients, and ‘came out of my shell’. I even got a tattoo! …Something I had never thought I would do, but as I became more aware of my own essence, I wanted to express it, and as an artist as well, this was one way that felt right. It made me feel more ‘me’.
I am proud to stand confident and say I am a creative, motivated, determined, intuitive, resourceful, and kind person. A mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunty, a partner, a writer, and a woman.
It is always a process, and sometimes it’s not easy; learning more about yourself and coming to love and accept yourself and be confident with who you are, but I am there. My words, and the 19 books I’ve written so far helped me get there. They helped me tune into my own authenticity and personal power, and to finally be able to say, ‘It’s okay to be me, just as I am.’
Thank you for reading.
Love, Juliet xo
To enter to win a signed copy of my latest book, THE SECRET LETTERS PROJECT; a journal of transformation through the art of letter writing, please visit my Facebook page and follow the instructions on the GIVEAWAY post! And to stay tuned for more giveaways coming up this month, select ‘get notifications’ on my page to make sure you are notified when I post on Facebook.
I’ll draw the winner on Feb 8th. Contest open INTERNATIONALLY.
Happy New Year!
January, 2018, here we are. Are you ready?
It’s been four years since THE JANUARY WISH, the first book in my Tarrin’s Bay series, was released. I’ve made a few wishes myself since then, many of which have come true. 🙂
January is a perfect time to not only look back on how far you’ve come, but also look forward to where you want to be, what you want to experience, how you want to feel.
I love the new feeling of January, the ideas that inspire me from within, and knowing that it’s a fresh start.
When I wrote THE JANUARY WISH I not only wanted to make a great story, but show readers that anything is possible. That no matter what has happened in your past… grief, loss, regret, illness… you can rise above it all and become the best version of yourself and find happiness and peace in your life.
Some of the story mirrors my own journey, and as I’ve risen above many challenges and made a few wishes, I’m grateful to what has manifested in my life, both personally and professionally, including my rewarding creative career.
I love inspiring others to do the same with their own life, through the pleasure of reading fiction that entertains and empowers, or through direct guidance and support with my coaching and online courses that I run. I’m holding a special 2 week online course just for the new year, called New Year Mojo! – The Secret Letters System for Releasing the Past and Manifesting the Future, based on my book The Secret Letters Project and on the techniques I’ve used myself to overcome challenges and create the life I want to live. If you’d like to take part in this small supportive group and be guided directly by me to step forward into an amazing new year and new life, I’d love to have you on board! You can find out all the details and register right now by clicking onto this page HERE. 🙂
And if you haven’t yet read the bestselling and award-shortlisted book THE JANUARY WISH, it is available in ebook from all online ebook retailers, and also in large print, and in print as part of the Time For The Beach anthology.
From Escape’s queen of ro-magic comedy comes a sweet, emotional contemporary romance about the pleasures of making a wish and seeing it come true.
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.
Published by Escape Publishing.
Have an amazing new year!
~ Juliet xo
P.S. – Connect with me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/JulietMadisonAuthor/
A novella is shorter than a novel, but longer than a short story. They are usually between around 10,000 to 40,000 words, and can be read easily in one or two sittings, making them great for readers who want a faster but still satisfying journey towards The End.
> Here are 7 reasons to write a novella:
1. When starting out as a writer to discover your style and voice:
A novella involves less commitment than a novel, and can be a fun and revealing way to experiment with a few different styles to find out what and how you like to write. It can also be a way to practise focusing on just a couple of main characters and a basic plot, before working on developing secondary characters and sub-plots.
2. To try a different genre, point-of-view, or experiment with a new story idea:
For writers who may have already written one or more novels, a novella can be a great way to explore a new genre and see how it feels. It can also be a way to try a different point of view, for example, going from third person to first person, or vice versa. Novellas can be good ‘experiments’, but can also be publishable and successful works of fiction.
3. To reclaim your joy & passion for writing, and stimulate your creativity:
If you’ve been writing for a while, or have become busy in other areas of your life and have lost touch with your writing, novellas can help to stimulate your creativity and give you an outlet to simply write for the joy of it, and see where it leads. They can be good for writing in between longer novels, to break up the routine a bit and inject some new enthusiasm into your writing life.
4. To use as a freebie to encourage new readers for your other books:
From a marketing perspective, novellas that you make available for free, such as via self-publishing, or in conjunction with a publisher, can be a great tool for attracting new readers. You can give one away to new newsletter subscribers, social media followers, or to those who have bought other books. A novella can be a useful introduction to an author.
5. As a complement or prequel to a series:
Novellas can also help to add extra interest to an existing series, by offering fans a bonus read. They can be written as a kind of ‘bonus feature’, like extras in a DVD, or can be a bridge between two linked novels, or a prequel to act as a lead-in to the series.
6. As a holiday-themed story or topical story to coincide with world events:
Themed novellas are popular, and easy to market around appropriate times such as certain holidays and special occasions (Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, etc). You can also write a topical novella to coincide with world events in areas such as politics, royal life, current affairs, and other issues that are popular discussion points.
7. For an anthology with other authors:
Your novella can stand alone and/or be included with other novellas in an anthology; a collection of similar novellas by other authors, so that you benefit from cross-promotion. Your readers are likely to enjoy similar books by other authors, and vice versa. These are often self published but can also be traditionally published as a virtual boxed set, or a print compilation.
Novellas are fun, fast, and have many possibilities when it comes to adding to your catalogue of books or expressing your author brand. They also allow readers to get a taste test of what your writing style is like, and so for readers they are a great way to discover new authors, enjoy an introduction to a new series, or to enjoy reading something different without committing to a full length book, especially if their available reading time is brief.
Just because a novella is shorter than a novel, doesn’t always mean it is easier or quicker to write, though in general the time frame is usually faster. It still requires the same process for a writer, in terms of establishing an idea and concept, authentic characters, conflict and plot development, and a satisfying conclusion.
With novellas, there is not as much time to get to The End, and sometimes this can be tricker to work out out how to get there while maintaining enough plot interest and character development.
But there are tips and tricks to planning and writing a great novella, and I’ll be teaching these in an upcoming online course, as well as what types of publishing opportunities there are for novellas, and how to market them and make them a valuable and worthwhile addition to your book catalogue.
For this course, I’ll be focusing on romance novellas, which I like to call: Lovellas. 🙂
So if you’d like to learn How To Write A Lovella, head on over to the course information page where you can find out more and also register and take advantage of a couple of special offers! >> https://writingmojoacademy.com/how-to-write-a-lovella/ (the course will also be available as a download after the live event is complete)
Do you like to write or read novellas? Feel free to comment with your favourites, or leave a link to your own…
August was “Secret Letters to Strangers Month – Global Kindness Initiative”, to tie in with the release of THE SECRET LETTERS PROJECT book. People around the world wrote uplifting letters to strangers (using the Official Template or including the hashtag & website), and left them in public places for people to find. I did this too, and had a great time finding sneaky places to leave them! Many of us shared our experiences and photos in the Secret Letters project Facebook group. If you haven’t yet joined, you can do so HERE.
August may be over now, but secret letters to strangers will continue for all who want to keep writing and making this a regular part of their life. I hope to run the same event next August to make it more of an ‘official’ annual event to get as many letters out to the world all at once in a shorter space of time, and encourage new people to participate.
I’d like to thank every person who got involved in the project, it’s so rewarding to see people getting benefit out of not only finding these letters, but writing them as well. Some wonderful stories came through of people finding a letter just when they needed some encouragement or were having a difficult day.
Here are just some of the real life experiences and feedback I’ve received from recipients… (click each image to read up close)
“I recently lost my mum and one day a friend and me where in a second hand shop in Te Awamutu (New Zealand) looking for a special tea cup and saucer for a special friend when I came across this white envelope addressed
Dear Stranger – open me!
Yes you! If you found me, I’m yours! 🙂
Finding this envelope came at a time where I really needed it. The letter was so lovely and very befitting with how I was feeling and grieving the loss of my mum.
Thank you kind stranger! xox”
“So last week I received this secret letter. I cannot begin to tell you how much I needed these words particularly right at that moment. Last month I had a miscarriage my husband and I have been trying for our 2nd child for some time now without any luck. Finally we get that positive test only to lose that hope in a few short weeks.
It all happened so quickly I found out on the Tuesday had procedure done Friday and was back at work the Monday. Bring me to last week. After a rough week at work not having systems working and wasting a lot of time trying to get them fixed adding unnecessary stress coz I’m falling behind the work that needs to get done.
On Thursday we had to take my son to hospital we got home at 3.30 am in the morning and I was up at 6:30 am for work.
On less than 3 hrs sleep I worked a full day only to have more system issues and fall more behind with my actual work. When I spoke to my boss there was not even a care that I had showed up to work that day rather than call in sick like I should have. I walk out of work to find this letter. Everything that was written was exactly what I needed to hear.”
You can search social media for the hashtag #secretlettersproject to see other photos, stories, and experiences.
In addition to the recipient, writing these letters has also proved beneficial for the writer:
“As I was writing each word, I was feeling connections being formed and developed with people everywhere. Every person I pass on the street or have contact with could be a recipient of my letter, therefore I started acting that way towards others more often too and the results were surprising. After writing each letter I felt lifted, positive and significant.” ~ Tina
“For me I felt like I was writing the letters to myself without realising until I read them back. Giving myself permission to feel things I didn’t realise I didn’t know I needed.” ~ Laura
“It helped me gain perspective and peace on dark days knowing I was potentially helping someone else. It is truly givers gain where you get something wonderful by giving without expectation of getting something in return.” ~ Traycie
And it was great to see people writing about the project on various blogs and websites:
- The Simple Life: Secret Letters Project on News Tribune.
- 9 Secret Letters to Write for Reflection, Growth, and Transformation on Popsugar.
- Blogs: Keeps Me Out Of Mischief and Anxiety Mum.
I would also like to thank everyone who has bought a copy of THE SECRET LETTERS PROJECT, which not only talks about writing letters to strangers, but talks about the secret letter writing process I’ve developed for 20 different types of letters, such as Dear Universe, Dear Me, Dear Ex, Dear Son/Daughter, Dear Past Event, etc.
I love creating books like this and hope to make many more, and every sale, every word of mouth recommendation, every review, makes a BIG difference for an author in being able to continue writing and publishing the books they want to write. So if you’ve got the book and would be happy to leave a star rating and/or a brief review online, that would be very much appreciated! It doesn’t have to be detailed, just a simple ‘I loved this book’ or something similar is all that’s needed. The more reviews a book has the more visibility and exposure it gets in online stores such as Amazon. Thank you to everyone who has supported the book so far!
>> If you haven’t got a copy, you can get it from all online book retailers such as Amazon and B&N, and in stores in the US and Australia (Dymocks). The Book Depository has free fast worldwide shipping too.
And if you’d like to leave a review, go to the online store you purchased it from to leave your feedback, and/or write one on Goodreads. Thank you! 🙂
…Now onto something new and exciting… I’m holding some fun and inspiring online courses about my secret letters process, and you’re invited!
The first course: Secret Letters for Self Empowerment, is starting soon on Monday Sep 18, through to Friday Sep 22. And the first course is FREE! But if you miss it that’s ok, you can go back to the group where the content is posted and do the activities in your own time. You don’t need a copy of the book to participate, but it is a good adjunct if you wish to get the most out of it. The course will help with your self confidence, self love, self acceptance, and self empowerment, and is a great starting point for the courses that will follow.
JOIN here! It’s free. 🙂
The two follow-on courses (dates to be confirmed but probably during January) are:
- Secret Letters for Releasing the Past
- Secret Letters for Manifesting
These are a little more intensive than the first course and numbers will be limited so that I can guide each individual through the course as needed. The purpose of all is to free yourself from any limitations and past hurts and grief and allow you to move forward into the life you want to create for yourself. Once you experience the full healing and manifesting power of a secret letter, it will become a regular part of your life as it has for mine. 🙂
If you’d like to be notified when registrations open for the above two courses, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be notified. And you can also join the group for the first course to take part. I look forward to seeing you there!
CLICK HERE to take part in the Secret Letters for Self Empowerment online course!
Love, laughter, and light,
~ Juliet xo
Everything You Need To Know About The “SECRET LETTERS TO STRANGERS MONTH – GLOBAL KINDNESS INITIATIVE”
Everything You Need To Know About The “SECRET LETTERS TO STRANGERS MONTH – GLOBAL KINDNESS INITIATIVE”
During August, people around the world will be writing secret letters to strangers and leaving them in public as an anonymous act of kindness, to spread hope and inspiration and remind people that we are all in life together, and by connecting with each other we can make a difference and emphasise the good in the world.
By writing a secret letter, you could make someone’s day, or even change their life.
You might even find a letter yourself. How nice would that be?
So far over 3000 people have responded to the event invitation on Facebook, and it has been shared over 1000 times… I’d like to say a BIG thank you to all who have expressed interest and have shared and invited friends… all it takes is one person to make a difference, but with many, we can spread so much more kindness and inspiration, and I can’t wait to flood the globe with uplifting letters this August!
If you haven’t yet responded as ‘going’ or ‘interested’ on the event page, you can do so here: https://www.facebook.com/events/465815260431665/
You can also join the private Facebook group for THE SECRET LETTERS PROJECT, the book that inspired the idea to have a month dedicated to writing letters to strangers, as “Dear Stranger” is one of the chapters in the book (there are 20 different types of letters included in the book, such as Dear Me, Dear Soulmate, Dear Universe, Dear Ex… all to help gain emotional wellbeing, forgiveness and acceptance, and self empowerment). Join the group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thesecretlettersproject/
To participate in the Secret Letters Month this August, all you need to do is the following:
- Download and print out the official Dear Stranger letter template. It is in the files section of the Facebook group, on the Secret Letters page of this website, and you can also download it RIGHT HERE. You can print 1 copy or 100, or however many you would like. You don’t need to explain in the letter about the secret letters month, there is an explanation at the bottom and a website address where the recipient can choose to share their experience or take part too.
- Write a positive letter to a stranger. It can be a few sentences, half a page, a full page, or several pages. You can write one letter or many. *See tips below of what you could write.
- Leave your letter or letters somewhere in public during August (although you can start earlier if you like, and you can continue after August). You can simply leave the letter as is, fold the letter, or put it in an envelope, or a plastic zip-lock bag (if leaving outdoors where it might rain). If using an envelope, be sure to write something on it that will encourage someone to open it, eg: For You, Dear Stranger, Open Me, etc. *See tips below on where you could leave your letters.
- Optional: Share in the Secret Letters group (or on the Facebook event page) about your experiences, your letters, photos, how you felt, etc. You can also share on social media using the hashtag #secretlettersproject. If using Instagram, you can tag me at @julietmadisonauthorartist …And if you find a letter yourself, please let us know!
And that’s it! Print the template, write a letter, and leave it in public. Simple, but powerful.
Tips on what to write:
Think of a tough day you’ve had and what would have made you feel better. What words, phrases, or positive sayings come to mind? Imagine the person receiving your letter is having a bad day, or perhaps they are having a good day, and when they receive your letter, they are going to feel even better. Write about positive things you have learned in life, supportive words of encouragement, or a reminder that each and every person is special and a valuable part of life. You may even simply write something like “Dear Stranger, I hope you have an amazing day!” The letter can be as long or short as you wish. As you write, imagine the recipient with a big smile on their face as they read your words.
You may choose to leave it unsigned, write your first name, or write something like “from one stranger to another,” “from anonymous,” “from me,” or “from a friend.”
You might be wondering what this is all about. Why would someone leave an anonymous letter for someone else to find? The reason is simple. There is a lot of negativity in the world, but I am choosing to spread joy and kindness. I would like to wish you an amazing day, and I hope all your dreams come true. Always believe in yourself, never give up, and keep smiling.
Your anonymous friend xo
Ideas for places to leave letters:
- In a public park (weather permitting, or placed in a plastic bag)
- In a doctor’s waiting room
- At the gym
- In a library on a shelf or inside a book
- At a bookstore
- Under the windshield wiper of someone’s car
- In a shopping cart
- In a payphone booth
- At an automatic teller machine
- In a stranger’s mailbox
- In an elevator
- Put your letter in an envelope and write something on it to encourage the recipient to open it. You may wish to decorate the envelope too.
- Along with your letter, include a spare blank letter & pen for the recipient to write their own and save them printing it out
- Leave a gift with the letter, eg: a scratchie ticket, a bookmark, a small amount of cash, a book, a movie voucher, a café gift certificate, etc.
- Decorate your letter with drawings or stickers
- Have a letter writing party with friends and then go on a kindness spree together
- Get your children involved to teach them about the importance of showing kindness
- Blog about your experience or share in the Secret Letters Facebook group
*I am also running a preorder contest during July… if you order the book before August and send me your receipt or proof of purchase via email or Facebook message, you’ll go in the draw to win a personal handwritten letter from me along with a special secret gift! This contest is open worldwide.
- Order a copy of THE SECRET LETTERS PROJECT from your preferred retailer. Some options are: Amazon, Book Depository (free worldwide shipping), B&N, Booktopia, Dymocks.
- Send your proof of purchase to me by July 31 at email@example.com with “Secret Letters preorder contest” in the subject line, or send via message on my Facebook page.
I’ll draw the winner at the beginning of August.
Thank you for taking the time to participate. I’ll also be writing my own secret letters! Have fun and enjoy.
~ Juliet xo
*HERE is the letter template again.