Category Archives: General
Today I’m sharing a quick guest post I did recently on the AusRomToday blog.
What are 10 things you can’t live without? Here are mine:
I wanted to do a different type of blog post for Valentines Day this year, and after being inspired by a couple of articles I read online recently (which I’ll share below), I thought I would write about the one thing that united them – the need for human connection.
Connecting with people is what makes the world go around, our lives are intertwined on a daily basis with those of others, but just how many of those people do you truly connect with? How often do you take the time to delve deeper, to get to know them, to put aside the obligatory small talk and ask questions that really matter? Not only that, but to listen to the answers with genuine interest and understanding?
There is safety in small talk, safety in staying in our comfort zones and not taking risks. But through making an effort to connect, you may just open up a whole new world of possibilities for any area of your life, be it professional or personal.
Life is short. Make connections, and make them count.
~ One of the articles I found interesting was about addiction, and what its likely cause is. Of course there is a physical, biochemical basis for addiction where the body becomes accustomed to something and makes the person keep wanting it, but what studies have found is that both the likelihood of becoming addicted and the success of recovery rely a lot on human bonding, love, and connection. Those with a healthier social environment and happier state of mind are more likely to beat the addiction. But pushing those who are addicted aside, cutting them off, isolating them, is only exacerbating the disconnection fuelling the addiction. What they need is the opposite – human bonding, connection, and unconditional love. And, I believe, this includes a strong sense of identity and connection with themselves, and self love. You can read the article by Johann Hari about how disconnection drives addiction, here.
So with the high prevalence of addiction in society, there is no better time to understand the importance of human connection. It is the glue that holds society together, it is what we as humans all crave whether we want to admit it or not, it is what matters most in life – feeling like we belong, like we are bonded and supported in life, and experiencing the joy and purpose that comes from this.
~ The other article that caught my attention was in the New York Times, and was fascinating and fun to read. The title, To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This by Mandy Len Catron, makes it sound like a lighthearted novelty, but if you read right through to the end you’ll see the depth and beauty of what it is discussing. It talks about a series of 36 questions that have succeeded in making some people fall in love with each other, by bypassing all the usual small talk and getting right to the nitty gritty, exposing vulnerabilities and allowing people to open up to really being ‘seen’ by another. You can read the list of questions yourself to see what it’s all about, or read the full article here.
I think that these questions could be used by anyone, with anyone; friends, family, colleagues, lovers… to connect more deeply with them and create a stronger bond.
It is all about emotional intimacy, or as one of my favourite authors, Neale Donald Walsch calls it: IntoMeSee.
The article on the 36 questions emphasises that love is an action. It is a feeling, a knowing, yes, but it is also an action. Love not acted on will simply exist in a sort of limbo, and the questions used in this study are an example of how a sort of ‘love-based momentum’ can be established which may potentially allow love to blossom. But if it doesn’t, at least not in romantic form, then I believe that each person will at least come away with a greater understanding and appreciation of the other, a greater bond and connection, and that is a great thing.
~ The need for human connection and the value of establishing bonds with others is one of the reasons I love writing fiction that celebrates people’s lives and relationships. We can relate to reading about others who are or have been in similar situations, and it is rewarding to see characters overcome obstacles and challenges to reach a greater sense of wellbeing or ‘happy ending’. It connects us with a sense of hope in our own lives, and although the story may not be true, the emotion behind it is. Fiction can be both an escape from and a reflection of real life, and ironically, one of the most effective ways to hold a mirror up to life and express its truths.
So this Valentines Day, or any day for that matter, I challenge you to make an effort to connect more with others and spread the love around!
- Smile at a stranger. 🙂
- Talk to someone in the street or at a shop (and not about the weather).
- Ask a friend what they’re looking forward to over the next year.
- Do an anonymous act of kindness.
- Give someone flowers, not just on Valentines day, but any day – just because.
- Write a letter to someone you care about . An actual letter. With paper and pen.
- Send your loved one a text message when you’re not with them, just to say ‘I’m thinking about you’.
- Tell people what you appreciate about them. Don’t let compliments go unspoken.
- Tell someone how they’ve inspired you.
- Hug your friends and family. Human touch is vital to wellbeing.
- Shout someone a coffee, sit down with them, and listen attentively as they talk.
- Email an author whose book you’ve enjoyed (hint hint!). 😉
- Call someone for a chat, and ask thoughtful questions.
- Ask an older person to tell you a story about their youth.
- Read out loud to someone you love.
- Write a poem for someone special.
- And if you’re brave enough to try the 36 questions with someone, go for it!
Only a couple of weeks into the new year and already things are getting busy!
Here are 4 pieces of news from my world:
1. I recently found out I’m a finalist in the ARRA (Australian Romance Readers Association) Awards, so that is pretty exciting! Thanks to those who nominated me. Here are the books and categories I’m in:
- 12 DAVES OF CHRISTMAS – Best Paranormal
- HAUNTED EVER AFTER – Best Paranormal
- TARRIN’S BAY SERIES (The January Wish, February or Forever) – Best Continuing Series
If you’re an ARRA member, you can vote now. If you’re not, membership is only $20 per year and you can join HERE.
I look forward to attending the awards dinner in Canberra in March! If you’re going, let me know so we can be sure to say hello to each other. 🙂
2. My upcoming Young Adult series, THE DELTA GIRLS, has new release dates…
SIGHT (book #1): July 14th 2015
SOUND (book #2): Oct 13th 2015
With the remaining 3 books releasing soon after, dates TBC. You can follow updates for this book series on twitter at @DeltaGirlsBook
3. It’s only 7 weeks to go until my next book is released! MIRACLE IN MARCH will be available on March 8th. iTunes has a preorder available now for only 99c here.
This book is the 3rd in my bestselling, award-finalling Tarrin’s Bay series. Although part of a linked series, it is also a stand-alone story, so if you haven’t read the others it doesn’t matter, you can start with the March book if you like or you might wish to read THE JANUARY WISH and FEBRUARY OR FOREVER first before March is released.
4. I now have a Facebook group for those who’d like to keep up to date with my news as it happens and also interact and chat about important things like books, characters, chocolate…etc. Sometimes fans of Facebook pages don’t see all the updates, so a group is a way to get notified of updates and also to post in the group yourself and chat with other members. You can join here. I’ve also posted the first two chapters of MIRACLE IN MARCH in the group, so join up and have a sneak peek! 🙂
~ Juliet xx
2014 – what a year! Both professionally and personally, my life went through some major changes. On New Years Eve I wrote a list of 100 things (yes, 100!) that I was grateful for and appreciated about my life in 2014. I thought I’d just do about 20, but then I kept going and thought, ‘okay, maybe I’ll do 50’, but then I wrote 51, and 52 and kept going and thought, ‘what the heck – 100 here I come!’ 🙂 Appreciation brings more appreciation, it’s like a domino effect. Why not try it and see what makes it onto your list? It’s a great way to lift your spirits and feel good. 🙂
Here’s a brief summary of what happened in 2014, both on the blog, and with my writing…
- Most viewed blog post with over 2000 views: How I Write Fast (AKA: How I Wrote 70ks in 20 Days).
- Most people found my blog via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Most blog visitors came from the USA. Followed by Australia and the UK.
- My top 5 commenters were: Nancy Goldberg Levine, Kerrie Paterson, Linda Lee Williams, Jenn J McLeod, and Margareta. Thanks guys! 🙂
- Search terms people used which led them to my blog (some normal, some weird and funny!): johnny castle making out, how to come up with a pen name, magical books, spit free birthday cake, rude characters, women looking for romanic (did they mean a romaniac?!), big bang theory, marketing tips, is sarah belle wealthy, romantic excerpts… and a few other things that I won’t mention!
- Wrote 4 complete books and 2 partials (a few chapters and synopsis): Complete: Haunted Ever After, 12 Daves of Christmas, Miracle in March, Sound (The Delta Girls book 2). Partials: Vintage Secret, You Know you Want To.
- 4 Books published: The January Wish, February or Forever, Haunted Ever After, 12 Daves of Christmas.
- First book in print: The January Wish was included in the 3-in-1 coastal compilation called Time For The Beach, available in Australian stores now.
- Signed a 5 book deal (ebook & print) with Diversion Books for my Young Adult supernatural mystery series The Delta Girls!
- My first novel, Fast Forward became an Amazon.com Top 100 bestseller
- Attended the ARRA Awards Dinner as a finalist in the favourite New Author category
- Attended my first ARRA book signing as an author (I signed postcards!), while at the RWA annual conference in Sydney.
And now for 2015! What’s next, and what my plans and goals are…
>>Book Releases (this will be updated as things progress):
- March 8th, 2015: MIRACLE IN MARCH (Tarrin’s Bay series book 3)
- May 12th, 2015: SIGHT (The Delta Girls series* book 1)
- *There should be a couple more books in The Delta Girls series released later in the year but I don’t have a schedule yet)
As you can see, the majority of the year will be taken up with the launch of my Young Adult 5 book series!
- Write the remaining 3 books in The Delta Girls series by end of August 2015 (I have deadlines!).
- Write April’s Glow, the 4th book in my Tarrin’s Bay series by around end of October 2015.
- Do further work on my women’s fiction project, Vintage Secret.
- And if I get superhero powers and have more time available I will work further on my fun and flirty romcom You Know You Want To, or a short novella, and speaking of superpowers… at some stage down the track I will be writing a superhero romantic comedy and it’s going to be so much FUN 😉
I’d like to thank my readers for supporting my books, and I’m looking forward to having a wonderful year of writing!
To keep updated, I’ve created a new Facebook Readers group… If you’d like to join, HERE is the link.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and joyful 2015!! 🙂
A milestone moment for me today… I saw my first book in print out in the wild!
TIME FOR THE BEACH is now available from Big W and Target stores in Australia (perfect Christmas gift!) 😉
It features the first novel in my Tarrin’s Bay series, THE JANUARY WISH, and also includes novels by Victoria Purman and Eliza Redgold. Thanks to Harlequin MIRA Australia for putting this compilation together!
Here is me looking like a lunatic:
And here is me looking slightly more professional:
And here is the book close up:
And here is… nah, I guess you’ve seen enough! 😉
But I will share with you what each story in this coastal collection is about…
Nobody But Him – Victoria Purman
At the age of eighteen, Julia Jones left her hometown — the small beachside town of Middle Point — with a head full of grand plans. Plans for an exciting life in a town that didn’t involve a main street with only one pub or a particular boy named Ryan Blackburn.
But fifteen years and a lifetime later, Julia’s forced to put her career and big-city life on hold when she returns home to finalise her mother’s estate. Which is exactly where she runs smack-bang into the town’s hero, Ryan Blackburn! The sensible thing to do? Stay the hell away from him and head back to Melbourne as fast as her stilettos can carry her! But instead, Julia finds his offer of a helping hand and a hot body too delicious to refuse.
The January Wish – Juliet Madison
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. 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. Soon 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.
Hide and Seek – Eliza Redgold
A little birdie tells Hope Buchanan that American hotel developer Sullivan O’Dare isn’t just in town for a holiday. As the manager of Hot Tropics Bird Sanctuary, Hope has more than a vested interest in protecting natural habitats, and pulls out all the stops to convince Sullivan to come out with her to the WA bush, with its beautiful trees and unique wildlife. But what is initially about saving the Sanctuary soon becomes about finding a connection. Could it be that Hope has finally found the bird of a feather to form her own flock?
To get a copy, head into your local Big W or Target store, where you’ll find it on the shelves (it’s quite a fat book!). It can also be ordered online from Booktopia but will not be officially released until 1st Jan.
Happy reading and Merry Christmas! 🙂
~ Juliet xx
Let me start this blog post with a picture:
I’ll wait while you pick your jaw up from the floor.
Okay, ready? Wait, you have some drool on your chin…
Thanks, that’s better.
I have seven email addresses, each with a different purpose. This comes from my past business life where the only way I could manage the email overload was to divide things up so I could focus on dealing with certain types of emails at a time, instead of flitting about from one topic to the next and cluttering up my mind. One for enquiries, one for sales notifications, one for clients, one for family and friends…etc.
Nowadays, my business life is winding down as my writing life winds up. Cue new types of email overload!
Not a day goes by without an email. Or ten. Or twenty. I’m sure you can relate. Checking my inbox is the first thing I do when I wake up, because for writers, there could be a VERY important email you don’t want to miss, like a contract offer, a movie deal, or a ‘hey, did you notice your book is in the Top 100?!’. It’s easy to get addicted to checking your email, especially now we have smartphones.
Oh, there I go again. I literally just checked my inbox because I heard it ping… Bummer, no movie deal today. It was just a facebook message from some person I don’t know with a name I can’t pronounce, calling me darling and telling me I have a nice profile, then impressing me with their impeccable grammar by writing: ‘i hope to Read from you soon. Bye kiss please.’
The Inbox is a world in its own right. A curious, addictive, equally annoying and exhilarating land of information and communication. To become a Master of The Inbox would become a full time job.
Instead, I’ve trained my eye to scan through the inbox and mentally filter certain messages, focusing on the important ones. It’s like reading a list of ingredients on a packet of food.
And then comes the necessary ‘action required’, which can be one of the following six things:
- Reply immediately
- Flag to reply later
- Move to another folder (to fool yourself into thinking you’re being organised and efficient)
- Unsubscribe, then delete.
- Leave where it is because you don’t have time right now or couldn’t be bothered figuring out what to do with it (and herein lies the explanation for my 50k+ emails in the photo above) 😉
Sometimes, I fluctuate between number 4 and 5. To unsubscribe or not to unsubscribe, that is the question…
If I unsubscribe, what if the email they’re going to send tomorrow is exactly what I’ve been waiting for? Okay, I’ll wait till then, and if it’s nothing special I’ll unsubscribe then.
The next day:
Well, it’s sort of useful. I’ll give them one more week to impress me.
The following year:
Why am I still getting these emails? Didn’t I unsubscribe ages ago?
There are some informative emails, newsletters, or promotions that I like getting, but please people, for the love of all things holy, YOU DON’T HAVE TO EMAIL ME EVERY FREAKING DAY! And so I don’t always unsubscribe because if I like the person or company or information source I know that I will probably take action on one of their emails at some point (or have in the past), but also, with daily emails I start to become immune to them and don’t really take notice anymore. I’ve been involved in email marketing myself and know how it works – email too infrequently and people won’t remember you or think you’re only emailing them to sell something new, email too often and you get lost in the overcrowded inbox and generally annoy people.
So what finds its way into this writer’s inbox and what do I do about it? Here’s a snapshot of a day in the life…
- Daily inspirational quote – always read as it makes me smile and only takes a second.
- Message from Mum – always read.
- You made a sale! – Cool. Wonder if it’s enough to help pay for a personal email assistant.
- Book blog #1 – I’ll read later. Maybe.
- Book blog #2 – As above.
- Book blog #3 – Hmm, maybe I need a new email address exclusively for book blogs.
- New facebook message from CP #1 (critique partner) – Check immediately. CP’s are fun, and SHE might have a contract offer or movie deal or a book in the Top 100.
- Publisher or editor or agent – Read immediately. If contract or movie deal, jump around and squeal, while accidentally deleting another email and stressing in case it was something important. Oh, it’s not an offer of any kind. It’s forms or paperwork. Yes, I can certainly complete this by the end of the day. After I’ve completed my daily word goal. And checked Facebook. So I could probably wing it back to them by 11:59pm 😉
- A friend has tagged a photo of you on facebook – A friend from primary school. Bloody hell. What kind of embarrassing photo of ten-year-old me is online now?
- Rejection letter from an agent – Um, always nice to get a response, even if it is over a year since I sent the query, but it’s a bit late. I already have one. (yes, this happened).
- 24 hour sale from fave clothing store – Flag. I’ll look at this during dinner. Oh, but now I remembered there was this dress I saw that I could wear to next year’s RWA conference. I better check now in case they get sold out.
- Facebook Ads Team: Your Facebook ad has not been approved because the picture uses 20.01% text and our guidelines have a limit of 20% text – Grr. Do you want my money or not, Facebook?
- Request for guest post or interview – Read, but will deal with this on Mondays when I organise my marketing.
- Last chance! Don’t miss out! – On what? I can’t remember what they’re selling. Delete. Oops, should have unsubscribed. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll email me tomorrow saying their last chance offer has been extended for another day due to overwhelming demand. I’ll unsubscribe then. Unless I forget and hit delete again.
- Invitation to book event. In the USA. – Delete. I’d love to go, but I can’t really see myself spending a fortune on airfares and accommodation to attend a one hour event on the other side of the world.
- New facebook message from CP #2 (critique partner) – Check immediately. She might have some important goss and I can rant and rave about my overflowing inbox.
- New facebook message from CP #1 (critique partner) – Check immediately. CP’s are fun, and SHE now might have a contract offer or movie deal or a book in the Top 100.
- Writing newsletter – Check the contents. Either file away to read later – aka – maybe never, or delete. The article on how to make time for writing would take too much time away from my writing so I better just write. After I’ve checked the rest of my emails.
- Blog or facebook chain letter: write about your 5 favourite gourmet condiments or other such vital information, tag 5 friends, blog on this particular day at this particular time, tag 5 blogs telling them which particular day and time to blog, and instruct them to do the same, sending everyone crazy – Possibly reply if I know the person well, or delete. My brain hurts just thinking about it. Besides, I have books to write. And emails to check.
- Request to read someone’s manuscript and give feedback – unless they are my critique partners I decline. I love to help where I can, but deadlines and my family life come first and I simply run out of time.
- Free shipping offer, today only! – Damn it. I did want to purchase something from them, but now that I have to get this publishing paperwork in by today I won’t have time. Let’s hope they follow the lead of the email that said ‘Last Chance! Don’t Miss Out!’ and send another email tomorrow saying they’ve extended their free shipping offer.
- Some company – delete.
- Some other company – delete.
- Some other company – delete. I’m really late for my working day now. Note to emailers – email me first thing in morning as those emails are more likely to get read!
Now, time to settle down with my manuscript and churn out some words.
Okay, I’ll just check it one last time…
If you enjoyed this blog post, send me an email and let me know! Or, maybe just leave a comment. 😉
It has been a busy month or so, hence my lack of posts on the blog recently. It seems the letter of the month is: D, so let me fill you in on what’s been happening in my world…
While writing this book I also had edits to do on 12 Daves of Christmas, attended the RWA writers conference, and if you’ve read my last post, dealt with the excitement of signing a 5 book deal for my YA series (see Delta Girls below). There was so much happening at once, my brain felt like it had several internet browser tabs open all at once! Oh, I also got injured. Read on…
Two days before my book was due, the universe decided it wanted me to take some time out. It didn’t seem to care that I had a book to finish, nah-ah. It thought, ‘Juliet needs to take a break, but she just won’t tear herself away from the computer. What shall we do? I know! Let’s throw her down the stairs.’
Down I went.
At 1:30am on a Monday.
10 steps to be exact.
An overweight cat in my arms and fluffy bedsocks on my feet probably didn’t help matters.
My son came out of his room and just looked at me strangely as I lay in a heap on the stairs.
“Aren’t you going to help me?” I asked, panting from getting the air knocked out of me.
“I thought you were just killing a spider or something,” he replied.
Apparently I must make a lot of noise when I’m in spider-slaying mode. He soon realized I was hurt and helped me walk back upstairs (the cat was hiding under a chair at this point, looking at me wide-eyed and wary like I was some psychotic person who enjoys freaking the crap out of furry domestic creatures just for fun). He got me a drink of juice (my son, not the cat), which was nice. But I had to get my own ice pack.
I discovered during my fall that the brain can think of many different things in only a second or two. The old ‘life flashing before your eyes’ thing. Okay, I knew I would probably survive the ordeal, but in that second or two when I had no control and was in pain and couldn’t stop myself falling, it was pretty scary. I thought such things as: Will my son remember how to call emergency? Does he remember our address? Will I get a head injury? Will I break a bone? And I even had time to think: Oh crap, will I still be able to finish my book in two days?!
Thankfully I landed, though with a bump to my arm, which went suddenly numb and weak. I hurt EVERYWHERE, and to make things interesting, I only had one packet of frozen vegetables to use as first aid. Despite this, I managed to get some nice, large, black bruises, and strained muscles. I also got scratched by my cat, and even broke a fingernail. Ouch. Okay, so the fingernail didn’t hurt, but damn it I had just grown my other ones long enough to match. 😉
I discovered that being in pain is good for the vocabulary – it’s amazing how many new swear word combinations one can come up with while trying to roll over in bed when every muscle is screaming at you to be still, or after sneezing and pulling your damaged shoulder tendon to the point that it feels like there’s a knife in your back! Three weeks later my shoulder is still causing pain, so I’m getting a cortisone injection soon to kick inflammation’s ass. Silver lining of all this – I couldn’t do housework for a week.
If you missed my post about my Young Adult book deal, here it is. After signing my contract and filling out various forms for my publisher, I started plotting and writing the second book in The Delta Girls series. The first book, SIGHT, will begin edits soon and will be releasing on May 12th 2015, with each book following soon after. The second book, SOUND, is taking shape and I’m very excited about the story. I’m remembering how much I love writing YA. I find the voice easy to slip into and especially as it’s told in first person, I’m finding it fascinating to get inside the mind of another character.
This book is due at the end of December, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that two days before the deadline I will remember to not carry my overweight cat down the stairs while wearing fluffy socks. 😉
…With all these D words, I think I should end the blog post on a positive note, so here are some random, positive words starting with D. Can you think of any more? If so, leave them in the comments!
Dreams, destiny, dancing, dinner, delicious, drinks, dessert, diamonds, decadent, dashing, Dracula’s muscles (well, have you seen them?). 😉