I celebrated an early Mothers Day with my mum a week ago, so this Mothers Day I plan on having a relaxing day of reading (I doubt my son will bring me breakfast in bed, but that’s okay because I’m not really a fan of the whole crumbs in bed thing!). I’ve been writing like mad lately, so I think a day on the ‘other side’ might be just what the doctor ordered. 😉
With the special day on my mind, I’ve been thinking about motherhood in fiction (which was the topic of an article I wrote on the Australian Bookshelf blog). Have you read many books with mothers as main characters?
The main character in my novel, FAST FORWARD, Kelli, starts out as a childless twenty-five-year-old until she’s propelled into the future and finds herself as a fifty-year-old mother of two and a grandmother-to-be. Motherhood may be challenging, but it’s even more challenging when it’s suddenly bestowed upon you!
>> I asked around about different books that feature mothers as main characters, and here are a few that were mentioned…
A Man Like Mike by Sami Lee; Want to know a Secret? by Sue Moorcroft; Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips; Hello, It’s Me, by Wendy Markham; I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson; The Girl, The Gold Tooth & Everything by Francine LaSala, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.
So if you like reading about mothers as characters, why not check them out!
>> And now, the part of this post you’ve been waiting for – the book giveaway!
I’m gifting one lucky person three ebooks from my publisher: Escape Publishing. There are fifty books to choose from, and the winner can pick three they would like. I’ll be gifting them from Amazon.com, so before entering make sure you can receive ebooks from Amazon.com (ie, not UK). You can keep all three ebooks to yourself, or you can choose to on-gift one or all of them to your mother, or a special someone.
HOW TO WIN:
1. For ONE entry into the draw, simply leave a comment below and tell me what your ideal Mothers Day Present would be. If you’re not a mother, you can still let me know what your ideal present would be.
2. For TWO entries into the draw, do the same as above and also subscribe to this blog via email (in the subscription section on the top right corner of the page). In your comment please mention that you’ve subscribed. If you’re already a subscriber, simply say ‘I’m a subscriber’ in your comment.
3. For THREE entries, do the same as above (comment and subscribe), and tweet about this giveaway using one of the sample tweets at the bottom of this post. Include your twitter handle in your comment. So, your comment might look like this:
My ideal Mothers Day present would be a day on a Greek Island with a good book. I’m a subscriber. My twitter handle is @MyHandle
The winner will be drawn on Monday 13th May. Good luck, and please share this giveaway with your friends!
***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED***
Tweet this post >> Copy & paste any of the following into a tweet:
#MothersDay Giveaway – books up for grabs! via @Juliet_Madison http://wp.me/p1jJti-he
#WIN three ebooks, your choice! #MothersDay competition via @Juliet_Madison http://wp.me/p1jJti-he
What would be your ideal #MothersDay present? Tell us and win books! via @Juliet_Madison http://wp.me/p1jJti-he
In January 2011 I moved into a new house, in a new town, to start a new life. Somehow, I started a new book too! This book was The January Wish, set in my new town but with a fictional name. And exactly two years later (January 17th, 2013) I got an email with an offer of publication! Yes, I am excited to finally announce that I’ve signed my second publishing contract with Escape Publishing, the digital imprint of Harlequin Australia.
So now, two wishes have come true… my wish to have this story published, and my character Sylvia’s wish to… well, read the blurb to give you an idea 😉
When control-freak doctor, Sylvia Greene, makes an impromptu wish at the Tarrin’s Bay Wishing Festival, she doesn’t expect it to come true, but a week later her ordered life is thrown into chaos when the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen turns up in town. While dealing with deeply entrenched guilt, small town gossip, and a burgeoning attraction for her emotionally unavailable colleague, she discovers her daughter harbors a secret that could threaten to tear them apart once again.
The genre of this story sits on the border between contemporary romance and women’s fiction, although it will probably be put into the contemporary romance slot because although the story has themes of motherhood, career, and friendships, tying the whole story together is an emotional romance that I hope will have readers aching for the hero and heroine to be together.
The January Wish is the first book in my proposed ‘Tarrin’s Bay’ series, with each book being a stand-alone story but set in the same town with some familiar characters appearing in each book. Each book is also named after one of the calendar months, and I’ll be working on the second book, February or Forever, later this year which I’m really excited about as I’ve been plotting it for months! I’m also creating a ‘Tarrin’s Bay’ website to help bring the town to life for readers. Tarrin’s Bay is called ‘The Town of New Beginnings’ – it’s where people go for a holiday to find they never want to leave. There are beautiful beaches set against a backdrop of lush green rural land, a close-knit community, friendly people, quaint shops – including an old fashioned bookshop, and an historic wishing fountain in the town’s popular meeting spot – Miracle Park.
What makes this book unique is that it has three points of view – the hero, the heroine, and an eighteen year old girl, with each of their lives and stories being linked to each other’s. There’ll be laughter, there’ll be tears, and there’ll be secrets revealed.
Last year, The January Wish was one of the six finalists in the Choc Lit Search for an Australian Star contest, and I was completely gobsmacked when I found out! Although I didn’t win, it gave me confidence that readers might enjoy this story, and I can’t wait to share it with you on 1st December 2013. It was going to be released in January to tie in with the title, but by releasing in December instead it allows time to build up some excitement around the upcoming new year, which is what starts off the story – at the Tarrin’s Bay annual Wishing Festival in January.
Here’s a little snippet:
The coin in Sylvia’s pocket cooled her warm fingers as she fiddled with it impatiently. At least this was all for charity. That would be her excuse if anyone asked why she – Dr. Sylvia Greene – sceptic and all round party-pooper, was making a wish. She had a great life; an interesting career, a best friend, good health, a nice house, and even a new boyfriend. What else could she possibly wish for? What was she doing here?
To see some pictures I’ve collected that give you a feel for the story, have a look at my Pinterest page for The January Wish here.
To keep updated on this book and the Tarrin’s Bay series, you can subscribe to my blog by filling in your email address at the top right corner of this page (if you’re on a smartphone, click ‘view full site’ at the bottom, then go to the subscribe form). I look forward to bringing you interesting articles and posts about this upcoming book and series in the lead up to it’s release!
Have you ever made a wish that came true? 😉
Happy new year! I just love January 1st and the feeling of a fresh start, and today is even more exciting… This very day one year ago I started writing a new story. I opened a word document, began typing, and before I knew it three chapters had been written. This story was FAST FORWARD. Now, one year later, it is not only finished but about to be published with Harlequin’s Escape Publishing. My first published book. The scheduled release date is February 1st 2013 and I cannot wait! So if you’ve been thinking of writing a novel, or have an idea for a new one – get writing! You never know, this time next year you could be celebrating a publishing contract. 🙂
So much can happen in a year. I think it’s nice to take a look back and celebrate progress, achievements, and good times…
In terms of writing, in 2012 I… edited a manuscript, did extensive revisions on another manuscript (which I’m still revising), wrote FAST FORWARD, wrote my first novella STARSTRUCK IN SEATTLE, wrote and self-published a short story SISTERS AT HEART, started writing my next romantic comedy HAUNTED HOUSEWIVES, received my first publishing contract, and made the finals in Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for an Australian Star contest with my manuscript THE JANUARY WISH. The events I attended were the ARRA awards dinner in Sydney and the RWA annual conference on the Gold Coast. I connected with a wonderful critique partner who is now a dear friend, and formed an online writing goals group. I also spent way too much time on Facebook and Twitter but we won’t go into that.
Out of all that, the only things I’d planned for at the start of the year were to complete Fast Forward and attend the RWA conference. Everything else ‘just happened’. My main goal for 2012 was to get a contract for one of my books, and I still smile when I think about how that goal came true. 🙂
So what’s the plan for 2013?? I’m still working that out, but I’d like to increase the amount of time I spend writing (or at least, write faster), and at a minimum, complete two full length books. Because I tend to shoot for the stars I’d also like to write another one or two novellas (the next one in my ‘Love Angel’ series to follow Starstruck in Seattle, and a brand new stand-alone one called ‘I Dream of Johnny’), complete a rough (or clean, whatever) draft of the first book in my young adult series The Delta Girls, and write a short story for a Christmas anthology I’ve agreed to participate in. I’d also like to find a way to survive without sleep.
Will I achieve all that? Who knows, but it’s worth a shot! I think the main thing is to keep moving forward, keep learning about writing and publishing, and keep getting those words down. Progress is an achievement in itself.
As for my blog, wordpress has created an annual report for me and I’ll share some of the stats with you:
- May was my busiest month which coincided with my first ‘themed month’ on the blog; Mouthwatering May.
- The busiest day was May 27th and the post on that day was Sunday Lunch with Jenn J McLeod.
- The top five posts that received the most views throughout 2012 were:
- I had visitors from 110 different countries! Most of my visitors came from Australia, followed by the United States and the United Kingdom.
- Most visitors were referred to my blog via Facebook, twitter, my website, Google reader, and Survey Monkey.
- The most popular words/phrases people typed into a search engine to end up at my blog were:
1. List of awkward questions
2. How to choose a pen name
3. Juliet Madison
4. How to come up with a pen name
5. How to set the scene in a story
- The most interesting, unique, weird, funny, or non-relevant things people typed into a search engine which led them to my blog were: Little Miss Bossy (me?), plastic surgery Florida (not a chance), luxury hotel foyer, where is Sticklepond (I don’t know, I wonder if they found out?), chatterbox characters, I work at the post office, It was a dark and stormy night (how original), in bed with Juliet (umm…), extreme sport reading (that’s my kind of extreme sport!), Santa Claus hat cookie, and starting fresh.
- The top five people who left the most comments on my blog (and are now my new best friends) were:
1. Rachael Johns (who has a new book out today in Aus/NZ, Man Drought – check it out!)
2. Jenn J McLeod (whose debut novel, House For All Seasons releases March 1st.)
3. Juliana (any person whose name starts with Juli has to be awesome ;))
4. Rebecca Raisin (a talented writer and winner of short story awards!)
5. Imelda Evans (whose novel, Rules Are For Breaking was released recently)
Thanks guys! And congrats to Rachael for coming first (it was a close one, Jenn) 🙂
What’s in store for my blog in 2013? Lots of author interviews, including my new segment ‘Past, Present, and Future’, posts about writing, reading, life, publishing, and marketing for authors. And I’m sure there’ll be more competitions! Speaking of competitions, I’m giving away some goodies each week until the day of my book release, but exclusively to subscribers of my email newsletter. To subscribe, head over to my website and fill in the subscription form (you’ll also get my free Triple Treat with two short stories and an e-guide for living a life you love).
So that’s it for this New Year’s Day post. Here’s to an awesome, exciting, magical, spellbinding, successful, prosperous, entertaining, happy, fulfilling (and various other adjectives) new year!!
~ Juliet xo
I’ve been writing fiction seriously for about three years, and when I first started I kept hearing people talk about ‘Call Stories’ but I had no idea what they were. I soon discovered that The Call is when a publisher offers you a contract for your manuscript, even if it happens to be via email. By the time I’d finished my first manuscript I was hooked on writing and hoped that one day I’d be writing about my own Call Story.
Three manuscripts later that day arrived!
But let me backtrack a little…
Late in 2011 I started getting ideas for a new book which would be my third. I came up with the premise (an image-conscious young woman wakes on her birthday to find she’s a middle-aged housewife married to the also middle-aged high school nerd), and let it simmer for a while. Gradually, the character developed in my mind and I came up with the title, Fast Forward. I was also playing around with another couple of book ideas at the time and getting started on some major revisions for my first manuscript.
At the start of 2012 (New Years Day to be exact), I was staying with family and planning on taking a few days off to relax and read a few books, but my muse had other ideas.
Over breakfast, I flipped through one of my mother’s many home and lifestyle magazines and an advertisement caught my eye. It was for an interior design course and showed pictures of beautiful furniture and homewares. Before that day, I had decided that my main character would be involved in designing homewares, so on a whim I cut out the ad for inspiration. I still hadn’t decided yet which book idea I would pursue and was pondering my options as I flipped through the magazine. I asked myself, ‘Which book should I start next?’ (and by next I meant in another few weeks or so), and on the very next page in the magazine was an article titled: Fast Forward.
I had my answer.
And I cut out that title too. (I’m sure my mother didn’t mind me getting all scissor-happy with her magazines ;))
I took this as a sign, or more accurately; a direct kick-in-the-pants to get started on this story, so instead of curling up with a book I opened my laptop and began writing. The first few chapters flew from my fingers to the keyboard over the next three days.
For the rest of the month I worked on editing a different manuscript and put Fast Forward aside until February, at around the same time as I found myself a fantastic critique partner. She read my chapters and enjoyed them and spurred me on to write more. I didn’t work on it every day, but rarely a week went by when I didn’t add more to the story. I couldn’t believe how fun and fast this story was to write. Sometimes I’d stay up till 2 or 3am because I was enjoying myself so much (although I suffered the next day). Don’t get me wrong, parts of it were plain hard work – especially figuring out how to make a 300-ish page story take place over just one day in the character’s life (I constructed a timeline in fifteen-minute increments!).
By the time June came around I only had another 20,000 words to go, so I signed up for RWA’s 50k in 30 days challenge and vowed to finish it by the end of the month.
Half way through June I typed ‘The End’. Overall it took me about four months to write.
I sent the rest off to my critique partner who gave me some very helpful suggestions and I went straight to work editing it. I didn’t want to put it aside for a while like many authors (rightfully) recommend. My heart was still in this story and I wanted to work on it while it felt fresh.
I edited the first three chapters many more times until I was happy with the beginning, and did a final read through. I then entered online pitch contests and began the time-consuming process of researching agents, publishers, and sending out queries. All in all I got about twenty agent rejections and two editor rejections, but received feedback and took (most of it) on board, tweaking some parts of the manuscript.
Then I pitched it at the RWA conference on the Gold Coast in August, and while I was there, learned of Harlequin Australia’s new digital-first imprint, Escape. At first I didn’t think my story would be suitable (for starters, my hero was a nerd!) and I went home and sent off my other submissions. After seeing Escape’s tweets on twitter, I decided I should check out their submission guidelines anyway and they seemed fairly open-minded about different genres and mixed genres as long as it had a significant romance and happy ending. Mine was a combination of women’s fiction, chick lit, hen lit, comedy, romance, futuristic, and paranormal (what was I thinking?!). In the end I decided on romantic comedy and sent off a partial submission, knowing I’d find out in two weeks if it wasn’t suitable.
Much to my surprise I got a full manuscript request less than two weeks later, and three weeks after that I got an offer of publication. 🙂
On that wonderful day I remembered I’d actually had a dream about Harlequin Escape the night before – talk about prophetic! I checked my email as usual first thing in the morning, but there was nothing interesting. I decided to sit outside in the sun for a while to soak up some vitamin D and brought my iPhone with me. My email made that sound telling me I had new email and I glanced at the screen expecting it to be yet another ‘20% off all dresses, today only!’ or a very tempting ‘Booktopia Clearance Sale!’. But it was from Escape.
I mentally prepared myself for another rejection. All I could see was a couple of lines of a message preview:
‘Thank you for submitting Fast Forward to Harlequin Escape. I am delig…’
Delig? Was that part of the word I thought it was? …Delighted?
Then I thought it might say: “I am delighted that you wrote this story but unfortunately it is not right for us.’
But I knew it wouldn’t. I knew what it was going to say and my hand shook as I pressed the screen to open the message.
‘I am delighted to accept it for publication.’
The shaking intensified and lots of ‘Ohmygod’s’ spewed repeatedly from my mouth. I’m sure my neighbours thought I was having a heart attack. It was a really humid day and my palms were so sweaty from heat and excitement I could barely scroll the screen down to read the rest of the message!
I had to keep the news fairly quiet at first so I just rang my parents (who sent me a huge bunch of flowers later that day), and then my critique partner (90% of our conversation was the word ‘exciting’), and spent the rest of the day with a permanent grin on my face and completely unable to do anything productive.
It still amazes me that it was only less than a year ago I started writing this story and now it’s about to be released. I love how fast digital publishing works and I’m looking forward to getting this story out into the big wide world of the internet! I’m also excited to be involved with Harlequin, a company who has such a strong foundation and worldwide brand.
To all the writers out there – keep writing, editing, polishing, and submitting, and embrace the digital age.
To all the readers – keep reading, reviewing, and telling your friends about great books.
Thanks for reading my call story! 🙂
…To celebrate this milestone I feel like being generous and giving away stuff! To win some goodies, keep an eye on the blog (or subscribe if you like) for a giveaway coming very soon…