Category Archives: Biography

The Lonely Wish-Giver

The Lonely Wish Giver cover

Yesterday I mentioned I got a surprise email about the release of the GrammoWriMo novel The Lonely Wish-Giver.

What is GrammoWriMo?

During NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November I took part in a Grammarly initiative called GrammoWriMo. The premise was for a large group of (750+) writers to write a novel together during NaNoWriMo.

How did that work?

I don’t envy the organisers, but it was really well executed. Before the month began they put out a couple of surveys to the authors to come up with an idea/theme for the novel. There were questions on what gender the main character should be, what the supporting character would be like, what genre the novel should be, what tense it should be written in, etc. From this survey Grammarly put together a main premise and 30 chapters were divided up and given a group of authors each. I was in the group for chapter 29.

Can too many authors spoil the book?

It was an interesting experience. I’ve worked on a group novel before where each author wrote a separate chapter (The Life and Times of Chester Lewis), where we got to read what all the previous chapter authors had written before adding our own. This was different, as within our chapter group we were assigned one day out of the month to add to our assigned chapter and we had a small word limit to work with (just a few hundred words). The hard part about this was that every chapter group was working the same way and although we could read what had so far been written in the previous chapters, they weren’t yet complete (though each chapter had a general overview of what would happen plot-wise so we had some idea how it would play out).

The other thing I found difficult was when it came to my part (I was given a day about halfway through), I wasn’t left with anywhere to go by the previous authors as they’d already written to the conclusion of the chapter! After consulting our Grammarly team leader, I was told we could go fill in earlier parts of the chapter as long as we didn’t delete what another author had written. This worked well for me because I had felt there needed to be more focus character development earlier in the chapter and I was able to go back and explore that with my snippet.

I bet you’re thinking it’s starting to sound a bit messy by this point? To a degree it was.

Pulling it all together

Obviously with so many different writing styles and different writing skill levels, it wasn’t completely cohesive at this stage (though having the plot summaries for each chapter helped keep the story on track). There were plenty of plot holes where strands of story from one chapter never appeared again in later chapters. But then came stage two.

The Grammarly staff put a call out for editors and I put my hand up and became the editor for my chapter. We were given directions to make sure the chapter itself was cohesive and that the chapter worked cohesively with the novel as a whole. I was given certain points from earlier chapters that needed to tie in to our chapter (especially as ours was basically the final chapter, with chapter 30 as more of an epilogue). At this stage my part of the chapter had actually been shifted to chapter 28.

There was a call for titles and a survey to pick the best one.

Then a call for a cover and another survey to pick the favourite.

After our edits, the novel fell to the Grammarly editors (including putting it through their Grammar checker) and we authors were left to wait.

Release Day!

Yesterday the novel was finally released with the exciting announcement that all proceeds would be going to the Make-a-Wish Foundation to tie in with the theme of the novel.

So what’s it about?

The story follows a wish-giver named Audra who questions her purpose. She leaves her wishing fountain in search of other wish-givers (and herself), accompanied by a man who long ago gave up on wishes. While she is gone she learns her fountain is in danger from a rogue wish-giver.

Intrigued?

Interested in seeing what a novel written by hundreds of authors looks like and help raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation in the process? You can get The Lonely Wish-Giver as an ebook from Amazon. It’s only 99c!

Annabeth & the Wolf Release Day! Plus more exciting news!

ttf-annabethandthewolf185

I’m so excited today for two reasons:

Number 1 – My short story ‘Annabeth and the Wolf‘ got released today. Not only is it part of an anthology, but it is being sold on its own as well, making it my first story release with my name on the front cover! I’ll talk more about the story in a moment.

Number 2 – I got a surprise email in my inbox this morning letting me know that the GrammoWriMo group novel, The Lonely Wish-Giver, I worked on in November (and helped edit) is being released today, too, AND all proceeds will be going to the Make-a-Wish Foundation!

The Lonely Wish Giver cover

It’s a DOUBLE RELEASE DAY!

I’ll talk a bit more about the GrammoWriMo novel tomorrow, but today I want to talk about ‘Annabeth and the Wolf’ as I’ve been bursting to share this one for weeks.

Torqued Tales

‘Annabeth and the Wolf’ features as one of three stories in the anthology Torqued Tales published by Torquere Press (on their page you will see two anthologies with the same title, one with a male cover and one with a female cover–‘Annabeth and the Wolf’ has the female cover). The concept of the anthology is fractured fairytales with a GLBT twist.

In ‘Annabeth and the Wolf’, a retake on the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale, Annabeth sets off through the woods to her grandmother’s house to meet an unwanted fate, but a beautiful shape shifter she meets along the way has other plans.

You can read a snippet of the story here.

A Little Bit of Background

Little Red Riding Hood has always been one of my favourite fairytales and I’ve been wanting to write a story based on it for a long time. Those who’ve read my past stories know I’m drawn to the fantasy genre and previous stories have seen me write about angels, demons, vampires, trolls and superheroes. When I saw the call for stories for this anthology I immediately got the idea of a Red Riding Hood story with a focus on witches and a shape shifter. It’s my first time writing GLBT characters and I’m really happy with how the characters evolved through the writing process.

Intrigued?

You can pick up ebook copies of either ‘Annabeth and the Wolf‘ or Torqued Tales from Torquere Press. Over the coming days they will also be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Bookstrand and other online stores. A print edition of the anthology will also become available in the coming days.

Please note: Although this is an anthology of fairytales, the content is for mature readers only.

Anthology Cover Reveal

Today I got a nice surprise email: the cover for an upcoming anthology featuring one of my stories!

The cover art is absolutely stunning.

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The anthology features fractured fairytales with a GLBT twist and is due for release on the 23rd April.

Reflections on 2013 & Looking Ahead in 2014

Reflections on 2013

My poor old blog got a bit neglected last year, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to get back into a regular schedule again this year. Here is a snapshot of some of the big things that happened to me in the writing world at the end of last year that I haven’t yet shared:

1. I attempted NaNoWrimo. And didn’t hit 50,000 words. I’m not disappointed, though, as I knew going into it there was a slim chance I’d hit the 50k mark. Fitting writing around an extremely busy November calendar was going to be a push. But I got words on the page! I made a start on my novel and I know where I want it to go, so to me that is a win.

SuperHERo Tales cover

2. SuperHERo Tales. Last year I posted a story called ‘Spectrum’ on my blog. I updated the post, but never got the chance to write an official blog post to announce the story is now published in an anthology of female superheros. I’m very excited about this anthology as all the proceeds go to the charity ‘Because I am a Girl‘, which helps girls in third world countries. It is a cause I am passionate about and I implore you all to buy a copy of SuperHERo Tales or support the charity in some other way. The other reason I’m excited to be part of this anthology is because it helps try to break through the stereotypical superhero stories that are aimed a boys. My 4 year old daughter said to me a few months ago, “I want to be my own superhero.” Hopefully stories like these can encourage girls to do just that.

Jingle Bells cover

3. Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit from Around the World. This anthology was published just before Christmas and features an extended version of my story ‘Dashing Through the Snow’, which I posted on my blog for Christmas 2012 and was a finalist in Susanna Hill’s annual holiday contest. We’re a bit past Christmas now, but it has lots of family-friendly, holiday-themed stories, so keep it in mind for next Christmas.

Looking Ahead in 2014

Some of my writing resolutions for 2014 include:

1. Subbing More. I’ve made the same resolution the past few years, but I need to keep reminding myself that if I don’t submit I won’t be published. I’ve received some very positive and encouraging rejections this past year, in some cases just narrowly missing out, which has given me confidence and motivation to keep submitting. The other day I started planning submissions for the first half of this year–just short stories at this stage, I still need to plan my picture book subs.

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2. Making Time to Write. NaNo always reminds me that I can find the time to write if I stop procrastinating and take advantage of spare moments. I want to keep using those spare moments. I have some short stories I want to write, I want to write more picture book drafts this year through 12 x 12 (I’m hoping to join again this year) and I would ideally love to finish the first draft of the novel I started during NaNoWriMo.

3. Get Back Into Social Media. I dropped off the social media grid this past year in the writing world, not just with my blog, but on Twitter and Facebook, too. I miss all those connections and friendships I make with fellow writers through social media and want to try to get back into again. Unfortunately, when life gets busy, social media is usually the first to suffer. I’m hoping to remedy this by scheduling time specifically for social media. I’ve got big plans for my blog, including continuing the Writing a Novel series, starting a monthly writing challenge and reviving Helpful Websites and Blog Posts.

What about you? I’d love to hear about some of your successes from the past year and what your aims are for 2014. 

Chester Lewis Author Chat

chester-lewis-fan-fiction-competitionToday I’ll be chatting in the Chester Lewis Fanfiction group on Facebook. For those who haven’t heard of it, the Chester Lewis Fanfiction contest is open until August 2013 and has a $2000 first prize. The idea is to write a fanfiction piece based on The Life and Times of Chester Lewis. Entry into the contest is $10 and this entry fee also gives you access to the Facebook group where you can chat with fellow writers, authors and the editor. Throughout the year (until the contest closes) there will also be author drop-ins which so far have revolved around the story of Chester Lewis, writing in general and the publishing industry (I picked up a couple of great tips during yesterday’s drop-in). It’s well worth the entry fee just for the Facebook group. Plus, who knows what other opportunities could emerge from this competition.

I’ll be dropping into the Facebook group in 6 hours to chat. That’s Sunday 3pm AEDT, Sunday 4am GMT, Saturday 11pm EST or Saturday 8pm PST. Don’t forget you need to have paid your entry fee before you can join.

New Writing Resolutions

happy new year 2013Happy New Year!

My resolution last year was to submit more, but unfortunately, like many resolutions made on New Year’s Eve, this didn’t come to pass. For the most part it wasn’t my usual submission anxiety holding me back, but an insanely busy roller coaster ride of year that stole a lot of focus from my writing world. Regular followers might have noticed my blog has been more quiet than usual this past year and my Facebook author page and Twitter have also noticeably been much quieter, too.

My new resolution for 2013 is to get back into my writing groove. I’ve joined a group called Sub Six with the goal of submitting at least six manuscripts this year (I’ll be polishing some of my 12 x 12 manuscripts from 2012 as well as a few from 2011 that I’ve been polishing over the year). I’ve dusted off my Publisher Checklist, I know which manuscript I want to submit first and which publishers I think will be the best fit. I’m working on a cover letter at the moment.

I’ve also been hit with inspiration for a novel. Since it is a brand new novel, I’ve decided to share my novel writing process as I write, from plotting through to editing, with helpful hints I’ve learned along the way. My first post in the series will be on writing character profiles and should be up within the next few days.

What are your writing resolutions for 2013?

Blog Birthday and a Competition

Today is my blog’s third birthday! I had planned a big celebration, but, as seems to be the norm lately, time got away from me. I do have an exciting announcement though…

There is a fanfiction competition happening to coincide with the release of a collaborative story collection titled The Life and Times of Chester Lewis, of which I am one of the contributing authors (alongside some great writers, such as Michael White who co-authored Private Oz with James Patterson). The collection follows the life of the title character, Chester Lewis, through the decades from the 1930s through to the 2030s (I pick up the story during the 1980s). The fanfiction competition is open to writers worldwide and has a fantastic first prize (plus anyone who enters is eligible to enter the Chester Lewis Fan Fiction Group where you will receive regular fiction writing tips and have discussions with fellow writers).

Thanks so much to all my blog followers and readers, new and old, for always making me smile with your comments, follows and likes over the past three years!

Tuesday 12 x 12

If you pop over to Julie Hedlund’s blog, I’ve done a guest post on why I decided to join 12 x 12 in 2012 and what I’ve got out of it so far. Julie Hedlund is the super-awesome founder of 12 x 12 in 2012 and it was a pleasure guest posting in her 12 x 12 series.
Speaking of guest posting, I have a new guest post lined up to post in the coming days on why writers should blog. You’ll notice things have been a bit slow around here lately. I was having some issues with my blog (all resolved now) and my family got hit by an extremely nasty ‘flu (all better now fingers crossed).

Green Nadine

Some exciting news to share today…

Back at the beginning of February I was trying to get an idea for a story for the 12 x 12 challenge. I decided to go look at the Bedtime Stories section of Australian Women Online to find out their upcoming theme. The theme for March would be ‘Green’. An idea started to form in my head about a green snake in a pet shop and the story grew from there. I was quite pleased to have my February draft done so early in the month and, after revising it, I submitted it to my critique group with the idea I might get it polished enough to submit to Australian Women Online before the deadline.

I’d got it fairly polished in the couple of weeks before I went into hospital to have bubs, and then I forgot all about it once the new baby arrived. I remembered it on the last day of February–the last day I could submit it for consideration. I gave it some more revision and I believe I e-mailed it off with only a few hours to midnight. Thank goodness it was a leap year or I’d have been a day too late!

The very next day I had an e-mail in my inbox telling me it had been chosen as one of their March stories. How exciting!

You can read it here (completely free):

Green Nadine

Australian Women Online are running Bedtime Stories in support of The National Year of Reading.

Top 5 Reasons Why I Write

1. If I didn’t write my head would probably explode. My head is always so full of ideas I just need to get them down on paper.

2. It is a great emotional release. I don’t know how I would have got through my tough teenage years if I hadn’t been able to release my feelings onto the page (in poetry, in my journal, as imaginary characters).

3. I love to read. I am constantly inspired by the wonderful writing of my favourite authors. I remember as a seven year old being inspired to write stories based on my favourite Enid Blyton books and favourite fairy tales.

4. I have a wild imagination. I have vivid dreams that stay with me when I wake. I’m constantly thinking ‘what if?’ or making up stories for people walking by or imagining stories taking place in the landscape around me. No matter where I go there are always stories unfolding in my mind.

5. Characters ‘speak’ to me. Their voices speak their stories and I can’t ignore them.

Why do you write?