Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cover Reveal! Plus how to get a signed copy and other goodies!

Drowned Earth cover promo

I’m so excited to reveal the cover and release date of my upcoming novella The Jindabyne Secret! How beautiful is the cover? I fell in love with it the moment my publisher showed it to me. I felt it captures The Jindabyne Secret and the main character Jax perfectly.

The Jindabyne Secret is part of the Drowned Earth series and follows 19-year-old Jax in a future dystopian Australian setting. With nothing but a map and a rickety solar truck, Jax journeys to the top secret fresh water facility at Lake Jindabyne – one of the few fresh water lakes left in Australia. What he discovers there could be the key to saving his whole community, as long as the government doesn’t kill him first.

The Jindabyne Secret will be released in DECEMBER 2019 in paperback and ebook format, but you can preorder your copy through Deadset Press’s kickstarter campaign. Not only can you preorder, but you can secure a signed copy or get some bonus Drowned Earth merchandise. This is a great way to support a small and fairly new Australian Press. They’ve been fantastic to work with and are passionate about promoting Australian speculative fiction and Australian authors.  While there check out the free-to-read Drowned Earth prequel short story, plus blurbs from the other stories in the series.

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Author Interview with Aussie Speculative Fiction

Drowned Earth Novellas promo full Jo Hart

This week I was interviewed on the Aussie Speculative Fiction website. I got to talk about my upcoming Drowned Earth novella The Jindabyne Secret (I’ll be talking a bit more about it here in the coming weeks), I gave a sneak peek into my Google search history, and I give some of my best advice for aspiring writers.

You can find a link to the interview HERE.

International Literacy Day – An Infographic on Illiteracy

Disclaimer: By posting this infographic, Grammarly is donating $10 in my name to Reading is Fundamental, an organisation that gives free books and literacy resources to children from low-income families.

Literacy Day

Infographic attribution: https://www.grammarly.com/plagiarism-checker

On this International Literacy Day, please consider donating to an organisation that helps get books to kids who need them the most. Every child should have the opportunity to learn to read.

World Autism Awareness Day

waad_logo

Did you know today (April 2nd) is World Autism Awareness Day? Autism awareness is something close to my heart.

Some facts about Autism:

1 in 100 children have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

Autism is thought to have genetic links (it is NOT caused by vaccines).

Some symptoms include:

  • sensitivity issues (eg: not being able to cope with lots of noise, dislikes being touched)
  • inexplicable meltdowns (often caused by sensitivity issues or inability to cope with change)
  • specific interests/obsessions (which they may talk about non-stop even if you try to change the topic)
  • not using eye contact
  • may not like being touched (or alternatively may have no concept of personal space)
  • may exhibit unusual/repetitive motor movements (eg: flapping arms)

You can find out more here: Autism Spectrum (Australia) fact sheets

Did you know?

My superhero character Spectrum’s powers were inspired by some of the characteristics of those on the Autism Spectrum (hence her name). You can read about Spectrum, including a piece of flash fiction about her, here on my blog: Spectrum. Or, alternatively, in the charity anthology SuperHERo Tales (all proceeds go towards the Because I am a Girl charity).

SuperHERo Tales cover

In honour of Autism Awareness Day on my Facebook page I’m asking everyone to share the titles of books about characters on the spectrum or which have ‘blue’ in the title (as people are encouraged to sport blue for Autism Awareness today). Share some titles in the comments below and I will share them on my Facebook page!

And the Worst Blogger Award goes to…

I’m feeling like the worst blogger in the world at the moment! Winter is always terrible for illnesses in our household. As a result, it is also terrible for keeping up with blogging.

I hope you’ve been enjoying the guest posts over the past months, hopefully with spring only days away and bubs’ naps becoming more routine I will be able to return soon!

There won’t be a Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts post again this month, but hopefully those will be returning soon, also.

I hope everyone who went to Write on Con enjoyed it and got a lot out of it, I know I did.

Learning How to Plan for Your Dreams (Guest Post)

The next guest poster I’d like to welcome to the blog is poet and short story writer Lissa Clouser, whom I met through the 12 x 12 challenge. When I first read her post, I found it really struck a chord with me. She offers some great advice on striving for that writing dream.

Learning How to Plan for your Dreams

As writers we want to be trendsetters, not goal-setters. We want the right-now success while only doing maybe-later work. But there’s been a breakthrough! We have it all backwards.

The truth of it is that we’ve trained ourselves to spend all of our time dreaming. We dream up our characters, their stories, and the worlds in which they live them out. Chances are it’s the dream of the adventurous life of writing that’s led us to be more than journal keepers in the first place.

Somewhere in the middle of all that wistful dreaming however, most of us have forgotten to take the time and effort to make a plan. Plans don’t have to be complicated, but I’ve come to believe they are a necessary foundation for future success.

1)      Start by taking just one step back. Not too far from the dream, but just enough to see the big picture. I did this with my own writing life about 8 months ago. Where am I going? What do I want to accomplish? Why do I want to accomplish it? If you don’t feel like answering all of these questions yet that’s okay. But now that you’ve stepped back, how far are you from your dream?

2)      DON’T GET DISCOURAGED. I know you just stepped back and took a good long look at how far away your dream might be, but whatever you do, discouragement is not allowed! No matter how far away you think you are, it’s still accessible. Believe and plan.

3)      We’ve dreamt. We’ve hyperventilated. Now what do we do? Evaluate. Where are you right now? Right this very minute? This is very important knowledge because if you don’t take the time to evaluate this, how do you know where to go? Don’t be ashamed if you’re just starting. We all start somewhere. Just know where to put the push pin on your mental map of the big-picture journey. You can look back and gawk at how far you’ve come later.

4)      Plot your next step. Do you have a first draft of a novel you love completed? Excellent. Revise. Maybe you’ve polished a picture book manuscript 40 times and you’re confident it shines. Fantastic. Learn how to write a query letter. Learn how to research agents who might be interested in you. Are you at the very beginning, still just grasping at the fluffy clouds of what-if? That’s awesome! The whole world stretches before you. Don’t let a story overwhelm you. Start small with poetry, short stories, or even learning how to free write ideas. Practice will not only teach you what you love about writing, it will teach you what you need to work on, help you find and shape your voice, and lead you to your next step.

5)      If you haven’t already, find your niche. This isn’t prison; you aren’t confined to it by any means, but like it or not we all have one or maybe a few areas in which we shine. I thought I wanted to be a novelist. (And deep down I still do.) But I’m finding that the more I write, the more I realize poetry is probably my strongest point. When I do write short stories I like dark themes. I love to use psychological twists and turns to mess with the reader. But what do you like? Answering this question will help to give you direction and a brand with which to market yourself. Me? I want to be a novelist, but for now I’m a poet.

6)      DON’T GET DISCOURAGED. I feel like repeating this again. Writing is a hard road, filled with lots of rejection for most of us, rejection that comes from ourselves and the big bad world of publishing. Just remember, if you get rejected from an agent, publisher, or contest that means you tried in the first place. I’m already proud of you for that alone. So don’t get discouraged. Seriously.

7)      Create a marketing plan, but don’t be shocked if it changes. It probably will. But having a marketing plan in the first place will steer you in a positive direction. Decide what it is you want to market. Decide where you want to market it. What are the steps to reach that market? Is it something you can already be researching in your down time from writing? My current project is a poetry anthology, and it’s still at least a year from being print-worthy. But when I’m not working on the poetry itself and I’m not blogging, I’m trying to learn my market. What small publishers fit my work? Do I want to try self-publishing? Where and how am I going to market my book? These are all questions going through my mind. As the time for publication gets closer, my marketing plan will get better, tighter. But just like your writing, having a rough draft for marketing can only improve the final concept.

8)      Write! You have it in you. I believe in you. We’re on this journey together!

Your plan for this wild ride is not going to look like mine. It’s not going to look like anyone else’s. But hopefully I’ve given you the confidence to know that planning does not have to be the ball and chain holding down your dreams. Let your plans and your dreams work together and they can take you far.

Lissa Clouser is a poet and occasional short story writer. She is currently working on two poetry anthologies. You can learn more about her and join in on the writing conversation on her blog http://quidforquill.wordpress.com.

Queensland Floods – One Year On

Today marks the one year anniversary of the floods that devastated Queensland in Australia. One year on and the state of Queensland is still trying to rebuild–some people still aren’t back in their homes. I just wanted to post to remind everyone that it is still possible to purchase copies of the charity anthology 100 Stories for Queensland. All proceeds go to help victims of the Queensland floods. Below are some links to places where the anthology can be purchased (either in paperback or ebook form). Not only will you be helping out, but you’ll get to read some fabulous stories by some talented authors. There’s something in there to suit everyone.

100 Stories for Queensland site

Amazon UK (free delivery to Australia and NZ on orders £25 and over)

Amazon US

Book Depository (free delivery worldwide)

100 Stories for Queensland – A Review

A devastating flood…

In late December last year and early January this year Queensland, Australia was hit by devastating floods. At one time or another, floods covered ninety per cent of the state. Crops were destroyed, homes and lives were lost. Watching the devastation unfold in the media left me with a feeling of horror. The stories that came to surface had me in tears.

The call…

On the 11th of January Trevor Belshaw put out a call on Twitter and Facebook “100 stories for Queensland?”.

The response…

Authors from around the world submitted upbeat and uplifting stories of fiction. One hundred of those stories were chosen for an anthology whose purpose is to raise money for those affected by the floods. Those working behind the scenes, such as editor Jodi Cleghorn, have worked hard and done an amazing job compiling those stories into a beautiful book.

The launch…

On the 3rd of May the eBook of 100 Stories for Queensland was launched and can be bought on the 100 Stories for Queensland website (you can even read a free sample of stories before you buy). In a fortnight the print version of 100 Stories for Queensland will be available from Amazon and the Book Depository and may be ordered from your local bookstore.

My Review

After being brought to tears by Kate Eltham’s beautiful introduction, I’ve been reading through the fantastic collection of stories contained within 100 Stories for Queensland. Here is just a snapshot on my thoughts on a few of the stories.

John Baird’s ‘The Safe Option’ is a very clever story. I loved the twist.

Kim Bannerman’s ‘The Turtle Inventory’ is cute and funny. All those turtles!

Alan Baxter’s ‘The SpeakingTree’ is a tale of life. I loved the old fig tree.

Stephen Book’s ‘After All These Years’ has great characterisation. It reminds me of one of my favourite series: the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.

Gillian Brown’s ‘The Anniversary’ has a funny ending.

Christopher Chartrand’s ‘The Carver’s Daughter’ is a sweet story. It almost made me cry.

Jennifer Domingo’s ‘One Tenth of a Second’ is a story of unbeatable odds and doing your best anyway. It brought a smile to my face.

Karen Field’s ‘Amunet’s Gift’ is very sweet. It has great visual imagery.

Emma Karry’s ‘Confessions of a Toddler’ gave me a good giggle. It reminded me of a certain little toddler living in my house.

I’m only two thirds of the way through reading all the stories so far, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of them.

I feel privileged to be included amongst these talented writers and to be a part of something raising money for those affected by the floods. It’s such a great cause, I hope you will consider buying a copy to help out. I know I will be buying a copy (or two). Remember 100% of the sales from the eBook and 100% of the wholesale price of the paperback (excluding printing costs) go to the Queensland Premier’s Flood Relief Fund.

Helpful Writing Sites & Blog Posts April 2011

It’s been a huge month this month with some great posts celebrating Aussie Author Month. You can visit here for links to the weekly round ups of posts around the web related to Aussie Author month.

Onto the monthly round up (and don’t forget, all these links will be added to the masterlist, which you can find at the top of my blog).

Writing

First Page Shooter

In the style of Query Shark, and run by two literary agents, the idea is to submit the first 250 words of your manuscript for critique.

What the Fiction Editor Looks For Part 1

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner points out what an editor looks for in regards to characters. Some great points to keep in mind when revising your manuscript.

Checking for Plot Holes: Does Your Story Add Up

A list of questions to ask yourself to make sure you haven’t left any plot holes in you novel.

How to Make Your Most Ordinary Scene Interesting

How to recognise a boring scene and what to do about it.

10 Tips to Keep in Mind When Naming Your Character

Author Jody Hedlund gives some advice on naming characters.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Writers

Doing at least one of these can help improve your productivity as a writer.

10 Lies You Might Tell Yourself When Editing

Do you tell yourself these lies when editing? This list will either give you a laugh or make you hide your head in shame.

Top Ten Reasons You Should Rewrite That Scene

A literary agent intern’s guide to why a scene is not working in your manuscript  and some tips on how to fix it.

Bolstering Your Word Count

We see a lot of posts on how to write spare or cut down the word count of a novel if the novel is too long, but I tend to write spare to begin with and often fall short on word count. This post has some tips on bolstering your word count (without padding it out with unnecessary words).

Standing Out in the Slushpile: Some Basic Tips

Some tips on increasing your chances of being picked from the slushpile as observed by an editor. Can be applied to short story submissions or novel length stories.

Your Book is Coming Out… Now What? – 5 Easy Things to Get You Started

Where to begin when promoting your book after it’s been published.

The 50 Things Every Graphic Design Student Should Know

I know this is aimed at graphic design students, but a lot of the points can equally be applied to writers. For example, “If your work doesn’t excite you, then it won’t excite anyone else. It’s hard to fake passion for mediocre work – scrap it.”

Picture Books

5 Rules for a Breakout Picture Book: A Quick and Dirty Guide

An editor gives 5 tips on making your picture book great.

5 Tips for Creating Characters for Kids

Character development is not just important for novel length manuscripts, it’s important to create fully developed characters for children’s stories and picture books as well.

Queries

The Call – Questions to Ask the Agent

An agent likes your manuscript and wants to offer you representation. Now what? A printable list of questions to ask when you get ‘The Call’.

Cover Art

Designing Your Cover – Part One: Concept Part Two: The Rough Draft Part Three: Revisions, Titles and Printing

This is a three part series for self-publishers on designing an effective cover for your book.

Social Networking

The Ultimate Blog Checklist

This list highlights the little things you can do to make your site more effective. It comes with a printable checklist.

Your Facebook Fan Page – 11 Tips to Captivate Your Audience

It’s sometimes hard to know what to do next once you’ve set up your author page on Facebook. This post gives some tips on how to attract and keep people on your page.

3 Reasons to Interview Other Authors on Your Blog

A self-explanatory title. The 3 reasons are very convincing.

Just for Aussies

What Makes Australian Authors Tick?

The up sides and down sides to being an Australian author.

Pitch Contest on YAtopia’s Blog

YAtopia is currently holding a pitch contest involving Literary Agent Natalie Fischer.  This is a great opportunity as Natalie is currently closed to submissions, but some lucky entrants will have the chance to submit to her after the competition! You’ll have to hurry though because today is the last day to enter (sorry for the late notice), but there are still quite a few spots available.

http://yatopia.blogspot.com/2011/04/pitch-contest-with-natalie-fischer.html