Both Lisa and I have been busy writing and doing life, and a little remiss in visiting our ‘together’ spot in the world…
SO WHERE CAN YOU FIND US FOR A CHAT?
Both Lisa and I have been busy writing and doing life, and a little remiss in visiting our ‘together’ spot in the world…
SO WHERE CAN YOU FIND US FOR A CHAT?
I have an addiction and I’m not afraid to admit it. My name is Lisa and I am a footy addict.
I sit here today going through my annual grieving process. The AFL Grand Final is over and I am lamenting the fact that footy is finished for another year. For the next five or six months there will be no more games to attend, no more TV panel shows dissecting every aspect of the game, no more hot pies to be consumed while watching “my boys” go through their pre match warm ups.
And sadly, I’m mourning the fact that I will never see my favourite player pull on the blue and white hoops again. (Thanks for the memories Stevie J!)
I haven’t always loved football, but it’s always been part of my life. My father played and as a toddler I was taken to local football grounds to cheer him from the sidelines. As I got older I was dragged along to watch my brother play, then various boyfriends, so I learned the rules by osmosis.
As well as local footy, I was brought up watching the Geelong Cats. In our family there was no choice. Being a Geelong supporter was part of my birth right and there was no discussing it. Like my mother before me (and my children to follow) I was born a Cats’ supporter. My grandparents lived a ten minute walk from Kardinia Park and Saturdays in winter meant netball in the morning, followed by soup at Nanna’s for lunch, and then the trek to the footy ground (often in the rain) to watch the game.
As an adult, football has been a way into new communities for me, especially when I moved to the country. Even when I had little in common with some of the other supporters, football gave us a starting point, a common language to begin a conversation. It doesn’t take long to make friends when you are loudly barracking for the local team!
For me football has always been about family and community. These days my husband and I take our kids to every Geelong home game. We know all the people who sit near us and we bond over nail-biting games, bad umpiring decisions, miracle goals, and the privilege of singing our team song on the days when we win.
The thing I love most about going to the footy is the freedom to verbally and physically express joy and sorrow. As adults, there are not too many places you can literally jump up and down for joy, or shout out your frustrations. At the game I can cheer, groan, put my head in my hands or embrace a stranger (after one of those miracle goals!) and no one will bat an eyelid.
So now you know why there’s a footy match or two in most of my books!
Okay, so I didn’t win an Oscar, (or a Logie, a Rita or a RuBY) however I am lucky enough to be able to publicly thank those people who have made a difference in my career every time I publish a book. Because it’s in print there’s no chance of me sobbing like Sally Field. (Trust me there’s a big danger of that happening if I had to say this stuff out loud!)
So here are the acknowledgements from my latest book, Feels LIke Home.
My heartfelt thanks go to:
Kate Cuthbert for believing in this book, and all the team at Harlequin for being so great to work with.
Amanda Knight for being my sounding board, my critique partner and a wonderful friend.
Carmen Vicos and Catherine Evans, for reading countless drafts. Your comments and support helped me coax the scribble into a story. Without you this book wouldn’t exist.
My editor, Kate James, for helping me to shape this into a much better book than it would have been otherwise.
Georgina Penney, for providing the right advice at exactly the right time.
My lovely writing friends, Delwyn Jenkins, Janette Radevski, Jennie Jones and Rachael Johns, for your friendship and support.
My family and friends, especially my sister-in-law, Tracie, and brother, Dean, who sing my praises every chance they get, and my friend, Fiona, who is still by my side after forty years of friendship.
My beautiful nieces, Georgie and Sophie, for helping me with Ella’s character.
All my AWSOM buddies. I love being part of this diverse and dynamic group. You all rock!
Romance Writers of Australia. I’m so grateful for the ongoing support and professional development this amazing organisation provides.
My fellow Escape Artists. What a welcoming and supportive group of people you are. I love working alongside you all.
My book club. Thanks for being such an awesome cheer squad. Special thanks to Kelly for your friendship, support and encouragement (and all the bubbles!).
Shannean and Alison for your expert legal advice.
All my Facebook and Twitter friends and followers. I can always depend on you guys to help me out with a name or a tricky bit of research. I really appreciate the interest you show in my writing. Thanks for sharing the journey with me.
All the readers who take the time to write a review or email me their thoughts about my books. I love hearing from you and your support is what keeps me going. Thank you.
My wonderful husband, David, and my three beautiful sons, Charlie, Will and Alex, for sharing me with my characters. I love you all xx.
And Millie and Lulu, for getting my writer’s butt out of the chair and out of the house every day!
The Writing Life:
This is a new series of posts that we hope to publish semi-regularly (when I say semi regularly I mean every now and then– we’re not the most reliable posters!) In this series we will document our lives as writers. The posts will cover what we do, the issues that are important to us as writers, the things we think about and we’ll maybe throw in a little bit of advice for aspiring writers (in terms of “this is what works for me”. We’re not saying we are experts in any way, shape or form!)
A Week in the Life of a Published Author *
Most of you will be well aware that I had a book come out earlier this month. Feels Like Home is my second novel, but my first novel to go directly to print. It’s been a pretty exciting and busy time for me! Prior to being published I’d often hear authors talk about how the real work started after they were published and how they didn’t realise how busy they would be. I believed them of course (they were the experts!) but I couldn’t really envisage exactly what it was they would be so busy with, other then writing and editing.
Okay, so now I know!
I thought I’d show you what I’ve been up to this week to give you an idea of what a traditionally published author** does with her time. I’ve included lots of the nitty gritty boring details so you can see where my time goes. This is partially to show readers what my job involves and partially to prove to my husband that I’m not lazing around on the couch eating chocolate and watching Days Of Our LIves when he’s not here!
Saturday: after a slothful morning of sleeping in and drinking several cups of tea, I realise there’s not long to go before I have to phone a local radio station for an interview I’m doing. I revise the notes I’ve made earlier in the week and spend some time promoting the show on social media before phoning in for a five minute pre show pep talk with one of the show’s hosts. Doing the show is a touch nerve wracking, but once I relax I start to have fun. I’m on air for about 90 minutes and the best bit is I get to choose the music they play. It’s like being a guest programmer on Rage – awesome!
(If you are interested you can find a recording of the show here. It’s the July 18 program.)
Sunday: I finish writing my author talk for my book launch on July 30th. After that I head to a friend’s house armed with half my wardrobe. I need her advice on what to wear the following day for a photo shoot. We have a nice lunch and then get down to business. It’s disheartening trying on outfits. I hate everything I try on and feel like a frizzy-headed frump. My friend talks me down from the ledge and we decide on an outfit that she says is “fabulous” and I think is “okay”.
After we sort the wardrobe we go through the running sheet for the launch and make sure everything is on track.
Back at home I update social media profiles, including responding to comments on blogs where I have guest posts published.
Monday: After an hour and half’s drive I arrive at the library where my launch is being held. I’m here to have my photo taken for the local paper. I’m fifteen minutes early, so have time to grab myself a quick coffee before meeting the photographer. I’m super nervous, but the photographer is lovely and it doesn’t take too long (despite a chance meeting with the vice principal of my old secondary school in the middle of the shoot!) There’s time to grab another coffee and to post on social media before meeting the MC of the launch for a lunch meeting. We go over some details of the launch and have a nice meal!
Tuesday: Time to write at last! Gah!!! The words won’t come. I’m stuck. I leave the laptop for pen and paper and spend the day brainstorming. By day’s end I think I have found the way forward.
Wednesday: I am very tempted to do housework instead of write, but I know if I don’t get some words down on this new story soon I will completely lose momentum. I open up the document and reread what I last wrote. I make a cup of tea. I visit social media. I tweak a few sentences. I decide I am a hopeless writer and that I should maybe consider a different career. I revisit the brainstorm notes. I write a sentence. Then another one. I’m off! Word count for the day – 700 words. Not my best effort, but it’s something.
I am slightly distracted by today’s arrival in the post of new business cards and a promotional banner I’ve ordered in preparation for the upcoming launch and some signings I’m doing. The products exceed my expectations and I can’t resist posing photos on Facebook. It’s sad really; once upon a time I used to get this excited over shoes and handbags…
Thursday: Another writing day. My hands, arms and shoulders are sore today after so long at the computer yesterday so I dope myself up with painkillers and have a whinge on social media before opening the document. I tweak a few sentences before revisiting Facebook. I make coffee. I start writing this blog post for you. After that it’s back to the document but the words are still painfully slow. I decide to research an obscure detail pertaining to the manuscript. The whole day is spent like this – running off on tangents. By day’s end I am frustrated and despite sitting at the computer for hours I have achieved very little.
Friday: Friday is my day for me. I try to keep this day free for coffees or lunches with friends, to run errands or to do research. Today I’m meeting a new friend for coffee, which I’m looking forward to. I start the morning with a coffee and a cyber chat with a writing friend who is looking for some marketing advice. I’m no great authority on the matter but I think my friend just needs someone to bounce ideas off, so we chat in between answering emails and posting promotional things online. In the middle of the chat my new friend messages to see if we are still having coffee. I have the times mixed up and am half an hour late! Gah!!! Race out of the house like a madwoman. Thankfully my friend is still at the café and is very understanding.
When I get home I decide to forget the housework (it’ll wait until tomorrow!) and I open up my work-in-progress. I manage to get a little writing done for the day. My word count for this week is extremely low and I’m starting to panic that the story isn’t going anywhere. Once again I wonder if I’ll be able to write this book. I start wondering if I’ll ever be able to write anything again. It just doesn’t seem to be happening for me at the moment.
An email pops into my inbox from my publisher with some good news (which I can’t share – sorry!) The smile comes back to my face. Everything is right in the world and I have the best job on the planet! Time to crack open a bottle and open a packet the Savoys (or Jatz if you live outside of Victoria!) It’s Friday night – woo hoo!
So that was my week. All in all a pretty good one! I hope I’ve given you a bit of an insight into my writing life, but if there’s anything I haven’t covered, any burning question that you’re dying to ask, go right ahead – hit me with with it in the comments!
* This was not a typical week for me. It’s the week before launch, hence the photo shoot, radio interview etc. However there really is no typical week in the writing life, so I figured this one was as good as any to document!
** Traditionally published for the purposes of this blog means published by a third party (ie a publishing house)
I’ve been tagged by the lovely Nicki Edwards to participate in the Meet The Character Blog Hop. Make sure you pop on over and visit Nicki’s fabulous website. She’s a debut author who combines two romance genres I just love: medical and rural romance. I can’t wait to read her first book, INTENSIVE CARE, which will be released next January. (It’s already up for pre order – check it out here!)
Without further ado I’d like to introduce you to a character I just loved writing!
What is the name of your character?
Johanna Morgan (Jo)
Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
When and where is the story set?
The story is set in the fictional town of Linden Gully, Victoria, Australia. The town is not based on any actual town, but I drew inspiration from my favourite places in East Gippsland. It’s a contemporary story.
What should we know about him/her?
Jo’s smart, resilient and determined. She’s made a name for herself as a talented young novelist. She’s just broken off a long term relationship with a famous Hollywood actor.
Jo has never really felt like she belonged anywhere.
What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
The main conflict revolves around Jo’s fear of having a child. Her unhappy childhood has left her scarred and she fears that she will not make a good parent.
This draft blurb sums up her situation at the beginning of the book:
With rumours about her personal life splashed all over the Internet, writer and celebrity, Johanna Morgan, uses her best friend’s wedding as an excuse to escape New York and head home to Australia. All Jo wants is some peace and quiet, but with her ex-boyfriend, Ryan Galloway, unexpectedly back in town, suddenly Linden Gully seems anything but sleepy.
Ryan has thought about Jo every day for the past seven years, but it’s not just his heart at stake anymore. He has his six-year-old daughter to think about. He can’t risk Ella’s happiness, even if that means sacrificing the love of his life.
What is the personal goal of the character?
Jo really wants to be loved for herself and to find a place where she truly fits in. As a young adult she left Linden Gully believing she would never return, but now she’s back home and wondering if she can make a life for herself in her hometown after all.
Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
The working title for the book is Feels Like Home. Readers can find more information on my Pinterest Board, Feels Like Home.
When can we expect the book to be published or when was it published?
This book has just been contracted to Escape Publishing. I don’t have a release date yet, but I expect it will be available early(ish) next year.
Now I am tagging two lovely writing friends to continue the blog hop! You’ll be able to meet their characters on their blogs next Thursday.
The first is Cate Ellink.
Cate Ellink became intrigued by the erotic when her grandfather used to pass books to her father saying, “Don’t let the girls read page X.” Although her mother and sisters never bothered to chase those pages, Cate always did. Invariably, her imagination was better than what she read.
While pursuing a career in science, Cate amused herself by writing about ordinary events and giving them an erotic twist. It’s taken more than a few years to bravely expose her mind to the public. While the events in her stories may have occurred, it’s highly likely that her imagination is far more exciting than the reality.
Cate lives near the beach in NSW with a long-suffering husband.
Cate has a new release coming out on November 20. Check out her gorgeous cover! You can find more details here.
The second writer I’m tagging is Fiona Lowe.
Fiona Lowe is a RITA® and R*BY award-winning, multi-published author with Harlequin , Carina Press and, Berkley/Penguin USA. Whether her books are set in outback Australia or in the mid-west and west of the USA, they feature small towns with big hearts, and warm, likeable characters that make you fall in love. When she’s not writing stories, she’s a weekend wife, mother of two ‘ginger’ teenage boys, guardian of 80 rose bushes, slave to a cat is and is often found collapsed on the couch with wine. Right now she’s writing her 28th novel.
Runaway Groom is Book 3 of the Wedding Fever trilogy and will be on Australian shelves from November 10.
It’s been a while since we’ve visited hasn’t it!
Well it’s time to CELEBRATE!
Whilst we’ve been away working hard on our books, my fabulous blog partner Lisa Ireland has been notching up some very exciting achievements!
I am thrilled to announce that Lisa has sold another rural romance to Escape Publishing – and if that wasn’t exciting enough…
You can vote for her here.
Well done Lisy-Lou – and the champagne’s is on ice for when we’re next together!
I’m excited to be amongst a host of great releases from Escape Publishing this month. Today I’m showcasing fellow Escape Artist, Elizabeth Dunk
Cursed after death to live in grey nothingness until they atone for their sins, four spirits have spent centuries doing good for others. Finally they stumble upon the true key to their salvation — because they hurt women in their lives, they’ll only find release by now helping women to become all they should be.
One by one, the spirits meet a woman and as each sexual delight unfurls, the grey nothingness disappears a little more. As the women find their happily ever after, they grant the spirits a chance at peace for eternity.
Follow the journey of four remarkable women — Luisa, Anna, Cara, and Jan — and the four spirits that set them on a new path to sexual freedom and boundless pleasure.
Elizabeth Dunk is the contemporary romance and erotica-writing alter ego of Nicole Murphy, who cut her teeth writing science fiction and fantasy. This is the third Elizabeth Dunk book — Arranged to Love and The Lies We Tell were published by Escape Publishing in 2013. As Nicole, she has dozens of short stories in print and has published an urban fantasy trilogy, The Dream of Asarlai. Her science fiction romance trilogy The Jorda Series will be published by Escape, with the first book Loving the Prince out in August.
Find out more about Elizabeth/Nicole at http://nicolermurphy.com
Twitter – @nicole_r_murphy
This month’s Book Club Book was The Return by Silvia Kwon. Here’s my review (don’t worry, there are no spoilers!)
I loved this book. It’s a beautifully written exploration of the effects of war on everyday life.
The author did a great job of maintaining tension throughout the book. The plot gently unfolds through Merna’s everyday domestic life but a simmering undercurrent is never far from the surface.
The themes of family, loyalty, love, rejection and forgiveness are all explored in a meaningful and satisfying manner.
The Return moved me deeply, possibly because I was reminded of my family’s relationship with our neighbour, a World War 2 veteran. I grew up living across the road from this man and he was like a grandfather to me. As a teen, he and I clashed over racial issues. I couldn’t understand his inability to accept Asian migrants into our country. I was too young to really understand his point of view and it wasn’t until I was much older that I began to comprehend the influences behind his prejudices. Frank brought this man to mind and I couldn’t help but feel regret that I had not made more of an effort to understand him.
Merna is a wonderful character. I loved her growth throughout the story. A middle-aged 1950s housewife may not be an obvious choice as the main point of view character in a novel about the effects of war, but Merna was definitely the hero of this story.
This is a beautiful, sensitive book. I can’t stop thinking about it.
Did you read it? If so what did you think?
The next book club read is Red Moon by Benjamin Percy. There’s plenty of time to read this one as we won’t be discussing until the end of August.
This day seems to have been forever in the coming… in fact almost a full year from pitch to published!
BREAKING THE DROUGHT
When a smooth-talking, sophisticated city girl comes striding into town on her stiletto heels, he’s the last person who wants to notice…
When Jenna McLean gets roped into attending a matchmaking ball in a small country town, she holds no illusions of meeting the man of her dreams. A no-nonsense magazine editor, Jenna doesn’t believe in leaving love to chance, which is why she’s developed Marriage Material – a fool-proof framework for husband hunting. Shearers and farmhands need not apply.
Sheep grazier Luke Tanner has met women like Jenna before, and knows not to waste his time. With the drought dragging on and bushfire season around the corner, the last thing he needs is a spoiled city girl like Jenna adding to his problems. He’ll help out with the ball because it’s good for the community, but he won’t dance, he won’t flirt, and he definitely won’t be matched.
It’s been a long dry season, but everyone knows when it rains, it pours.
Given I know lots about Lisa, and this fabulous book, I asked her a few questions that readers and the author community alike may like to know the answers to…
What is the single most influence in your life that inspires you to write your small town settings?
Even though I was born in the city, as a kid I always dreamed of living the country. I was a horse-mad kid and I dreamed of owning my own horse stud when I grew up. My dad grew up on a farm and as a family we spent a lot of time visiting my cousins who lived near my Dad’s hometown. I still go back to that area as often as I can. It’s the place of my heart, where I truly belong.
After rural towns, what is you next most favourite setting to read and/or write? Why?
Strangely enough my absolute favourite setting outside of Australian country towns is New York City. I love NYC. It’s my favourite place on earth (apart from the beautiful small town I call home, of course!) The very first time I visited New York I cried in the taxi on the way from the airport to our hotel. I was overwhelmed with emotion at finally visiting this place I’d dreamed of for so long. It was truly love at first sight.
What is your most favourite sentence from Breaking The Drought? Why
Wow, this is a hard one! I’m not sure I have one favourite, but I did enjoy writing some of the early banter between Jenna and Luke (or Cowboy Luke as she dubs him in the beginning.) Here’s a little sample:
She pushed her large framed sunglasses on top of her head and stared back at him. ‘Can I help you?’ she asked.
Inexplicably his pulse quickened as she spoke. ‘I was just admiring your…shoes.’
‘I picked them up on my last visit to New York. Don’t think they make them in…’ her gaze shifted to his feet, ‘cowboy size.’ She turned her back on him and walked to the back of her car.
Damn. She’d caught him checking out her legs. What did she expect? Any guy not noticing those pins didn’t have a pulse. Perhaps a little country charm was in order to smooth things over.
When a reader scans those final words the end what do you hope their very next thought is?
I hope that the reader thinks, “Wow, that was satisfying!” or even better, “I can’t wait to read Lisa’s next book!”😉 My main hope is that readers will be taken on a satisfying emotional journey, one that leaves them smiling in the end.
Tell us a little about your next book!
My current WIP (work in progress) is a reunion story. It’s about Jo, a famous Australian novelist living in New York City. When Jo comes home to the tiny town of Linden Gully to be bridesmaid for her best friend, she is shocked to find her childhood sweetheart, Ryan, (now a single dad) has moved back to town.
The two still have strong feelings for each other, but Jo is not interested in an instant family and Ryan must put his daughter’s needs first.
So if you haven’t already snapped this book up for your next read – you can find it here
Thanks for sharing this wonderful day with us – we look forward to hearing your thoughts on Jenna and Luke‘s story!
When I was a little girl, strangers would often comment to my mum that I was “quite the chatterbox.” My mum would always respond with pride that I had a fantastic imagination and told wonderful stories. She always made me believe that I was lucky to have such a vivid imagination. I remember her saying that imaginative people are never bored or lonely.
Without my mum’s support I would never have become a writer. One week from today I will achieve my lifelong dream of becoming a published author. It’s a fabulous feeling and I’m incredibly excited, but I’m also a little sad. Today marks the nine year anniversary of my mum’s untimely death. My greatest wish is that she could be here to share next Tuesday with me.
In honour of my mum and all she did for me I thought I would write a letter to her and post it here.
Next week I will finally become what you always told me I would be – a published author. It’s a big achievement, one I would never have realised without you. So thank you.
Thank you for reading to me every night when I was little. Thank you for saving money out of the household budget so I could have a Little Golden Book, or as I got older, an Enid Blyton book, each week.
Thank you for listening to my long rambling stories and instead of telling me to “Be quiet” (which, honestly, must have been very tempting!) encouraging me to write my stories down.
Thank you for understanding when I stayed up all night reading as a teen and for ignoring the torchlight under the covers.
Thank you for being a wonderful role model. For always having a book on your bedside table and for always treating reading as a necessity of life.
Thank you for encouraging me to take a writing course and for always being interested in how it was going.
Thank you for paying for my first RWAus conference because you knew how badly I wanted to go. By the time the conference came around that year, you’d already left us. You never got see how much that one gesture of yours changed my life but I like to think that somehow you knew that it would.
Most of all, Mum, thank you for always, always, taking my writing seriously, for believing in me and for being proud of me
With much love,