Hello dear readers.
September brought, along with bracing winds and questionable temperatures, this year’s Rockingham Writers Convention. I’ve attended every one since I moved to the west coast and found the workshops on offer fantastic and I've met some wonderful people. J
I didn’t get as much time to mingle though. I also helped a little behind the scenes although ‘little’ might be the operative word as stitches in my forearm prevented me from doing any heavy lifting. Do I tell you about my knife fight? Would you believe I slashed it rescuing someone from a crashed car where glass was flying in all directions? Lasered by ray gun wielding aliens? ‘Rays’ might give you the biggest hint, and it did involve a knife, but let’s leave that as an awesome writing prompt. And go!
Wait, come back! Convention awesomeness first. J
The first workshop I attended was with the loveliest gentleman and his equally charming partner. Their cheeky banter immediately set the tone of the day and put smiles on our faces. Josh Lawley’s Find your Creative Mojo session was fabulous from start to finish. He shared wonderful tips such as stealing writing time and taking away the mental pressure of having to write. We should allow ourselves a dirty (first) draft before worrying about the story coming together, and my favourite, which was to look at everything with wonderment and a sense of adventure. Josh also shared some wonderful photos of writing in amazing locations and dressing up while he was writing to keep things interesting. Yep, we were smiling the whole way through. J
With writing, there’s no escaping the hard work and getting the words down, but Josh stressed how important it was to enjoy and keep the passion for what you love. Fortunately for us, he had plenty of mojo to go around. J
The next workshop I attended was a session on Goal, Motivation and Conflict with Historical Romance author, Natasha Lester. J
We learned about the inciting incident, the why, and the stakes that drive all stories. As in life, there has to be a reason a character acts the way they do whether it is willingly or because an incident or life changing event has been thrust upon them. The most important word here is “BECAUSE.” A series of events happen because something’s occurred, a secret’s revealed, a discovery’s made. And because of that, the next event occurs. A story asks the questions the author must answer by connecting the events. They must ask themselves how their character will respond to each event and what will it cause them to do next. Your characters must be motivated to discover their true selves, face obstacles and grow from their experiences. If this doesn’t happen in your book, it won’t keep the story moving, raise the stakes or help the characters grow. Then we won’t engage our readers and they won’t care enough about our stories and our characters to keep reading. It is also a promise to the reader that the character’s goals and the reader’s expectations are met by the end of the book for a satisfying conclusion.
Afterward I managed a quick hello and introduced myself properly as Natasha so kindly gave some of her busy time for us on the Aspiring eLoop a few months ago. She is as lovely and gracious in person as she was at our event.
I missed the first half of the final workshop for the day, Carolyn Wren’s ‘Writing Villains,’ because that’s when I was doing my pitch. (More on that later.)
While I’d attended the workshop before, there were still fun facts to learn and it confirmed my thoughts on how much I love a redeemable villain. Deep down I want to believe everyone is capable of doing the right thing and turning their lives around. And in the case of characters, win over the reader. J You can find more on Carolyn’s workshop here. J
Something else I wanted to share with you is a wonderful website which has helped me so much with my editing. Capstone Editing is an Australian academic editing company that offers editing services and editing courses. They also have a live chat session in which you can ask any editing, punctuation or grammar questions. For those who are interested, they also share blog posts. (These go through an approval process and they consider other posts, not just academic ones). They’re friendly, helpful and contain a wealth of knowledge.
I’ve read some awesome manuscripts as part of the editing / beta reading process so I know some fabulous books are ready to burst into the published world. These include a fantastic cookbook. (I was so hungry after this one. The pictures are fabulous as are the recipes and the philosophy behind it.) Two personal life stories with some jaw-dropping moments. Yet another in what I’ll call ‘a guide to life’ for now, which has some fabulous insights with no bullshit or empty promises. And a gorgeous, sexy contemporary romance. Next on my list is a paranormal romance. Bliss!
Meanwhile, I also read these. J
Having Faith by Georgia Tingley
She’s been someone else’s … now Adam was back to show Faith she’d really been his all along. Must read second chance love.
When my best friend suggested I take a young, hot, sexy, stud-muffin as my date to meet my ex-husband’s much younger fiancée, I allowed my arm to be ‘twisted.’ Nudging Forty, I felt battered, and my ego bruised - it was just what I needed.
“Who do you have in mind?”
“Adam,” Rachel voiced the one name hovering between us since the words, sexy, hot, and young, had been mentioned in the same sentence.
Adam was my friend’s younger half-brother. We’d always been close, and I’d considered him to be a young brother to myself as well. Then something unthinkable happened between us on his eighteenth birthday that drove him away for ten years.
Now he was back, looking so good it should be illegal, and wanting to resume where we had left off. The soul-incinerating chemistry still bound us but was my self-doubt too big a hurdle to leap?
For the longest time, Faith has been perched on the peripheral edges of my heart. Since that fated night all those years ago, I had known she was it for me. I was a boy then, too young and dumb to understand that we were soulmates. But my heart knew it, and never let me forget. I’d tried to move on, I really had. She was married, after all.
So, when my sister asked if I could do Faith a favour and play along as her date to meet her idiot ex-husband and his soon-to-be trophy wife, I knew fate was opening a door for me.
This time, I was no amateur. This time, all I had to do was convince her we were meant to be. Sounds easy, right? Well, you haven’t met Faith.
Faith’s despondent air changes the moment her best friend suggests taking her half-brother as Faith’s date to dinner where she’d be meeting her ex-husband’s fiancée. It’s a mix of heady desire and trepidation though because her friend doesn’t know what happened on Adam’s 18th birthday and Faith’s never forgiven herself for her actions and for driving him away. Given he’s happy to take her, perhaps there’s a chance now to right those wrongs. Or create some new ones.
Adam’s been in love with Faith ‘forever’ and neither time nor attempts at relationships with other women have changed that. When the chance comes to be with her again, he’s determined to give her no reason to resist him. He means to have her and make sure she understands he’s hers. But Faith’s hang ups about their age difference and doubts of his sincerity threaten to spoil the relationship and end his dreams of a future together.
It’s bad enough outside influences threaten to destroy their happiness, but if they’re going to make this work, ‘faith’ is what they’ll both need to navigate the troubled times ahead.
Loved this. A gorgeous, sexy story (there was much waving on one’s hand in front of one’s face) that claims the heart of everyone who believes in destined romance and happily ever after. Faith and Adam are fabulous together and the author’s realistic portrayal of these characters, especially Faith’s internal dialogue, is brilliant. And I must mention the wonderful side character she created in Faith’s son, Scott. That mumma raised her boy right! A must read!
Equinox (Skywatchers - Book 2) by LJ Higgins
Ky thought she was killing the bad guys. Turns out, she was the bad guy.
Ky’s on the run from Skywatchers, the organisation she’d followed blindly since the aliens invaded and her brother disappeared. Reece, one of the aliens she’d been trained to hunt, is the only person left she can trust.
Struggling to reconcile the hunter who’d murdered too many aliens to count with the girl who’d fallen for Reece, an alien who’d revealed the truth about their visit to Earth, Ky battles with the guilt of her past as she and Reece make their way to her brother and the aliens he’s saved.
Just when her brother’s within reach, Skywatchers rips the chance of being reunited with him away.
Can her brother forgive the horrific things she’s done?
Or will Skywatchers convince her to re-join their organisation?
After years on killing aliens, firm in the belief she’s destroying the enemy, to her horror, Ky’s discovered she’s been targeting the wrong race. As the lies and deceit unravel around her, she finds the only person she can trust is Reece, an alien she’s been trained to hunt. It’s hard to believe the most insane thing that’s happened is learning her brother is alive and has been on the side of the aliens all this time. Determined to reach him, Ky and Reece travel across country in search of the alien’s secret base battling not only the alien hunters she left behind, but her own emotions. Is she crazy to trust Reece? Is she doing the right thing? And when they find her brother, can he ever forgive her for what she’s done?
This is a fabulous conclusion to the author’s first book, ‘Aphelion.’ Ky’s tale of self-redemption and inner strength is brilliantly portrayed as she deals with betrayal, heartbreak and loss. This book stirs the emotions and keeps the reader engaged at a harrowing pace at the story draws to its epic conclusion.
The Three Date Rule by Jillian Jones
He’s an intriguing billionaire, but she’s learned the hard way that men like him can’t be trusted.
When wealthy property entrepreneur, Ryan Jensen, collides with emotionally scarred single mum, Kate Morgan, he’s shaken by a premonition of her as his bride. Experience tells Kate he’s bad news, but she figures one night of passion will get their sizzling attraction out of her system. But Ryan has good reason for his “three date” rule—no sex until the third date—and he’s not about to break it for anyone. From the thrill of the Melbourne Cup, to glittering Christmas Markets in Austria, and the ski slopes of Switzerland, can Ryan overcome his own scars and win her love?
A sexy game of rule… and breaking them, and a Christmas they will never forget.
Ryan Jensen’s as standoffish as they come, but he has his reasons. And one of them is the flashes of the future he sometimes sees when he touches people. Nothing prepared him for the vision he saw when he bumped into a beautiful woman at the races – she’s his future bride! Trouble is, she also seems to be enamoured with one of his work rivals and that unleashes unflattering emotions.
Kate Morgan turned away from her dreams of a career in architecture to follow her heart. While her marriage provides the wonderful gift of two beautiful children, her husband’s betrayal ensures she’ll never let a man close again. No matter how damn attractive they are. But she can share one night of no strings attached passion and return to her normal life, can’t she? A pity then the one man who stirs her desires insists on dating first and messing with her sensibilities.
When an opportunity to work on an architectural masterpiece arises, they discover they have more in common than desire and a love of design. There’s also a matter of trust issues, bitter betrayal and opposition from outside forces neither Ryan nor Kate expected.
This is a wonderful story brimming with cleverly crafted characters where the author shows exactly why they are the way they are. And how the main characters learn to trust each other and overcome their past experiences and learn to let love in again. And I loved the twist where the three-date rule was Ryan’s, not Kate’s.J
So, my first pitch! Was I nervous and excited? You bet. Did I stutter my way through it? Ditto. Did I get a yes? SQUEE! LOL
The publisher loved the idea of my story and is keen to read more. Which is why the panic has kicked in as I get to work polishing the story and crossing everything she loves the book as much as she loved my pitch. And I’ll add here she was lovely and understanding of my nerves. But boy, do I have some work to do (on the book and the nerves). No guarantees, of course, but it’s a step closer to having another book to share. J
Apart from panicking, it’s writing and reading (and ignoring the ironing pile) as usual.
Until next month, where I will have no fingernails left whatsoever, have fun escaping into wonderful stories. J