Monday, 25 November 2019

91. Turning Negatives into Positives

Hello, dear readers.

November’s almost over and we’re closer to saying goodbye to 2019. As usual, I’ve been busy but managed a few social events and a writing workshop. 

Three members of the family grew another year older. There are officially no babies in my house since my youngest is now a teenager. Good thing the dog lets me baby him. J We celebrated the triple birthday with a movie marathon, not that the birthday dog cared for our choices, and way too much food, which both dogs enjoyed immensely. We also had a delicious French Chocolate Cake thanks to Miss Maud’s. I’ll add for anyone who might be concerned that the birthday dog enjoyed a mince and shredded carrot ‘cake,’ although he would love to have had a taste of the chocolate one too.

Earlier in the month, I travelled to Armadale to attend the lovely Juanita Kees’s workshop, How to Turn Negative Feedback into a Positive.

From the beginning of my writing experiences, others have told me NOT to read reviews, especially the negative ones, which there will be, because we can’t please everyone. Thanks to Ms Kees’s workshop, I can see how we can learn from a bad review. Yes, they’ll still hurt, and we writers will need the tissues and comfort food and drink to deal with the hurt. Afterwards, we take a good look at those comments and work out what the true message is.

If more than one person is commenting on the same thing, that means we need work in that area for our next story. Use them to find your target market. What are they looking for? Are they even looking for the kind of stories you write? If not, they are not your audience. Some reviewers may have a valid point, and you can learn from that. Some people just aren’t interested in your story—again, not your target audience.

A comment or review could also spark a new idea for you or help improve another story you’re working on. Most important, learn to trust your gut. If the comments don’t ring true for you, ignore them. Don’t engage the reviewers (Don’t feed the trolls), although liking and acknowledging their comments does sometimes get an interesting reaction. It’s also a good way to find those people who are serial bad reviewers who like to ‘take down’ all writers. Here, remember the negativity is about them. It’s never about you.

It truly was a fascinating workshop and gave the attendees a great new way of looking at reviews. For those wishing to know more, I suggest contacting Ms Kees on her website, which is further down the page. J

The first book launch I attended was our Rockingham Writers Centre Spooky anthology “Shivers.” Keeping with the theme, we dressed up for the occasion. I was a runed (or was that ruined?) witch. It was fun to see the costumes, but not as much fun as the looks I got when I stopped at the traffic lights on the way there. LOL

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Aren't we a terrifying bunch? 

My book launch and book fair stash over the weekend. :)

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Our publisher. <3

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Some of the Gumnut authors in attendance.
(Photos shared with permission.)


I promised I'd bring along Pink Champagne Cupcakes to help one of my fellow Gumnut Press authors and our publisher celebrate the launch of her new book. They're lucky the cupcakes arrived because the champagne syrup was so yummy, it almost didn't make it into the cupcakes or the frosting.

November is also for Remembrance Day - the time to remember those who fought so bravely in faraway lands, some to stay there forever, and some to come home and face battles no one expected. We honour those they left behind, and those who continue to love and support them.

Book Reviews

Home to Bindarra Creek by Juanita Kees

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When fate brings together two lost souls, it’s time to leave the shadows behind and come home to Bindarra Creek.

With rejuvenation of her small hometown in the pipeline, Park Ranger, Alice Pritchard has no choice but to let go of the past. Dan Molyneaux roars into her life in his high-powered V8 and reopens the Riverside Pub, forcing her to face her ghosts, his possum problem, Curly the cockatoo who swears like a sailor, Old Man Jake who’s appointed himself caretaker of the property, and Grandad Charlie who’s determined to find her the man he thinks she deserves. Alice would love to ignore them all and keep living in the cocoon she’s created for herself in sleepy Bindarra Creek, but fate has other plans for her.

Dan isn’t looking for love or the friendship of the two crazy old men who appear to have adopted him. All he wanted was the peace and quiet of the country, away from the city highways. Soon he’s swept along by renovations, fundraisers, hell-raisers and the problems of a small town coming back to life. But it’s the park ranger he’s curious about. Why would a girl as beautiful as Alice bury herself in a backwater town so far off the main highway, it was merely a blip on the satellite map? What he uncovers raises some of his own ghosts from the dead.

With more than their hearts broken, both Dan and Alice must face the ghosts and nightmares of their pasts if they are to have any chance of a future together. City boy Dan’s move to the country and his resurrection of a pub that holds such bittersweet memories for Alice may be more than she can bear. And for Dan, how can he open his heart when he believes he’s responsible for destroying so many more?

This is a beautiful, emotional story that leaps from the pages. Your heart will ache for these characters as they struggle through their tortured memories and work toward a promising new start. I recommend not reading it in the car for school pick up unless you have ‘very’ dark sunglasses, some quality mascara and a box of tissues to catch all the feels. Wonderful book. J

Valor – A Sci-fi Alien Romance (Dragons of Riddich – book 6) by Mel Teshco

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The dragons will search the universe for their one true mate...

As a breeder, Rebel Mayfield attracts Riddich dragons like bees to honey. But to guarantee her next dragon capture, she has no choice other than to lay a trap for sharp-witted, blond-headed Valor. She waits in a dark alley, and when her breeder instincts sense Valor near, she signals to her male colleague to approach and pretend he’s hurting her. Valor falls for the ruse and is so enraged he nearly kills the male operative. Until the Paranormal Detection Agency—Rebel's team—step in and take Valor as their prisoner.

Trapped and betrayed, Valor swears vengeance on those responsible just as soon as he escapes this hellhole. Then he’ll make sure the one who betrayed him endures a life of living hell until he ends her.

Breeder, Rebel, forced to entrap dragon shifters, makes a decision that will change everything and probably destroy her life. She can’t live a lie anymore, and if freeing Valor to right one last wrong means her death, then so be it.

But neither breeder nor shifter realise for them both to survive, they must stay together. Both know it will be a challenge. Valor can’t forget what she’s done, and Rebel can’t escape the past and the reason she tricked him and others like him. Betrayal, much like their mutual desire, runs deeper than they thought possible.

Another fabulous addition to the Dragons of Riddich series with all the sass and sauciness I expect from one of Ms Teshco’s books. I thought this would be the last of the series, but there will be one more book, for which I will be ever so patiently (ha ha) waiting.

The Tarot Reader by Megan Mayfair

Hamish's business is struggling. He needs some luck soon or the whole thing could go under. Turning to local markets to spread the word, he finds Patricia - tarot reader, oracle and oneirocritic (interpreter of dreams). Are her talents key to his future, or is she not quite as she seems?

When the beautiful young woman set up beside him, Hamish thought it would a pleasant change to his usual company. Wearing more sparkling jewellery than he’d ever seen, and her ethereal ways, it was hard to keep his eyes off her. He didn’t believe in all that fortune telling stuff though. That was for little old ladies and the sort of frivolity he had little time for these days.

Then Patricia takes hold of his hand, and suddenly Hamish wants to believe everything she tells him she sees. If only he dared to follow her visions and see where they’d lead, and perhaps not only would his business be saved, he may also find happiness too.

This gorgeous, sweet little story can be found on Ms Mayfair’s website. It is a fun and mystical adventure with an interesting twist. And who doesn’t love that?

Messy: The Guide to living lighter and giving less forks by Katie Dean


The ultimate anti self-help book.

Messy is your hype girl for a sassy and inspired life driven by you.

This is not a book telling you what you need to 'fix' within your life. Fork that.

These pages are for any woman who has ever felt the insane pressure to be living a picture-perfect life and then feels like they're failing when they don't eat organic, home cooked meals every night, or when they scream at their kids, or because they haven't hand-woven their own ethically sourced, carbon neutral underwear.

In short, Katie has created a self-help book that doesn't suck. Revelations don't need to be heavy. Change doesn't have to be hard and self-inquiry can actually be like a beautiful big exhale.

Reading this book is like having your best girlfriend sit down beside you, take your hand, have a frank conversation, and share some cold hard facts. In between moments of laughter, possibly several glasses of your favourite beverage, and a good dose of chocolate (or whatever it is you and your closest gal pals fancy), that is.

Ms Dean questions why we’re so hard on ourselves. Why do we feel we have to do everything, constantly burning the candle at both ends, in a constant state of exhaustion, because we have some mixed up idea we have to be perfect ALL THE TIME? Who said we had to be that way? Ms Dean then poses some interesting answers.

‘Learning to say no’ when life, work and our loved ones pile tasks on us brings with it a scary, yet heady sense of freedom. You can even say ‘no’ to yourself. ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help’ is another way to move that huge weight we’ve been carrying around on our shoulders for goodness knows how long. Another of my favourites was when she talked about failing not being the end. There are ways to move on after a mistake, and everybody makes them. It’s what you do after the mistake that’s important. This book also gives you permission to take back your power and reclaim your happiness. A fantastic, informative, thought-provoking read.


The Dog Next Door by Tabetha Rogers Beggs


Every heart needs a little 'yelp'.

Seeking respite from her life in the city, Olivia Summers heads to the seaside town of Whitecap Cove where she once spent a memorable family holiday as a teenager.

Her hopes of a peaceful two-week stay are soon disrupted by the constant barking from the dog next door. Summonsing the courage to complain to the neighbours, Olivia unwittingly finds herself embroiled in a more serious situation.

Crucial to a police enquiry and instructed not to leave town, Olivia learns more about Whitecap Cove than what is written in the tourist brochure. Along the way she befriends some of the locals and finds herself distracted from her ex's misdemeanours by the handsome but introspective local detective.

This might not be the restful stay-cation Olivia had planned, but Whitecap Cove has drawn her back and due to the 'yelp' of a little dog, her life is about to change.

Who’d have thought the annoying little yaps from the dog next door could lead to so much trouble? Desperate for some peace, and to move on with her life, Olivia finds the early morning furry alarm clock anything but cute and cuddly. After the second night, she’s had enough. Intent on confronting the owner, Olivia makes a horrifying discovery. It’s compounded by the fact the local detective she thought was charming and handsome last night, now seems intent on asking her questions she has no way of answering in the harsh light of day.

Determined to clear her name, Olivia learns more about the people of Whitecap Cove. She discovers not only is it a place of wonderful moments and sad memories, it’s also a great place to heal a broken heart.

This gorgeous story brings together two people bruised and battered by life’s tragedies and gives them a second chance at recapturing something beautiful. I love how Ms Rogers Beggs brought a particular event full circle, twisting the hints throughout her story to tie it all together. I may have shed a happy tear of three by the end. And my heart may have let out a little ‘yelp’ too. J


A slight dent’s been made in the TBR pile, but you already know I’ve bought more books to fill the space. In December, I’m off to the KSP Centre again to celebrate author Lisa Wolstenholme’s book launch – The Sunrise Girl. I’ve completed one lot of edits and sent it back to my publisher, and tweaking the second, and then I’ll be busy with more edits and some beta reading. It’s a hard life, I tell you. J

Until next time, I hope your loved ones fill the pages of your heart with beautiful words.