Saturday, 26 March 2016

48. Get Blogged!

Now don’t think by this month’s title that I’m being rude. It’s because I attended an awesome workshop on blogging. Of course, I’ve been doing it wrong and I’m working on fixing a few things, but I’ll still be sitting here imagining you’re on the other side of the table, sans the computer screen, coffee in hand, pretending, as I am, that you’re not really coveting the last chocolate biscuit.

But first, this proud momma wants to share how thrilled she was to see the interschool musical and see Miss Teen perform along with some very talented young people in my hometown theatre. Future stars in the making, I swear. Whether they were on stage or behind the scenes, the students were professional from start to finish, especially the poor young lady who on closing night was so ill she’d rush off stage the moment her scenes finished. No one could tell though, even when she sang.

Speaking of feeling ill, I’ve caught another cold. I apologise to anyone who attended the blogging workshop who may now be feeling unwell, just as I apologise for those who had to sit near me in the theatre as I sneezed my way through the performance. For the most part it seems I’m the victim of my column this month. :/

I don’t think Queensland read the memo declaring the season has changed, and since the autumn sniffles doesn’t quite cut it, a summer cold has slam-dunked this household.

Body aches, dripping noses, and the ability to relocate one’s lungs with a single coughing fit abound. I’ve lost count of how many tissue boxes we’ve gone through and in case you’re wondering, yes, I officially have shares in Panadol now. And I thought the Line Flu last winter was bad.

Whilst I’m sure the Walking Dead program would relish an extra zombie onset, I managed to complete the usual household duties. I also sat through a day long writing workshop, (my apologies to anyone within breathing distance,) sneezed my way through a musical performance (which was fantastic and made me forget my misery for a time) and dole out the drugs, (I mean cold and flu medicine) to the next victim (whom I’m certain shared it in the first place.)

Still, despite the whinging, noise complaints, and decimation of the medicine cabinet contents, there’s one saving grace. The only person yet to fall ill is hubby, and we all know there’s nothing worse than the Man Flu.

Now that I’ve put the ‘feeling sorry myself’ part out of the way, (and you’ve probably moved a little further back from the table and that last chocolate biscuit) I want to share more about the workshop. Just bear in mind that my notes became a touch indecipherable as the day wore on and the Panadol wore off.

Our host for our blogging workshop, thanks to the Queensland Writers Centre, was Mr Peter M Ball, a science fiction and fantasy author, blogger, and someone who has an understanding of networking and the business side of writing that I hadn’t even begun to fathom. And it was fun, entertaining, and interesting from start to finish. We learned that blogging is a great way for readers to access and interact with their favourite authors, to learn about them as a person and learn where to obtain their books. Even a budding writer like myself, who only has short stories published, can still offer something of interest and build a rapport with potential readers over time. (And I’m not supposed to mention the ‘budding writer’ part.) ;)

Mr Ball generously imparted his knowledge, (which is why I went home with nineteen pages of notes) and entertained us with not only stories of his experiences, but also other authors whom he believes excel at blogging. Author Chuck Wendig has a brilliant website and his blogs are hilarious (as long as you don’t mind a little, okay make that a fair bit, of swearing.)   Tansy Rayner Roberts has a different approach. Her website, , unlike Mr Wendig’s, has what I’d call a more laid back feel.

Mr Ball also shared a website that I feel bad not having heard about before because just the title alone had me wanting to know more about them.  Anyone who’s a romance writer is come across this scenario at least once (maybe more). Upon learning one’s ‘chosen’ profession, one is met with a slight sneer, a look of indulgence that borders on pity and that condescending tone that suggests writing romance can’t be that hard. It’s just a formula isn’t it? It’s not ‘real’ writing. Sigh! How refreshing to learn about this website where while they make fun of the stereotypes, the bodice rippers, and the mummy porn, they also discuss the merits of romance writing, give advice on how-to’s and things to avoid, and they’re written and discussed by romance readers and writers alike.

And then there’s Mr Ball, a self-proclaimed serial blogger who is as passionate about the business side of writing as he is about writing itself. I mean anyone who can write a story about a reanimated corpse of a detective searching for a unicorn who wants to be a porn star simply because someone told him NOT to write said story has to be an interesting soul.  And after reading his blogs, I can’t think of anyone more qualified to host a blogging workshop. His blogs are funny, entertaining, and informative just like Peter is. He makes you want to learn more and I certainly have a lot to learn.  My favourite is his Sunday Circle. He asks his readers three simple questions and holds himself accountable for them.

What are you working on this week? What is inspiring you at the moment?  What part of your project are you trying to avoid?

I love the responses. Writing can be such a lonely endeavour, but when you see other writers mention topics that resonate with your own thoughts, it closes that isolation gap and I love hearing how other writers think because it validates my feelings on writing too.

So here goes – This week (month) I am working on my secret project story. I am feeling inspired by Mr Ball, his workshop, and my newfound knowledge on the subject of blogging. And I’m avoiding typing those nineteen pages of notes because my writing, especially those last few pages, is really, really bad.

How about you? What would your responses be? Perhaps while you’re checking out his unicorn story, (don’t tell me you’re not a little bit intrigued) you’d like to share your answers with Mr Ball too.

For those interested, I highly recommend this workshop. You’ll learn important things such as a good blog / website needs to attract Google’s interest. Categories and Tags such as ‘books’, ‘writing’ and ‘reviews’ flag the little robots that highlight data and bring it to the attention of other readers and people interested in the things you have to say. (I’m sure there’s a very important technical term for such a thing. Even squinting isn’t helping me decipher my notes at this point. Oh dear!)  Regardless of my state of health and dubious calligraphy skills, you won’t be disappointed. The workshop will be fun. You’ll learn tons of great stuff and you’ll meet some amazing people too. :)

Here’s how -

For those outside of Queensland, I’m sure QWC can help you contact someone in your state and possibly links for the overseas readers too. :)

Book Reviews :)

I read a quartet of short stories with the common theme ‘The Day We Met’ by authors Cheryl Admans, Vanda Vadas, Avril Tremayne and Sue-Ellen Pashley. The stories covered the contemporary, 50’s inspired, paranormal, and historical romance genres. Whether it was instant attraction, a deeper, animalistic meeting, playing hard to get or an unexpected passion, these stories showcased how important that first meeting could be.  

Here’s the blurb - WHEN JACK MET EVIE he found his usual movie star charm wasn't enough to catch her attention. In fact, she seemed to be actively avoiding him . . . He's heard Evie has a fatal fear of paparazzi, but that doesn't mean he should ignore his heart, does it?

WHEN HARRY MET BETH he was tongue-tied for weeks. How was it possible this goddess of a woman now worked at their local hardware store in McLaren Vale? And how on earth will this farmer's son get up the courage to win her love?

WHEN HENRY MET GINA he instantly knew two things. One, that she was a changer like he was. And two, that his dad was right about the way their kind fell in love - instantly, irrevocably. But has Gina felt it too?

WHEN ELOISE MET ZACH she sensed something strangely distinguished about the masked intruder holding her captive outside her own ball. Lady Eloise Blakely has always longed for a world less ordinary, but is she ready to give her heart to an outlaw?
You can find the short story collection here:  

By the way, Sue Ellen is one of our local writers. Her first novel – Aquila – is available now (and in my TBR pile).

I also read the next instalment of the paranormal romance, Collegium series – Dragon Knight by Jenny Schwartz. :)

Here’s the blurb - House witch, hacker, and woman on a mission to seduce the President!

Dragon knight and house witch Gina Sidhe serves Earth's only resident dragon, and she's been issued with a quest. She must return with Lewis Bennett, President of The Collegium (the world's magical order of peacekeepers), so that he may learn the Deeper Path of Magic from the dragon. A path that has been denied to Gina and one she desperately wants.

But Lewis isn't interested. He knows his magic has gone, burned out amid a terrible tragedy. Which makes his current task all the harder. He must restructure and repurpose The Collegium in the wake of a shocking and sly demon attack. He doesn't have time for Gina's quest, until she offers him the one thing he can't have: a hidden route out of his Collegium life.

Because Lewis has his own quest, one secret and lethal, to save the world from a threat no one else believes in.

Stories have to end somewhere and in many romances, usually it’s marriage, children or some such state of domestic bliss. But people’s lives don’t stop there and sometimes, their stories shouldn’t end there either. Lewis and Gina aren’t married, but as a ‘house witch’ her magical powers revolve around the home and the other magical beings in the story think less of her because of this, as though her magic isn’t as powerful and something to be coveted or admired. Only Lewis understands how she feels having lost his magic saving others. I actually cheered when Gina proved she was capable of more than their limited expectations.

Once again Ms Schwartz has written a story where the main characters boost each other and were equal in the strengths they brought to their unfolding relationship as they battle a secret society that only Lewis believes exists. Gina has her own agenda, but sometimes not getting what you want can be exactly what you need. I also loved that in this story, the nurturing aspect of Gina’s personality was celebrated, coveted and sexy. Domestic goddesses unite! ;) You’ll find Jenny’s stories here -

Now I’m off to work on my writing project, procrastinate on my note transferring, think about how I’m going to improve my blog and my writing platform and open another box of tissues. I’ll just finish my coffee and... Okay, who took the last chocolate biscuit? 


  1. Oh dear! Not the dreaded summer cold! *passes the tissue box* Congrats to your girl and her friends. I hope being bitten by the theatre bug at an early age brings them lots of fun.

    I love Smart Bitches! I embarrassed myself being all fangirl when I met Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches fame at the Fremantle RWAus conference. She is awesome!

    You know how much I treasure your reviews, D. Thank you!

    1. Hi Jenny, I'm glad the worst is behind me, but it's dragging on a bit.

      The theatre bug has a long term food supply here. Both girls love it. I was never that brave.

      How cool that you met Sarah. :) I'd have done the same. Really wish I could have made it to Perth that year. (I would have done the fangirl thing to you too - lol)

      I treasure your stories so we're even. :)

  2. I wish you'd been at the Freo conference, too :) although being my first, I was Bewildered (it needs the capital B)!

    1. I'd have been completely overwhelmed too, but apparently that's a normal sensation for Newbies. :)

  3. Hi D.D,

    I hope the dregs of the cold leave you soon. Congrats to Miss Teen for her stage performance.

    Thanks for the links you provided about blogging. I had a read of Mr Ball's blog. I don't know that you're doing your blogging wrong. I find it informative and interesting. I do know getting the blog out, circulating, and finding the readers is a challenge. I've always wondered if the Blogger site has a newsfeed like G+ and Facebook. I've never found a place where I can read through blogspot pages from other writers. ??????

    Smart bitches, trashy books tell readers exactly what they think of author's romance book. Which can be funny or squirmy if you're the author.

    Take care, Ashlyn.

    1. I've finally passed it to hubby so I'm feeling much better today. ;) lol Thanks for your congrats for Miss Teen. :)

      You're welcome for the links. :) It's probably more a matter of setting my blog out better so those computer bug thingies (technical term, I'm sure) can latch on to my different sections. It means pretending I know what I'm doing in the technical side of things. Hmm, should have asked hubby for help before I made him sick....

      I can see how SBTB could be confronting for a writer.

  4. Oh no. Man Flu. Run away, Run away now. Seriously though, I'm glad you are feeling better and it was great to see you at the workshop. I have yet to put what I learned into practice but the brain is churning with ideas. See you soon in the blogging world.

  5. I'm hoping that's my share for the year (preferably the decade.)

    It was great to see you too and to hear about your writing plans. I want to read the next Reaper story. :) Take care. :)

  6. Another great post, D.D. I'm looking forward to checking out those websites. Glad you enjoyed the workshop and got so much out of it. Hope you're feeling better, too.

  7. Thank you Rowena. Hope you enjoy the websites. Feeling much better now, thank you. Hope all is well with you too. :)