The Best Thing I Ever Did For My Writing

People often ask me, what was best thing you ever did for your writing.  Well, the best thing I ever did was get other people involved.

Over the years I’ve gone through many phases. When I first started out, I was very precious about my work. First it was, nobody can see this…. it’s not good enough. Then it was, nobody can see this… it’s too good!

I didn’t want to be told what to do. I didn’t want people to criticize me, judge me, talk about my progress towards my goal or lack thereof.  But I found that once I started talking and sharing my writing with others, there was just a fountain of knowledge out there that I had been missing out on.

Now there are heaps of people “involved” in my writing. Firstly, there are my critique partners. I have two regulars who I see often. They read my work chapter by chapter. Then I have two macro critique partners who tend to read big chunks of my novels in one go. They give me feedback on the overall plot and how it’s all hanging together.

Then I have my brainstorming people who I love to bounce around ideas with.  It’s great to be able to test out a plot line before I write it. Then I’ve got what I call, “victims of my research.” These are people I call up, sometimes perfect strangers, asking information about their jobs or their life or their home town because I don’t know enough about it and it’s featured in my story.  I’ve never met a person who didn’t have time to chat to me.

Finally, last but not least, I’ve got the wider writing community. I’m a member of Romance Writers of Australia and a number of different e-loops and groups.  Then of course, there’s all the contacts you make on social media, facebook and twitter. If I need some advice about the publishing world, there’s bound to be someone out there who has been through the same thing.

Feedback, information, research, fresh eyes,  new opinions – have all allowed my writing to flourish and become, in my opinion, more full bodied. Just as a tree can’t grow in a dark closet without the contribution of sun, rain, wind, and air, I have found my writing is the same.

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The Black Moment

Newborn baby = no sleep at night
1.5 year old girl = Lap and hip is often occupied.
3 year old boy = High levels of aerobic exercise during the day
4.5 year old boy = Twenty questions every five minutes about nothing
Suffice it to say, I am very tired and am not operating at 100% brain functionality. Being a mother of three was a lot of work. Being a mother of four is back breaking – not that it doesn’t have some rewards. A little smile, an unsolicited kiss or a pearl of toddler wisdom will get me every time.
However, rolling from one kiddie crisis to another has left me emotionally broke.
The proof was in the pudding when today I started crying at the point the beast appears to die in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” I’ve seen this film like fifty times and I know it has a happy ending. But my tear ducts just seem to have a very light trigger these days. My three year old was watching the film this morning and to my horror I felt myself welling up when Belle whispered, “Don’t leave me. I love you.” Not to say, the scene wasn’t very well done.
Writers call this point in the story “The Black Moment.” You know, the point where all seems lost but of course it’s not… it’s just the beginning of a fantastic resolution. The black moment puts your heroine in the darkest possible cave you can find and then forces her to find a way to crawl out of it. There’s a lot of different theories on where in your story, “the black moment” should occur but no hard and fast rules. You can also have more than one black moment if you like. I personally, am in favour of multiple “black moments”.
Maybe that’s why I have so many kids. Ha ha! Every day seems to have extreme challenges. But in writing and motherhood it seems to be the way of things.
Have a great week!

The Cover for “The Girl in the Hard Hat”

I’m very excited to share the cover Random House came up with for, “The Girl in the Hard Hat” with my readers this week. I really love the model they’ve chosen to portray Wendy. This is exactly how I pictured her. Blonde, gorgeous, fresh faced and confident – definitely a decent match for my cheeky as hell, hero.
As this novel follows on from “The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots”, Random have gone with a similar layout and style but have used a purple colouring to differentiate it. Maybe I’m biased. But I think it looks very nice.
It’s always fun to see the cover for the first time. In my opinion, it turns what was previously a manuscript into a real book that’s going to be published. As an author, I certainly get a buzz out of it.

Hope you like it too.

50 Books You Can’t Put Down

September sees the launch of the GET READING CAMPAIGN 2012. This is Australia’s largest celebration of books and reading for the year. As part of the campaign, 50 books are chosen for the official “Get Reading Guide” which you can download here http://www.getreading.com.au/pick-up-your-free-guide-now/ or pick up a hard copy at your nearest bookstore or library. The guide showcases, 50 books you won’t be able to put down once you start reading them. I am proud to say, The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots is one of these books!
Especially for the campaign, Random House has re-released, The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots in mass paper back format and included as a teaser the first chapter of The Girl in the Hard Hat in the back. They sent me a box of this lovely new size in the mail and I love the new packaging. To celebrate, the campaign and the new format, I’m giving away a free copy of The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots in it’s smart new size. To go in the draw to win, simply leave a comment after this blog. Winner announced in seven days.
In the meantime, go pick up a Get Reading campaign guide. There are forty nine other titles in there also worth reading. So let’s get started!