Thinking About Conference

As a writer, even if you’re published, it’s always important to continue to develop and evolve. Explore new and exciting ways of improving your craft. For many, it’s as simple as picking up a “How to” book, reading the newsletter from the writers association you’re a member of or talking to your critique partner. For me, the most enjoyable way to be inspired is to attend a conference. This year, there have been three on my mind.

The first which takes place this weekend is the Australian Romance Readers Convention. I would have loved to have attended. Sadly, with four kids, it takes a lot of organizational skill to get out the door… especially all the way to Brisbane. This year, “The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots” has been nominated under the category of FAVOURITE CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE for an ARRA award. The winners will be announced at the convention.

My next possible conference choice is the RWA Conference. This year it’s in Perth for the first time. I’m very excited and am definitely going. This conference is always fun. This year, I’m also part of the program. I’ll be on a panel with some other Random House authors talking “Life after Publication.” If you’re interested in writing, no matter the genre, I definitely recommend this as a “must attend” event.

My last conference choice is Genre Con 2013. This conference is in Queensland which is a little harder for me to get to but I have till October to sort myself out. And I am definitely considering it! I’ve never been to this conference before but have received good reviews. It’ll be nice to try something new.

Okay… now that I’ve day dreamed about how to improve my writing, I better actually do some!


This Weeks Adventures

At the lecturn at Fremantle library

At the lecturn at Fremantle library

The last five days have been pretty fun. I’ve done three library talks and one book signing. It’s been great fun chatting to readers about my books and getting such heart warming feedback. I thought this week on the blog, I’d just put up a few photos from my adventures. After all, isn’t a picture worth a thousand words? By my calculations, this blog has a word count of 7000! That’s more than my weekly writing output. Too good! Maybe I should do this more often. Enjoy.

Fremantle Library next to my Dymocks stand.

Fremantle Library next to my Dymocks stand.

Book signing in Hay St
Book signing in Hay St

With Pattie, Dymocks salesperson, at Scarborough Library

With Pattie, Dymocks salesperson, at Scarborough Library

Don't you just love getting "Thank you" gifts. Definitely a winner. They some how found out both my vices.

Don’t you just love getting “Thank you” gifts. Definitely a winner. They some how found out both my vices.

With my audience at Scarborough Library

With my audience at Scarborough Library

Signing books and chatting to readers at Scarborough Library

Signing books and chatting to readers at Scarborough Library

Loretta’s Pen Pals

Many people hold the view that writers work in isolation, that it’s a lonely business, solitary and quiet. Not true. At least, not for me. I would probably chat to other writers, my publisher, my agent or my readers on a daily basis. Maybe it’s the phenomenon of social media or the convenience of emails but networking, next to writing, is one of the most time consuming things I do when I’m on the computer. In fact, I have to physically stop myself or set a time limit for chatting with my friends, swapping industry news and figuring out new and fun ways to promo.  This week on the blog, I’m going to allow my readers to take a peek into my letter box.  My guest is Pamela Cook, author of the great read, Blackwattle Lake.  Don’t you just love getting letters from friends. Here’s what she had to say….

Dear Loretta,

What have you been up to lately? I’ve just returned from a wonderful month on the south coast of NSW where we have a small property. After all the excitement of being published in December it was great to get away and relax, spend some time with the family and clear my head. I managed to do a little bit of writing, some reading and a lot of daydreaming. It’s nice to be home so I can get into a better writing routine now the kids are back at school but I’m already missing the trees, the peace and quiet and our horses.

On the writing front, it’s time for me to get back to work. I’ve had so many requests for a sequel to Blackwattle Lake so I’ve been working on an outline for a second and possibly a third book. I’ve also started a new stand alone rural fiction which has no firm plot as yet, but three women characters from different generations. It’s a family mystery/romance/historical fiction so I’m interested to see where the storyline takes me. I have no firm deadlines at the moment but would like to get another book completed this year.


The best thing I love about writing is the escape. I can drop my kids off at school, do a few bits of housework and then disappear into another place entirely once I start writing. I guess I was drawn to Rural Fiction because even though I live in the city I’m a country girl at heart. Writing lets me spend time in a place I’d rather be, even if it is only in my imagination. One of the other things I love about writing is meeting and networking with other writers who are always so supportive. And interesting!


I’m so excited because my debut novel Blackwattle Lake is currently on the shelves. I’ve been writing for 12 years and it’s wonderful to have my dream come true. I was picked up through the QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program which I highly recommend to any writer who has a manuscript they’re keen to get published.


The book is about Eve Nicholls who returns to her childhood home after inheriting it from her estranged mother. Coming back means Eve has to deal with people and issues from her past that she has been avoiding for the last twenty years. It’s a story of courage and forgiveness set on a fictional property in southern NSW.


My inspiration for this novel was an image that came to me one day of a woman standing at the gate of a property but the gate was locked. The property looked a lot like the one where we agist our horses. I thought I’d follow the “write what you know” advice and see what happened. As I spend a lot of time riding and being around horses they became a pivotal part of the story. I wrote the first draft as a Nano novel (50,000 words in a month) in November 2009 and revised it over the following year but the story itself came out almost fully formed in the first draft.


That’s it for now. Hope you’re having a great week and all is going well with your new book (which I’ve just bought by the way and can’t wait to read!)




Pam on veranda -58 BLACKWATTLE_LAKE_Cover




Twitter: @justwritetoday

My next FIFO Girl Book

060Yesterday was my eldest son’s first day of school. When I saw him kitted out in his school uniform for the first time, I nearly cried. I can’t believe how fast he’s grown. Where does the time go? The clock seems to speed up more and more every year.

Speaking of new beginnings, as Luke makes a start to the school term, I’m consolidating the first few chapters of my new novel.  Last week, I received a lovely email from my publisher. It began with two very short but effective sentences that every writer craves to hear, “This is great. Love it.”

I’d just sent her chapters one to three of my next book which I started writing in November last year.  I won’t send her chapters again till I’m half way through. We’ve already decided on a tentative title, which is “The Girl in the Yellow Vest.”

Yes, that’s right, I’m continuing to add to my FIFO Girls Series. This book will contain some characters from Boots and Hard Hat but others I’m afraid I will have to let go because I feel I’ve taken them as far as I can. Not telling you which ones. You’ll just have to wait and see.

Also, this next book will not be set on the Pilbara. I did receive quite a few requests for another Pilbara novel but after spending more than two years metaphorically speaking in that alternative reality, frankly, I’m ready to move on. I’m not saying there will never be another Pilbara novel… just that it’s not the next book or the one after that. “The Girl in the Yellow Vest” will be set in Queensland.

My next construction site is right next door to the Whitsundays Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. It’s the world’s largest coal export port, the Dalrymple Bay Terminal. Barnes Inc. has got another big job going on there and I’ve got a couple of keen heroines hoping to prove their mettle.

I’m really excited about this book and just like my beautiful son, I think I’ve made a great start.