Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Something... Is it one of your pet peeves?

I was just writing an article about 'polishing your manuscript' for Fantasy Faction and realised once I posted it away that I hadn't included 'SOMETHING' in my list of words to avoid.
Is it on your list too?
Back in the day,  before my eyes were opened by a note in a critique, I thought there was nothing wrong with something.
Now though, the sight of 'something' in a manuscript makes me a little judgmental. Is the author being lazy, are they keeping something from their readers, or do they really think that a vague reference is enough to keep a reader interested?
Consider if you will,
'Something made him turn...'
REALLY? What? Why isn't the author sharing their information with us? Don't they think we care? What made him turn?
Was it;
"The hint of her perfume made him turn.."
Isn't that more interesting?
"The sound of the safety switch being released on a gun, made him turn...'
You get the drift.
I could go on... have you come across 'something' that made you wonder too?
So, there might be a good reason for using 'something' sometime, but personally I think it is worth considering as one of those pesky words to be avoided. Don't you reckon?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Unstoppable Alien Invasion

Jacqueline George

They are coming, they are coming! It’s time to lock up your daughters, take to the hills, emigrate, or do whatever you normally do in the face of an unstoppable alien invasion.
Think RABBITS, Australia. Think CANE TOADS. Our way of life is being threatened by this imported menace, and no-one is doing anything about it. Your friendly, neighbourhood book chain store is either teetering on the brink of collapse, or has collapsed already. What are we going to do?
Well, firstly, we have to accept that the ebook is here to stay. Amazon, the biggest book retailer ever in the world, is already selling far more ebooks than print books. Barnes & Noble say they are currently selling two ebooks for every paper one.
Established publishers are in two minds. Although they will not admit it, they love ebooks. They make far more profit from an ebook, which is only a computer file and involves zero expenditure on ‘real’ printing and stocking. All of their production budget can go on expensive business lunches, advertising and (of course) expensive business dinners. Their waist lines will be expanding with their ebook sales. (Probably follows that you should not let a skinny publisher owe you money – he may not be long for this world.)
But, you are muttering, I love the feel of real books. The smell of them, and the whole experience of going to bed with a good, real book. Will I still be able to buy them?
That might depend on how rich you are, and also on what you like to read. If you are a Mills & Boon fan, your favourite tipple is probably safe – for now. They have an established market and can print so many copies that the extra cost is low. If you are looking for something less mass-market – the news is not good. If I write a popular novel on an Australian topic, it will be in the shops at $30 per copy. That high price is driven by the retailer, the distributor and the printer. I take about a dollar of that thirty, on a good day, with the wind behind me.
On the other hand, when I sell the same thing as an ebook, my up-front costs are minimal and I might get anywhere between 25% of the retail price (if a publisher is involved) and 75% if I publish it through my own imprint Q~Press. That means I can serve it up to you for $3 instead of $30 – and still make twice as much in my pocket.
That simple economic fact has the industry scratching its head and wondering where their next big dinner is going to come from.

©Jacqueline George All rights reserved.

Jacqueline George lives in Cooktown, Far North Queensland. She enjoys the relaxed lifestyle there, and finds plenty of time write books, some of which are far too naughty for her own good.
Jacqueline's home page

Monday, March 28, 2011

Theme ideas for our blog...

To keep our blog interesting we need to post articles. I know I open my blog and look at it and wonder what to post. After thinking about it for a while I close my blog and get on with my life.
Nothing posted.
No idea of what I want to share.
Rather than let that happen here, I wonder if we had a topic to pursue and discuss, if we would all find it easier to share our thoughts.

If we could all post once a month, perhaps. Nothing too fancy, just a mention of what happened in our writing life that month.. Sales, wip progress, some promotion success or failure... or just something that happened that might reflect on an aussie author's work or life....
Everyone is free to post as much or as little as they like... but if possible, even one post a month from everyone would help get us started.

To that end I wondered about choosing a theme for each month. For example if we think about April, autumn weather and the approach of winter... what springs to mind.  Seasons dictate a lot of things about our lives and here in Oz our timing is opposite to the majority of our author peers.
So for our first theme what about
April... How the Aussie seasons effect our  writing.
I know the cooler weather makes me want to settle down and write about the cool breeze, the birds feeding on the ripe berries, the gradual shortening of the days, the general relief from the heat. What goes on around me is reflected in my writing. Is it the same with you?

Anyhow.. ideas for topics:
Do your characters control you.. or do you control your characters?
Computer Catastrophies...
What is the best/worst thing that has happened since computers took over our lives.
Writing before and after computers? Longhand v Texting? The changing face of English?

Our publisher has just done one theme of having the authors Favourite scene posted...
and another theme of How did your hero/heroine get into this mess...

Please make a suggestion and mention if you have a certain month you would like that theme in place.
Then it could tie in with up coming releases or promotion ideas...
What do you think?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Substitute Bride

You Write On have republished my Regency, Substitute Bride.
When Miss Emma Napier helps her friend, Abby, escape a forced marriage, she didn't expect to meet the dashing Lord Desborough at the disreputable inn which she and Abby were forced to stop off at.
His lordship is looking for a wife so he can gain control of his inheritance. Emma seems the perfect choice.
A gay and frothy Regency packed with lively incidents and dramatic situations.
Thanks to Wendy Laharnar for designing the delightful cover.

Aussie Authors! So What's New? Come and Tell Us.

Come and have a chat with those who are as excited about your success as you are.

Here at Sneak a Peek we are keen to hear your current news about your publishing success.  Have you found a fabulous promoting venue? Do you have a new cover? Has your book been translated for publication in another country.
Or what's happening with your work in progress? Are your characters behaving outrageously? Do they give you grief?

My work in progess is the 2nd draft of a children's story I wrote years ago. It gives me goosebumps when I read it and still brings a tear to my eye. BUT it is all Tell. It reads as if I'm relating a story to a group of children at my feet. So, I'm in the process of changing this to Show, to draw the child reader into the story so they can experience life on the alien planet, first hand, with the characters I love. 

Why is it so easy to be satisfied with what is already down on paper? I know. It's because I have to think. Writing for most writers is fun, exciting, engaging; an escape. For me it is hard work. I sweat blood over every scene, especially the ones I know must be re written - and that's all of them, many times over.

Is there an easier way?

If you are an Aussie Author and published, and would like to join this group just let us know in the comments, here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Inspired by other people's creativity

On Friday night I attended a live performance of the Sydney rock band Rockfest. They sound so good and they all have so much energy. They had the dance floor rockin'. In entertainment value they excelled. It's obvious they put a lot of effort into their rehearsals and gave 110%. The next day some of their enthusiasm for what they love (music) must have rubbed off on me because I opened an old short story that I've been meaning to edit for a long time. Now I'm getting stuck into it and really enjoying this familiar 'alien' world. I'm back doing something I love, writing.
Thank you Rockfest for great entertainment and for lifting me out of my apathy. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Friendly Old Editor

Do you remember the friendly old editor, the guiding light of all the best publishing houses? The person who took a writer’s manuscript, sat beside him or her, and ticked off all the places a text could be improved? We owe a great debt to these people who, over a cup of coffee (with a large cognac on the side), laboured to turn good books into great ones.

Well, you might remember him, but I don’t. I don't have an editor. I’ve had my books read by amateur editors, paid by my American publisher, who asked the most shockingly ignorant questions, and tried to shoe-horn every story into a Walt Disney template. I even paid a grasping lady to ‘edit’ my first book – what a waste of money that was!

Mind you, to be fair, I did learn one thing from her. The book was an early draft of Where Gold Lies, a re-telling of Treasure Island. As a throwaway comment, she said ‘The language is a little difficult for children.’

Children? What was she talking about? I read books like that – why couldn’t she enjoy it too? I had not even thought about my potential readers. Now I imagine they are looking over my shoulder all the time. I try to imagine what effect my sentences have on them.

Another good thing came from the wretched woman’s attempt at editing. I resolved that no-one would ever, not in a million years and periods of intense cold in the lower reaches of Hell, no-one would ever mistake one of my books for kids’ literature. The next book was Foreign Affairs, a collection of stories that are so naughty not even Parental Guidance would help.

So what to do about editing in 2011? I could hire an editor. Unfortunately, editors need to be paid up front, and they want a decent return for their work. Who wouldn’t? An established editor is not going to work on a 100,000 word novel for less than $1000. Fine if you are football player, disgraced politician (or his mistress) or similar leading literary figure. You have a guaranteed market and can afford the luxuries of life. If you are a small time author – like me - $1000 is a big dent in the budget. Much too big a risk.

The solution? My next release has been read by a panel of friends and acquaintances. They have done some copy-editing, but mostly they have opinions on the characters, plot, settings, language that are worth listening to. I set up a private page on my website so they can read each other’s comments.

It’s a fantastic idea, and it gets better. I recently invited comments from Cairns Tropical Writers on the start of my WIP. I want to get started on the right foot, and everyone is invited to help. If you have a moment, look at and join in the discussion. I will be very grateful, because you are The Reader and your opinion counts.

©Jacqueline George All rights reserved.

Jacqueline George lives in Cooktown, Far North Queensland. She enjoys the relaxed lifestyle there, and finds plenty of time write books, some of which are far too naughty for her own good.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Welcome to Barry Simiana...

Barry writes amazing speculative fiction. Won a place in 'Next Stop Hollywood' with his short story Gone to Mum's. A great Australian story. Barry captures the Australian culture and landscape while weaving a captivating story that rings with authenticity and genuine emotion. IMO the most powerful writing example in the anthology!
Love the story Baz!
Now waiting for his next release.. A Touch of Evil.
When not looking after his young family Barry is the fearless leader of Coffs Harbour's Nitewriters, a group of dedicated writers looking to get published.
Welcome to Aussie Authors at Work Barry... hope you are feeling better.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mics and Cameras too.

Speaking of frustrating day . . .
I had the technician check that I had installed my old but not used camera correctly. I don't know how he managed to get the moving picture of me on the screen, but yes, it works fine and all the pages that came up telling me the wizz bang things I could do now. But it didn't have a mic.

To save any more hassles I said, 'Uninstall it and I'll take the nice new one with the mic.' He installed that and I saw a moving picture of me on the screen.
At home I took a 'snap shot' and found it later saved in My Pictures. I looked for the wizz bang pages but there aren't any. I looked in Menu. The booklet said under File I'd find Save and some other features. All I found was 'Exit'.  In another folder I can 'Capture' and 'Stop Capture' but I can't find it anywhere and there's no sound.

After hours of fiddling with Movie Maker I found I could record my voice and save it to Movie Maker somehow. But that was accidental and despite the amount of smiling and moving around in front of the camera, no picture appeared, anywhere.

Skype! I am barred because my user name (I tried many and finally settled for my full name) and my birthday are both invalid. duh. I was close to putting two feet through the monitor, but realized just in time that it wasn't the screen's fault.

Tried to set up a website, but my new username and passowrd didn't match. Urgh. Happily, around 2:30am I has some success and the website is ready for content. Will leave the Home page till last, but on the other two 'Tips' and 'Books' I have placed a few pics and  some text. Not really ready for visitors yet.

Off to hear my son and grandson in their band at a Yatch Club nearby. so must rush.

I take my hat off to all the computer wizzards who follow the simple instructions and find they work.

At work fighting the microphone...

You know things aren't working when your computer gives you the 'blue screen of death'. Those fatal error messages don't help when you have spent the last hour on your knees with a torch looking for alternate holes to stick your microphone thingy into. The torch of course dulled. The batteries faded. The multiple choice for inserting the jack kept me crawling back and forth, testing and cursing.
I suppose it was lucky the cursing WASN'T heard... although if the mic had worked I wouldn't have been tempted to curse. hmm.
Now of course after trying a few mics, will the camera that DID work STILL work?
The microphones WORK but they are very very quiet. Great if the grandkids are trying to sleep. Not so good for actually hearing. All the settings for Volume I have set to MAX.. still I only get whispers. ARGH...
This weekend my skype will be inactive. I guess it will be back to the old land line to talk to family.
Today was supposed to be a writing day, rather than a crawl around losing my temper day. Still... there has to be something good come out of it.
Perhaps removing the accumulated dust from the computer is a good thing.
That the 'blue screen of death' became the wonderful windows logo, without too much effort is a good thing too.
I think it is time for a cuppa and THEN I can write.
Hope you have had a more productive day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BOOKS SEVEN and EIGHT covers....

Books seven and eight in the Chronicles of Caleath... to be released in March 2012 and April 2012...
Thanks to the cover artist at Museitup... Delilah Stephens for making magic happen.
My thanks also go to those people who have kept pushing me to find a publisher and to the publisher who found me. To Matt for having the patience, faith and enthusiasm to find locations, armour and outfits to suit the hero for the covers, To Rachel for her talent and skills with the camera and for Lisa for her ideas, her organisation and her unfailing confidence in the Chronicles.
I have self published twice and both times the covers were a huge disappointment. There was a time when another publisher contracted the series but the covers offered then were distressing. One of many reasons for shelving the idea of publishing.
It wasn't till Wendy Laharnar told me Lea Schizas was publishing now, that I considered dusting off the Chronicles and submitting them to Museitup. So my thanks go to Wendy too!! and Lea for taking the series on.
I think that's enough ranting and raving on my part. Thanks for bearing with me. Seeing your covers come to life is a huge part of the publishing process. A postitive and tangible place to begin promoting in earnest.
Look out world.. the Chronicles of Caleath are coming....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Welcome Jacqueline George -author.

A big Aussie Authors welcome to Queenslander, Jacqueline George. From her post of introduction, it is clear she has a wonderful sense of humour and is a determined and dedicated writer. I know she is a proflic author of erotic romance, but her current work in progress is 'more polite'. :) Great to have you in this group, Jacqueline.

They keep dying on me...

Jacqueline George

A long time ago, I was an author in search of an agent or publisher. Only a writer can truly appreciate the morbid sound of that. Never mind, I had a historical novel on offer and a book of very naughty short stories. So I supported the local Post Office single-handed as I sent out letter after letter. Mostly unanswered, but the few answers I got hinted at my effrontery in approaching the upper tiers of the book trade. Who did I think I was?
And then a break-through. I remember it so well, sitting at my computer and receiving an invitation to submit a manuscript to a London agent. Then I waited, and waited. Eventually, I sent a timid email and was told the agent in question had gone into hospital and was not expected to return to his desk – ever.
Then another break. An American epublisher (they were much rarer then) liked the naughty stories, and would publish them! In two months time! I had made it at last. Six weeks later I received a general email saying the publisher had just been diagnosed with lung cancer and had 6-8 weeks to live. Obviously, publishing my book was not uppermost in his mind.
His wife passed the company on, and my book was released 6 months later and did well. By then I had a second book ready, a tale set in Central Europe (The Prince and the Nun). The new literary editor wrote it was the best thing she had read in decades. She dropped off her perch soon after and never saw it published.
We moved to Australia shortly afterwards, and I decided I really needed to be part of the proper publishing industry. I started sending out letters to Australian agents. Nothing had changed, except the level of condescension. Either that, or my worm-like status had declined even further.
Eventually, a kindly gentleman actually asked for a manuscript! Wow! Home at last. My next communication was not exactly from him. It was from the lady tasked with clearing the effects of the late Mr W...
Well, a plague on them all. As far as I am concerned, the whole tribe of publishers and agents (especially the Australian variety) can go and sit on their ivory towers – and I do mean on. If they are not going to stay alive long enough to publish my books, I will bloody well do it myself.
I can’t say it’s easy, but I now have a little business called Q~Press devoted to publishing MY books. The Q~Press Literary Editor (me) accepts everything I write and compliments me on its amazing quality. I even offer to help other authors with the mysteries of ISBNs, and bar-codes, and formatting etc. In fact everything except publishing. They can use my experience and even the Q~Press name, but when it comes to publishing, they are on their own. I don’t intend letting go of my perch anytime soon.

©Jacqueline George All rights reserved.

Jacqueline George lives in Cooktown, Far North Queensland. She enjoys the relaxed lifestyle there, and finds plenty of time write books, some of which are far too naughty for her own good.

More Covers...

THREE more covers. You can see why I want to share them. This is an exciting time. So grateful to Delilah, Rachel, Matt and Lisa for their help in creating these wonderful images. Now, as long as the books themselves are as good as the covers!!! ;) We'll have to wait till Sept to see.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan's earthquake and Tsunami

I think I speak for all of us here at Aussie Authors at Work...dreadful scenes and heartbreaking news has again shocked and dismayed us. Our hearts and prayers go out to the thousands effected by the frightening and devastating catastrophy. For those with family and friends lost in the horror, our deepest sympathy. For those waiting to hear...prayers and hope.

We have only just caught our breath after reeling from the New Zealand tragedy. Australia is still cleaning up after the floods and cyclone. Our peaceful world seems to be in turmoil. All we can do is offer our help and love while watching in disbelief and dispair.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I have a cover ...

It is exciting to get a contract... it is exciting to know which editor you are going to be working with... but all the time you wonder what your cover will look like.
Well... today I have a cover for Exiled: Autumn's Peril... and I am even more excited now! Roll on September...when the book will be released...
I have to thank Delilah for her creative skills and Matt,  Rachel and Lisa for making these covers possible. Matt for 'becoming' Caleath, Rachel for taking the photos and Lisa for all the hard work of organising the weekend.
Before the day is over Delilah has forwarded the second cover in the series. Exiled: Winter's Curse. I apologise for being over excited, but I have to share...

 Thanks for suffering through... there will be more...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Some things about me.

Ages ago I was asked to participate in a Meme going around and I thought I'd share it here as a kind of  'get to know me' thing. It's theme is the seven deadly sins.

Well, I suppose like all mothers I'm proud of my children. Is that boring? Probably. But that's the truth. Jack, Josh and Eleanor are three beautiful, generous, trustworthy and smart kids. I'm very proud to be their Mum and I think my hubby and I have done a good job with them so far. I'm trying to turn my young men out to be some woman's hero, and I aim that Ellie has the strength of personality to pick her own hero that never lets her down, or he'll have me to answer to!
I'm also have pride in my work, my writing is an extension of who I am and if other people enjoy my books then that fills me with pride.

Envy: I don't envy anyone, expect those who can eat anything they want and don't put on an ounce of weight, or those who never have bad hair days, or those who can resist chocolate. I'll stop now.

Gluttony: Chocolate. Enough said.

Lust: Richard Armitage, Gerald Butler. Say, being stranded on a desert island with them - one at a time, of course, as I must give each of them the individual attention they deserve.

Anger: I get ticked off at inconsiderate people. And those who think it's okay to be selfish.

Greed: Chocolate. Enough already!

Sloth: I hate, HATE cleaning shower cubicles. I'd rather clean a dozen toilets than one shower. Ironing - to survive it I must have a good movie on the dvd player. Dusting is a tedious chore that I try to ignore until one of the kids writes their name in it. Really, as teenagers you'd think they'd be over that stunt.

Okay I'm done. rather pathetic isn't it? LOL

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Welcome Tasmanian Fantasy author, Prue Batten.

So glad to have you here, Prue.
Congratulations on the success of your novels The Stumpwork Robe and The Last Stitch.
It's amazing how innovative you are, and how fortunate your were to find Pat Sweet and the minature book artists of America who are creating exquisite items from your fantasy world of Eirie.
The gown - from which comes your title - at Mesmered's Blog is unbelievably stunning. How lucky are you that it will become a reality through Pat's costume-designer talent. We all look forward to hearing how your 3rd book and this beautiful robe are progessing.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ferryman - Prologue

I'd like to offer you a sneak peek at the opening of Ferryman. I've had articles on wild life published in the Australian glossy magazine BirdKeeper, I've had short stories in a number of anthologies, and I've had a junior fiction book called Gus, Sore Feet - No Collar published in Perth. But, Ferryman is the first of my crime fiction novels to be published and as such holds a special place in my life.


Carole Sutton


Cornwall, England 1977

Stanley Higgins closed the hatch, turned off the cabin lights and fumbled his way towards his bunk. He patted his wife’s behind, as he passed her shadowy figure encased in a sleeping bag.

“Night love.” He zipped his own bag up, and let out a long, satisfied sigh. About to give himself up to the boat’s cradle-like rocking Mave’s voice startled him.

“Stan. What’s that noise?”

“What noise?” He raised his head, but could hear nothing more than the gentle, gurgling sounds of the night.

“That. Sounds like something bumping.”

“It’s just the anchor chain jerking. Go back to sleep, love.” Stan closed his eyes.

“There it is again! You’ll have to go and look. What if we’re dragging the anchor, we’ll end up on the mud flats. Or, what if it’s Beaky?”

“Beaky?” His eyes snapped open. He recalled the story in the Falmouth Packet about a wild dolphin that was hanging around the Fal Estuary. He’d become famous for playing with swimmers in the shallows, which was fine, but when it came to pranks like moving small anchors, well, that was something else again. Stan sighed and unzipped his bag. In bare feet, he edged towards the shelf where he kept the torch.

“Stay here. I’ll go and look.” He lifted out the washboards and climbed outside. A brilliant moon lit up the night and the water appeared as a moving mass of black and silver. He grasped the handholds on the cabin roof and made his way forward to check the anchor. The deck bobbed in the choppy conditions. Wind funnelled in through his pyjamas and made him wish he’d stopped for a jacket. He heard Mave step into the cockpit.

“You didn’t have to come, love. It’s cold out here.”

“I want to see what’s making that noise.”

Stan reached the foredeck and shone his torch into the water. The boat had pulled back on the anchor against the outgoing tide, but the stronger wind blowing at right angles to the river had pushed the stern out across the flow.

He turned to Mave. “See, nothing here, it’s a rough patch, that’s all.”

“Look there! Isn’t that Beaky, that white bit?”

Stan held the torch steady. A shape like the long white belly of a huge fish appeared in its beam. Caught halfway along the leeward side of the boat, it gently bumped the hull, bounced off and then pushed by the tide came on again, slowly bumping its way towards the stern.

He snapped his fingers. “Gimme the boathook.”

Mave unclipped the pole from the deck and handed it to him. Stan stabbed the water and the pale shape slewed sideways. He caught his breath as in the narrow shaft of brilliance a head broke the surface. Long tendrils of chestnut coloured hair spread like a fine seaweed around the unmistakable slope of shoulders.

“Oh, shit. Take this. Hold it still.” He handed Mave the torch and using the pole, he thrust its hook behind the neck and pulled his catch into the side of the boat.

“Get me a rope – starboard locker. Quick, before I lose it.”

Mave scuttled down the deck. When she returned with the rope, he passed her the boathook. “Hold this.” His fingers quickly formed a noose in the end of the rope. He lay flat on the side deck, and with one arm bent around a stanchion, he stretched the other down towards the body until, despite Mave’s wavering torchlight, he managed to loop the rope over the head.

“Keep the light still,” he shouted, and drew the rope taut. The body rolled and revealed a white swollen face of a woman. Naked, the form appeared to dance in the current. The water movement lifted her enough to show him a pair of hands held as though in prayer across her chest. “Oh, shit.”

Shards of light reflected off the shiny steel handcuffs that bound her wrists together.


Hi Everyone ~ Nice to be here!

I'm a writer of historical fiction as well as contemporary romantic suspense and young adult stories.  I live in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales with my DH, a retired lawyer and our bossy cat. The wildlife is pretty demanding too! I just read a great book by another Aussie, Anne Gracie, whom I'm sure you're all familiar with. I thought I'd post my reiew here.

The Perfect Rake
Fleeing the harsh guardianship of her grandfather, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters' chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke... But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.

Anne Grace writes with great wit and charm. She handles some serious issues in this book with a light touch. It gives pause to the way women were treated back then and how powerless they were. I thought the characters were beautifully drawn, the grandfather particularly as someone most likely suffering dementia. I can get a bit bored with a book if it focuses too much on the conflict between the two main characters without a good storyline. This had a good plot, however, which kept me interested. I loved it that Prudence, the heroine of this book, wasn't seen as a great beauty through anyone's eyes except her lover's. Rose-coloured glasses? Perhaps. But what Gracie did so well is show the rake, Gideon's tender side as he falls in love and not just into lust, and becomes a far better man because of it.

Creating a Crisis...

Part of writing any fiction is balancing the crisis, conflict and resolution in each scene/chapter/story. Without a problem to solve, someone getting in the way or a dilemma to overcome there really is no story to tell. The skills and insights the hero/heroine learn while reaching a satisfactory resolution help flesh out the character and show them grow through adversity.

Part of promotion is participating on our publisher's blog. A few weeks ago the topic of discussion was, 'how did your hero/heroine get into this mess'. We hoped to captivate readers and awake interest by showing the crisis we created for our heroes.

To that end... from the epic fantasy series The Chronicles of Caleath: Book ONE EXILED: Autumn's Peril...

How did Caleath get in this mess?
Hi, my name is Gwilt and I am one of Caleath’s traveling companions. I don’t recommend trying to pin him down for an interview, but I can recall a night when he seemed less reticent than usual. I too wanted to know all I could about this stranger to our shores. So I risked asking him some questions concerning his journey. Here is my version of what transpired.
Curious, I asked… 

“Where are you going? How is it that you speak our language? Chesney told me you speak all dialects?”

“What is this? Question time?” Caleath sipped the stew I offered. “What did the smith tell you?”

I was grateful light from the lantern left my face in shadow, as Caleath seemed to search for signs of derision. “Mostly he talked about the sinking of the Albatross. Why did you risk falling off the edge of the World? To get here? Why here? There is nothing for you here but more grief. Why do these assassins hunt you?” I paused to gather my breath.

“For starters, there is no edge of the world. This is a planet like so many others, a sphere.” Exasperation seemed to fade as Caleath continued. As though conversation could keep despair at bay, Caleath’s tone mellowed. His attention seemed to focus on appeasing my curiosity. “You can’t fall off this world. That would be too easy.”

“You say?” I scoffed in disbelief. “How do you know?”

“Balls of a hairy goat, I come from another world. Do you think I stepped through a portal? Every star in the sky has the potential to host another world.”

“Why are you here? Did you anger your god?” I probed deeper while my luck held. I could ponder his strange answers later.

“What I did was even worse than that. I defeated a powerful madman in a contest of skills. It was a game. Somehow my success enraged this lunatic into wanting to destroy me.” Caleath paused, as if reluctant to continue. “Death would have been too easy. Ephraim did more than simply destroy me. He has made my life a living hell. Now I find he sold viewing rights to all and sundry. Satellites monitor my every move. You don’t need to understand how, to know it isn’t my idea of fair play.” Caleath pushed away his half-finished stew, bridged his hands and rested his forehead against them before he took a steadying breath.

“I’m sorry,” I sensed my companion’s despair seeped through cracks in an iron will. “You needn’t speak of this if it causes you grief.”

“If it concerned me alone,” Caleath delivered his words as though anger chiseled each syllable from flint. “I could bear the pain. I will seek my revenge, rest assured.” He took a shuddering breath and released it slowly. “It is the others who were innocent and yet have become involved for whom I feel the most anger. Rybolt’s exile was wrong. To die in the name of entertainment is wrong. There have been others, there are still others out there, driven to seek and kill me.”

“All because of a game?”

“It was quite a contest.” Caleath met my disbelief with sadness. A muscle beneath his eye twitched, pulling at the corner of his mouth. Grief leached color from blue eyes and for a moment I looked into gray depths, as tormented as a storm-ridden ocean. I sensed ghosts clamoring beyond the walls of the cottage.

“What sort of a contest?” I recognized a cathartic need in my companion.

“The Game?” Caleath almost smiled. “It was awesome. Virtual realities beyond your wildest imagination uploaded via our implants. Rybolt and I lived for the time we spent in Virtual Reality. It was your basic game of skills. We took on artificial characters and played to the death. Kill or be killed.” Caleath seemed unaware of the trouble I had trying to follow his jargon. For a few moments, his expression relaxed as if remembering his past helped him banish haunting spirits. I listened in awe. “All our opponents were virtual images. No one ever took hurt from the game. No contestant ever shed blood.
“For his plans to succeed Ephraim needed to find an obscure world like yours. One he found in my files. I trained as a surveyor of viable planets. That’s how I know your manner of speech, your landforms, cultures, history. I filed information gathered on hundreds of planets and stored the data on a chip in my head. Ephraim just needed a world he knew would not warrant the Federation’s interest. Gods, one from which escape would be almost impossible.” His voice trailed away.

“Escape?” I prompted.

“That’s right.” Caleath looked into my eyes, as if discovering new energy with a memory of hope. “I am going to get off this rock. I will see Ephraim pay for his evil.”


“To start, I intend staying alive.” Caleath leaned forward. Only a runnel of sweat coursing down his cheek betrayed his angst. Even the ghosts whispering around the hut quieted as Caleath’s conviction gave him strength. “I have a beacon I must find. As long as Ephraim doesn’t know of its location, I have a chance of catching a ride. It will enable me to leave this place. Once free from here, I can work to see Ephraim face justice. If necessary I am prepared to kill him myself and damn Federation rules.”

“I will help you.” My enthusiasm seemed to shock Caleath. “Even if I don’t understand all you tell me.”

“It’s not your fight, Gwilt.” Caleath’s confident attitude appeared to evaporate. His voice grated as if choked by regret. Eyes narrowed and color drained from gleaming cheeks. Beyond the walls, scurrilous ghosts wailed in the cover of encroaching night. “I have said too much.”

“You carry too much grief with you. It weighs on your soul. It is your guilt that allows the dead to plague you.”

“Don’t kid yourself,” Caleath replied. “No, I am not so compassionate. The ghouls are a gift. I told you already, from the lords of dark sorcery.”

“I can feel them, sense their loathing. They hold you responsible for their deaths.”

“They should be free to cross over. The dread lords have bound them to my life force. Every night they come. They would drive me mad but insanity has been out of my reach. The nanobots prevent one from losing one’s mind.”

“And now?”

“Now the nanobots have been destroyed I am afraid I will not cope with their company.”

My hair stood on end when Cyd howled to the moon. As if rejoicing in Caleath’s admission of weakness the spirits circling beyond the sanctuary of light railed with renewed vigor. I recognized genuine gratitude in Caleath’s gaze when he made eye contact.

“That’s why I asked you to stay.”

“I will stay with you. The dead do not frighten me.” I lifted my chin and brandished the wooden spoon. Vengeful ghosts would not touch me.

Caleath’s eyes glinted blue. He shared a wry smile. “You are a braver man than I am, Gwilt.”

“I doubt that!” I changed the subject. “You sailed a ship off the edge of the world.”

“I didn’t think she would sink!” Caleath shook his head. “I might have reconsidered my actions if I had known that.”

Somehow I don’t think he would have altered his actions. When September comes you too can read his story and decide for yourself.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Welcome Margaret Tanner

Our circle grows with the entrance of Muti award winning Aussie author Margaret Tanner, from Victoria. Her historical romances set on the battlefields of France and Belgium and in outback Australia capture a real sense of Australian history. I loved Frontier Wife and well understand why this novel won her the Readers' Favourite Award 2010, which took her to Las Vegas for the presentation banquet.
Great to have you aboard, Margaret.

Margaret Tanner reporting in

Hi Everyone,
I can't believe I discovered how to post so easily. I am usually a bit of a duffer when it comes to this type of technical stuff.  Anyway, here I am. Thrilled to be here.
I probably won't be very active for the next couple of weeks, moving house, and looking after hubby who has just had double by-pass surgery will keep me busy, but I will try to drop by as often as I can.
This is a wonderful idea.



Laurel Lamperd, yeah!

Lovely to have you join our elite group of Aussie Authors, Laurel. What a wide range of writing your books cover and I love them all. Ancient history, Regency romance,  Mystery, Australian family saga, Children's adventure, short story collections and poetry. I can't wait to see Substitute Bride republished with its new cover. Welcome!
Laurel lives in Western Australia.

Maggi Andersen, Hail and Welcome

Welcome to this growing group of Aussie Authors. I've been to your blog to read the excerpt from The Reluctant Marquess. You really drew me into the era and Charity's dilemma. The rakish Lord Robert tried hard to make me dislike him, but even in this one scene, I think I'm with Charity and quite like him, regardless. Having read your 'An Improper Lover' and loved it, I know this will be a gripping read.
Maggi is from NSW, too.

It's great to welcome Anne Whitfield

Lovely to have multi published Aussie author, Anne Whitfield, from NSW, join this Australian group. Anne is renowned for her historical romances.

Welcome Anne, looking forward to hearing about your soon to be released Victorian novel, The House of Women. I love the cover. I know this is going to be a fantastic read because I read your Broken Hero and can say from experience, you are a master storyteller.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Moving in

Hi Wendy,

I have got this far - so far!

Carole Sutton joins the group

Hi Carole,
Welcome. Already the author of three fascinating and highly original crime novels, two of which are set in stunning Cornwall, and well on the way to finishing your fourth, we look forward to sharing your views as an Aussie writer from Western Australia. Your Ferryman is one of my favourite crime novels. I especially loved the yatch race up the English channel and how the storm changed the course of many lives. Perhaps you could tease us with an excerpt. :) Pretty please.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Congratulations to Wendy on another Contract with Muse.

Today I heard that Wendy's latest submission to Museitup Publishing has been accepted.
Good on you Wendy! Great work.
With two books coming out and having discovered who you will be working with on editing the Unhewn Stone, life will be busy. Enjoy!