Meet the Author: Elizabeth Foster

It’s my pleasure today to introduce Elizabeth Foster as part of the blog tour for her debut novel Esme’s Wish.

Elizabeth’s top tip for authors: Be bloody-minded about setting aside time to write. Shut off social media during your writing time – I have an app on my computer that blocks Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the usual culprits! Also read, read, read.

Elizabeth Foster hails from Queensland originally, but now lives in Sydney. She loves swimming in the ocean, walking, and playing the piano (badly). As a child, she was called Dizzy Lizzy-which she regarded as an insult all her life, until she started writing. Now, daydreaming is a central part of what she does. Reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds, and once she started writing stories, she couldn’t stop. She’s at her happiest when immersed in stories, plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters. Esme’s Wish is her first novel.








Why do you write? I write to explore new worlds and to experience new things. I am also intrigued with the alchemy of writing – the way a story can take on its own identity and sometimes feel like it is writing itself. It is a mysterious but fascinating process.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Anything which would enable me to express myself creatively. I dabbled in painting before I began writing so I would probably go back to that.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? My book fell between the cracks when it came to finding a publisher. It crossed between the age categories of middle grade and young adult, a no-no for children’s literature. Esme’s Wish eventually found a home at Odyssey Books, a small press who like stories a little out of the ordinary, like mine!

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations? I worked closely with Odyssey Books to bring the book to publication and also with Furea, a talented fantasy illustrator from Melbourne, who designed the cover.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I can set my own hours. I can write anywhere, although I prefer to write either at home or in familiar cafés. One of the other great aspects is the reading side of it. I always considered reading a luxury and put other things first, but now I make it a priority. I love that reading informs my writing – finally I’ve got permission to have my nose in a book!

—the worst? It can be hard to make time for the practicalities in life. Now that my book is published I have even more on my plate. But I wouldn’t trade my job for any other.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Be kinder to myself during those first baby steps of learning how to write, when self doubt can be crippling. Be more patient when obstacles come my way.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That learning to trust the writing process would be the antidote to a lot of my fear. That establishing a routine and sticking to it, no matter what, would get my book written. That reading is crucial to writing.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? I like any words that inspire a can-do attitude or help build grit. Writers need plenty of that! One of my favourites is by Lao Tzu.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”


Esme’s Wish

Elizabeth Foster



This was her last chance.

Her hand twisted high in the air.

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the actions of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

Book depository (free postage)

Printed copies are also available from:

JWFK website-

Odyssey Books   –









Simply like or comment on any website or social media post on the Books On Tour Blog Blitz for Esme’s Wish for your chance to WIN a signed copy of this remarkable book.

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Meet the Author: Shona Husk

Shona’s top tip for aspiring authors: Read your genre to see what is currently selling, but also read widely. Be a magpie and learn from other genres.

Shona Husk is the author of more than 40 books that range from sensual to scorching, and cover the contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romance genres. Her most recent series are Face the Music, Blood and Silver and Annwyn. As well as writing romance she also writes sci-fi for the Takamo Universe game and urban fantasy under anther pen name.

She lives in Western Australia and when she isn’t writing or reading she loves to cook, cross stitch and research places she’d one day like to travel.

You can find out more at



Why do you write?

I’ve always made up stories. They used to be just to entertain myself, but while I was on maternity leave I started writing them down. It was about three years before I got serious about wanting to be published. Even now I write the stories I’m interested in and that I want to read—I have to because I spend so long working on them.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

I’d probably still be a civil designer (designing roads, drainage and sewerage infill etc), and I’d probably have more free time for my other hobbies like cross stitch. However, I’d still be a reader and I’d still be making up stories to entertain myself.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published?

When I started writing it was time (I had babies) and a lack of knowledge. It was taking me 12-18 months to write a novel and I couldn’t learn about story arc and character development when it was taking so long. I switched to writing novellas (I was already reading novellas because I didn’t have the time for novels) and it all came together. The next novel I wrote then sold (the other two live in a cupboard).

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations?

I fill out a cover art form then the publishers take over. Edits are always a negotiation, but most of the time I agree, or I look to see what they are trying to achieve and find a way to do it if I don’t agree with their suggestion. Everyone is trying to make the best book they can. For my self-published books I generally get a premade cover. I have a few sites that I search and I find something suitable that conveys the mood and genre of the book.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life?

I love plotting and researching. Creating the characters and their world is so much fun.

—the worst?

The final page proofs. By the time I get them I’m sick of the book, yet at the same time it is the last chance to catch mistakes so there is pressure involved.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer?

I would pick a sub-genre and stick with it. While I write romance I write in several sub-genres (contemporary, paranormal, sci fi and fantasy). For branding I think sticking with one sub-genre would’ve been more effective.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author?

Getting published isn’t the hardest part nor is it the end. Staying published and marketing are hard work.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

Stories are all about conflict and the conflict has to keep escalating.



Servant of the Forest

Shona Husk

“Remember to be wild,” Orabella’s mother would say.
But her mother is dead and Orabella’s days are taken up with chores for the small estate that barely keeps her stepmother and stepsisters fed.
Then an invitation arrives. The King is throwing a three-day party for the Prince, a last attempt to find a cure for the curse that will claim him on his twentieth birthday. The witch who saves Gauthier will get his hand in marriage and will eventually become queen.
Orabella is forbidden from going to the party even though everyone is invited. She wants to see the castle and the Cursed Prince. This time she refuses to obey her stepmother.
As Orabella discovers the secrets of her past and the truth about her mother and the prince’s curse, she learns that no one is to be trusted and not everyone wants the prince to survive.

Buy Links: Amazon Kobo iBooks Barnes and Noble





Meet the Author: Satima Flavell

SATIMA’S TOP WRITING TIP: Don’t rush the process. It’s a great temptation for writers these days to write a book in three to six months and immediately self-publish it on Amazon. Take your time, go to classes, join groups, and only put the book out when people more experienced than you are think it’s ready to publish. And don’t expect to make a living out of writing. Very few people do. Most writers either have day jobs or well-paid, understanding partners who are willing to carry the financial burden on their own.

Satima mug shotSatima Flavell (also known as Carol Flavell Neist) is a writer, editor and reviewer. Her first poem appeared on the children’s page of what was then The Manchester Guardian when she was seven, and she continued to earn pocket money through writing until teenage interests took over. After training and working in the performing arts, she began reviewing dance performances in the 1980s, and this rapidly expanded to writing reviews and feature articles for The Australian, The West Australian, Music Maker, Dance Australia and many other journals. However, her favourite reading matter has long been fantasy, and her first novel, The Dagger of Dresnia, was recently published by Victoria’s Satalyte Publishing. Her website is at and you can find her under the same nom de plume on Blogger and Facebook.


Why do you write? Because there are stories in my head that want to get out!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Teaching dance. Despite my advancing years, I still attend dance and fitness classes and teach theatrical dance. Dance makes a nice contrast to writing.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Publishers. It’s a crazy world, publishing. You have to get your story onto the desk of an editor at a publishing house that just happens, on that particular day, to be looking for the kind of story you’ve written. The chances are probably about the same as winning a major Lotto prize. No wonder self-publishing has become so popular.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The flexible hours and the sheer fun of getting stories down on paper.

—the worst? Being stuck on characters and/or plot. This is where supportive writerly friends are so useful because sometimes they might make suggestions that can trigger new ideas.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Probably not very much, because what I did worked for me. I started out by joining several writing groups, both face-to-face and on line. I really recommend the Online Writers Workshop ( I learnt a great deal from exchanging crits with other writers there. I really believe a writer learns more from critiquing than being critiqued. I also went to workshops at the various writers centres in my city (Perth, Western Australia) and joined classes offered by numerous editors and authors. Every one of them taught me something new. It took me 10 years to get published and this is not unusual, so I’d encourage new writers to accept that there is no quick and easy path to publication. Some people are luckier than I was, but 10 years is not at all unusual for a writer’s apprenticeship.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? The fact that out of every thousand books that are submitted to the big publishing companies, only a couple are likely to be bought. With that knowledge I think I would probably have not bothered sending my MSS to the big houses: I would have gone to small press or self-publishing straight away. The big houses often take weeks or months to respond and sometimes they don’t respond at all.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Make sure you make time for your inner life. Regular exercise (I practise dance and yoga), meditation and reading are more important to writers than lots of socialising. But don’t neglect family and social life, either. Balance in all things is a healthy goal.

perf6.000x9.000.inddThe Dagger of Dresnia

Satima Flavell

The newly widowed Queen Ellyria just wants her sick triplet sons to live, each ruling over a third of the kingdom as their dying father decreed. When she finds herself trapped in a deadly bargain with a dark spirit, she recruits a band of young mages to help – but a terrible curse takes over.

The Dark Spirit befriends her enemies and seduces her friends, and Ellyria soon finds that famine, betrayal, pestilence and bereavement are all in its arsenal. Can Ellyria unite the elvish and mortal sides of her family, and in so doing, save the kingdom?

Where to find The Dagger of Dresnia, book one of The Talismans

Sales at Satalyte:

Meet the Author: Rebecca Laffar-Smith


REBECCA’S TOP WRITING TIP: Trust your Muse, because doing so always leads to a better story. Even if it feels like she’s being stubborn and uncooperative, look at why she’s doing that. What is she trying to tell you? Let her lead you in the right direction because she’ll never steer you wrong. Your inspiration, your Muse, your inner angels, whatever you like to call that instinctive artist within you is tapped into real magic. They see the story the way it’s meant to be written and if you let them guide you the whole process becomes that much easier. Trust the misdirection, trust the quirky unexpected, just go with it and see what unfolds. Take risks and try new things because it can lead to remarkable discoveries. I’m certain you’ll always be pleasantly surprised; sure it might require you do some editing, but it’ll definitely lead to a richer, fuller story.

Born to the magical beauty of her sunburnt country home in Western Australia, Rebecca Laffar-Smith always yearned to explore the wonders of this world and beyond. After 12 years as a freelance writer and editor, she gave up writing about the non-fiction world in favour of the fantastical creatures and fanciful things she could create and immortalise in fiction. Now she writes in the moments she can steal away from homeschooling her son, raising her daughter, and volunteering as an events coordinator and mentor for her local writing community. She dreams of someday running a farm-stay writer’s retreat on the outskirts of Perth and writing her stories in a detached, hexagonal room with floor to ceiling bookshelves and plenty of natural light.

Rebecca welcomes comments, questions, and feedback. Readers can find her on Facebook: and Twitter:

For more information about Rebecca and her writing, visit


Why do you write? There are a million answers and no answers to this question and I’ve asked it of myself hundreds of times over the years. Usually I ask it when I’m having those bad “can’t write” moments, especially when the anxiety is looming and I feel overwhelmed by it all. Or when a bad review comes in. Or when it’s three in the morning and I can’t seem to make that vital scene work. Or it’s three in the morning and I can’t shut up the ideas and get to sleep. OK, you get the idea, there are a lot of times when I ask myself that question although it’s phrased more like, “Why do you do this to yourself?”

When it comes down to it, I’m just not happy when I’m not writing fiction. I’ve gone through periods in my life when I put the fiction aside to pursue other things (like paid non-fiction freelance work), but deep in my heart I was always yearning to come back to the stories. Whenever I wasn’t writing I had a lingering sadness, a void, like I wasn’t living into the person I was meant to be. Writing fills the void and lets me create lasting meaning and connection for myself and for my readers.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’m not really sure because it’s never been a real option. I’d wanted to be a writer since I was six years old and other than a short school-leaver dip into retail, it’s all I’ve done professionally. For years I worked as a freelance writer, editor, and Web designer before giving that up to focus on family, community, and fiction. I think if I weren’t writing I might gravitate toward education. I was in Uni finishing the first year of a Bachelor of Education degree when I decided to homeschool my son and I really love the topic. The opportunity to homeschool has been fantastic for our whole family, not to mention finally giving me an excuse and opportunity to focus on my fiction. So, if I weren’t a writer, I might be a teacher.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Perfectionism. I was too obsessed with making everything perfect. That’s the only way I can explain spending eight years on my debut novel. It was by no means my first book either; there were several that are buried deep in my archives because they weren’t perfect.

I had to learn to put aside that need to get every detail perfect and instead focus on telling a good story. The important thing is to get the good story onto the page, because it can then be crafted into a great story. And that’s what readers really want, great stories. They don’t care if it’s perfect, they just want to be entertained. Once I got over the need to tell the perfect story it became much easier.

I think one of the toughest obstacles authors face these days is a traditional mindset. The industry is changing so rapidly that you have to be willing to jump in feet first, make mistakes, get messy, and be willing to do things a different way. There used to be only one long, cold, lonely road to publishing, but that’s not the case any more. Find your supporters, work on your craft, and chase your dreams, because there is no one right way to get there.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I love exploring stories. That’s the best bit. I think it’s why the outlining process is my favourite part, because there is so much to discover. I get to meet my characters and get to know them. I get to look at how the story moves and grows and shapes. During the drafting process there are still some discoveries and I love how the story changes and evolves through the drafts, but outlining is like seeing the world for the first time. I’m a toddler, eyes bright and wide, in awe at all the wonder. Feeling like that is pretty amazing.

—the worst? OK, there are a few downsides that leap to mind. Hitting my head against plot holes can be pretty nightmarish. I’ve found writer’s block stems from trying to force the story to go in a direction it’s not supposed to go. And I can be pretty stubborn so I’ve been known to do that a good dozen times per draft. I’m learning to be less of a control freak and to let the story change and evolve, but sometimes when I’m being particularly stubborn the frustration and depression of not being able to get the words on the page can be painful.

I also have problems with the fact that it’s entirely self-directed. I’m having to learn how to set deadlines, plan and manage projects with time, and develop more discipline about treating my writing self as a professional. I’ve been a pretty slack boss in the past; I give myself too much leeway and it’s not an efficient way to work. It’s important to be a fair but firm boss of your writing self, set your boundaries and act professionally within them.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would focus more on quantity. I spent so many years obsessing about the quality of one story that I missed fantastic opportunities and left so many stories untold. The thing about being a writer professionally is that it requires more than one book to succeed. The more you produce the faster you’ll learn and grow as an artist, the faster you’ll develop your own voice, the sooner you’ll acquire a degree of mastery.

This is one of the reasons I am now so deeply involved with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’m the Municipal Liaison for Australia :: Perth :: South and an advocate for the literary industry across the state. NaNoWriMo promotes the idea of writing quickly to produce a good book that you can turn into a great book with editing later. It challenges writers to write a 50,000-word novel in the 30 days of November. That’s a pretty impressive feat but thousands of writers around the world do it every year. (In fact some do it in months other than November as well!)

I’m definitely planning to focus the coming months on increasing productivity. I’ll be writing more words faster, and hopefully that’ll mean it won’t take another eight years before the next book.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I wish I’d been told that the best way to stay motivated is to immerse yourself in the writing community. I spent a long time thinking that writing was something you do all by yourself. After all, surely writers are tortured hermits and drunks holed up in their basements bashing away at their typewriters, right? The truth is, the more people you bring into your writing circle who encourage, support, and inspire your writing, the easier you’ll find the whole process. Yes there are times when you need to close the door and get the words written (although I also do really well writing in the company of others at our local write ins), but if you open the door and spend time with others in the industry you’ll find the community helps you maintain your enthusiasm, excitement, and motivation.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? “Write. Publish. Repeat.” – This is actually a book by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant with David Wright, three hyper-prolific writers who have the Self Publishing Podcast. The book itself is targeted specifically to authors (particularly indie or hybrid authors) who are ready to look at their career with a business mindset. There are lots of great tips in it for building your writing business but what it breaks down to is exactly what the title says. The way to succeed is to “Write. Publish. Repeat.” And more specifically, write good books, publish professionally (be it traditional or self-publishing), then jump right back into the fire and write the next book. The key is to never stray far from production. Many writers get stuck in the promotional circuit trying to play up the marketing for their latest book, especially if it’s a debut novel, but the best marketing for your latest book is actually the ones you write after it. Build your catalogue because every book exponentially increases your reach.

I also had an eye-opening experience at a workshop with film producer, Karel Segers, a couple of years ago where I first discovered The Hero’s Journey concept. If you’ve never heard of it I recommend checking it out. It’ll blow your mind and make you see books and movies in a whole new way. I’ve found it’s also done wonders for my own writing process and led me to write richer stories.


FlightOfTorque_Cover_Laffar-SmithThe Flight of Torque

When investigative reporter, Tori, chases the story of an underground smuggling network, she stumbles into something significantly more sinister. Instead of the illegal trade of exotic reptiles, she finds a temple of devout snake worshippers. Taken by the cultists, Tori is subjected to a savage ritual and irrevocably transformed. Now something dark and primal slithers within her.

Lucas, charged with Tori’s protection, struggles against an overwhelming sense of helplessness. He should be stronger, faster, and more powerful than any human, but in the past 20 years all of his charges have been murdered. Their deaths and his failures linger in his nightmares. They writhe in his mind like the chilling sense of brooding hunger that floods Tori’s thoughts.

Filled with violent rage and dark jealousy, the cult’s High Priestess rears up between Tori and the truth. The only thing protecting Tori from the long, cold embrace of death is the darkness within and the tingling warmth and light of her guardian angel. (Amazon US – Kindle & Paperback) (Amazon AU – Kindle Only)

Local Perth-based readers can also order an autographed copy directly from me and arrange for local pickup during one of my roaming write-ins using this form:

Meet the Author: Sarah Daltry

 This week my featured author is Sarah Daltry and instead of the usual  interview and Top Writing Tip, I’m joining in the celebrations of her latest book, Primordial Dust, by presenting an excerpt of the book. You can also find out Sarah’s Top 10 Fantasy Movies. First, a little about Sarah…


Sarah Daltry writes about the regular people who populate our lives. She’s written works in various genres – romance, erotica, fantasy, horror. Genre isn’t as important as telling a story about people and how their lives unfold. Sarah tends to focus on YA/NA characters but she’s been known to shake it up. Most of her stories are about relationships – romantic, familial, friendly – because love and empathy are the foundation of life. It doesn’t matter if the story is set in contemporary NY, historical Britain, or a fantasy world in the future – human beings are most interesting in the ways they interact with others. This is the principle behind all of Sarah’s stories.

Sarah has spent most of her life in school, from her BA and MA in English and writing to teaching both at the high school and college level. She also loves studying art history and really anything because learning is fun.

When Sarah isn’t writing, she tends to waste a lot of time checking the internet for pictures of cats, shooting virtual zombies, and simply staring out the window.

She has written several books, most notably Bitter Fruits, an urban fantasy in the Eden’s Fall series, Backward Compatible: A Geek Love Story, and the six-book New Adult Flowering series, including Forget Me Not, Lily of the Valley, Blue Rose, Star of Bethlehem, Orange Blossom, and Ambrosia.


Find out more about Sarah on her website:

and Facebook:

Follow her on Twitter:


Sarah’s Favorite Fantasy Movies:

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. Labyrinth
  3. The Neverending Story
  4. Brave
  5. The Wizard of Oz
  6. Shrek
  7. Pan’s Labyrinth
  8. Harry Potter (all of them)
  9. Bridge to Terabithia
  10. Mirrormas


young pretty kissing wedding couple against skyBook Byte

Primordial Dust

Genre: Fantasy (Romance/YA)

A princess, trained to behave. An assassin, betrothed to her. A thief, whose eyes she dreams of at night. A kingdom at war, torn apart by the suppression of magic and truth, as well as family secrets that threaten to destroy decades of peace. Questions of loyalty, of morality, and of free will culminate in a fantasy novel about forging one’s own path and choosing one’s own destiny.

Here’s a brief extract from the book:

Alusia smiles wanly. “What happened in Kooram?” she asks.

“There was a party. We were dancing. Seamus and I were celebrating our engagement…” I pause, ashamed. He sits beside me, unaware of my role in this, oblivious to my own deception. “It was my fault.”

Seamus takes my hand. “Alondra, stop. You know this has nothing to do with you.”

“It has everything to do with her,” Alusia interrupts. “And her mother.”

“Look, although Alondra seems thankful for whatever you want to share with her, I don’t care what these secrets are. This is not her fault and she does not need you blaming her.” Seamus’s anger is new to me. I have been so amazed by his calm, his kindness; he is more like a Demorian now than I have ever seen him, and I have watched him cut a man’s throat.

Alusia sighs. “I do not mean to assign blame. But we can no longer pretend that this was a rogue attack, that these events have not culminated in bringing you here, that fate has not worked its magic to get this book into her hands.” She runs her fingers along the book on her lap.

“It’s fine,” I say. “But it was not fate. Maybe I did not make the only bad choices, but choices got us here. And I, for one, am tired of hearing about fate.”

“The attack,” Seamus continues. “It was sudden. A siren spell warned us before the mages were slaughtered. I don’t know how they breached the Demorian guard, but without the dying spell of an elder mage, no one would be sitting here right now with you.”

“So you ran?” Alusia asks.

“I don’t run,” I argue. “In fact, I am only here because someone kidnapped me in my sleep.”

“It was her father’s wish,” Seamus mumbles.

“The forces came quickly. We spread the word to meet in the caves and Kooram split into two groups: those who were running for the caves, and those who would stay behind. My parents were with those running, but I stayed. Ereditus, our commander, rallied the troops. Seamus was already by my side. My friend, Lormander…”

I stop and think of that moment. Sanara’s face, broken by the choice he was making, is etched into my memory. I watched her fingers slowly fall from his hand and the agony in her glance as she turned back to see him one last time tore me asunder. And now, somewhere, are they reunited? Did she lead everyone to Tallagut? Did he stay behind in the caves to face his death, remembering her kiss as the blade entered his heart? I choke on the images and tears rest on the precipice of my eyelids.

“We stayed,” I repeat. “There were so many of them. It was chaos. Smoke billowed from the streets, from our homes, from everything that was my childhood. I saw young boys, thinking they were brave, split in twain as the attackers stepped over the corpses, trailing death. What I remember most was the sound. The crash of swords, the screams of the fallen, the crackle of burning. The details are hazy. We left Kooram in ruins when we saw that we were outclassed. I walked through fields of carnage to the caves, only to wake on the other side, in a mirror world, yet untouched.”

“The king, he asked that we come here. He said you had the answers, the only weapon we could use against him,” Seamus adds. My shattered body sits beside him, but my mind and my soul are still with the dead.

“I am an old woman, and a forgotten mage,” Alusia says. “I am also the keeper of secrets and memories. I do not forge steel. My only weapon is knowledge. But that I have in abundance, and I believe it is time Alondra take her share.”

She rises from the dusty chair and approaches. I sense my hands as they lift to take the book she offers; the leather cover is hardened, but smooth to touch. I run my hand along the spine and trace the embossed seal.

“Please take this to your room. You will need time, and you will need privacy. When you are done, I will be waiting for your questions.”


Buy Links:


Amazon UK:


Barnes and Noble:



All Romance:




Meet the Author: Heidi Kneale


1. Do not be over-proud. Do not refuse to listen to advice and critique. It takes years to master the craft. You’ll make lots of mistakes, ones you can’t see, but others can. Humility and an honest desire to improve will serve you best in your career development.

2. Network. Get to know fellow writers and other professionals in the industry. Also, get to know readers. They are your audience. It is for their benefit you are seeking publication.

heidiknealeauthorshotHeidi Kneale is a West Australian author of moderate repute. She loves Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance, often blending the three in her works. She’s had short stories, articles and books published. A day job fixing computers supports her writing career and educational addictions. When she’s not writing or reading, she enjoys composing and playing music, multitudinous crafts and dabbling in science. She volunteers in her local community.

Heidi blogs at


Why do you write? Because I can’t Not Write. These stories, these ideas, these characters come to me. There are tales to tell, worlds to explore. They excite me. I love books that thrill me and I want to share that joy.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’d be a composer. When I need to give my writerly self a break, I abandon my laptop for my piano. Gives the ol’ creative muscles a bit of a stretch. Sometimes writing and composing work together rather well. I’ve done road shows (musicals) and I wrote an opera once at university.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Square pegs and round holes. I’ve reached a certain mastery of the Craft, but that doesn’t guarantee a story will get picked up every time I pitch it to an editor. Am I publishable? Absolutely. But is this particular project suitable to the needs of that particular editor? Most times, no. I have a stack of rejections that say, “Thanks for sending this story. I’m afraid it doesn’t suit our purposes at this time. However, we like your style. Please send more.” So I keep sending stories until they say yes. I have several short story sales where one editor rejects the story, but recommends me to another editor. He was looking for what I was pitching. Story: sold!

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I get to watch some of the best stories unfold. I get to inhabit these worlds I’ve created and spend time with characters I love. If you asked me what my favourite book was, I’d name one of my own.

—the worst? Being at the whim of editors’ tastes. It’s a subjective industry. If sheer competence was all that was required to be published, the world would be full of competent books. Alas, taste and fashion and reader demand drives what gets published.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? In my apprentice days, I treated the Craft more as a hobby, rather than a serious career. I watched my fellow apprentices get agents and book deals and start building careers. What were they doing differently? It was all about the attitude. Once I changed my attitude, became more professional, things came together for me.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? “How bad do you want it?” I wish someone would have asked me that every single day. My attitude may have changed sooner. (Today, someone does. Every. Single. Day.) In the beginning I was too busy trying to please other people, in my schooling, my future career prospects, everything. I’d gotten into the dreadful habit of putting aside what I wanted for myself and catering to others’ whims. I’d given in to expectations that I should be doing this, or should be doing that, and writing wasn’t as important.

But writing is important. It’s important to me. It’s one of the most important things in my life. Only I can make that call. How bad do I want to be an author? Pretty bad. Twenty books, dozens of articles, hundreds of short stories bad. Stay-up-late-finishing-the-chapter bad. Never-watch-TV-so-I-can-write bad. Scribble-outlines-during-lunch bad. I want it so bad I’ve given up a lot of things. I don’t miss any of it, because I get to write! (Yay!)

What’s the best advice you were ever given? My university writing mentor once said, “Why are you studying science, when you should be a writer?” She couldn’t figure out why I was pursuing something I liked and eschewing something I loved. She was right. I had to follow passion, not pragmatism.


Heidi’s latest book is As Good As Gold, a sweet historical romance with magic (and theft), out from The Wild Rose Press. Find it on Amazon:

AsGoodAsGold_w1798_medDaywen Athalia wants love–true and lasting. Fearing a future of bitter loneliness, she seeks help from a gypsy woman. The price: a hundred pieces of gold. Daywen’s never had two shillings to rub together in her life. Where’s she going to find a hundred gold pieces? Bel MacEuros made a career of theft from fey creatures. When the cursed gold he rightfully stole from a gnome is taken from him by Daywen, the consequences could bless or break his life. It is not the gnome’s curse or a gypsy’s blessing but another magic, far deeper and more powerful, that will change their lives forever.

Meet the Author: Vanessa Garden

VANESSA’S TOP WRITING TIP: Read as many books as you can get your hands on. Read in the genre you wish to write but also experiment with new genres so as to expose your writer’s brain to as many voices as possible. Also, write a little each day. Even half an hour a day can produce a book in one year.

Vanessa Garden

Vanessa Garden lives on the coast of Western Australia with her husband, their three chatty children, and three calming goldfish. When she is not writing, Vanessa can be found at the local bookstore where she works part-time. Being a bookseller as well as an author, Vanessa loves nothing more than immersing herself in the exciting world of books. When she is not gushing about her favourite reads to customers, or dreaming up her next novel, she enjoys spending time with the people she loves most.


Why do you write? I write because I genuinely enjoy creating stories and spending time with my characters, and also because I simply cannot stop. There have been times, more so before I became a published author, where I have said, ‘oh well, time to throw in the towel and focus on real life’, only to find that a day passes, or perhaps only an hour, before a new idea takes hold and basically doesn’t allow me to give up on writing.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’d most likely get back into baking and cooking. Before I took writing seriously I was always in the kitchen creating elaborate meals, but now I’m spending less and less time there due to my writing schedule and I do miss it. I’m sure my children and husband are getting sick of my ‘anything goes’ nights of eggs on toast, baked beans and two-minute noodles!

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Sticking with it and trying to keep the self-belief alive even after 200 odd rejections! As soon as somebody said yes, my confidence shot up. It is amazing what we can do when somebody believes in us and, more importantly, when we believe in ourselves.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Sharing stories with fellow readers, meeting other writers, and the euphoric buzz that comes with a new idea! There is nothing more exciting than waking up in the middle of the night to jot down ‘the next big thing’ (which will most likely seem ridiculous in the morning, lol).

—the worst? Trying to balance writing with family time and work. I’m very conscious of writing only when my children are at school or in bed, which can be difficult with working hours at my day job eating up a lot of the school time, so often I’m sleep deprived from writing late at night. Sometimes I just feel so exhausted. I wish there was an eight-day week!

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I learned as I went (making a lot of mistakes along the way) but it was all necessary to get where I am today. So probably not a thing!

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That sometimes you wait forever to hear back on a manuscript, so instead of waiting anxiously, write something new in the meantime.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? To write the story you want to read.


Captivate by Vanessa Garden

backdrop captivateFor the past 12 months since her parents’ death, 17-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko…the King of this underwater civilisation. Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets…