Meet the Author: Cathryn Chapman

Cathryn’s top writing tip: My book had taken a long time and I was only up to chapter eight. Admittedly, I started when I had a newborn baby and needed to go back to full-time work when he was eight months old. When the time came that I really wanted to get it finished, I had to make a plan. I decided I would write seven days a week, for at least 15 minutes, regardless of how tired I was. It didn’t matter if I only wrote for 15 minutes and then walked away – at least I had done something. Often, those 15 minutes would turn into two or three hours and thousands of words.

I had a great writing period during the annual writing project, NaNoWriMo. I did writing sprints with groups on Twitter and found it really motivating. Writing can be an isolating business!

If your book is inspired by real life (like mine), my mentor advised me to draw inspiration, but then forget about the real story and write a great book. Real life doesn’t always make great writing. Work hard to structure the story well and know your characters.

CathrynChapman2Cathryn Chapman nearly gave up her writing career when her eighth grade English teacher refused to believe her sensual poem could have been written by somebody so young. Two years later, when Cathryn was 14, that same English teacher declared she should start writing for Mills & Boon, and a women’s fiction writer was born.

Cathryn graduated from university with a Business Degree and spent seven years travelling the world – working on cruise ships, and living in London, New York, Paris and South America.

In her thirties, she left a successful marketing and public relations career to pursue her dream of gracing the stages in London’s West End. When this failed dismally, Cathryn settled down in Brisbane with a husband and baby boy, and stayed in one place long enough to finally write her first novel, Sex, Lies, and Cruising.


Why do you write? I worked in an office job and wanted to break out to do something more creative. I always enjoyed writing at school and my English teacher had suggested I should be an author. Back in those days, I never felt it was a ‘serious’ career, so it wasn’t until a few years ago that I really considered it. I like the idea of telling stories for enjoyment. I’ve always been a big reader, and I would love for readers to get engrossed in my stories the way I do with books I’m reading.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’ve worked in marketing on and off for many years, so if I had a backup plan, it would be to work as a self-employed marketing consultant, rather than working for an employer.

I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Television production, and aspire to write for TV in the future. I plan to use Sex, Lies, and Cruising as the inspiration for a TV series and would like to write the pilot over Christmas or early next year.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? I had tried to get an agent but I didn’t want to keep pursuing the traditional publishing road. I know of wonderful writers who spent years sending queries to agents, only to be met with constant rejection. I sent out queries earlier this year, but it wasn’t long until the voice in my head said “YOU NEED TO SELF PUBLISH!” It’s going well so far!

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The days when your writing flows, and you think, “This IS what I’m supposed to do with my life.” Those days are great! I also like working from home. I have a lovely, cosy, dedicated writing room, filled with some of my favourite things. It’s good being near my family. I can pop out and see them whenever I need a break.

—the worst? The days where I doubt my writing abilities. My biggest fear with writing this series is that people won’t like the book, OR they’ll love the first book and think the second one is boring.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I still consider myself to be starting out. Looking back on my experience so far, I would have spent more time developing my characters and doing creative in-depth character maps. I’ve spent a lot of time in the editing process going back to expand my main character’s reactions to situations. It has been a massive learning curve and I can’t imagine a time where I’ll feel like I know everything!

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? If you want to sell books, the promotional period will be exhausting and likely to cost you a lot of money! It’s not a matter of hitting ‘publish’ on Amazon and suddenly becoming successful.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? There’s been a few which have helped a lot… they’ve become my mantras.

– Don’t wait until you feel inspired to write – or you will never write a book!

– Writing is more about discipline than talent. You need to treat it like a job and write every day, regardless of how you feel.

– Don’t get it right, get it written.

– Don’t edit as you go, or you’ll have a perfect chapter one and no chapter twenty.

They’re all true!


Cathryn ChapmanExotic locations, sexy men, and crazy crew parties… Ellie has her dream job… or does she?

When Ellie’s fiancé cheats on her with a younger, slimmer, blonde from the office, she boots him out of her life and finds solace in a fabulous photography job aboard a Caribbean cruise ship. Twenty-four hours on board and she’s already shagged her sexy Texan colleague, who happens to love her muffin-top. Unfortunately he’s leaving in a week, and his ex-girlfriend, a hot-headed Brazilian with stripper moves right out of the ’90s and a talent for stealing boyfriends, is still on board and out for revenge.

Ellie must work out how to deal with the loco ex, sort the lying scumbags from the good guys, and figure out how many crew members in a cabin it takes before officially becoming group sex. Who the hell knows? (It’s five, actually.) It’s a world completely unlike the one she left behind, but as she tries to find her place on board, Ellie discovers laughter and tears in equal measure. And in the midst of the craziness, she realises the greatest thing this lifestyle change has given her is the chance to rediscover herself.







Angus & Robertson:


Meet the Author: Victor Kline

VICTOR’S TOP WRITING TIP: Be true to yourself. Only write what you burn to write. If that is nothing for the time being then so be it. To write what you don’t really want to write because publishers or publicists or critics or friends and family tell you to, is a profanity. It defeats the purpose of becoming a writer in the first place and leads inevitably to bitterness. Get yourself a back-up job so you have what Humphrey Bogart called ‘fuck you money’. If you have less time to write, so be it. If you are writing what you want to write you’ll find the time.

Headshot 2Victor Kline started his working life as Sydney’s youngest barrister. He worked as a Federal prosecutor in Sydney and later as a defence counsel in the Northern Territory in its Wild West days. He has been a playwright, theatre director and actor Off-Broadway and in various parts of Australia. He is the author of the novel Rough Justice and the bestselling memoir The House at Anzac Parade, as well as several produced plays. His most recent novel The Story of the Good American has just published worldwide. As well as New York and Central Australia, Victor has lived and worked in London, Paris, the South of France and New Guinea. He currently lives back in Sydney with wife Katharine and a little grey cat called Spud. For more information about Victor and his books, visit his website.     AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? I can do no better than quote Camus when he said “A writer is someone who has to write.” There is something inside every writer that won’t settle for not writing. What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I am also a barrister but no longer doing court work. Instead I work as Editor of the Federal Court Reports. This is work I can do from home and which liberates me to write when I want to. So I have the best of both worlds. I have left brain and right brain activity. And I have financial security. Not the big bucks of the practising barrister, but enough to get by and take the pressure off, so I am never tempted to write anything I don’t absolutely want to write. What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? I think my obstacle is no different from anyone else’s obstacle, ie the book blindness of publishers. This is not a criticism of them. It’s just a fact of life that if you have to look at literally thousands of manuscripts, you lose the joy of reading which took you into the job in the first place, and you lose your ability to spot quality. It just become one big tasteless soup. In the end the only way you can choose one book over another is to go for hackneyed stuff that seems to be like stuff that has sold in the past. But of course the public don’t want that. They want something new and different. But the new and different never gets published until it has been rejected by dozens if not hundreds of publishers. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Diary of Adrian Mole, etc etc, were all rejected endless times before going on to sell millions, usually picked up by a small publishing house after all the majors had said no. Of course it’s not just publishing where this happens. It infests every industry, especially every creative industry. The Beatles were rejected by every record label in the UK. What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I want to tell stories, meaning I want to tell about things that are different and interesting. Just as the primitive bard did, in his loin cloth, around the fire. I also want to talk about fascinating people, bring them to life, be they ‘real’ or ‘fictional’, just as that same bard did. Writing gives me the chance to do all that. It’s what makes me feel alive. —the worst? Again, like everyone else, the critics. These are usually people who have fallen into the job on the newspaper because the editor wouldn’t trust them with anything else. They usually have no idea what they are reading, don’t want to be either reading or reviewing, miss the point of the book, talk nonsense, and drink a lot to dull the pain. Fortunately in the modern world where books can be bought on line and in e-book form, and the reader has the chance to review the book on the site from which it was bought, the potential reader has a lot of genuine ordinary people like themselves to listen to. They don’t need to be guided by a critic, who they never quite trusted anyway. So the critics have lost their bite and certainly their monopoly. Furthermore we now have a world of bloggers who are doing what they are doing because they love it, and from whom the reader can also get some real guidance about what to buy. I myself, for my last two books, have made the decision not to offer my book to newspaper critics. I trust bloggers and I trust the reading public. I can get all the publicity I need from them and from radio and television interviews. Unlike reviewers, who often feel they are not doing their job unless they find something to be snarly about, interviewers know that the best interview comes from a general positivity. So one’s book is presented to the public in a much better light. I have found that giving the critics the flick has not hurt my sales in the least. Quite the contrary. What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would marry my wife Katharine a lot sooner. If I had had her around when I was staring out I think I would have got where I wanted a lot sooner and with a great deal less pain. She is smart and is an enormous help at all stages of the writing and publishing process. What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? A lot of authors, Graham Greene being the archetypal example, will tell you that the best way to write is to have the discipline to sit down every day and write a certain number of words, however you feel at the time. Now that might work for them, but I wish someone had told me it is not something that works for everyone. I have found for myself that I do much better if I listen to my instincts, and write only when they are telling me to do so. As a result I may not write for weeks, but when I do, I write prose or dialogue that usually needs very little revision and is what I really ‘need’ to say. Forcing myself to write a certain amount each day just ended up creating a lot of material needing massive revision, often to the point of having to just chuck it away and start again. What’s the best advice you were ever given? Be true to yourself.

BOOK BYTE The Story of the Good American Front Cover“An adventure, a romance, a game changer.” A hobo, a billionaire and the woman they both love. An unusual prescription. Some remarkable cures. Joe Starling was Pete A. Vanderveer’s right hand man. But one day Joe just up and left the billionaire. He left New York City too. Turned up years later in his home town of Sydney, Australia, shining shoes in the Pitt Street Mall. What happened in between, to Joe and Pete and to the woman they both loved, was very likely to change the world? The Story of the Good American is available in paperback and e-book formats from

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:

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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.”


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Meet the Author: Noelene Jenkinson

NOELENE’S TOP WRITING TIP: Like me, if writing is what you HAVE to do, don’t struggle, give in and do it. We must all follow our heart for personal contentment. I believe we’re all born with certain gifts and inclinations and meant to be true to living our own life. If writing is in your DNA, then go for it.

Noelene & ValMulti published women’s fiction author, Noelene Jenkinson, has published 10 novels. Her latest releases are Grace’s Cottage, Wombat Creek, an Australian historical romance A Gentleman’s Bride, and an Australian saga Peacocks on the Lawn. The first volume in her outback romance duo, Whispers on the Plains, is scheduled for release on 31 July. She has just completed the second volume.

Noelene  is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association UK and the Romance Writers of Australia. As a keen genealogist and historian, she has researched, compiled and published three family histories and numerous local histories. She is married to her own hero of 40 years and lives in a passive solar home with a native garden. She has two adult daughters and five grandchildren.

Find out more about Noelene and her books by visiting her website, blog and Facebook


Why do you write? Just always have. The natural instinct was there. I was born with the urge and scribbled as a child, wrote stories for my own children when they were young, and have been writing romance and historical fiction since the 1980s.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Oh, bite your tongue. I’d hate to imagine my life without words, a notepad and pen in my hand. Or tapping away on my laptop. But if you really need an answer then I guess it would be music [I learnt piano as a child and now play keyboard] or crafts [crocheting afghan rugs and cardmaking] or gardening [we have 1.5 acres of native garden]. I seem to be a creative person in all my pursuits.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Writing enough words until my work reached a high enough standard to be published. A loooong journey. And the determination to persevere. I aimed at Harlequin Mills & Boon for years until I realised it wasn’t my own natural style and was immediately published when I rewrote all the manuscripts I had previously sent to them and had rejected. Those were my first novellas and Outback Hero is still my bestseller even today, 14 years later.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Being my own boss and indulging a passion I love. Working my own hours. Not having to dress up to go to work, boiling the kettle for endless cups of tea and coffee throughout  my working day. Sometimes that kettle is a distraction when the words aren’t flowing but, often, taking a break is what you need. Plus over two decades I have met some lovely fellow writers and am part of many writer communities of like minds. The women’s fiction and romance writing community is generous and welcoming. I am a member of the Romance Writers of Australia and the Romantic Novelists’ Association [UK].

—the worst? “Life” interfering, which happens for all of us, of course, when it could be days or weeks until I can get back into my office to write again. I get very grumpy when my brain is not releasing all the stories locked up in my head. I can’t focus unless I shut my office door and block out everything. But within five minutes, I’m absorbed and in my characters’ world.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Write more, sooner. Be brave enough to give my writing priority. Be a bit more selfish. Go with my heart and tie my hand down from shooting up to offer “I’ll do it!” Life is short and you don’t get time back or a second chance.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? Not sure it would have been wise, but to be made aware perhaps of just how long and difficult and frustrating the journey is to publication. If publication is what one seeks, and that was always my secret wish. Fortunately, I have achieved it if only in a modest way. But if you have the bug of writing in you, you’ll do it anyway.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Nothing specific that I can recall but I remember a quote of Nora Roberts from an early RWA conference in Sydney, “You can’t fix a blank page”. Motto – sit on butt and write. But attending conferences, reading text books and generally learning my craft to hone it was time well spent. Plus reading anything and everything to see how other authors get their words on paper. To check how they characterise, set a scene, slip in description amid snappy dialogue. Reading fellow authors’ fiction can be your best teacher.


Layout 1Grace’s Cottage

Noelene Jenkinson

A cottage, a secret and a betrayal. For Jennifer Hale, the cottage in the small Australian country town of Bundilla holds the key to a dream. For city architect, Sam Keats, it unlocks a secret stretching back to the Vietnam war. Brought together by fate, can Jennifer and Sam find the courage to rebuild their lives and open their hearts enough to build a future together?

Available from Amazon [Kindle and Paperback]

Book Depository [Paperback]

Smashwords  [Ebooks all formats]

Meet the Author: Lily Malone

LilyM_lowresLILY’S TOP WRITING TIP: Try first to get your book traditionally published, either print or digital. Try to get an agent too. Go through all the query and submission process because it helps toughen up your skin, and you are going to need that when you start getting those first reviews, because not everyone will love your book. And there will be people who not only don’t like it, but don’t finish it, and then tell everyone how much they didn’t like it and couldn’t finish it.

Lily juggles part-time work and family with writing, and when not writing, likes gardening, walking, wine, and walking in gardens (sometimes with wine). In March 2013, her debut novel, His Brand of Beautiful, was published with Escape Publishing, and in May 2013, she self-published her novella The Goodbye Ride. She has just finished her third published work, Fairway To Heaven, set in the beautiful beach location of West Australia’s Geographe Bay.

Lily loves to hear from readers and authors. You can find out more about Lily and her books at her blog: on Goodreads, and on Facebook, and on Twitter: @lily_lilymalone

To contact Lily, email


Why do you write? Well… I’d love to get to the day where my writing could fund my early retirement… in a manner far grander than that to which I’m currently accustomed!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly creative person. For some reason once I had kids, creativity started flowing. Initially I went on a baking frenzy. I tried all sorts of cakes, muffins and biscuits without much success. Then I decided I might try my hand at painting. This ended in disaster. Writing was kind of the next fad that came along, but it stuck.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? I think it was for my closest friends and family to take me seriously… which equated to being given the ‘time and space’ to make countless writing mistakes and start again, and start again. It’s very hard to tell someone that you have spent all night on one page of work, which you then delete the very next morning.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? When someone says they enjoy your book – that’s magic. Also, I have loved some of the friends I’ve found in the writing community – both other authors and also bloggers, and readers.

—the worst? When the words just won’t come out right and the whole thing becomes a huge headache, rather than something that should be enjoyed.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I might have tried to train myself to plot and plan my stories… because this seems to work for other people. For me, plotting, planning and structure is too much like mathematics. It hurts my brain. So I just wing it with a very general idea in my head, and see what happens.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? Not everyone will love your book and tell all their friends to rush out and buy it.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Never take a knife to a gun fight.


NewFinalFair#2Fairway To Heaven

It’s Golf, But Not As You Know It!

One woman’s personal struggle to regain her mojo on a Busselton beach.


When Jennifer Gates drives to Sea Breeze Golf Club to kick off date-night with her boyfriend, the last thing she expects is to find Golf-Pro Jack giving one of his lady students a private—and very personal—lesson in bunker-play. Lucky for Jenn, her best friend gives her the keys to the Culhane family’s beach shack on the white-pepper shores of Western Australia’s Geographe Bay. Jenn hopes a weekend on the coast with her young son will give her the space she needs to rebuild her confidence after Jack’s betrayal.

But she’s not the only person seeking sanctuary by the sea. Brayden Culhane is there too, and Jenn can’t look at Brayden without remembering the tequila-flavoured kiss they shared on the shack steps years ago. As long-buried feelings are rekindled, and a friendship is renewed, Jenn knows it is more than lazy summer days bringing her mojo back. Romantic sunsets, ice-cold beers and the odd round of golf can only go so far, because this time, trusting Brayden with her heart won’t be enough. Jenn has to learn to trust her body, too.

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: Claire Boston

Claire BostonCLAIRE’S TOP WRITING TIP: Find a writers’ group and a critique group that works for you. I have learnt so much from my membership of Romance Writers of Australia – things about the industry and the craft of writing that I wouldn’t have learnt elsewhere, and I have a wonderful network of friends who encourage and support me. My critique group has helped me work out what’s not working in a manuscript and makes suggestions on ways to fix it. In the beginning I knew my manuscript wasn’t publishable but had no idea how to fix it. RWA and my critique group helped me with that.

Claire Boston was a voracious reader as a child, devouring anything by Enid Blyton as well as series such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. Then one school holidays when she’d run out of books to read, her mum handed her Hot Ice by Nora Roberts and she instantly fell in love with romance novels.

The love of reading soon turned to a love of writing and Claire struggled to keep within the 1500 word limit set by her teachers for any creative writing assignments. When she finally decided to become serious about her stories, she joined Romance Writers of Australia, found her wonderful critique group and hasn’t looked back.

When Claire’s not reading or writing she can be found in the garden attempting to grow vegetables, or racing around a vintage motocross track. If she can convince anyone to play with her, she also enjoys cards and board games.

Claire lives in Western Australia, just south of Perth, with her husband, who loves even her most annoying quirks, and her two grubby, but adorable Australian bulldogs.

Visit Claire’s website at and Facebook page

Follow her on Twitter @clairebauthor


Why do you write? I write because I have so many ideas going around in my head that I just need to get them out. I fill my days with dreams of characters in different situations and I want to tell their stories to other people.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Organising things. My day job is a records administrator and librarian and so I have to classify and file information so that people can find them again. This has spilled into my writing life where I have databases for my files, my submissions and my blog posts.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Getting a publisher to say yes! Seriously though, when I look at my first attempts at writing novels, they weren’t any good. I had to learn the craft of writing before I could write a book that people would want to read. There were also periods where I asked myself why I was still trying to get published and sometimes that was hard to get through.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Getting to immerse myself in the world I have created and trying to figure what is going to happen next.

—the worst? The waiting. I’m not a patient person and having to wait months to get a response from an agent or editor is frustrating. I try to forget that I’ve submitted anything and just get on with writing the next novel.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I’d join Romance Writers of Australia sooner and I would set up a more structured writing regime. It’s only been the past couple of years where I’ve made sure I have writing time every single day. I have to get up at 5.30am to get it, but it’s been worth it.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? It’s going to take time and you need to be in it for the long haul. I had these naive fantasies of writing my first book, sending it off and it being a big smash hit. I believe my five-year plan included earning enough that I could give up my day job to write full time.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Anna Jacobs told me time is the best editor. She said the best thing you can do is let your story sit for a year before you edit it and submit it. She was right. You need the time to give yourself the distance from your manuscript, otherwise you don’t see what really needs to be fixed.


What Goes on Tour by Claire Boston

book cover

What goes on tour, stays on tour or does it? Few people know that socially awkward Adrian Hart is actually rock god Kent Downer, and that’s the way Adrian likes it. His privacy is essential, especially now that he has guardianship of his orphaned, ten-year-old niece, Kate. But when the nanny quits in the middle of his tour Adrian finds himself in a bind. Until Libby Myles walks into his life.

Libby has only ever wanted to become a full-time author and prove to her parents that she can make it on her own. On the surface, the temporary job as the nanny for Kent Downer’s niece looks perfect the pay is fabulous, the hours are short and Kate is a big fan it’s the rock star that’s the issue.

Arrogant and way too attractive for anyone’s good, Kent Downer has enough swagger to power a small city. But when he’s out of costume he’s different shy and uncertain. For Libby it’s a far harder combination to resist. She needs to find a balance between work, writing and ignoring her attraction to the rock star, because if she falls for him, it could mean the end of her dream. But when a horrible scandal is unleashed putting young Kate in danger there’s more heat between Libby and Adrian than just sexual attraction. Libby must figure out if Adrian ever cared for her, or if it was all just part of the show.

Available from

Meet the Author: Juanita Kees

juanita-keesJUANITA’S TOP WRITING TIP: Write, write, write—every day. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write. Learn from your mistakes and be prepared for a tough journey. Writing is a highly competitive, emotional roller coaster and you have to learn to take the bad with the good—graciously.

Juanita Kees graduated from the Australian College QED, Bondi with a diploma in proofreading, editing and publishing, and achieved her dream of becoming a published author in 2012 with the release of her debut romantic suspense, Fly Away Peta. Under the Hood followed in 2013 as one of the first releases from Harlequin’s digital pioneer, Escape Publishing. Juanita works as a freelance editor assisting authors in polishing their work for submission. She escapes the real world to write stories starring spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in.

When she’s not writing, editing or proofreading, Juanita is the cleaning fairy and mother to three boys (hubby included, his toys are just a little more expensive). Her not-so-miniature Dacshund, Sam is her critique partner and keeps her company while writing.

Juanita loves to hear from fans and would love for you to enjoy her writing journey with her at:

Author Site:


Twitter:  @juanitakees

On the Web:


Why do you write? I write because I love to. On paper, I can escape the challenges of living in the real world and visit the places of my dreams. I have the power to create perfect worlds or not so perfect ones, depending on my inspiration. In those worlds I can call up a storm, conjure magic, bring people together, nurture happiness or raise hell. It’s fun!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I’d still be searching for myself. Writing has brought a freedom I could never have achieved in the real world. It’s brought me out of my shell and made me a stronger person. I’ve made friends with other writers who can share and understand the dedication it takes to be a writer, and this in turn has helped me open my heart to non-writer friends too.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? I guess the challenge for me was learning to believe in myself, to pluck up the courage to put my work in front of an acquisitions editor and to grow that thick hide we need to accept multiple rejections or less-than-satisfied reviews. We need to take the good with the bad and learn from both.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I get to hang out with hunky heroes and feisty heroines in worlds of my own making. I can be as creative as my muse wants me to be and have the power to right the wrongs, make peace not war, and bring people together to live happily ever after.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” ― John Lennon

—the worst? Having to drag myself away from my computer and back into the real world, where that power is limited. J

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I don’t think I’d do anything differently. Writing is a learning journey, and by mingling with other writers, going to conferences and workshops, joining writers’ groups and forums, I’ve learnt so much from both the experienced and less-experienced writers. Creating life-long friendships, acquaintances and connections in the writing world is definitely the way to go.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That’s a tough one. I don’t think anything could have deterred me from striving to become an author. It’s in your blood, an addiction whatever form it takes, whether it’s in fiction, non-fiction, poetry or any other outlet you choose. But, if I had to choose one thing, it would be that I’d do more writing development workshops before submitting my first manuscript.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Write, write, write—every day. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write. There’s no point in saying, “I’m going to write a book one day”, you simply need to do it. The more you write, the more you learn, the more you learn, the better you get at it.


Under the Hood by Juanita Kees

Under_the_HoodWhen Scott Devin buys a struggling car dealership in a semi-rural area in Western Australia, the last person he expects to see in charge is a stilletto-wearing, mini-skirted foreperson. Exactly the distraction a struggling, male-dominated workshop doesn’t need! But there’s more to TJ Stevens than meets the eye. TJ Stevens has two major goals in life: to preserve her grandfather’s heritage and protect the teens in her rehabilitation program – and she’ll go to any lengths to do it. Scott Devin’s presence is a threat to everything she’s worked hard to achieve, so keeping him at arms’ length shouldn’t be a problem…or will it?

Available from

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…


Meet the Author: Nora James

NORA’S TOP WRITING TIP: Be in it for the long run. Yes, occasionally someone writes a book, sends it off to a publisher who accepts it straight away and it turns into a bestseller pretty much overnight. It is possible. So is winning Lotto. Generally though it takes years (sometimes decades) to get there, so find a way to sustain your passion for as long as it takes, and don’t give up your day job unless you have a kind spouse who can support you, you’ve saved a lot of pennies for a rainy day, won the lottery, inherited a tidy sum from your great-uncle John, or all of the above. More than anything, enjoy the daily work – being a writer is hard but it’s a privilege.

Nora James

Nora James started her working life at age 14 in a bakery in Paris. She held a number of other jobs before studying law at the University of Western Australia and becoming an international resources lawyer and translator. She has travelled extensively, both as a child and adult, for family reasons, work and pleasure. She now writes novels and screenplays from her home in coastal Western Australia where she lives with her husband and daughter and a menagerie of furry friends. Visit Nora’s website at


Why do you write? I write because I seem to have a million stories in my head, and characters dancing around my mind, too. I feel I’m meant to bring those stories and characters to life and share them with other people. I find writing gives another dimension to my existence and allows me to live more than one life. It’s a little bit like reincarnation or time travel but all you need to do it is a pen (or computer) and paper.

I was drawn to writing from a very young age, too. In fact, as far back as I can remember, I wrote stories. Granted they were a little simpler when I was six, but I already loved how it made me feel. I get an incredible sense of achievement and purpose from it. And also, although I’m working, the focus and concentration of it seems to bring me balance and peace by blocking out the day-to-day issues I might face as a mother and a wife. In brief, it can be quite therapeutic at times!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? If I hadn’t become a writer I’d be working as a lawyer or translator, which is what I was doing immediately before I started writing with a view to being published. I was lucky enough to be involved in some high profile cases, and to work for a few large companies on international matters. It was very interesting work – although I did my fair share of mind-numbingly boring stuff – and I travelled a lot. But at the end of the day I felt I was put on Earth to do something more creative and so I wrote whenever I could, on the train, plane, during lunch breaks. Eventually I threw in the towel and jumped into the world of writing in the hope that I’d become published and one day make a living out of it.

If I had to stop writing now, first of all I’d cry for days on end and then I’d probably start a small business. Something to do with animals, perhaps – I love animals – or maybe something to do with food, like having my own little French café. I spent many years in France and am married to a Frenchman and together we’d make the business quite authentic, I think.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Dark Oil was a little different, not your usual romance. It didn’t quite fit into any boxes and as a result was a bit more of a risk for a publisher, I suppose. I sent it out to a few publishers and got knocked back, as you do, sometimes with a lovely email telling me it was an interesting and thoughtful project that they’d enjoyed, but it was still a “no, thanks”.

I decided to put it aside and didn’t send it out again for a number of years. Then I heard about Escape Publishing through Juanita Kees, a very talented author who’d just joined the critique group I’m in, and it sounded like Escape was open to projects that were unique in some way. I tried it with them and was absolutely thrilled when it was accepted. I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful feeling it is!

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing. Feeling that way about your work is extremely rewarding. A close second is that I’m completely in control of my days. I don’t have anyone breathing down my neck. I don’t even have to get dressed if I don’t feel like it: I can just write in my pyjamas, which I have been known to do on a cold morning.

I don’t have to sit at my desk, either. I quite often sit on the couch or retreat to my favourite armchair with my laptop on my knee and type away for an hour or two before returning to the desk. Varying my position allows me to not feel stiff and sore.

—the worst? I’m torn between loneliness and uncertainty. Loneliness because even if you are like me and enjoy working on your own most of the time there are moments when it would be nice to wander down to the coffee machine or the photocopier and have a chat with someone, the way people do in companies.

And uncertainty because you never know if you are going to get published, and if so when. And once you are published, you don’t know if your next book will be accepted. And once it is you wonder if it will sell well or not. Uncertainty about the future seems to come with the territory. You have to be able to live with that.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I’d find out about markets. It can be very disheartening to write something beautiful and meaningful only for it to remain on your desk gathering dust because no one is publishing that type of manuscript. The best way to find out about what’s being sold and therefore improve your chances of publication is to join writing organisations such as the Romance Writers of Australia and go to their conferences.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I wish someone had told me that it is extremely difficult to get started in certain genres. You’re better off writing in a more popular genre to break in, and perhaps later on trying your hand at other things. Also, that it usually takes a very long time to make a decent living out of writing and many writers never will.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Join a critique group. It makes such a difference not only to the quality of your work as you learn from others but also to morale. Writing is a solitary pursuit that can’t be likened to many other professions: I can’t think of another job where you have no regular income, perhaps no income at all for years, your work is constantly rejected, you don’t see another living soul all day, you depend on no one but yourself for creativity, motivation and reward. At the same time, it’s a job that gives you an incredible amount of freedom, as well as the opportunity to express yourself, lead a meaningful life and leave behind in your art the essence of who you are and how you see the world.

So in summary join a critique group to find people who not only will help you develop your craft but also truly understand the trials, tribulations and exquisite joy of being a writer.

{For a snapshot of Dark Oil and a link to where to buy it, visit the Author Bookshelf page.}