Tag Archive | writing

A Writing Weekend at Kanomi

On Friday May 22 at 7:30am I boarded the ferry to North Keppel Island (Kanomi) along with a group of other writers, our tutors, island staff and our cook for the three days. Our accommodation was to be the North Keppel Island Environmental Education Centre. Our tutors were Dr Lynda Hawryluk and Professor Donna Lee Brien.

The morning sea was relatively flat which made for a pleasant trip to the island. Warnings that our trip home on Sunday afternoon would be very different, were concerning as I’m a terrible sailor. Fortunately I’d packed the travel sickness pills.

Our cabin, which I shared with my two friends Liz and Jenny and one other lady, was comfortable in a basic fashion. Two rooms each had two sets of bunk beds and another small  room had a single bed. The bathroom with shower and washbasin was very adequate, but the separate self-composting toilet occasionally made the nostrils twitch. We discovered, as long as the louvres were kept open, the air blowing through kept odours to a minimum. The beach was only a short walk behind the cabin and Jenny braved the water for a swim, but with a cold wind blowing for most of the time I decided to pass on that pleasure. IMG_1786 IMG_1784  IMG_1787

The theme of the workshops was Resilience for writers in regional areas and we participated in a number of interactive sessions that explored this theme. One session on Saturday afternoon was facilitated by local singer/songwriter Nicole Leah. We brainstormed ideas on three different themes which Nicole took away and wrote into a song. She performed the song for us at dinner that night, and the result was amazingly good. She is certainly a very talented lady.

On the Saturday morning a few of us skipped a workshop and spent a pleasant hour or two walking on the island. The Keppel Bay lookout was well worth the visit, along with pristine beaches and unspoiled forests. We returned to discover we’d missed seeing the island museum and the accompanying brief – to write a story from the perspective of the island’s original inhabitants, before the arrival of Europeans. Fortunately we were able to view the fascinating little museum at our leisure and found plenty of inspiration there for our stories.

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Over the entire three days we enjoyed good, hearty meals cooked fresh by our resident chef. With morning and afternoon teas included, we came away feeling as if we needn’t eat again for a while. Curlews wandered around the outdoor tables at meal times in search of scraps. It is of concern that they have forsaken their usual nocturnal habits because of our presence on the island.

On our return journey, the sea was as rough as predicted. With the help of my pills, I was a bit nauseous and glad to reach land, but nothing worse. Without them, I’m sure I would have been miserably ill!

I can thoroughly recommend this very affordable workshop, in a beautiful relaxing setting, to any interested writers. The workshops are a yearly event and have been occurring for over a decade.

Interview with Jane Carter

New rural romance author Jane Carter was going to participate in a recent blog hop, then realised she wasn’t ready. I said I would post something of hers once her book was released. So here it is:

Q1 – What am I working on?

1. High Country Secrets is set in the Monaro. Strong, grazing country, bald smooth hills and in the distance, the craggy outlines of the Snowy Mountain Range. There must be something in the air of the Monaro.  The animals have constitution and the people are tough and resilient.

Jessie is from an old grazing family.  Michael d’Larghi  is an entrepreneur- into farming and transport and various family businesses. His grandfather came out from Italy in the fifties to work on the Snowy Hydro Scheme.

Jessie returns home to introduce her new fiancé, Alan, to the family. But the first person she meets is Michael, who she remembers from primary school days…..

There is an open feel to the high country – like you’re standing on top of the world. Jessie and Michael just have to reach out and grab what they want. But secrets from the past are crowding in. Everyone these days has baggage – but how much can you take?

Q2 – How does my work differ from others in the genre?

I live in regional New South Wales, in the south.  That is quite different from Queensland or the outback. Goulburn is as different to Roma as the west of Scotland is to Bath.

No matter where they come from, country people share an understated calm and strength, a trust in each other, a practical outlook. Whether this comes from handling animals or the effect of the peaceful landscape on you, I don’t know. I do know I enjoy the feeling of space and not the crush of people around you. I felt a need to write about the country and the people I have come to love and know. So part of the difference is the area I write about.  The other difference is experience – forty years  in trucking and farming.  This experience means my perspective is different than others writing in the same genre.

q3 –  Why do I write what I write

I don’t know why I write what I write. It just pours out and I have very little say in it really. I am continually surprised by what I write. Sometimes my characters just take off and I go along for the ride. I find that is the secret. Once your characters are up and running they dictate what happens next.

 Q4 – How does my writing process work?

A writing process is not exactly the phrase I would use to describe how I write.  Noise. I like the television blaring. I can write with telephone conversations going on around me and mayhem.  Possibly my editor would say that explains a lot.  But I’ve always been a multi-tasker.

Writing also takes you to places you’ve never been to before.  So you just have to trust in the magic carpet and go along for the ride. I’m a pantser, so my ride is more rocky than most.

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How can you be in love with one man and violently attracted to another?

When Jessie Cranfield and Michael D’Larghi take the stage to sing together at a local fundraiser in their hometown, the last thing Jessie expects is the electricity between them. Not only has she not seen Michael for years but her fiance is sitting in the audience.

Michael is used to overcoming any obstacle in his path to achieve his goals. Now his goal is Jessie, the former girl-next-door from rural Cooma. 
But not even Michael can foresee that their attraction might uncover family secrets that could tear both their lives apart forever.

A Montague-Capulet war has nothing on the Cranfields and D’Larghis. Can Jessie and Michael risk falling in love, or is it too much for their families to bear?

Buy it now, for only $4.99.
http://momentummoonlight.com/books/high-country-secrets/

Jane Carter lives in Goulburn, NSW with her husband Richard. Raising five children, farming and helping to run a livestock transport business kept her busy until a few years ago when the last of the children left home and she started writing. Daughter of journalist, author and film maker Lionel Hudson this is perhaps not quite so surprising. She worked in films and television, before she was married. Forty years in the country has made her passionate about rural Australia and the people who make it unique. She enjoys her garden, particularly after rain, adores her grandchildren and anything at all to do with boats.

http://www.janecarterauthor.com/

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Who’s Tagging Whom?

I was tagged by romantic suspense author Sandy Curtis to participate in this blog. Sandy and I are are fellow Central Queenslanders (although to me the Bundaberg area is more like southern Queensland) and I first got to know her when she came to Emerald to present a workshop with the Queensland Writers Centre. Since then we have been occasional room-mates at RWA conferences.

Sandy Curtis is the author of six romantic suspense thrillers published in Australia and Germany. Her novels have been shortlisted in the Ned Kelly Crime Awards, and two have been finalists in the mainstream section of the Romantic Book of the Year Award run by the Romance Writers of Australia. She has won awards for her short stories, written a weekly newspaper column and monthly magazine feature articles, and organises WriteFest, the annual Bundaberg writers’ festival. Her seventh book, Grievous Harm, will be published by Clan Destine Press in late 2014 and she is currently writing her second women’s fiction novel.

www.sandycurtis.com

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And now I will attempt to answer the four questions:

Q1 What am I working on?

I’m writing another rural romance/dual timeline story, presently titled Morrison’s Road.

Holly Colter leaves her career in nursing to help her grandparents on their Queensland cattle property. But she hasn’t bargained on Jesse Kavanagh, the boy who broke her heart and ended up in trouble with the law, being back next door.

While doing her best to avoid Jesse and encouraged by her grandfather, she tries to uncover the truth about a murdered ancestor.

Mercy Forbes is shocked but hardly grief-stricken when she finds her abusive husband murdered. Sergeant Jake Morrison is determined to find the killer, despite his suspicions about Mercy and a growing attraction between them that threatens to undermine the case and his career.

Q2 How does my work differ from others in the genre?

The dual timeline sets my two latest novels apart from most others in the genre. Although this technique has been used in other rural romances, most are predominately set in the present day and rely on diary entries or similar to tell the historical story. Breakaway Creek and Morrison’s Road are two complete stories in one, interwoven together. They combine adventure and romance with a touch of suspense.

Q3 Why do I write what I write?

I grew up in an isolated environment on my parents’ cattle station and have a deep love of rural life and the Australian bush. I have written off and on since childhood and I’m never happier than when I’m living in my characters’ heads and my writing is flowing!

Q4 How does my writing process work?

Now that I have a publisher waiting for my next book, I’m finding it much easier to stay focused. I try to do my chores first thing and then write for a couple of hours, depending on what’s happening that day. It is impossible for me to always stick to a routine with farm life, my job at the local library, and volunteer work intervening.

Although I write a rough outline first, I am more of a pantser than a plotter, finding the best ideas always come to me as the story evolves.

Now I would like to tag Beverley Eikli.

  Beverley Eikli author pic

Beverley Eikli is the author of eight historical romances.

She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, a safari lodge manager in the Okavango, and an airborne geophysical survey operator on contracts around the world.

Beverley wrote her first romance at seventeen, but drowning her heroine on the last page was symptomatic of the problems she grappled with during her 23-year journey towards publication.

Recently she received her third nomination from Australian Romance Readers for Favourite Historical Romance with her suspenseful Napoleonic espionage Romance The Reluctant Bride.

Beverley teaches in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University, Melbourne. She also teaches Short Courses for the Centre of Adult Education and Macedon Ranges Further Education.

Beverley writes under the name Beverley Oakley for more sensual stories.

You can visit her website at: www.beverleyeikli.com and her blog at: http:www.beverleyeikli.blogspot.com.au

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My second author is Leisl Leighton.

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Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).

After starting a family Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl’s stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.

Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dog, Buffy, and likes to spend time with family and friends. She sometimes sings in a choir and works as a swim teacher in her day-to-day job. Her novels, Killing Me Softly (romantic suspense) and Dark Moon (paranormal romance) are out now with Penguin’s Destiny Romance.

You can catch up with Leisl at:

www.leislleighton.com, Facebook, Goodreads and on Twitter @LeislLeighton

Dark Moon is due out on March 15th.

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The third author I have tagged is Dean J. Anderson.

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I see exceptional within the everyday; I write because it is who I am.

Dean J Anderson began his professional writing career in 2008.

Living with his wife and son on the Central Queensland coast in Australia, Dean draws inspiration from striking local landscapes and everyday people. His transformation from avid reader to author is ongoing and one that has seen him come alive within the realms of Dark Urban Fantasy.

Dark Urban Fantasy is not a genre he set out to choose; he says it chose him.

Visit his website at www.deanjanderson.com.au

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Australia Day Award

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I felt very honoured to be nominated for two Australia Day awards in my local area, the Citizen of the Year and the Cultural Award. Another very deserving lady received the Citizen of the Year but I was thrilled to be presented with the Cultural Award.

This was awarded for my involvment in my local writers’ group, my assistance in compiling a local history and a non-fiction anthology, and of course, for writing and publishing my own novels.

I also received this award in 2004 so I feel it is a particular honour to be presented with it twice.