Monday, December 31, 2012

Its My Birthday New Years Giveaway

Happy New Year to YOU & Happy 41st Birthday To ME :D....


Leave me a comment telling me what happy thing you would like to happen in 2013 and you'll be in the draw for...

1st Prize: $10 Amazon Gift card
2nd Prize: Copy of The Danger Game (e-book)
3rd Prize: Copy of Drive Me To Distraction (e-book)

Comments are at the bottom of this post.
If the comments don't work for you (and I know sometimes they don't) please leave a comment on Facebook, tweet me or email me at caitlyn.nicholas@gmail.com and I'll add you to the draw.

Out Now, my novella... The Danger Game




Goodreads 

Out Now, my novel... Drive Me To Distraction




a Rafflecopter giveaway Entries in Rafflecopter that don't have matching comments won't be winning any prizes. Yes I have a list. Yes its easily checkable. Just sayin.

Friday, December 21, 2012

All about... 10% Inspired


Today I've got the very lovely CJ from 10% Inspired guest posting.  I was very excited to guest post on her blog a few months back...

First, the basics…
Who are you?  I'm Cassandra Wunsch, though my friends all call me CJ. Before I was married I was a Jones... it's amazing how fast having to spell out your last name gets old.

What occupies your time?  My passion has always been writing, I think it started because I liked the idea of something you could do no matter where you are... these days I just want to make a connection. I love it when people tell me that something I wrote touched them somehow. Made them laugh or cry or think...

Where do you live? I was born in NSW, but these days I live in Hobart, tassie. The temperature suits me better, and everything moves so much slower, which is good because I've never been very quick.

Who do you live with??  Right now my three bedroom house (plus shed) is crammed to the rafters. I live with my father, my husband, my two daughters (4 years and 1 month) and my sister-in-law. Hubby and I have just bought yet another house (our third) so we'll be living there by the time this interview gets posted.

Day job / other job?? I work casually for the Salvation Army in their stores in the Hobart area (when I'm not pregnant or on maternity leave that is).

Secret gifts / talents / hobbies Very few people who know me now know that I sang in the opening ceremony's of the Olympic and Paralympic games in Sydney.

Interesting stuff I’d like to know about you…

Tell me a story about your car / a car you loved??
My very first car I inherited from my nanna when she passed away. It was a one year old Mitzubishi Mirage – bright red. Most of the somewhat questionable things I did in my youth, I did in or around that car. Spontaneous 5 hour road trips to Orange and Queensland, 2am runs to the closest 24 hour maccas because I just HAD to have a cheeseburger. Here in Tassie, I don't need a car to get around, but in country NSW, that car meant freedom.

Fave thing to eat??
My 'signature' meal if you like, is scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. A bit of milk, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, onion and sliced olives, scrambled in with the eggs. All of that on toast topped with smoked salmon strips and grated cheese.

Tell me about your secret weakness…
Stationary!!!

Nitty Gritty at the end…

At the moment I write mostly for myself at 10% Inspired, but I also write articles for the Hobart Mums Network newsletter and the Tassie Tourism blog Think Tasmania.

Where can we find you… 

Blog: http://10percentinspired.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/10percentinspired?ref=hl

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How To Write A Novel: Part 1: The Preliminaries

Okay this is how I write a novel....

First, I spend a lot of time procrastinating 'thinking'.

I find Lolcats...

and Lexxie Couper's Geek Randomness Pinterest page help here.

Then, when I get bored / hubs cuts me off the internet I make a plan.

During all this 'thinking' time I have actually been 'thinking.'  So I've got some idea of what I'm going to write about.

  • Bra boys surfie type meets uptight journalist type (Dark Island Paradise - coming soon), 
  • Rich heiress gets knocked up by Special forces dude (The Grey Man - Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance) that kind of thing.

Where do I get my ideas from?

  • Sometimes there's an issue I want to write about - female working in a male dominated environment (Drive Me To Distraction). Hackers (The Bunker). Asylum seekers. Ancient Tibetan artefacts. Obesity. I'll research whatever has piqued my interest and characters and plots will flow from that.
  • Sometimes I'm just pottering about on the internet 'thinking' and come across something that sets off an idea, like the Wired article about cyber-war programs that inspired The Danger Game.
  • I don't like admitting to having a muse, but sometimes ideas appear from nowhere and beg to be turned into a story - interestingly these ones are often the least formed and the hardest to write

So, at this point I've also got the internal and external conflict between the couple sketched out, and, because I write romantic suspense, the adventure plot line thought through as well.

For example, in the Danger Game, (there's a great review HERE, which also outlines the plot) I started with this...
Heroine: Flick -  a very smart computer programmer, introvert, not a people person, lives at home due to serious family problems
Hero: Ben - an ex-army spy, loner but good with people, fractured family background he has escaped
Plotline - Flick's deadly cyber-war program is stolen, she has to get it back. Ben can help.

I use two structures to map out my novel depending on the length.

For short 50K or less stories I use a simple eleven chapter structure.  I'll talk about this structure as I go along as Jewels of Deception is 50K.

For longer 50 - 100K novels I use a more complex structure.  If you get hold of a copy of The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler it outlines the structure I use beautifully.   Here's an online summary of it.

In this early stage I use a lot of mind mapping and scribbling down of ideas which I then link together using my structural plan.

It ends up looking like this...
The Final Draft Plan
The first ones are never this neat
I then sit down and write something that bears some resemblance to this plan.

If I don't have the plan then I go off track, panic, write long irrelevant stories about sub characters which I then have to delete, and just get in a horrible mess.

But, I don't stick to the plan either.  Ideas pop up, characters change, I (in horrible moments of clarity) suddenly see plot holes so huge they would make any reader or reviewer throw my book at the wall, I realise my original story doesn't have the momentum or depth to get to 50K etc...

But I have to start with a plan.

Next up (on Saturday): Actual writing and why I use both Word and Scrivner

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Summertime and Nearly Christmas

Its summer holidays, the kids are underfoot, the weather can't decide if its going to be overcast and cool or eleventy billion degrees - so it usually does both in the same day, the tree is up and decorated, pressies bought, menu being decided, and its all coming together.

Though, given the awful news of earlier this week, a pall has been cast over Christmas for me.  I know it happened thousands of miles away, a different country, a different culture, but since I saw the first tweets in my tweet stream my heart broke.  We decided at the outset that for our girls there would be a media blanket.  If they hear about it, it'll be when they get back to school at the end of January, it won't be front and centre in the media, and hopefully we will be able to lessen the impact it will have.

I'd be interested in hearing what others have told their kids, especially ones still at school (mine broke up an uncivilised two weeks early - something I'm deeply glad about now).

I've never felt so protective of my girls, I can't let them out of my sight at the moment and keep getting in trouble for too many cuddles :)  I'm so appreciating spending time by the pool or having excursions to the mall or the beach.  Keeping the radio off means its non stop carols in the car, and no commercial tv means we're working through the backlist of kids movies. We're watching Despicable Me right now!

I've started my next novel.  Working title is Jewels of Deception, which I'm not entirely happy with, so expect it to change.  I actually haven't written anything new in the last year, I've spent the whole time editing! And I've still got 12 unfinished novels on my hard drive, so there's much editing to come. But I wanted to write something fresh and new.

I thought I'd blog about my writing process (expect tears, self doubt, loud young person music, and a lot of comfort eating, yes its going to be very messy).  My plan is to get 50K down by the end of January, and given that I've managed to write 2,500 words in a week, I should easily fail completely to reach that goal!  Oh I kid. You know I'm a goal obsessed Capricorn. (Kid, Capricorn, Goat, did you see what I did there?? No? You're not actually reading anymore are you...)

Sadly blogger still hates my photos. But I've managed to back up the entire blog now (all nearly 6.5 years) so hopefully I can start to get it sorted out soon.

Dont forget the sunscreen :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

All About... Sweet Little Pretties

This Friday Lisa who writes the wonderful blog Sweet Little Pretties, has come to visit!

First, the basics…
Who are you?  Lisa from Sweet Little Pretties
What occupies your time? Blogging, Sewing, Baking and a Full Time Job
Where do you live? Sydney NSW
Who do you live with?? Just me and my husband
Day job / other job?? Administration
Secret gifts / talents / hobbies... I love to collect Audrey Hepburn and The Very Hungry Caterpillar merchandise

Finish the sentence…
I love… to entertain my friends and family, bake, sew and read
I hate…  the weekends ending

What are you reading at the moment?? Is it good / bad?? I am about to start  reading Monica McInerney’s new book called The House of Memories – can not wait I am a massive Moinca McInerney fan

What frugal thing do you do?? Have you got a sneaky money saving tip??  I wouldn’t say I am frugal – but I do prefer to cook a meal from scratch  on the weekend than go out to a restaurant

Excellent recipe for me to try / Fave thing to eat?? So many excellent ones – but I do love mini quiches with different mixtures great for lunch boxes. Recipes are on the blog

Most amazing place you’ve ever been?  Disneyland! I have been lucky enough to go twice in just over 12 months and I would go back again in a heartbeat

Fave way to waste time?? Watching Seasons of TV – I could watch episode after episode and still feel the need to watch more

Tell me about your secret weakness… My secret weakness is fabric and wool – My stock piles are massive

Nitty Gritty at the end…

I blog about my love of craft,sewing, baking, reading and everyday fun. I love to share reviews and recipes and some of my crafting projects along the way and completed

Where can we find you…

My Blog – www.sweetlilpretties.blogspot.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/SweetLittlePretties
Twitter - @sweetlilprettie
Instagram – sweetlittlepretties

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Its a GIVEAWAY!!


I'm a December Escape Artist, and all six of us are having a Party.

To celebrate the release of The Danger Game and the other December Escape novels, we've teamed up and have giveaways for everyone.

Just answer this question and you'll be in the draw for a $10 Amazon gift card...

How much is The Danger Game on sale for??
Leave the answer in the comments.
Hint: Price below the cover pic

Then check out the other Escape Artists, listed below, and see what they've got for you.



ON SALE FOR $0.99



Flick likes computers. She’s good with them, and they do what she tells them, mostly. People, however, are more of a challenge.

But when a terrifyingly dangerous program is stolen, and her mentor killed, Flick finds herself on the run. The police are convinced she’s committed murder, and a sinister weapons developer will stop at nothing to force her to work for him.

In Ben’s line of work being suspicious keeps you alive. So when Flick turns to him, he quickly realises that she’s up to her neck in trouble and hasn’t fully realised the danger she is in. 

First he has to keep her safe, and then, together, they have to figure out how to save the world from an epic meltdown.



Rhian Cahill 


Bridget Gray 
Website  Blog  


Coleen Kwan


Jenny Schwartz 


Serenity Woods 

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Finest Interview Ever....

Curious about what I really like to shop for??  Wondering what I'd choose as my last meal??

Head over to Georgie Tyler's blog.  All will be revealed.

Confession Time: Christmas Freaks Me Out

I suspect I'm not the only one freaked out by Christmas, but would you believe its because its in Summer?? Yep even after thirty years living in the Southern Hemisphere it still does my head it.

Read the full story over at Everybody Needs A Little Romance
many many thanks for Cynthia for having me

Saturday, December 08, 2012

My Bum Broke Blogger

So it seems that putting a picture of my large behind climbing on a horse on blogger crossed some previously un-mentioned boundary and I am presently unable to post pictures without plastering them all over google+ first.

Am not sure if I should be proud or not :)

Anyway, I've spent much of the last week trying to sort the problem out, as well as being immersed in pre-release day fever, singing the national anthem repeatedly (last week of school, many ceremonies to attend) and contemplating the next 56 days in the house with my offspring. *hold me*

In a very pleasant surprise The Danger Game went live yesterday, and in an even more pleasant surprise it is rocketing up the Amazon charts.

You can buy it HERE or at your e-retailer of choice

If you do check it out, I'd love it if you could "like" the amazon page (button at the top of the page), and if you really really love me, click on the tags which are just below the author biography.  This helps keep it going upwards in the rankings.

Drive Me To Distraction is also going along nicely, but is in dire dire need of reviews and reader love.  If you've read it and liked it, please take a moment to leave a comment on Amazon or rate it on Goodreads.

Thank you :)

And, in case you were wondering, I can post that pic because its linking back to one already posted!




Monday, December 03, 2012

This post contains a Thing of Grace and Beauty

Took the kids riding this arvo.

Thought my view was going to be this...
Nice cuppa tea, supervising the kids riding lesson

But everyone else's view turned out to be this....
SOMEONE, Karen, persuaded me on a horse
Okay it didn't take much persuading
Trotted. Wasn't wearing a sports bra. Sadly there are no photos of that.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Plagiarism, I am doing it right...

Its Miss Nearly 7s birthday party today.  I am being lazy this year and letting Others take care of the work.  All I have to provide is a cake and lolly bags.

So at 8 o'clock yesterday morning the cake looked like this...

Started out like this at 8am
By the afternoon it looked like this. No small feat on a day that hit 34C with 70% humidity (meaning it 'felt' like 46C according to the weather people). I had the oven running for over an hour.  Not fun.
And by the afternoon looked like this
I confess I plagiarised the idea for the decoration from the lovely Rachel Johns. I know she wont mind!
The Awesome cake that Rachel John's made
My cake is a red velvet cake - which was by request from Miss Nearly 7, otherwise I would've totally gone the rainbow interior. Love those cakes so much :)

Thanks for the idea Rach!

Friday, November 30, 2012

And I have a cover...

A release date (10th December) and now a cover for The Danger Game.

At the start of this I never would've believed that I'd have two stories out by the end of the year. But now its all starting to get a bit real...

Its m'cover!

Yesterday I posted the first six sentences, so today I'll add another six...



“It’s your last chance with the Vice Chancellor.”
“I said I’d be there.” Flick didn’t bother to hide her irritation. “I just won the man a million-dollar grant, what more does he want?”
“Your bubbly and fun personality?” There was amusement beneath Andy’s sarcasm.
Flick snorted. “All right. Okay. I’m leaving now.” She growled the words, and hit the off-button on her phone.
They both knew she lied.
She dropped the phone onto the desk. Then, scowling, she clicked on the icon that’d run the Bellona program. It crashed instantly, and took the computer with it.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Danger Game: A Sneak Peek

News just in... The Danger Game will be released on 10th December.

Early Christmas present for me!  I'm so excited about this novella.  It's been one of those stories that just came together from the minute I sat down to write it.

Here's a sneak peek of the first six sentences...


“It’s your last chance with the Vice Chancellor.”
“I said I’d be there.” Flick didn’t bother to hide her irritation. “I just won the man a million-dollar grant, what more does he want?”
“Your bubbly and fun personality?” There was amusement beneath Andy’s sarcasm.


Out in just a couple of weeks :)


Friday, November 23, 2012

All about... Dannie

This Friday we have Dannie, visiting. From a Dose of Dannie... 

Who are you?
I am a 41 year old, addicted coffee lover, Ex dance teacher of (Ballet and Spanish Flamenco) Mum, blogger, wife, carer all rolled into one tight ball!
I have 3 children well 2 are now Adults *sigh* they all drive me bonkers.
Also in this mad family is three green tree frogs and 1 kelpie cross daxon.

What occupies your time?
Being a carer and blogger is more a full time job.
Doing loads of errands.
I look after my husband who has MHE (bio synthesis) High function adult autism

Where do you live?
I live in Melbourne a rather quiet suburb in the bayside area (only 15 mins to the beach)

1. Finish the sentence…
I love… being happy to my full potential each day as it comes and what the day brings to me
I hate… is a strong word but I’d say these ~liars, people who try and manipulate you, and users

2. Tell me a story about your car / a car you loved?? 
 Well my list is way to long let’s just say I have been in 2 major horrific accidents . Hence I do not drive never wanted to after them (they happened 20 yrs ago) Happy to walk everywhere and get transport.

 3. I’m a bit of a weather nerd. Tell me about your preferred type of weather?? 
 Well silly I am a winter baby (that’s right end of june) Loath the cold just can’t tolerate it at all. Love love the Summer heat anything above 25 is great . Anything above and beyond 30+ even better. 

4. What are you reading at the moment?? Is it good / bad?? 
 don’t read a lot I know but I have a few books on my night stand (been their for months) You can say I am not much of a bookie worm, should be as I always had my face in one when I was younger?! 

5. Share your meal plan (for the day or week) ??
Well thanks for asking Every Monday I do A Monday Menu planning with A Dose of Dannie and it has a blog hop with linky it’s open for the week and is on every Monday from 7am. Make sure I see you there next week .

6. Most amazing place you’ve ever been? 
I have been to many places here in Melbourne and overseas. I don’t have any favourites really cos I love them all *sigh*

7. Fave way to waste time?? Um being on Facebook, pinterest, instagram Twitter for too long lol. 

8. Tell me about your secret weakness… Chocolate and wine oh and hand bags! Yep

9. Tell me about your greatest strength… 
I have achieved most things I’ve wanted to do, and really, have 1 thing left to study / do  - a course in social working and helping the Melbourne street kids/Melbourne City mission/Front yard

Thanks so much for having me Guest post

BLOG ~ http://www.adoseofdannie.com
FACEBOOK~ www.facebook.com/doseofdannie
TWITTER~ www.twitter.com/dosedannie

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Danger Game

At the start of 2012 I set myself a writing goal. To get one of my stories contracted.  It was my return to publishing after a bit of a break, and I didn't want to over-do it - I'm well experienced in how stressful getting a book out into the market place can be.

Of course I forgot about the whole be careful what you wish for part of wishing for things.  And thus find myself at the end of the year with one newly minted story out there and another following just weeks behind.

Woo!
Escape Launch: Amy, Kat, Cait, Charlotte and Sophie
Me, at the Escape Publishing Launch
With some very lovely ladies
Now you may have seen me talking about my 'December Release' but only quietly. This was because I was sworn to silence until the Escape Publishing Launch last Wednesday. BUT at the launch (where we were NOT talking about work, honest) it was mentioned that we needed a new name for my 'December Release.' We've had a bit of back an forth over the name, but now, finally I can announce that the story you may have seen mentioned as Dark Moon Rising is now....

The Danger Game

Reason for the change? Dark Moon Rising sounded like it should have were-wolves in it.
The Danger Game does not have any were-wolves, no vampires, no shape shifters, not even a passing fruit bat.  No, but it does have an adorable geeky heroine named Flick, and a smouldering sexy hero called Ben.  A rogue cyber-war program, a dastardly baddie, and a pervy chap called Liam.

The final release date is going to be confirmed in the next few days, and the cover will be revealed any day now as well :) I do know that its going to be out in early December.

Woo indeed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas? Again? Didn't We Do That Last Year?

Carols blasting in shopping centres, daily agonising on facebook... "there's only XX days to go..."  Mother daughter craft afternoon at school. Yes it seems that Christmas is creeping up on us again.
Miss 8 made all this
I sat and watched, sipping tea
Not once did I interfere - except the few times when asked for help, of course
IT NEARLY KILLED ME
I have, once again, found refuge and sanity with The Organised Housewife.  Check out her Organise Yourself A Merry Little Christmas series.  After you fall to the floor weeping at actually seeing all the things you've got to organise in the next few weeks, then crawl into a corner and stay there for a few hours, rocking slightly and sipping wine... after you've done that, you can start making lists, thinking stuff through, organising budgets and gift ideas, it brings a sense of calm and control.

Or maybe that's just me.

I've got lists, I've got excel spreadsheets, I've even got a folder. Yesterday (a day of pure insanity which involved Miss 6 being sent home from school with a sandfly bite on her eyebrow, and culminated in me being abroad a horse for the first time in seven years) er, I digress... Yesterday I spent three hours in Westfield, buying mini candy canes, sorting out gifts for more distant family, teachers and so on, organising advent calendars and activities, and took care of many of those little jobs that snowball into a massive workload if you let them.

Today I'm off to Bunnings and to pick up the girl's pressies, which I got for a steal on ebay.  School holidays commence in two and a half weeks, and hopefully, by then, the worst of the planning and shopping will be over.

How about you? How are you doing?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Less Books, Less Books...

We had a bookshelf collapse.  Its happened several times before, and isn't surprising given the quality of the bookshelf (so very very low) and the weight of the books.  I have been ignoring it for a few weeks now, but yesterday the time had come to do something about it.
Third shelf down gave up the ghost
I've cataloged the books I've read online for many years.  Originally with LibraryThing, we had a parting of ways when they deleted my book list, and now I'm a big fan of Goodreads.  Yes, call me fickle.

The iPhone version of Goodreads has a book scan app, so you can scan the barcode of your book and import it into your Goodreads account.  So as I removed my books, sadly adding many to my Donate To The Library pile, I was able to make sure their memory will live on in my Goodreads account.
Donations to the Library
The books in the house are getting fewer and fewer.  I read so much on my kindle now.  Its good, furniture wise (the shelves are less likely to collapse), there is less clutter and less dust.  I've still kept all my old friends, up on the top shelf.  Read so many times they're falling to bits.
Neat and tidy and with a  lot less books
I couldn't believe how many books had Borders stickers on the back.  80% if not higher.  There are few bookshops here on the Upper Upper North Shore now that Borders are gone, and only one tiny one in Hornsby Westfield.  I'm told reliably (by Kat at BookThingo) that out in the Western Suburbs its even bleaker.

Interesting too, that Sydney is the largest city in the country.

I'm a big fan of digital. Obviously.  Cost wise and convenience wise you cannot beat it.  But even though I'm a digital author it still irks me that there are no wonderful bookshops nearby where I can let the kids loose in a huge kids section and let them find the books of their hearts, the way I found mine.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dreaming of a Turret (with missiles)

I don't write well at home.  There's always so much to be done. Cooking, cleaning, washing to be washed or folded etc, etc.  I also don't have a desk.  My workspace consists of my lappie and a notepad.  It moves around the house with me, from kitchen table to rocking chair to couch.

I dream of the day I have a turret. I will stay up there and never come out. It will also have a laser-guided missile system to take care of any intruders and the skateboarders across the road. (Pew, pew, pew).

Oh yes.

As I do not yet have my turret it means that if I actually want to get anything done, then I have to escape the house and find a place where I can sit and plug in the lappie.  My favourite spot has been, for years, Hornsby Westfield food hall.  It has free Maccers wifi and there is one power point in the whole place. I have to occasionally fight the one-armed lightbulb changing guy for it.  But mostly if I'm early enough I can get my tea and get on with business.

But of late, things have not been going to plan.  Others have discovered my powerpoint, and seem to think they're somehow entitled to use it. Even worse, if I'm already here they sit nearby and glare at me like its Their powerpoint.
As if.
With 39 days to go Christmas hysteria has arrived and Westfield is blasting carols over the pa system, which, I cannot imagine gets anyone in the festive mood OR makes them buy more, but Centre Management seem to like it.
Silent Night... Holy Night...
Security have moved the guy who had his hands down his pants, but now he's been replaced by a guy singing hymns with his headphones on.  AND I can hear him and the Westfield carols over Call Me Maybe on full volume....

I'm just not feeling the welcome like I used to.

Sigh.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thankful For Books Giftcard Giveaway

Welcome to the Thankful for Books giveaway.

To celebrate the release of my book, Drive Me To Distraction, I've got three $10 Amazon giftcards to give away.


MacCameron has an agenda. He wants Alex in his bed, and he wants her to help him exact revenge on his sworn enemy, Robert Dryden. He is only too happy to lend her what she needs, but the strings attached form a tangled web from which Alex has little hope of escape.
It’s not all bad. Since she was a girl Alex has had one dream: to become a Formula 1 driver and show the boys how to drive a race car. MacCameron’s money gives her a shot at fame, and in a move that scandalizes the F1 racing fraternity she becomes the new driver for Rob Dryden’s struggling F1 team, Prometheus.
Alex tries to keep her distance from Rob, knowing that one day she will need to betray one of the few people who ever had faith in her. But things begin to unravel when Hamish MacCameron is murdered and she and Rob are the top suspects on the list …

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009VTIGWU

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009VTIGWU

Booki.sh https://booki.sh/titles/9781743340929

iBookstore https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/drive-me-to-distraction/id561591060?mt=11

Kobo http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Drive-Me-to-Distraction/book-UZHkKiqVv0qCEupMU0m2pg/page1.html



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 09, 2012

All About... Cathryn Hein

Today upon the blog we have the very lovely Cathryn Hein guest posting.

First,the basics…
Who are you?  Australian romance author, mad keen but inept golfer, and die-hard Sydney Swans supporter.

What occupies your time?  Writing. And getting drunk on the power that comes from playing god with my characters’ lives.

Where do you live?  Melbourne, but only for two more months. Then it’s off to the outer fringes of Sydney for me.

Who do you live with??  My partner of 20 years. What a hero to put up with me for so long!

Interesting stuff I’d like to know about you…

1.    Finish the sentence…
I love… Restauranting! (and the Sydney Swans)
I hate… People that don’t pick up their dog’s poo!

2.    Tell me a story about your car/ a car you loved?? 

I used to work for a pasture seed company and spent a lot of time driving around the countryside. One time, after a field day, I decided to take a short cut home via a really steep logging track. It was rough and isolated, but it was nearing 5 o’clock on a Friday and the route cut close to an hour off my driving time.

About halfway down I blew a tyre. With nowhere to stop safely, I nursed the car to the bottom of the hill and set about changing the tyre, only to find the wheel nuts were done up so tight I couldn’t get the rotten things off. Naturally, I had no mobile signal, which left me no choice but to wait for someone to come along.

About ten minutes later, much to my joy, a car appeared so I waved it down then wished I hadn’t as out hopped this barefoot, Stubbie shorts and torn singlet-wearing hairy bloke who proceeded to grin at me with what I thought was rather slobbery excitement.

Despite my protests that all I needed was the nuts undone, he insisted on changing the tyre for me. I was so freaked out I spent the entire time standing twelve feet away from him with my tyre lever clutched in my mitt ready to smack him one. Poor man actually turned out to be a nice, if slightly odd, bloke who probably thought I was the unstable one. That’ll teach me to be such a judgmental cow.

But the incident frightened me enough that afterwards I always carried a length of pipe to fit over the tyre lever for extra leverage.

 3.    I’m a bit of a weather nerd. Tell me about your preferred type of weather?? 

I used to adore winter, and I still have a soft spot for a good stormy night where we can nest inside eating something rich and casserole-y and glug red wine, but these days I’m a complete sucker for the tropics. Hot is good!

4.    What are you reading at the moment?? Is it good / bad??

I’ve just finished Gilian Flynn’s Gone Girl, which was brilliant, so now I’m reading the first draft of my crit buddy’s new book. About 20% in and loving it.

5.    What frugal thing do you do?? Have you got a sneaky money saving tip??

We bought one of those entertainment books, full of restaurant discount vouchers. Fantastic thing! We love to eat out and it’s saved us a lot, plus we’re trying restaurants and going to locations we probably wouldn’t have otherwise bothered with. It’s been great fun.

6.    Do you do something awesome to save the planet 

Um… I don’t have a car, so I walk, cycle or catch public transport.

7.    Most amazing place you’ve ever been? What made it so amazing?? Have you got a pic?

Hmm. I’m not sure I can choose. Every place is amazing in its own way but Venice was breathtaking. We visited in November,when it was freezing, but being outside of tourist season it was wonderfully quiet. The gondola ride we took close to sunset was an absolute highlight. I know it’s a terrible cliché but it really was incredibly romantic. I still sigh at the memory.

8. Tell me about your secret weakness… 

Cherries. They are my absolute favourite fruit and it’s nearly the season for them. Ooh, the excitement!

Nitty Gritty at the end…

Cathryn's latest book is Heart of the Valley.


Brooke Kingston is smart, capable and strong willed some might even say stubborn and lives in the beautiful Hunter Valley on her family property. More at home on horseback than in heels, her life revolves around her beloved ‘boys,’ showjumpers Poddy, Oddy and Sod.

Then a tragic accident leaves Brooke a mess. Newcomer Lachie Cambridge is hired to manage the farm, and Brooke finds herself out of a job and out of luck. But she won¹t go without a fight.

What she doesn’t expect is Lachie himself a handsome, gentle giant with a will to match her own. But with every day that Lachie stays, Brooke’s future on the farm is more uncertain. Will she be forced to choose between her home and the man she’s falling for?

A vivid, moving and passionate story of love and redemption from the author of Promises.

Out now from Penguin Australia.
Where can we find you…



Monday, November 05, 2012

Spending the Weekend at GenreCon

Over the weekend I was at GenreCon, which was a conference for writer's of genre fiction - ie, romance, sci fi, fantasy and horror.  A more diverse group of people you could not hope to find.  It was the first conference of its kind I've been to (ie, not strictly romance), and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Sarah Wendell (SmartBitches), Paula Roe and Tima Lacoba
Yes its the only photo I took that wasn't black
I suck at photos
Love Paula's ring though ;)

I wasn't there on the Saturday, was busy at home, digging house out of weeks of accumulated junk and interacting with my children. They've grown quite cute since I spoke to them last, that'd be about two months ago now. Oh I kid. I do talk to them, I know them so well that I've never picked the wrong ones up from carline, not ever.

The highspot of the conference, aside from meeting up with loads of awesome people, was the agent talk from Ginger Clark, who works for the US arm of Curtis Brown.  Agents are having to evolve and redefine their roles almost as quickly as the publishing industry is. It is a time of huge change for them.  Ginger clearly relished the challenge of the changes and was actively taking on projects which were not part of a traditional agent portfolio.

  • It's never been harder to sell a new author.
  • Main changes: Advances are dropping and publishers want more rights in their contracts, but royalties are staying about the same.
  • New pitfalls in contracts which she has to negotiate around...  'Print' does not mean the same as 'book'
  • We all want Ginger as our agent now because... "I do great deal with editor & we're all happy then they send me to contracts Dept and we go at each other with knives."
  • Ginger is working with some clients who are self-publishing because some distributors (with reach into more sales points) will not deal direct with authors - for example, audible offers audio services for authors who hold their own audio rights, but will only deal with agents/publishers
  • Her final words of advice were... Persevere. Keep writing. You will eventually write the breakout book. It's the only thing that you can control. 
The blog tour is continuing. Many thanks to everyone who has hosted me...

Friday, November 02, 2012

A Novel Surprise

Phew! Yesterday was busy and wonderful. Drive Me To Distraction is out there, and my mother has bought a copy so at least I've sold ONE!!

The blog tour is continuing.  I've got a give-away happening over on the Australian Romance Readers Blog, you just need to leave a comment :)  And I'm on the Romance Australia blog today, with an in-depth interview as well... my favourite bit...
At home I cook: under duress. I used to love cooking. I even wanted to be a chef once. But then I had a child who yells YUCK or SPEW at every single thing I put on the table, and after seven years it’s sucked the joy out of it all.

Sad but true.  You can also find out what my favourite book was as a child, and if I'm a plotter or a pantser :)

But, you say, none of this is a 'novel surprise'...

Well, the next book I'd planned to write is a Australian based cyber terrorists take over the world type story, with our feisty heroine saving the day, assisted by our warm hearted but dangerous hero.  Going to be called Running With The Hunted.

Last year, as regular readers know, was shit. To put it nicely.  Dealing with Miss 6s aspergers diagnosis and my Grandfathers slow agonising demise made for long stressful months.  I had started Running With The Hunted, but come across a plot snafu (in which the Australian army ended up fighting itself - don't ask, it was ridiculous and its being deleted!) and let it go.  Instead I turned my attention to writing a couple of novellas over the Christmas break.

I'd thought I'd written about 20K before I got to the plot snafu.  And so, when I happened to click on the folder (when I was having a file re-arrange and Not Editing Things as I should've been) I was a bit stunned to see there were 19 chapters.  Yep. 19.

On further investigation I found I had 77K words down. I have no memory of writing them at all.  Yes. That is how stressed I was last year. It says it all.  I'm reading it through now, its like re-reading a very familiar book. Rather weird.

So it looks like I've got another full length novel to get editing.  What with getting Drive out there, The Bunker ready for submission, plus some work I'm doing on one of my novellas (Dark Moon Rising) I've not sat down and written anything new since the end of January.  And with all these people doing NaNoWriMo at the moment the urge to start a new story is overwhelming (it'll be called Fat Chance, see I have the name).

But the house is a mess, one of the bathrooms smells like a mixture of dead possum and drains, and I've turned into Mrs Porky of Porksville from sitting on my large bottom for so many hours.  Its time to do a little less working and a little more life balancing I feel.

Watch this space (you just know I'm going to be eating those words).

Thursday, November 01, 2012

It's Release Day. Anxiety attack in 3... 2... 1...

So here I am. Release day for Drive Me To Distraction.  My book is out there in the world, dear lord I hope someone likes it :)

I have a massive number of people to thank.  First on the list is my husband, Nic.  Who supports me with endless cheerful patience.  He also reads and re-reads chapter after chapter, turns my heros into real men and is excellent at giving an honest opinion.  "No man, NO man would ever say something like that -" is the phrase I hear most!

Next on the list has to be the crew a Momentum Books.  I cannot describe their positive and unwavering support.  Joel and Mark in particular. Mark who picked Drive out of the slushpile and became its champion (and is a font of marketing advice), and Joel who took a chance on Drive (and is endlessly patient with overtired and over sensitive authors.)  The rest of the Momentum people who've worked on Drive deserve huge thanks as well, the editors, both here and overseas, the proof readers the copy editors, and everyone else who has read and helped polish it.  Even the authors don't see how much work you all do.

And then there are friends.  Lyndel my most stauch supporter, Georgie Tyler who is willing to listen to me rabbit on about writing for hours, all the girls in Mother's Group (who are willing to listen to me rant on about pretty much everything). The community at school, family, friends, neighbours, all of whom are endlessly interested and positive.

I thank you all.

So its available now on ibooks and will be available on Amazon at around 4pm our time (midnight in the US)

If you love it, please let me know, and if you've got time it'd be awesome if you could rate it on Amazon, Goodread or ibooks.

AMAZON

 IBOOKSTORE (IPHONE, IPAD, IPOD TOUCH)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

10% Inspired

First up a big thank you to the guys at SquareSpace.  Despite hurricanes, flooding and generator failure they've managed to keep CaitlynNicholas.com and 1.4 million other webpages like it online. Story Here.  I suspect its just one story amongst thousands, of people in the path of Hurricane Sandy going above and beyond the call of duty.

So today's visit on the blog tour is at 10% Inspired

Thanks for having me CJ :)

Where I've been...
30 October: Dose of Dannie