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 and I'll add you to the draw.

Out Now, my novella... The Danger Game


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…

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… 


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 –
Facebook –
Twitter - @sweetlilprettie
Instagram – sweetlittlepretties

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


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.


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!