Tuesday, 20 September 2016


Hello fellow scribes!

It's the September/October school holidays in Oz, so I'm chilling at the beach. Hard to think about blogging, but I can't leave Crystal Collier's cover reveal up forever!

George Santayana said: "To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring." I don't know. We Aussies are hopelessly in love with every season except summer. In these days of global warming, it's just way too hot and we're sick of getting melanomas cut out! So at the mo', we're enjoying beautiful spring weather and that means the sun, surf and sand and relaxing.

I keep a special desk on the deck so I can ponder the Pacific blue.

So, after much pondering I came up with a post!

Book Titles.

We writers can be overprotective and pathological hoverers when it comes to book titles.

Okay. We’ve made the monumental effort of producing a book. Maybe the monumental effort of choosing the title is the final hurdle we have to jump over. 

Or maybe we think it’s no-one’s business but our own what we call our little darling.

If you’re traditionally published, a book’s title is subject to hot debate and sometimes you have little/no input. 

The creative and commercial worlds collide.

Usually, the commercial wins.

But I did a little research and found that history shows us that that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Here are a few title changes which should warm your heart, and help us to trust editors and others when they offer advice re the title of your baby.

  • The Jewboy became Whacking Off which then became Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint.
  • Jane Austen’s father submitted an early version of her second novel, First Impressions. It was rejected, only to re-emerge as Pride and Prejudice.
  • Jacqueline Susann’s They Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen became Valley of the Dolls.
  • How about 1984. George Orwell’s The Last Man in Europe doesn’t quite have the ring. Changing its name resulted in commercial success.
  • One of my favourite stories—the publisher Faber plucked Strangers from Within from the slush pile. With some masterful editing, it became Lord of the Flies. Say no more.
  • Margaret Mitchell's blockbuster Gone With the Wind was tentatively titled Tomorrow is Another Day.
Now if you’re self-published, as more and more of us are these days, you don’t have whole marketing departments, sales teams, book chains and publicity directors clamouring over your book, demanding the commercial title of their choice.

You may say, just as well. My title is sacrosanct.

Is it?

After reading some of the examples above, maybe we should pay closer attention to our titles and throw them out there for opinions other than our own.

What do you think?

In 2015 I dusted off a manuscript from 2010, a story which I’ve always thought of as The Perfect Silence of the Night. One night as I was creating in my head instead of sleeping, I had another title pop up (fired by Michael di Gesu’s blurb). So my paranormal romance which I self-published for Halloween last year (having not submitted it to any traditional publishers—maybe next time), has the new title—Under the Tuscan Moon. And I couldn’t be happier!

Now I'm pondering the title for my contemporary women's fiction/chick lit/women's fiction...whatever...

My working title has always been Carpe Diem. Then I began thinking, maybe not everyone knows that Latin saying...maybe they'll think it's about a special Catholic mass. Then I thought of adding Art and Love in Paris (the hero is an artistas a sub-title to replace Paris Never Leaves You. Then I thought of The Art of Loving in Paris, then decided that could be mistaken for porno or erotica. Hmm. Tricky things, titles.

I know you've got better things to do, but if you have a suggestion for my title, I hope you'll leave it in the comments.

I'm curious. Have you ever changed your book title? Had to run with one your publisher chose and you hated? Please tell us...

Thanks for stopping by. Would you believe blogspot had a glitch and I had to write this twice, so if it doesn't altogether make sense, that's because who likes to write a blog post twice? I mean, I'd rather be pondering how many shades of blue there are in the Pacific Ocean.

The October Write...Edit...Publish challenge is looming! There is a choice of themes: CONSTELLATIONS or HALLOWEEN, or if you're very, very clever, a combination of both! So get your little sci-fi, fantasy or horror brains around the next challenge. Linky goes up October 1! Should be a double hoot!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Crystal Collier is Timeless! #CoverReveal and #Blurb!

TIMELESS (#3 Maiden of Time) by Crystal Collier #CoverReveal

Book Title: TIMELESS (Maiden of Time #3)
Author: Crystal Collier
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical
Release Date: November 1, 2016


In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her Blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

Want the first chapter free? Sign up HERE.

Thank you for supporting our purple girl today by showing up. Here's to the success of Crystal's latest in her series.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

#IWSG post--is our writing ever good enough? There's help out there!

Aren't we all somewhat insecure about our writing? Well, duh, that's the whole point of IWSG!  I've never yet met a writer who wasn't stricken with self-doubt somewhere along the line. So a perfect antidote is to attend a masterclass with someone whose past students got published after attending her classes and many ended up on the New York Times Best-selling List. I could live with that!

Facebookers amongst us will know that I've been attending a Margie Lawson Immersion Class for 5 days, where 8 lucky writers who were the first to sign up spent 12 hours a day learning at the seat of the master editor and make-your-novel-amazing Margie from Colorado.

The mornings were spent learning how to make our manuscripts sing louder, through more visceral writing and amplification, and the afternoons were spent writing, analyzing our manuscripts and the biggie--one-on-one sessions with Margie.

Absorbing her edit system (which of course I can't share due to copyright) was the most awesome thing about the retreat, held in a gorgeous home in a leafy suburb of Brisbane. I also picked up 2 fab critique partners, both romance writers.

Margie has asked me to host an Immersion Class at our beach house in March '17. I'm considering it.

No, Margie didn't hire me as her publicist, but I'm so excited about what I've learned that I thought I'd share it for the #IWSG.

So I'll just share one example of mine with you. You have to have a ms under your arm when you turn up. I brought along my 45,000 word ms for 'Carpe Diem---Love and Art in Paris' (WORKING TITLE).  I never got further than a few pages with Margie as she was bursting her creativity all over those opening pages (and my major turning point). I went away from the one-on-one and rewrote my opening line...and my first two chapters several times.

Here's the opening line on my original ms:


The stranger props himself on a bar stool in front of me like he owns the place.

(cringe-worthy much?)


I watch the tall Frenchman push his way into Marcel’s Bar in Pigalle, Paris’s naughty end of town.

(After a session with Margie. Less cringe-worthy?)

Now, it still has room for improvement, of course, writing always does, but now that I've been Margie-fied, I have learned a few more ways to tempt the reader.

NOW after visiting other IWSGers, I see I was supposed to answer the question: how do I find the time to write in my busy day...well, lately I've been getting up early and writing for a couple of hours before anyone else wakes up...it's just me, my laptop and the sea view. Then I grab two hour sessions throughout the day. I'd say at the moment I'm averaging about six hours a day writing. That's what Hemingway did, and Dean Koontz does...

Thanks a whole bunch of koalas, Margie!

First Wed of Every MonthMargie Lawson's profile photo
Twitter: @margielawson
Facebook: Margie Lawson
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This has been a post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Go HERE to sign up or read more posts.

Visit the co-hosts!
C. Lee McKenzie,Rachel Pattison, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata! 

And a heads-up for the October Write...Edit...Publish. There is a choice of themes: CONSTELLATIONS or HALLOWEEN, or if you're very, very clever, a combination of both! So get your little sci-fi, fantasy or horror brains around the next challenge. More details soon! Should be a double hoot!


  • How about you? Have you attended a writers' retreat?
  • Do you know Margie Lawson?
  • Do you have any editing tips to share with us?

Monday, 29 August 2016

Poetry in Notion - Does poetry help us in times of need?

Hi all! 

Poetry is the go-to in times of need for many of us, but does it help? If we look at social media, yes, yes, yes.

After the Orlando massacre, Maggie Smith's poem went viral. It's not about Orlando per se, but about life being brutish and short--

"No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."
Thomas Hobbes.

A woman lights a candle during a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

Good Bones

Related Poem Content Details

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

 Events can seem too incomprehensible for ordinary language, so poetry can speak to us in precise language that fits the purpose.

It can be the language of defiance and protest, which is my favourite genre of poetry. I love poetry that packs a powerful message (who doesn't get Maya Angelou's Still I Rise?) -- 'you may trod me in the very dirt/But still, like dust, I rise,' as relevant today as when she penned it in 1978. Okay, most of us know and love that poem, but when Serena Williams went on *youtube to read Angelou's poem, it went viral.

In August last year, a Sydney activist for peace wrote an anti-racism poem then had to retreat due to the negative reaction. 

Second Earth
In another world
Just like this one,
Parallel to mine,
Is a life where I never met you.
And for that I am grateful.
Stella Smith (not her real name)

We have in our blogger-midst some amazing poets such as multi-published Nilanjana Bose who many discovered through the A to Z. I've known Nila since the world began, or close enough. She joined RomanticFridayWriters in 2010, now WEP. (She won the latest WEP challenge, GARDENS! with her amazing Point me to...) Her poems always blow my mind, so I asked her to share one with us which she wrote in the aftermath of the #ParisAttacks of 2015.

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All the world’s a war zone

The flowers dry, the candles burn;
both reach their ends. The world still turns.
The streets are full, the café chat
is about revenge, tit for tat,
air-strikes, mortal wounds, ground combat.
I cannot take in any of that.
I only know she won’t return.

Although each time the doorbell rings
my heart leaps once, instantly sings
then is brought to the days before.
She’ll never be back at my door.
The talk is thick with migrants, war,
how exactly to settle the score.
But I can’t relate to those things.

I just know that flowers dry rough,
that candles aren’t warm enough.
I just know my room’s gone cold,
my heart is shrivelled and grown old;
she’ll never again cross this threshold
whatever events might unfold.
That’s my truth, the rest’s just stuff.

 The old classicist, William Wordsworth said: '...thoughts ... often lie too deep for tears.' A good poet can help put those thoughts into words...

As much as we hate poetry, we really love it, don't we? Even when we don't understand it completely. It can make a thing of beauty out of ordinary things (even tennis!)

Thanks for coming by. I don't get to read much about poetry around the blogs so I've been thinking on this topic and shared my thoughts, random as they are. I think in the digital age, poets can fire off powerful words to encapsulate the horror, the capriciousness of life, the landscape of a world in turmoil. 

  • What's your take on poetry? Love it? Hate it? Indifferent?

Monday, 15 August 2016

#WEPff story, GARDENS challenge. The Coming of the Immortals

Hi all!

To write this entry for WEP, I was inspired by a Marlena de Blasi story set in Sicily , inspired by a poem by Matthew Arnold, and inspired by a Greek myth. 

There are many versions of the myth of Demeter and Persephone, so bear with me as I retell my version...with embellishments...

What forms are these coming
So white through the gloom?
What garments out-glistening
The gold-flower’d broom?
Matthew Arnold

Sicily has a long history which is seared into the minds of everyone who lives on this island, part of Italy, yet with its own stories, its own rhythms.

A road paved with sun-bleached stones and whorls of yellow sand leads to the top of the island. Reaching the top, you see a hamlet made of heaped-up stones, huddled in the cleft of a shaly mountain. Beneath, the ruins of a temple. Above the hamlet, a high plateau of wheat forms a bronze curtain. Down on the meadows, sheep and goats graze. The only water close by the hamlet is a metallic smudge where bleached sky collides with yellow earth. The only waves are the wheat with its shuddering golden stalks roaring like the sea and crashing in the goddess-blown winds. There are Stone Age myrtles, wild marjoram and thyme meandering the steep grades.

Life in the hamlet is the life lived for millennia. From time immemorial, nothing has been lost, forgotten or left to languish. Past and present congregate, living together in the harmonic song nature sings.

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Here you wander in the ruin of Demeter’s ancient temple. Demeter, the goddess of the Harvest, is responsible for the nourishment of all life-giving plants that grow on the earth. You can tramp amongst the great fluted columns as they lie supine, lustrous under the moon or glinting in the sun, while your feet bruise the wild thyme and marjoram and the air fills with their sweet, spicy scent. But if you look down, far below, you see a miraculous sight.

You see a meadow completely covered in the twining legume, purple vetch. Beyond that, you see acres of gardens amidst turrets and crenelated towers and Juliet balconies. But it is the roofs that catch your eye—the red and yellow porcelain tiles and mansard roofs set ablaze by a fiery sun. As you hurry down the hill, anxious to explore, the gaudy scent of roses and ripe oranges clog your nostrils. 

Pausing to breathe in the magical elixir, you are shocked to see hollyhocks. Hollyhocks do not grow in the desert, but hundreds and hundreds of their red satin blossoms line a winding stone path which leads to an ornate iron gate. You press against the gate and see astonishing sweeping gardens—roses of all hues, but predominantly ivory and white and butter cream. They energetically climb trellises, sprawl lazily in beds, spill and ramble and entwine wilfully. They are either a sun-struck illusion or…you have entered a fairyland.

It was here in these mountains that the Greek goddess of grain and fertility and motherhood once held forth. She does still. It was Demeter who illuminated the magic of sowing seeds beneath the earth, protecting them, feeding them, growing them into ripeness much as the seeds planted in the female womb grow to fruition.

Under Demeter’s will, the harvests flourished. She conjured the sun, the rain, the breezes at her pleasure. All was Elysium until it happened...

The grim king Hades had seen fair maids enough in the gloomy underworld over which he ruled, but his heart had never been touched. Now he was enchanted. Before him was a blossoming valley, and along its edge a charming girl gathered flowers. She was Persephone, daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest. 

Persephone had strayed from her companions, and now that her basket overflowed with blossoms, she was filling her apron with lilies and violets. Hades looked at Persephone and was smitten by an arrow to his heart. With one sweep of his arm he caught her up and drove swiftly away where she became the Queen of the Dead.

‘Mother!’ she screamed to the uncaring wind, while the flowers fell from her apron and strewed the ground. ‘Mother!’

But only the immortals heard her cries.

Persephone had been trapped in a beautiful, divine trap. The flowers had been planted to ensnare her. The flowers were the work of Zeus and put there for ‘a girl with a flower's beauty.’ The trigger for the trap was an irresistible flower with one hundred stems of fragrant blossoms. When Persephone reached out with both hands to pluck the flower, the earth opened at her feet and Hades roared forth in his golden chariot to seize her.

Demeter gnashed the sun, keeping the mountain villages and the fertile fields—and the world itself—in darkness until she made a pact with Zeus. This is what they decided. Half the year her daughter would be restored to her, half the year she would be with Hades in the underworld. With Persephone by her side, the goddess rekindled the sun and tipped warm rain down over the parched earth. For a season, the trees, plants and flowers flourished.

Then Persephone returned to Hades and the earth returned to darkness and infertility.

In Sicily this story is still told, with all the wonder and anguish of an event that only just took place. Allegiance to the goddess with the crown of woven corn husks never fades; each season she is remembered, especially at the time of Harvest.

868 words
CRITIQUE: Go for your life!

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Thank you as always for taking the time to read/skim/spot check my story! I hope you enjoyed my tale. If you like my story, please hit my buttons...social media buttons! 

So this week I'm attending a 5-day Margie Lawson Immersion Class on deep editing. Yummo! One busy August for sure.