Wednesday 29 July 2015

Making your settings spectacular so setting becomes a character.

Hi  there!

I've been hooked on settings ever since I read the contraband Mills & Boon romances handed to my sister and I in a big cardboard box by a romance-struck aunt and stored under our bed for our reading pleasure. Being 12 years old, and already an avid reader, I devoured them for their exotic settings--truly! These little stories took me to the Greek Islands, the Isle of Capri, and Spanish haciendas--firing up my insatiable urge to travel which remains a strong motivation to jump on a plane any time I have a free few weeks.

Over at Write...Edit...Publish today I've posted about Spectacular Settings, our first prompt since Yolanda Renee and I jump started the bloghop. I'm hoping to fire up minds with the importance of settings in stories--of course we need all the other givens--plot, characters, conflict etc. My favourite stories are those where the setting is so well done it becomes a character...think Maycomb County for a start...more on Maycomb and To Kill a Mockingbird over at WEP.

Thanks for stopping  by. Click here to go to WEP. We'd love you to think about joining us on August 19! The sign up will be posted on August 1!!

  • Is setting important to you when you write or read stories?
  • Do you rock at setting, or do you struggle with it?

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Want to read exceptional books for free? Self-publishing with IngramSpark. Some writing advice from Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project.

Hi there!

Here are some of the things I've learned recently. Perhaps they won't be new to you, but they are things I haven't seen talked about much/ever on the blogs.


If you're an avid reader/reviewer like me, buying books can break the bank, so who doesn't look for a way to save money? Don't get me wrong, I love to buy blogger books and those special books by favourite authors that sit proudly on my bookshelves and get read more than once, but there are many books that are available to try before you buy or...don't.

I first came across NetGalley when I was roaring to read a new book which hadn't yet been released in Australia, so the author pointed me to NetGalley.  That book was in my hands, er, on my Kindle, in a flash.

What's it all about? Well, you have to fill out a form, implicitly agreeing to review or post on your blog etc about the book you read for free in e-book form. That's no hard ask. So you request titles as you see them -- they send emails of recent releases (example below) -- then you read and when you get around to it, review somewhere. You can also ferret through their copious lists anytime. They'll all be fairly recent books, not old titles.

Just today I requested the latest from Pulitzer Prize winning author, Geraldine Brooks called The Secret Chord, and a steamy romantic suspense by Michelle Somers, Lethal in Love. Some titles are more readily available for readers in certain countries, so both of these titles favour Australian readers, so I might be in with a chance.

Don't be shy! They want readers!


Okay, so I'm thinking of self-publishing a romance series set in various locales -- Paris, Italy, Australia, then themes -- war etc. I've certainly written enough stories to keep me publishing for some time! There's so much out there about self-publishing my brain hurts, but I clicked when I read this guest post on C. S. Larkin's blog by the wonderful Jessica Bell.

I hadn't heard of Ingram Spark. Have you? Looks like they are a real possibility with the exceptional reach they have, releasing your book practically everywhere books, both print and ebook, are sold.


I read a chat with Graeme Simsion, the author of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, both best sellers. His advice to budding writers was:

"Work hard. Seriously. It's a profession, and you wouldn't want someone operating on your brain with the experience level of some writers who expect to be published. There are more jobs for brain surgeons than successful writers.
And...from the start of your writing career, write for publication--essays, short stories, whatever. If you get published, it'll help your credibility when you go looking for an agent or publisher for The Novel. It'll make you finish things to the best of your ability instead of saying 'good enough'. And you'll get the thrill of publication and of writing complete pieces as you learn. It'll keep you going."
Here is a link to a Writer's Digest article where debut novelists tell their individual stories.

Of course, I can't do a post these days without mentioning Write...Edit...Publish (WEP). I'm pretty excited to be getting this online writing community up and running again with blogger bud, Yolanda Renee. Our next post is all about Flash Fiction. Goes live in a couple of hours. Be sure to catch it. It'll help you to get that writing brain in gear, so you'll be all set on your road to publication.

  • Do you use Net Galley?
  • Have you used Ingram Spark? 
  • Any goss to share?

Thursday 16 July 2015

Let's get this party started! WEP is back! Fire up your imagination for the first challenge!

Hello everyone!

Those of you who came by and caught the #6 Sizzling Tips for Writing Memoir, I thank you. If you have a memoir in you, I hope you found Karen Tyrrell's tips useful. I'll be filing them away for the future.

Now those of you who know me, probably know that I began and co-hosted two online fiction writing groups--RomanticFridayWriters and then WEP (Write...Edit...Publish). These online groups have been successful launching pads for several of our participants--so many have gone on to publish multiple novels, short stories and flash fiction. 

WEP closed down because it just got too much for one person, but thankfully, Yolanda Renee, known to most of you, has agreed to join with me and to breathe new life into this favourite permanent bloghop. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, go here for further info. published today. Our first challenge is on August 19th. The inLinkz sign up will go live on August 5th. Don't worry. There'll be plenty of reminders!

Our first challenge will be Spectacular Settings. This challenge allows a wide scope of responses, from sharing a spectacular setting from a favourite novel or a non-fiction tome, to a poem that brings you right into the setting, or a photograph or artwork that speaks to you of setting. You are also invited to write/post your own 'setting' piece in whatever genre you choose! OPEN TO ALL!

Here is an extract from today's WEP post:


Why do we feel so passionately about running an online writing challenge group? Let's try to put our passion into words...

Writing prompts are designed to help us start writing. And I don't just mean fiction. You may be a poet, a creative non fiction writer, an essayist. It doesn't matter. Sure, most who accept the WEP challenge write either flash fiction or poetry, but all writing is creative. Many creative writers use prompts every day to get into the writing groove. Some call these exercises free writing. Once they've jump-started their writing, they often move on to their WIP, energised. 

Not that anyone here suffers from writer's block, but just say you did, a writing prompt can hasten the return of your muse. Sometimes when nothing else works, a writing exercise will! 

The best part of writing challenges such as we host here at WEP, is that your entry could be edited, rewritten, transformed into a longer piece, a short story, or even a novel. Many of us have had this experience. And it all started with a writing challenge, a very powerful tool.

Often someone leaves a comment about how we have improved as a writer with each challenge. It's true. We learn our craft by writing to prompts and editing for clarity and a word limit. Sentence structure, paragraphing, punctuation, grammar, dialogue...all can be improved in this little writer's laboratory.

When you write a story with a beginning, middle and ending in only 1,000 words, well, it's called a challenge for a reason. Cutting, tightening, and rewriting until only the meat of the story remains, is a skill your editors will appreciate. 

Here are our three challenges for what remains of 2015.

We hope you find something that fires up your imagination.

  • Thanks for coming by today. If you have further questions about the online writing group, contact myself or Yolanda or follow the link to WEP and read all about it!

We'd love it if you would Tweet one of these:

#WEPFF 2015 Challenges and dates are now up join the WEP Flash Fiction Challenge  @DeniseCCovey &@YolandaRenee  

#WEPFF The first Challenge is Spectacular Settings – join the fun on August 19 believe.html  @DeniseCCovey &  @YolandaRenee

#WEPFF Winners badges designed by Denise are Perfection! Join the WEP to win at  @DeniseCCovey & @YolandaRenee

Tuesday 14 July 2015

#6 Sizzling Tips for Writing Memoir. Award-winning memoir author Karen Tyrrell shares the how with us.

Hello everyone!

Writing a travel memoir is on my list. How about you? Want to write about events in your life? Creative non fiction? 

Memoir writing has its own guidelines, so today I invited Australian award-winning memoir author and friend Karen Tyrrell to share with us. Karen is a Brisbane award winning author of 5 resilience books, winner of 3 awards and 3 grants.  Karen writes memoir, self-help  and empowering books for children. 

#6 Sizzling Tips for Writing Memoir

  1.  Start at a pivotal point in your life. Make your writing dramatic, cinematic and intriguing. Connect with your reader on an emotional level so the reader is hooked and wants to find out more.
  2. Reveal your personal story, warts and all via your thoughts (in italics), dialogue, prose and action. Be emotional, honest and open. Reveal the dark water underneath.
  3. Write in scenes, based at different times and places. Only include gripping intriguing scenes which bring your story forward. Only include VIP ‘characters’ who add to your story. Delete the rest.
  4. Consider which viewpoint to write from. A younger more naive self or the older and wiser you, looking back on your life.
  5. Be aware of legal considerations. Be careful not to reveal names, times and places which might get you sued.
  6. Answer every question and every line of intrigue that is asked in your book to satisfy your reader.  

Good Luck J

Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness, - written from two viewpoints, narrates my downward spiral into insanity and how I clawed my way back.
Me and Him: A Guide to Recovery, - is part self-help and part memoir. ME & HIM begins at my yearly psychiatric assessment. There, my husband divulges secrets he’s kept from me for the last six years, devastating me. 

All are available from Amazon, selected Dymocks, Angus & Robertson, Mary Ryan stores, plus more. 

Karen presents writing workshops and Masterclasses. Read MORE about Karen:

  • Do you enjoy reading memoir?
  • Have you written a memoir?
  • Would you write a memoir in the future?
Do visit Karen's blog if you feel inspired to know more about her and what she's accomplishing in the Brisbane community.

WRITE...EDIT...PUBLISH IS BACK! WATCH THIS SPACE!!!And I remind you that Yolanda Renee and I are bringing back WEP. Here you can post your flash fiction, non fiction, poetry etc. Please join us on August 19 for our first challenge - to be announced any day now!!

Thanks for coming by today. 

Saturday 11 July 2015

Home Sweet Home! Parting is such sweet sorrow from New Caledonia!

Hi my friends!

My two weeks in New Caledonia was over in a flash. How amazing travelling the length and breadth of this beautiful land and meeting lovely people. It certainly is a French-speaking country, with virtually no-one speaking English. But we got by. Not saying my French improved overly, as it takes two weeks to get into the groove, but it was certainly lovely to hear that beautiful, musical language reverberating all around me.

Here are some photos from my trip for those of you who didn't follow my travels on good ole FB.

Kanaks welcome the cruise ships with traditional dance and song. I love this as it's pretty much the same as on the tourism website except I own it!

The Grand South, as they call it, was an eye-opener with nickel mines, beautiful bays and old penal colonies. We explored the region with a Kanak guide, Yami, who spoke 7 languages, I repeat 7!! and went to university in Australia. 
In Noumea, my daily focus was always to make sure I ate one of these from Chocolats Morand...
...or one of these Mille Feuilles from La Ville France patisserie. With all that walking I hardly put on an ounce, so was totally guilt free!

Loved catching this group of Kanak students taking their Macca's lunch with the American War Memorial behind them on July Fourth!
It's always about the people you meet. Our stay on the glorious I'le des Pins was the best because of this lovely group from France. We might look a bit scruffy  as we all stayed at a Kanak village together. In case you think it's pretty flash for native village, this is at Le Meridien at the top of the island where we thought a coffee was in order before we jumped back onto the boat.
The Natural Pools on the I'le des Pins, where we snorkled and swam and walked. Gorgeous. Can't capture the absolute jewel-blue of the water or the whiteness of the sand.
This is the top of the island, Haute Tamoa, New Caledonia. So pristine. 

So there you have a few snaps to give you some idea of New Caledonia. A beautiful place to visit as long as you have some French. Most of the touristic places have been returned to the Kanaks (the traditional owners of the land) and you communicate in French or not at all. They're only just introducing English into the school curriculum for the younger years. Currently only taught in secondary school.

So au revoir to this beautiful country.

  • How about you? Been travelling lately? Tell us about it. 
  • Is there somewhere you'd like to travel to, or are your travels vicarious or created in the worlds you write about?

Wednesday 1 July 2015

IWSG post - If you're writing to publish, stop. And WEP returns!

Greetings from New Caledonia!

Having a great time exploring this wonderful island in the Pacific, but before I left to come over here, I scheduled my IWSG post. I was considering giving it a miss this month, but then I came across this paragraph on writing in Writing Unboxed when I was doing my nonchalant surf of the bloggers I follow. Dave King, the co-author of Self-Editing for Fiction had some good writing advice.

I don't know about you, but there's a lot of pressure for blogger/writers to get their novels out there. I'm taking longer than most as I feel I'm still learning my craft and yes, well, I'm a perfectionist. So I get pressure from blogger friends and family to get something out there into the market. But I don't intend to publish until I feel my books are ready. (Don't get me wrong, I'm a prolific writer, and if you've published a novel, you know it sometimes feels like it takes more hours in the day than God gives us.)

We have the Slow Food Movement. I belong to the Slow Writing Movement. I choose to be someone who takes her time playing with words, rather than live in a state of panic because the years are racing by and I don't have a published novel. Lalalalalalala! It's not like there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for writers. I know there is validation for the gazillion hours spent on the laptop and in your head. But to me, the real reward of writing is in the writing itself.

Dave King, editor, says:

So if you’re writing to publish, stop.  Instead, write to write.  Do it for the moments when your characters say or do something so unexpected that you wonder if you ever really knew them before.  Do it for the moments when you overhear something in the supermarket and think That was beautifully put and would make great dialogue.  Do it for the mornings when you wake up and know exactly how the atmosphere of one of your settings feels, when you have to hurry to get it down on paper before the feeling fades.  Do it for the late evenings when you finish a scene with tears in your eyes.


  • How about you? Do you feel pressure to get your novel out there, from yourself or from others?
PS: You may have heard a whisper that Write...Edit...Publish (WEP) is starting up again! It's true! Yolanda Renee has joined forces with me. Couldn't do it without her. Our first challenge begins on August 19. There was a post on Monday at the WEP site. Go there if you want more info.

So if you got this far, you deserve a picture. [INSERT IMAGE HERE] If there's no image, it means I'm having so much fun I forgot!!

At the Baie de Citron, Noumea.

Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh and the team for this month's IWSG. Click here for more posts.