Monday 29 February 2016

Meme party bloghop Feb 29-Mar 4 - If I were a season, I'd be spring...

I found this on C Lee Mckenzie's blog. Join Tara TylerChristine Rains, and Lee on this easy-peasy HOP. Post a MEME during the week between Feb 29 and Mar 4 (use your own pic or an easy meme maker app) - and if you can't think of anything, pass on encouraging words from one of your reviews, or an inspiring quote!

Visit others. That's it!

Then the awesome hostesses will hop around and Ooo and Ahh and choose one entry each to win an ebook. AND two lucky random participants will win a $20 GC. Enter and spread some warmth!

No winter blues where i live at the bottom of the world, but I'm taking part anyway. 

I saw this meme on Writer's Ramblings ages ago, and I've filled it out myself. Now I'd love to see your answers. Do it quickly without over-thinking it. Then copy as much as you like (all or some) and post in comments for us to enjoy...

- If I were a season, I’d be Spring.

- If I were a month, I’d be June.

- If I were a day of the week, I’d be Sunday.

- If I were a time of day, I’d be 9pm (reading time).

- If I were a planet, I’d be Venus.

- If I were a direction, I’d be South.

- If I were a tree, I’d be a eucalyptus.

- If I were a flower, I’d be a lavender sprig.

- If I were a fruit, I’d be a mango.

- If I were a land animal, I’d be a horse.

- If I were a sea animal, I’d be a dolphin.

- If I were a bird, I’d be an eagle.

- If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be an art deco lamp.
- If I were a liquid, I’d be tea.
- If I were a stone, I’d be turquoise.

- If I were a kind of weather, I’d be sunshine.
- If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a guitar.
- If I were a colour, I’d be white (uh, hum, it is a colour!)
- If I were a facial expression, I’d be a smile.

- If I were an emotion, I’d be happiness.

- If I were a sound, I’d be water running over smooth stones.

- If I were an element, I’d be water.

- If I were a car, I’d be a classic.

- If I were a food, I’d be cheesecake.

- If I were a place, I’d be France.

- If I were a flavour, I’d be chocolate.

- If I were a scent, I’d be lavender.

- If I were an object, I’d be a Mont Blanc pen.

- If I were a song, I’d be "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" - U2.
- If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be ballet flats.
- If I were transportation, I’d be a plane.

- If I were a fairy tale, I’d be Cinderella.
- If I were a holiday, I’d be Christmas.
- If I were a novel, I'd be Beach Music by Pat Conroy. 
- If I were a movie, I'd be Moonlight and Valentino.

Image result for image of a pair of ballet flats

All right - your turn!

Thanks for reading!

Now off you go and read some more from the linky below.

Friday 26 February 2016

Do you have goals bloghop...share them....

On the spur of the moment I joined this regular bloghop hoted by Misha Gericke and Beth Fred . The idea is simple, really. It's to keep us honest to what we hope to achieve in our writing and we are to post about it the last Friday of every month. Can you believe it's the last Friday of February today?!?

You're more than welcome to join this bloghop. All you need to do is read and follow the guidelines then SIGN UP HERE...

1) Beth and I Misha will be co-hosts of this list.
2) If you do enter your link into the list, please be supportive of the other entrants.
3) Keep us up to date with how you're doing. Update Day is on the last Friday of every month. Even if you don't think you achieved much or anything, write a quick post to say so. We can't encourage if we don't know. 
4) When you enter your blog's address write your goal as the link title. For example, my link's title will be "earn $7500 per month." Not your name or your blog's. This is so we can keep track of who's doing what. 


I signed up as 'publish a novel and submit short stories' this year. I have been researching for the second in my paranormal series to follow Under the Tuscan Moon and the adventures of Vipunin and Cuchulcain and have tons of notes. Now I need to get into the right headspace and get my notes into some sort of order. I was hoping to publish my second novella by the end of January, but this hasn't been possible as I've been away from home and not in a position to write as much as I wanted to. Just keeping up with the blogs and working on my Paris short story was all I achieved. April I plan to create my own little NaNoWriMo again and write every day. Last April I wrote 25,000 words on a Paris Cookery novel and hope to pick it up again as I'm SO EXCITED about this book but haven't been able to get to it for months! But the research has been delicious!

Just writing the above has got me excited. Now I'm back home, I've dropped one day off my teaching schedule. Now I will have more time for writing.

Here is a great post from Juneta Keys with so many useful links regarding 

Marketing, Promotion, Self-Publishing For The Writer

How are you going with your 2016 Writing Goals? Please share or join the hop.

Image result for goals

Monday 22 February 2016


Today I'm taking a 'sickie' as we call it in Australia, so I invited my long-time blogger friend and prolific author, Roland Yeomans to help out. Roland just happens to have a new book out...what a surprise! So being addicted as I am to the Reader Discussion pages at the end of novels, I asked Roland to talk about this new addition to his latest...

Anyway, I've got to be going...Here's Roland to entertain you.

Whoa!  Look at all those rolling eyes out there.  It’s worse than the audience to the last Presidential Debate.

I understand. 

It seems we are drowning in a sea of cover reveals, book tours, and guest posts.

Ah, forget I said that last one, will you?

Anyway, since my latest book has a Readers’ Discussion Guide at the end, Denise thought you might be interested in why I included that section.

By some estimates, Tweet: five million Americans gather in someone’s living room, a bar, a bookstore or local library for a #bookdiscussion on the finer points of “Middlemarch” or “The Brothers Karamazov.” (If you find this interesting, please TWEET).

They are always on the lookout for a new book that will make club discussions easier. Libraries often stock these books on request as a service to book clubs, which means more SALES!! (((happy dance)))

Tweet: As #writers we need to reach #READERS(If you find this interesting, please TWEET).
We have been fishing in our little pool and wondering why our catch is so lousy.  Go where the fish are!

And it’s not just a big-city thing:

In the event that you find yourself in Waco, Texas., check out “A Good Book and a Glass of Wine,” which has 21 members (women only) and is always looking for new ones. All you have to do is go online to source one near you!

I have written a novel which includes a variety of strong women: thinkers, inventors, newspaper correspondents, leaders – all believing they are right but some are very, very wrong.

Since we live in a world where you don’t have to actually “be” anywhere, it’s not surprising that virtual clubs have lately appeared on the Internet.

ZolaBooks bills itself as a “social eBook retailer” that connects readers. 

Goodreads gives members the opportunity to read a book together, install books they’ve read on their “shelves” or find “friends” with whom to share discoveries.

But the most prevalent way of conducting a book club is still in someone’s living room.

A book club meeting is a way of interacting through books that you don’t get through any ordinary transaction in life.

It’s like sitting around the campfire toasting marshmallows, gossiping about people, only you’re gossiping about characters in fiction, which is more meaningful and won't give you indigesion.


Here are our readers waiting for us to be discussion friendly. So how about I share my foray into the Novel Study Guide...


Beyond the events of the plot, what is your book about?

What do your characters learn along the way? How do they change and grow because of the events of the story?

Rehashing the events of a book does not a book club make. They’ve all read it. How else might the events play out? How did the plot events affect the characters, and the readers?

What are their attributes and flaws? How are they like—or unlike—people around you? How do their flaws affect the story?


Oh, what about my own study guide for … wait for it …

A few teasers …

- Did you know that in 1998 that 200 year old skeletons of four adults and six children were found buried beneath the home that Benjamin Franklin lived in while in London?  Was Franklin a serial killer?

- How much do we really know of history?  Are there secrets in the lives of our Founding Fathers?
Franklin was a member of the infamous Hellfire Club while in London.  Was he there as a spy or a participating member?

- In the mid and late 19th century, women were exploring where even white men feared to go.  Ada Byron Lovelace invented the first computer language 100 years before the invention of the computer.

- Margaret Fuller, first American woman foreign correspondent for Horace Greely, manned the ramparts during the bloody Italian Civil War.

- What lessons can we draw from the feminist pioneers?

- In 1858 designs were drawn up for an air/steamship.  How different would our history have been if we had achieved transatlantic flight so early?

- Abraham Lincoln engaged in ethnic cleansing of Apache, Navaho, and Dakota Indians during the Civil War.  General Sherman ordered the killing of women and children in Georgia (from his own orders to his officers). 

- How much collateral damage is acceptable in war do you think?  And is targeting non-combatant civilians ever acceptable?

- We have fun musing in my study guide for THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS ABROAD.

Board the Xanadu, the first Air/Steamship when it sets sail in March for an adventure of a lifetime.  Passage is only $9.99!

See you there.

Thanks Roland for saving me! (I've been travelling for the past month and needed a helping hand). Roland has been a loyal participant in RomanticFridayWriters and now Write...Edit...Publish since its inception. This week we announce the winners of the WEP Valentine's Day challenge, judged by my original partner for RomanticFridayWriters, Francine Howarth, now a prolific Regency Romance author. 

Tuesday 16 February 2016

#WEPff challenge...#Valentine'sDay...A Letter. My #flashfiction

Hello there!

Time for the WEP Valentine's Day blogfest. I have written a flash fiction in letter form to suit the theme. I hope you enjoy it.

"To my darling Valentine...

“There is no end to things of the heart.”

I’ve believed this ever since the words passed your lips when we declared our undying love at twenty years of age. I took those words, rolled them around my head until they became reality. Not being of a romantic bent, nevertheless I tried to understand, to make sense of those words. My conclusion was that if you took someone or something – a person, a place, a dream - into your heart, brought it inside those red velvet folds, it would reside there forever. A strength. A comfort. Forever. Something to rely on in this capricious world. And it did work that way. No matter what happened, love was there.


Those secret folds protected it. Always. Every time my heart beat, it reminded me of the precious secrets it kept.

Today I am approaching fifty years of age. I still try to believe there is no end to things of the heart. When I woke this morning, my beating heart comforted me for a time, recalling how I took you into my heart those many years ago in complete trust. You are still somewhere hidden in those red velvet folds along with those I have added over the years - people I have loved, people I have hurt, people I have helped. When I take time to examine my heart, they are alive in me, as familiar as my beating heart.

But you were always the best of my secrets.

As the sun rises over the far horizon, I hear the beat.


Time means nothing when you are alone in a *humpy in Australia's Simpson Desert, surrounded by stunted trees, wild animals and rocky outcrops. There is water here. Old **Jacky Jacky could find it in a heartbeat, but what's the point? My water is long gone and I'm not someone who is going to drink the blood of animals to survive. Why bother? I comfort myself that I will not be found in this godforsaken place.

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh. Here's a Polaroid I took when I arrived and was still in control of my senses. This is my view each morning. Not godforsaken like me when I think about it. Quite beautiful, really, even when seen through a haze.

You, my love, will never know that my heart ceased to beat on Valentine's Day 2016. I can hardly place my letter in a bottle and cast it upon the waves. See, a sense of humour to the last. My parched lips crack as I smile. No, my letter will be hidden in the secret folds of the desert sands.

Be still my beating heart. I always loved those words. I resist the urge to smile. I can taste the blood from the last attempt. 

What will become of the secrets hidden in my red velvet folds? Will they die with me? Or will they fly away, released from the prison I have guarded these many years?

You lied to me that golden day when our love was young and forever and ethereal. You said, “My darling Byron. There is no end to things of the heart.”

Pfft! I will prove you wrong.

There is an end to things of the heart.

The red velvet folds cannot hold duplicity. Cannot cover love that is no more. Cannot beat when its life-force has shrivelled and died."


I hide the picture under a rock. Maybe someone will find it and wonder.

I lay down my imaginary pen and prepare.

Goodbye, my precious Valentine.

humpy or gunyah is a small, temporary shelter made from bark and tree branches, traditionally used by Australian Aborigines, with a standing tree usually used as the main support. 
** Jacky Jacky was a paternalistic name given to helpful Aboriginal people in the old days.


  • Thank you for coming by! I appreciate your taking the time.
  • Please click on more Valentine's Day entries with a DL (Direct Link) next to the name in my sidebar or go to WEP.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Amazon reviews--how they help sales.


I've recently self-published on Amazon Kindle Select for the first time with my novella, Under the Tuscan Moon, and am not setting myself up as an expert on Amazon reviews or anything at all regarding publishing or promoting. I’m just sharing a small part of what I’ve learnt in hopes that it will help both authors and readers.
Image result for image person reading a book
Have you ever sent bloggers and/or other friends a free copy of your book and asked them to read it then leave a review on Amazon? I have. I was secretly hoping they'd love it and would post a review. They told me they loved it, but the loving didn't extend to an Amazon review (yet) for most. I understand this. Authors often send me PDFs of their books and because my TBR list is ginormous, I've not even gotten around to reading them all, let alone reviewing. That's a pity. Since learning how important Amazon reviews can be, I've been upping my Kindle reading of bloggers' books and posting more Amazon reviews. (If you've sent me a copy of your book, send me an email and remind me that you're still waiting for that review and I'll send you to the top of the list!) 
Blog Tours
Image result for image blog book tours
Most of us gladly participate when someone has a new book coming out and asks us to help spread the word. It introduces people to the book and the author. The 'To buy' link might even lead to a sale or two if the planets align. Really, anything that gets eyes on a book is good.
I review my reads on Goodreads because every year I participate in their reading challenge. (I read/reviewed 120+ books in 2015). You need over 10 reviews on Goodreads to be able to add your book/s to certain groups which gives you more exposure. I went off reviewing on Amazon when they took down some of my reviews of blogger friends' books. But we can’t let that stop us. Amazon reviews can impact sales rankings, so is the most useful thing we can do for our blogger/author friends if their book is available to buy on Amazon. (And fingers crossed they won't take it down).
Unless you're in the upper echelons, chances are you spent more on getting your book out there than you will ever recoup, especially if you self-publish. That’s a crying shame. There are LOADS of amazing books out there with way too few sales because people don’t know how good they are. Who is going to scroll to Page 500 to find a book? Some amazing books could be discovered if readers could take 10 minutes to write something—it doesn’t have to be long—that would be so helpful to the author's rankings and 'discoverability'. 
So if you follow a blog tour, do that author a favour--buy their book (usually cheaper than a cup of joe), find some time to read it (sure, this is the hardest part), then, for that author's sake, REVIEW IT!! Even if you don't like it THAT much, you can still review it. You don't have to give it 5 stars!!! I'm loath to say this, but apparently even a bad review is better than no review! It still ticks the algorithm boxes!
Why are Amazon reviews important?
Well, duh! More sales = higher rankings.  If your book is selling, it goes higher on the list. And reviews help sell books.
Verified Purchase reviews will count MORE towards the rankings of Amazon sales. 
But that doesn’t mean you can’t leave a review for a book you didn’t buy through Amazon.
Reviews with ‘likes’ count more towards rankings and *algorithms. (If you like the techie details, read the section at the end).
So if you read a review that you like – hit the ‘like’ button!  Not only does it help the reviewer’s Amazon review stats but it helps the author with a ‘higher ranking review’.
Amazon supposedly recommends books different ways based on the number of reviews.
20-25 reviews: Amazon will include your book in the ‘Others also bought’ section and the ‘You might like’ section.
50-70 reviews: Amazon may highlight the book in spotlight ads and possibly include your book in newsletters.
100+ reviews: Amazing promo results for authors (it is said).
Is it just reviews that help? Who really knows? But anything that helps an author up their rankings is a good thing. And we can all help this happen.
  • Getting your book out there into the eyes of readers will help sell books.
  • Building your author platform and engaging with readers and bloggers will sell books.
  • Great writing with great content will sell books.

And Amazon reviews matter.  They take 5 - 10 minutes to write. An author would prefer a quick review to no review. Do something amazing for your blogger/author friends.
  • How many reviews does your book have on Amazon?
  • How did you get those reviews?
  • What is the most successful part of your Author Platform?
  • Share with us!

And if you're up for another Valentine's writing challenge, WEP's Valentine's challenge goes live from Feb 17-19...flash fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photos, art...we're open to all! Please join us! You can sign up right here in my sidebar under the big red picture!


Wednesday 3 February 2016

#IWSG, Feb 3rd - Guest Post at Lynda Young's blog

Thanks for stopping by today for the #IWSG. Today I'm over at Lynda Young's blog talking about setting in stories. Both Lyn and I would love it if you popped over and said hello!

Monday 1 February 2016

Lost and Found blogfest -- my #flashfiction -- Lost in #Venice

Well didn't that come around quickly? Romantic February is here and here I am participating in the Lost and Found blogfest.

A special blogging event the result of a collaboration between Arlee Bird and Guilie Castillo-Oriard.   Joining these two romantics are Elizabeth Seckman,  Yolanda Renee,  Denise Covey  and Alex J Cavanaugh

This challenge asks you to tell your fictional/non-fictional story about love -- lost or found -- in the first special Valentine's blogfest for the month of February.  

Don't be left out!   If you have something that fits, sign up by adding your link to the list in my sidebar!

And here is my 'romantic' story...

Lost in Venice

The cold of the floating city melted away in the heated rooms as Anouk danced with a succession of gloriously-attired masked men who pressed her close to their bodies, their flattery blowing hot on her neck. With casual abandon they passed her onto the next caped stranger with a flourish and a kiss to her gloved hand. Inhibitions washed away by the excellent wine, she embraced the fantasy.

Leaving the warm apartment, she ran down slippery dimly-lit streets into an unknown Venice. The paths narrowed until she skated and slithered at the end of the conga line, terrified of being lost, alone in Venice.

Without warning, out of the fog came a man, a man who clasped her hand and drew it to his chest. The line wended away as she stilled, uncertain, alone in the stranger’s grip. He tugged her along in his wake, pausing to turn and watch her through slitted eyes.

She was lost in Venice, and in black eyes that glinted fire behind a lacquered mask of ebony.

He hesitated beneath a lamp that bathed them in golden light. ‘I’m Count de Rozario.’ He bowed, his first words to her as rich and smooth as a noble red wine.
‘All men are Counts at Carnevale.’
She curtsied, deliberately displaying her cleavage. ‘My count.’
‘My servant,’ he said, touching her bare shoulder with his fingers as if bestowing an honour.
He covered her flimsy cape with his thick black velvet cloak, then kissed her blonde curls which were in disarray from the snow and mist. Taking her hand, he drew her close to his side. 
‘Come. We have a little time.’
They ran through passages and beneath arches until they came upon a magnificent golden doorway. He brushed snow off their cloaks and shoes before he led her up a flight of stairs to a luxurious apartment. With urgent strides he hurried her through a warm sitting room, log fire blazing, comfortable couches empty, an aura of expectation in the atmosphere. Mesmerised by the warmth of the flames, she took a step towards them.
He snatched her at the waist and dragged her into a huge bedroom dazzled by silver moonlight, its rich furnishings the colour of the Burgundy she’d drunk throughout the night. The ornate carved bed beckoned, its lush brocade edged with silken fringes inflamed her senses.
He ripped off her cape, then her dress rustled to the floor and pooled at her feet. He dealt swiftly with her undergarments, but left her mask intact. Too late to turn back now even if she wanted to. She was an offering to Carnevale and the Count.
Pushing her backwards onto the bed, he covered her nakedness with his. Two warm bodies driven by animal lust.
As they surrendered themselves to the madness of the night, the mouth that plundered hers tasted like wine, enhanced by sea and smoke.
Their lovemaking reached its crescendo like a finely-tuned orchestra making exhilarating music. Then he broke away with a cry. All she heard was her own whimpering cries as her body begged for more.
Footsteps. On the stairs. Slipping and sliding on the varnished wood. The occasional curse, ‘Merda. Merda.
The count was on his feet, reaching out his hand. ‘My blonde beauty. My Contessa approaches. Presto! Presto!
He snatched her clothes from the carpet and thrust them into her arms and pushed her naked onto the balcony. Shivering with cold and shock, she huddled, horrified. 
‘Ah, Contessa, come.’ His seductive voice slid out of the bedroom and onto the balcony. ‘I’ve been waiting. How we did lose each other in the frenzy of the chase.’
‘Nevertheless, Count, I see you are ready for me.’
Self-satisfied whore. Was this a game they played on this one night of the year when there were no rules? Had the Contessa come from her own assignation in another man’s bed?
Anouk struggled down the dark outdoor stairs, slipping and sliding on the dusting of ice, gripping the over-elaborate balustrade. In the foyer, her frozen hands fumbled with intricate clasps and zips as she dressed with agonising slowness.
Wrenching the heavy carved door open, she stumbled down the steps, fog tendrils snatching at her ankles.
She stepped into the frozen wilderness, lost in Venice's black cape. 

I hope you enjoyed my romantic efforts. Please click on a name in my sidebar and continue to read entries for this blogfest.
And don't can now sign up for the WEP Valentine's blogfest! Entries posted from February 17 - 19th.