A look back on 2012 goals!

As I’ve said in previous years, I write goals (to do with writing) each year and don’t make resolutions. I feel goals are more likely to be achieved as they really give me something to work towards. My goals are more concrete than resolutions and it’s obvious looking back whether I have achieved them or not.

Last December I made the below goals – in PINK I’ll let you know how I went with them:

1) Finish rewriting Hollywood Heartbreak and sub to Carina Press. – Check! This book has since been retitled as STAND-IN STAR which releases January 7th. 
2) Finish my new Single Title – MAN DROUGHT – edit and sub. – Check! I subbed this book in May and received and offer for it and another book in June. It officially releases tomorrow but there’ve already been sightings out in shops 🙂
3) Write the second in my Hollywood series (hopefully by the time I start, I’ll know whether the first has been sold). Didn’t happen. When I got the two book contract from Harlequin Australia, I had to focus on that first.

4) Write a novella – this is something that has always terrified me, so I’m going to read lots of them before attempting one. It’ll either be a themed seasonal novella or one linked to Man Drought that can maybe be a free promo. – Check! Finished this yesterday actually. It’s called THE KISSING SEASON and hopefully will be available next festive season.

5) Read more (it’s ALWAYS on my list). – I read 54 books in 2012. I have a feeling this is less than last year. Certainly felt like I had a lot less reading time 😦
6) Re-do my website. – Check! The fabulous Paula Roe did this for me in April. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can do so here.
7) Publish my non-fiction book BREASTFEEDERS ANONYMOUS on Amazon.  – Check! Or rather my fabulous mum did this. If you’d like to check it out click here

My Secret Life with Pamela Cook

I’m excited that I’ve got a whole host of My Secret Life posts lined up for 2013, but before we close on 2012, I’ve got Pamela Cook here today talking about what she does when she’s not writing.

Pamela’s debut novel Blackwattle Lake released last month and is another book high up in my TBR pile. Can’t wait to get to it. Welcome Pamela…

Hachette - Pam 5

So lovely to be here on Rachael’s blog to chat about my “other” (non-writing) life.

I’m a high school English teacher by profession but decided a few years ago to concentrate more on my writing and teaching writing to adults which I do through my business Justwrite (www.justwrite.net.au). Being a very undisciplined person means it’s easy for me to fritter away my days and feel like I’m not getting anywhere. When I write it’s usually in bursts, spending a few days a week during school hours or at night writing and revising. Then I have periods where I hardly get to the page. As much as I’d love to practice what I preach and write every day it generally doesn’t happen.

So how do I spend my time when I’m not writing?

Well, I’m the mother of three girls ranging in age from 12 to 20 so I’m often dropping off or picking up, attending concerts, presentations, canteen duty – all you mums out there know the drill. I kept thinking it would get easier as they got older but I’m still waiting!

As you’ll see when you read my book, I’m a horse lover, a pastime I got into once again through my children who have all ridden from a young age. We don’t actually live in the country but agist our horses on a property just south of Sydney and since I was spending so much time there I thought I may as well have a horse myself. Morocco is a quarter horse and has been with me for six years now. He’s as happy to plod along as I am and behaves himself pretty well as long as I don’t push him too hard. Having started riding as an adult I’m not as confident as I’d like to be but I do the occasional Western Show, dressing up in all the bling. It’s a lot of fun – as long as I keep my nerves under control!

On the volunteer front I’m the secretary of a Pony Club and I until recently was the Students Helping Students Co-ordinator for Room to Read. It’s a not-for-profit organisation that promotes literacy and gender equality in developing countries. I went to India a couple of years ago to see their programs in action and was amazed at the wonderful work they do. I’ve taken a step back now to focus more on my writing but am liaising with the Writer Ambassadors who do a wonderful job spreading the word about Room to Read in schools.

I manage to squeeze in a game of tennis most weeks and attend my writing group, The Writers’ Dozen, fortnightly at The NSW Writer’s Centre. I’m not much of a TV watcher but I do love to read – my to be read pile is ridiculously large. My reading tastes are pretty eclectic but I do love Australian writers and Tim Winton is my all time fave.

When I’m not at home I’m at my “other” house on the south coast of NSW. We have a small property there which is up in the hills with a spectacular view out over the bush to the sea. It’s a great place to chill out with the horses and just generally relax. The physical space is great for generating ideas and when I’m there I always find inspiration for my writing.

Which brings me back to what I should be doing a lot more of. My plan for 2013 is to develop some of that discipline I sorely lack and write every day. Wish me luck!

I’m sure you won’t need much luck Pamela. Seeing your cover for the first time and holding that book baby in your hands is VERY good motivation and inspiration! We have a fair few things in common – the English teacher and three kids for a start. Thanks for sharing your other life Pamela and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into Blackwattle Lake.

You can find Pamela on the web, on Twitter and on Facebook and please check out the blurb of Blackwattle Lake below:

BLACKWATTLE_LAKE_Cover (2)

For Eve Nicholls, walking up the driveway of her childhood home brings up many emotions, and not all good. The horses that she loved still dot the paddocks but the house is empty, and the silence inside allows her memories to flood back. She’s glad to have her best friend Banjo the kelpie with her . . . and a bottle of bourbon. Her plan is simple: sell the farm, grab the cash and get the hell out.

Despite Eve’s desire to keep a low profile, within days of her return she runs into all the people she hoped to avoid. At the house she is surrounded by memories and worse. But with a lifetime of clutter to sort out, there’s plenty to take her mind off it all. Slowly, she begins to discover the girl she used to be: Angie Flanagan – adventurous, animal-loving, vulnerable. When tragedy strikes, Eve realises that changing her name all those years ago in an attempt to hide from her past has not changed the truth of what happened or who she really is.

Blackwattle Lake is available wherever books are sold in Australia and also online, including Amazon, iBooks, Kobo.

Hanging with Caitlyn Nicholas

Today folks I have a very special friend on the blog chatting about her new releases. I met Caitlyn Nicholas at my very first Romance Writers of Australia conference and we’ve been mates ever since. I’m also a fan of her work, having loved her writing from the day I picked up her debut romance RUNNING SCARED. I’ve got her next two books, which she’s chatting about today on my mammoth TBR pile and cannot wait to get to them – hopefully over the school holidays. 

So…without further ado, I bring you gorgeous Cait

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Hey Rach!

Thanks for having me on your blog.  I was thinking about it, and the last time I guest posted was around the time you released your wonderful breastfeeding book.  My goodness that was a long time ago!

OMG indeed it was Cait – if anyone wants to know what she’s talking about, here’s the link to my non-fiction book BREASTFEEDERS ANONYMOUS

Christmas, and the end of the year, are hurtling towards us – the advent calendars are out and countdown has moved from weeks to days! For me, this year has not been without its rough spots, but the dramas have been manageable. As I head towards the end of 2012 I feel like I’ve got a lot to be thankful for and a lot to celebrate.

Top of my list celebration-wise is the publication of my two books, both of which have been released in the last few weeks.

The first, a rip roaring romantic suspense called Drive Me To Distraction came out in November.

DMTD_Caitlin_Nicholas_2

Sometimes life or death decisions are easy. Alex Radford has a choice – borrow the money to treat her mother’s rare and aggressive cancer from sleazy moneylender Hamish MacCameron. Or do nothing and watch her die.

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

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

And the second, a romantic suspense novella called The Danger Game, is coming out on 10th December.

Danger Game_cvr

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 grasped 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.

More information about The Danger Game from Escape Publishing: http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/

Or to buy:

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Danger-Game-ebook/dp/B00AK3GTTI/

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Danger-Game-ebook/dp/B00AK3GTTI/

Kobo http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/THE-DANGER-GAME/book-4CHaOFNh70yB3UeAWKA7lg/page1.html?s=shBHL7QvTEeR0uGd3fnOsA&r=1

Ibookstore https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-danger-game/id585508156?mt=11

I hope that you had a good 2012, and that you are leaving it in as good, or better shape then when you arrived.  I love to heard from readers, leave me a comment, or come visit my blog http://www.caitlynnicholas.blogspot.com

You can find me online at: http://www.caitlynnicholas.com

My blog: http://www.caitlynnicholas.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CaitlynNicholas

Fb: https://www.facebook.com/CaitlynNicholasAuthor

Google plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/105412279044420141735/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/783424.Caitlyn_Nicholas

Well, thanks for that Caitlyn, it was a pleasure to have you and your books. I really hope some of my readers check out Drive Me To Distraction or The Danger Game as I know they won’t be disappointed 🙂

The Next Big Thing

Hi folks

If you hang out in the Blogosphere, I’m SURE you’ve heard of The Next Big Thing recently. I was first tagged by the lovely Cari Kamm but didn’t get my act together in time to participate. Next two talented Aussies asked me if I’d like to be involved – Michelle Diener and Alissa Callen. I saw how HUGE this thing had become and knew I’d be crazy not to be involved. Since then the brilliant Aussie author Greg Barron has also asked me to participate.

So, today I’m finally taking up the challenge:

I’ve just subbed a book to Harlequin Australia which I hope will be the first in a linked series focusing on some fabulous characters in the fictional town of Merindah, Western Australia. If all goes well, book one will be out later this year and I’m about to start writing book two in the series, so I decided to do my Next Big Thing post on this book!

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book?

Outback Blaze or Playing With Fire – not 100% yet, will depend on what my publishers want to call book one.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

A few years back when I was living in Kojonup, WA, my husband’s place of work burnt to the ground in the middle of the night. He worked at the Co-op, which housed a supermarket, liquor store and drapery. Many of the towns residents were employed here and locals had been shopping here for years. The whole town came down in their pyjamas to watch as the local volunteer firefighters did their absolute best to save the building. Since that night, I knew I wanted to write a book involving a major fire and when I started writing rural romance, the idea seemed even more fitting.

What genre does your book fall under?

Rural romance, farm-lit, Ru-ro, chook-lit – whatever you want to call it, it’s currently doing amazingly well with Aussie readers!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Ooh I haven’t got as far as thinking about this yet, but Jessica Marais who rose to fame in Aussie show Packed To The Rafters would be perfect for Ruby and the hero in this is actually an American and I’m very partial to Matthew McConaughey so might have to give him the role of Noah Tucker.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Argh, you’re joking right? I’m hopeless at this stuff.

Okay… here goes… Recovering from OCD, the last thing Ruby Jones needs is for her livelihood to burn to the ground or for the cop she finds herself attracted to pointing the finger at her.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m represented by the lovely Helen Breitweiser from Cornerstone Agency and I’m hoping my current publisher Harlequin Australia will snap this one up as well 🙂

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I haven’t actually written this yet but most of my STs take between five and six months!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

There are so many rural authors out there now and the degrees of romance among them varies, I’d say my books are at the romance end of the spectrum and more similar to authors like Cathryn Hein, Karly Lane and Barbara Hannay.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The fact I wanted to write the book before and after it 🙂 Seriously! However saying that, when I met Ruby in book one, I knew there was a lot more to her than met the eye and I wanted to explore what things in her life had made her into the woman she is when the book starts – someone recovering from OCD and thinking they are finally getting their life back on track.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think it’s the first rural book I’ve read with an American hero and he’s oh-so-divine. I hope readers will like this point of difference. The mystery thread that will really come to the forefront in book three will also be developed more in this book.

Thanks to Cari, Michelle, Alissa and Greg for asking me to participate in this fun blogging event. I hope you’ll all check out their blogs as well! And now I’m supposed to tag more authors but almost everyone I know seems already to have done this, so I’m putting out an open tag to my author friends. If you haven’t yet participated in The Next Big Thing – I tag you!!

WINNER!!

Just a quick post today to announce the winner of my STAND-IN STAR contest!

My heroes-in-training helped me picked the winner out of the oldest’s magician’s hat this morning!

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And His Lordship, the youngest, picked out Chanpreet!!!

photo-12A HUGE congrats to Chanpreet – if you could please email me at Rachaeljohns077@gmail.com and let me know if you’d like it in pdf or epub version, I will send it ASAP.

I hope you enjoy it and I’m so sorry to those of you who missed out. I would have loved to give you ALL a copy but if you really want one, it’s available now for pre-order on Amazon!

 

Two book contests!!

Hi peeps

Sorry I’ve been quiet lately… LOTS going on. Some good (editing of book about to be subbed), some bad (being in hospital with my son who was suspected of having meningitis) and the usual stuff that has to be done constantly (yes, I’m talking about washing)!!!

I’m finishing up editing my next book for submission this weekend and then it’ll be onto finishing the Christmas novella I started last month. Am having a lot of fun with that. But I just wanted to pop in to tell you about two contests – chances to win copies of my January 2013 releases.

I’ve got a giveaway going on Goodreads for Man Drought – unfortunately this is only open to Australian and New Zealand residents as at this stage Man Drought will only be available down under. You can enter this contest here!

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BUT because I don’t want my loyal international readers to miss out, I’m also running a contest for an early copy of Stand-In Star (out with Carina Press January 7th). Please note this is an e-copy only – the winner will be able to choose between a pdf or epub version.

To be in the running to win a copy of Stand-In Star, please leave a comment below and how I can contact you if you win!! It’s THAT easy!! Contest closes midnight Wednesday 5th Dec (Western Australian time).

StandInStar_final

And I hope you all have a fab weekend.

x
Rach!