PATTERSON’S CURSE week six!

Hi everyone

Can’t believe I’m into week six of PATTERSON’S CURSE.  On the one hand it feels like I’ve been writing it forever but that time has also gone super quick. There are another nine weeks until my deadline but two of those I’ll be touring with the fabulous Fiona Palmer so it’s really seven. And two of those seven are school holidays, during which I never seem to manage to write much (and fair enough… I want to hang out with my babies)!

Anyway I like a challenge and this book is certainly a challenge. But I’m not going to whinge and whine today, instead I want to share with you my favourite things about last week’s writing.

1) The romance! Although this book is more women’s fiction than straight romance, I can’t write without a least a little bit of romance plot. Each of the four sisters have a love interest, although I don’t think all will get their HEA in this book. But my favourite romance so far is that of sister #3 Charlotte (Charlie) Patterson and her childhood friend, Mitch McDonald. Mitch is most definitely a beta hero and probably my biggest challenge (cos I’m already so in love with him) will be making sure he isn’t TOO perfect. Below is a little extract from Charlie and Mitch’s storyline:

She slept through Port Augusta and Port Pirie and didn’t even stir until Mitch returned to the ute after stopping at a servo just outside of Adelaide. She startled as he closed the door behind him and settled back into his seat.

         ‘Hungry?’ he asked, a boyish grin stretched across his face as he held up two Golden North Giant Twin bars.

         ‘Oh my gosh,’ she shrieked, all but snatching one out of his hands. ‘I haven’t had one of these in years.’

         He laughed, leaned back in his seat and ripped the wrapper of his ice-cream open. They sunk their teeth into the chocolate covered treat at exactly the same time and moaned in unison. Memories of their youth when they’d sit outside the Meadow Brook General Store on a wooden bench, stinking hot despite being under the shade of the veranda came into her head and she couldn’t help but smile even more.

         ‘Remember that time you lost your pocket money and couldn’t afford our after school snack?’ Mitch said, obviously thinking along similar lines to her.

         ‘Uh huh.’ She cringed, her cheeks flaring in embarrassment. ‘I cried because you’d be able to buy a Giant Twin and I wouldn’t.’ In her defense, she’d only been eight years old.

         ‘Your theatrics worked though, I gave you half of mine,’ he said, his tone amused. ‘You do realise I wouldn’t share one of these’ — He held up the few bites that were left of his ice-cream. ‘With just anyone.’

         She swallowed her mouthful, relishing the way the cold creamy sugar melted on her tongue. ‘You are a true friend, Mitch McDonald.’

         ‘And don’t you forget it.’ He screwed up the wrapper of his Giant Twin and offered his hand out for hers. ‘I’ll go put these in the bin. Do you need to visit the conveniences before we get going again?’

         ‘Good idea.’ Charlie gave him her wrapper and opened the ute’s door, finishing her final mouthful as she climbed out. Truth was she could eat another but if she did, she’d probably feel sick. She didn’t want to ruin a good thing. After freshening up in the less than fresh bathroom of the service station, she headed back for the ute to find Mitch leaning up against the bonnet, basking in the rays of mid-afternoon sun. His square jaw roughened with dark stubble glinted in the sunlight and he looked utterly gorgeous but she pushed aside the curl of heat that flickered in her belly. Most of the time she simply thought of Mitch as her oldest and closest friend, a bit like the brother she never had, but every once in a while she felt things she didn’t want to feel.

2) The research. Normally I’m not a HUGE fan of research – I’m always worried about providing too much detail in case I a) get it wrong or b) bore my readers to tears – but I’m enjoying the research I’m doing about fertility for this book. And I’m learning a lot. Two of my sisters are trying to get pregnant in various ways for various reasons (don’t want to give the plot away), so I’ve been reading a lot around the subject of difficulty conceiving and fertility testing. In addition to this I put a call out on Twitter and FB for anyone who has had some personal experience in this area and was willing to answer some questions and I got a great response. People are SO generous and I thank those ladies who have replied to my plea!

One of the ladies told me during her time trying to conceive she bought a fertility statue. I’d never heard of one of these but she educated me and it is SO going in the book!! See picture of one below:

Venus-Willendorf-6-Statue-(2282)

 

Right, I suppose I’d better get stuck into today’s writing. Thanks to everyone coming along on this journey with me. I hope you’re enjoying these blogs.

x
Rach!

HOW TO BUY AND READ AN EBOOK WITHOUT AN E-READER

More and more authors are putting out novellas that are digital only to keep readers happy in between their longer stories. Some books will only ever be published digitally.

As I have a digital novella – TEASE ME, COWBOY – releasing next week, I thought it a fitting time to talk about HOW you can read an ebook if you don’t have a dedicated reading device.

Tease Me Cowboy Cover

I must confess I still read mostly print books. I love the feel and smell of a brand new book and I love having all my faves lined up in the bookshelf. I DON’T like the dust they gather because I think we’ve established before, I’m not a housekeeper. But I do also read books on my Kindle and now my iPad, even occasionally on my phone. But let’s forget about the Kindle e-reader for a moment and talk about HOW I could read if I only had a phone, tablet or even PC.

Most e-bookstores now also have apps you can download to your phone, tablet or computer to enable you to buy books from them and read them on whatever device you feel like doing so on.

If you don’t have a tablet and want to read on your computer, I suggest downloading the Kindle App for PC from Amazon. Click here for information on how to download this free app. You can then set up an Amazon account and purchase your digital book through Amazon and they will be magically delivered to the Kindle App on your computer.

If you have a tablet (e.g. iPad, Samsung Galaxy, etc) or a smart phone, you can download an app so you can buy from Amazon, iBooks, KoboBooktopiaGoogle Play and many many more. Simply search in your devices app store. On my iPad I have the iBooks app, the Amazon app and the Google Play app, which means I can shop around and find the best priced book before buying.

I hope this has been helpful and that you’ll find away to access ebooks, even if it is only for novellas, which aren’t usually available in print!

We can’t have you missing out on booky goodness!!!

PATTERSON’S CURSE week five!

Hiya folks

Sorry – I missed one week of PATTERSON’S CURSE updates because I had almost a whole week away at the Romance Writers of Australia conference and then was too shattered last week to update. Besides I wrote about one page in that week, so there wasn’t really much to tell. Aside from that I had a fabulous time hanging out with my good writing buddies, meeting new friends and being inspired by AWESOME speakers. The highlight of the conference had to be listening to Cherry Adair – both in her plenary speeches and her workshops. What a fabulous person and amazing writer.

photo 2-16

 

Me with the inspirational Cherry Adair!

Malle Vallik form Harlequin gave a fabulous workshop on the writer’s brand, particularly what a good website should entail. Mine does okay according to her checklist but she had some fab ideas I’d love to enact so watch out for a new website for me soon 🙂

The Harlequin dinner and other social events were also big highlights. I posted some photos to my FB page but below are a couple of others from these nights:

photo 1-15

The gorgeous Flo Niccol from M&B UK, me, shirtless waiter and
fab rural romance author Tricia Stringer.

photo 2-15

Good friends and awesome authors: Maisey Yates, Dani Collins
and Beck Nicholas

photo 4-6

Me hanging out at the Destiny welcome cocktail party with some
of the fab team from Harlequin Australia

photo 3-10

After the Awards Dinner, Escape Publishing through a fab after party 
and hired a fun photo booth for the evening!

Now… for my PATTERSON’S CURSE update. Last week involved a lot of second guessing myself and deleting words, putting them back in, deleting them again and then putting them back in. I actually cried, which I haven’t done over a book for quite some time. I whinged to my husband and my good writing friends and they all offered advice and pep talks. Somehow I got over myself and decided that I WILL CONQUER THIS BOOK whatever it takes.

Some books are easy to write, some are hard. This one has been a bit of a challenge so far but I hope that means it’ll be AMAZING by the time you guys read it next year!

Progress thus far:

  • two chaps, which means I’m now into chapter eight
  • 28,579 words so far (another week where I didn’t meet my word count goal but I’m hoping to make it up in the next couple of weeks)

Here’s an extract for you from this week’s words:

‘What happened to the woman who gave the curse?’ Abigail asked as Madeleine turned the car into the main street of Meadow Brook.

‘Oh, she stayed in town,’ Mags said, seemingly happy to tell all now she’d started. ‘Drove Laura wild, following her, shaking her head and fingers and uttering mumbo jumbo whenever she could. In fact, her daughter still lives in town. You might know her as Wacky Wanda.’

Madeleine almost swerved off the road and into the local Australia Post Box at this news. She recovered, brought the car back into the middle of the lane and then looked in the rear view mirror. Abigail looked deathly pale.

Oblivious, Mags continued. ‘Her real name is Gretna, she was the same age as my father but never attended school. She and her mum kept to herself until her mum died and Gretna still keeps to herself. I feel sorry for the old girl. She’s in her eighties and I’m not sure she’s ever left Meadow Creek in her life. Some say she’s not right in the head.’

Madeleine met Abigail’s gaze in the rear view mirror and saw her look of utter horror. ‘Sounds like the whole family weren’t right in the head,’ she said, rolling her eyes.

Mags laughed. ‘Crazy as cut snakes I’d say.’

‘But what if…’ Abigail’s question died on her tongue as Madeleine turned the van into the motel car park and saw an ambulance parked out the front.

‘What’s going on?’ asked Mags, leaning forward as if doing so would give her a better view.

At that moment the front door of the reception opened and Madeleine saw Charlie holding it open, a stricken expression on her face as two men in ambulance uniforms wheeled out a stretcher, Lucinda bringing up the rear.

‘Dad!’ gasped Abigail.

Madeleine flung open the door and almost tripped in her efforts to get to him. ‘What’s going on?’ she demanded to no one in particular as she stopped alongside the stretcher, glancing at the oxygen mask and defibrillator attached to her dad.

‘He had some kind of turn. They think it’s his heart,’ replied Lucinda, her voice shaky. ‘They’re taking him to Port Augusta.’

Madeleine looked from her dad’s ashen face to the serious expressions of the volunteer ambulance officers. ‘Mitch,’ she said, recognising one of them. ‘Have you given him Aspirin or a GTN spray?’

‘Yes. We’ll look after him, Mads.’ He offered her what she guessed was meant to be a reassuring smile.

She puffed out a breath. ‘I’m coming with you.’ Mitch might be very good at driving trucks and fixing things but what did he know about fixing people? And as for the other volunteer, he didn’t look old enough to buy his own underwear.

PATTERSON’S CURSE week three! And an excerpt!

Hi folks

I must admit this week has been a bit of a struggle for words! Possibly because I took a couple of days break to finish the final read through of THE ROAD TO HOPE and therefore didn’t start writing PATTERSON’S CURSE again until Tuesday. But I think it’s more to do with a horrible, crippling thing called SELF-DOUBT. 

I think because this is a slightly different kind of book to my rural romances, I’m stressing that it’s not working. In a romance I almost always introduce the hero and heroine in the first chapter and get straight to the action – their ‘backstories’ come out as they face their issues and learn more about each other. However with this book – my first attempt at women’s fiction with only a splash of romance – I’m setting up four sisters and the premise. I think because I had to introduce ALL the sisters and set the scene of them being back in the small town of Meadow Creek at their family’s motel, before I got to introduce the CURSE, I worried that it was slow. I worried that readers might not stick with me to get to the good bits. I worried that these first few chaps weren’t good enough. Basically, I’ve realised where my writing is concerned I’m a worrier.

My heart and gut tell me the book is okay – that meeting these very different sisters and throwing them back home together is interesting and will keep people reading but my brain or the little crow of doubt on my shoulder keeps shouting otherwise. 

I think it also had a bit to do with chronology. I had a few things I knew MUST happen and I got them mixed up. Until I worked out the problem, I couldn’t go forward and I doubted everything. I know some writers skip back and forth, writing scenes all over the shop and then stitching them all together but that’s never worked for me. Although this time I might be tempted to try – if one sister is giving me grief, I’ll try switching to another. 

Anyway the good news is that despite this being a slower week than I’d hoped, I’ve made progress and I’m finally happy with what I’ve got. I also reformatted the chapters and made them a little smaller, so now I have MORE, which looks like I made more progress than I did. Yay! 

Progress thus far:

  • three chaps, which means I’m now into chapter six
  • 21,400 words so far

Now… just cos I love you all, thought I’d share a little of my work-in-progress (see below). 

Happy reading

x

Rach!

‘Okay, I’ll admit,’ Madeleine said after taking her first sip, ‘now I’m curious.’

Abigail smiled. ‘So what are we going to do about it?’

‘Maybe we should just leave it,’ Lucinda suggested, twisting the stem of her wine glass between her thumb and forefinger. ‘Mum and Dad obviously don’t want us knowing. I trust their judgment and shouldn’t we respect their opinion?’

Charlie nodded. ‘I agree. If we didn’t stumble on the cards we’d be none the wiser.’

‘But we did,’ Abigail pleaded.

‘And I for one have better things to do than spend all eternity wondering if some curse is going to strike me down dead when I least expect it,’ Madeleine announced. Abigail couldn’t tell if she was taking the piss or not, but at least she now wanted to know.

Charlie shot Madeleine a disbelieving glare. ‘I didn’t think you’d place any importance on things like curses? Aren’t they along the same lines as palm reading, horoscopes and all the other things you take great joy teasing me about.’

‘Maybe.’ Madeleine shrugged. ‘But none of those things affect me personally. This one is a “Patterson” curse. I think we have a right to know.’

Silence followed and Abigail guessed her sisters were all pondering the same thing as her. Did they have a right to know? And did she really want to know? What if the curse was something about death or bad luck or disease? She shuddered. Dad’s brother, Uncle William had died long before his time when he was caught in a rip on a family holiday to Goolwa Beach. And as Madeleine had just informed them, Dad’s aunts had died in a horrific car accident. One of William’s sons – their cousin Tim – had died at only three years old of a brain tumour. Sheesh! Maybe there really was some ghastly Patterson’s Curse.

‘So how do you plan on finding out?’ Lucinda asked. ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea to keep pestering Dad in his current state.’

‘Yes, Lucinda, thank you for that blindingly obvious piece of information.’ Madeleine tapped her fingernails on the bar. ‘We could make general enquires to locals who’ve been living in Meadow Brook forever and might know something.’

Lucinda shook her head. ‘You’ve been in big cities too long. Word would get back to Dad and he’d be upset we’d gone behind his back. Look I think we should just forget about it and concentrate on the important things, like sorting through Mum’s stuff and helping with the motel.’

‘What do you think, Charlie?’ Madeleine asked.

‘I think sometimes knowledge is dangerous,’ which Abigail guessed was Charlie’s way of saying maybe they should let this go.

‘But knowledge surely beats ignorance? Forearmed is forewarned and all.’