Posted in Writing

An Update :)

I haven’t written a blog in a while, so here is a catch-up.

It’s been nearly a year since Breaking Storm became a real life book instead of a file on my computer. To say I’m happy with the response so far is a huge understatement. Of course, not all the reviews are great, but for the most part, people are loving Kelsey and Ethan’s journey to a happily ever after.

Over the last year, I’ve also been working on the second book of the White Wattle Creek series, Reckless Lies. Carol’s story has evolved and grown in that time, and I can’t wait to have it out in the world right next to Breaking Storm.

Right now, I’m working on the third book of the series, (working title) Shattered Whisper. This will be Jex’s story, and will be another emotional rollercoaster. I’m hoping to have the first draft finished before the launch of Reckless Lies.

In other news, I’ve discovered Studio Ghibli, and absolutely love Howl’s Moving Castle. My youngest is encouraging me to write some fanfic, and I have to say, I’m quite tempted! I hope to blog monthly from now on, but we’ll see how that goes 😆

I’ll end by saying wherever you are, whatever you might celebrate this time of year, I send you love and peace 💚

Posted in Writing

Vikki Holstein

One Writer’s Words has me featured on their blog. Go check them out 💚

One Writer's Words

Wednesday Author Feature: Vikki Holstein

Vikki Holstein is the author of Breaking Storm, the first book in her romantic suspense series, White Wattle Creek.

An avid reader from a young age, Vikki often escaped into other worlds and lives, and discovered romance novels at the age of fourteen. She devoured romance, fantasy, science fiction, horror, and anything else she could get her hands on until the year 2000, after her third child was born, and she decided to write what she hadn’t found in any book yet. A story like her own.

A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, her writing reflects the courage it takes to trust again, and the struggle to forgive ourselves on the journey to finding love, peace, and happiness. Her stories invariably feature horses as they were an integral part of her survival as a child and teenager.

About Breaking StormKelsey’s sole…

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Posted in Writing

Listen to love

Most creatives battle with imposter syndrome, self doubt, and that nasty little voice that loves to convince us we’re no good.

We work, closeted away from friends and family, missing social engagements because of deadlines and the crippling need to just get it done.

We agonize over every detail, second guess ourselves, worry what others will think, or if anyone will even be bothered to look at what we’ve done.

One of the worst things I think we do, is listen to that nasty inner voice instead of the people who see what we’ve done, and tell us we’ve done it well.

It’s easier to believe ourselves. We say what we’re terrified others will, and if we get in first it won’t hurt as much, will it?

We give ourself a false sense of negative security. And we stop ourselves from truly believing in what we do, what we can do.

So listen to the people who tell you they love your work. Listen to family and friends who encourage because they want to see you succeed.

Listen to strangers who take the time to tell you your work touched them, changed them, or took them away for a bit.

Listen to the love people offer, hoard it like a dragon does gold, bring it out whenever that nast voice starts its lies, and please, please, be nice to yourself.

And as always, have fun.

Posted in Writing

It’s been a while…

Blogging has taken a back seat the past few months. In fact, it’s been shoved out into the trailer, covered with a tarp, and forgotten. And not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I have been busy learning the ins and outs of the editing process.

I’m lucky enough to have a brilliant editor who encourages what I do well, as much as she offers suggestions for things that need working on. She doesn’t change my voice, or my core themes, but shows me how to make the story stronger, and a better read.

Which leads me in to why I haven’t been blogging. So many things have been happening, besides the writing and editing. So many behind the scenes things that seem to be easy, but turn out to be emotionally complicated, like marketing questions and avenues, especially when the book deals with the after effects of abuse.

So, with my first book to be published early next year, and book two coming together, with book three not far behind it, I have a growing to-do list, on top of which is revamping this website, and regular blogging.

If anyone has any suggestions on making a great author website, please leave me a comment. And if there’s anything you want to see more of, let me know 😊

As always, whatever you’re doing, have fun.

Posted in Writing

It’s been a while…

So much has happened in the last six months. I signed a contract to get Hold Back published, then a couple of months later it fell through. I got angry, disenchanted, disheartened, was bolstered by friends and loved ones, and found that my determination was stronger than anything else I felt. 

So, I sent Hold Back off to other publishers, agents, and competitions. I started rewriting Break Away, the second book in the series, and tried really hard not to be jealous when other writers posted their happy publishing deals.

When I saw a call for submissions from Vulpine Press, looking specifically Australian and New Zealand stories, I thought why not?

Well, I’m ecstatic to say that not only did Vulpine Press offer a contract for Hold Back, but the whole series!

I’m thrilled, and still at the someome-please-pinch-me stage, and I know I have a lot of hard work ahead of me, but it’s happening. It’s really happening 😃

So if you’re out there, staring at your computer screen, or your notebook, or whatever else, wondering why you’re doing this, and a tiny voice says “because my stories need to be told”, listen to that voice, encourage it every chance you get until it yells those words.

Because the world does need stories, and someone out there might just need to hear yours.

Posted in Writing

That time of year.

It’s hectic, loud, expensive, and in Australia, Christmas time is hot. It’s a time for family and friends, either the making or breaking of them. It’s the time of loss and gain. For a lot of us, it’s a time we find harder to cope with for whatever reason.

Finding time to write among the chaos, and battling the guilt of taking that time when so many Christmas parties and breakups are going on is beyond hard. 

One thing we must remember this time of year, when our energies and emotions are stretched in all different directions, making us exhausted before we even get out of bed each morning, is to practice some self care.

Take that hour (or however long) each day to write, to let yourself steep in the world you’re creating.

Know you can say no. To parties, shopping, Christmas Caroling, or anything else that will zap what little time and energy you may have hoarded.

Tell that little nagging voice that says you are selfish, that people depend on you to be there, that you should do all these things, to shut up. Just because most people thrive on the crowds, the buzz, the energy of this time of year, doesn’t mean we all do.

If your energy charge is to lock yourself away for a certain amount of time each day and write, then do it.  

Better to be relatively sane over the holiday period, than a wreck who breaks down and screams that everyone will end up in the next book as victims of some awful petulant plague that kills its victims viciously and horendiously painfully slow.

Just my thoughts.

I hope you all have a good holiday season, a happy Yule, merry Christmas, and any other holidays celebrated this time of year.

As always, have fun 😊

Posted in Writing

A dream come true, or hard work paying off.

Being published is something most writers aim for at some time or another. We draft, polish, rewrite, edit until we have something we can look at and say “You know what? I’m happy with how that’s turned out.”

Then we send our work, that we have put so much of our self into, for other people to look at and decide if it fits what they want.

Most times, it comes back as a no.

Up until now, it has been varying degrees of that “no” for me.

Now though, I’ve had that elusive “yes” and have signed a contract with After Glows Publishing for Hold Back.

I’m still getting over the this is a dream bit to the okay, this is really  happening bit, and though I want to say it’s a dream come true, I can look at the last nineteen years of writing and know that without sticking to it through the good times and bad, without taking each “no” and saying I’ll do better, and without the support and belief of the people around me, that dream would have always stayed just that.

A dream.

So for those of you out there still getting that “no”, or still dreaming, go for it, make it happen. Drag that dream to you kicking and screaming, just never let it go. 

You will get there.

But as always, have fun while you’re doing it 😌

Posted in Writing

How writing software can boost your writing (and it’s not how you think)

So, you’ve written your story, maybe edited it a few times, and now the search for a program to help polish your work fills your web browser.

There are plenty out there to chose from, and all can help one way or another. 

Grammerly, for instance, helps with exactly what it says and explains each problem it picks up.  

Scrivner is a brilliant alternative to word (and I love that I can colour coordinate by character, day, scene type, and scene status), but doesn’t highlight anything more than spelling mistakes.

Then, last night, I ran my manuscript through ProWriterAid. 

Now, this is where it gets interesting. Because, as well as picking up all my overused words, my adverbs, and cliches, it gives spelling alternatives for unique words.

Cue my giggling and weird looks from family members when the following was suggested.

Geocache: Cowcatcher/cockshy/Kekchi/kickshaw

I couldn’t help sharing this with a friend of mine, which set off more giggling in our respective homes half a world apart, with suggestions of what sort of story a cockshy cowboy would make.

 The conversation went on to talk about breaking glass downstairs (she was having windows replaced) but no ensuing of swearing. My suggestion?

“Maybe they’re bleeding out on the floor?”

(They weren’t, of course) 

(And we are both writers, so our conversations often dive off on tangents like this)

It just goes to show that when we say we get ideas from anywhere and everywhere, we mean it. Be it the news, a conversation between strangers, getting a tea bag in the mail (I never did bring myself to use it, I mean, what if it was a bid to infect the population?). 

And now we can add writing software to the list.

I guess my point is, never pass up an opportunity to gather those ideas, no matter how small or frivolous. You just never know you’ll get a chance to use them 😌

As always, have fun.

Posted in Uncategorized

Write what you know

This is one of the first pieces of advice aspiring writers are given. To an extent, I think it’s true. On the other hand, though, writing what we know limits us in what we explore and want to tell.

I’d like to extend that piece of advice, and add research what you don’t.

With the power of the internet, we can reach all places on the globe. More people can read, and criticise, with the click of the mouse.

As more voices are being heard, there’s more opinions on what should and shouldn’t be said, how groups of people should and shouldn’t be portrayed.
As artists, our work is open to scrutiny. Not everyone will like what we write, and that’s fine. We need the diversity. We need the conversations that erupt when people don’t agree with what is said, or how it’s said.

What we can do, is make sure we research what it is we haven’t experienced.

Not just reading and watching, but talking, opening that dialogue with people who have lived the life you want to portray.

Talk to as many people as you can.

Not everyone experiences things the same way.

In the end, be true to your characters and what they represent. Token characters are no longer (and rightly so) seen as good and fun.

So yes, write what you know, but research what you don’t.

Push the boundaries, but not with tired representations. 

Give main characters mental and physical issues.

Don’t kill off queer characters.

Don’t have ever screaming female characters.

Don’t always have the tough guy untouchable.

Don’t always have straight, white lead characters.

There’s so many people in the world. Give them all a voice.

As always, have fun.

Posted in life, Writing

Be different

I love the association of being a writer with being weird. It suits me. I’ve never felt like I truly fit in, that I’m accepted for who and what I am.

This has nothing to do with other people, though I have had the odd person look down their nose at me, though that was more for being a stay at home mum and “not working”, than being a writer.

It’s more to do with me learning to live with and handle depression and anxiety. I know it’s something so many struggle with, and that so many others just don’t understand, but that’s life.

At forty-two, I’ve come to realise that it’s okay to be that bit out of step. Its what makes me me (and often drives my husband nuts, but that’s another story).

Just because I’d rather scrub the toilet than answer the phone, or have to work up the energy and courage to go into the shops doesn’t mean I’m not doing the best I can, and doesn’t make me weird (okay, it does, but not carry-someone’s-ear-in-my-pocket weird), it just means I have different coping mechanisms than some others.

Whatever your coping mechanisms (as long as it’s not along the lines of the ear in the pocket), do it if it makes you feel better and gets you through what you have to do.

Don’t be afraid to be different.

Don’t be afraid to stand out.

You never know who is watching, and maybe deciding it’s time for them to step out, just like you, and do what they have to do to cope.

Never be afraid to be the weird writer. Own that label. Wear it with pride.

Who knows, what you write, just as what you do, might just give someone that encouraging push to be who they are without fear of that out of step feeling (again, except for the ear thing. That probably shouldn’t be encouraged).

I’d say we should gather in force and march the streets, shouting or weirdness to the world, but as most of us are introverts as well, can I suggest we make cups of tea and coffee, and salute each other in spirit 🙂

Have fun.

Write.

Be proud.

(Just don’t carry other people’s ears in your pocket)