Saturday, April 28, 2012

Please head on over...

I noticed I have a few new followers here, while that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, I'm sad you're missing out on all the fun, which is now happening over at

Please head on over and introduce yourself :)


Saturday, March 31, 2012

I've moved!

Hi everyone!

My blog has a new home over at Wordpress - come on over and check it out... and make sure you amend all your bookmarks and rss readers, okay?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Theory on Thursday with Fiona McCallum

Today, I'm very excited to have BEST-SELLING rural author Fiona McCallum on Theory on Thursday (especially because Fiona's books are also published by Harlequin Australia, so we're stable-mates). And she's answering the question EVERYONE wants to know of authors - WHERE DO WE GET OUR IDEAS?! 

Over to you Fiona...

I thought today I’d address one of the most common questions an author is asked: “Where do your ideas come from?” The short answer is “Everywhere and anywhere”. But that wouldn’t make much of a Blog entry, now would it?

I tend to write about what I know. So far my books have been set around a framework of two main themes:

Theme 1: rural setting

I was raised on a cereal and wool farm near the small town of Cleve on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. I loved farm life so much that when I was in my final years of school my dream was to work the farm with Dad. But as I had a brother, it wasn’t even worth mentioning.

I stayed in the area and did what I thought was the next best thing; marry a farmer. I had grand notions of working as a true partnership. But the man I married turned out to be very threatened by a strong woman with ideas and get-up-and-go. I was to shut up and drive my tractor and stop and get meals when appropriate. We split after three and a half years.

They say “You can take the girl out of the country but not the country out of the girl”. It’s certainly true for me. I write about rural and farm life because that’s what I know and that’s what I have a passion for. Also, by writing about it, in some way I’m probably still processing my thwarted ambition at a psychological level. Beats paying for years and years of therapy! 

Theme 2: journey of self-discovery storyline

It’s a bit of a long story, but after leaving the farm I ended up in Melbourne with an ambitious fellow who was in executive sales and marketing. Inner-city life in Melbourne and then Sydney and being embroiled in the corporate world was a huge eye-opener for this down-to-earth country girl with humble values and relatively simple needs.

I was stunned at the huge amounts of money floating around, the excesses being displayed, the worshipping of material possessions, generally, and the adoration of companies by staff despite watching friends being retrenched. It seemed to me that people were offering more loyalty to the company than their own family by working ridiculous hours and doing lots of travelling away from home.

I felt like an outsider looking in. And the whole time I was thinking, “Can’t you see what you’re doing?” Fascinating stuff! I watched my new partner climb the corporate ladder. The higher his salary went, the less I saw him and the more arrogant he became.

Gradually it became clear that all that mattered to this person was money and looking wealthy to his peers - not just keeping up with the Joneses, but passing them. When I complained that he wasn’t spending enough time at home, I was told to “Take the credit card for a spin”. After seven years together, clearly this person didn’t know me at all.

It was whilst standing in the cemetery at the funeral of a very dear friend, having travelled alone halfway across the country, that I realised I may as well be single. What was the point of having a life-partner if I didn’t have his emotional support? We had all this money to buy heaps of stuff, but all the stuff in the world can’t give you a shoulder to cry on or a hug when you need it.

I had worked towards being a novelist for a few years and written a couple of well-rejected manuscripts. It was then I decided that I would rather be financially poor and chasing my dream than selling my soul, which is what I realised I was doing staying with this man in this environment. So I left and came to Adelaide and started all over again. There’s a whole other long story in here, but you’ll have to wait for my biography in about thirty years for that one!

Apologies, but I’m no good at telling a short story! The point is, I’ve been on the journey of self-discovery that I tend to send my characters on. Sure, I use different settings and characters with different jobs and different dreams, but the emotion behind it is the same. It’s learning to have the courage to have a dream and then chase it, no matter how hard it might get. Because ultimately being rich isn’t actually about financial gains; I believe it’s about how comfortable you are at a soul level. If in your heart of hearts you believe you’re living a truly fulfilling life. If not, do something about it. I think modern society with all its ads and marketing has too many shackled to lives they don’t like in order to conform. Oops, sorry, now I’m on my soapbox! I’m meant to be telling you where I get my ideas from.

Filling in the gaps around the themes

So, with the basic platform of my stories sorted (the rural and journey of self-discovery themes), the gaps then need to be filled in. This I do with ideas that come from all sorts of places. Gems of ideas seem to pop up in the strangest places, at the strangest times; whilst reading books, standing in the shower, sitting on the loo, when out walking, staring at the TV - really whenever my mind is relaxed enough. They often start as the tiniest seed and then just grow, gathering more detail as they go.

For instance, the idea of using horseracing for Paycheque came from watching the Caulfield Cup in 2005. The runner-up, Mummify, had won the year before. He was a great horse that had made the connections millions. Anyway, he pulled up lame after the race and was put down that night. It really upset me because, while I’m not involved with horseracing and I wasn’t there, I felt that they had just treated him like a money-making machine and not a wonderful creature that deserved every chance. So I decided to write Paycheque as a bit of a tribute, and give Mummify, and every other horse that hadn’t had it, their second chance.

I’m a huge animal lover, so there will usually be a creature of some sort feature in my stories. I had horses for most of my life until leaving the land; so again, with Paycheque, I was able to draw on the knowledge I had even though it was in a slightly different realm. 

The origins for Nowhere Else were a little different. I lost two friends in a plane crash in South Australia in May 2000. I was living in Melbourne at the time and hadn’t seen them for a few years when they died. I knew that one day I wanted to somehow incorporate a bit of a tribute to them in one of my books. Somehow, somewhere I realised that having a character who was a journalist tell the story and have a personal connection would do the trick. And of course she had to go on her own journey of self-discovery, and it had to include the bush.

These are just two examples. I could go on forever, but I’d better stop here and let Rachael have her blog back!

So, you see, I tend to write about what I’ve lived, what I’ve experienced, and what I’ve observed. Ideas just pop into my head - and often at the most ridiculous, inopportune times. Many are banished as not worth pursuing at that point. But those that hang around long enough get used. I don’t write a journal so the ideas just float around up there or disappear to come back better formed at a later date.

Thanks so much Rachael for having me on your Thursday Theory segment. I hope I haven’t bored everyone with my long, convoluted explanation of where I get my ideas from. But, as I’m sure you can all appreciate, it’s not a question with a simple, quick answer.


Fiona's latest novel WATTLE CREEK is available in-stores now and online at You can find Fiona online at her website and also on Facebook.

Blurb for Wattle Creek:

Damien McAllister is a man on the brink. Spending long, hard days on a farm he has no affection for, and nights ignoring the criticisms of his mother, Damien can no longer remember what he's living for. But in a small town like Wattle Creek, there are few people to turn to - and Damien learned long ago to keep his problems to himself.

Until Jacqueline Havelock, a young psychologist escaping her own issues, arrives fresh from the city and makes Damien question everything he has known about himself…also igniting a spark in his lonely heart.

Soon Damien is daring to ask for more than an ordinary life, and can glimpse the possibility of happiness. Will this accidental farmer dare to fulfil the long-forgotten legacy of his father and find peace in the arms of the doctor?

Or will the ghosts of their pasts threaten the fragile new lives they've just begun to build?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

HUGE congrats!!

My very good friend Fiona Lowe (Medical romance author for Harlequin Mills and Boon and RITA-AWARD winning author for Carina Press) has just been nominated for a RITA AWARD, which you probably got from my description of her.

I had the VERY HUGE honour of reading this book BEFORE it was published and I just fell in love with it. I was not at all surprised when the clever Charlotte Herscher (who also happens to be my Carina Press editor - see, did I not tell you she was clever?) snapped Fiona's BOOMERANG BRIDE up. Since it was published by Carina Press last August, this book has gone Direct-to-consumer in the US and now this... the first CARINA book to be nominated for the prestigious RITA Awards.

I am just so thrilled for Fiona, Charlotte and Carina and I hope if you haven't yet read this book, you do so soon. It's such a gorgeous story!!! I WISH you the best with the final round Fiona. xo


Matilda Geoffrey risked it all for love. She left Australia to be with Barry—the man who had swept her off her virtual feet. Now, wearing a wedding dress, she's alone on Main Street in small-town Wisconsin, and things aren't working out exactly as planned...

In town for his annual family visit, Marc Olsen had never seen a bride quite like Matilda—staring into a storefront window, holding a tottering wedding cake, and looking desperately in need of a groom. He may not have any warm feelings for his hometown,but meeting Matilda just as she discovers she's been scammed by her online "fiancĂ©" stirs something in him.

Matilda is not the kind of woman Marc imagined himself with, and Marc is anything but the romantic hero that Matilda has always dreamed of. But as unlikely circumstances throw them together, can they let go of their misconceptions and risk their hearts for love?

To buy links:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bits and Bobs!

It's my turn over at the Sassy Sisters today! I'm talking about how my muse surprises with me and I run with it. Fascinating stuff - or at least I think so :) Please pop over here and say Hi!!

I'm sure you've all seen my new cover as I've been flashing around the beautiful JILTED (Mira Australia, June) cover on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads, but just in case you've some how missed out, I thought I'd share it again here. This time the whole book jacket - blurb and all. I'm guessing my next AMAZING moment will be getting my author copies and I can't wait!

Since that blurb is a little small to read, I'll post it again below:

She left him at the altar, but her heart was always his...

After more than ten years away, Australian soap star Ellie Hughes returns to the small country town of Hope Junction, determined to remain anonymous while caring for her injured godmother, Matilda.
But word spreads fast in the tight-knit community. It isn’t long before the people of Hope’s are gossiping about the real reason for Ellie’s visit and why she broke the heart of golden boy Flynn Quartermaine all those years ago.

Soon Ellie and Flynn are thrown back together again, forced to deal with the unresolved emotions between them. For Ellie is not the only one with secrets. Flynn has his own demons to battle, and Matilda is hiding something from her much-loved goddaughter.

When all is uncovered, can the ill-fated lovers overcome the wounds of their past? Or is Flynn destined to be jilted again?

And in other news... my new website will launch a week today on April 1st!! I'm looking forward to showing off this gorgeous site made by the awesome and truly fabulous Paula Roe. Just a service announcement that this blog will also be moving next weekend and my current website will be down all of Saturday while Paula does the technical swap :) 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Theory on Thursday with Jenny Schwartz

The brilliant thing about Jenny Schwartz is not only is she a Carina Press author but she's also a West Aussie - I can't think of anyone better to lose my steampunk virginity to (am going to read her book VERY soon)! But first, I'm thrilled to have her as a guest this Theory on Thursday talking STYLE!!

Welcome Jenny...

7 Secrets of Style
Hi, Rachael! Thanks for inviting me to Theory on Thursday. Here’s hoping that what I’ve painfully learned about writing makes sense to others.

Style is how you tell a story. 

1) There’s no way around it. You have to start with some boring commonsense. Learn the rules of grammar and punctuation so you can break them. A self-editing course like Angela James’s “Before You Hit Sendis a good investment. 

2) Understand the medium you’re writing in. Whether you’re writing a tweet, poem, short story or novel will affect your style. 

3) Respect your readers’ genre expectations. Writing a story for a literary journal is very different to writing for a tabloid newspaper. Things to think about include the level of description, word play, swearing (or not), vocabulary and use of dialect.

4) Write outside the space you consider yours. If you write historical romance, try your hand at modern poetry. And don’t forget to value your non-fiction writing, like blog posts. 

5) Writing outside your comfort zones reveals your writing style to you and lets you develop different aspects of it. Write often. I hate the clichĂ©, practice makes perfect, and I hate it because it’s true. 

6) Read widely. In terms of inspiration, reading widely helps with ideas. 

7) In terms of style, it expands vocabulary and style possibilities. Remember to read writing guides. Listen to feedback from people you trust: crit partners, editors, whoever. 

8) Be confident. It shows. Confidence is not stasis. Dare to experiment, to learn and grow.

Anyone want to argue with me about my style secrets? Anyone want to agree? Most important of all, what did I forget to mention?


Jenny's latest release: 

BLURB - Wanted: One Scoundrel

All suffragette Esme Smith wants is a man. A scoundrel to be precise. Someone who can be persuaded to represent her political views at men-only clubs. As the daughter of the richest man in Australia, Esme can afford to make it worth the right man's while.

Fresh off the boat, American inventor Jed Reeve is intrigued by Esme's proposal, but even more interested in the beauty herself. Amused that she takes him for a man who lives by his wits, he accepts the job—made easier by the fact that he already shares her ideals. Soon, he finds himself caught up in political intrigue, kidnapping and blackmail, and trying to convince his employer he's more than just a scoundrel...

To buy links:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Scared Yet...

I cannot remember the last book I read that had me staying up until the early hours of the morning when I KNEW I had a busy day ahead and kids that'd be up at the crack of dawn.

The last book before Jaye Ford's SCARED YET, that is. I started this book Saturday morning and finished it in the early hours of the morning today!! Let me just explain, that I'm not the fastest of readers at the moment, because most of my free time is spent writing, so I maybe read one book a week.

 I read Jaye's debut BEYOND FEAR last year and loved it, so have been looking forward to this book for a while. I was NOT disappointed.

This is the story of a Livia, a capable business woman and mum who's going through some pretty rough stuff  in her personal life - marriage break-down, father dying. If that's not horrid enough, she'd beaten up by a thug and then the stalking starts. Threatening, scary notes and worse, bad things happening to people whom she loves. Jaye cleverly sets the scene so that after a couple of days of this happening, Liv has NO IDEA who to turn to.

There's a hook at the end of each chap that keeps you turning the pages as you wonder if the stalker is Liv's best friend, her best friend's husband, her new friend and supposed protector, someone in her office building or her ex. EVERYONE seems capable and suspicious on more than one occasion.

Liv is a gutsy heroine, who's hard not to barrack for. You want her to win and get her happily ever after - yes, there's that thread of romance that I like in ALL my books! However, despite knowing she's gotta survive in the end, it's touch-and-go till the very end, with one surprise after another.

I truly enjoyed this Thriller by another fabulous Aussie writer and I can't wait to see what Jaye Ford writes next.

I'm curious - what book have you read lately that was un-put-down-able?!!?