I jump into worlds that I know little or nothing about and write about them like I've lived in them all my life.



Monday, October 20, 2014

"Anyone who tells you there's a right way to write is a lying bitch." - Nora Roberts. And Survive and Thrive Bloghop.

Hi everyone!

"Anyone who tells you there's a right way to write is a lying bitch." Nora Roberts

Get the message? Getting sick of those posts that start with..."The Secret to...", whether it's getting published, writing a best seller, formatting the best self-published novel EVER! The only secret to the game is getting it right. But that seems pretty elusive, at least to me.

Nora Roberts -- sitting pretty.
If, like me, you've been studying writing How-To books for years, you probably feel like me--there's so much between the covers you couldn't possible remember/do all that stuff. And some advice is downright contradictory, right? Maybe you pick up a couple of good pointers, but soon forget to actually apply them. And after all that, we're told to ignore all the rules!! Gah!!

How many times have I read--'show don't tell'? What does this actually mean? You can't write a whole book 'showing'. I read recently that all stories use a show/tell format -- (Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon - you can download the pdf by clicking on the link), but this is rarely pointed out. But plucking out all that 'showing' when an editor points it out to you is very demoralising because we should know better, right?

WRITING TIPS THAT MIGHT WORK FOR ME - Keeping in mind I am a contemporary romance writer. Other genres may be different in their application. Enough of my yammering...here's my Secrets to... which are pretty basic, but they may help someone who is sweating over getting a novel finished.
    Image result for image of books and writers
  • Write with the reader in mind 
  • Make sure you have a hook at the beginning of your story
  • Dribble in backstory - no info dumps 
  • Something must happen on every page - what are those characters doing? CONFLICT!!
  • Occasionally surprise the reader - subvert/invert the scene
  • Make sure action comes before reaction 
  • Show, don't tell. (Had to say that)
Really, there are three main things for writers to do, isn't there?
  1. READ. I've got that covered big time. I've recently discovered NetGalley where a prolific reader can apply to read new books as long as they review them. I've just been sent Samantha Verant's Seven Letters From Paris. Can't wait to sink my teeth into that one...and review it. 
  2. WRITE. Oh wow! Really! Whatever works for you. But you can't be a writer unless you write. I've found ways to increase my writing hours per day. My motivation? I want to get my novel submitted before NaNoWriMo in November. I said that last November too! Same novel!
  3. Get meaningful feedback from trusted peers/writers and mentors/professionals. Not so easy. I recently asked several writer blogger friends to critique a chapter which I'd re-written so many times, had assessed at some expense by a manuscript assessor, had a multi-published writer (who is my new mentor thanks to RomanceWritersofAustralia) critique, yet my friends found line after line to pull apart. Very demoralising. Makes me wonder if I'll ever finish this book! 
The most useful how-to I've come across recently is the Margie Lawson DEEP EDITS system. Here is a link to a guest blog post that introduced me to her system. You can pay for several lectures and her system may help you become a NYT best-selling author.  She has many secrets for you.

So my friends, if published, what is your secret?
If not, do you have anything to add to my writing 'secrets'?

As I've travelled around the blogosphere this morning I've been commenting on post after post for the Survive and Thrive bloghop. By now you will know what it's all about--well, it's self explanatory really. I haven't read a post about skin cancer yet, so I thought I'd pop one in. Just in time. Two hours to go...

Australia is often referred to as the skin cancer capital of the world and Queensland where I live, is the skin cancer capital of Australia. Simple, really. We're north, closer to the Equator. It's nearly always sunny. We have a beach culture. We didn't know what damage we were doing to ourselves with long summer holidays at the beach when we were children. Skin cancer awareness is relatively new.

I've always thought I got away with my beach-babe teenage years but it finally caught up with me. One of my freckles started turning a little browner and growing sideways. My doctor sister-in-law saw it and said to have it checked. This is where the scary part starts.

My regular doctor didn't think much of my little old freckle. But I insisted on a biopsy. It came back negative for cancer. I insisted it was removed. They did the procedure reluctantly to shut me up. 

Result: Stage One melanoma! 

They hadn't taken the full freckle off in the biopsy so missed the cancer part. 

Now melanoma is the really, really scary one! It has four stages. Once you get past Stage One, the results aren't so good. If you're at Stage Four--goodnight!

Not pleasant having them cut a huge slice 5mls deep out of my arm, but better than the alternative. I can have plastic surgery if I want, but for now the scar is scarcely noticeable and a good reminder to me that I survived the doctor's diagnosis!

So I had another skin check with my doctor's skin specialist. All clear. I didn't believe it. He just used a magnifying thingo. Have taken myself off to a skin doctor who photographs your spots and blows them up, has a real good look and can easily track changes (ha ha). He picked up two more prospective melanomas and a couple more that will probably develop. So more surgery next week.

So if you live in a hot climate, be on the lookout. Don't listen to your doctor if you feel suspicious of a mole/freckle. Get a second or third opinion. 

Thanks to Doctor Covey, sister-in-law for saving me from moving past Stage One melanoma.

Don't forget to click on the link to read more potentially life-saving posts.

Monday, October 13, 2014

ANYA RICHARDS tells us about Bellissima. Release Day Blitz...and Crystal Collier...and let's have those ghost stories...

Yikes! I just hit PUBLISH by mistake on my vampire story for Halloween!! Sorree! Ignore!

Hello all!

It seems everyone is publishing a new book at the moment and everyone wants to tell us about it. 

Today I welcome multi-published author Anya Richards to my blog as part of her blog tour presented by Romance Book Haven.


Thank you so much for inviting me to be here today, Denise!
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Anya Richards, author of a wide variety of erotic romance and erotica titles, some under my other penname, Anya Delvay. In my catalogue you’ll find contemporary, historical, paranormal/fantasy and M/M titles… I go wherever the muse leads me, because I’m easy that way *grin*!

A transplant, I’m very thankful for the wide experiences life has given me, since they’re all used as fodder for my books. Originally from the Caribbean, I’ve traveled a fair amount and now live in Canada. After a slew of jobs, from vet assistant to jewelry sales, I’ve settled into the role of part time law clerk and author, with the author job definitely taking precedence, especially in my heart.

I look for inspiration wherever I can find it. I love nature and am incredibly curious about pretty much everything, especially what makes people tick. Really and truly, that’s what lies at the very heart of every good book, movie, story—no matter how many explosions there are, how many murders, or bouts of sex, or car chases, if we don’t sort of understand and feel for the characters, it all falls flat. A good book really doesn’t need a lot of fluff if it has soul!

My usual modus operandi when I want to write is to chase everyone away and turn on some music. Of course my cats think that’s the perfect time to want affection, and I’m such a sucker I can’t chase them away, so I’ve become a competent one-handed typist. When I first started writing I needed silence, but now prefer music or something I can sort of ignore on the TV in the background. I wish I could say I can write anywhere, but I’ve learned I can’t write love scenes when I’m in public… even when I know no one can see the computer screen!

Writing quite simply completes me. It’s both a journey I’m compelled to take and a release from life’s stress. It allows me to live out some fantasies and is a way to get the characters to stop bugging the heck out of me by telling their stories. Writing is also a way for me to try to make sense of the world, and give sad stories a happy ending. And I think that’s something we all need to see regularly…

Bellissima Blurb:

Jane Rollins is anything but plain, but to keep her position as housekeeper to a wealthy family, she is content to hide her beauty behind a dull fa├žade. This deception has become second-nature to her—until dance master Sergio Fontini waltzes into her life.
While the other inhabitants of the house see him as a foreigner and beneath their notice, Jane sees strength, barely leashed power, and an aura of iron control—an irresistible, arousing combination.

Sergio sees through Jane’s disguise to the woman beneath, and the desires in her veiled gaze call to him like the utterly irresistible strains of a beautiful symphony. The circumstances couldn’t be worse, for seducing her will endanger both their livelihoods.

Yet there are lessons he cannot resist teaching her, steps of a dance that crescendos to her final surrender…


Multi-published author Anya Richards lives with her husband, youngest kid, a mutt, and two cats that plot world domination one food bowl at a time. The humans support her writing while the animals see her preoccupation as a goad.

Insatiably curious and irreverent, Anya loves history, music, the sea and a good rum punch. To learn more drop by Anya’s website make friends with her on Facebook  or follow her on Twitter.

Thanks for coming by and reading Anya's post. I hope you're intrigued by her book!

WEP OCTOBER HALLOWEEN CHALLENGEPlease check out the Write...Edit...Publish October challenge - Ghost Story. Would love you to sign up and write a creepy post - fiction, non-fiction, poetry, art, photos...You can sign up right here in my sidebar. We've decided to post from 29th - 31st October so you have longer to enjoy the Halloween stories.

And the beautiful Crystal Collier is launching her second book today, Soulless, to follow Moonless, which was a great read! Why not pay Crystal a visit?

Here's the info!

The Soulless are coming! SOULLESS, book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy is finally out. Follow the release blog tour to win titles from 7 different authors, read excerpts, watch awesome videos and get your free copy of MOONLESS, book 1. The fun starts Monday morning.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Hi my friends!

You've probably come across Jessica Bell's blog tour promoting her new novel, White Lady. Here are a couple of teasers from her excellent psychological thriller.



To celebrate the release of Jessica Bell's latest novel, WHITE LADY, she is giving away an e-copy (mobi, ePub, or PDF) to the first person to correctly guess the one true statement in the three statements below. To clarify, two statements are lies, and one is true:

Jessica Bell has a dog. It is a ...
a. Pointer
b. Black Labrador
c. Dalmatian

What do you think? Which one is true? Write your guess in the comments, along with your email address. Comments will close in 48 hours. If no-one guesses correctly within in 48 hours, comments will stay open until someone does.

Want more chances to win? You have until October 31 to visit all the blogs where Jessica will share a different set of true and false statements on each one. Remember, each blog is open to comments for 48 hours only from the time of posting.

If you win, you will be notified by email with instructions on how to download the book.

Click HERE to see the list of blogs.


*This novel contains coarse language, violence, and sexual themes.

Sonia yearns for sharp objects and blood. But now that she's rehabilitating herself as a "normal" mother and mathematics teacher, it's time to stop dreaming about slicing people's throats.

While being the wife of Melbourne's leading drug lord and simultaneously dating his best mate is not ideal, she's determined to make it work.

It does work. Until Mia, her lover's daughter, starts exchanging saliva with her son, Mick. They plan to commit a crime behind Sonia's back. It isn't long before she finds out and gets involved to protect them.

But is protecting the kids really Sonia's motive?

Click HERE to view the book trailer.
Click HERE for purchase links.

Jessica Bell, a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, is the Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and the director of the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

Connect with Jessica online:
Website | Retreat & workshop | Blog | Vine Leaves Literary Journal | Facebook | Twitter


Check out Write...Edit...Publish for October. The challenge is Ghost Story - flash fiction, non-fiction, poetry, artwork, photo essay...your choice. You can sign up now in my sidebar! Thank you.


Thank you for visiting today. 
Thank you for supporting fellow blogger, Jessica Bell. 
Thank you for supporting me by participating in the WEP October blogfest.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

#InsecureWritersSupportGroup entry for e-book - Tips on writing BACKSTORY

Hi everyone!

It's Wednesday, October 1, IWSG post day.

It’s also the website’s one year anniversary and the day to post your entry for the IWSG anthology. If over 300 words, you can email it directly to Alex or to theIWSG@gmail.com. 

Once you have posted on October 1, go to this page at the IWSG site and enter your link - http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-guide-to-publishing-and-beyond.html  We will be reading every post, but we don’t want to miss someone’s submission!

This is my entry for the IWSG e-book which seeks articles on Writing, Publishing and Marketing. I give my consent for it to be included in the e-book. It is slightly over 300 words.

My topic is Writing.

BACKSTORY - Write Winners, not Skimmers.

Firstly, what is BACKSTORY? BACKSTORY is the history that happened before Chapter One.

What I've learnt about BACKSTORY:

  1. BACKSTORY should not appear until our readers get to know our characters -- some say Chapter Four.
  2. BACKSTORY is the story that the author tells herself. She needs to know where her hero/heroine comes from, the deepest, darkest secrets from his/her past. So make up a file, or write it into your story then move it to a separate file. 
  3. The reader doesn't need to know everything we know about our characters. But how can you share fully-formed characters without being boring? Solution. Dribble hits of BACKSTORY through dialogue (but don't info dump). Creatively include bits and pieces from your hero/heroine's past. 
  4. Write what readers will read. Too many slow sentences or paragraphs of BACKSTORY and the reader will skim, hoping the story picks up. Readers rarely skim dialogue. Don't waste time crafting clever paragraphs readers won't read.
  5. BACKSTORY is not a bad thing. Relevant BACKSTORY needs to be slipped into your WIP in an active way at the right juncture. Keep the story rolling. Keep the reader engaged. 
So...what to do? I learned this trick from Mark Sullivan, thriller writer.

1. Write the BACKSTORY. 

2. Make a BACKSTORY file. For your eyes only. Try to keep it to one or two succinct pages.

3. REVIEW those pages. Highlight what you really must include in your story. Will it move your story forward?

4. Check your highlighted BACKSTORY. Can you eliminate anything? 

5. Put the reader-can't-live-without BACKSTORY into bullet points on a new page.


7. Then...imagine these bullet points were printed on a sheet of glass.

8. Picture yourself dropping that sheet of glass onto the floor and watching it shatter. Kapow!

9. Picture this: Bend down and pick up one sliver of BACKSTORY at a time, then slide those slivers into your story.


SHORT BIO: Denise Covey is a writer of romantic fiction - flash fiction, short stories,  novels. She blogs at http://laussieswritingblog.blogspot.com


Thanks to the co-hosts for October 1:

Go here for other entries.
  • What's your take on BACKSTORY? Anything to add?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Helen Lacey welcomes us to Crystal Point, near the Great Barrier Reef - horses, beaches and her latest book.

Hello everyone!

It's no secret that I harbor a desire to be published by Harlequin. I know what hard work it is, so I marvel at multi-published Harlequin authors, and I marvel that I rub shoulders with several here in little ole Queensland. One such is Helen Lacey, who hails from a paradise very close to the Great Barrier Reef.  I've invited her here today to tell us about her latest Harlequin romance penned from her own little paradise.

Now I know this is a long post, so flip through and read what interests you...

Hello there Denise!

Welcome to Crystal Point!

Of course, Crystal Point doesn’t really exist.....but it is the main setting for the books I am currently writing for Harlequin Special Edition. It’s a small town with around eight hundred residents that sits at the southern most point of The Great Barrier Reef. It has a beautiful beach, a fabulous walking path that runs for a several kilometres along the shoreline and is surrounded by sugar cane, sweet potato and macadamia farms. You can see dolphins and turtles in the rocky shallows and every year whales frolic and breach a hundred metres from the shore.

It’s a little piece of paradise…and lucky for me I have lived there for seven years.

Of course, it’s not really called Crystal Point. But it does sit at the southern tip of The Great Barrier Reef. At it is surrounded by farmland and has an incredible constantly changing landscape. The cane farmers are harvesting at the moment and the sweet scent lingers in the air for days after a harvest. Strawberry season is just finishing and lychee season will be upon us soon. There are produce stalls spotted along the roadside and not too far away a flower market every Friday. There’s a kiosk and small general store and a caravan park that bulges at the seams during school holiday times.

We found this little town by accident – we were visiting a friend and fell in love with the place and a few months later a sea change ensued.  Regrets? Not one. I love that I can set my books in a place that is so special to me. Since moving here I’ve been able to pursue my passion for horses once more, cultivate a vegetable patch that actually thrives and sit out on my deck in the evenings and look out at the ocean. I still get a kick out of waiting at a crossing for a cane train, or having to round up the neighbours cattle when they escape into our horse paddock.

PhotoSo perhaps I should say that Crystal Point does exist, I just changed the name. And like in my current release Once Upon A Bride, there is a strong sense of community and friendship in the small town. People say hello. Neighbours know each other’s names. It’s not for everyone, but for this romance author, it’s a place where ideas flow and where you can visit anytime in the pages of my books.

Thanks for sharing your paradise with us today, Helen. Here is a link from a 2013 interview I did with Helen where she shared very touching stories of her childhood travelling around Outback Queensland and how her father imbued in her a love of books. You can read her USA Today interview here. 

About the Author:
Helen Lacey grew up reading Black Beauty, Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie. These childhood classics inspired her to write her first book when she was seven years old, a story about a girl and her horse. Her parents’ love of travel meant she saw much of the world in those early years and she feels fortunate to have had a diverse and interesting education over several continents. She continued to write with the dream of one day being published, and becoming a Harlequin Special Edition author is the realization of that dream. She loves writing about tortured heroes—both cowboys and CEOs—and heroines with gumption who finally get their men.
From Welsh parents and a large family, Helen lives on the east coast of Australia in a small seaside town at the southernmost point of the Great Barrier Reef; she lives with her wonderfully supportive husband, many horses and three spoiled dogs.

Find Helen online:

Once Upon a Bride
Helen Lacey
Happily ever after…?
Once Upon a Bride
When Gabe Vitali escapes to a fresh start in Crystal Point, Australia, the former physician isn’t looking for a storybook ending. For the first time he’s living in the moment. His new five-year plan does not include serious relationships. But he doesn’t anticipate his unavoidable next-door neighbor…and an undeniable attraction.
Bridal consultant Lauren Jakowski wants marriage. She’s just sworn off love and sex! To avoid getting burned again, she’s looking for safe and forever-after. But they’re not Gabe’s to give–for reasons he can’t share with anyone, least of all this pretty complication.
Gabe and Lauren don’t figure on a fairy tale. But fate has other plans….
Reviewed by RT Book Reviews  |  Read Reader Reviews
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