Tag Archives: Books

Thanks, Gatton, Laidley … and Ipswich #LitChat

One of the pleasures of an author’s life is to have the opportunity to speak about their work and I’ve been doing that lately, at Gatton and Laidley Libraries in the Lockyer Valley on Friday 3rd November and now today at the Indie Author Expo at Ipswich Central Library.

What a great resource the public library network is in Australia …. I invariably find the libraries are run by outstanding, dedicated professionals who are conscious of serving their reading public. Top marks from me.

If you look closely at my new banner you’ll see the prominent position still to be filled in my Belleville trilogy – that’s the book that will truly make it a trilogy. So I will have to get my head down very soon to finish the writing.

I so enjoy immersing myself in the lives of the Belleville family – there is still much to write about. They are real to me and, I hope, real to my readers ….. #realwomen



Gatton, Laidley, Ipswich & Nowra – that’s where you’ll find me in November

The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story and To Love, Honour & Betray – book 2 of the Belleville family saga.

OK so I confess – I’m still struggling to balance my day job and my life as an author but November will be a busy month for Library visits in Queensland and NSW.

If you are interested in hearing me talk about my writing, the era in which my books are set, the social settings that shape the stories and how the story has developed, I look forward to meeting you at one of these events.

Forthcoming appearances

November 3rd
Gatton Library    10.00am
Laidley Library     1.30pm
Further information:     https://lockyervalley.spydus.com/Events

November 11th
Ipswich Library    10.00am-1.00pm  Indie Author Expo
Further information:     http://www.library.ipswich.qld.gov.au/events/

November 24th
Nowra Library    11.30am
Further information:     click here

Did you miss a bargain?

I haven’t been very active on my blog of recent times …. my excuse: busy with the day job and then trying to find time to write Book 2 of the Belleville family saga. Plus getting a bad virus that knocked me down for a while.


I attended the recent pop up bookshop in Caloundra organised by the Tamarind Book Club on Sunday 6 November – a successful day for authors, I believe.

I wanted to sell down the remainder of Book 1 stock – and I did pretty well at that – the stack was much smaller when I left than when I began.

I’ll soon have the first chapter of Book 2 up on the site for you to read FOR FREE. Watch this space.

For those who weren’t at the Caloundra event and who would like to buy the first book for themselves or a friend at a reduced price, the price on the PMA Books website is now $14.95 + postage – LINK HERE

I must admit I’m taking inspiration from the Poldark series on TV at the moment. It’s always been a favourite of mine.

Excuse me, but wasn’t I meant to spend the day writing?

It is a giant mistake to think you can give your website an update in half an hour. I tell you now that is impossible, so the several Sunday hours I should have spent with my characters, progressing their lives and loves, I instead spent updating my website and learning more about the capabilities of the CMS (content management system, for the uninitiated).

I did achieve something though (I think).

For anyone interested in my writing, you can get, for free, the first four chapters of The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story (book 1 of the Belleville family saga) at this link.


You can also get a short story which will form part of my ‘The Women we are’ collection from the same link.

Screenshot 2016-06-12 16.29.25

I sincerely hope there is a glass of wine with my name on it downstairs.

For anyone reading this blog who is waiting on Book 2 of the Bellevilles, don’t fret. It’s well under way. I promise I’ll write some more after dinner tonight …..


What’s next? To Love, Honour & Betray


What’s next? Well I’ve been busy writing Book 2 of my Belleville family series.

It will be entitled ‘To Love, Honour & Betray’ ……… but that’s all I am saying at this stage.

Sometimes I find writing just flows, other times it’s a challenge, but I remember that old adage about just getting it written. It’s always possible to revise pedestrian prose but it’s impossible to revise a blank page. When I finish a chapter, I tend to print it out and read it in bed, with a pencil to mark up the obvious bloopers.

Last week I was surprised by my colleagues at my day job giving me a framed copy of the cover of my first novel (see picture), for my birthday. Not saying which birthday, by the way. That was a nice surprise, totally unexpected and a lovely gesture.

I hear so many stories about difficult and unrewarding workplaces, it’s nice to be able to say that my small office in Brisbane is very friendly with good people to work with.

That’s all from me for now ….. back to the grindstone.



Thanks for the welcome, Laidley and Gatton


So it’s Sunday and I’m back in Brisbane and reflecting on my author talks at Laidley and Gatton on Friday. Click on the links to find out where these towns are. Gatton is best known for its agricultural college. As we drove through the area we were impressed by the neat rows and rows of beautiful healthy vegetables.

First of all a big ‘thank you’ to Nic in Laidley and Sue in Gatton – who made me feel very welcome. I was so impressed by the service these women and their colleagues provide their communities through their work in the public libraries, and by their friendliness and professionalism. Outstanding!

Having been to quite a few author events over the years – some well-known names with very big audiences – I had some idea what I should say – I found the best way was to have a few dot points that reminded me of what I should say, if I got off the track.

That seemed to work well but inevitably, afterwards, I thought about one or two other important points that I should have spoken about, but didn’t.

I can’t yet pack out a big auditorium but from my perspective the people who came along to hear me were warm, friendly and engaged, and asked some really good questions about writing, plot development, and the whole business of publishing.

My day job makes me much more qualified to talk about magazine publishing than book publishing so occasionally I did get off the track and wandered away from the topic.

The big thrill for me, as a first time author, was that readers liked my book and are waiting impatiently for the second one in the series. I resisted the temptation to give too many hints about where I am headed with the Belleville family ….. the fun of fiction writing is that they are my characters and I can decide how the story unfolds. (The arrogance of the author? Not really, but it’s fun to be in control.)

Thank you, Laidley and Gatton, for such a warm welcome …. and since I was widely expected to the have the draft of my second novel in my handbag, I’d better get on with it and stop writing this blog instead of writing my book!!



Committed – no backing down now


The beautiful Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand 

The problem when you have a busy and intellectually demanding day job is that the writing life you’ve also committed to gets scant attention at times.

Do I have the headspace to progress my writing career and steer a traditional print media magazine group through the challenging transition phase we’re currently seeing in the print media sector as well give my attention to my first love?

Frustrated and confused, I went on holidays instead of facing up to this dilemma.

Ten days in New Zealand was very nice. It’s an easy flight in an A380 – Brisbane-Auckland – picking up the Emirates Dubai-originating aircraft.

New Zealand seems more English in its culture than Australia does now – although the indigenous Maori people do have a strong stake in contemporary society, more visible I would say than the corresponding indigenous population of Australia.

We went far south in the south island to Dunedin – its Scottish heritage very obvious. It sits on the 45 degrees latitude south, which makes it a more southerly point than any point in Australia. Next stop, Antarctica – but not for us.

At this southern outpost of European settlement in the 19th century, New Zealand established its first university and today the population of the city is 25% students. The city has nurtured its early educational advantage, it seems. Students of course would include international students. New Zealand’s population is only 4.6 million.

The earthquake-ravaged city of Christchurch is still that – but trying to recover from the events of 5 years ago. The beautiful botanic gardens (in the picture) were largely untouched and acted as a haven for the distressed locals.

There were some wonderful second-hand book shops – a step back in time almost – we found them in Christchurch, Oamaru, Dunedin, Auckland and Devonport (across the harbour from Auckland). Auckland is New Zealand’s major city, but Wellington at the south end of the north island is the capital.

BookMark, an excellent bookseller in Devonport, New Zealand

All this waffle of course is delaying me getting back into writing the second novel in my Belleville family series. I’ve just done a Kindle countdown deal for the next couple of weeks to make the ebook cheaper (starting at $0.99) of the first in the series. The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story – link here of Amazon

And what have I committed to?

Well, during the week the conversation went something like this between me and my other half – long suffering husband of many years’ standing.

Him: You said you wanted to go to the London Book Fair next year. Do you know it’s on in March?

Me: No, I thought it was April. It’s always April.

Him: Not in 2017 it isn’t. Oh, and Qantas have just released some discounted fares on premium economy. I’ll check the dates.

Me: OK, good idea.

Half an hour later we were booked.

So I’m off to the London Book Fair in 2017 and the realisation that I will need a lot more under my belt in the finished manuscript/published book category than I currently have, in the hope I can sell international rights.

All advice/contacts/your experience welcome.