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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My First Time

...at a MORWA meeting! (a little romance writer humor)


I attended my first MORWA meeting this weekend and I'm thrilled to see that seal broken. Okay, that's the last one, I swear!

First off, I want to stress how wonderfully nice everyone was. I walked in feeling like the new kid in school and instead of wetting my pants (never happened), they gave me a name tag, paired me up with another author and included me in every discussion. 

But it wasn't braiding hair and holding hands (actually, we did none of this unless I missed it. Did I miss it??? Buehler. Buehler). They got down to business and offered an informative presentation with Barbara Samuel, who discussed "strong" female characters.

Throughout all of this, I learned a few tips that all newbie meeting attendees should remember.

1. Be on time! 
Here was our schedule:  
9:30am - Coffee Talk - Amanda Heger on Query Letters and Everything Else (this topic changes each month)
10:00am - 11:00am MORWA business meeting
11:00am - 12:00pm Barbara Samuel program part 1
12:00pm - 12:45pm (approx) Lunch
12:50pm - 1:50pm Barbara Samuel program part 2
2:00pm - Booksigning

These ladies don't mess around. I was a little bummed that my schedule wasn't open enough to be there at 9:30 but I'll get 'em next time.


2. Buy that raffle ticket early.
During the short break between the business meeting and the program, they sell raffle tickets for prizes! And if you don't buy them early, you'll miss out! I learned the hard way and was busy meeting new people.


3. Dress for the camera.
Can't make a meeting because you're stuck at  home because of the flood. No worries. You can join the rest of this group via GoToMeeting. You may be able to lay around in your undies while attending (I wouldn't recommend) but us attending better wear something...anything. Lucky for me, I didn't come in my sweats!


4. Come to share.
There's a part of the meeting called Grins and Groans where the authors share their good and bad news. Got a book signing? Grin! Was rejected by a press? Groan. Either way, these authors are right there with you cheering you along. 


And that's the best aspect of this group. Encouragement. Writing is hard and the road to publication is bumping but with a good group for support, you can do it.

If you were at the meeting, thank you for being their for my first time! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Amazing Cassandra Page


If I lived in Australia, I know this lady and I would be besties, although, she'd be the cool friend. Honest! But even with the miles between us, that doesn't hurt our blossoming friendship. She's funny, clever and always with a Dr. Who catch line (some I get, others I don't!) And that accent. Get's me every time! (I totally read her emails with an accent.)
Welcome YA author, Cassandra Page. I asked her a few questions and she answered!
Coffee or tea?
It’s a tough call. It’s almost winter here; the weather is certainly acting that way, and when it’s cold, I drink more cups of tea a day than coffee. Tea is my comfort drink on a cold evening.
BUT I struggle to start the day without coffee, although I limit myself to two cups a day so I don’t get the jitters.
Or maybe three.
Never more than four!
If you could have lunch (not dinner; that's personal!) with any one writer, alive, who would it be?
This is also a really hard question to answer. I’d like to say Stephen King, but I’d be so intimated I wouldn’t even be able to talk. I’d just sit there and tremble, and probably spill pasta sauce all over myself. So instead I’ll name another fabulously successful author: JK Rowling. She seems lovely, and I like to imagine that we could bond over the fact she was a single mother when she wrote Harry Potter, since I wrote my first novel, Isla’s Inheritance, after my divorce.
Paper and pen or computer with mouse?
Computer and mouse. I do use a pen and paper when I get stuck, to write down plot notes and for the occasional change of scene—some days the idea of sitting in the study again is off-putting. But I do the vast majority of my writing on the computer. I’m a touch-typer, which means it’s much faster. I also tend to edit as I go, first while doing the initial drafting and then again when I sit down for the next writing session a few days later.
Coke or Pepsi (your answer may determine our friendship)?
Um. Well, the answer is Coke. Specifically Coke Zero, because I don’t need the fifty bajillion teaspoons of sugar in the full-strength version, and Diet Coke is too frothy and saccharine for me.
Are we still friends? O.O
Yes, I'm a Coke kind of a girl, although, I drink the Diet. Maybe I'll give Zero a chance! -Jen
I watch a lot of nature shows and they are always talking about how dangerous it is to live in Australia. Tell us, do you constantly battle poisonous spiders and snakes all day? Are kangaroos wanting to pick fights? Do you have a monkey problem?
Not constantly. They’re more a background presence. Well, except for the monkeys—we don’t have those. This week my son brought home a book from the school library talking about poisonous Australian arachnids. We read it last night and it was both reassuring and a little worrying. It turns out of the two fatal Australian spiders, we only get one where I live. (We get a bunch of others that will make you have a bad day if they bite you, but only one deadly one.)
Of course, the other fatal spider lives in Sydney, which is only a few hours drive away. And I found a baby Eastern Brown snake in my back yard a few weeks ago. Fortunately a bird had already killed it, because even the babies are deadly…
As far as kangaroos go, the worst I’ve seen one do is scratch its chest aggressively at me. They are more of a peril on the road, because they tend to hop in front of cars and cause accidents, especially in winter.
Cake or pie?
This is a complicated answer, because in Australia pie is usually a savoury, meat-filled dish. It’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges, because I wouldn’t have cake for lunch (usually) or a meat pie for dessert (ever).
But if I assume you mean American desert-style pie, then I’d choose pie. Unless the cake was cheesecake. Then I’d have to think about it.
Yeah, I’m sitting on the fence on this one!
Ideal vacation spot anywhere in the world?
Somewhere by a beach. I live in Canberra, which is in a series of valleys in the highlands, so the nearest beach is about a two-hour drive from here. I miss it. I just find the feeling of sand under my toes and the sound of the waves the most relaxing thing in the world.
I’ve never been to a tropical island, but my friends just got back from a holiday at a five-star resort in Fiji, and the photos look amazing. So if I could go anywhere in the world, I’d probably go there!
Print or ebook?
Usually print. I’m an old-fashioned girl. I do read ebooks in instances where the print book would be too expensive to get hold of, such as books published through Createspace. (Amazon doesn’t offer free shipping to Australia and, once you add the cost of postage, a POD book from them is prohibitively expensive.)
I know this isn’t what you asked, but I’ve really started getting into audiobooks over the past six months as well. I spend about 40 minutes in traffic on the average workday, and being able to “read” in the car is great! It’s also far less stressful than listening to the news.
If you weren't a writer, what other profession do you think you'd be?
In my day job I’m an editor. I review technical reports for a government department. It’s not exactly riveting in terms of the content, but I get a kick out of tightening sentences and streamlining a message. So I’d probably still be an editor. It’d be fascinating to edit fiction, though; if I could pick an editing job, I’d work on novels.
The other thing I really enjoy is playing in Photoshop. If I couldn’t write or edit, I’d design book covers.
Favorite genre to read?
Urban fantasy: vampires and werewolves and fae, oh my! I used to really dig fantasy, but these days I don’t seem to have the attention span for an epic tale of heroism and bravery. I’ve always loved urban fantasy (back from before I knew what it was called), and it’s definitely my favourite … although I have been flirting with a bit of contemporary from time to time too.
Favorite genre to write?
Urban fantasy (surprise)! The four novels I’ve completed are all urban fantasy, including the three that have been released by Turquoise Morning Press, and a fourth I’m looking at self-publishing later in the year as a hybrid author experiment. I’m currently working on my first non-urban fantasy, a historical fantasy inspired by Ancient Greece. Writing something not set in the current day—or at least a variation on the current day—has been a challenge, but I’m really enjoying it.
Yahtzee or Scrabble?
Scrabble. I don’t think I’ve played Yahtzee in my life!
On the playground, what was your favorite thing to play on?
The swings. I loved seeing how high I could go, looking at the clouds and imagining that I could fly. But my primary school didn’t have swings, so there I loved playing on the old wooden fort, pretending it was a pirate ship or a castle.
Captain America or Thor?
Thor, for a few different reasons. Captain America doesn’t resonate with me because, well, I’m not American. (He is nice eye candy, though.) And since Thor is played by an Australian these days, I feel a certain patriotic obligation towards him.
He’s also nice eye candy too. ;)

Bio
Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — despite being allergic to cats. She has loved to read since primary school, when the library was her refuge. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?

All three books in her ISLA'S INHERITANCE young adult trilogy are now available.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Writing Wednesday Welcomes Constance Phillips

Welcome Constance! Instead of the same old interview questions, let's change it up and ask the questions we are all dying to know the answers to.

Let's begin!
Snow or Sun?  Definitely Sun. I’m a warm weather gal.

What is the one food that you could not live without? Pasta

Ketchup or mustard? Since I have a real aversion to Ketchup, it has to be mustard. (Yeah, my kids think I’m crazy too.)

Ideal vacation? Anywhere warm, preferably a beach.

When you’re not writing, what do you do to pass the time? Reading or watching movies. It’s all about the story with me.

Out of all The Avengers, who is your favorite? Tough one, but I’m going to go with Iron Man.


Reality TV shows? Or fictional drama? I have a thing for the Reality shows that air on Discovery, History, TLC, etc. I’m a huge Deadliest Catch fan.

Favorite subject in school?  Loved English (Obviously) for the creative writing. I also had a World History teacher who made that subject very fun.

Guilty pleasure? 80s pop music.

Burgers and fries or filet and escargot? Burgers and fries.

Constance is mine kind of lady! You had me at 80s pop music!

Now, for the business. Constance writes wonderful romance stories full of compassion and her latest, All That's Unrealized is no different.


It’s what the doctor ordered for Rhonda Gables, owner of three successful boutiques: four weeks of rest between winning this season’s Retail Project and claiming her prize. Rhonda must decide if being a TV reality show star is worth leaving behind her loved ones, including the increasingly 6 appealing Trevor Collins.


In a month, fashion mogul and reality TV judge Conrad Ryse, of The Retail Project fame, has promised to take Rhonda Gables under his wing and invest in her fledgling career. That’s her grand prize after a winning season on his show. Too bad exhaustion has sent Rhonda out of her city apartment, away from her three successful boutiques, and into her cousin’s guest room for a month of recuperation in her hometown.

She’s on the cusp of everything she’s ever wanted, but what will it cost? Doctor’s orders be damned, she balks at first. But soon Rhonda is both delighted and disconcerted by the attentions of her friend-maybe-lover, Trevor Collins, and the contentment she is surrounded by back home. She must realize all she’s willing to compromise and what her heart truly desires.