tweeting – or should that be twittering?

I was asked by the lovely Wendy Davis, administrator of the @WeBundaberg twitter site if I would be a guest tweeter/twitterer for this week. I agreed, and so needed a quick instructional course on how to send a tweet etc without causing havoc. Thank heavens my daughter-in-law, author Cheryse Durrant, is a big twitter fan and although I already had a twitter account and tweeted occasionally, I felt I needed more knowledge.

By the way, check out Cheryse’s website to see how to win an exquisite, one-of-a-kind necklace and heart bracelet.

Although I didn’t choose to live in Bundaberg – my husband was transferred here many years ago – I love the place, particularly the coastal areas. I’m a water baby – love the ocean in all its changing moods. Today it’s like glass and so clear and clean I’m sure I would be able to see right to the bottom if I swam out 100m. When we lived in town I would go for walks in the cemetery near where we lived and loved watching the fantastic sunsets and reading the headstones. The saddest area was the graves of the children who died in the diptheria epidemic, and the old section revealed tragedies and heartbreak like that of one woman whose five children died within two to five months of being born. In those days there was no way to find genetic problems that today would be diagnosed fairly easily. I was saddened to think of her grief as each successive child succumbed to a disease or disorder that today might be preventable.

Now we live on the coast just outside Bundy and it’s a fabulous strip of coastline from Burnett Heads in the north to Elliot Heads in the south. Mon Repos has the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and it’s wonderful to see these ancient creatures lumber ashore and laboriously dig their nests. I know the rangers will tell you that the turtles aren’t really crying, they are simply secreting water to wash the salt from their eyes, but I’ve given birth, I know what it’s like – they deserve to cry real tears :-)

A few days after I’d taken Sydney friends and our eldest grandson to see the turtles nesting, we went to Rifle Range Beach near where we live for a swim. It was 10.30am, and an outgoing tide, and what did we find? A turtle who’d come up on the wrong side of the bay where the high parts of the beach were only rocks and she was struggling to get to higher ground to dig her nest. Unfortunately it was impossible, and then she became stuck on a fallen tree branch. Several men lifted her free and turned her around to go back into the water. During several late afternoon walks we saw turtles laying their eggs but we haven’t been lucky enough to be there when hatchlings emerged. Maybe next year.

Rifle Range Beach

Strawberries and books – but missed out on the chocolate

Soon-to-be-published YA/NA urban fantasy author Cheryse Durrant and I shared a stall at the Bargara Strawberry Fair today. The Fair is run by the Coral Coast Community Care Inc and supports their charitable work in the community. It might still feel like winter in the southern states, but Queensland lived up to its “Beautiful one day, perfect the next” slogan and turned on sunshine, blue skies and a balmy breeze. Lots of food stalls, craft stalls, entertainment, art exhibition, and us with our giveaway basket of books from our publisher Clan Destine Press, copies of my thriller Fatal Flaw for sale, and flyers about the fantastic prizes to be won on the Cheryse Durrant website over the coming four months.

Did I mention that there was at least a truckload of strawberries on sale? There were even strawberries dipped in chocolate, but unfortunately the chocolate wasn’t gluten free, so I had to stick with delicious berries au natural.

One of the highlights of the day was handing the prize for the Years 9-10 Poetry Competition to the winner, Jerry McGiffin. It’s not easy for young writers to maintain their enthusiasm for writing when their mates are keen on sports or movies or whatever and don’t have the same passion for creating stories and characters. I hope all parents and teachers support their children who have the desire to write.

 

 

 

The second highlight of the day was presenting the basket of books by the Clan Destine Press authors to the winner, Marietta McLellan. Marietta was thrilled with her prize, even driving back to the Fair at the end of the day to pick it up.

We had many chats with people who, like us, love reading. I even had some people tell me they’ve read all my books and enjoyed them. It’s such a thrill to hear that, as it makes all the hard (and often lonely) work of writing so worthwhile.

 

A three-book contract for Cheryse Durrant.

Sleep deprivation aside, the Romance Writers of Australia 2012 Conference at the Gold Coast was a fabulous time. With all the roadworks it took nearly seven hours to drive down, but all fatigue lifted at the sight of our fabulous accommodation at the Surfers Paradise Crown Towers Resort.

My daughter-in-law, Cherie (writing as Cheryse Durrant), and I were sharing with fantasy author Rowena Cory Daniells (who also writes paranormal crime for Clan Destine Press) and artist/writer Jacque Duffy. Clan Destine Press Publisher (and author), Lindy Cameron, took advantage of being in Brisbane for a few days to pop in for a visit. Apart from catching up with her CDP authors, Rowena and me, her ulterior motive was to surprise Cherie/Cheryse with a three-book contract for her fantasy Heart Hunter trilogy. This trilogy tells the story of Shahkara, half-Taloner, half-human, and all kick-arse heroine. “Demon Hunter”, book 1 in the series, will be launched in either April or May next year. As you can imagine, that led to much celebration, followed by lots of brainstorming on the best way to promote Cheryse’s forthcoming books. LJ Smith (Vampire Diaries) has read the first one and endorsed it: “SHAHKARA, the book, is unique, and Shahkara, the character, is one of the most engaging strong female role models I’ve seen in a long time. This girl can handle herself! The plot is full of ingenious twists, turns and surprises, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.”

Rowena (back), Lindy, Sandy, Cheryse

And if that wasn’t enough, Lindy’s other motive was to bring Rowena her first copies of “The Price of Fame“, her paranormal crime now out with Clan Destine Press.

Lindy and Rowena with "The Price of Fame"
Lindy and Rowena with “The Price of Fame”

 

And, yes, we did make it to the RWA conference, but that’s for the next blog :-)

 

That crazy Chaos Fairy

I couldn’t believe how long it’s been since I last blogged! I thought that once I returned from the McGregor Summer School I would have a few winding-down days, then jump back into writing and organising WriteFest, the Bundaberg writers festival. But no, that crazy Chaos Fairy (my friends call her the Curtis Chaos Fairy) swatted my darling daughter-in-law, Cheryse Durrant, and she ended up with a broken leg (Cheryse, not the Fairy, darn it). Luckily we have a car that Cheryse can manoeuvre herself into the passenger seat with her leg in the knee-to-ankle brace, because trips to the physio and doctor would have been impossible in her smaller car.

Now I’m getting back to editing Grievous Harm, the story that features one of the minor characters in Fatal Flaw. GH is darker than FF, and covers a topic that sends chills down the backs of parents. It’s a story that I found myself writing in spite of my natural aversion to the topic, but the characters demanded the story be told in a certain way and I went along because I agreed with them. Sometimes I wonder where some of these characters come from. I hope they’re not from a deeper side of my personality, because that would be too scary to live with. Ruth in Fatal Flaw is a character I was fascinated by. She had so many different facets to her, so much so that I wondered how each of us would have acted in her situation. I had a sneaking sympathy for her, and I wonder if any of my readers felt the same. I would love to hear readers’ thoughts on Ruth.

What a night!

What a lovely evening! I’ve had book launches for my previous five books but this was the first time I’d had a book signing in Dymocks at Bundaberg. It was great to have the support of friends that I haven’t seen in a while – our lives sometimes get too busy, don’t they, and we need a reminder that time slips by far too fast. Some family members couldn’t make it, but those that could enjoyed themselves immensely, especially my four-year-old grandson Alex, and definitely my daughter-in-law, Cheryse Durrant, who snapped away madly with her trusty camera – the results are on her website.

Dymocks Booksellers Bundaberg owner, Phil Freeman, said he enjoyed seeing so many people in his store who were book-lovers. I definitely agree with him – love those book-lovers :-)

I think I’m almost brain-dead after over two weeks travelling and constant sinus problems. Everything in Victoria was flowering – a pleasure to see but a disaster for my nose. Our grand-daughter turns one today so all the relatives are gathering to celebrate, so it looks like another busy weekend. Guess I won’t have any time soon to do a re-read of Grievous Harm, the next book after Fatal Flaw. I finished writing the story some time back but want to have a re-read. Don’t know if I’m a perfectionist or just plain picky 😉

I’d like to thank everyone who came to the signing. I very much appreciate your support and friendship.

Sandy with romance author Helen Lacey and fantasy author Louise Cusack
Sandy with Phil Freeman of Dymocks Bundaberg
Sandy with Phil Freeman of Dymocks Bundaberg
Sandy with Cheryse Durrant
Sandy with Cheryse Durrant
Laree Chapman, Di Esmond, Jan Sullivan, Jenny Duffy, Pascale Osanz

Promotion Schmotion

Once upon a time authors wrote books, did book signings and a few media interviews and went back to writing the next book and left any other promotion to their publisher. Times sure have changed. Now we have to blog, facebook, tweet, make book trailers, and a host of other activities that leave most of us gasping for breath and hoping we’re not being seen as a cross between a circus ring master and a cheerleader. Max Barry gives a good idea of the feeling in his latest blog. Me? I’m still trying to figure out the difference between my wall and my page on facebook.

If you happen to hear that I’m slowly killing off my family, please don’t take it literally. With the wonderful Clan Destine Press giving me a lot of input with my e-book covers I’ve been using family members as bodies (alive and dead) on the covers. Daughter Kris on Black Ice and daughter-in-law Cherie (writing as Cheryse Durrant) and niece Kelly Byrne on Dangerous Deception. Kris is also responsible for re-vamping my website and is gradually getting it into shape. I asked her to aim for user-friendly and I feel she has achieved this.

I’m looking forward to attending SheKilda Again, the Sisters-in-Crime Convention in Melbourne on 7-9 October. It’s going to be a great two days and nights and I’m in wonderful company on two panels, Crimance with romantic suspense authors Bronwyn Parry, Helene Young and Emma Boling, and chaired by the wonderful Anne Gracie, and State of Play, as well as co-presenting the workshop Writing Crimance with romantic suspense author Bronwyn Parry.

I’m thrilled that Fatal Flaw will be on sale at SheKilda.

Melbourne should be putting on her Spring airs and graces with leaves and blossoms forming on winter-bare branches and the sun peeping through grey skies earlier in the day. But I’m bringing my woollies just in case :-)