Congratulations to a friend

It was one day after Valentine’s Day, but my friend Louise Cusack‘s life was full of rose-tinged thoughts when her fantasy romance trilogy was epublished by Momentum Books on 15 February. Although the books had been previously print published in Australia, epublishing meant they were now available internationally.

Epublishing is a wonderful avenue for Australian authors to get their books out into the world. My books have Australian settings, which can make them difficult to sell overseas, and particularly into the USA, but with the growing trend towards readers purchasing ebooks it means my stories can now reach a greater audience and show readers from other countries aspects of Australia, and particularly Queensland, they won’t find in most travel brochures. For example, the amazing Amphitheatre at Carnarvon Gorge in Central Queensland is a wonderful example of nature’s force and I knew I had to use it when writing Dangerous Deception. The opening to the Amphitheatre is high up on a cliff face and can only be reached by climbing a series of ladders.


When you get to the entrance of the tunnel (which is formed by an enormous slab of rock splitting apart and creating an opening), you then have to traverse about 40 metres of uneven rock as well as concrete steps made by the Park Rangers. This photo was taken from almost inside the Amphitheatre looking back to the entrance in the cliff face.

When you step inside the Amphitheatre, it’s like walking into a massive cathedral. You gaze up the vaulting slabs of rock to the tiny opening at the top where sunlight enters. The floor is grey dirt, and amazingly ferns grow in abundance, perhaps watered by rain seeping through fissures in the rock. They certainly wouldn’t get much rain through the small top opening.

When we were there a young couple joined us, and the woman took out a flute and began playing. Magic. It was the only word to describe it. Pure notes lingering then rising to the tiny patch of sky above. The acoustics are so good they have had choirs perform there for the fabulous resonance.

There’s something spiritual about Carnarvon Gorge, and even more so about the Amphitheatre. It was something I felt just driving from the highway to the Gorge and became stronger the moment I walked into the Amphitheatre.

Aboriginal rock paintings adorn the cliff walls further into the gorge, and it’s easy to visualise them living here and enjoying the abundant wildlife. With a creek traversing the length of the gorge, there is ample water and lush grasses to attract wallabies, goannas and birds.

Unfortunately, feral pigs have also made the gorge their home, and their habit of rooting up plants for food has led to some destruction of the creek banks. The Park Rangers try to keep their numbers under control, but eliminating them entirely would be almost impossible.

RWA Conference

It’s hard to believe it’s three weeks since I returned from the Romance Writers of Australia national conference in Melbourne. It was their 20th Anniversary conference and undoubtedly the best I have attended. The quality of the workshops, tutorials and plenary sessions was exceptional. Over the past couple of years the association has run an Author Day on the Thursday prior to the conference, and this continues to be a wonderful opportunity for published authors to meet with other published authors, both from Australia and overseas, and editors, publishers and agents to find out what is happening in their industry.

The buzz during the four days revolved around the future of publishing – print versus electronic. Would ebooks bring about the demise of the print book? Although the impact of ebooks is only beginning to be felt in Australia, we’re very much aware of how the industry has fared overseas. As more e-reading devices become available and more commonplace in Australia, there is no doubt we will follow overseas trends and opt for purchasing ebooks in greater numbers.

At the conference it was emphasised that as more and more ebooks are self-published (current figures indicate they are already in excess of 1 million) it will become even more difficult for readers to find quality reads. It will also mean that first-time authors risk seeing their books have miserable sales figures. According to Bob Mayer (NY Times bestselling author who has started his own publishing company Who Dares Wins Publishing), the authors who are doing better than most in electronic sales are those who have already been print published, have an established readership, and have the rights back to their back list that they can e-publish and attract new readers. The chances of a first-time self-published author achieving good to great sales are slim. The exceptions to this are authors like John Locke and Amanda Hocking, who have done amazingly well with their ebooks. Unfortunately, the other 999,999 authors will never come even remotely close to their success.

Author and blogger extraordinnaire, Joanna Penn, interviews a lot of industry professionals with insights into books and publishing, and both readers and writers will find her blog interesting.

With all the chaos happening before I left for the conference, I didn’t get to pack until the night before I flew out, and ended up forgetting my camera. So check out for pics. The only one I have to show you is one a friend took on the last day and emailed to me. So if we’re looking a little tired … But here we are – Sandra Allan, Kaz Delaney and Isolde Martyn (the blondes) and me (the short one).