About Writing

Weeding and editing can be creative

Recently, I’ve been helping to clean a house that provided a home for an older single man for fifteen years. He was an active and engaged resident, who carefully tended his home, loved his garden, and connected with his neighbours. COVID-19 shook him, making him anxious about himself and others, so he hunkered down, and his mental and physical health declined over the long period of lockdowns and restrictions. He was adamant he didn’t want to go to a nursing home, but after a fall and becoming unsteady on his feet, that appeared to be his only option. Before arrangements…

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Are there any good lies?

For some reason—possibly I didn’t pay attention at the right time and in the right place, or perhaps I heard only a paraphrase of the original, or had a teacher who went straight to the punchline—but I remember the phrase “thou shalt not lie”. The Old Testament says “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour”. Broadly speaking don’t speak falsely in any matter, lie, equivocate or in any way devise or design to deceive your neighbour.  To equivocate—say that a few times and see how it rolls off the tongue. Apart from the feel of the word in your…

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A hopeful spring

September 1 marks the beginning of spring in Australia. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities,…

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Finding your tribe

It’s an expression you’ll hear at romance writers’ conferences. You sigh with relief knowing everyone in the room is on a similar wavelength. You can talk freely. And if you ask what a “danger bang” is, someone will give you a straight answer—sex when the situation is perilous. Pick your own peril. So what did I learn at Bedtime Stories, the 2022 Romance Writers of Australia conference? Multi-published USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance Zoe York’s keynote reminded us that you gain one reader at a time; the author journey is a marathon not a sprint, and that each new reader can…

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Writing Taylor’s Law

A farmer’s daughter, with no passion to work the farm A swindle igniting a passion for justice A toddler—mother dead, father unknown An Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) news team—reporter, pilot and cameraman—killed in a fatal helicopter crash in Lake Eyre during a routine assignment A man whose private homage to his father includes sporting a ponytail and an earring Some fact, some fiction. Add wealth, power, greed, envy balanced by compassion, loyalty and love and ignite with passion and imagination. What’s the starting point of a book? For me, the initial trigger may be a single incident, like the helicopter crash.…

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Self-Confidence?

First printed in May 2022 HeartsTalk, the newsletter of Romance Writers of Australia (reprinted with permission). Every time I enter a competition I think, ‘this is it’. I play with the idea that I final, and then I win, and then I deal with the acclaim. I’m modest. I admit to anyone who’ll listen—it’s taken time, I’ve worked hard. Then reality bites. I don’t final, so I don’t win. Does that mean I’m not good enough to be published? Should I find another passion? Be true to yourself, the pundits say, write the kind of books you like to read.…

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Playing fair is romantic

I’ve been thinking about this recently because I find that I return to this idea again and again in my writing. It matters whether my main characters are treating others fairly as well as whether my characters are being fairly treated. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Research suggests that almost from birth, toddlers recognise the importance of treating others fairly—of the value of respecting rules. Kids notice unequal treatment. Kids who play fairly with each other enjoy the experience more, and if kids get along well together they have a greater sense of belonging. Belonging helps you grow and thrive.…

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Walking the neighbourhood

Yesterday I went for a walk in my neighbourhood. Walking helps me clear the cobwebs, sort out a plot problem or just find a way forward in a scene. Walking is an oft-cited activity for writer’s block, and I can understand why. Yesterday, I cut up a laneway to get into a street which finishes at the back of my house. I don’t often take this path because—er … dead end. Curiosity, or maybe nosiness is a better word choice, drove this first part of my route because a neighbour has demolished the back half of their house. We’ve been promised…

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Making it real – telling the world I’m a writer

I forgot to tell you I write romance. If you read my bio or found me via the romance tag on my FaceBook page or website you’ll have worked it out, but I’m new at this game of exposing myself and my thoughts. So, I write romance, I’ve found a publisher for my first three books, and now I need to find you, my readers. For a complete technophobe that’s a daunting prospect. Fortunately help is always at hand. In this case, help appeared in the form of Judy L Mohr. I met Judy at a New Zealand romance writers…

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Daydreamers – are they impractical or visionary?

To my surprise there’s an overlap in meaning between a dream and a goal. Both can be about an ambition to achieve. Working in education I’m familiar with goals – setting them, measuring them, reviewing them. I have goals in writing – improving my writing, finishing a competition entry, entering the competition, reflecting on constructive feedback, finishing the book, submitting to a publisher. But actually being published and read by a wide audience has always felt more like a dream – somehow more fugitive. I’ve listened to successful writers at conferences talk about persistence and hard work. I can give…

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