Category Archives: AUTHORS

Bittersweet Bucket List

This #RovingWriter finally got to be Miss Philadelphia. (You know the one… Nancy Cato’s All The Rivers Run. Sigrid Thornton played the character in the 1980’s mini series of the same name.) It’s been a dream of mine to visit Echuca, to traverse that ancient wharf, to board the same wood-fired steamer, and to travel the Mighty Murray to the pulse of paddles and the huffing and puffing of pistons.

Two years ago, I heard about P.S. Pevensey (that it was the steamer used in the mini series) and if that was not exciting enough, I was told EVERY, yes EVERY, passenger gets a ticket – even the fur-kids. So, I made a promise to the one-eyed Dude dog at that time. I told her we’d take a boat trip together along the Murray.

Sadly, it’s taken two years to get to Echuca (on the NSW/Vic border) and as you may know, we lost the bravest dog in the world last year. So it was with sad hearts that we decided to go ahead and take a trip on the dog-friendly P.S. Pevensey anyway.

After telling our sad story to the lovely lady in the Discovery Centre, she gave us a canine ticket for our dearly departed ‘dog in a box’.

Canine Tickets for special passengers

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the lady took the time to write the date on the ticket, we realised the significance. While not planned, May 10 is one year – to the day – that we said goodbye to the Dude dog after 14 years with us. Suddenly, the much-anticipated trip turned bittersweet.

The one-eyed Dude dog, Daiquiri

Feeling miserable, what did we see? Bella.

What a joy. Here she is aboard and with Mum, Leanne. (I was itching for a puppy cuddle. I even had a sneaky cry.)

Once we disembarked, Bella’s family stopped with us at the Star Hotel for lunch – and some water from a wine goblet!

 

I’ve always believed some people come into our lives for a season and some for a reason. A  massive thank you to Keith and Leanne and Bella for sharing the trip and the pizza afterwards. I believe we were meant to meet today. Safe travels!

ABOUT THE BOOK: If you are interested in Nancy Cato’s novel – Booktopia has All The Rivers Run.

BEFORE YOU GO: It’s time we took back some control. Don’t leave it to Facebook (and the like) to decide what information you see and when you see it. I have book news coming soon and if, like me, you distrust social media’s filtering of information, join my New Release Reminder Service and I will email you my news direct to your inbox. (Just look top right on this page!) Leave your email (which I’ll protect with my life) and I’ll send you a reminder. This is NOT a monthly newsletter full of stuff you probably don’t want to know. I only send New Release Reminders when I have a new book out (or if my books go on sale online – and who doesn’t love a bargain book?)

Author V.K. Black and Campfire Tales

When I found out a fellow Aussie author was hitting the road for five months to travel the country in I remember saying, “Oh, the places you’ll see!”

That author is V.K. Black and she’s taken her experiences and turned them into a series of short stories called Campfire Tales. So, what’s VK have to say?

You were so right, Jenn. Incredible, wonderful places. Kakadu, Litchfield Park, Broome, Uluru, a helicopter flight over the Bungle Bungles, whales, off South Australia – spouts everywhere.

The office looks familiar, V.K. I have a similar one right now, but in Victoria.

The photo of me at our table is when we were camped next to a river in the Pilbara. Nice office, huh? That notepad on the table contains the first draft of Campfire Tales, which is the anthology of short stories I was writing as I travelled around Australia.

And now—drum roll please—they’re published!

Tell us about the book.

Campfire Tales follows the adventures of Ellie and Michael, a young honeymooning couple, as they travel around Australia. Most co-incidentally, Ellie and Michael follow exactly the same route around Australia that we took. All of the stories in this anthology were inspired by little things that happened, snatches of conversations we heard, and people we met.

About Campfire Tales

Hawaii? Paris? Goodness, no. On their honeymoon, Ellie and Michael travel around Australia in their battered old land cruiser, sleep in a tent, and don’t mind at all that their air mattress is always flat the next morning. They encounter a gunman at a remote campsite, help a woman dealing with emotional abuse, and meet the warring owners of an amazing caravan.

Our very-much-in-love couple make love, fight, make up, and meet people from all walks of life during their incredible adventure. So sit back with your thermos of coffee (or a glass of wine, if you’re more like Ellie and Michael) and follow our happy couple’s adventures around Australia.

Where to get the book

Available for 99 cents from Amazon and Kobo. More Buy Links can be found on V.K. Black’s Website.

Leave a reply below if you wish.

Author, Pamela Cook, gives her 21 y.o. self some advice

So, Pamela…

You’ve just turned 21 – happy birthday! Look at you in that cute little Shirley Temple outfit at your ‘S’ themed party. 🙂

I’m well over twice your age now and it makes me smile when I think back to how young and naïve you are – in a good way. Life has so much in store for you – travel, love, children and some harder things too – loss, grief, ageing. It has a few surprises lined up, which you won’t even be able to imagine right now. Knowing what I know, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learnt. It won’t change what happens to you of course but it might be useful to those three beautiful daughters you will raise.

So, here goes …

Stick to your plans to travel. The world is a huge, wonderful, awe-inspiring place. Meet people, learn from them, take as many photos as you can and store up the memories. They will last you a lifetime. Keeping a journal is probably a good idea too.

Cherish your friends. Take every opportunity you can to spend time with them, connect with them, love them. Some of them will come into your life for a while, then leave. Others will stay but only if you nurture the friendship. Nothing can replace the value of a good friend or the memories you make together.

Follow your passions. You may not be able to earn a living from them but that doesn’t make them any less important. Choose a job you love and can be of service in but don’t ever give up on your dreams. If there’s something you want to do, start now, keep at it and learn as much as you can along the way. Your time will come – but only if you make it happen. And believe.

Family is important. You’ll move house, travel to other places, fall in and out of love, have fantastic experiences and some horrible ones, but your family will always be there and have your back. Make sure you are always there for them in return – their love is unconditional and yours should be too. Some of your ‘family’ won’t be related by blood.

Be strong. Not just physically but in your principals, beliefs and love. Your body has to carry you into old age so take care of it. Stand up for ideals and people you believe in, speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. Be there for the people you love – in whatever way they need. Muster the courage to do things that need to be done.

… I could go on and on but I don’t want to bore you and you’re probably off to see a pub band or heading to a party with your friends. Enjoy that city life because (spoiler alert) one day you’ll be sitting on a verandah in the country taking in the fresh air, the gorgeous views, watching your horses (yes, horses!) graze while you work on your latest novel.

Be kind and take care,

Pamela x

Pamela Cook is a city girl with a country lifestyle and too many horses. Her rural fiction novels feature feisty women, tangled family relationships and a healthy dose of romance. Her latest book, The Crossroads, is out now. An eclectic reader, Pamela also enjoys writing poetry, memoir pieces, and literary fiction and is proud to be a Writer Ambassador for Room To Read, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes literacy and gender equality in developing countries. She also teaches creative writing through her business www.justwrite.net.au. When she’s not writing she wastes as much time as possible riding her handsome quarter horses, Morocco and Rio.

Pamela loves to connect with readers both in person and online. You will often find her lurking in one of these places:

www.pamelacook.com.au
www.facebook.com/PamelaCookAuthor
@PamelaCookAU

[bctt tweet=” What advice does author @PamelaCookAU give her 21 y.o self? #LetterToMyself https://www.jennjmcleod.com/blog/a-letter-to-myself-author-list” username=”jennjmcleod”]

 

 This is the last letter of my 2016 blog series. Pamela tops off an awesome list of authors who each wrote a letter of advice to themselves. To see the list of contributing authors: CLICK Stand by for a fabulous new blog series in 2017.

Wanting to honour the lost art of letter writing through this blog series, I also opened my fourth novel with a character writing a letter. And not just any letter. It’s a story — perhaps the most important he’ll ever tell.

The Other Side of the SeasonReady for a sea change

Life is simple on top of the mountain for David, Matthew and Tilly until the winter of 1979 when tragedy strikes, starting a chain reaction that will ruin lives for years to come. Those who can, escape the Greenhill banana plantation on the outskirts of Coffs Harbour. One stays—trapped for the next thirty years on the mountain and haunted by memories and lost dreams. That is until the arrival of a curious young woman, named Sidney, whose love of family shows everyone the truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found, and . . . there’s another side to every story.

BUY now from Amazon, KoboiTunes, or

Booktopia

 

Author Rachael Johns – a letter to my 17 y.o self

Dear Rach

I know you’re heartbroken right now, but don’t waste your time or money (on tissues) crying over that boy you accidentally dumped. You’ve already spent four years lusting after him and that is far too long to be chasing a boy who to be blatantly honest… is just not that into you. More fool him! But don’t worry, one day you’ll appear on breakfast TV show, Sunrise, and thank him for breaking your heart. That heartbreak is the reason you start writing in a couple of months and although you don’t know it now, writing is your calling. It’s what you were born to do.

BUT, I recommend NOT transferring from a primary school teaching degree to a writing degree. If you don’t want to do teaching anymore, take some time out and get some life experience or do another degree that you’ll actually be able to use in the big bad world. I suggest library studies, women studies or criminology – basically anything but that writing degree because it is an absolute waste of time. You don’t learn anything except that you do not want to write poetry or literary fiction.

You know how you love Bridget Jones Diary? That’s the type of book you want to write. Don’t be ashamed of it. Read as much as you can get your hands on. Try an odd romance as well – I think you’ll find you love them. Oh and while you’re at it, join an organization called Romance Writers of Australia – it might save you a lot of time and you might end up taking less than fifteen years to get published.

But don’t obsess about writing – just enjoy it. You’ll put in the hard yards and you’ll get there eventually. In the meantime, read more and don’t be such a prude. Date more boys, have fun and don’t stress so much about your body. You are NOT fat and starving yourself isn’t cool!

Soon you’ll go to England and meet your dad and your half-siblings for the first time. It will be both wonderful and heart-wrenching. Try to spend a little more time with your older sister – life takes her much sooner than it should and you’ll regret not getting to know her better.

Oh and stop dreaming up lots of lovely girls’ names for future daughters – there are only boys to come!

See you in the future.

Love your older self! xox

rachael-photoartofsecretsfinalcoverABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer the rest of the time. She rarely sleeps and never irons.  Jilted (her first rural romance) won Favourite Australian Contemporary Romance in 2012 and she was voted in the Top Ten of Booktopia’s Favourite Australian Author poll in 2013. The Patterson Girls won the 2016 Romance Writers of Australia RUBY Award and also the 2015 Australian Book Industry Award for General Fiction. She lives in the Perth Hills with her hyperactive husband, three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training, two fat cats, a cantankerous bird and a very badly behaved dog.

Rachael loves to hear from readers and can be contacted via her website – www.rachaeljohns.com You can find Rachael on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RachaelJohnsRomance/) and on Twitter (https://twitter.com/RachaelJohns)

Latest book – THE ART OF KEEPING SECRETS – Grab your copy now!

[bctt tweet=” What advice does author @rachaeljohns give her 17 y.o self? #LetterToMyself https://www.jennjmcleod.com/blog/a-letter-to-myself-author-list” username=”jennjmcleod”]

 

 To see the list of authors taking part in this letter-writing blog series: CLICK

Wanting to honour the lost art of letter writing through this blog series, I also opened my fourth novel with a character writing a letter. And not just any letter. It’s a story — perhaps the most important he’ll ever tell.

The Other Side of the SeasonReady for a sea change

Life is simple on top of the mountain for David, Matthew and Tilly until the winter of 1979 when tragedy strikes, starting a chain reaction that will ruin lives for years to come. Those who can, escape the Greenhill banana plantation on the outskirts of Coffs Harbour. One stays—trapped for the next thirty years on the mountain and haunted by memories and lost dreams. That is until the arrival of a curious young woman, named Sidney, whose love of family shows everyone the truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found, and . . . there’s another side to every story.

BUY now from Amazon, KoboiTunes, or

Booktopia

 

Author, Nicole Alexander, writes a letter to her 29 y.o. self

To 29 year-old Nicole,

I’m on the precipice of making a life altering decision without even knowing it. Having just arrived back in Sydney after working in Singapore for three years, I’m excited. I’m grateful for my ex-pat experiences but super pleased to be back in Australia. I’ve been offered a marketing role with the National Trust. It sounds like a really good position in an area I’ve always had a huge interest in, Australian history and genealogy. And I love Sydney. It’s a buzzy place and I have lots of friends here and some family. It seems like a new beginning and I’m ready for it. The only regret I have is that it’s not the bush where I grew up.

Two weeks before I’m due to commence work, the telephone rings. It’s my father. We talk about the bush and our properties, the earliest of which were settled by my great-grandfather in 1893. When dad asks if I’ve ever thought about coming to home to be involved in the family business, instead of being custodian of someone else’s history, I’m already back there in big sky country.

It’s a rash decision, but I’m packing up my Paddington terrace and shipping my belongings 810 kilometres northwards. My Sydney based sister is like, what the ….. . My friends in shock. My mother, worried about my coming home to live in an isolated environment after eight years in big cities.

If I hadn’t been so keen to go home to the station I may well have given a little more thought to what I was letting myself into. Forget MacKellar’s ‘droughts and flooding rains’, the outback isn’t that romantic. It’s tough and it’s hard for a young inexperienced woman to fit in when you’re working with a team of men, even if you are the boss’s daughter. If I’d known then that I’d have to carve a place for myself on the property, that I would eventually learn how to do everything, that it was necessary to do these things to earn respect, both from my co-workers and for my own sense of achievement, that there was a large gender bias towards women working in the field, that I would end up managing such a huge business, that I would fall off bikes, be smashed against yards by cattle… well, I probably would have said no.

But I didn’t know, and in not knowing I seized the opportunity and have never regretted it…. Except when I’ve been in pain!

Good for me

With love and Panadol, from my much older and wiser self! nx

river-run-loresmedia-1-nicole-alexander-low-res-head-shot-2016ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nicole Alexander is a part-time grazier and author. Her 7th novel, River Run is out now.

 

 

Website: http://www.nicolealexander.com.au/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNicoleAlexander

[bctt tweet=” What advice does author @AuthorNicole give her 29 y.o self? #LetterToMyself https://www.jennjmcleod.com/blog/a-letter-to-myself-author-list” username=”jennjmcleod”]

To leave a comment: you need to scroll the to very bottom of this page (damn WordPress theme!) And thank you for doing so.

To see the list of authors taking part in this letter-writing blog series: CLICK

Wanting to honour the lost art of letter writing through this blog series, I also opened my fourth novel with a character writing a letter. And not just any letter. It’s a story — perhaps the most important he’ll ever tell.

The Other Side of the Season

TOSOTS finalLife is simple on top of the mountain for David, Matthew and Tilly until the winter of 1979 when tragedy strikes, starting a chain reaction that will ruin lives for years to come. Those who can, escape the Greenhill banana plantation on the outskirts of Coffs Harbour. One stays—trapped for the next thirty years on the mountain and haunted by memories and lost dreams. That is until the arrival of a curious young woman, named Sidney, whose love of family shows everyone the truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found, and . . . there’s another side to every story. For more books: CLICK

Author, Fiona Palmer writes a letter to her 26 y.o self

To celebrate her latest release – The Family Secret – I asked my friend (and everyone’s favourite rural romance author) Fiona Palmer to give her younger self the benefit of her experience. Here’s what she wrote…

Dear 26 year old self,

Yes, you may be tired with a newborn and a nearly two year old, not to mention working full time as you run the local general store and then trying to keep the house half clean and everyone fed, but keep putting one foot in front of the other. And those crazy thoughts you have which have somehow manifested into a story about living in the country, well – let them come. It’s your passion for the land, your small community and the inspiration you draw from this unique way of life that drives this story forward. And soon it will grow to the point where you’ll start typing it out while the kids are asleep or the shop is quiet. Stolen moments to let story grow.

Keep persisting, it will take three years! But you will reach the end and will have started a journey you never would have dreamed possible. Not from someone who struggled at school, left after year eleven and hated English the most. Quite literally, you will fall into a new wondrous career which ignites your creative side. Who cares that you can’t spell, it doesn’t matter anyway as you have heaps of friends who are teachers and they will love proofreading your book.

You’ve always been willing to give things a go so don’t let fear hold you back when you decide to write a letter to Penguin and send them your first three chapters without an agent. Throw caution to the wind, you always have.

Enjoy the ride that’s about to begin. I can tell you it’s amazing.

Love, Fiona

Fiona Palmer Fiona PalmerABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fiona Palmer lives in the tiny rural town of Pingaring in Western Australia, three and a half hours south-east of Perth. She discovered Danielle Steel at the age of eleven, and has now written her own brand of rural romance. She has attended romance writers’ groups and received an Australian Society of Authors mentorship for her first novel, The Family Farm. She has extensive farming experience, does the local mail run, and was a speedway-racing driver for seven years. She spends her days writing, working as a farm hand, helping out in the community and looking after her two children.

Fiona online: www.fionapalmer.com and Facebook or  Buy at Booktopia

[bctt tweet=” What advice does author @fiona_palmer give her 26 y.o self? #LetterToMyself https://www.jennjmcleod.com/blog/a-letter-to-myself-author-list” username=”jennjmcleod”]

 To see the list of authors taking part in this letter-writing blog series: CLICK

Wanting to honour the lost art of letter writing through this blog series, I also opened my fourth novel with a character writing a letter. And not just any letter. It’s a story — perhaps the most important he’ll ever tell.

The Other Side of the SeasonReady for a sea change

Life is simple on top of the mountain for David, Matthew and Tilly until the winter of 1979 when tragedy strikes, starting a chain reaction that will ruin lives for years to come. Those who can, escape the Greenhill banana plantation. One stays—trapped for the next thirty years on the mountain and haunted by memories and lost dreams. That is until the arrival of a curious young woman, named Sidney, whose love of family shows everyone the truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found, and . . . there’s another side to every story.

BUY now from Amazon, KoboiTunes, or

Booktopia

 

Author, Louise Allan, writes a letter to her 12 y.o self

I’m very excited to welcome Louise to my blog series and so very glad she will be published next year. She has a beautiful way with words, folks. Now, say hello to Lou as she says Hi to her 12 y.o. self.

Hi Lou,

This is your 49-year-old self here. I’m a bit stouter, creakier, and have a few more creases in my skin, but inside my head, I’m still the same as you. All of the things you love—walking in the bush, swimming in the ocean, music, reading—I still love, too. You’re still here.

I’ve learnt loads in the intervening years, though, and I’d like to share a few of them with you:

Firstly, you are a good girl and you are lovable. You should have been told this from the minute you were born, so that you’d know it inside your heart. But you weren’t. If I was with you now, I’d tell you that you’re not a bad person, you’re not selfish, and you’re not a bitch, and I’d keep telling you until you believed it. You weren’t born bad, no child is. What you’ve been told is bullshit and don’t believe any of it. There’s nothing wrong with you and don’t listen to anyone who tells you differently.

That isolation and loneliness you’re feeling, it’s because of all the rubbish you’ve been told above. You are worthwhile. So march right up to those girls you look up to because you’re just as good as them.

Also, you’re an intelligent girl and you needn’t hide it. Intelligence is good. Don’t deliberately make mistakes and get things wrong so you don’t stand out in class. And tell everyone you like Mozart, love Maths, and want to study Medicine. So what if they call you a ‘brain’? There’s worse things to be called …

(There’s so much I want to tell you, young Lou, that my fingers can’t type fast enough …)

Needing time on your own and not making friends easily doesn’t mean you’re antisocial, so don’t believe that either. It will be a couple of decades before you’ll read Susan Cain and realise you’re just introverted, that’s how you’re made, there’s nothing wrong with that, and you don’t have to try to be different. The world needs introverts.

That restrictive, oppressive, Catholicism you’re being brought up with, and all those sermons telling you not to have sex before marriage—oh god, don’t get me started—don’t listen to any of it, Lou, and don’t feel ashamed of anything to do with your body. One day soon, no one will care.

I need to tell you, too, that things will get a lot worse before they get better. A really, really sad thing will happen without any warning, and it will be a long time before you’ll feel normal again. You’ll feel the deepest pain you’ve ever felt, but at the same time, you’ll feel yourself expanding. I know you don’t believe this is possible—but it is, and you will survive. Not just that, but you’ll grow from it. It will be the making of you, and you’ll put it to good use. Forever after.

I’ll tell you something else, too: you will fall many times over the next decade. You’ll make mistakes from which you think you can’t recover. But each time, you’ll face up to it, claw your way through, and learn big lessons.

One day, in the not-too-distant future, you’ll meet a wonderful man with whom you’ll make your own family and you’ll be happy. Except every now and then, your mind will slip into a deep, dark place and want to stay there. You won’t understand why it does this, and you’ll try everything to comprehend and prevent it.

It will take a long time, but with the help of a book and a wise person, you’ll realise all the lessons I’ve just told you in this letter, and they will sink in. After that, you won’t visit that dark place ever again.

And beside you will be that wonderful man you married and your four children, and you’ll look back at your twelve-year-old self and your 22-year-old self and your 32- and 42-year-old selves, and you’ll see how you’re still all of those people, the same yet different. And you’ll see that everything happened for a reason and led you to where you are, and you’ll be at peace.

With lots and lots of love,

Lou xx

PS. On the Monday after the end-of-term pub crawl in third year, don’t forget to look at the window on the left when you enter the Medical Sciences building. He’s left you a note. I didn’t look and missed it.

PPS. And the next day, on the Tuesday, don’t dally like I did when you leave the lecture theatre because he’s waiting for you in the hall outside.

PPS. Your daughter will share a birthday with Mozart. Sorry about the spoiler, but I knew you’d be excited by that.

Louise AllanABOUT THE AUTHOR:Louise Allan 12

Louise is a Perth writer whose first novel will be published in September 2017 by Allen and Unwin. It was shortlisted for the 2014 City of Fremantle-TAG Hungerford Award and prior to that, she was awarded a Varuna Residential Fellowship to work on it.
You can read more of Louise’s writing on her blog, or catch up with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

 

[bctt tweet=” What advice does author @louisejallan give her 12y.o self? #LetterToMyself https://www.jennjmcleod.com/blog/a-letter-to-myself-author-list” username=”jennjmcleod”]

To see the list of authors taking part in this letter-writing blog series: CLICK

Wanting to honour the lost art of letter writing through this blog series, I also opened my fourth novel with a character writing a letter. And not just any letter. It’s a story — perhaps the most important he’ll ever tell.

The Other Side of the SeasonReady for a sea change

Life is simple on top of the mountain for David, Matthew and Tilly until the winter of 1979 when tragedy strikes, starting a chain reaction that will ruin lives for years to come. Those who can, escape the Greenhill banana plantation on the outskirts of Coffs Harbour. One stays—trapped for the next thirty years on the mountain and haunted by memories and lost dreams. That is until the arrival of a curious young woman, named Sidney, whose love of family shows everyone the truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found, and . . . there’s another side to every story.

BUY now from Amazon, KoboiTunes, or

Booktopia