Category Archives: GENERAL

Then something magical happened.

I apologise for letting 2017 slip by without a book, but I was forced into taking a break. Not only did I need to refill the creative well, I had to remind myself why I do this writing thing. Of course it’s because I have stories to get out of my head, but I’ve realised over the last six months that I also do it for the connection writing brings me.

YOU – the emails, the social media comments, the happy hour conversations about books and publishing in camp kitchens.

To keep the books coming, I had to work out the best way forward for me and in doing so I discovered four things:

  1. I have some of the loveliest readers and a generous writer community behind me. Please, keep sharing the love and recommending my books to your friends because…
  2. Publishing is not about words, it is about numbers. The success of a book has little to do with how hard the author works, or how powerful their prose and plotlines. A book needs a team of people behind it who are equally as passionate, and that includes word of mouth by happy readers.
  3. The thought of no longer being Jenn J McLeod, Author, left me confused and depressed. (I don’t remember who I was before I decided to become a writer ten years ago or who I might end up being without it – and that’s a bit scary.)
  4. Most important of all . . . if I want more readers to be reading my stories, including those living outside Australia (and NZ) I needed to make it happen for myself, which meant being brave, believing in myself, taking back some control and making the hard decisions.

Then something magical happened and I am abuzz with this exciting new chapter in the Jenn J McLeod Author journey.

I so look forward to next year when the UK’s Independent Publisher of the Year, Head of Zeus, will publish my beautiful book with a beautiful cover and distribute it throughout the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and worldwide. Alleluia!

In fact, the adventure has already begun. Even before the final contracts were signed, I was having editorial discussions and fine-tuning the structure of BOOK #5. That’s how excited my new editor is about this book—a story that is incredibly special to me for reasons I will explain in the coming months. The yet-to-be-titled release holds a place in my heart because it proves some friendships are meant to be.

Did I mention my new editor is excited?

Well, blow me over with a feather, so am I because my new editor is none other than Rosie de Courcy—Rosie who in 1976 read a ‘little’ unpublished manuscript titled ‘The Thorn Birds‘ (later acquiring the UK rights for Futura publishing house in 1977). And if that did not have me blinded with self-doubt and disbelief that she would be interested in my story, the next bit of editor trivia did. Rosie was long time editor for another author you ‘may’ have heard of . . . Maeve Binchy!

Why am I telling you this?

Because The Thorn Birds connection is crucial to the story about how my novel first came to Rosie’s attention. You see, I had a dream and . . . (taking into account Items 1- 4 listed above and with thanks to Tess Woods for kicking my arse into gear and telling me to just bloody go for what I want) I followed that dream.

And that makes this Chinese proverb, which first came to my notice in a card, given to me by a special lady on the release of my debut novel (House for all Seasons), still relevant today.

I can’t wait to share more. So thank you for being on the journey with me and if you have fiction loving friends in the UK, it’s not too early to let them know. Maybe pass this email on or let them know about my website. I hope to be bringing a lot more fabulous UK authors to my new blog series, too: Author Portraits.

Dear readers: She threatened me with a bad review and here’s why.

1starSo, there I am minding my own business when approached by a stranger (who obviously knew me). She told me she’d read and loved all my books, loving them even more as they were free.

‘Free?’ I enquired. ‘I don’t think my books are ever free.’

‘Let me show you where I get all my favourite author books,’ she said and proceeded to search on her iPhone.

And there they were – FREE to download in PDF format.

My first mistake was to let her know (politely) that she was using a pirate site. Her expression was…Well, she was mortified.

My second mistake was trying to make her feel better by acknowledging that some pirate sites can be very clever with the wording to make it appear they are ‘doing the right thing’ by the copyright holder.

Foolishly, I went on the say the pirates are the only ones who make money from such sites. (The lady was older, so my rabbiting on about online affiliate advertising that some sites use to make their money was lost on her. Not so when I added (breathless by now) that her personal details, used to log on and acquire books, including her computer details, will have been sold on to unlimited third parties by now, again providing the pirate people with money.

My third mistake was asking a rather simple question, ‘Why would anyone run a website of free books if not to make money?’

Three strikes and I was definitely out of favour.

That was when she swore at me (yes, she was older but she knew some words) and threatened to go home and give me one-star reviews. (I’m not sure pirate sites have review opportunities so I gather it will be Amazon or Goodreads, or some other official site.)

So I came home and searched, and yes my books are listed on several pirate sites. People are downloading my books every day and I’m not getting a cent. In Ms Mad Pants’ defence, the clever wording the site did look realistic (if you ignore their grammar and punctuation).

Sample of PIRATE SITE wording (with their poor spelling and grammar):

We do not intend to support illegal activity. (But they do) We uses Search API to find the overview of books over the internet, but we dont [sic] host any files. (But they do keep your personal and IP address details on a database to sell on to more cyber criminals). All document files is the property of their respective owners, please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. (They are putting the legal onus on you.) If you find documents that should not be here please report them.  (And, of course, there is no link for reporting on their site.)

So, please, if you want a free book, borrow from a friend, or better still consider your local library (yes, authors are paid each time a book is borrowed). And if you know someone who downloads free books, be a friend and let them know it’s wrong and it’s risky. They may not even realise.

On second thoughts, maybe don’t. Instead, take a moment to go to your favourite author’s book (a.k.a mine!) online and give it a genuine star rating or a review. Every one helps.

Rate My books on Amazon

Rate my books on Kobo

Rate my books on iTunes

 

FB header TOSOTS

Cue the music: I’m ready to blog hop.

I’m recognising Australia Day by saying …

ozdaydonateNO to fireworks.

NO to fake, foreign-made flags, thongs, and drink holders.

(Oh, and giving away a book to one lucky reader.)

aussie helpersYep, I’m keeping it real and celebrating the 26th of January by being a REAL Aussie. You can too by donating to Aussie Helpers – helping the heart of our country (our farmers and graziers)

I’m also sending one Blog Hop reader a signed copy of their choice:

Any book.

You choose.

 

To enter the draw simply… leave a comment below and TELL ME what month my new book – The Other Side of the Season – is out. (Not sure? Look here.) AND, of course, tell me which book you’d like to win*.

Optional:

DOUBLE your chances: I’ll pop a second entry into the Akubra with your name on it if you share this post on your Facebook page (if you have one – and don’t forget to tag me.) or you can Click to Tweet:

TRIPLE your chances by donating to help our farmers. It’s the Aussie thing to do: Go to www.aussiehelpers.org.au

CLOSED *Entries into the draw close at midnight on January 27th. Winner announced within 7 days. Australian postal address only.

After leaving your comment below, check out Book’d Out for more Great Aussie Author Blog Hop participants with more giveaways.

2016australiaday-bloghop

Then…

Grab a snag, a beer, and if you can DONATE to Aussie Helpers. Then kick back feeling good and remember… slip, slop, slap, read.

And if you’re still with me and you read ebooks on iTunes, head over to this blog post I did earlier and go into an extra draw to win one of three copies of Wild Chicory by Kim Kelly (courtesy of The Author People).

 

Tracks of my tears

The old salty (with the old salty hair-do) and me 1984!

The old salty (with the old salty hair-do) and me 1987!

There’s nothing too new in waving my parents off on holidays. (Dad calls it “spending the kids’ inheritance”.) Mum and Dad are no strangers to travel, be it the European vacation or sailing the high seas P&O style. A few years back they’d had to cancel a cruise—their twelfth, to the magnificent Milford Sound in New Zealand—when mum fell ill. But the plan always was to make #12.

My Dad is an old salty from way back. He loves his boats, even building one, christening it Steel-Aweigh; we had so much fun as kids in boats of all sizes. No doubt Dad was glued to the TV today to watch the Naval Fleet Review (while I navel gazed over a plot hole in book 3!)

This Monday, as the journey begins by plane from Coffs Harbour, Dad will get to taste that salty air one more time.

And I’m tasting salt right now.

Salt from my tears.

You see, Dad will be alone this time. Mum, who some of you will know passed away in March this year, just missing out on the release of House for all Seasons, will now only ever be with him in spirit (and in the picture frame he has packed in his suitcase!!).

Bon voyage Dad. Safe travels. See you soon. (No doubt with a million bloody out-of-frame, out-of-focus, a-novella-attached-to-each-one photographs that we can all look at over and over and over!) Oh, and I intend tracking him on the P&O Sea Princess Cruise Cam incase he decides to do a I’M KING OF THE WOOOOOOOOOOOORLD!

This post is very timely as I have just written the dedication for my next book (out end March). Simmering Season will be dedicated to Dad, my moral compass who let me travel my own path through life–loving me no matter how I strayed, letting make my own choices–even when he didn’t understand.

This theme will feature throughout Simmering Season. I can’t wait to bring the story to you.

Speaking of photos…. A few from the old album to bore you with. (Yes, I take after my dad!)

Beauties onboard! Me at the helm (pity help us all!)

Beauties onboard! Me at the helm (pity help us all!)

 

More onboard fun.

More onboard fun.

Not THAT kind of hero!

As writers of fiction we conjure up heroes on a regular basis.

I don’t use the word hero loosely, and unlike the media and certain sports commentators, I don’t attach the ‘hero’ label to just anyone.

Today I did.

Today I heard from two very different types of heroes who told me about even more real-life heroes:

  1. those generous people who have planned to say ‘OK’ to organ and tissue donation to save lives, and
  2. those who say ‘OK’ to donating despite grieving the unexpected loss of a loved one.

In the name of research for book three – Season of Temperance – I attended a presentation by North Coast Area Health’s Organ and Tissue Donation Nurse, Anne Judd, and liver transplant recipient, Adam Gilmore.

As Anne explained the role of a country-based organ and tissue donation coordinator to  the audience of mainly sexagenarians (and I am probably being generous there) I became aware of the depth and breadth of a role that exposes her to extremes: grief, anger, joy, fear, limitations, legalities, timeframes and clinical decision-making…

Wow! I will never complain about having a desk job again.

Then there was Adam.

Hero?

You bet. What this man and his family endured sounded too unreal to be true. Sadly there are too many more just like him.

What a story Adam had to tell.

How did I feel after listening?

Blessed and baffled – baffled that last year Australia had only 337 organ donations, while 1,700 waited on lists. Sadly, 20% of those waiting died without receiving a transplant.

More than anything, and most importantly, I was inspired to spread the ‘donate life’ message – hence my blog post.

Okay, I hear you! You are alive and well. What can you do? (After all, one can only “rip our heart from our chests” in fiction books – right?)

Let me tell you what you can do right now:

  1. Inform yourself on the subject and make the choice that is right for you. Get the facts, dispel the myths, be inspired – www.donatelife.gov.au
  2. Start the conversation with family (parents and children) so they understand your choice.
  3. Register your decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register and encourage friends to do the same.

Do it today, tomorrow, next week. But do it. Please.

Just click here to Donate Life online.

Now share this with your friends.

To doff your Akubra is to…

We all know the quintessential Aussie bloke can tip, posit, place, hang, position or even frisbee his Akubra. But did you know you can…

doff: (v.t) to put or take off, as dress. 2. to remove (the hat) in salutation

(Okay, so maybe not quite quintessential Aussie, but no one doffs an Akubra like William!)

Here are a few more ‘D’ words I’ve found a place for in my current story.

dolt: n. dull, stupid fellow, blockhead (doltish)

donnybrook: n. fight, argument, brawl (Irish)

dottle/dottel: n. the plug of half-smoked tobacco in the bottom of the pipe after smoking

 

 

Bring on the bling!

I’m enjoying a quiet spell from the crazy Conference Registar role I volunteered for this year. The RWA’s national conference on the Gold Coast in August will dazzle, especially with the traditional dress-up Cocktail Party theme this year – Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.

In the lead up to the conference, the Conference Coordinator (Fiona Gregory) and I starting to get into the swing of things, taking part in some fun blogs over at Romance Writers of Australia and talking about our 1950’s Hollywood glamour cocktail party outfits (among other – less important – things).

In that blog post, I refer to my very blingy blue number with the sparkly sequins on shoulderpads to die for as Vintage/Recycled (a.k.a that outfit I haven’t had the heart to throw away these 27 years, thinking I might actually be able to wear a blingy blue number one day and still fit into it.) August 17 will be the day and just to prove it is 27 years old and still holding together (better than I am sadly) here it is.

Very blingy and very blue.