Tag Archives: Annie Seaton

Where cowboys meet the coast – WIN w/ the Christmas Blog Hop

This is my post in the fabulous Christmas blog hop, happening until Christmas Eve.
Thirty e-books to be gifted and a $150 gift card, too!
Plus, a Jenn J book to someone who leaves a comment on THIS blog. So don’t get so wrapped up in my story about cowboys that you forget to enter.
Comment and click below!!!!

____________________

The Capricornia region in central Queensland (Australia) is, according to this tourism website, where cowboys meet the coast. Sounds like the perfect place to set a story, don’t you think? And I have the perfect title for it, too – A Place to Remember. In fact, it’s already written and I’m working hard with my UK publisher (Head of Zeus) to bring it to the world this April (in print and ebook), so keep an eye out.

While it’s a pretty special story, I feel obliged to ‘fess up about this novel – my fifth. To explain, I’ve recorded a video confession – an apology for disappointing my readers with my last four novels. As I said, the video (below) explains.

Now . . .  about this year’s Coastal Blog Hop book you can win – The Other Side of the Season.

The Other Side of the Season is my fourth novel and I’m taking readers from the country to the coast. Check out the blurb or watch this 40 second trailer.

 

 

 

And, speaking of videos . . . about that confession. Check it out on You Tube: https://youtu.be/uk9iet5ALq0

Thank you for blog hopping. Have a wonderful Christmas, wherever you are in the world. (Maybe let me know where you’re from in your comment.) I’ll be back where the book began, on the Capricornia Coast looking for those cowboys!

Now you’re here, increase your chances of winning by leaving a comment below, and also enter via the rafflecopter below to win 30 ebooks and a $150.00 gift card.
If you comment here, then Tweet or Facebook this blog post I will add a second entry.
Winners announced on Christmas Eve.
What a great present! What are you waiting for?

 

ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS BLOG HOP:   For more information and a list of all the authors involved:  Annie Seaton – organiser extraordinaire. 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

24th December: Prize Draw

More blogs to hop:
 Previous blog: I just read about E.E. Carter’s grandparents being itinerant workers who traveled around Queensland in their caravan. Great minds!
Next blog in the hop: TBC

Turning points on my path to publication – UPDATE.

dream proverbMy path to publication – update!

With novel #4 about to hit the shelves in May, I am so glad to still be tripping down that yellow brick road, hand in hand with the wizards of publishing Simon & Schuster (Australia) and singing travel songs.

This crazy writing journey has not always light of foot and joyous. My path to publication hit some serious detours, but I picked up a few good tips and friends along the way and because the question most asked of me is “How did you get published?” I thought a re-post ad update from my February 2012 post on the subject a good idea. So if you are interested in watching paint dry, you might also enjoy this post about….

My Path to Publication (as posted in Feb, 2012)

It is a tradition within my writing association that those announcing their first sale/book contract follow the announcement with their ‘call story’. It’s meant to be a re-telling of that moment when a publisher calls and gives you the news you’ve been working towards and dreaming about since you could pick up a pen (or access an i-Pad, as is the case today!)

But I fear my call story might be like watching paint dry, as it was a long process with lots of emails and waiting in between for things to be finalised. (Thank goodness for agents!)

So I thought, if a call story is meant to inspire (as well as inform) then maybe I’m better to write about the turning points in my writing, when a few significant things happened to nudge me closer to my goal.

Grab a coffee, settle in and … come home to the country.

Many moons ago, when my sister (in real estate at the time) listed the house of ‘a famous author’ and happened to mention to said author, “my little sister wants to write romance novels”, the ‘lovely lady and owner of said house’ (Valerie Parv was her name) gave my sister some magazines called Hearts Talk, and a message. “Tell your sister to join RWA.”

Turning Point #1 – I joined Romance Writers of Australia.

Recuperating after major surgery, I spent  seven weeks writing my first Danielle Steel meets Nora Roberts novel. Of course I was going to be THAT famous! Then over the next two years I entered RWA’s Valerie Parv Contest – twice – as well as many other contests.

Turning point #2 – I entered lots of contests – not to win (I was too green) but to get feedback. (Winning/placing was a bonus.)

Turning point #3 – Bootcamp 109, April 2009 – I think.  This RWA initiative with the  fabulous Rachel Bailey and Nikki Logan (et al) made me realise:

  1. I am not alone.
  2. This writing caper is bloody hard.
  3. There’s no reason why success can’t be mine.

I now had two manuscripts which I subbed and subbed (with various calls for more chapters). But all I got was the big R – rejection.

Turning point #4 – This IS a business. Analyse the market. See what’s selling. Plan, strategise, set goals.
Rural romances were really starting to take off a couple of years ago. Okay, I thought, can I do that? I’ve never  harvested a crop, sheared/shorn (see I can’t even tell how to say it) a sheep, rounded up brumbies, or branded a cow. But I could brand myself!

 

Turning point #5 – Work out what you CAN write about and create a theme/brand. We’ve heard it before. Write about what you know. Well, I know about small country towns and all the colourful, quirky characters. I am part of a small community (moving from the city to run a cafe business which I’d never done before. I could do anything – right!) I’d experienced the difference between country and city. (I was a city girl who’d craved to get back to her country roots for years.)

Hey, coming home to the country! Does that sound like the theme for me? (In 2016 I’m taking readers from the country to the coast.)

seachange5

Next, I took a ‘leaf’ out of Nikki Logan’s strategy and established a brand. (Nikki is a fantastic example of branding with her ‘nature’ theme and she has been such a positive influence.)

So two years ago (or so) I created my Come home to the country….small towns, big hearts theme.

Okay, now I needed to write something. Amazingly, once I had my brand, my ‘voice’ seemed to develop all by itself (with a little help from Lisa Heidke who really showed me what ‘a fresh voice’ was all about).  Bronwyn Parry and Helene Young had already taught me how to plot a page turner. (There have been many other influences over time, of course: Dianne Blacklock and Monica McInerney – whose books my readers will enjoy.)

Turning point #6 – Stop trying so hard, glue bum on seat and write.
The glue was NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. With my brand and my voice knocking to get out, I sat down in November 2009 and wrote my first draft of House For All Seasons.

Turning point #7 – Lightning (yes, Annie Seaton editor extraordinaire, I said ‘lightning‘) bolts flashed and I decided I am a writer of Australian contemporary fiction. (I still say it with trepidation!)  I don’t write romance novellas and the like (and I admire those who can fit high emotion in with so few words allowed).  I was trying too hard. It took me years to figure out what I wrote and what it was called. Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? Was I single title, ‘with romantic elements’, mainstream fiction, commercial fiction, women’s fiction… Aren’t they all the same, I would cry.

Aaaaarrrggghhh!!!!

But this was a turning point for me.

Turning point #8 – a milestone birthday. Nothing like growing a year older to give you a shove. I was giving myself one year, telling myself if I hadn’t sold, I would give up on publishing and just write for myself.

Phew! Just made it in time. Now here I am.

I won’t go on, but thanks for indulging me (if you got this far). If you fell asleep and your coffee is now cold – sorry! If I’ve inspired you to write, go check out all those people I mentioned, and if you want to follow my path, join RWA, go to a writers conference, study the market, write what you know, and never give up.

Your success could be just around the next birthday.

 

Come home to the country…

Small town stories. Discover them. Love them.

#WriteRoundOz w/ Annie Seaton and Kakadu Sunset

Kakadu SunsetAnnie Seaton has penned a winner.

I don’t have to say much—this book will sell itself.

Kakadu Sunset is one of those stories — a stand out cover with a real crowd-pleaser plot, set in the most well-known and intriguing places in Australia.

This is a very contemporary story that sees corruption in politics collide with the environment, which I’m guessing Annie had fun researching. From the helicopter scenes to the vivid descriptions of Kakadu, the authenticity within these pages took me back to my own time spent working in Kakadu, some years ago. (And I have to say… I cheered after reading the croc scene.)

A prolific author in the romance genre, with multiple ebooks online, Kakadu Sunset sees Annie Seaton in bricks and mortar bookshops for the first time, right alongside other great Aussie fiction. (Okay, so her and I are not side by side – yet. But if you manage to do a little shelf-elfing and get a picture of Annie’s books and one of mine (see below), do share.

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED

Or see Read Round Oz’s Q&A about Annie’s camping/research trip to Kakadu:

There’s nothing better than good Aussie fiction.

Thanks for coming home to the country… To five-star Aussie fiction.

Jenn J
book-House-194x300  book-Simmering-194x300book-Season-194x300CLICK HERE for more books…

Or find more great Aussie fiction at:

The Australian Rural Romance Readers’ Portal

Author Harvest ‘bales up’ Annie Seaton – romance author

Author Harvest

 

Annie_Seaton_200x300Well, look who I have managed to pin down for two minutes! Don’t suppose you’ve managed to find time to bake for me, Annie — what with all your contract deadlines,  numerous editing jobs and generally being available to anyone who needs advice? (Ummm…like me!!)

I’ve actually made homemade banana bread for you, Jenn! Low fat of course.

(Low fat? What are you saying, Annie? Perhaps we will just move on…)

At home…

You know my mum used to say garden gnomes make a house a home! Are you loud and proud in your love of garden gnomes at home, a closet gnomer or with a strict ‘no gnomes’ policy at your place?

Love my garden gnomes. A home garden is not complete without at least one. My husband was known as a purloiner of garden gnomes to win my love when we were courting. (Love that word!)

(A purloiner of garden gnomes sounds a bit suss to me. Just as well I know hubby.)

What vegetable (or fruit) have you always wanted to grow at home?

Strawberries… with no luck. It might be because I forget to water the pots.

If I came to your home and looked in the refrigerator, what would I find? (As if I have to ask?)

Lots of fruit and vegetables and er…the odd bottle of Sauvignon Blanc

(Er…don’t forget the odd bottle of Champers – cold and ready to pop for those frequent ‘oh, look, another book contract’ moments!)

If you sorted your wardrobe by colour, what colour would stand out? (Ahh, do you sort your wardrobe by colour?!)

My husband loves the old advertisement… Do you have it in black? He says it was made with me in mind!

(Classically flamboyant black, of course!)

What are you wearing now? (Be honest!)

Jeans and slippers, and a raggy (black) cardigan

Whose home would you like to housesit and why?

David Bowie…because he might come home and I could meet my music hero!

Seriously, I need to meet either David or Peter Frampton as I am writing a time slip novel about a seventies rock star. A conversation would be very helpful in the creation of Hot Rock.

Country curiosities…

We love a sunburnt country (slip, slop, slap and all that). What’s your ideal hat? Or are you a boots person?

Hmmm. Don’t own a hat… and bare feet for me. Sorry… I’m a beach gal!holiday affair

That’s why all of my books are set near the water… Holiday Affair-Whitsundays and Nambucca Heads, Italian Affair on a beautiful Italian island… and there is a crystal clear pool in Outback Affair as well as flooding rivers!

Dangerous Desire in the Whitsundays and there are more….

(More? Well there you go then! Crack that Champers!)

If you were a tree (or animal) what kind of tree Italian Affair-200x300(animal) would you be?

I would love to be a cat. They are clever, get to sleep in front of fires and are loved by their ‘cat people’ owners!

Now for the big question… Why did the chicken cross the road?

Oh Jenn… I am rolling on the floor laughing. I will have to Google it. Remember me? I don’t get jokes!

(I remember… So, what DID the fish say when he hit his head, Annie?  …  Dam!)

About you…

Your turning point: when was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a reality and a career?

When Holiday Affair hit the best seller lists and my solicitor asked for my autograph…and it wasn’t on a legal document.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Finding a writing/life balance…once I start I find it hard to stop and I tend to focus and ignore the rest of the world (this is probably why hubby has become a purloiner of garden gnomes — for the company!) until I have finished the current task in hand. I can spend days away from the real world. I just completed 46,000 words of Outback Affair in nineteen days. Thank goodness for online grocery shopping. (Is that hubby I can hear cheering in the background?)

If someone was to write your biography, what do you think the title should be?

Well, Jenn if you were choosing I am sure it would be the Amazon Queen or the Facebook Queen!

(One of those companies will own the other one before long. Then both titles will be yours!)

Seriously…I would say Determination Does It!

(Determination and a couple of super wonderful couple of friends who live up the highway. Right Elle Fynllay?)

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

Q: How does it feel to have toppled Nora Roberts from the top of the perch? (A girl can dream)

A: Pretty damn good!

Fun stuff …

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?

Katherine Swynford. I would meet John of Gaunt and experience life in fourteenth century England. I love history and have a degree with a major in British constitutional history. I am sure I have lived there before in a previous life. When we visited Wales a few years ago, it was like going home. I was in awe and all my husband could do was look at me and complain about the rain. (And purloin gnomes?)

I have a historical novel lined up three books down the list!

Okay, now for Italian Affair (everyone should have one. I’m referring to the book, of course!)

Free-spirited sex therapist Brianna Ballantine has four days to find a fiancé so she can inherit her birth mother’s Italian villa. Commitment is not on the agenda. Writing her sex therapy book and signing legal papers are. And once all is said and done, she’ll return home to Scotland.

For finance guru Tomas Richards, relationships have been a bad investment—give him stocks and shares any day. When Tomas offers a marriage of convenience to help Brianna secure her inheritance, the sizzle between the sheets promises an affair to remember, despite family complications at every turn.

But Tom must convince Brianna to stay, and make this Italian affair a lifelong commitment.

And to find out more? http://www.amazon.com/Italian-Affair-Entangled-Indulgence-ebook/dp/B00CNTTEAI

Annie loves to hear from readers at: annieseaton26@gmail.com

Her website is http://www.annieseatonromance.com/

And her blog is at http://annieseaton.blogspot.com.au/

You can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AnnieSeatonAuthor and https://www.facebook.com/annieseaton26

And Twitter https://twitter.com/annieseaton26

 

Me, Maeve Binchy, Monica McInerney & My Mum

Good friendsYou’d think by now I’d be used to the rollercoaster emotions that goes with the publication ride I’ve been on for well over a year now.

But this week, the highest of highs met the lowest of lows, some 10 days out from ‘Launch date’.

Here’s what happened.

(Monday) — My mum, who has been very unwell for some time, slipped a little further, finally passing away that afternoon.

(Tuesday) At my Dad’s insistence (and him in the care of my brother), I flew down for a scheduled Simon & Schuster publicity meeting in Sydney. I’m not sure how, but I managed the pre-arranged recording of an author interview with Caroline Baum. (Caroline has worked as founding editor of Good Reading magazine, features editor for Vogue, presenter of ABC TV’s popular bookshow, Between the Lines, and Foxtel’s Talking Books, and as an executive producer with ABC Radio National.

I was a bit of a mess, and despite my day starting with sliced cucumber stuck with cellotape under my eyes to reduce puffiness (refusing to use the suggested movie star trick of applying haemorrhoid cream to my face!) the interview went well. As it turned out, the trip was a much-needed distraction in a difficult week. (You will see the results online on February 27 when the interview goes live. Be kind!!!! (BLOG UPDATE: Here is the You Tube link for that interview.)

Bronwyn Parry, who also suffered a sad loss prior to one of her book releases wrote to me, offering this advice…

Be kind to yourself; I was where you are now last year – grieving a parent, and preparing for a book launch. Cry when you need to, stroke your book and grin madly when you want to – and know that your Mum would be so proud of you.

I have taken that advice and I did find myself grinning madly after the interview on Tuesday when Caroline said House for all Seasons reminded her of a Maeve Binchy novel, and we talked about how both Monica McInerney and I love an eclectic cast of characters in our stories.

Back home that same day (pleased to find the dogs had held their water for the 6 hour trip) I rang Dad, then I logged on and found a tweet — Culture Street’s review of House for all Seasons – my first review! I promptly rang Dad back again. Thank you Sophia Whitfield.

(Wednesday) With emotions totally betwixt by now, I was further bowled over by theMUM 15.02.13 overwhelming response from friends on Facebook to this photo of my mum holding House for all Seasons for the first time and reading the dedication. (I took this the Friday before she passed. I knew she was still with it because she made a joke about the book being heavy. (My Mum always loved her little pink Mills & Boons.)

This afternoon, the wonderful Annie Seaton and Marie Miller called around with flowers and hugs.

Tomorrow (Thursday) we get to say goodbye to Shirley Lewis – 02.09.30 – 18.02.13.

I am so glad my novel will be out on March 1 and with this dedication…

To the four women who have shaped my life.

Each as different as the seasons.

Jeannette ~ Kristine ~ Shirley

My partner in dreams ~ The wind beneath my wings ~ My mum

And to Pam Leicester ~ whose courage inspired Sara’s story

It’s the happy ever after you deserve. Mum's Flowers

Author Harvest ‘bales up’ Jenn J McLeod

Author HarvestJenn J McLeod - Rural AuthorWell Jenn, here you are. It’s all happening now. Who knew! So let’s start as we always do here on Harvest … with food.

Can I offer you scones and tea or some other homemade delight?

Definitely not! I think I’ve had a little too much harvest love from my guests. Did no one see that butt-to-camera angle when NBN News filmed me launching the Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival a few months back. No food! No butts!

At home…

Mum says garden gnomes make a house a home! Am I loud and proud in my loveIMG_0540 of garden gnomes at home, a closet gnomer or with a strict ‘no gnomes’ policy at my place?

I’m afraid I did inherit a love of the cheeky gnome. This one at my dad’s place is by far my favourite. (And clearly I have a butt obsession at the moment!)

What vegetable (or fruit) have I always wanted to grow at home?

I have a nice collection of both fruit and vegie: avocado, orange, ruby grapefruit, mandarins, oranges, custard apple, lychee, mango, lime, lemon, pecans. The vegie garden will have seasonal vegies: I love strawberries and cooking with fresh herbs.

If someone looked in the refrigerator, what would they find?

Grotesque, alien-like vegetables that I somehow managed to grow/create. (eg. my carrots are orange in colour, but that’s where the similarities end.)

If someone was to sort my wardrobe by colour, what colour would stand out? (Is anyone volunteering?)

You will mostly find the colour of ‘Opp Shop’. I do love finding a hidden pre-loved treasure. Opp shops are a kind of story starter. I find myself wondering about the person/history behind the treasure.

What am I wearing now?

Opp Shop favourites – shorts and a tank top. I love supporting the volunteers who run the shop.

Whose home would I like to housesit and why?

I was going to pick a few places. Then I thought previous Harvestees might get all precious and say: “Ooohh… Jenn J never said we could do that ….” To which my response would be: Hey folks, it’s my party and I’ll give answers in triplicate if I want to …

So, (with that out o the way) I’d do a progressive thing with some of my author pals so I can soak up some inspiration during my stay: Fiona Palmer’s (I’ve heard about that Pingaring pub!), Fleur McDonald (her photographs of home are gorgeous. Must go there.), my publisher’s house Larissa Edwards (so I can nose around in her book collection), Helene Young’s (in tropical north Queensland – say no more!), Christine Stinson’s (because she said I could stay there anytime I wanted to “come home to the city“!), Rachael Johns’ (she owns a supermarket for goodness sake. Imagine that!), Bronwyn Parry (she has kangaroos watching her work through the window), and speaking of rooms with a view – Annie Seaton’s place (have you seen that writing chair of hers?) 😉 I could go on…. In fact I could go to New Zealand and visit Rae Roadley (becasue she has found ‘Love At The End Of The Road’.)

Country curiosities…

We love a sunburnt country (slip, slop, slap and all that). What’s my ideal hat? Or am I a boots person?

Love my leather hat. Hate hat hair. Love my comfy Redbacks. Hate spiders!

If I were a tree (or animal) what kind of tree (animal) would I be?

A meerkat: stands tall, inquisitive, cautious, highly excitable, aggressive only when provoked! (Best of all, cute as all get out and no butt to speak of.)

Now for the big question… Why did the chicken cross the road?

It went to the shops to by House for all Seasons by this lovely new author called Jenn J McLeod. They heard there was a rather elaborate chook house described in the book as well as a competition with a great prize when you buy the book.

About you…

My turning point: when was that point in my life that I realised being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a reality and a career?

A year before my 50th birthday I said: “It’s now or never.”  I’d written two novels already (contemporary fiction set in glamorous locations) but coud not interest a publisher or an agent. With a growing interest in Australian rural fiction I decided if I couldn’t sell an Australian small town story then I couldn’t sell anything and I would give up.

Two days before my 50th birthday I signed with Clare Forster (Curtis Brown Literary Agency). The rest, as they say, is history!

What is the hardest part of writing for me?

Picking up where I left off the previous day. I have to get into the flow (it’s a voice thing) which means reading a few previous chapters. I’m afraid I can’t read without editing so I get bogged down with the detail, which then ends up limiting my word count at the end of each day.

If someone was to write my biography, what do I think the title should be?

She did a good job, butt …!

Fun stuff…

What does my protagonist think about me? Would he or she want to hang out with me, the author, his/her creator?

My contemporary fiction tends to have a cast of characters rather than the protagonist/antagonist structure. Not sure any of them would want to hang out with me but, boy, would I LOVE hanging out with them. Especially a couple of my secondary boys. Will, the local cafe owner who makes great soy lattes, and Alex, the country vet and all-round nice guy. Both have the wonderful, witty (verging on wicked) sense of humour. I reckon we’d get on, don’t you?

If someone said, “Just entertain me for five minutes, I’m not going to talk,” what would I do?

I’d show you the NBN News clip and ask you: “Does my butt look big in that?”

What food would I be?

Ummm … something nutty perhaps!

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

I have no idea. I only included this question to see what others would say. But check this. Will we all be asking in a few decades, “What’s the best things since the super-duper toasting bread knife thingy?”

Name 5 uses for a stapler that has no staple pins.

With an obsessive partner there is NEVER a stapler without staple pins (nor a toilet roll holder without paper, a fridge without a cold beer, or a car without petrol).

How weird am I? Rate yourself on a scale of 1 (not) to 10 (very).

I’ve just interviewed myself. What do you think?

Don’t forget to lock March 1 into your diary (or subscribe to receive a reminder). On online launch will be … colourful and loud 😉

Now … follow that chook and go buy my book. No butts about it! Check out the links in my book room.

(My thanks to Lily Malone for suggesting I interview myself. BTW – check out her Author Harvest and the other fabulous writing folk who have come home to the country so far – Author harvest line-up.

Pick me! Pick me! (but make it quick, quick, quick.)

Do you have a burning desire to tell a story and see your name in print? Will writing a novel (whether published or not) tick that little to-do off your bucket list?

This week I am guest blogger on ABC Open talking about “When Writers Rally” and hoping to encourage aspiring writers to consider their path to publication like the tortoise, rather than the hare.

With the internet rapidly changing the face of publishing there’s a sense of urgency in the air. It seems almost anyone can publish a book these days. But how can we do that burning desire justice? How proud (or JK Rowling rich) your final product will make you might just be a matter of how you approach the task.

For my tortoise tips, including links to writing groups, see the ABC Open Blog. (Image used courtesy of Marie Miller. Taken at the 2012 RWA National Conference and ARRA Book Signing event in which over 100 authors attended, including regional, best-selling writers: Helene Young, Bronwyn Parry, Annie Seaton, Fiona McArthur, Rachael Treasure and international guest Alexandra Sokoloff.)