Saturday, March 24, 2012

Author Spotlight Shines On: Fiona Palmer

I'm excited to shine the spotlight on Fiona Palmer who is not only sharing her life with us today but also generously giving away a copy of The Road Home to a lucky reader who leaves a comment.

Good Luck and enjoy!

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer.

I’m a country girl at heart, very passionate about where I live and grew up. I could have left after school but then thought, why should I? Why move when I was happy here, I had plenty of work I could find, and my family was close by. I guess I became a writer due to this passion. I also loved creating things, whether it was in the garden or building things and my mind is always on the go. I can remember watching movies that had started great then died badly and I’d rewrite the ‘better’ ending in my head. I’d also make up my own perfect romance movie. Then I guess this kind of progressed to writing my own stories that I wanted to read, which was about the country. Oh and I loved Paperback Hero the movie with Hugh Jackman. So Australian with such a great romance story. It was a kick starter.

And honestly Fi, who on this planet doesn't want a peek at Hugh. lol

I know you write different genres like myself but do you have a certain theme or trademark to your stories?

I reckon it would be the strong female lead. I love tough girls who don’t give up without a fight. In my YA book the female character is NO Bella Swan. Think more Rose from Vampire Academy. Which isn’t to say they don’t need a nice strong man to help out occasionally. J

OMG! I love that series and I use Rose for my WIP, gotta love a kick ass heroine.

Do you have an agent and how important do you think they are in the publication world

I didn’t have an agent for my first book as I was picked up through Penguins slush pile. But I got one due to the recommendations of authors at the Sydney RWA Conference for my second book. At first, it seems they aren’t much use, but they are in your corner when it comes to that next contract, your publicity or getting your rights to try and sell overseas with their own connections. My agent is doing the nitty gritty with my publishers so that my relationship with them stays peaceful. Oh, and I can ask her all the silly little questions I’m unsure about in the publishing world without offending anyone. Because you can upset people. :/

I'm all about asking the silly questions.

How do your stories come to life, from fiction or fantasy?

Hmm, a little of both? When you are a busy mum, kids taking up your life our little fantasy world is our only escape sometimes. Maybe that’s why I find it so easy to create these other worlds. I can think of someone else’s problems for a change lol.

Are you a ‘go with the flow’ writer or do you have structure?

No, I like a bit of structure. I need to have my next story planned out roughly in my head like a mini synopsis. Then when I think I have most of the main points I’ll type it out into a two to three page write up. I start from chapter one and work my way through, although sometimes I can go off track from my initial story as other things pop up. But I can’t just write without knowing where the characters are going to end up.

Have you always wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?

Would have loved to be a V8 supercar driver (totally in my dreams that one) as well as being a pilot. I had the best form teacher at school who was also my aeronautics teacher. (The only subject I was good at besides woodwork and metalwork lol English was on the yuckie list with maths.) I loved it but with my bad eyesight, I never would have got into the forces to fly. I thought of joining the forces, love uniforms etc but never got there. My brother joined the Army though. I also thought briefly on being an air hostess, until I realised I might have to deal with sick bags. Being an overseas nanny also made the list of a high school kids future possibilities.

V8 supercars, so with you there and as for the sick bags...I can't even go there without a heave.

What groups are you affiliated with and how have they helped you through your journey of publication?

Joining the ASA and getting one of the mentorships was a HUGE turning point for me. Seriously, I had no clue on how to set out a manuscript. It was in one huge block with no paragraphs and no idea on where to put dialogue. I got so much information from that. Then joining the RWA was the next best thing I ever did, which came about from my ASA mentor Janet Woods. (her recommendation) They are the best bunch of girls I have met, so wonderful and welcoming. The available information from this group is amazing and I would recommend them to any writer. I love the Conference events!! Bring on the Gold Coast!

Ooooh, the mere word 'conference' has me excited. Make sure we have a catch up, Karly and I have a room together we can have chocolate, strawberries and bubbly waiting, just say the word.

How much marketing do you involve yourself in and with the mass consumption of social media, does this play a part in your marketing choice?

Oh, marketing is such a huge part of it now. I guess you still have a choice of how involved you want to be, but we all want to do the best we can to get our books out there so being marketing savvy is important. Being in the country, the only way I can get to things is through the Internet, even research for my books so it goes to show how important online presence is. I try to do as much as I can from twitter to facebook, to doing signings etc, but in the end you must remember that you are a writer first and marketing must come second. (although its always nice to be on facebook and call it ‘work’ related)

Here’s a random one for you. If you could be one animal, which would it be and why?

A dog. I love my dogs. In the country they are always by your side, working hard and so faithful. My two dogs Gidget (black and tan kelpie) and Sally (lab x with god knows what) are so wonderful and are our family.

What would you say is your inspiration to write in general or writing a particular scene?

Emotion. I love to feel a scene and if it can bring on my emotions then hopefully it will be the same for the readers. And my passion for the bush. What can I say, I love where I live.

We are so lucky aren't we. I say this to my hubby every Sunday when I go for our weekly walk.

With your titles and covers, did you get much of a say in this matter and how important is it to you to have input?

Well we like to think we do, and I think our publishers like to pretend we do but realistically they have their own ideas and we are just along for the ride. I don’t get much of a say but my publisher knows pretty well what I’d like anyway. And as for my titles, well I haven’t picked a good one yet. At first it was upsetting but then I realised they (as in the marketing team) knew what was really going to sell and that was what they were good at. Who was I to argue? In the end what does it really matter when my books are being published. J

Do you have any tips for other aspiring writers or authors out there?

Never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t. Keep at it. Write, write, write. And join up to ASA and RWA!!

So, I think we’ve gotten to know you a little now. How’s about we step it up a notch. Are you panicking? Lol. Do you have any dirty little secrets or confessions you’d like to share with us- what’s on the blog stays on the blog, right guys. (wink)

(Don’t read this bit kids) Hmm, I’ve wagged school and I didn’t finish school either. :/

Love it! message there is it comes from passion and not study.

Where’s your favourite place to write?

I always write in my office, but on the rare occasion I take my laptop to the coast and while the kids play in the safety of the park I can write up a storm with the waves crashing on the beach in the background. J Bring on the Easter break.

Most definitely. I love school hols.

Tell us of your releases- where and when can we buy them?

The Road Home is released on the 21st March. It will be in the BigW and Target catalogue for that week and available at all bookstores.

I'll vouch for that, I have sold a few.

In one word, how would you best describe yourself?

Heck, that’s hard. One word couldn’t even begin to describe me lol.

For a second there I thought 'heck' was it. lol

Now that we’re all friends, tell us your most embarrassing moment?

Oh I have many. More when I was younger. I’d like to think I’ve grown up now :/ but when I was in my teens I managed to singe my chin with the iron. When I went to put it down on the ground it swung in my hand and got my face. Yes, people ask how is that even possible but I assure you, it can be done. So if you think my clothes are a little creased that is because my Iron NEVER comes out anymore. I don’t buy clothes that need ironing (except for wedding clothes etc on special occasions I will make the effort lol)

We should all pitch in and get you a steamer.

Do you have any upcoming signings or author appearances you would like to share?

I have a few events in Perth.

A book talk at Dymocks Hay Street at the City Library at 12.30pm on the 10th April.

Book talk event at Ballajura Library on the 11th April. Bookings essential 92491488 and another for the City of Wanneroo looking like Thursday 12th April.

Keep an eye on my facebook or website for more details.

Thank you Fiona for joining us today and by Wednesday 8:30 edst I will announce the winner of your book.

It was, as per usual, a delight to catch up!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reader under the scope in thirteen questions with Karin B

I would like to introduce my first reader guinea pig for Reader Under the Scope, Karin B.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself:
I'm a 35 year old from Sydney. I love to read, travel and take photo's. I'm the country girl at heart who is stuck in the city. When I'm not reading, I am either on Facebook chatting to friends, while editing photos in the background or looking for somewhere to go for a drive to.
Oh no, you have the procrastinating disease. lol
  1. What kind of reading material do you read?
Mainly romance books, though I do love to read true crimes books as well.
  1. Where do purchase your books?
Since our local book store closed down last year, I've had to find most my books from Big W or K-Mart. Nothing saddens me more then seeing all these books stores closing down.
I'm with you there Karin, it's so sad.
  1. Do you have a favourite book and or author?
When I was younger my favourite books was The Boy For Me. It was from Jane Claymore Miner. It was the book that got me into reading.
Now my favourite book is from Karly Lane – North Star. You can tell by looking at it how much I love it, because I've read it so many time it has the very loved look about it.
I can't say I have a favourite author, as there is so many excellent ones out there. If You(Kerri Williams), Fiona Palmer, Mandy Magro, Nicole Alexander, Fleur McDonald, Karly Lane, or many others have a new book coming out, you can be sure I'm excited and want to read the book.
Awwe, shucks. Thanks Karin and you've named some of my fav's too.
  1. What do you look for when you purchase your reading material?
Something that I know will catch my attention straight away. I have a few books here that I haven't fully read yet as they just haven't grabbed my attention from the start. If it's got the country, romance and a great story line surrounded them two things, there is a good chance I will be buying it.
  1. Do you think book trailers are a good marketing tool?
Absolutely! I love book trailers! Most the time you will find that the book trailers are made from the Author themselves. It gives you an idea on how the Author themselves see the story. I could imagine a person in the book in a certain way, but to see how the Author pictures the person and the landscape in the book etc really sets how you see the whole thing.
That's an interesting perspective, thank you. I know when I do mine I want the reader to feel the book through the images and music I choose, so I guess that's what you're getting from it.
  1. Have you found your favourite authors on facebook, goodreads, twitter, google+, etc and other social media and if so do you interact?
I'm a true fan of finding my favourite Authors on Facebook. I've found a few this way and talked to them all. Most authors are friends with other authors as well, and thanks to that I've found more Authors and more books to read. It's an excellent tool for authors and readers.
So essentially we all stalk facebook lol.
  1. Have you joined any book clubs or reading associations, if not does this interest you?
I admit I haven't joined any. Though the thought of it does sound interesting. The question is, where do you find the good ones?
I know there are a few on goodreads but I'm a member of Australian Romance Readers who are fantastic.
  1. What is your pet peeve in a story?
I can't really say I have a pet peeve in a story. Each story is unique in there own way. If I love the book, I'm peeved that it ends. It should be a rule that there is a 1 year later part in all books. So we know what happened to our favourite characters. I often finish books and wonder what happened to the people.
Lol, both Taking Back His Widow and Nudging Cupid have epilogues so I know you're happy.
  1. Are you reading anything at the moment?
Just about to start reading The Girl in the Steel Cap Boots.
Oooh I have heard great things about that one.
Now there are three more questions but Karin has explained to me that she isn't in the middle of a read right now so it didn't apply to her but I will post them so future readers know what to expect.
  1. What do you think of it so far?
  2. What’s your most favourite part?
  3. Who would you recommend this book to?

Well that you Karin for joining us and sharing your reading views. I as an author find it interesting and a pleasure to find an avid reader who will take the time to share her love for reading.
Happy Reading everyone and please leave a comment/question for myself or Karin and we will answer them promptly and if you would like to be next months reader under the scope let me know.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Author Spotlight Shines On: James L. Hatch

It's my pleasure to introduce multi-published author, James.L. Hatch

  • Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer James.

I am a retired military officer, systems/software engineer and company
president. Life without work ushered in a plethora of new activities, but my need to write came long before retirement. The events of 9/11/01 got me started. Writing was a way to vent rage and to try to understand the hatred that led to the murder of almost 3,000 people. That first novel written eventually became Kill Zone, my seventh novel published (Eternal Press). By the time I retired for a third time, I was already driven to write. Being away from work provided the time I needed to hone my skill. “Show vs. Tell”, proper point of view and correct punctuation were not high on the list for technical writing, but became vital as I learned what I needed to do to get published. As I wrote more, I got better. I have one short story and seven novels published, and just completed another paranormal comedy called The Training Bra

I know what you mean about technical stuff, I didn't know what double spacing was once. You don't want to know what I did to create what I thought it was. lol

  • James, I know you write different genres like myself but do you have a certain theme or trademark to your stories?

Only recently have I considered writing with a theme. I began writing contemporary fiction after 9/11, but soon switched to Sci-Fi. I have been a Sci-Fi fan all my life, so that was a natural change. After completing a trilogy of Sci-Fi novels (The Judge, Infinity Quest, The Empress of Tridon), I wanted to try a romantic-action-thriller. All the authors’ groups I belonged to were romance groups, so that seemed natural too. I wrote Aftermath Horizon at the time, a novel that began as the last chapter of Kill Zone, subsequently became the short story, “The Final Experiment”, and finally turned into a full-length novel. The Aftermath Horizon heroine was a spunky sixteen-year-old girl with a dash of witty humor. I fell in love with the way she interacted with the world, and that led to my first paranormal comedy, The Substitute. I have now completed the “Miss Havana” trilogy (The Substitute, Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana!, The Training Bra) but am not sure if I should leave the Miss Havana character for another genre. I have a concept for an outrageous follow-on novel called The Trophy Wife that could be drop dead funny. My theme could become humor; my trademark could become “Miss Havana.”

  • Do you have an agent and how important do you think having an agent is in the publication world?

Agents are harder to attract than publishers. I have tried to publish with Tor, but that requires an agent. After I wrote my first few novels, I tried to find an agent. I got as many rejections from agents as I did originally from publishers. I have just about given up on finding one. In fact, I’m not sure an agent is needed in the age of e-books and social media. The publishers I have worked with (, Solstice Publishing and Eternal Press) have all been fantastic. They have produced great book covers and their editors have helped me develop greater writing skill. I have no experience with an agent, but my publishers are interested in my personal development as an author, and in teaching me how to promote my work.

That's fantastic that the publishers are so invested in their authors small or large.

  • How do your stories come to life, from fiction or fantasy?

All of my stories come to me in dreams—the plots and the characters. I work interactively with that. Once the idea comes to me, I write in the daytime and refine the plot at night while I sleep. I have had near-real dreams all my life, always in color, but only since I retired have taken advantage of them.

My dreams freak me the hell out sometimes, putting that to paper would be nuts. But I think that would make you a visual writer like myself.

  • Are you a ‘go with the flow’ writer or do you have structure?

Mostly, I go with the flow. The characters take on a life of their own as the work develops. My comedy is so character driven I laugh out loud while writing. I can hardly believe what the characters say and how they say it. I am a personable guy, but I don’t think I’m as funny in person as the characters are in my books. Only twice have I had to make a flow chart of the sequences in my books. Once was for the Orient Express-like death of Miss Havana in The Substitute and once for the maturation of Shelly in Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana!

I'm guilty of laughing out loud while writing, my family give me that look as to say, "O-kay"

  • Have you always wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?

I have had a lifetime of careers in computer science and meteorology (my Ph.D. is in meteorology—numerical weather prediction). Writing for fun did not occur to me until I retired for the third time. Now I write for fun. I love it.

Well I'm impressed.

  • What groups are you affiliated with and how have they helped you through your journey of publication?

I belong to about forty Yahoo authors’ groups. Most are for romance writers, but some are for fantasy and Sci-Fi. I also belong to several groups on Facebook. The Yahoo groups have been essential, especially the information located in the “Files” section of many groups. Some groups post “how to write” information in their files section. Those posts are invaluable for a new writer.

I absolutely agree, there is an abundant amount of information and help out there and much easier to access with the Internet.

  • How much marketing do you involve yourself in and with the mass consumption of social media, does this play a part in your marketing choice?

Marketing is more difficult than writing. Between novels, I spend most of my time marketing; while I’m writing and editing, less so. I am active in many Yahoo authors’ groups, blogs and on Facebook. I maintain my own blog ( and do what I can to attract people to it. I participate in contests and offer my books as prizes. I have attended one book fair and intend to do another in April. The local newspaper gave me almost a full-page spread a couple of months back. I also do speaking engagements at libraries and schools. I am trying to arrange a book signing at a local book store. Like I said, marketing is hard. Fortunately, I enjoy people. If it didn’t take so darn much time, marketing would be fun.

Preaching to the choir there, James. It's fun but time consuming for someone who is time poor such as myself.

  • Here’s a random one for you. If you could be one animal, which would it be and why?

Probably a domestic house cat. Cats like mine are spoiled. I could live with that.

  • What would you say is your inspiration to write in general and scene based?

At this point, my inspiration is humor, but the paranormal comedy series also address some social issues. For example, Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! discusses female slavery, piracy domestic violence and a few other dicey issues, but does so like a saw blade, with serious material interspersed with lots of humor. The Substitute is just for laughs, as is The Training Bra, but both parody portions of our culture. For example, Miss Havana endures training by the four horsemen of the apocalypse in The Training Bra. The horsemen are “Stupid”, “Macho”, “Scourge” and “Sin.” Wherever she goes, she finds Stupid got there first, especially in Washington D.C. You get the picture.

  • With your titles and covers, did you get much of a say in this matter and how important is it to you to have input?

No one has ever suggested I change any book title. Covers are another thing. In some cases, the publisher has produced the cover with little input from me. In others, I have produced almost the entire book cover. The publishers I work with have accepted suggested changes most of the time, although I have sometimes asked an artist friend to tweak the result.

You've got to love having artistic friends.

  • Do you have any tips for other aspiring writers or authors out there?

Yes. To answer this question, I re-posted twenty-three writing tips on my blog at ( I will keep them there in case anyone wants to read them. I originally prepared the tips for a writer’s blog I posted on last month. All tips are real, and all represent errors editors have dinged me on in the past.

  • So, I think we’ve gotten to know you a little now. How’s about we step it up a notch. Are you panicking? Lol. Do you have any dirty little secrets or confessions you’d like to share with us- what’s on the blog stays on the blog, right guys. (wink)

I have a great life with no secrets at all. I fish. I write. I work in my yard. I ball room dance. I kayak. I take care of up to nine grandkids when needed. I enjoy red wine watching the sunset over the lake behind my home (many are posted as Facebook photos at I have been incredibly lucky during my life and am thankful for having survived to this point daily. Being as old as I am isn’t all bad.

I can't wait for grandkids and retirement, ahhhh

  • Where’s your favourite place to write?

In my office overlooking the lake. It is extremely peaceful there.

  • Tell us of your releases- where and when can we buy them?

My books can be purchased from Solstice Publishing (The Substitute, Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana!), (The Judge, Infinity Quest, The Empress of Tridon, The Final Experiment) and Eternal Press (Kill Zone) as well as Amazon and other e-book outlets. Buy links are provide on my web site at

  • In one word, how would you best describe yourself?


  • Now that we’re all friends, tell us your most embarrassing moment?

Our group had finished a three margarita dinner before drifting into the shoe department at Macy’s. For some reason Howard, my buddy and dance instructor, and I wondered if those little nylon footie things could actually stretch over our heads. I admit, at two margaritas, I probably wouldn’t have tried it … but I did. After a little effort, we both looked like terrorists or robbers. The shoe department people were laughing their heads off, but security wasn’t in on the fun. We were escorted out of the store, leaving our wives with all those shoes. Of course, they HAD to purchase some, just for spite.

You know when I said earlier what happens when i laugh? I just abruptly cracked up while they were watching 'Top gear' and I got the look.

  • Do you have any upcoming signings or author appearances you would like to share?

My next big milestone will be the release of The Training Bra, the third novel in the Miss Havana series. The book is so funny it will make readers light-headed.

  • Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?

Like many authors, writing is the joy of my life … especially the comedy. Success as an author, however, if based on sales alone, could be a long way off. It takes time, lots of time, to get your name and product “out there.” To new authors I would say: Don’t be discouraged, and don’t expect a payday anytime soon. Those who make lots of money are few and far between, but if you write for the joy of writing, never stop.

I give that advice all the time, thank you James for joining us today and if you would like to find out more about James and his books go to his site:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Welcome To This Months Guest List With A Surprise


The first of many to come here on my blog- Karin Bridle.
Find out what she is reading lately, what she thinks of today's trends, what bugs her the most and more!
Wednesday the 21st.


James Hatch - Retired Military Officer and now multi-published author.
Thursday the 15th.

Fiona Palmer - Best selling author of rural women's fiction.
Monday the 26th.

We hope to see you here, there will be giveaways and more.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Do Trailers (book advertisements) help with sales?

Do book trailers help sell books?
Many have questioned this and so I thought I'd put my two cents in and see what kind of feed back I get. Trailers are just one more tool in the marketing strategy of an authors or writers career, it appeals to some but not to others but so do many other methods.
The trick is to have a good one!
Today I also thought I might give a few tips to help those who want to attempt making one.
Now, there are some who haven't heard what a trailer is, yes that's right, and that's okay because there are many things authors mention that I say 'what the...' to.
A book trailer is much like a movie trailer where you watch a short snippet of what the movie is about and by the end you hope to have captured the interest of watchers/readers. Even if it's to only find out more.
I think a book trailer should be kept short and sweet- maximum of a minute and a half to two minutes- for two reasons-
  • Youtube sometimes takes a while to buffer and the larger your file/ trailer- the longer it will take to load and we lose interest.
  • Short attention spans in general.
These trailers are like I said, merely one more tool to use in your marketing strategy and like all marketing it must be done with care. Choose your pictures carefully- there are many copyright free sights out there. istockphoto for example have both pictures and music available, some are free and some come at a cost but you can make an account and what credits you do not use can be used at a later date.
I took a long time to choose my music for both trailers because I wanted the watcher/reader to FEEL the mood as well as read what the book is about.

Your trailer does NOT need to be like a synopsis where you have to cram all the story in one page. Use one liners, or better, one word that captures the mood or scene. Plot what you want to come across first so it is easier to look for what pictures you want.
My pet hate is coming across a trailer that has a whole lot of text and not enough time to see the picture or god forbid even read all of what the author wants to get across.

Once you have all your pictures and your music you can then piece them together in either Microsoft movie maker, Microsoft powerpoint or apple movie maker. There are probably a whole lot of programs available but these are easily accessed and user friendly.

Once you have published your trailer, create an account and publish on youtube then publicize it on you blog, web, facebook, yahoo, google+, everywhere. Try to go into some competitions. These are all going to get your name and your books title out there which ultimately is marketing and marketing sales for your books!

Here are two of my trailers TAKING BACK HIS WIDOW & NUDGING CUPID

So after that, what do you think about trailers?
Don't be shy, leave a comment. I can see on my stats that you are here. lol