Category Archives: Writer’s Life

Australian Romance Readers Awards

I was honoured and thrilled over the weekend when I was awarded Favourite Debut ARRA 2018 AwardRomance Author 2018 by the members of the Australian Romance Readers Association members. It was unexpected, and I’m still floating on a happy cloud.

The dinner was a fun occasion, as it always is. Bestselling guest of honour Abbi Glines spoke about the importance of persistence and community support, helping other authors as we would like to be helped. She really embodied the spirit of this message as after the air flight from hell, she landed in Sydney from America a day late, worked her way through an all day signing and still made it to the dinner.

Full list of winners

Members’ Choice awards

  • Favourite 2018 romance that made me cry: Maggie’s Run by Kelly Hunter.
  • Favourite 2018 romance with laugh-out-loud moment:  Chaser by Kylie Scott.
  • Favourite Australian romance of 2018: Maggie’s Run by Kelly Hunter.
Abbi Glines

Guest speaker, bestselling author Abbi Glines.

Main Category award winners

  • The Favourite Paranormal Romance for 2018 is Ocean Light by Nalini Singh. This award was sponsored by Hachette Australia and was presented by Lousie McClean.
  • The Favourite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance 2018 is Cursed by Keri Arthur. This award was presented by Cathleen Ross.
  • The Favourite Historical Romance 2018 is Marry in Scandal by Anne Gracie. This
    Penny and Joo

    With writers group members and fellow nominees Penelope Janu (left, On the Same Page) and Joanna Nel (right, The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village).

    award was sponsored by Hachette Australia and was presented by Louise McClean.

  • The Favourite Contemporary Romance 2018 is Chaser by Kylie Scott. This award was sponsored by Allen & Unwin and it was presented by Abbi Glines.
  • The Favourite Short or Category Romance 2018 is Maggie’s Run by Kelly Hunter. This award was presented by Helen Sibbritt.
  • The Favourite Romantic Suspense 2018 is Dark in Death by JD Robb. This award was presented by Alli Sinclair.
  • The Favourite Continuing Romance Series 2018 is Outback Brides by Kelly Hunter, Victoria Purman, Cathryn Hein and Fiona McArthur. This award was sponsored by Harlequin Australia and was presented by Kita Kemp.
  • The Favourite Debut Romance Author of 2018 is Laura Boon. This award was sponsored by Booktopia and was presented by Ben Hunt.
  • The Favourite Australian Romance Author 2018 is Kylie Scott. This award was sponsored by Booktopia and was presented by Ben Hunt.
Amy

With Amy Andrews, bestselling author of the Sydney Smoke series, nominee in multiple categories, and key support in bringing The Millionaire Mountain Climber up to scratch.

 

 

Deerbourne Inn Dates

In late March, The Wild Rose Press will publish my novella contribution to The Deerbourne Inn series. Deerbourne Inn Dates is an introduction to the other fabulous authors in this series which revolves around an old inn in a small Vermont town. There’s something for everyone in this series – sweet, sexy, historical, contemporary, paranormal.

Today I’m talking to Peggy Jaeger, author of 15 romances. She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series and her book Hope’s Dream is available now.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

The first book I remember reading and that is still my favourite childhood book was THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD. The best book about self-motivation and visual activation I’ve ever read – even to today!

What’s your favourite place to write?

In my attic office, overlooking my property. My third-floor attic is finished and I have a room all to myself with my desk and all my writing “stuff.” My desk overlooks the wooded property surrounding my home on all four sides so it’s peaceful and lovely to watch when the trees change color in the autumn.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

To not get bogged down in writing a perfect book in the first draft. I need to get the entire story that’s in my mind on the page. After I do, I go back and edit – make the dialogue richer, eliminate repetitive words, make sure the timeline and POV are correct. Too many writers spend too much valuable time getting each page perfect each day. My motto is to simply write. Put God in the details once the story is finished.

What do you do when you feel stuck?

Don’t hate me, writers, but I never am. The reason is because I’m a master plotter. Before I ever put word one of a new story on the page, I’ve already got the entire story plotted out, scene to scene so I know exactly where I’m going. It’s worked well for me through 15 books!

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

SHELTER IN PLACE by Nora Roberts. A very timely subject in the United States – teen shootings and the aftermath that a shooting wrecks on the survivors. Plus, there’s a hot romance within the story!

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

When the call went out for stories set in a fictional New England town in Vermont surrounding an historical Inn and quirky town characters, I knew I had to write an addition of my own because I live in a beautiful New England town in New Hampshire (next door neighbour to Vermont) and my town is filled with quirky characters. I felt like I knew Willow Springs (the Vt. Town) like the back of my hand. Everything about it felt familiar. Simply, I couldn’t not write a story!

What was the inspiration behind Hope’s Dream?

At the time the call came through for submissions I’d been tossing a plot line for a rags to riches romance around in my head. I had the characters and the plot but not the setting. The Deerbourne Inn Series provided that. I love a rags to riches and an opposites attract romance. HOPE’S DREAM has both in the main characters. One has a secret that could make the other’s life so much better, but if the secret is revealed, the love story could change – and not for the better. I had to come up with a balance that would afford my hero and heroine both their HEA and the windfall.

Tell us about Hope’s Dream in 100 words or less.perf5.000x8.000.indd

Hope Kildaire gave up her future dreams when a car accident killed her father and left her mother an invalid. Working two jobs and caring for her mother leaves Hope little free time. When a law firm representing her paternal grandparents contacts her, Hope ignores them. The family disowned her father so she wants nothing to do with them.Lawyer Tyler Coleman’s job is to obtain Hope’s signature. Getting it is harder than planned when an unexpected attraction blossoms between them. The opportunity to have everything she desires is at Hope’s fingertips. But will it come at the expense of Tyler’s love?

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

As he started back toward the inn, his hands secured in his pockets against the night chill and his neck burrowed under his scarf, he realized he needed to tell her who he was before this went any further. He should have done it tonight, as he’d originally planned. Why he hadn’t was as clear to him as the night sky above: he was frightened once she knew the truth she’d want nothing to do with him.

Could he blame her? While he hadn’t outright lied, he hadn’t told her the truth, either. Which was worse? An intentional fabrication or a lie of omission? Both felt equally wrong right now.

Disappointment had clouded her face when he’d broken their kiss. She felt something for him. That look proved it. He could only hope once she knew who he really was and why he was in her home town, she’d be able to forgive his subterfuge.

Buy links

Where can readers find you online?peggyheadshot

Getting a manuscript ready for submission

In the not to distant future, my romance novel will be published. This is the first in a series of blog posts about my path to publication. I hope it is inspiring and helpful to other aspiring writers out there.

I’ve wanted to write a novel worthy of readers’ delight since I first went to university, saw creative writing on the course list, and realised that real people wrote books. Maybe, just maybe, I could be one of them.

I struggled on my own for years before I found my tribe at the Romance Writers of Australia. With the support and guidance of various members, I’ve made steady progress. I finalled in one competition, learnt from others, and eventually finished my first manuscript. It placed second in the Emerald Award for unpublished manuscripts. I was thrilled but still plagued by doubts. The praise received was consistent; readers liked the setting, my heroine and the dialogue. The criticism coming back was also consistent – my hero was hard to know. Although I spoke to a few publishers, I never submitted, choosing to rework it instead. I say ‘choosing to rework’ and that’s partly true. Part of me was also retreating. If I wasn’t good enough to win, was I really good enough to publish? Would I make a fool of myself submitting it to publishers? Fear of failure can be crippling. It can also be a strangely comforting bedfellow, one which makes sure you never move out of my comfort zone.

But … I really wanted to be a published novelist. I wanted it more than I feared failure and humiliation. So I set myself a goal. By the next year’s conference I would be ready to pitch my revised and improved romance to publishers. I added 30,000 words to the story and thought about the story a lot, what worked, what didn’t. I also thought about what I would do if no one wanted it. I could self-publish. However, I really wanted to take my first steps in publishing with someone more experienced holding my hand. I wanted the support and the learning curve an author gets when working with an experienced editor and publisher. I’ve worked in the industry for years, so I know how valuable that experience can be.

When the annual RWA conference came around again in 2017, I was ready and prepared to face the threat of rejection again. I’d changed my title from the sweet-sounding Alpine Kisses to the sassier The Millionaire Mountain Climber. I put in my pitch request for the speed dating sessions with editors and agents. As a backup, I also made myself a list of romance publishers who accepted submissions direct from authors. I composed the list from the names of publishers who have attended RWA over the years as well as those who publish the books I like to read. I went online to their submission pages and copied their requirements. If the pitches didn’t go well, I had a plan B.

The pitches went okay. One agent was, frankly, rude, but said I could submit anyway. I did so, but didn’t hold my breath. Just as well because neither I, nor anyone else who pitched, ever heard back from her. One publisher was delightful and enthusiastic, and I submitted with some confidence. Another publisher said I didn’t fit their criteria, so that was a no.

However, with only one genuine show of interest, I didn’t like my odds. A month after conference, I hauled out Plan B and submitted to another ten publishers and one agent. It took time. Each one had different submission criteria. Some requested only the first five pages. Some wanted the first three chapters. Some wanted the whole manuscript. Everybody wanted a synopsis and to know a little about me, but not a one of them matched another. Each submission was unique. Some of the publishers I targeted were Australian; others English and American. I changed spelling according to the submission. While I didn’t get it all right, I reckoned it was respectful to at least make the effort. Those submissions took me another month, to the end of October 2017. I meant to submit to more agents, but decided to first see what came of round one. I also decided that if I didn’t get interest from anyone by end February, I would self-publish. I felt my story had legs now.

Next time: The call … make that the email.