Sunday, 26 January 2014


Perhaps I should sub title this post: distractions, distractions and more distractions. It’s officially just over two weeks since my last blog (why does this sound like an AA meeting?). I started this particular post two weeks ago, but it has taken until today to finish it. I have many excuses to myself for being late: It was my birthday; We went away; I started back at work; I have to train; It was my sons birthday; I did a 10km running race; It was Australia Day; I was tired. In case you haven’t noticed the theme: I am easily distracted (or the Queen of procrastination).
There's a famous movie line from the family animated movie 'Up' by Pixar, in which Dug the Dog is having a moment with the old man, and bam, he is distracted, squirrel. Most days I am like that. I'll be having a book moment; I'll have come up with a new story line or character development on a book I'm writing, and bam, squirrel. I might be on my iPhone researching something in particular, say for example, a town the character lives in, and next thing I know, I've gone completely off topic and I'm looking up holiday destinations! Or I'll be writing, a scene has just popped in my head. I frantically type, however, I need to make sure my facts are correct and look it up on line, squirrel, I'd better check my Facebook.
That would have to be one my biggest distractions by far, Facebook! I say that like an expletive. I've often contemplated deleting my account, but in our society that relies so heavily on social media to promote and sell, right now I can't afford to. My scenario goes like this: I'm inspired for a new story or a character idea has popped into my head. I open Safari and google, next thing I know, I get a Facebook notification. I open the Facebook app up on my phone, read the notifications, scroll through my news feed, read some 'interesting' articles, close it, put down the phone. Minutes later, pick up my phone again, open Facebook, do some stalking, read some comments, and close it again. This could go on for about 2 hours, oh doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun! This doesn't just happen when I'm writing either. Most times, I do this when I really don't want to do something, say for example, housework, or balance the accounts for end of month, or even write a two-week late book blog.
Have I just had a squirrel moment? Back to topic. Inspiration often comes to me late at night, when I’m in bed, getting ready to go to sleep. I have no idea why my mind is most creative at that time of night, but it’s almost always around 10.30pm. I’ll have turned off the light, and an idea will hit me. I write everything on my iPad, so I keep it beside my bed in case of emergency inspiration. It’s most inconvenient to write at that time of night, not because I’m distracting anyone, but because I’ll be writing and trying to keep my eyes open. My brain wants to keep writing, but my body has other ideas. Hence why there are always words missing from my text!
Inspiration might also come to me in dream. Like most people, I have some weird and wonderful dreams. In fact a major scene in Illuminated Darkness was pretty much a dream scene that I have written near word-to-word of what happened. Another example is an unfinished manuscript that I’ve been working on for the past few months is actually based on a dream I had. It was so real that I when I woke I was actually sad that I couldn’t continue it on (in fact I think I had stayed in bed that little bit extra that morning to replay the dream) then later that evening I started to write it on my iPad. But you know how it goes: idea, research, squirrel. Needless to say, it is only a quarter of the way done.
I’m so good at distractions that this blog in itself is a distraction for what I need to do. I have work in my home office that needs to be done and I have a two-month deadline for a new YA novel that I’ve been working on (not sure how I’m going to get that done). At least I’m not on Facebook! Hang on, I have to log on to post this blog. Hmmm, did anyone say squirrel?

Saturday, 11 January 2014


            All my friends keep telling me, 'Great job, what an accomplishment!' They would all ask, 'How did you do it?' and then say to me, 'I've always wanted to write a book, but it seems too hard.' When they say these things, I have to stop and think to myself, 'Yes, how did I do it?' To be honest, some days were harder than others to put my mind on task and get the writing done (hence, the long time it took me to complete it), but now it's written and out there, I'm starting to think, writing is the easy part! Let me explain.
            I've written the next best seller (in my mind anyway), and it's only taken me the best part of over three years of on and off writing and rewriting. If I could describe to you the feeling of satisfaction I had when I typed the last words of the final sentence, I would say it was similar to graduating University, but better. The hard work was over, now it was time to publish my book and enjoy the results of my labour. Time to plan the book launch: cocktails and champagne overlooking the beach on a full moon (my latest daydream. See my previous post to understand my daydream tendencies). My book was to be released in a couple of weeks, or so I thought. Now I realize, looking back, how delusional I really was.
            Before I continue, allow me to ask this. Who hasn't finished a book by their favorite author, knowing a sequel was on the way, only to be told you had to wait a year? A whole year! Why didn't the author simply get their act together and write the thing and give it to us fans? Because now I understand, it's not that simple. Once I sent my manuscript away to my chosen publisher, I felt a void inside of me. This book had been a part of me for so long, to not have to write it anymore or put my head in the story, I felt lost. Never to get inside these characters heads again. But then the publisher contacted me. Time to revise. The copy editor had made changes. Errors had been corrected and suggestions made. Time to rewrite. Back to the editor, and then again, and again, the process repeated. After three lots of rewrites it was time to print, and the mock ups sent.
            Excited, with my book in hand, I open it up and begin to read, thoughts of my awesome book launch now back in the picture. But wait! What's this? Errors on the cover and more inside (not to mention the major stuff up by the publisher, but I won't go there!). Back to the rewrites. Ugh! Two more times this happens, and now, after seven long months since my initial contact with my publisher, and numerous back and forths between us both, my book is finally available online, and thats with me pushing it to get published. I've never been an overly patient person! 
           Now it's time to get promoting and marketing, of which I have no idea how this industry works, so I've been spending a lot of time researching. Needless to say, I'm getting frustrated. I have more stories I want to write, new characters that are needing to be heard. So next time I hear someone say to me, 'I've always wanted to write a book,' I will now say to them, 'Writing is the easy part, its the publishing that is hard.'
            Finally, let me just say here, that it was 100% my choice to self publish, and this is my experience as a result. I wanted full control over the publishing aspect. Just simply discussing my thoughts on the writing and publishing process. Next time, I may choose a different avenue to publish. With the popularity of ebooks, there are many self publishing platforms available to independent authors. My one tip I will be sure to follow for myself next time is to pay for an independent editor so these multiple changes by myself can be avoided!

Sunday, 5 January 2014


            I'm a bit of a daydreamer. Always have been, always will be. My elementary and high school reports would always have comments from teachers that would say 'Joanne is very capable of achieving better marks, if only she would stop daydreaming in class,' or something along those lines anyway. I remember sitting in class one hot summer day, after a particularly active lunch break, (and if any of you have ever experienced summer in Queensland then you would know how hot and sticky it can get) laying my head on my desk and watching the giant gum trees rustle in the wind outside my classroom window. I didn't go to sleep, but instead I let my mind wander and daydream. I can't remember what I was daydreaming about, but knowing me back then, it was mostly about being a famous basketball player. I was eleven at the time and lived and breathed basketball.
            I didn't have to just be at school to daydream. I would always make up stories of what I would do when I was rich and famous (in fact it's something I still do now). As I grew older, my passions changed, and so did my daydreams. The books I read, and I used to read ALOT, also changed from Archie comics, fairytales and kids mystery books to high school love stories. Not content with reading about the female character that always got the guy in the end, I would find myself daydreaming that I was that girl who got the guy. But my dreams were never enough, so I started writing short stories that would involve me and my current crush. Shortly there after, I started receiving requests from school friends to write them a story. Sometimes, these requests would even include the same guy I was crushing on! (This was the start of my dream to write stories for a living) Sometimes I think about those stories and wonder if any of the guys I wrote about back then knew. My inner 15 year old cringes at the thought!
            It was around this time that I also discovered vampires!!! I instantly fell in love with them. To me, there was always that attraction to the bad guy, that was struggling to be good. My favorites at the time were The Lost Boys and Bram Stokers Dracula. Classic movies of that era. In fact I think I watched the former movie over 100 times, bought the soundtrack and had numerous Jason Patrick posters on my wall. I even made my parents buy me a pair of Rayban sunglasses that he wore. Obsessed much? I used to climb on the roof at night and daydream about a vampire coming for me. This was only the start of my obsession. Next came the mid 90's and the next resurgence of vampire movies and books. It was around this time I read everything that Anne Rice wrote, and watched the book to movie adaptations, and fell in love with Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (tv series). I'm even ashamed to admit that as a 20 something year old, I would still have those daydreams about vampires.
            The 2000's saw another reinvention of vampire stories.  I, along with thousands of others, fell in love with Edward and Twilight. By this time, I was married and already had two children, and too busy to read, so I was late to the series, picking it up when the final book was released (pre movie release, lets make that one clear lol). My husband would frequently complain every time I picked up a book that no one could communicate with me until I finished it. But when I read a review on the book and series in general, I just knew I had to read it. And that I did. I read all the books, cover to cover, about three times in a row. Then came the movies and other vampire books, and my obsession with all things vampire reignited.
            So, I hear you say, 'Illuminated Darkness, not another vampire novel!' Most would assume I've just jumped on the bandwagon of the current trends and of vampires and witches all things supernatural. But for me, as you've just read, vampires have been in my blood (pun intended) for 25 years! Wren is MY vampire, and is how I've always pictured him, since I was a 15 year old high school girl waiting for him at night on my roof. It's just taken me this long to finally share him with everyone else. And even though Ash isn't me, she shares some of my traits, so I guess, in a way, this is my vampire that has finally come for me. So, maybe to you this is a just another vampire novel, but to me, it's my daydream finally coming true.