Character Journal

I love when the back to school sales are on and I can stock up on stationery for my writing. When I saw these Kraft notebooks with dividers advertised in the Whitcoulls flyer I thought they would be perfect for character journals. I bought an A4, an A5 and a set of 4 small tabbed notebooks.

The best part is that they have plain brown covers, perfect for decorating. I decorated the A5 notebook with scrapbook papers and embellishments.

Each section is dedicated to a character in my novel, where I can bring them to life as I record detailed descriptions of their appearances, their homes, their families, their history, their likes and dislikes. I also include pictures of things related to their lives such as  the houses they might live in. I love to browse through real estate guides and choose each character a home according to their personality. For my main character, her garden plays an important part in her story, so in her section I am including stickers and pictures of things she might have in her garden.

When I am writing a novel, I find that taking time out to do crafty things like this helps to make the whole process of novel writing so much more fun, and it helps me really get to know my characters.

Folders of Inspiration

When I am writing a novel, I like to keep a ring binder dedicated to the book. A place to store information, research, pictures from cards and magazines that provide inspiration, artwork, character profiles, and anything related to the story I am writing – all together in one place.

I love pretty ring binders. Many years ago I bought two that I knew I would find a special use for one day. One of them I used for the Wattle Lane novels. It contains artwork, recipes, research on gold mining towns, and even has a section dedicated to everything I could find about pigs. In The House in Wattle Lane, Ethan has a pet kune kune pig, and I was surprised when I started looking, just how many articles and pictures I found in magazines and newspapers about pet pigs. I got lots of pictures from visiting our local farmyard zoo, and of pet pigs spotted in paddocks around our local area. I also gained first-hand knowledge when our neighbours kept a pig in their back yard for a short time.

folder5

The second of the folders I used for my novel Where the Moths Dance. I filled it with pictures and information on herbs, mythology and folklore of trees, magic, graveyards, ghosts, moon phases, moths, and anything to do with the paranormal.

Now I am about to begin a new novel, a stand-alone novel that I am excited about, and I have a lovely new ring binder to begin filling with inspiration and information. It is actually a scrapbook ring binder album from the Kaisercraft Fairy Dust collection, so it is big enough to hold scrapbook pages and it has plastic page protectors inside. I can’t wait to start filling it as I begin my new book. And with a new moon this weekend, it seems like a perfect time to embark on a new project!

Book Release: Christmas in Wattle Lane

Christmas in Wattle Lane

I am thrilled to announce that my new novel, Christmas in Wattle Lane, is now available on Amazon as a paperback and an ebook. Just in time for Christmas, this third book in the Wattle Lane novels continues the story of Angeline, Neave, and Lily as they prepare for the festive season.

Here is the description of the book.

Christmas is coming to Wattle Lane.

Angeline is making a very special scrapbook album for her daughter. But as she pieces together the past, will some memories be too painful to relive?

Neave is preparing for her first Christmas in Wattle Lane. As she makes decorations and bakes pies, she wonders if her greatest wish, a future with Ethan, will ever come true.

Lily is staying with Neave at the Wattle Lane Guest House while her parents are overseas. When she notices strange lights in the vacant house next door, what starts out as a quiet holiday turns into a quest to solve the mystery of the night-time intruder.

Pippa arrives at the Wattle Lane Guest House with two intentions – to escape Christmas, and to mend a broken heart. But is the small town of Kerrigan far enough away to leave her past behind?

As the festive season approaches, the residents of Wattle Lane are drawn together in joy, heartache, love , and the magic of Christmas.

Amazon.com

Amazon.uk

Visit my Wattle Lane blog for crafts and recipes from the Wattle Lane novels.

Book Update

Christmas in Wattle Lane, the third novel in my Wattle Lane series, is now finished and has been passed on to my lovely editor and proof reader.

In this third instalment, Neave and Lily prepare to celebrate their first Christmas in the Wattle Lane Guest House. As they make vintage-themed decorations and bake Christmas goodies, a guest arrives with a strange aversion to Christmas, while next door, at Wattle Lane Keepsakes, Angeline relives some emotional memories from her past as she makes a very special scrapbook album for her daughter.

Now it’s on to the all-important book cover. Christmas evokes so many wonderful images that it will be hard to choose one to best represent the Christmas spirit of Wattle Lane – handmade paper snowflakes, vintage ornaments, or maybe some yummy Christmas fare…

Book Tour: Where the Moths Dance

 

Where the Moths Dance

 

I am excited to announce that Enchanted Book Promotions has organised a virtual book tour for my young adult, paranormal novel, Where the Moths Dance. The tour runs for the month of August and includes book excerpts, author interviews, book reviews, and a giveaway for a signed paperback copy of the book. I’ve posted the tour schedule below and hope that you will check out these great book blogs!

August 1st: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

August 1st: Book Excerpt @   Sylv Jenkins’ Blog

August 2nd: Promo Post @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

August 3rd: Book Excerpt @ Ashley’s Paranormal Book Blog

August 5th: Promo Post @ The Reading Guru

August 7th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

August 9th: Promo Post @ Rose Shadow Ink

August 11th: Book Review @ Forever Book Lover

August 13th: Book Excerpt @ Realm Tramper

August 15th: Promo Post @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

August 16th: Book Excerpt @ Hollow Readers

August 17th: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

August 18th: Book Review @ Endazzled Reading

August 19th: Promo Post @ The Book Daily

August 21st: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

August 23rd: Book Excerpt @ Books Direct

August 24th: Book Review @ Books, Books and More Books

August 25th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

August 26th: Book Excerpt @ Fantasy Book Lane

August 28th: Promo Post @ Bookaholic Ramblings

August 30th: Book Review @ Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock

September 1st: Book Review and Book Excerpt @ Dalene’s Book Reviews

A Sense of Place

I love to read books with a strong sense of place, ones in which I can imagine the setting so vividly that it seems real. I think the best books are those which not only describe the physical setting, but engage all the senses to draw the reader into the story. Alluding to the smell, the sounds, the feel of a place, all help to make it come alive. For me, a story with a strong sense of place helps the story to linger in my memory long after I have finished the book.

Laura Ingalls Wilder achieved this beautifully in the Little House books. Her descriptions of the places she and her family lived were so richly detailed with the sounds and smells and feel of her surroundings that it was easy to feel a part of her world. The way she describes the little log house in the big woods of Wisconsin, the enormous, empty prairie, with the great blue sky above it, the small town of De Smet where Laura and Carrie went to school, truly bring the stories to life. I could almost feel the penetrating cold of the blizzards, hear the birdsong and the whispering of the wind through the grasses, see the wildflowers, the fields of Pa’s crops, the furniture inside the little log house.

 

In Don’t Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde, most of the story takes place in an apartment building. The story revolves around a  young girl, who is neglected by her troubled mother, and who seeks help from the building’s occupants. The lives of the residents become intertwined as they are brought together in their bid to help 10-year-old Grace evade Social Services. The strong sense of place is central to the story not only for Grace, but also for another of the building’s residents, Billy Shine, who is agoraphobic and has not left his apartment in years.

 

 

A tiny island off the west coast of Ireland is the setting for Casting Off by Nicole R. Dickson. Rebecca Moray goes to the island with her young daughter, Rowan, to research a book on Irish knitting and to seek refuge from a painful past. Nicole Dickson has created a strong sense of place as we learn the history of the island and meet the many colourful characters who inhabit it. I think I enjoyed this book so much because it is the sort of place I would love to visit.

 

 

One of my favourite books I have read lately has been Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann. The chapters alternate between Amanda, who runs a vintage clothing store in present day New York, and Olive, a young woman in turn-of-the-century New York. When Amanda finds Olive’s journal sewn into a fur muff, she learns what life was like in her own neighbourhood more than a hundred years ago. Throughout the story there is a strong sense of place in both modern day New York and early twentieth century New York. With the wonderful descriptions of the city in both eras, and of the department store in which Olive works, I felt as though I were right there with the characters. Also, I love that there are many old photographs in the book of New York City as it was in Olive’s era.

 

I always try to create a strong sense of place in my own writing. I ask myself What would I see, hear, feel, and smell if I were the character?

Where the Moths DanceIn Where the Moths Dance, much of the story takes place in an old graveyard, surrounded by gum trees, whose gnarly old roots encroach onto the pavement leading up the hill. The graveyard is Jessie’s sanctuary, where she talks to the dead, and can navigate her way around the gravestones in the dark like a night hunter. She finds comfort in the sound of the wind through the gum trees, the cawing of the crows as they fly between the branches overhead, the smell of eucalyptus after it has rained. But Gum Tree Hill Cemetery harbours something more sinister, and when Jessie’s sanctuary is threatened, the graveyard becomes vital in Jessie’s battle to protect those she loves.

 

Scrappy Cupcake AngelsScrappy Cupcake Angels is set in Kerrigan, a small New Zealand town with a gold-mining past. The story revolves around a scrapbooking shop, in a converted Victorian house, down a small lane. As the aroma of coffee swirls tantalisingly through the shop, drifting out the door to lure in passers-by with the temptation of warmth and comfort, Angeline teaches the folk of Kerrigan to embrace their creativity and make beautiful keepsakes. For four women, it is the friendship, and the chance to escape from life’s hassles for a few hours each week, that keeps them coming back to the cosy, little shop, where problems seem to mysteriously sort themselves out.

New Cover for Scrappy Cupcake Angels

My novel, Scrappy Cupcake Angels, has just come out with a new cover. I think the new design has more of a crafty feel and is perfect for the story inside.

Most online retailers are now selling the new edition, but some, such as Amazon, may still have the old cover on their website until they have sold the books they have in stock. It is available as a paperback, hardback, and ebook.

Here is the new cover.

Scrappy Cupcake Angels

 

Amazon.com

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Fishpond (NZ)

Also, I have a new blog, which will be all about the book. It will have recipes and crafts from the story, as well as news on upcoming books in the Wattle Lane series. Click here to take a look. www.wattlelane.wordpress.com