Monday, July 30, 2012

Happy Monday :)

Wow what a weekend... moving is exhausting... but we're all moved in now. Place is a mess, boxes and crap everywhere, fridge doesn't work, shower sucks just a little bit... but it's home!! All of the good things far outweigh the hiccups. Like being just down the road from the supermarket, having quiet neighbours, internet working straight away, a comfy couch, a huge wardrobe, a whole place to decorate and organise however I please, being able to use all my kitchen stuff that's been sitting in my parents' garage for three years, and, best of all, living with the love of my life after five years of waiting. It was well worth the wait. I couldn't be happier! Hope you all had a great weekend, and hope you have a fantastic week. Be sure to check in on Wednesday for my writers' corner, where I'll be interviewing Marie-Anne Mancio, author of Whorticulture.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday Writers: Alisse Lee Goldenberg

As an aspiring author, it’s always good to hear stories of other people’s success. They inspire us to not procrastinate, and reassure us that there is a light at the end of that proverbial tunnel.

This week, Alisse Lee Goldenberg, author of Young Adult Fantasy novel The Strings of the Violin, talks to us about her love for fantasy and folklore, and how she fits in time to write around her 17-month-old triplets who have turned her workspace into a toy store.


Name: Alisse Lee Goldenberg
Location and one thing you love about living there: I live in Toronto Canada, and I love how amazingly multi-cultural the city is. Everyone embraces who they are and where they came from.
Website: www.alisseleegoldenberg.com
Author of: The Strings of the Violin
Book is available: Through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indigo.ca

Tell us a bit about yourself... I'm an author of Young Adult fantasy fiction. I have my Bachelors of Education and a Fine Arts degree, and have studied fantasy and folk lore since I was a child. I live in Toronto with my husband Brian, our triplets Joseph, Phillip, and Hailey, and our rambunctious Goldendoodle Sebastian.

Tell us a bit about your novel, The Strings of the Violin... The Strings of the Violin is a fantasy adventure interweaving Eastern European folklore with modern characters.
Seventeen-year-old Carrie is lying in her backyard ignoring all the looming responsibilities in her life, when a fox makes a mad dash across the grass in front of her. After she manages to keep her dog from attacking the frightened animal, the fox turns to Carrie and seems to bow in gratitude before he disappears into the bushes. All Carrie knows in that moment is that something has unexpectedly changed in her life.
Carrie has been best friends with Lindsay Smith and Rebecca Campbell for years. During a summer when they should be focused on choosing colleges and career paths, the girls suddenly find themselves swept away on the adventure of their lives. The fox reappears three days later and reveals to Carrie that he is Adom, emissary to the king of Hadariah. With his land of music and magic in peril, Adom has been sent to seek help from Carrie and her friends. In the blink of an eye, the three teenage girls go from living an average suburban life to being the champions of a world where they must contend with giants, witches, and magical beings.
On their quest to save a people from destruction, Carrie, Lindsay, and Rebecca are pitted against Asmodeus, the powerful and cunning king of the dybbuks. Now, only time will tell if the three girls will prevail against Asmodeus and somehow find their way back home.

What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story? When I was a young child, my daily outing was always to the North York Public Library. I would go into the children’s section and just sit and go through mammoth piles of books. I was allowed to take one book home each time we would go, so the selection process for me was always a difficult one. Usually I would end up picking one of the books from the Curious George series, or Amelia Bedilia, but from that early age, I was hooked on reading.

Is there a particular book that changed or affected your life in a big way? It is extremely hard for me to pick just one book. I love so many of them. But if I had to choose one based on how I was affected by the story or characters, I would have to choose The Hunter’s Moon by O.R. Melling. This is one book I keep coming back to time and again. For me, it’s the way she writes her heroine Gwen. I just remember identifying with her so completely as a teenager. She is not a genius, she is not superpowered, and yet she finds a way to be the true hero of the story, just by being herself.

What was the seed of inspiration for your latest book? I have always loved fantasy novels, and I remember growing up reading them and never fully being able to fully see myself in the story. I love wizards, and elves, and fairies, and I love to read about them. Yet, I grew up surrounded by an entirely completely different type of fantasy world alongside all of this. My bubbie (grandmother) raised me on stories from her home country of Poland, as well as Jewish mythology. To me, I found tales of dybbuks, and witches, and wise men to be just as magical as the stories I could find on the bookshelves of the stores and libraries, yet none of these stories were available for a young person to go out and read. I decided, especially now as I have children of my own, to write stories for them based on the stories of my grandparents’ childhoods.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp? I want readers to see the magic in the world around them. I want them to embrace the idea that any person, no matter how brave, smart, or physically strong they are can truly be a hero.

What challenges have you faced in your writing career? Seventeen months ago, I became the mother of triplets. It has been a real challenge juggling writing time and time to be the best parent I can be. I hope I have found a balance. It is all too easy to neglect one for the other. Usually it’s the time to write that winds up falling to the wayside, and I have to keep reminding myself that I need to do that as well.

How do you find time or energy to write being the mother of triplets? When the babies were first born and had just come home from the hospital, my husband and I took care of them on shifts. I took the night shift and stayed up all night with them. Between feeds and changing them, I decided that I would take the time and be productive. Ironically, I found that during this time I was the most productive as a writer, than I had ever been before. No one calls you between the hours of midnight and seven in the morning. Everything on television is crap. It was wonderful! Now, I am back on a normal schedule again, the kids are sleeping through the night, I just have nap times to myself, but I make it work. That and a lot of coffee are what keep me working.

What has been your best moment as a writer? So far, I would say that the best moment for me was to walk into the bookstore, Indigo and see my book up there on the shelf. It filled me with a real sense of accomplishment. I felt that I had truly made it.

Who is your author idol? My author idol is Neil Gaiman. He writes such rich worlds populated by fascinating characters. He is so versatile writing for every age group and in many different mediums.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters? I think I put a bit of myself in most of my characters. It wasn’t intentional, but especially in the friendship between Carrie, Lindsay, and Rebecca, a lot of how they interact with each other, and speak to each other came out of my own friendships. My best friend and I met in junior kindergarten and have now been friends for over twenty-five years. We still act like children around each other to this day.

Why Young Adult fantasy fiction? I wanted to write a book for my children. Right now, they are far too young for this particular story, but the greatest books I’ve read, and the stories that have stuck with me the most came from this particular genre. I wanted to write about what I love and what I know. This genre just felt the most natural for me as a writer.

Do you feel like your dream has come true or is there much more to do? In many ways, I feel like it has come true, or at least has started to come true. The Strings of the Violin is only the beginning of a larger story that I mean to tell. I am already close to completion on the second book of what will be a series. I am hoping that The Dybbuk’s Mirror will come out in early 2013. From there, who knows? I just know that I do not intend to stop writing any time soon.

What is your personal cure for procrastination? Unfortunately, I don’t have one. This is one of my greatest weaknesses. I am absolutely horrible at not procrastinating.

What does your workspace look like? Right now, my workspace looks like a toy store. It is covered in stuffed animals, dolls, balls, and blankets. I am using the family room couch and a laptop. It is my way of multi-tasking.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer? Aside from carpal tunnel? I would say that the biggest hazard is losing focus and not making time to write. Getting distracted by everything else is also a problem. It is too easy to turn on the computer and say that this is your writing time, and then just “checking in” on Facebook or emails. Next thing you know, hours have flown past.

Have you ever had a day when you just wanted to quit? When I had first finished The Strings of the Violin, I shopped it around to many different publishers. Every rejection letter I got made me want to give up. It was horrible, but my family encouraged me to keep going. I am so glad I listened.

What do you do when you’re not writing? My husband Brian is the artistic producer of Angelwalk Theatre in Toronto. I am usually the props manager for his musical productions. Also, I love to perform with various community theatre companies around the city.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer? I’d say that you shouldn’t remain sane as a writer. As someone who loves to read and write in the fantasy genre, let your imagination run wild and free! Take risks, push your boundaries and just go with it.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? At school, I found my greatest lessons were in the early years. There I was encouraged to write and read as much as possible. My creativity was encouraged and I was told to never ever give up no matter what.

Did you have a moment when you realised you were meant to be a writer? I can’t remember a day when I didn’t want to write. This was always what I wanted to do. I’m just happy I finally decided to just go and do it.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors? I would tell anyone who wanted to be a writer to never stop writing, never stop reading and not to fear rejection. Every successful writer can probably tell you about every rejection letter they ever got. I am sure that no one gets chosen the first time around. Just keep persevering.

If you are an author and would like to be featured on You May Say I'm a Dreamer, send me an email at: sarah.hardie[at]hotmail.com and I'll get back to you quick smart.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Home.

In just two and a half days time, Joshua and I will have the keys to our new home, so naturally, I've been pinning like crazy dreaming of ways to make the cozy little space our own. I love that it's so close to everything - the supermarket, the river, the beach, the mall, cafe's, restaurants - and although it's small, it's exactly what we need at this point in our lives, and it's the perfect lauching pad for bigger, even more exciting things to come in the near future. Sometimes I think it's almost too good to be true, but then I remind myself that we've had a complicated last five years with career goals and personal dreams getting in the way of us living together, but through it all our relationship has been solid as a rock and that's the most important thing, and now we've come to a point where our goals and dreams work together, so we deserve this, we deserve perfect for awhile.

So although we can't paint walls or anything because we're renting, and although we don't have a lot of space for any extravagant furniture, we can still add little personal touches to make it our own.


I was inspired by all these great chalkboard ideas I came across on Pinterest, so I found some chalkboard paint and an offcut of MDF at Bunnings on the weekend and made us two chalkboards - I'm thinking we can use one to plan meals and one for general mucking around and immaturity...

This would be a good idea for keys etc - we're both always misplacing our keys, cellphones, wallets...

This would be cute for the coffee table, which is not actually a table, it's a beautiful old trunk I found at a second hand shop that was used as a travelling trunk about 60 years ago - it's all chipped and battered with old stickers half torn off that look like they've moulded into the wood over time. (Yes, I'll post photos later).

These would be cute to hang up when we have company.

We both love cooking, and I love, love, love herbs, so since we don't have any outside space, I reckon we'll make an indoor herb garden.

And I think one day we should make a fort, just because we can...

Rest in peace Margaret Mahy

Thanks for all of the wonderful books...


Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy Monday :)


Good morning all! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend and are ready to take on the week!
I just had my last weekend ever living with my parents at my childhood home, and although I've been avoiding packing for the last few weeks, it started feeling very real on Saturday when we signed the tenancy agreement and started sorting out power and insurance and internet, so I put on some nineties tunes and started packing up my books yesterday... five boxes later... hmmm. And not only is it starting to feel real, it's feeling really, really exciting! In one week Josh and I will be starting our lives together in our cozy little one-bedroom place. We'll have our own kitchen, our own lounge, our own bathroom, and no flatmates - just us! Bliss!
And although it's hard leaving my childhood behind in boxes crammed in my old wardrobe, it's a cleansing feeling only taking what I need (yes, I NEED my books, all five boxes of them!) and starting afresh... I am contemplating bringing my two little friends Floppy and Flappy, however (dog soft toys that I've had since I was about ten), but I think I'll have to draw the line at my giant Bugs Bunny...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lemon Slice Recipe

Here is the recipe I promised yesterday to go along with my latest Strawberry Jammin' installment. It's soooo gooood! Make it on the weekend. Go on. You know you want to. Then come back to You May Say I'm a Dreamer and tell me about how amazing it was.

Ingredients:

Base:
250g wine biscuits
1 cup desiccated coconut
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
120g butter
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Lemon Icing:
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
40g butter, melted
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Grease and line a 17 x 27cm slice tin with baking paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Place biscuits in a food processor and process to form fine crumbs.

2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, then combine with coconut and lemon rind. Place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat to melt. Stir in condensed milk. Pour melted mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir to combine well.

3. Press biscuit mixture into prepared tin. Refrigerate for one hour or until firm. When set, ice with lemon icing.

4. To make lemon icing, place the icing sugar in a bowl. Add melted butter and lemon juice and beat until smooth. Sprinkle  a bit of coconut on top.

Om nom nom nom...

This recipe is from NZ Woman's Weekly

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday Writers: Monique McDonell

As an aspiring author, it’s always good to hear stories of other's success. They inspire us to not procrastinate, to be prepared for and never fear rejection, and most of all, they reassure us that there is a light at the end of that proverbial tunnel.

This week we meet emotional crisis "go-to girl" Monique McDonell, author of Chick Lit gem Mr Right and Other Mongrels, who speaks to us from the sunny beaches of Sydney, Australia.

Name: Monique McDonell
Author of: Mr Right and Other Mongrels
Location and one thing you love about living there: I live on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. I love that can see the Pacific Ocean from the end of my street. It’s a nice casual place to live.
Website: http://www.moniquemcdonell.com.au/

Tell us a bit about yourself: How does one describe oneself? I’m married with a pre-teen daughter. I love to travel and cook and entertain and of course, read. One of my best-friends calls me the “go-to girl”. Apparently I’m good in an emotional or life crisis. In my other life I run a boutique PR agency with a friend.

Tell us about Mr Right and Other Mongrels: Blissfully happy in her own universe Allegra (Ally) Johnson is the sweet best friend everyone wants to have. Quietly and independently wealthy she runs a charming second-hand bookshop in beachside Manly. Heck, sometimes she even goes downstairs from her flat to run the shop in her Chinese silk pyjamas. It sounds like bliss. But is it enough?
When dog-phobic Allegra is rescued from an exuberant canine by the chivalrous Teddy Green, Australia’s hottest TV celebrity and garden make-over guru, her life begins to change. Dramatically!
Unaware of Teddy’s fame Allegra finds herself falling for him, despite her best attempts to resist his charm. Supported by her eccentric family and her fabulous gay friend Justin, Allegra embarks on an on-again off-again romance with Teddy, complicated by his jealous ex-girlfriend, fashionista Louisa and her own narcissistic hippy mother Moonbeam.
Will Ally be able to overcome her insecurities and find happiness with this possible Mr Right or will Teddy’s celebrity lifestyle prove to be too much? Mr Right and Other Mongrels is a light-hearted story about how one chance encounter can change your life.

What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story? I can’t quite remember. I’ve always loved reading and books from the time I was tiny. I think I always liked the notion of escaping into a book and heading off on an adventure.

Is there a particular book that changed or affected your life in a big way? My very first favourite book was The Littlest House by Virginia Lee Burton. A divine picture book about a small farm house on a hill that gets gobbled up by urban sprawl (don’t worry it had a happy ending). After that it was Little Women. I loved Jo March for her feisty spirit, her strong sense of family and her desire to be a writer no matter what.

What was the seed of inspiration for your latest book? My just released book Mr Right and Other Mongrels was inspired by a vision of the main character Allegra in her bookshop. I could see her so clearly and the story unfolded from there.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp? The book is really a feel-good story but I believe the message is that sometimes you need to put yourself at the centre of your own life rather than stand off to the side. To do that sometimes you need to embrace change and take a chance.

What challenges have you faced in your writing career? Well I’ve faced a fair bit of rejection which is pretty normal. My other main challenge has been finding the time to write. I think for lots of writers finding the right support crew who will give you honest feedback but are in your corner can be a challenge. It took me a little while to find mine and that has made all the difference.

What has been your best moment as a writer? My best moment was being chosen for the QWC/Hachette Livre Manuscript Development Program with Mr Right and Other Mongrels in 2008 and all the wonderful experiences and people that came from that.

Who is your author idol? I write chick lit so I really admire Meg Cabot. I also adore Nora Ephron’s writing. (I’m so sad she just passed away. I really had a fantasy that she would direct one of my books as a movie. It was never going to happen but that’s what made it a fantasy I suppose.)

Do you see yourself in any of your characters? I see parts of myself in Allegra, the main character in Mr Right and Other Mongrels. We both have a dog phobia and we both tend to put other people’s happiness first, to our own detriment.

Why Chick Lit? Good question. When I write short stories I actually write much darker tales but I used to start novels that were rather tortured and then find myself too miserable to continue. When I decided I wanted to write my first novel I decided I needed to write an uplifting story because if I was going to spend a year or more with the characters I needed to enjoy their company.

How do you fit writing around your day job? When I started writing my daughter was tiny and my husband travelled for work so I used to write in half hour blocks while she watched Play School or Sesame Street. Now that she’s older and I’m back at work I try and block out some time every day, even if it’s just half an hour to keep my head in the story. It doesn’t always work but it helps to start with the plan. (And this may be more specific than you wanted but bulk cooking helps me a lot. If you can just grab something from the freezer and throw it in the oven you can gain an extra hour in the day.)

Do you feel like your dream has come true or is there much more to do? I think there is so much more to do but having a book out there in the universe has been very freeing.

What is your personal cure for procrastination? I’m a terrible procrastinator but I also like to set and achieve goals so somehow if I do a plan and add deadlines I seem to meet it or almost meet it at least, even if there is some serious scrambling involved.

What does your workspace look like? Sadly I write on the end of our dining room table. It looks like a mess until I clear it off to entertain. This is not an ideal situation and I do not recommend it to others.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer? Well I have a sore neck from craning over the computer…does that count?

Have you ever had a day when you just wanted to quit? Yes lots and lots of them. I actually didn’t write for over a year not long ago after a pretty big set-back. I just couldn’t get myself to do it. I’d completed five books at that point and I think I was just burnt out.

What do you do when you’re not writing? I read, cook, watch too much TV and hang out with my family and friends.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer? I never said I was sane. (Ha! Ha!) Honestly I think having the support of other writers is what keeps me marginally sane.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? That’s a tough question. I think school taught me empathy. I’m not sure that was the intention of the teachers but it was something I learnt in the playground.

Did you have a moment when you realised you were meant to be a writer? I think I always wanted to be a writer and always wrote. It’s part of me.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors? So much of writing is persistence. Lots of people give up too easily. Don’t let a bit of rejection set you back. Another thing about writing is that timing/luck is everything. You can be lucky by writing about something you love and it may happen to be the “big thing” publishers are looking for. The reverse is equally true. I think the more you put yourself out there and take risks the better your chances of changing your luck.

If you are an author and would like to be featured on You May Say I'm a Dreamer, send me an email at sarah.hardie[at]hotmail.com and I'll get back to you quick smart.



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Writing advice link love

Lately I've become a bit of a Twitter fan. Although I don't particularly like using it, I have managed to surround myself with publishers, authors and book lovers, who I follow and who follow me. It's become a really useful tool, as it has connected me with so much writing advice through links posted by these people. So I thought I would share some of these with you, because we all need a little advice and reassurance every now and then. Do you find Twitter useful?

Finding the Guts to Write

Marketing Before you Write

Ten Reasons why your Story could be Rejected

Twenty Essential Tips on Rewriting your Story until it Shines

What makes a Million Dollar Bestseller

Five Mistakes of New Fiction Writers

Five Common Writing Blunders that can Annoy or Bore our Readers

Three Simple Mistakes that can Kill your Chances of Having a Bestseller

The Hottest Tip no Fiction Writer can Afford to Ignore

Ten Questions your Readers should not have to ask

Ten Ways to Strengthen your Beginning

Hope you're feeling inspired now!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Happy Monday :)


Morning all, and a Happy Monday to you! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend! I spent most of my weekend preparing stuff for moving into my new flat in two weeks, very excited about that - finally get to use all the stuff that's been collecting dust in the back of the garage since my 21st.
It also proved to be a very inspiring weekend in terms of my author dreams. I read a really inspiring story about the changing face of publishing. It was about these three Wellington women who got fed up with publishing houses rejecting them because their work wasn't "trendy" so they decided to self-publish both eBooks and real books, and the great thing is, they're actually making money from it! So it's nice to know that there are other options out there if you want to get published these days. I guess the key is knowing how to market yourself, and, for me, this knowledge has made me so much more inspired to get on with my writing because self publishing is slowly losing its stigma - the one that says "if you have to self publish, that must mean your work is no good". Although I'm sure there's a lot of bad self published stuff out there, the ones that make money off it obviously have something well worth reading, so that's positive.
I also found a trilogy that sounds really good and that I'm planning to read next year (I've decided I'm reading only New Zealand novels next year) called Children of War by Deborah Challinor. It's based in New Zealand and explores our country's history from the late 1800's through to the 1930's, so I'm really excited to dig my claws into that one.
So I hope you all have a fabulous week, and make sure you check in on Wednesday for my second installment of Wednesday Writers, where I'm talking to Sydney-based Chick Lit author Manique McDonell. (See last week's interview here). I'm also planning on putting up some more of my Strawberry Jammin' story, along with a delish recipe or two!

Friday, July 13, 2012

So much happiness


So Much Happiness

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.
But happiness floats.
It doesn't need you to hold it down.
It doesn't need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records…..
Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.
~ Naomi Shihab Nye

Have a fabulous weekend everyone xo

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday Writers: Kristi Jones

As an aspiring author, it’s always good to hear stories of other's success. They inspire us to not procrastinate, to be prepared for and never fear rejection, and most of all, they reassure us that there is a light at the end of that proverbial tunnel.

So that's why I created this new weekly feature I like to call Wednesday Writers, which will showcase writers of all genres, ages, and styles from around the world. 

This week, seasoned traveller Kristi Jones, author of a tale about death called The Corpse Goddess shares her writing secrets and tells us aspiring authors: "Don't think, do!"

Name: Kristi Jones
Author of: The Corpse Goddess
Location and one thing you love about living there: I live outside of Houston, Texas. The thing I love most about it are the people. Texans really are the friendliest people!

Tell us a bit about yourself: I grew up travelling around the world, but married and settled in Texas. I have two wonderful children and the best husband a writer could have! He’s an architect in Houston, which lets me stay home and write full time.

Tell us about your debut novel: The Corpse Goddess is the story of Meg Highbury, a young woman who wakes up the morning of her twenty-first birthday to find a corpse standing vigil over her bed. Turns out, she’s a Valkyrie and her first duty is to walk with the dead. Meg thinks she will do anything to escape this Death Duty, but gods don’t always fight fair and the cost of living just might be the death of her.

What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story? I honestly don’t know! I’ve loved books and stories for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first poem when I was six years old. My Mom says I was always under the covers with a flashlight, reading late into the night. I do know that travel ignites my imagination like nothing else and I know that exploring British castles as a youngster had a profound effect on me.

Is there a particular book that changed or affected your life in a big way? Oh, yes – several I’m sure! I read so much and so many different genres. I love non-fiction, fiction, the “classics”, Shakespeare, poetry, graphic novels and more. I think one of the wonders of literature is that it can affect you differently at different times in your life. Reading something like King Lear at age seventy will be an entirely different experience than reading it at age twenty.

What was the seed of inspiration for The Corpse Goddess? I fell in love with the Nordic myths and legends long ago, while going to German school in middle and high school. I started playing around with the idea of Valkyries living among us and how a modern American girl might react to the intrusion of these old legends into her life.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp? I’m not really drawn to messages. I’m more interested in the cracks, the gray areas in life. Meg is pitched into a moral quagmire and I found it very interesting to watch her struggle with what’s considered ‘right’ and her very human, panicked desire to live.

What challenges have you faced in your writing career? Rejection. Lots and lots of rejection. It goes with the territory, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard to handle. I also find it challenging to balance writing time with family time. Luckily I have an amazingly supportive family and my kids inspire me every day!

What has been your best moment as a writer? I always thought it would be getting published, but actually the best moment was getting feedback about my book from a complete stranger. She loved The Corpse Goddess and it just made me feel...blissful!

Who is your author idol? Again, I have so many...but I’d have to say Stephen King. Growing up in Europe as a kid, I devoured his books. His characters are so American and for the longest time, my idea of America was wrapped up in his characters. This may sound strange, but I spent so much of my childhood overseas that I didn’t really know my own country.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters? Definitely! I think I see myself in all of them. I probably wouldn’t be able to write them if I didn’t identify with them in some way.

Do you feel like your dream has come true or is there much more to do? Both. My dream of publishing a book has come true and yet, there is so much more to do! I have three unfinished novels vying for attention right now! And though I embrace the eBook revolution and do most of my reading on my Kindle, I wouldn’t mind finding one of my books in a bookstore or library some day.

What is your personal cure for procrastination? Well, this is kind of funny to my friends and family, but I have a mantra – DON’T THINK, DO! I’m a thinker. I love to consider, evaluate and analyze. Problem with that is, nothing ever gets done. So when I start over thinking, I remind myself, Don’t think, do!

What does your workspace look like? A coffee shop, a kitchen table, a car, the backyard, my bed...as a busy Mom, I tend to write all over the place!

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer? For me, yes. Sitting! I actually use a voice recorder to write rough drafts. I walk all over the neighbourhood, talking to myself, looking like a lunatic, I’m sure! But I can’t sit for the four to six hours a day that I write. My legs start to feel like cement. So I do a lot of walking.

Have you ever had a day when you just wanted to quit? Many times! Rejection and judgement are part of the process and sometimes it becomes a little much. But I love stories and I love writing them down and trying to turn them into something meaningful. I’ve quit before, but I know I’ll never really stop. Joseph Campbell said you should follow your bliss. Writing fills my soul in a way that nothing else does (though travel comes close). So whether I’m publishing or not, I’ll always write.

What do you do when you’re not writing? I read! Lol. I spend time with my family and friends. We all love to travel. I love to cook, work in the garden when it’s not too hot. I listen to my daughter play her cello. I also spend a lot of time helping the kids with homework during the school year.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer? Gosh, I don’t know...I’m not sure writers are entirely sane! We spend so much time in our fictional worlds! It helps to have people around you that understand the insanity!

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? That I could learn anything if I worked hard enough. Even statistics!

Did you have a moment when you realised you were meant to be a writer? I always thought I was meant to be a writer. I realized I was a writer, published or not, when I quit and kept writing.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors? If you write, you are a writer. That’s it. Don’t wait for anyone else to tell you that you’re “good enough” to be a writer. Work on your craft. Put in the hours. If you want to be a novelist, write several novels. Don’t think, DO!

What are the advantages of e-publishing? Opportunity! There are so many opportunities out there for writers right now. I know there’s a lot of amateur stuff out there and if you’re self-publishing, please, please hire an editor. But there are also a lot of great writers out there that aren’t getting picked up by the big boys in publishing. E-publishing is giving me the opportunity to be a working writer...and really, that’s all I ever wanted to be.

What’s been the most exciting thing about making your debut as an author? Seeing how excited my husband and my kids are about it. They’ve been with me for the long haul, watching me work hard for so many years. I think they’re more excited than I am! Maybe.

Next Wednesday I'm talking to Monique McDonell, author of Chick Lit novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels, so swing by!

If you are an author and would like to be featured on You May Say I'm a Dreamer, leave a comment below with either an email address or website to contact you on and I'll get back to you quick smart.



Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Monday :)


Morning everyone and a Happy Monday to you! Hope your week has started as well as mine - just got myself and my sister tickets to Mumford and Sons in November! So excited!
This week I have a couple of exciting things coming up on You May Say I'm a Dreamer. Part three of Strawberry Jammin' will be coming your way and I have a new weekly feature starting on Wednesday, which I'm calling either Midweek Authors or Wednesday Writers (thoughts?), where I share with you an interview with a published author, who, through a series of questions, tells us about who they are, their love of writing, their challenges and triumphs, and may also share some of their writing secrets like that problem we all face: How on Earth do you combat procrastination?
So make sure you check in on Wednesday, where I'll be featuring Kristi Jones, author of The Corpse Goddess.
Have a fabulous week! xo

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dreaming of... Neal's Yard

So I came across this beauty on Pinterest the other day... Won't be walking past this one when I eventually make it to London! Neal's Yard is close to Convent Garden, yet it is tucked away, hidden like a secret garden. It consists of a bakery, a new age bookshop, and a remedy shop, and it's all ensconced in beautifully painted, brightly coloured buildings and gardens that have so much character it's almost overwhelming. (Click photos for sources)







Have a fabluous weekend! xo

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Monday :)

Good morning all, and a Happy Monday to you! Apologies for the lack of posts last week - I've been sick with a horrible stomach bug, so the week was spent lying on the couch watching movies and a little bit of Jeremy Kyle, and sleeping a lot. But I'm all good now - although I have shrunk because I haven't been eating much - and there are lots of fabulous things happening at the moment which you will hear about this week.
For one day at least, being sick last week was a blessing in disguise - on Thursday I had a sudden burst of energy and decided to haul all of my notes into the lounge and work out a timeline for my novel, so now I have every single chapter planned and ready to write (and I realised I've already written half of them) so I couldn't be more excited! So hopefully, if I get my ass into gear and actually write, I may treat you, dear readers, to some more previews, which I will admit have been scarce lately.
So have a fabulous Monday everyone! xo


Oh, and this here Snugget was my best friend last week - sooooo warm and cozy! The best thing since chicken soup for when you're sick.