A visit from Iris Blobel, with a new release

Wildlife Park Jan 2013
Iris Blobel has a new release out this week, New Beginnings.

Can you imagine how hard it must be to write in a language that isn’t your native tongue? I mean, it’s hard enough to write in the first place, didn’t Hemmingway say: “Writing is easy, you just sit at your typewriter and bleed…” or something along those lines. But writing in English when your native language is German? Man, the thought of that just blows my mind.

So I’m thrilled to host Iris Blobel on my blog today. Iris and I are kindred spirits, in that I have a special affinity for ‘flower’ names. Iris. Lily. Rose. Petunia. Azalea. (Okay, now I’m being silly).

When Iris read my novella, The Goodbye Ride, earlier this year she commented that: “Google was a good friend over these few days. It amazed me how many new words I learnt … I should’ve written them down.” Then I saw her star on Susanne Bellamy’s fabulous Sunday blog, “All The World’s A Page”, and she mentioned then her German heritage and the challenge she faces at times, writing romance in English.

So I’ve asked her to elaborate, and here’s what she had to say:

“After more than 15 years here in Australia, I’d consider my English good. Sometimes too good according to my girls. They get really annoyed when I correct their grammar – during a casual conversation that is, not in their homework (yes, I do that, too, the poor little souls). I still have little slip ups. Or big ones! I recently used the word “suffice” in a business email. I had heard it a few days earlier and liked it. I obviously didn’t use it in the right context 😉 Embarrassing to say the least!”

“My grammar is usually okay, the sentence structure can be funny if not hilarious. Writing the stories in a different language is not that hard at all. After all, it makes sense to me. And you have to admit I love you does sound better than Ich liebe Dich, right? The struggles I have, though, is finding the right words to convey what I want to say … and then I ask my husband whether whatever I come up with makes sense. The usual answer is a shrug and a “S’pose so”. Not really all that helpful.

“Bottom line, IMHO, I don’t think the language makes the difference, but the way you use the words … I still have a lot to learn here and am very grateful for my wonderful and patient editors.”

Iris has her new book out, New Beginnings. I downloaded it this week but I haven’t read it yet. So why not see for yourself whether Iris’s ‘non-English’ background shines through in her stories.

New Beginnings is now available at most online stores or at the links below.

To believe in new beginnings is to trust in tomorrow

1167923_657765660900187_827019903_nTwenty-two-year-old Sophie Levesque has been guardian to eight-year-old sister Mia since their mother’s death a few years ago. Luck comes their way when they inherit a small house in Hobart. Problem is though, they don’t know of, and have never heard of Clara Bellinger, the testator. Sophie is afraid it’s all been a mistake.

As Mia settles well into her new school and life in general, Sophie is not only occupied by her search of what connected her to Clara, but also her new studies and the two men, who suddenly have become part of her daily life – Mark O’Connor, the lawyer representing Clara’s estate, and Zach, the hunk from across the road.

Ooh! Sounds like fun, Iris, who doesn’t love it when there’s a hunk across the road, and what a great location in beautiful Hobart?

You can find New Beginnings here:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/New-Beginings-ebook/dp/B00ENU02BU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377251351&sr=1-1

Astraea Press: http://astraeapress.com/#!/~/product/category=662245&id=27261175

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/349320

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/new-beginnings-6

About Iris:

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she  met her future husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only recently emerged, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as two dogs. Next to her job at a private school she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

The Mother Of All Selfies

To Whom It May Concern:

It’s the first sunny day in Margaret River in weeks, and our owner has just taken us walking. P1020205Cruel, cruel woman, she didn’t even slather us in moisturiser. We went out in public unshaven. We are two shades short of lily white. We bought traffic to a stand-still for all the wrong reasons (apologies to the truck driver we blinded). And SHE called it research for her new book.We are officially on strike, and if she posts our photo, we will sue.

Yours sincerely,
Lily Malone’s legs.

Dear legs,
Perhaps if you’d responded once to the zillion leg-lifts I’d done in my youth, I’d be more inclined to sympathise. However, you have always been ahem, top-heavy in the thighs, despite my every effort, and I have yet to find any exercise that can cure knobbly knees.
Therefore: Suck it up!
Lily Malone.

A few weeks ago, one of those “give us 7 lines from page 7, or 77, of your latest release or work in progress games” went around my friends on Facebook. I was tagged a couple of times but at the time, I had nothing to put out on display that I felt proud of.
In the last few weeks (as readers of my blog will know) I feel like I’ve got my writing mojo back, and except for time out on the RWA Conference, I’ve been steadily working away on my new book.
So please be my guest, and take a world-first-exclusive look at a few paragraphs from Fairway To Heaven – it’s my contemporary golf story about lust in the bunkers and love on the greens. (Although for this particular bit of the story, they happen to be on the beach, and Jennifer Gates (my heroine) is lamenting the state of her legs.) See? Research. The things we do!

Excerpt:
Fairway To Heaven

Then, the beach unfurls before us, mile on mile of hard-packed sand the colour of white pepper, strewn with drying strands of brown seaweed, as if the mermaids cut their hair.

Busselton Jetty straddles the water far to the right. Where the famous landmark meets the coast, pines jut from the foreshore.

“There’s a train that runs out the jetty now,” Brayden says, setting Seb’s feet on the sand. “You’ll have to take him out there.”

“Maybe. We’ll see.” I struggle with forking out cash on tourist things Seb won’t remember. Call me killjoy.

My city brain struggles to comprehend all this space. Geographe Bay curls gently, like a soft scarf cupping a shallow wine glass. We’re in prime school holiday time, yet it isn’t packed. I know that near the jetty—with its funparks and cafes—there’ll be crowds. Here, no one is in your pocket. I like that.

“This looks like a good spot,” I say, heading left, kicking off my sandals so I can enjoy the warm sand on my feet.

Brayden spreads the towels to mark our territory and I rummage in my bag for sunscreen to squirt over Seb’s arms and legs.

“Here.” I hand Seb’s Thomas Tank Engine cap to Brayden. “You see if you have the knack. He won’t keep it on for me.”

He picks the orange bulldozer from my bag and carries it to where last night’s high tide has left a signature on the sand.

Brayden gives the dozer to Seb, who squats on the beach. As he starts ploughing, Brayden stoops and pops the cap on my son’s head. I wait for those little hands to send it cartwheeling toward the sea, and of course, he leaves it perfectly in place. My sun-smart little angel.

I sit on the towel and lean back on my outstretched hands. The sand is incredibly fine, and I bury my feet, then lift them, and let the grains pour between my toes. If I balance my feet just right, I figure I can cover my unpainted toenails, but there’s nothing short of a sheet that can hide my lily white legs.

I really am a disgrace to the female race.

Butt, it’s time to show my face

Pirate_1
Lily with Nicole Harris at the Nautical Or Nice Cocktail Party at RWA Conference. (That’s me on the left).

This weekend has been conference weekend for members of Romance Writers of Australia. They’ve been enjoying their annual conference, this year in Fremantle in West Australia. (Kind of part of Perth, but with great coast, yachting, a fantastic old prison, old buildings and about the most character you can find in a big city).

I couldn’t stay for all the Conference, but I drove up from my home at Margaret River for the ‘Nautical Or Nice’ Cocktail party on Friday night, to meet my critique partner from Brisbane (the soon to be pubished, Kylie Kaden) for the first time, and to share pre-Saturday conference breakfast with my fellow Escape Artists and Managing Editor Kate Cuthbert, (Escape Publishing).

I was also lucky enough to have lunch in Mandurah on the way back from the Conference Saturday, with WriteNote1 book reviewer, arts publicist, op-shopping extraordinaire, and former journalist, Monique Mulligan. Three hours we found ourselves chatting and lunching… that’s not bad for a first date!

Pirates 2
With book reviewer and blogger, Monique Mulligan in Mandurah. (That’s me on the right).

 

It was wonderful meeting people who I’ve only met (so far) through email, Facebook or author groups, however, something that amazed me about the weekend was how difficult it was to spot people from their social media photographs and avatars. Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise me, after all, we were all supposed to be in costume.

In no particular order, here are the people I think DO look like their avatars, and who I was able to spy across a crowded room and think: aha, that is X.

1) Juanita Kees

2) Ros Baxter

3) Cate Ellink

4) Imelda Evans

5) Victoria Purman

And then there are the people who I would not have recognised from two feet away in bright sunlight! Would you believe I actually took a photograph of Jennie Jones with her friend Nicole Harris, and it was only as I was looking at Jennie through the lens of the camera that I got an inkling about who she was!

1) Lisa Ireland (Dressed in a pirate outfit, Lisa cheated by straightening her hair!)

2) Jennie Jones (Jennie cheated too because lately her avatars have been collages of her brilliant book cover, House on Burra Burra Lane, – that’s my excuse JJ and I’m sticking to it!)

3) Natasha Devereaux (Natasha’s avatar is eye-popping because she has a huge snake wrapped around her shoulders – yes – a real one. Without the snake, she was unrecognisable!)

Now I should add, I got in a lot of trouble myself because people were expecting me to wear my pink beanie, which has become something of a trademark on my Facebook author page, and on Twitter. But I ask you, does a pink beanie really go with a pirate outfit? More particularly, with red pants and a red scarf on said pirate outfit? And even more particularly, with a pirate hat? No, dear reader, it doesn’t. So I didn’t wear my beanie, and in turn, nobody recognised me!

It also didn’t help that somewhere in the world of lanyards and name tags… I happened to miss out on getting one. So people couldn’t cheat and double-check my tummy to spot my name hanging from a ribbon around my neck!

So cutting to the chase (finally), this has got me thinking about all things avatars and gravatars, and it has made me realise something about myself. When I first began this blog, and for the first year of this blog’s life, my avatar has been deliberately unrecognisable. That’s because I was way too shy to want anyone who knew me, to know I was writing romance. However, during 2013, and particularly in the last few months, I’ve been doing the romance writer’s literary equivalent to coming out of the closet.

My ‘pink beanie’ picture first appeared on Jenn J McLeod’s Author Harvest blog back in February. Then it was introduced to my author page on Facebook, and my Twitter account, and lately I’ve been using it more in my blog.

Lily_1
From Butt…
LilyM_lowres
… to beanie.

Last week, I updated my ‘About Me’ page and changed my ‘unrecognisable’ photo (the picture many people refer to as my ‘butt photo’… to the beanie photo.)

It’s a small change, but it’s showing how far I’ve come in confidence in the last year. I’m comfortable now to give
Lily Malone a face, rather than a butt. (Although that butt will always have a place in my heart… if that’s possible without some major anatomical reshuffling).

Right now, the only place Lily’s butt remains is on my friend page with Facebook. I’m not quite sure I can let that derriere disappear just yet… we shall see!

To everyone I was able to meet in person during #RWAus13 it was wonderful to put your face to your name, and to absent friends, you were very much missed!

Sapphires, and Stories

I was really interested today to read on Facebook that Imogene Nix has a new release out, called: A Sapphire For Karina.

The sapphire was the jewel used in the Romance Writers of Australia 2013 Little Gems anthology. I know, because I entered a story in the Little Gems competition too. Stories for Little Gems had to be 3000 words maximum and the ‘sapphire’ had to feature somewhere in the story. Imogene said on Facebook that she has “reworked, expanded the scenes and decided to self publish” A Sapphire For Karina.

My Little Gems’ sapphire story was called Fairway To Heaven, and in the story, the Sapphire related to a brand of golf clubs, Cobra Sapphires.

sapphire-blue-driver

One of three judges rated my story in the 90s, but it didn’t sit so well with the other two. The important thing though, I loved it. It was my first foray into writing with a first person point of view, and in present tense.

When I scrapped ‘the book that will never be written’ (see previous post), it was to Fairway To Heaven I turned for inspiration. In the last fortnight, I’ve done more actual fingers on keyboard writing time than I’ve managed since May, when The Goodbye Ride novella released.

Now I’m getting a feel for what screenwriters and authors do when they’re adapting story ideas. I’m having fun creating the characters, scenes and conflicts for what was a 3000-word story, out to something that should become a full-length contemporary romance of around the 80,000 word mark.

Someday soon, I intend to post the original version of Fairway To Heaven on this site… although I must admit after a few Facebook chuckles whenever I mention this title, I’m contemplating changing this for my novel to The Sweetest Swing…

If you’d like to make a vote on the title – you’re most welcome!

 

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Massive e-book giveaway

Thanks to Eden Summers, who has her new Escape Publishing title, Ravenous, out now, a group of Australian and international authors has joined to provide a massive book prize giveaway at the Riverina Romantics blog.

RR Massive Giveaway-1

978085799030311.jpgYou could win a copy of my books, The Goodbye Ride or His Brand Of Beautiful, plus more than enough titles to keep you e-reading all year.

All the details are at the Riverina Romantics blog.

Enjoy!

(If you’re like me and you can’t win second prize in a two-horse race, you can always buy my books by clicking on the cover link).