Fairway To Heaven – it’s golf. But not as you know it.

My new book Fairway To Heaven, releases January 8. January 8 was my nanna’s birthday, she would have been 97 if she hadn’t fallen off her perch (as she’d threatened to do for such a long time).

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Fairway To Heaven

It’s golf. But not as you know it.

When Jennifer Gates drives to Sea Breeze Golf Club to kick off date-night with her boyfriend, the last thing she expects is to find Golf-Pro Jack giving one of his lady students a private—and very personal—lesson in bunker-play.

Lucky for Jenn, her best friend gives her the keys to the Culhane family’s beach shack on the white-pepper shores of Western Australia’s Geographe Bay. Jenn hopes a weekend on the coast with her young son will give her the space she needs to rebuild her confidence after Jack’s betrayal.

But she’s not the only person seeking sanctuary by the sea. Brayden Culhane is there too, and Jenn can’t look at Brayden without remembering the tequila-flavoured kiss they shared on the shack steps years ago.

As long-buried feelings are rekindled, and a friendship is renewed, Jenn knows it is more than lazy summer days bringing her mojo back. Romantic sunsets, ice-cold beers and the odd round of golf can only go so far, because this time, trusting Brayden with her heart won’t be enough. Jenn has to learn to trust her body, too.

I’m planning all sorts of prizes as I lead in to the release of Fairway. One of these is going to be a lovely gift pack filled with prizes such as books and goodies from the Margaret River wine & tourism region where I live, and where Fairway is set. For *goodies* think books, food, chocolate. And it’s up for grabs for anyone who shares (Facebook or Twitter or blogs) news of my book. Just tag me in your posts and I’ll know who you are!

Buy the book at Smashwords ( (many formats supported)

And Amazon for Kindle.

Blurb-o-mania

One of the search terms that pops up most often in my stats is ‘back cover blurbs’. They can be hell to write. I swear, the less words you have to describe your book the harder it gets. I’ve yet to see an author shout loud and proud that she/he loves writing a synopsis. I don’t remember reading about anyone enjoying writing blurbs… and some editors/publishers or contest organisers have the cheek to ask you to tell them what your book is about in one line. One line. Aye Karumba!

Cover design by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl.
Cover design by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl.

This is why twitter is not for me. 140 characters? You’re kidding!

So far, I’ve written one blurb, for my debut novel, His Brand of Beautiful. The gurus at Escape Publishing left it unchanged, so I have to trust they felt it fit the bill.

Here is my blurb for my new release, The Goodbye Ride, a contemporary romance novella due out later this month.

I’d love to hear if you think this blurb does the job. Would you be enticed to click ‘buy’?

The Goodbye Ride

Olivia Murphy is a woman on a mission. Gracing the front lawn of a house in her Adelaide Hills hometown sits the vintage Ducati motorbike that once belonged to her brother.

Liv wants to buy the precious bike and bring it back into her family, and she wants to seal the deal before tourists descend on her town for the upcoming holiday weekend. Tourists with far fatter wallets.

One person stands in her way.

Owen Carson likes rare and beautiful things and he’s got the Ducati in his sights. Until he meets Liv, and finds himself intrigued by beauty of a far different kind.

The Goodbye Ride is a story about a boy with a secret; a bike with a past; and what happens when they all get together on a birthday weekend. (The Queen’s, no less).

By the way: Do you share my dislike of the word ‘blurb’? We slave over these things. I’m sure there should be a far fancier term to sum up 150 words (or so) of blood, sweat and tears!

Back cover blurbs

I mean how hard can it be to write a back cover blurb? I’ve lived with His Brand Of Beautiful and its characters for all this time, surely I can sum up what the book is about in three catchy paragraphs that will make someone want to read more? It’s just like writing a query, isn’t it? Err… no, apparently not. The query is to make an agent or a publisher want to read your book and they want to know what happens, and some of them even want to know how it ends (the cheek).

The back-cover blurb can’t tell the reader what happens… or they won’t need to read your book (See the one-third rule below). And possibly if you tell them the wrong thing, they’ll decide it isn’t for them (even if it might be perfect).

It’s simple! All the blurb lives for is to get readers to buy. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. 🙂

I found this information at: http://www.palmerhiggs.com.au/blog/back-cover-blurbs-sell-your-book

To get started you’ll need to ask yourself some questions:

Who is your book being marketed to?

Your blurb should speak to those people you imagine are most interested in the type of book you have written. A blurb for a book for teenage girls will have a different tone to one for teenage boys, for example. An overview detailing how the story will help Suzie mature into a well-rounded adult is not as enticing to a teen as a short sentence telling us Suzie will get sweet revenge on her tormenters, so keep you audience in mind as you write.

What is the most interesting aspect of your book?

Is it the characters, the location, the era, the conflict to be resolved, the plot twists, the moral dilemmas? I can understand that having immersed yourself in your book for so long you can’t see the forest for the trees, so ask a friend or partner to offer some words or phrases they think summarises your book. Create a list of synonyms for those words and circle the evocative and fresh ones.

Once you’ve done this you can start to put your blurb together. These points should help:

•  Use the one-third rule. When outlining your story, try not to reveal anything that occurs more than one-third of the way through your book. Your blurb needs to encourage reading on, not spill the beans.

•  Avoid cliches. Tired, overused phrases will not coax a reader to continue reading, so look for fresh ways to express ordinary ideas.

•  Avoid too much detail. Remember, you only have two or three paras to make your point, so don’t waste space saying Johnny had a red wagon when he was ten if it has nothing to do with the story. Any characters that do not drive the story in a major way should not be mentioned.

•  Use evocative words. A back cover blurb is your last chance to persuade someone to buy your book, so you want to make them feel emotionally involved in your story, and a clever way to do this is to use words that evoke feeling within the reader. Words like laughter, glamour and whisper, or terror, dread and shriek are better than amused, well-dressed and quiet, or scared, worried and loud. Using active rather than passive sentences will involve the reader further.

• Shoutlines. If you come up with a great sentence or phrase that encapsulates your book, use it as a shoutline (one or two lines in a larger and bolder font). Movies call them taglines and they can be very effective, for example, ‘In space no-one can hear you scream’ (Alien, 1979) and ‘See our family. And feel better about yours’ (The Simpsons Movie, 2007).

The structure of your blurb is limited by the available space, but if you use the following as a guide, you’ll be on the right track:

Short novel: 2–3 paras

Longer novel: 3–4 paras

1st para — Introduce characters and give basic plot outline.

2nd para — More detailed plot outline (what is the conflict/dilemma/challenge of the characters).

3rd para — Can be effective to have questions here, such as will Suzie be humiliated or triumph?

Keep your audience in mind, be concise and evocative.

There is no strict formula to writing a good blurb, but time must be taken to ensure your book is presented at its best to potential buyers. Hopefully some of these suggestions will be helpful and we encourage you take a look at your own bookshelf and on the internet to get more ideas (search terms such as ‘back cover blurb’, ‘writing a book blurb, ‘shoutlines’, ‘passive active voice’ will get you started).

Good luck.

Good luck indeed! Here’s what I came up with. I tried a ‘shout line’. Any thoughts? Would it make you want to read His Brand Of Beautiful?

Sometimes to get a woman out of your head, you have to let her in.

When Tate Newell first met Christina Clay he had one goal in mind: tell Christina he won’t design the new brand for Clay Wines. Tell her: thanks but no thanks. So long, good night.

But Tate has always been a sucker for a damsel in distress, and when a diary mix-up leaves Christina in need of his help, it’s Tate who gets more than he bargained for.

What does a resourceful girl do when the best marketing brain in the business won’t play ball? She bluffs (badly). She cheats (a bit). And she ups the ante (by a mile). But when the stakes get too high, can anybody win?

Falling in love was never part of this branding brief.

Let’s see how many revisions this gets!