Weekend Writing Warriors: Outback Promise - the acceptance

It’s great to be back here with the Weekend Writing Warriors. If you want to read more excerpts from other writers, click on the image above or on this link here.

My novel, Outback Promise, is a story of the tragic loss of a child. It explores how the ensuing grief drives two loving people apart. After a few long years of separate coping and more than a few mistakes, Grady has held out an olive branch to his wife Rosalyn. He proposes they run away together, seeking the magic that once held them strong.

I was stalling, not wanting to give him an answer too easily. I sighed heavily. ‘Don’t get too damn full of yourself when I tell you I can get the time off. I’m in.’

Grady half-swallowed a whoop of triumph, closed the distance between us in two long strides and kissed me. For the first time in years it felt right to be there, sheltered in his arms. I told myself to live in the moment.

He whispered, ‘We’re going to have a ripper of a time. You’ll see.’

With that declaration I knew he wanted more than my agreement, he wanted my enthusiasm. The rain was subsiding almost as fast as it started and I thought how there was just enough of it to make a mess of everything. It would turn the dust into mud and spike the humidity to an unbearable level.

***

Outback Promise

Tragedy. Betrayal. Hope.

‘I can’t remember the last time a book affected me this much,’ Tess Woods.

After losing their only child, Roslyn and Grady Balfour's lives are destroyed, shattering their perfect marriage. When Ros discovers Grady's infidelity, it sets their love on a destructive downward spiral. Grady hopes that three months camping together will rekindle what was lost so long ago. 

Attempting to repair their broken marriage, Ros and Grady set out on a journey of self-discovery and redemption deep into the Australian outback. Packing resentment and bitterness along with them on their quest, the couple struggles with what they've lost. Forced to battle the challenges of the other travelers along with the dangers of the harsh outback, their only chance for survival lies in facing the secrets of the past. Will Ros and Grady find a way to hold onto each other when everything else has fallen apart?

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4.4 stars out of 5 – 39 reviews – Amazon.com

Buy links:

Amazon HarperCollinsKoboBarnes & NobleiBooks 

Google Play

And now for something completely different - Weekend Writing Warriors' hop

This is my first week on the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop. Thank you for letting me join!

My excerpt comes from my novel, Outback Promise. Ros’s husband Grady has just suggested they escape to the Australian outback to try to heal the rift in their marriage:

How long had I been marooned on my desert island? I stood and brushed the dust off my dark brown shorts, untied the blouse from around my waist and pulled it over my exposed shoulders. The sun was hotter than ever and I hoped it wouldn’t burn.

Grady unfolded his tanned legs and sprang to his feet beside me. He tried to kiss me but I stepped away and started down the track to Bantry Bay and the old Explosives Magazine. It was my way of saying maybe, and a spiteful part of me gladdened at the hurt disappointment in his eyes. That’s the problem with being a victim – pain turns you into a tormentor.

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Please join other authors on the blog hop by clicking here or on the image above.

 

Outback Promise - blurb:

Tragedy. Betrayal. Hope.

After losing their only child, Roslyn and Grady Balfour's lives are destroyed, shattering their perfect marriage. When Ros discovers Grady's infidelity, it sets their love on a destructive downward spiral. Grady hopes that three months camping together will rekindle what was lost so long ago. 

Attempting to repair their broken marriage, Ros and Grady set out on a journey of self-discovery and redemption deep into the Australian outback. Packing resentment and bitterness along with them on their quest, the couple struggles with what they've lost. Forced to battle the challenges of the other travelers along with the dangers of the harsh outback, their only chance for survival lies in facing the secrets of the past. Will Ros and Grady find a way to hold onto each other when everything else has fallen apart?

***

4.6 stars out of 5 – 35 reviews – Amazon.com

Buy links:

Amazon HarperCollinsKoboBarnes & NobleiBooksGoogle Play

Where am I?

In case you’re wondering where I’ve been lately, for the month of April I’m touring with Outback Promise. You can find me here:

 

Terrible Titles Blog Hop

The incomparable Alyssa Brugman has tagged me in this blog hop.

The job is to find “eight terrible titles” from my work in progress by scrolling randomly through my manuscript and letting my cursor stop where it will.”

So, from my novel about three teenagers hiking on Mt. Rainier, here are eight random lines:

  1. Got my Nudies.

  2. I’d rather try to get honey away from a bear.

  3. A slightly singed squirrel lies on the ground below it.

  4. Conversation is harder to find than the mythical emeralds.

  5. I shake my head to get rid of the zombie-freeze that has sucked out my free will.

  6. Maybe super heroes or D1 Drifters?

  7. Her skin feels reptilian, leathery and smooth.

  8. I fling my arms around in wild windmills

 


Photo by: Alan Bolitho


At the hop - blog tour on the writing process

Thank you Jenny Watson, author of Prove It, Josh for inviting me to this blog hop. Jenny's extensive sailing experience shaped her compelling middle grade novel about 11-year-old Josh who has a race to win and a major obstable to overcome.

Jenny and I met in 2013 at a seminar hosted by the Society of Children’s Illustrators & Book Writers. Now that I live in Victoria, we are getting to know each other better. You can read Jenny’s answers here.

1)    What am I working on?

First of all I have to admit to being a bit superstitious about talking about work in progress. When the story is still incubating in the Petri dish, I fear its tentative energy will evaporate if exposed to the bright light of open scrutiny. 

I’ll say this much, it’s a contemporary adult novel about loss and forgiveness, set in Australia, with its resolution unfolding in the Outback. It’s a favourite project which has been in process for a number of years. I’m uncovering its secrets slowly.

2)    How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Years ago two friends of mine were walking down a dark street in the early morning hours. A man trailed some distance behind them. He came closer and closer. When he was right behind them, they both turned back to face him. One friend looked at his face to see if she recognized him. The other looked at his hands to see if he had a weapon.  He didn’t. He was an exhibitionist playing with his wedding tackle. The moment they confronted him, he ran away. When they reported the incident to the police later they gave wildly varying descriptions of the encounter.

Similarly every writer’s work is unique. I see things differently than the person next to me. Even if we look at the same object, we carry away personal impressions. Go to any writing workshop and listen to how people respond to the same prompt. Ask twenty writers in a room to describe the colour, texture, smell, taste, and sound of sorrow and you will get twenty highly diverse answers.

My debut novel is classified as YA but is that a genre or an intended audience? I’d say that Lockdown is speculative fiction. It could happen on planet Earth. Some say it eventually will. But there is no fantasy, paranormal, or space travel involved. Two of my three novels for the YA market are contemporary fiction; that is they are set in modern times and have no fantasy element. How will these novels differ than those from other writers? Simply: they will be focused through the lens of my life’s experiences.

3)    Why do I write what I do?

I write for the same reason many writers do: to stay connected, to explore the ideas that haunt me, to put order into chaos, and to find out how I think about things.

The what is a little harder.I write YA fiction because I love it. I write contemporary fiction because a few stories have wrapped their tentacles around my heart. Ideas find me. I play with them and when they stick, a story starts.

4)  How does my writing process work?

Most of the time it’s glacial slow. Even more so now that I’ve been living out of a suitcase since February. It involves rewriting and lots of it. Taking characters out, enlarging the remaining ones. Cutting many scenes, adding others. Cleaning up the diction and deleting weasel words.

However, I can write fast when pushed. A couple of my short stories emerged in a single writing session with very little revision. I have laid down three draft novels during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month—50,000 words in 30 days). Lockdown was one of these.

My process is also experimental—never the same colour twice. I’ve tried writing off the top of my head (see above comment about NaNoWriMo). I’ve used the Snowflake Method where I’ve done eight page character studies that identified everything from childhood illnesses to favourite socks for the main characters.

Currently, my approach is a bit of a hybrid between a well-mapped plan and a wander to wherever the story takes me. I find plot twists and character revelations develop over the course of the novel.

I have thick notebooks and big files of photos and other visual prompts that help me stay in touch with my imaginary world. Sometimes a particular piece of music evokes a mood I’m trying to capture so I’ll play that repeatedly. Mostly I try to visit my work every day so the characters and their dilemmas stay with me.

While I’m developing a novel, I continue to read books on craft because it’s important to be reminded of the basics. I like to do Sarah Selecky’s daily prompts with pen and a notebook for practice—like playing the scales.

Through all this, I keep reading. Usually I read one short story and one novel a week.

Then there are those other writing things I do that looks suspiciously unlike writing: I clean house, go for walks, do the laundry, visit with family and friends, take in a film or concert—things that let new ideas bubble to the surface.

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I’ve tagged three wonderful authors to follow me on this blog tour. They are:

Lynn Crymble who became a writer because she didn't want to have to be accountable to anyone else or explain what, exactly, she was doing. Also, Lynn is commitment shy. Not to her husband as they have been married, like, forever. Rather, since she has been dealing with the unpredictable nature of a really fun disease called Multiple Sclerosis! - it is probably a good thing that she doesn't have a boss yelling at her. Or deadlines. No, Lynn enjoys the void and vacuum of grinding out words, hoping that one day, someone might actually read them.

Her first novel, It Can Happen To You, was miraculously published by HarperCollins in 2009. She lives with her husband and daughter in North Vancouver.

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A Canadian-born author, Lisa Voisin spent her childhood daydreaming and making up stories, but it was her love of reading and writing in her teens that drew her to Young Adult fantasy. In addition to being an author and technical writer, Lisa also facilitates the Lynn Valley Young Writers’ Club to assist young authors in finding their writing voice. In her spare time, she teaches meditation. So when she's not writing, you'll find her meditating or hiking in the mountains to counter the side effects of drinking too much coffee. She lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her fiancé and their two cats. Her first novel The Watcher, is a paranormal romance.

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It was probably on the ship coming from England to Canada that Karen Dodd’s destiny to become a writer surfaced. Even at the age of four, she could spin a wildly believable yarn that ensnared a member of the ship’s crew into helping her search for hours for her missing “doll,” who turned out to be her invisible friend. She could read before she started kindergarten and by the time she was in grade school, she struggled miserably at math and science, excelling at composition. After publishing hundreds of articles, Karen’s critically acclaimed debut novel, Deadly Switch: A Stone Suspense was released in December, 2013, and she is currently working on the sequel.  

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Blog photo: Euro in spinfex, North Flinders Ranges Australia by Alan Bolitho, leading man.