My blogging hasn't been to consistent lately. I apologise.
I had a big weekend with Hearts Afire going free on Amazon on April 26 & 27. My baby made it to #20 in the free kindle store and #6 in Contemporary Romance.
I was pretty happy with that because it means lots of people downloaded her and hopefully enjoy her. (Yes my book is definitely a she). Hopefully they like her enough to but either Mr Right and Other Mongrels or Alphabet Dating when it comes out later THIS WEEK!
Yes I sent that book of to the formatter, and assuming my general technical incompetence and ignorance of Dropbox and file sharing in general hasn't failed me, the book is now in very good hands.
If you want to go in the draw for a free e-copy of Alphabet Dating fill in the form on my landing page.
Finally I heard this Shakira song on the weekend and it reminded me of the main character in a book I'm working on so I thought I'd share it here for musical Monday. The girl in my book has always done everything right but life hasn't exactly been kind to her...so she can't quite believe her luck when she finally gets happiness.
It's a funny thing being a writer in the 21st century. You can still be the lonely, conflicted isolated person in a loft, wearing a beret, drinking red wine and feeling angst all alone. The difference is you no longer have to.
Thanks to the internet there is really no need for any writer to feel lonely. The opportunities to connect are almost boundless.
You can find readers, editors and cover designers all on the internet.
You can join discussion groups with other authors on Facebook that cover your genre, writing style or nationality. You can hop on twitter, follow other writers and getting chatting. There are author forums and loops. There are online critique groups. You can pitch to publishers and agents online sometimes as well.
There are so many ways to connect in fact that many authors have to unplug and lock themselves in that garret just to get any real writing done or to finish that project before the dreaded deadline.
One of the things I love about the internet is that it lets you stay connected with people years after you meet them. Today I'm meeting a friend for dinner I met at during a writing program back in 2008. Even though he lives interstate I've been able to follow his progress, buy his books and easily keep in touch thanks to the internet.
I have other friends from my writing group who no longer attend regularly due to work commitments. Thanks to the internet I can stay up to date with their journey as well and the same is true for people I've met at writing conferences.
What this creates is a community. It's nice to feel a part of a community (Sorry Margaret Thatcher but I believe in community!) It certainly makes the journey less lonely as you share your triumphs and failures with people who know what they feel like from first hand experience.
Today I thought I'd do a twist on my usual Taste of Tuesday feature and interview Serena the main character in Alphabet Dating which will be out next week!
First of all Serena please tell us a little bit about yourself:
Ok, Monique. I'm an ex-pat Australian living in New York. I work as a book reviewer though I am also writing my own novel, very slowly. I also have a crazy bunch of friends who came up with a hair-brained scheme they called The Alphabet Dating Plan. It means I have to go on 26 dates in one month, one for every letter of the alphabet!
1. Do you prefer sweet or savoury foods (i.e. cheese or chocolate)?
Oh definitely savoury! I mean I won't say no to a Tim Tam but give me a cheese plate any day.
2. Red wine or white? (Wine obviously)
Actually I rather like a nice French champagne.
3. Do you have a favourite food memory?
My family and I have lived all over the world so I have lots of amazing food memories but after I had a car accident a few years back I have developed an obsession with soups. I find them nurturing and so comforting.
4. Does food feature in your novel(s)?
Food features quite a bit in Alphabet Dating. It's hard to go on so many dates and not eat! There's also my obsession with soups and a Thanksgiving feast in the book so plenty for the food lovers.
5. What recipe are you sharing with us and why?
I'm sharing a recipe for Carrot Soup. It's super simple, inexpensive and very yummy.
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion diced
3 rashers of bacon, diced
1 teaspoon of dill.
500g carrots, peeled and sliced
250ml chicken stock or veggie
1. Melt butter in saucepan and soften onion slowly.
2. Add bacon and stir till just cooked.
3. Add carrots, dill, s &p.
4. Add stock to cover carrots (if not quite enough add some water). Simmer until carrots soften.
5. Puree in a blender or with a stick blender.
6. Stir through cream.
Alphabet Dating will be out
1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
The Book was actually conceived as a process of a Saint Guide I wanted to make with a friend; I had this idea to talk about Patron Saints and their causes in a comprehensible and casual tone.
What actually happened is glimpses of Julianna started picking at my brain; my friend Adriana encouraged me to go home and write it and that was the beginning of “Borrowing my Mother’s Saints”
2. When did you take up writing?
I remember it was around Easter of 2011, this I remember because I checked the sermon of the day for one of the moments when Julie enters a church.
3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
I think the place and setting have a way of touching characters, in their traits, customs and mind frame. In Juliana’s case I thought Manhattan gave the vibe for the type of life that will have her running around with little time to stop and
4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
Stella, Julie’s mom is one of my favourite characters as she provides the constant support, love and courage that will be the foundation for her. My next one would be Sister Gertrude who challenged her comfort zone and was not afraid to
call her a “coward” even from the grave to make her point.
5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
It was actually when I had the manuscript in my hard drive for a long time; when a friend (Becky) pushed me to self-publish saying “You not only have to continue writing because of the joy it brings you. You have to publish so other people can read it and you can touch their lives, it’s the dream of every artist. Don’t let fear stop you.”
6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
I don’t, but I should. I generally work around my kids’ schedule, but strive to at least two or three days sit in front of the computer.
7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
I’m a mixture of both! I have the idea of the story and how it’s going to develop and end. But I start each chapter with a general mental outline and let it speak to me from there.
8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Something Blue by Emily Giffin.
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.
(Monique interjects to say she love, love, loved The Language of Flowers too!)
9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
I’m working on the story of a woman who loses the love of her life at sixty and considers her life meaningless without him, only to find many unexpected surprises and events along the way.
10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
I think my own journey is just starting but I would say “Try to remember each day the joy writing brings you and from that place expect great things”
Borrowing My Mother's Saints
by Olga G Soaje
Published: September 2012
Genre: Contemporary Romance (Chick lit)
Interwoven with humor, romance and vital inspiration, Olga Soaje’s novel takes readers on a dazzling journey through the sudden unraveling of one woman’s life on her quest towards happiness.
With a plum job at Nelson and Nelson ad agency, a Manhattan apartment, and a boyfriend named Michael who looks good enough on paper, Julianna is at the peak of her game. That’s when everything starts going south fast. Nancy, her nemesis at work with a fake smile (and other body parts!), has somehow stolen her account. Her boss, Peter, deems her burned out and sends her out the door with her cardboard box. And that’s just the beginning of the rapid-fire onslaught of serious woes.
After Michael dumps her squarely, her mom is diagnosed with breast cancer. Julianna is officially at her wit’s end. However, just as she’s in the deepest despair, enter a cast of characters that Julianna hasn’t seen since her childhood days at home and in her Catholic grade school. Tucked away in her mother’s recipe box is a bounty of saints cards, and soon, those the saints come marching in to represent a source of strength her mother had found in them and a way to develop other career paths she had not considered on her road to happiness. Julianna is greeted with new opportunities, for better and sometimes for worse, that help her forge her own road to a richer, more authentic life.
Links to purchase the book
Barnes & Noble:
Connect with Olga:
I was down at Manly today writing and having a coffee. As a writer who also writes for her day job sometimes sitting in the same place day in day out can squash the creativity and a change of scene helps.
It's a seriously beautiful autumn day in Sydney and there were tourists everywhere. I have some serious guilt issues and whenever I see tourists in Sydney and the weather is less than stellar I feel very guilty. I always want to go and apologise. Issues man issues.
Anyway today there was no need at all for that.
On my way home this song came on the radio and it seemed to fit so well with my current WIP (Work in progress) that I thought I'd share it with you.
I do happen to believe that love should be easy and shouldn't hurt but as know in a romance or a chick lit novel the path of true love usually is rather bumpy...that's one of my challenges in writing actually. I consider my characters to be friends and just like with friends I can't help my characters to be happy.
Seriously - what's the worst thing that can happen to a writer?
Well it depends a bit on the writer. Apart from losing your whole manuscript, which pretty much destroys writers globally, and apart from rejection, which is a right of passage more than a catastrophe.
For me the answer is simple - you can't have coffee. My cappuccino /espresso machine broke on the weekend. Can you imagine the horror? How can anyone write without caffeine?
We all have our vices I know writers who guzzle the diet coke and others who have Tim Tams, Skittles or M&M's on tap but for me it's caffeine.
I'm happy to report after two days of running out for take-away coffee (or take-out as they say in America) my lovely husband has repaired the machine and I'm back in business.
Let the writing continue!
if you're a writer or even a reader - what's your creative crutch?
Sorry I've been such a hopeless blogger the last couple of weeks. I seem to have patches where I do a great job on the consistency and then it falls away.
That frustrates me and when it happens because I'm distracted or uninspired but this time I haven't minded.
If I'm absent because I've been writing then that's OK with me.
Writing seem to come to me in waves and right now I'm on a roll so that's lovely. My absolute favourite part of writing is creating new characters and heading off on a journey with them. It fills me with delight and pleasure every time.
So apologies if my blogging is sporadic but I'm a writer so I must write.
In other news Alphabet Dating is having it's final round of edits now so not long to wait!