Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We're almost at the end of 2011. The year passed so quickly. Upon reflection it was a great year for me, things happened I never expected. 

First and foremost, all of my family are healthy and happy. All of my extended family are well too. 
                    One of my sisters is moving, making her holiday season a stressful one. But a change is as good as a rest. I think the move will be a good one. She is closing some doors and new ones are opening. In the end, the move will be a good one and will force a change of routine.
                    My other sister is enjoying the fruits of her move last year as it put her closer to her grandchildren and her daughters.
                    My brother in Britain is surrounded with family and his silly but loving humour is alive and still going strong. His family are all well.
                    My 90-year-old mom just spent Christmas day with my sister and had a wonderful day.

When you reach my age, this is truly a blessing and makes the year complete.

On a personal note, my year was full of new experiences and self-achievement.
                    In January, I signed a publishing contract with Asteroid Publishing in Toronto. A small publisher who includes the author in the aspects of publishing, my hands-on experience in marketing and sales have been illuminating. My biggest hurdle has been learning all about social media. Quite a feat for this grandmother. I'm still learning but so glad to be part of new technology which is definitely a strong part of the future.
                    In February, I started a  job in local government as an Admin. Asst. to the CAO. A part-time job that should be full-time and of which I have worked at almost full-time. It has been interesting work and I'm enjoying it.
                    In September, I had my first media review which made my heart jump. After all the years I spent writing the book, it was a scary process waiting for a review - it was a good one.
                    Since October, I have done three readings/signings. This is a part of the process some authors hate. Writing is one thing, but selling yourself is quite another. After my initial jittery nerves, I actually found myself enjoying them.
                    In November, Independent Publisher for small publishers placed my book on their editor's choice list for the month of November.
                    November/December I found myself writing treatments for book adaptations to film. One production company requested a copy of my book. Early stages that may amount to nothing, but another new experience for me.

So that's my year. On scale of ten I would give it a nine out of ten. Why not ten out of ten? Because I miss my Dad who has been gone now for almost five years. I wish he were here to share my year. Love you, "Middy Waddy".



Sunday, December 18, 2011

A to Z's OF NOVEL WRITING By June Bourgo, "A" is for Action

I decided that it was time I stopped talking about me and my journey to being a novelist and perhaps give you some tips to help carry you through your journey. So much is out there on other writer blogs to help you, so I thought I would make mine a little different and entertaining. I am going to give you the A to Z's of novel writing by June Bourgo, Author.

Who knows how long it will take us to get to  "Z" as these posts won't be consecutive. I will slip one inbetween other posts or a few may be consecutive if I have nothing else to say. I'm very excited at sharing with you all what I have learned along the way and I hope you will find them helpful, inspiring, and entertaining.

First, I don't believe there is a set way to write a novel. Every writer has their own style, their own routine, and their own method of pulling a novel together. The trick is to find yours. I can tell you that I have no rhyme or reason to how I write. I don't have a detailed outline and I can't start at Chapter 1 and write in sequence to the end of the last chapter. That doesn't work for me. I have an idea for the book, and know more or less how it should start, progress, and end. That's it. My writing begins where the muse takes me. If I have a great concept I think should be included in the book, I write it out with an idea where in the book it should be placed. I make up a chapter number for it and there it sits. I have no idea how many chapters there will be, because I believe the book is finished when I decide there is nothing more to add to the story. And, until I reach that point, I have no idea how many chapters there will be.

In my debut novel, I had 27 chapters. Once I finished my edits, which included dumping the first three chapters and a couple of others within the book, replacing them with just one chapter, I had 21 chapters. Realizing some of my chapters were too long, I split them up and rewrote the endings, leaving the final copy with 25 chapters in total. As new chapters were placed in the book, some of the existing chapter numbers changed or their placement changed.

That's my process, but not necessarily yours. So my A to Z's of Novel Writing will not include a set method or format to writing a novel,  but will outline more the tools and steps necessary to actually sit down and write a book. Let's get started.
"A" is for Action



1. the process or state of acting or of being active.
2. something done or performed; act; deed.
3. an act that one consciously wills and that may be characterized by physical or mental activity.
4. actions, habitual or usual acts; conduct.
5. energetic activity: a man of action.


Thinking about it, wanting to do it, and dreaming about being a published author wont get it done. However, thinking about characters, plot, location, conflict and resolution is a definite start. Number 3 above is very important. Mental activity is just as important as the physical act of pounding on the keyboard or hand writing your story.

When sitting quiet and silent, my husband has come to recognize my facial expressions. He will say: "You're writing, aren't you?" And he's right. A lot of planning and detailing happens in my head long before I physically put it into my computer.


Okay, so you're tired of working on storylines, developing protagonists and antagonists (hey, here's another "A" word and a necessary one to the plot). You're muse has dried up and you need a break. There are lots of other things you can do which all add to the process of creating a novel.

One is research. Some writer's hate this process. I happen to love it. Still, if you need to learn more about a particular subject that comes into your story, and research is a tedious proposition for you, then read another fiction story that covers that area of expertise. I am assuming here that most writer's love to read and be entertained. Here is an opportunity to enjoy a good fiction book and become knowledgeable as well to help with your storyline. (Just don't plagerize, haha.) And there are lots of non-fiction books available. In my book, I needed to research survival in the wilderness. There were lots of self-help books on that subject.

Another course of action is to read other writer's blogs, a great wealth of information with links to marketing and querying sites for writers. Because, of course, once your novel is completed, you will begin the process of pitching your book to publishers and agents, or if self-publishing, the marketing process starts. You might as well start educating yourself on this aspect early. Believe me, it will make the process smoother.

Design your business cards, book cover (if self-publishing), and book markers.

Social media is a very important aspect to marketing online. Set-up a blog and a website. Join twitter, facebook, and writing sights such as Goodreads. Join a writer's group in your hometown or an online site. Start talking about your book.

These are some action items. You can probably come up with more. The idea is to start an action, any action, that will begin the process. You will find that it will become addictive and you will be well into the process before you know it.

That's it for the "A", see you at "B".

Keep on keeping on writing!

Monday, October 31, 2011


Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 7:30 pm marked my first reading/signing of Winter's Captive. Held at the Clinton Library, it was a great success.

Love my new poster - added a professional touch

My nerves left me speechless at one point near the beginning, forgetting what I intended to say, but I recovered and soon relaxed into the reading, finding my rhythm. 
The question period was a lot of fun and because some people there had already read the book, I had to be careful how I answered their questions, as to not give too much away to the ones who hadn't read the book. When asked about the sequel, I had the same problem, trying not to reference anything from the first book.

For a small town I had a great turnout and I was surprised at the number of books I sold.
Some people not only bought for themselves, but purchased books as Christmas gifts for their children and grandchildren.

While I autographed books for buyers, they refreshed themselves.
The people in my village have been so supportive and they made my special evening fun and successful, and they made cutting my teeth an easy process.
Thank you to everyone.

Monday, October 3, 2011

First Newspaper Interview for "Winter's Captive"

First I have to thank the 750 people who entered to win one of the five copies my publisher was giving away free on Goodreads. The number of people who responded was well beyond my expectations. I appreciate your support. Congratulations to the winners.

Below is a copy of my first newspaper interview. So stoked. It is my second interview next to my first social media interview given by Patricia Puddle, childrens book author in Australia. I'm posting this because I want all you aspiring writer's to realize if I can do it at 63, so can you. Embrace it and keep on keeping on writing.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

SOCK WARS by Hannah Christensen

Today I want to dedicate my blog to a special child who has written a book for very special reasons.

Sock Wars is a children's picture book about playing and enjoying every moment in life. The book is dedicated to the memory of Hannah's brother, Jonah, who died suddenly three years ago at the age of six. The book also comes with a song.

All the proceeds go to The Vancouver Sun's "Raise-a-Reader" Program.

The author, Hannah Christensen is twelve years old. I was touched by the article I read about this book and her dedication. It is heart-warming and humbling to realize that one so young could think of such a wonderful way to honor the life and loss of her sibling. 

Bravo, Hannah!

If you would like more information or to order this book, here is the link.

To all the writers out there, keep on keeping on writing and have a great week.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Publishing Update for "Winter's Captive".

The journey continues. My books arrived and what a feeling. How can I express that feeling in words? Think of the most satisfying, exciting, surreal moment in your life and I guess that would explain it.

My release date has been pushed to November 2011, still out for Christmas. So keep it in mind for that special gift for stocking stuffers, or that special person you think would enjoy it. 

Another first, I had my first Press Release online, here's the link:

"Winter's Captive" is available at great discounted presale prices on various sites such as Chapters Indigo, Canadian Bookshelf, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. Follow the link below to my website for more details and links to these sites. And don't forget to enter Giveaways on the Goodreads link above. Five books will be given away to randomly picked winners.

At the moment, I am setting up a signing/reading event in my Village for next month. An exciting and daunting venture, it should be a lot of fun as well. My publisher is setting up more for me at book store chains. When I know my events schedule, I will post it here and on my website.

I want to feature as well, a fellow writer who has just released an ebook entitlted: "Agartha's Castaway". If you like young adult, fantasy, past worlds and prehistoric animals, author Chrissy Peebles has the book for you.   Here's the link to her blog:

Good luck Chrissy and welcome to the world of publishing.

That's it for now. Off to work on my sequel.

Keep on keeping on writing!

Saturday, August 20, 2011


...Just a short post today to share my excitement!

My publisher mailed me a box of books today. I am SOOOOO EXCITED. Can't wait to see the real thing. I have been doing a lot of marketing along with my publisher for the big release date. It was to be October, but was pushed to November.

Meanwhile we are setting up book tours with indie stores, chains, and libraries, and I have been designing  a bookmark and other promotional materials.

Now back to designing a poster and then working on the sequel.

Speaking of which, I have had a problem with voice for a couple of five-year-olds in the sequel and my good friend and fellow writer, Patricia Puddle in Australia, who writes children's books is helping me catch the voice. So glad to have her help.

Meanwhile, to all of you waiting for the book release, won't be long. And for all you writer's out there -

Keep on keeping on writing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Did you know that 70% of all people have suffered at least once from the Imposter Syndrome?

Today, I'm choosing to write about the imposter syndrome because the majority of us suffer with what I call this "condition", with mild to extreme reactions that can affect our daily living. It is a very common phenomenon. We are not alone and yes, I have suffered with this syndrome too.

The following is one description of the Imposter Syndrome. 

The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. It is not an officially recognized psychological disorder, but has been the subject of numerous books and articles by psychologists and educators. The term was coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978.[1]

Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

I once read an article on a local news anchor who suffered for years believing she was an imposter. Here was an educated, competent young woman fully qualified for the position; yet, she feared she would be "found out" and people would see she wasn't as intelligent as they believed her to be. Jody Foster admitted in an interview that when she won an Oscar, she felt like an imposter who had "lucked out". She felt "they" would find out and knock on her door and tell her they made a mistake. A very talented actor, and one of my favorites, I was confused by this admission at the time.

But I was soon to recognize this condition in myself when writing a blog post about my book, "Winter's Captive". It was difficult for me to write about the abuse of my first marriage because I felt like a fraud. My abuse had been mainly mental, with only a little amount of physical abuse. So many women suffered so much more physically than I had. How crazy is that? Abuse is abuse, regardless of its form, or how much more or little one form is over the other.

Then, a publisher knocked on my door and handed me a publishing contract. That old syndrome really knocked me aback. I mean, who was I to think I could fool people into thinking I was a writer? After all, I didn't have any formal education or writing degrees. Nor had I lived the life of the long-suffering, struggling writer. After much soul-searching I accepted the words of one editor who said I was a natural writer and that my education came from life and those who have passed through it.

Georgia Charles is the main character in "Winter's Captive". As her character developed, I recognized that she too suffered from the imposter syndrome as a wife and as a woman. She overcame her insecurities and became empowered. With the editing and re-editing of this heroine, she became my healer and my hope is that my readers will relate to Georgia and draw from her confidence and strength.

Here is the final paragraph of the description above for the Imposter Syndrome:

The impostor syndrome, in which competent people find it impossible to believe in their own competence, can be viewed as complementary to the Dunning–Kruger effect, in which incompetent people find it impossible to believe in their own incompetence.

Hmm...I think I would rather have to deal with the Imposter Syndrome than the Dunning-Kruger effect. I would rather be humble than believe I'm something I'm not.

There's nothing stranger than people! Aren't we though?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"BLENDED", THE SEQUEL - To Prologue or Not To Prologue Revisited

The great prologue debate....

I have revisited this post and revamped it after more research and added my final decision towards the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

So finally, the muse is back and I'm working on the sequel to Winter's Captive, tentatively called Blended.

The first dilema I came across was,  do I write a prologue or not. There are so many sites on line discussing this subject and none of them agree. I did a lot of on line research on this subject and this is what I found.

Here is the "DON'T use a prologue" reasons list:

1. Can be boring to the reader and lead them away from the actual story if not done right.
2. Decide if it is really necessary, can you fit it into Chapter 1?
3. Newbies use them because they don't know how to backstory in Chapter 1 with set-up information.
4. More than five pages is too long, write a chapter.
5. Under five pages is too short, not necessary.
6. Agents hate them.

Here's the "YES, use a prologue" reasons list.

1. Too much backstory in Chapter 1 is boring and takes the reader away from the actual story, use a prologue.
2. If the timeline is earlier than Chapter 1, use a prologue.
3. If you need to move into the sequel, referencing some details from the first book, use a prologue because
    the sequel should stand alone without repeating too much information from the first book.

This was all very confusing to me and in the end I decided to use a prologue because the timeline is later than the original story but earlier than the beginning of the sequel. After much debate with myself, I decided a prologue was necessary to set up the start of the sequel without conflicting timelines and too much backstory in Chapter 1, which could bog down the story and bore the reader.

Once I decided on using a prologue, I engaged in more on line research on how to write a prologue and became even more confused.

Here is some of what I found:

1. A prologue should not be more than one and half pages.
2. A prologue should be at least five pages or it is too short and redundant.
3. A prologue can be as long as you need it to be to do its job.
4. Just call it "Prologue".
5. Don't call it anything.
6. You can give it a name if you wish.
7. Length and to name or not to name is up to the author (and ultimately, the agent or publisher).

What did I do?

I opted to use a prologue but didn't call it anything. I don't really like the sound of the word "prologue" and I think it was more dramatic to start the piece right at the first sentence and italicize the whole thing.

My prologue is eight and half pages long, what I felt it took to set up my storyline for the sequel.

Then I decided to go straight to the readers and see what they think of prologues. Okay, so most hate them, most skip over them. Sometimes if the book grabs hold of them, they will go back and read it. Most like them short. I thought eight pages was short, but some think that is long. My husband just started a new book with a prologue that is one and half pages. He loved it. Short, sweet, and to the point. I can't see my prologue edited down to two pages. There is too much going on there. So...

Alright, so I have rethought my position and decided to scrap the prologue and start the sequel at Chapter 1 at a later date than the original book. Perhaps the prologue will be rewritten into another chapter further on in a different light. Perhaps it will be scrapped altogether and will become an exercise in writing.

I'm happy with the outcome but I must say, this writing business is exhausting. But now that I have solved my dilema of to prologue or not to prologue I can get on with the sequel.

What did I learn most from all of this? It keeps coming back to the same old thing - you are the author, do what feels right for the story and what you are happy with. If that means breaking "the rules", go ahead and break them. Feels good.

Now its your turn. Do you like prologues or not? Would you use one? What about backstory in a chapter? What do you think the ideal length of a prologue should be?

Have a great writing week and keep on keeping on writing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

WINTER'S CAPTIVE - FINAL PROOF EDITS final proof arrived and it took me a week to proof it and get it back to my editor. I can't believe it is all done. Any mistakes I missed are there forever now LOL. I, also, received my media release and fact sheet for proofing, and my final cover. So exciting. That part is all behind me.

Now, the marketing begins. And, I have been listed on Barnes and Nobel, for pre-orders with an October 15, 2011 release date. So cool!

So much to share this post. I had my first web-based interview. I will copy/paste below so you can read it and get to know me a little better.

I have been getting lots of hits on my blogsite lately so I know you are out there. Please leave a comment or if you have a blogsite leave me a link so I can join you out there.

Here's the interview...

 Interview with June Bourgo, June 27, 2011
Here is the wonderful June Bourgo and her wonderful book Winter's Captive that is due out in October this year.

Hi June, welcome to the Adventures of Molly Mavis Gumnut Blog.

Thanks so much for having me, Trish.

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

First, I was born and raised in Montreal. I moved west in my late teens. I love BC. Victoria and Vancouver are beautiful cities. I can enjoy the sophistication of the big city and live in the raw beauty of nature not too far away.

That sounds wonderful, and perfect for an author. Where do you write, June? Do you have an office? Or do you sit in your garden?

I have an office to write in, but I like to sit by our trout stream and write. I usually carry paper and pen with me wherever I go, because sometimes I see interactions with people that inspire me to write and I don't want to forget what I saw.

That's like me, I always carry a pen and notebook wherever I go. You never know what might inspire you and it's so easy to forget things. Now, tell us how long you’ve been writing, June.

I always enjoyed writing as a child. I was an average student because I was a lazy student. I did what I needed to, to get through the course. But I always exceled in English and got top marks.

That's great. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

As a teenager, I was very shy and definitely a dreamer. Secretly I wanted to write, be a rock star, and be a stewardess so I could travel the world. I grew up in a loving and protective family but the support to have a career really wasn't there. As a female, I was encouraged to take typing so I could work as a secretary until I met a man and became a wife and mother. The fifties dream LOL.

Yes. I can relate to that. Not all parents see the artistic side of their child. I look for it in my grandchildren and can already see that one is a potential author. He has a great imagination and is great at drawing.

Do you remember your first writing attempts, June?

I do. I remember writing about being a snowman when I was nine and walking down the street and melting away in the hot spring sun LOL. I got an A for that. Then, as a teenager, I tried to write the great Canadian novel about a girl in Quebec in the days of the French Voyageurs (fur trappers). Like I knew all about that! That was my first lesson in writing about what you know. Haha.

That's funny, June. I remember my first story. It was about a miniature person that lived in my pocket. I named her Inchy and she was a right trouble causer. LOL.

What genre do you write the most?

Fiction - women's stories, all about empowerment.

What other genres have you written in, or would like to pursue?

Well, at the moment, my passion lies with women's stories. I love getting into the psyche and I'm very character driven as opposed to plot driven. I enjoy creating plots, but they are there to serve my characters only.

What is the main theme of your latest book? And what inspired it?

Again...empowerment. That shy protected teenager, along with being a dreamer, was extremely niave. I married the wrong person for all the wrong reasons. He was an abusive alcoholic. It took me nine years to finally get the courage to get myself and my son out of that destructive relationship. My first novel, Winter's Captive, is based on the lessons I learned and the growth I gained from that time of my life. It is a fictitious story about a pregnant women who is abandoned by her cheating husband and she escapes kidnappers in the Canadian north. She spends the winter lost and alone in a remote cabin, experiences childbirth solo, and reflects on her life while trying to survive a harsh winter. The book was a healing process for me and my therapy.

That was very brave of you to do. Many women never have the courage to do that as they fear the reprisals, and quite right in some cases. You're also very brave to talk publicly about it too. Good for you, June.

What goals do you set out to achieve when you start writing a new story?

Wow, that's a tough question! I don't write outlines. I loosely write down the main characters name and list all the things I see happening to that character before my preconceived ending. I, also, don't write in any particular order. I know a beginning and an end. I write where the muse takes me knowing only that that piece will be near the end, or in the middle somewhere, etc. I just follow the muse of the moment and sooner or later all the pieces fit together. It is the only way I can do it. To start at chapter 1, go to 2, then 3, etc. sounds so restrictive to me and boring LOL. So after all this rambling, my only goal is to write, no rhyme or reason to it.

Are you a fast or a slow writer?

By some peoples achievements, slow. My first novel took nine years. Well, actually two and a half years. The rest of those years, life got in the way. But the past year I completely rewrote it and found a publisher after three tries.

How long does it take you to write a book

I guess I answered that above partly. I expect my current novel to take me a year. If I could retire full-time, probably six months.

How do you cope with the friends and family that don’t support your writing or believe in your writing?

Generally, if we don't support something a family member is doing, we keep our mouths shut, unless it is somethng destructive. But the rest of us will talk to each other about it. A typical family LOL. I can be a private person and some of my friends didn't even know I write.

That's sensible. I make the mistake of telling everyone I'm an author, leaving myself wide opene for critisism, sometimes, but not always.
What is your next project, June?

A sequel to "Winter's Captive". My main character has more to say and more to share about herself with the world.

Great. Do you ever base physical appearance of your characters on people you know, portraits or actors?

Good question. Portraits or actors - no. Physical appearance somewhat, but I do draw more from personality traits and character of people I know. I use names of my grandchildren for secondary characters that may only appear in the story on one or two pages where we don't need to know anythng about that character. I don't use names of people I know for main characters because first, I can't disassociate their name from their personalities and that gets in the way of the character's development. And secondly, I don't want anyone I know to think a character is based on them, especially if the character's role in the story is a bad one LOL.

I know what you mean. For my characters, I merge a few people I know together, then they can't recognise themselves. LOL.

Introduce the main character from your latest book. Who are they? Let them speak for themselves. What would they like to say?

My name is Georgia Charles. The most important thing I can tell you is to get to know yourself. Don't define yourself by what you do or who you are with. Be your own person. And if life hands you lemons, make lemonade. It's up to you to decide how much sweetness to add to the lemons, no one else. Live for today.

Fantastic, June. Thank you so much for answering all the questions. That was very entertaining.

I enjoyed it too, Trish, and thanks for inviting me to your blog.

June's book, Winter's Captive will be published in October 2011 by Asteroid Publishing Inc, Toronto.

You can follow June at:

Have a great writing week all and keep on keeping on writing!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Finally..the interview I promised you all with a fellow author. I met Patricia Puddle through our on line Critique Circle group. We are fellow critters. I love this lady. She not only is an accomplished writer but a very funny lady. Her life hasn't always been easy, but humour has carried her through.

The characters in her books hit a chord with children who enjoy these naughty, mischievous kids who just as they're about to cross that invisible behaviour line that would make parents uncomfortable, something dramatic and so hilarious happens that it pulls them back to their senses and leaves the reader in stitches. Children relate to their antics and gut laugh at their disasters. I bought my granddaughter "Star Crossed Rascals" and she loves it. I took her on Patricia's website and she chose "Molly Gumnut Rescues A Bandicoot" as her birthday present. She is reading it as I write this.

Here is the interview with Children’s Book Author Patricia Puddle. Sit back and enjoy!

Hi Patricia, welcome to my blog.

Hi, June, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog.

Before we get into your writing, tell us a little about yourself, education, etc. and how you came to be a writer.

I always wanted to write children’s stories, but I didn’t have a very good education. I was a slow learner due to missing school at the ages of six and seven. I contracted measles and spent a month in hospital, then a year later I had trouble eating and began spitting my food onto my plate, much to the horror of my parents. They didn’t realise at first that I had swollen tonsils and thought I was just a fussy eater. Of course, eventually I kept getting tonsillitis and had to have my tonsils out. I was off school for quite a while, and when I did go back to school, my tonsils began to grow back again and I had to have another operation. I ended up missing an important part of my schooling and the teacher I had at the time didn’t help me to catch up. So I became the class clown and ended up spending most of my school days sitting outside the principal’s office.

Haha (me laughing). You sound a lot like your characters, Molly and Polly.

You’re right. I’ve added all my memories to my children's stories and hopefully make them funny enough for reluctant readers. I left school at the age of fourteen and had no experience with anything except being a clown and making other children laugh, but I did manage to get a job in Sydney Australia with a typewriter company. My boss sent a typewriter to my home for me to learn how to type and that’s when I began writing my stories.

Cool boss!

Definitely. Of course I couldn’t spell and I had no idea where commas went so I filed them away. I worked until I married at the age of seventeen, had two children by the age of eighteen, then went back to work as soon as they were in school.
It wasn’t until I was fifty-three that I learned how to write properly. I joined online critique groups and websites for writers and studied hundreds of children’s books. Five years later, here I am with three published children’s books, all are series, all in paperbacks and also eBooks.

That’s a pretty amazing story and impressive. A self-taught author. Now tell us, self publishing or traditional?

Self publishing. I tried the Publisher/Agent way, but got nowhere. Although I sent the first book to agents and publishers, after three years of rejections, I decided to self publish.There aren't many Australian publishers that were taking on new authors in these hard times, also overseas publishers probably didn’t want to take on authors that couldn’t go to book signings in their country. Not sure really, but I never sent my best work to many publishers, only to three, and when they rejected me, I decided to self publish.

So tell us about your experience in the self publishing world.

I’m so glad I did because my books are just starting to take off and I’m already getting five-star reviews. I’ve also sold many books to pensioners at my mother’s retirement village as her pals love my stories and are waiting for my next book. I’m selling on Amazon and CreateSpace. As well as selling directly to people in Australia in coffee lounges, community centres, art shops, gift shops and even to people I chat to. I’ve sold many this way as I always carry copies of my books with me.

Wow, not only a writer, but a saleswoman. Some writer’s are scared to death of the marketing side. How many books have you written?

I’ve published three books, but I’ve written many more stories. Trouble is, they all need editing before I publish. Most are sequels to my three published books.

What is the first thing you can remember writing?

That’s easy. It was Star-Crossed Rascals, which is my childhood diary turned into a fictitious chapter book for reluctant readers. I’m writing the sequel at the moment called Return of The Grotty Rascals. (Though I might change the title.)

Great name. I like it. When did you decide to become a writer?

I was born in England and the first time I told a funny story, I made other kids laugh. I became addicted as I was considered to be scatty and one teacher named me Wishy-Washy and mostly used that name when talking to me. I was about seven at that time and I loved to read, so I decided I would write funny books, but first I had to learn how to write properly.

I think I know the answer to this but why children’s books?

I don’t really know, but I think back to how I was at school, not knowing how to write, but knowing how to read. I guess maybe I’m still stuck there - in my childhood memories, plus there’s nothing better than hearing the laughter of children.

Do you write an outline? Do you start at Chapter 1 go to 2, then 3 etc in order or follow wherever your muse takes you?

No, I never write outlines or anything. I just sit down and write and the story unfolds. I amuse myself along the way as I never know what I’m going to type next. I let the characters take me wherever they want. I try to imagine what that character would do in that situation, and then take the route that I think a child that age would take. To do that, I have to put myself inside the head of that character, which is easy for me as they are all part of me. Hahaha. My ideas come from my experiences as a child, and as an adult all merged together. Tee hee. I’m a child that never grew up.

Hmm…that probably applies to all us writers . Do you like researching?

Yes, I love that, but don’t have to do too much as my stories are from experience. Though I do check that factual things are correct. For example, if I’m writing about native animals, I have to get that right as children are reading and learning. I use my experience with animals I’ve cared for, but if I’m unsure about something, I research or contact my supervisor at the wildlife rescue I volunteer with, also with other experienced members.

What’s next for you?

Oh, well, I’m so overwhelmed with it all as I have a dozen stories started. Now, I have to work out which one to work on first.

Marketing – what is the most important thing to know about marketing your books.

Marketing is so important and you have to do it every day. I use my blog, my website, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, writing forums, and most importantly, use the community on Amazon and Smashwords, as well as emails. I’m thinking of having a newsletter too, so I can send out updates to all addresses on my emails.
I’ve been lucky enough to have an old childhood classmate see me on a website, contact me and offer to host a new website. I’m so happy with it too. He’s done a wonderful job. Then another lucky thing happened to me.

Tell us about it.

A local DJ offered to advertise my work on a local radio station and send listeners to my websites as well as the coffee shop where my books are for sale. How lucky can an author be?

It sounds like through your friends and social media you have a lot of support. What about family support? How do handle the naysayers?

Hahahahaha. I have been walking around for the past seven years, telling all my family and friends that I’m an author. Many laughed as they knew I couldn’t spell or write, but I kept it up. I would probably have annoyed some of them as I kept saying , “I’m a skinny, best-selling author.” Well, I’m not skinny yet, but I’m an author of children’s books because my website name is Patricia Puddle Children’s Books Author. I’ve got five-star reviews, but have only been published for a short while, so I’m on my way to the best-sellers list.
I’ve always believed that if we say something every day that we can make it happen. So to make it happen, I now I say this every day, “I’m a best-selling author of children’s books!” (And if there are any publishers out there that are interested, I’m open for a reasonable retainer. LOL )

Trish, you’re truly an inspiration and I’ve enjoyed interviewing you. You’re as funny as your characters. I wish you every success with your book writing and your sales. Thank you for coming.

Thank you and thanks for having me.


Patricia Puddle's comedic timing is right on. Just as she uses humour in her own life, her characters follow suit. Her books are well represented by this very talented writer who not only entertains children, but adults alike.
To buy Patricia’s books visit her website or blog.
Here is her website and blog address:


Have a great writing week and keep on keeping on writing!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


It's been awhile since my last post. Excuses?? So much going on...and no muse.

It has been a strange spring on so many counts. First, my new job, which I enjoy immensely, has been full-time pretty much instead of part-time. But that is about to change. I started at a time when the busy season was coming and already there was a back-log of work to do. Learning a new job is stressful at the best of times and this one was especially so since no one at the office had done all of my job and it was learn by my mistakes for some of it. But I think I have made it to the other side and can relax. With a another new girl working two days a week, I can cut back to three days a week now.

Spring did not bring mild temperatures and sunshine, but rather frosty nights, rainy days, and more snow in the mountains. The result being our trout stream flooded big time and we had to prepare for flooding. Our shed at its peak probably had six inches in it and our stream tripled in size. But it is flowing across our property and down the back end, so the house is safe.

And what about my writing?

I haven't done much at all. My muse dried up and it has been hard to find time.  But I have edited my existing chapters of my second novel and thought out character developments in my head. So all is not lost.

As for my first novel, my editor is starting to send me proofs for marketing fact sheets, back cover, etc. The excitement is building that my book will actually be in print this fall. 

This post was to be an author interview of Patricia Puddle, an Australian writer of children's books. My grandaughter loved the first book Patricia wrote and I recently purchased a second book from her for my grandaughter's birthday this month.  Time restraints got in the way. You can look forward to that interview next post. 

Hope all you writer's have your muse. Keep on keeping on writing. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011


This time around, my post will touch on a varied subject list that are all related more or less.

Firstly, my current sojourn in the publishing world, editing. I received the first edited installment of my novel, "Winter's Captive" from my publisher. Having waited four  months for the editing process to begin, my mind has worked overtime, leaving me with a fearful dread as to what to expect. Silly me!

Of course, I can't say what it was like in the old days with hand-written copies, or blue-pencilled typewritten pages. But the magic world of computers has made the whole process so much easier and less time-consuming for the author to correct.  If you use a word program, a simple box in the "Review" menu called "Track Changes" makes the editing life a whole lot easier. There are other boxes that add to this process as well. The "Reviewing Pane" shows you how many corrections the editor is suggesting and how many comments she has written in the margins. The "Accept" or "Reject" boxes are all part of your tools. If you accept the change, just click the appropriate box. The computer automatically makes the change and the correction count automatically lowers in the "Reviewing Pane". It works the same way if you reject the change. You can also delete comments in the margins once you have dealt with that option. By the time you are finished the counts should be at zero.


So how many corrections did I have? Not telling, but enough that I'm so grateful that all I had to do was "click" my way to perfection LOL.

Secondly, congratulations to Tiffany Cannon. Tiffany is a fellow critter from my writing group who entered the Amazon Breaththrough Novel Contest. She progressed in a contest of 5000 manuscripts to top 250. Okay, so her journey stopped there. She lost out in the top 50. But she is still a winner, as she has two agents wishing to represent her. As I type this, she probably has chosen which agent she will go with. Sometime in the not too long future, I'm sure we will see her book, "Keeper" on bookshelves.

Thirdly, manuscript formatting. While avigating my way around Tiffany's blog site, I came across a blog where she  discussed manuscript formatting. Since my natterings today are about editing formats, I thought I would add a link Tiffany used on her site.  I learned some things I didn't know about manuscript formatting in regards to ebooks and Kindle formats. Vickie Motter is an agent for Andrea Hurst Literary Management. Here is the link to her blog site, "Navigating the Slush Pile". If you go to her April archives, you will find her post on manucript formatting.

Have a great writing week and keep on keeping on writing.

Monday, April 25, 2011


...Okay, last item! So my last item on the Marketing Chore List supplied by my editor was to provide a picture of myself to put on the back cover. Simple, right? That's why I left it 'til last. Wrong!

The problem, as I'm sure most of you will agree, is that the face we see in the mirror every day is not the face that appears in pictures other people take of us. We ask "Who is that person?" Certainly not me!

Don't get me wrong, I like my face, and I'm not really a vain person. At least I didn't think so until the past two weeks. Hmm....

After a couple hundred pics taken by my artist husband, who I trusted implicitly with the task of capturing the essence of my being in a pleasing, attractive way, I was left wondering where the years had gone as we sifted through pictures depicting the face of this "mature" woman. 

One of the problems we faced was the fact that since I talk all the time about my writing inspiration coming from nature, I wanted an outdoorsy picture with mother nature.  Lighting was a big problem, squinty looks from looking into the sun was another. But the biggest problem was this habit I seem to have of trying to imitate Elvis with a crooked, sneery smile. We eliminated all of those and were left with about ten half-decent pictures. I wasn't looking for a sexy pose, or beauty pageant winner pose. The biggest hurdle was accepting the fact I wasn't going to look twenty.

I even referred back to Eckhart Tolle's book  "A New Earth" and reinforced his teachings about living in ego. Is the picture as important as the contents of the book? No!

In the end,  I decided all I wanted was a a pleasant, inviting look that showed my readers I am an intelligent, creative person, capable of writing a great story, as well as appearing as a warm, approachable person. (Is that asking too much? LOL) And here it is:

If there is a lesson to be learned from this blog, I guess it would be to never assume it's easy to represent yourself to the public the way you want to. Park your ego at the door and live in the now as you "mature".

Do I like my final choice for the book cover? Yes.  Does it convey what I want it to? Yes.

Have a great writing week and keep on keeping on writing.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Today, I'm talking about a fellow writer. Cornell DeVille just published his first novel, "A Tale of Hearts". I have been a follower of his blog for over a year now and find his posts entertaining as well as informative. Recently, a writer made the mistake of living in her ego on line and I think she paid for it dearly in ways we may never know. She criticized a blogger for giving her a bad review. The posts went back and forth until it went from insults to profanity to the ridiculous and went viral through the on line world of writing bloggers.

Cornell wrote a very interesting post on this. When everyone else tore the writer to shreds, he saw it as a mistake that went way out of control and was fed by the writer blogging community. It became a witch hunt.

Because Cornell took the time to present both sides of the story and ask us to examine the fact that she made a mistake that she made worse by overreacting to criticism, (we've all been there), I have decided to support him and advertise his new book. Kudos to you Cornell and I wish you every success with your new book. The following is an excerpt.

An Ancient Secret

There’s a deep, dark secret in Morro Bay.

If you’re ever in California you may find yourself on a stretch of asphalt known as the Pacific Coast Highway. If you do, and your journey takes you to a point about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, you may discover the sleepy village of Morro Bay.

For the most part, it is no different from any other coastal town of its size where fishing is the primary industry. Every morning, in the cool, gray light before dawn, the local fishermen pilot their wooden boats away from shore. They head out to sea, hoping for fair weather and a good day’s catch. The gulls accompany them; they fill the air with their squawking, gliding on the breeze and crying for attention, vying for position, each of them hoping to catch the sticky morsel of bait the fishermen sometimes toss.

This daily scene rarely varies. It has played out in this same manner every morning for hundreds of years. And for all those years, a unique geographic feature has dominated this picturesque setting—Morro Rock.

Guarding the bay like a stone sentinel, Morro Rock stands a short distance offshore. It towers almost six hundred feet above the blue surface of the Pacific. Resembling a small mountain, and seeming out of place as it rises from the water, it is the remaining vestige of an ancient, and now extinct, volcano.

Eons have passed since white columns of smoke climbed from its chimney. Red, molten lava no longer flows, hissing and steaming, into the sea below. Those days are not remembered. Morro Rock now sleeps peacefully in the bay like an old man napping—watching the fisherman as they come and go, day after day, year after year—as silent as the stone from which it is composed.

Known locally as The Rock, it is more than the name implies. Every summer during vacation season, tourists walk out on a wooden pier and snap a picture or two to take home with them and show their friends. Then they drive away, with no idea of the secret hidden deep inside the stone monolith.

I’ve lived in Morro Bay all my life, which will be fourteen years, this September. I can see Morro Rock from our house on Balboa Drive. Although unusual, there’s really nothing scary about it—during the day. But at night it’s quite a different story. When the moon is full and a shroud of fog drapes the top, The Rock takes on an unearthly appearance.

This is where it all happened.

I like it! How about you?  Here's the link to purchase and a link to Cornell's blog site.

Good Luck, Cornell.

For all you fellow writers: Keep on keeping on writing.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Just to let you all know, I have updated my book trailer on You Tube to show my new title and book cover.
Needless to say, I'm thrilled to be at this stage of the publishing process. As my grandson, Logan, used to say when he was little: Today is the best day of my life! LOL

Here it is, enjoy!

Friday, April 1, 2011


I knew there was a reason I woke up early this morning (6:30 am). Checked my emails and there it was, my book cover.

It's a scary process. I closed my eyes while the picture loaded because you wonder if the designer caught the essence of the story and shares the vision you have in your own mind. Well...I LIKE IT! Yea...

I think there is a magic to it with the snowflakes, since my story involves an angel and the ethereal. And the face on the cover is likeable. She gives the reader someone to envision.

Here's your sneak preview:

What do you think?

I think I'm happy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The final decision has been made and I now have a new title for my book. "Winter's Captive".

It feels so good to have it behind me and be happy with the end result. I dreaded this part of the process but believe me when I say, that once I saw the logic in changing the name, it became a fun, creative process.

For anyone out there who is faced with this decision, my advice is don't hang onto an idea just because you want control or believe you are "right". Open your mind up to the bigger picture which is "marketing".

Now on to the cover design. Another exciting step on the way to publishing my book.

Of course, I have my work cut out for me changing my book trailer, and anywhere else the old name appears.

Meanwhile, keep on keeping on writing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

...IT'S ALL IN A NAME do you give up your baby? I just spent a very painful week trying to come up with a new name for my book. The old name has been with me for so long, it is very hard to give up. I knew when I signed the contract in January that this day would be coming. My editor told me they wanted to change the name even back them. So we are now at the cover design stage and the name must be chosen.

I presented my argument to my editor as to why I love the name and how fitting it is to my story. She presented a very fitting argument back and in the end I bowed to her publishing and marketing expertise. I've come to the conclusion that my title is great for a non-fiction self-help book, but it does not fit with the entertainment value of the story.  It is, after all, a fiction story that entertains.

All of this brought me to realize how important the cover and the title are. No matter how good the pages inside are, the cover design and title do sell the book, in my opinion. I'm ashamed to say, I choose a book by it's cover. I gravitate towards names that catch my attention and rich, vibrant colours that I love. I may have missed reading some great books because of this, but being a writer is like being an artist. We are creative and we paint the story on the pages, so the title and cover need to paint a story as well.

In spite of the pain of leaving my comfort zone and giving up what feels like an old friend, the process has been fun and a learning experience. I'm not going to tell you the new name just yet, as I have it down to two and the final decision has not been made. I'm letting it gel and soon will take a deep breath and choose.

Until then, keep on keeping on writing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Marketing, marketing, marketing!  I'm still working on my marketing to do list for my editor, while I wait for updates on the manuscript.  I just finished my book trailer for Losing Cinderella and posted it on You Tube. I'm posting it here so you can get a sneak preview. It probably took me a total of 30 hours over a three-week period to get it right. Actually, I enjoyed the creative process of making my video, a different kind of creative effort.

I used Microsoft Movie Maker and had fun finding photos to match the storyline, and even dragged my husband out into the snow covered ranch lands to get some. The hardest part was finidng the music. First of all, copyright can be an issue. But I found a classical piece of music out of copyright and paid to download it from the pianist who recorded it. There are lots of sites on the internet offerening music loops for book trailers. Be careful. Just because they offer it, doesn't mean they have the rights to allow you to download.

My book trailer video for my debut novel, Losing Cinderella, available in October, 2011 by Asteroid Publishing Inc:

One step closer to launch date.

My next project is to finish my website. Then I must find a photo to place on the back cover. I'm waiting until I go to Vancouver Island in April to a wedding. Hopefully, the weather will be beautiful and I can get an outdoorsy photo in nature. Since my writing inspiration comes from nature, it is fitting my photo follows that theme.

Although this is a very special and exciting time for me, enough about me and my book. I wish to take a moment to share my thoughts about the horror facing the Japanese people.

I don't think any of us can know what they must be feeling with this triple catastrophy. But we can keep them in our thoughts and offer our prayers and best wishes. The losses they have experienced just from the earthquake and tsunami are astronomical and now the threat of nuclear contamination looms over the entire country and other Asian countries, if the wind blows in their direction. One Japanese elder said it all yesterday when asked if she couldn't help but compare the present situation with Hiroshima, WWII. She said: "There is no comparison, Hiroshima is our past, the nuclear threat today is our future." That really knocked me back.
Good luck!Ganbatte ne!            がんばってね!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Time flies.  I strarted a new part-time job three weeks ago and it has flown by. I'm loving the new job, but it does curb my writing time. I haven't done much with my new book, Blended.

However, I have been working on the marketing task list given to me by my editor, for my debut novel, Losing Cinderella.  I'm just about finished the list, but in writng the required short and long biographies for various on line and print media, I came face to face with my past, which forced me to make an important decision. Thus, the heading of my blog post.

Yes, I am a survivor. My debut novel, Losing Cinderella, was inspired by events I experienced in my own life and the lessons I learned. I chose to convey this through the fictitious story of my main character, Georgia Charles. Years back, when I began this book as a fiction tale, I believed my own life story would be of no interest to anyone. Why? Because saying I was the victim of an abusive spouse, made me feel like a fraud. Again you ask, why? Because I didn't sport black eyes and broken bones, and serious physical beatings.

I have come to realize I suffered from mental abuse on a daily basis, and yes, there were forms of physical abuse. The only resason I avoided physical beatings is because I came to recognize that certain look in his eye. When I saw that look, I became instantly passive and subservient, while household furniture and objects became the focus of his rages. After nine years of living with this behavior, I realized this wasn't enough for him anymore; he wanted a reaction from me. "The "look" was suddenly being directed at me and my four-year-old. That's when I packed up and left, no longer able to deny the abuse I was living with and knowing what was to become the inevitable.

This brings me back to my marketing chores. Part of my bio package was to explain where my experience came from to write this story. I realized it was necessary to connect my writing of this book to my past experiences and I needed to be able to do so publicly. Another reason I was reluctant to recount my story in a non-fiction venue, was out of respect for my ex-husband's family and for the sake of my son.  I recently reunited with one remaining family member who gave me her blessing and I'm so happy to have her back in my life. My son is very supportive
I chose to share my life-changing experiences through the fictitious story of one woman’s compelling and heroic survival against all odds. My goal is the reader will connect to my main character’s plight on a personal level as well as be entertained.

Being raised by a very private, British mother who believes in keeping our private lives private, it was a difficult decision to "out" myself. But the decision is made and I am okay with talking publicly about my past and how it relates to my debut novel, Losing Cinderella. Do understand that the book is less aboout an abusive spouse, and more about the misconceived myths and expectations naive couples take into a relationship, only to be disillusioned.

So, my writing has proven itself once again to be a part of my healing process and I'm ready to shout it from the rooftops...yes, I am a survivor. 

Keep on keeping on writing! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


For all of you with books to pitch, now is the time to get your query ready and sent out. February seems to be a very busy month for agents and publishers looking to line up their book projects for the year.

It seems most of us writer's have no problem writing a 65,000 word novel, but struggle over a one page query letter. Why is that?

Because that one page is the most important piece of paper we will ever write. Why? Because we need it to sell the book and sell ourselves.

If an agent or editor reads our manuscript and likes it, we know they'll be more than happy to help us hone it into a saleable book. But there are no second chances with our one page query letter. Get it right the first time or rejection is a definite outcome.

Our query is for one reason only, to introduce ourserselves and our book. Keep it to one page.

There are three elements to a good query letter.

The first element is the hook, and the first paragraph. A tag line that is designed to catch the attention of the reader and leave them wanting to read more. Do this in one or two sentences.

Here is a sample of the one I used for my book, Losing Cinderella.

"A pregnant, urban woman escapes kidnappers in the wilderness. Facing a harsh, cold winter and fears of childbirth lost and alone, she must find inner strength to survive—or perish."

The second element and second paragraph is a short description of the entire book. I suggest writing and rewriting this paragraph until you feel you have caught the essence of the story and all the important points, such as plot, characters, what the MC needs to do, the struggle, but leave it with an element of surprise. Don't tell all.

The third element and final paragraph is about you. It should be the easiest, but is it? Most of us don't like to talk about ourselves. The important thing here is keep it brief. State your education, or what qualifies you to write this story, and what inspired you to write it. Include any publishing credits. Write something personal, like where you live.

Sell yourself, but do it briefly. 

Once again, the internet is a great source for finding samples of query letters and templates. Get your writing friends to crit for you. Here's a link that is very resourceful:  A great resource of writing tips, samples, and links to agents, and publishers.

So get query writing and sell your project and sell yourself.

Keep on keeping on writing.