‘Squeeze the trigger, the gun goes bang’

Shooting tips from our expert!

Shooting tips from our expert!

Wise words from a wise head!

Last weekend, as part of my work’s Christmas party, hubby and I headed to the Augusta Gun Club to try our hand at Clay Target Shooting. I don’t know about you, but I’ve only ever held a gun once in my life. It was an air-rifle and if I wasn’t ten, I must have been eleven or twelve. We were on a farm with some friends and we were pinging at silver-eye birds that had been demolishing fruit in a fig tree.

I remember being handed this air-rifle and told how to use it. How carefully I lined it up, how very excited I was… how much I concentrated on hitting that target. Squeezing the trigger and hearing that noise… then watching a poor little bird flap and flop from the branches and land on the ground hopping and hurt. I’d winged it you see, and the boys who were with us had to grab the bird and put it out of its misery. I felt like the world’s biggest heel that day, and I’ve never touched a gun since.

Fast forward about 30 years. This time I’m holding a real gun. A proper one. And the first thing I’ll say is: it was bloody heavy! We were shown how to load it, how to hold it, how to shoot and how to eject the cartridge, and how to do all this safely. I really only remember the one warning: “if you squeeze the trigger now there’s a bullet in it, it will go bang.”

Photo from the Augusta Gun Club Facebook page.

Photo from the Augusta Gun Club Facebook page.

A little bit about the Augusta Golf Club… it’s like shooting off the edge of the world. The gun club is high up on the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge, overlooking the Blackwood River to the town of Augusta far below. You can see the valley, river and sea and on a clear day, they tell me you can see all the way to Black Point. Saturday afternoon wasn’t clear, in fact, it was hazy and smokey, and someone said it was from smoke blowing across from the dreadful bushfires that plagued Esperance last week.

Now – a little bit of bookish segue here: In my book His Brand Of Beautiful, there’s a scene in the outback where the hero and heroine have a ‘shoot out’ – shooting at rock targets on the branch of a tree. When I wrote that scene, I used Google, and Youtube for shooting research. Christina Clay (the heroine in that book) is a crack shot – having shot clay targets with her father for years… and she beats Tate (the hero) and wins the bet they make. Like many a good romance, the scene ends with a firecracker kiss and a bit of groping by an outback river bed… :) I wish I could go back and write the scene now. I’d have a much better idea of the weight of the gun and how the gun felt in my hand, the noise/kickback/recoil…  you should see the bruise on my arm!

It's fairly impressive this bruise!

It’s fairly impressive this bruise!

Not that we’re competitive or anything (cough) but hubs and I lined up in the first three people to try our hand. We all got a bit of expert coaching, and up we stepped. I can’t describe how completely alien that gun felt in my hands. I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to do with it. I had 10 real bullets in the pocket of the vest they gave me – and those were heavy and alien too, like having a pouch of 50c pieces or a bag of marbles (or both) in your pocket.

We had to shout ‘pull’ when we were ready. I think two or three of the clay discs flew out before I got it together enough to actually try and shoot one. The first time I squeezed the trigger and the gun went ‘bang’, I squealed so loud another two or three targets shot out because of the noise.

The three of us each had ten bullets, and I think it’s fair to say that the odds of getting through unscathed were very, VERY good for the thirty flying clay ‘pigeons’. I have no idea how close any of us were to actually hitting one. Spectators would comment that we were left of the target, or above or under it, or close, or not close at all. I had no idea.

BUT! I was the first to actually hit one. I didn’t smash it in the middle and obliterate it like some of the others did later. I winged it. But it was a hit all the same… and (not that we’re competitive or anything) but, my hubby didn’t hit one!


Winners are grinners: This is the face of the woman who hit the clay pigeon first and the man who didn’t… :)

For the record, later hubs and I had another 5 bullets each. I didn’t hit anything else but he did, if not 1, then 2. But that doesn’t matter, does it… I hit it first!

Thanks Mark Murray for the expert lessons and for lending us your guns, and for the idea to try clay target shooting for our Christmas party in the first place. It was a whole lot of fun.

p.s. Dear work colleagues, if I can’t type this week because of my bruise, can I have the week off?



Posted by on November 24, 2015 in News


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Did You Buy My Book, Mum?

SO FAR INTO YOU - smallerThe first week of a new release is always a nail-biting time… 

So far, my two cousins Sam and Yvette have read So Far Into You. My lovely boss has read my book, and a work colleague confessed to staying up till 2am last night, reading till her eyes were so blurry she couldn’t get the last few pages finished. I’ve had great feedback from writer and reading friends and early reviews have been awesome. (Sneak a peek at reviews here if you’d like)

My mother, however, is in the dog house. This is why.

Me: “So, Mum. Have you downloaded my new book?”

Mum: “No. I don’t like all the ads. When I bought your last book on my tablet, Kindle sends me all the ads. All I do is delete them.”

Me: *a little shocked*: “So delete them and buy my book. It’s no big deal. It’s not every day I write a new book.” 

Mum: “I thought I’d just wait till it was in print.”

Me: “You could be waiting a very long time, Mum.”

Mum: “Your Fairway book is going to be in print. I thought this one might be too.”

Me: “Well it might be, Mum, if the sales go well. But that might not happen at all, and it might not happen for a year or more.”

Mum. “Oh. I guess so.”

Me: “Sam and Yvette have read it. That means Aunty Jan will read it, I bet. She’ll read it before you… then you’ll be in trouble.” Guilt trip. Guilt trip. Guilt trip.

Mum: “That’s true. Okay. I’ll buy your book. I’ll put up with the ads.”

Me: *Job done.*



Posted by on November 2, 2015 in Marketing and promotion


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Fairway’s Great Escape Story

About a year ago I made a big decision. It was to offer my self-published book, Fairway To Heaven to Escape Publishing to see if they liked it, and FairWayToHeavenFinal-harlequin 200_200x315wanted to re-publish it in the Escape stable.

Escape’s managing editor, Kate Cuthbert, sent me a lovely note saying, “this book was great” and from that point on, deal memos and contracts were signed. I hit the ‘unpublish’ button at Amazon to remove Fairway To Heaven from sale and it took four or five months before the book appeared again for sale, under Escape and Harlequin’s banner, in April 2015.

Fairway to Heaven got a new cover. It went through an edit with lovely Laurie Ormond, but other than a few changes to the ending, it remained the very same book it had always been. I joke with my writing friends about Fairway as “The Dodgy Fanny” book. It is a book that takes risks both with the heroine (Jenn’s) story, and for her love interest, (Brayden). Some readers have found it too explicit but not because of the sex – more for the medical issue that plagues Jenn’s life and that she must resolve, during the book. 

It’s quite something to have a “dodgy fanny book” in your portfolio… :) 

In this ever-changing publishing environment, many aspiring and established authors wonder about the merits of self-publishing versus going with a traditional publisher. I thought long and hard about it too. I had one title (my first title – His Brand Of Beautiful) with Escape, and after that I self-published two other works, Fairway To Heaven and The Goodbye Ride.

Now, all my books are contracted to Escape and I no longer have any titles self-published. In the end, I think it comes down to what individual authors are seeking from their writing, and what stage they might be in their careers. For me, the motivation for moving from self-publishing was multi-factored. One was the ease of being with a major publisher – getting one royalty statement at Tax Time rather than trying to track Amazon sales against my bank statements.

The other was to engage the marketing expertise of Harlequin, the largest romance publisher in the world, and have them repackage Fairway (with new cover, new blurb etc).

By far the major factor was sales. I wanted better sales. My reviews and feedback for Fairway were excellent, but the book didn’t sell as a self-pubbed title.

In August, Fairway To Heaven became a Kindle Monthly Deal on Amazon Australia. In that month it hit the Amazon Top 100 which was the first time any book of mine had reached that level, and then it kept going. Top 50, Top 20, and the highest ranking I saw it reach was 12 overall and 5 in Contemporary Romance.

Fairway spent more than 20 days in the Top 100, and sales of my debut book, His Brand Of Beautiful also bounced to levels I hadn’t seen before. In October, His Brand Of Beautiful was a Kindle Daily Deal, reaching No 22 in the charts. During the time when both these books were doing well, my newbie, So Far Into You came up for pre-release, and pre-sales and sales in its early days have been wonderful, brilliant, great! (I’m not comparing to anyone except me!)

The good news didn’t stop there! Fairway To Heaven will be in a print book bind-up with Victoria Purman and Juliet Madison called More Time For The Beach, released in January 2015-16, but possibly on shelves in time for Christmas. Booktopia is selling it already on pre-order.

So from self-pubbed and wallowing, to a Kindle Monthly Deal, the Top 100, and now a print book bind-up. That’s pretty good going. It’s another tick on my writing bucket list. A print book! My first one.

More Time for the Beach

So that’s my Fairway To Heaven story. It’s not every self-published author’s story and it won’t suit every writer, but for me, I’m so very glad I made the decisions I did, and I’m very grateful to Kate Cuthbert and Escape Publishing for the opportunities they’ve given to me. 


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RELEASE DAY | So Far Into You

SO FAR INTO YOU - smallerOctober 22 is release day for my new contemporary rural romance
So Far Into You.

I’ve done release day a few times now and it is always special. It’s nice to see the culmination of so many months of writing, revising, submitting, editing, plus all the work that Escape Publishing do to prepare the book for the world.

I’d like to thank the people who helped me get Seth and Remy’s story to the page. They know who they are, but for the record, I’m blessed to have Jennie Jones, Juanita Kees and Kylie Kaden in my corner. Kate Cuthbert, managing editor of Escape Publishing had a lot to do with making this book better, as did its editor Belinda Holmes.

Four books down the track, it gets a bit tricky to think of new people to dedicate one’s book to… so this time, I didn’t choose any people.
I chose these dogs.

Jars & Breeze

Jarman and Breeze… this book is for you.

‘More than enough dog for anyone, and too much for most.’

Finally, to the people who read and enjoy my books: you keep me and so many other authors writing when we’re convinced we should chuck the whole messy industry in … Thank you for your encouragement, your comments, your Facebook ‘likes’ and smiles; your reviews and your wishes. We write for you.

BUY SO FAR INTO YOU on all e-book platforms

Click here to find the e-reader link for you!

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Posted by on October 21, 2015 in News


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Chasing Chris Judd… and other news

Picture 1

C’mon… you’d chase him too, admit it!

Here’s a snapshot of my Friday. It’s a busy one, coming right up!

First, it’s a school day, so there are two boys to get into uniform, make lunch for and get to school on time. A complicating factor is that the youngest boy turned 6 yesterday, and he has so many presents to play with/look at/draw in/construct, getting him interested in something as boring as brushing his teeth and getting ready for school is gonna prove difficult.


Tonight I have to make a birthday cake for Mr 6’s party tomorrow. Plus, party loot bags. Mustn’t forget to make those. It’s also the local agricultural show starting tonight, which means there may be sneaky firework watching… but that will depend on the appropriateness of above-mentioned cake. Otherwise, I’ll be baking a new cake while the fireworks snap, crackle & pop.

We have a visitor! My brother-in-law arrives from South Australia tonight for a week’s holiday with us. Little does he know there’s a 6-year-old birthday party to contend with tomorrow. (And he thought he’d have peace and quiet… ha-ha).

In bookish news! My debut book, His Brand Of Beautiful (which incidentally I started writing the year Mr 6 turned 1) published in March of 2013 by Escape Publishing is Amazon Australia’s Kindle Daily Deal today. When I woke up this morning, it was sitting at no. 132 in the paid books on the Amazon charts… which made me No. 10 in Kindle ‘Movers & Shakers’ so I took this screenshot, because it’s pretty :)Picture 1

His Brand Of Beautiful is 99c at Amazon for today only… if you are interested in it, please click through to the book here. I was told it was also the daily deal at Kobo, but I can’t see it on special there yet. If I get an updated link, I’ll post it during the day.

So mine is a busy day. My goal for the day (other than to bake a worthy birthday cake) is to see if at some stage during today, His Brand Of Beautiful can find itself in a screen shot close to Chris Judd’s new autobiography. We’re snuggling quite close: HBOB is 132, Juddy is 139. He was my favourite player at the West Coast Eagles till he defected back to Melbourne… where upon he was still a great player, just not my favourite anymore.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I hope it’s a fun one!

POSTSCRIPT!! Dreams can come true! Look world, look what happened to me and Juddy on Friday!!



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Posted by on October 16, 2015 in Marketing and promotion, News


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Cape to Cape Walk Track | Part 2

P1020515 P1020520 Here’s what I’ve been up to this morning. To celebrate a friend’s birthday, a group of us walked a part of the Cape to Cape walking trail in the Margaret River region. This is the second part of the Cape track that I’ve done, the earlier walk being in May from Ellensbrook Homestead to Prevelly.

Today we’ve walked from Gallows surfing spot, south to Gracetown past local surf and fishing spots such as Guillotines, Whalesback, and North Point at Gracetown.

Once again, the weather’s been stunning. The wildflowers are out and the bush and coast are superb.

One thing that wasn’t so much fun was spotting a Dugite on the track, about ten metres after we’d started the walk!

Other than that little bit of excitement… it was close to two hours of fresh air, sea breeze, and fun.




Posted by on October 10, 2015 in News


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More Bat Fun

I wrote about my short story, Tar Pit Triage, a few weeks ago when it got accepted into an American anthology called Coming Together: Strange Shifters.Strange Shifters
I was a bit tongue in cheek about it, and I’m still tongue in cheek because:
  • I can’t quite believe I wrote the story for it and
  • I can’t quite believe it got selected…
  • I can’t quite believe that apparently there is enough interest and involvement in this anthology in the US that it may well find its way into print as well as e-book…

Meanwhile, behind the scenes in September/October the anthology has been ticking along. My contribution has been through edits, and it now has a cover. Check out this puppy… (or would that be werebear/werewolf/werepuppy?)

All proceeds from the anthology go to Bat World Sanctuary to save the bats! So that’s kind of fun 

The anthology is the brainchild of Lynn Townsend – more about Lynn here:
So. Which good deed have you been doing lately? Saving any bats, anyone? :)


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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in Marketing and promotion, News


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