30 June 2013


I thought I'd do a few articles on Australia because so many of my visitors are from countries in the northern hemisphere.  Many of you will already know a lot about Australia, but there may be some who don't.

Here it is, right at the bottom of the world

It looks like a fairly big continent, and it is, but with much of it desert, the vast majority of the 23 million inhabitants live in the cities marked on the map below.  Going clockwise - Darwin, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth.

I live in this quiet corner of Canberra, which is the national capital. We don't have the brightest Federal Government at the moment, but we do have a lot of lakes!

With only 360,000 pop., it's quite a different scene from Sydney, seen here below, where the main character in my Fitzjohn mystery series, Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn, lives.  Sydney is a busy metropolis of 4.6 million. I took this photograph, last week from one of the pylons on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Did I mention I don't like heights?
Here it is from ground level

But, before we travel on to the other cities, let's talk about our wildlife, a few of which HOP -

kangaroos, wallabies
black swans
emus - large flightless birds

and the ten most dangerous
box jelly fish
taipan snake
salt water crocodile
brown snake
stone fish
blue ring octopus
red back spider
tiger snake
great white shark
funnel web spider

So, quite a few creepy crawlies to avoid when gardening, sharks to avoid when swimming in the ocean as well as box jelly fish and that octopus.  In rivers or on their banks, you might meet a crocodile, and watch out where you tread when taking your morning walk.  You don't want to step on a snake!

Sounds dreadful but it isn't.  I've only ever come across the brown snake and the red back spider, and the following friendly wildlife while on my morning walks.

Captivating isn't he??
Emu - flightless bird

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22 June 2013

WRITING BOOKS - Where do I start?

That's a good question.  Where do you start?  At the beginning?  Not necessarily.
You might like to figure out what happens at the end of your book first, particularly if you're writing a murder mystery.  It always helps to know who the killer is because you'll be able to make sure your readers don't solve the puzzle before the end.  

Then again, you might opt to start at the beginning and write with no plan in mind, that way you can be surprised at outcome, along with your readers.

Whatever way you choose be it to outline your story, write by the seat of your pants or write the end first, you do need the following framework before you start:-

  • A compelling main character who your readers care about
  • Your main characters goal and who is stopping him/her from reaching that goal
  • Conflict
  • Resolution

So, ask yourself

  • Who is my main character
  • What is his/her goal
  • Who is stopping his/her goal from being achieved
  • How is you main character going to overcome this
Once you have answered these questions, you will have your basic plot that you can expand on.

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9 June 2013


Fat Chance by Malla Duncan, is a comedy murder mystery that tells the story of two, middle-aged, English women, Marsha and Milly, as  they set out to visit Marsha’s friend Betty, who resides on the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy.  Their hopes for a marvellous relaxing holiday in the sun are dashed on their arrival, however, when they find that Betty is missing, believed dead!  Is she the latest victim of a serial killer?

While Marsha reinvents herself as a sleuth in an effort to find Betty, Milly falls madly in love with an Italian chocolate maker, and so begins a rollicking mystery filled with unsuspecting twists and turns along with a diverse array of wonderful characters.

This delightful, witty story moves at a spirited pace, with Malla Duncan’s talent for description transporting the reader not only to the warmth and beauty of the Amalfi Coast, but into the middle of a great mystery.

3 June 2013

SELF PUBLISHING AN EBOOK - PART 6 - Marketing your eBook

Let’s face it, one could write a book on the subject of marketing so, for the purpose of this blog post what I thought I’d do is touch on a few things that will point you in the right direction if you’re unsure where to start, and if you have done some marketing then perhaps you will find a few new ideas to try.

To sell your book it has to be visible to your audience and there are many ways you can achieve this.  Social media, giving talks, advertising in your local newspaper, press releases, book signings etc.

Social Media Sites
Here you can join the Author Program and display your book(s).  You can also conduct Giveaways, and advertising campaigns.
There are also many forums where you will meet other authors and readers.

Where you can meet a supportive writing community.

Here too you can create an Author Page.
Another place to meet like minded people and your readers.

Create a blog - Blogger - or - Wordpress
You might also like to check out this website, Build Your Own Blog
where users can get step by step instructions for setting up their blog as well as guidelines, tools on writing posts and much more.

Join sites such as the World Literary Cafe, Author Marketing Club, Book Goodies, where you will find programs to advertise.

Join these sites and enter your profile and book details
Book Goodies

If your eBook is published on Amazon you can join Author Central and create a page, inserting your biography and book cover/blurb.  You can also link this page to your blog and twitter account.

Email Signature
Create a signature for your email that displays your blog link and also your Author Central link.

We all have our individual comfort levels, particularly when it comes to something like marketing.  Some of us like blogging, some feel comfortable speaking to groups, doing book signings, and so on.  So it’s important to find your own niche.

Marketing is a long journey so try not to be in too much of a hurry - it took ages to build Rome!  And there's a plus on the way because you'll meet some wonderful people.

Any questions?

PART 1- formatting your manuscript
PART 2 - writing a catchy blurb
PART 3- book cover/ISBN
PART 4 - choosing where to publish
PART 5- publishing your eBook

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