Why I chose not to self-publish before, and why I’ve done it now

Back in 2013, I blogged about the four reasons I chose to publish the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy through a small press rather than to self-publish. To summarise:

  • I wanted someone else to edit my book
  • I wanted someone else to do all of the other things that are required when publishing a book (cover design, typesetting, etc)
  • at the time, Amazon’s royalty payments to Australians involved sending cheques in US dollars; I wanted someone to electronically transfer me royalties
  • and because, in all honesty, I felt like it would give me a sense of validation.

And then, in October last year, I blogged about the reasons I was no longer with said small press. I suppose in hindsight I could have saved myself a lot of stress if I’d just self-published in the first instance, but I gained so much valuable experience in releasing the three books through Turquoise Morning Press that I don’t regret the decision.

In the four months since then (wut?!), I’ve self-published not one but four books. To be frank, that was an utterly insane decision, but I was already locked into the release date for Lucid Dreaming, which I’d decided to self-publish in the meantime, and I wanted to get the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy back on the market as soon as I could. I was just lucky my designer could work to those timeframes.

Now I’m out the other side I can finally think and breathe again. So how do those four reasons stack up?


Obviously, with the trilogy, I got the external editing I was after. But I re-read and re-proofed each book myself as well, before self-publishing; I didn’t just upload them as they were, because there were a few tiny stylistic things I wanted to change. Normally it’s impossible to edit — even to copy edit — your own work, but when you take a several-year gap between finalising them and re-reading them it is a lot easier to be objective.

For Lucid Dreaming, several awesome friends critiqued it for me, and then I paid for it to be edited by a professional editor who is also a good friend. This was money well spent.

Cover and design

I paid for all four books to be professionally designed by another good friend. This was also money well spent. I can slap together a teaser or a meme just fine, but the finer points of cover design completely escape me, and there’s no doubt that all four book covers are beautiful and have a similarity of appearance that ties them together.

I expect I could learn how to do paperback and ebook layouts (though not the Smashwords table of contents procedure — I tried to read the instructions and my brain turned to mush). But the value to my mental health and stress levels of having someone who gets how it’s done and can apply a theme to the entire book was immense.

As for how to navigate Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords and Createspace, I managed to muddle through. Practice makes perfect, and by now I’ve had a lot of practice!

Amazon royalty payments

Now that Amazon Australia exists, Amazon pays via direct deposit. Hallelujah!


Well, this is a tricky one, isn’t it? I’ve read some excellent blogs by authors much more successful than me, in which they say that no matter how successful you are, there’s always someone doing better than you. Once the heady rush of having a three-book deal wore off, I found that I spent a lot of time qualifying my success to people. They’d be gleeful and I’d be self-effacing. So I guess in a way I never got the validation I was after.

The upside and the way forward

There are definitely perks to self-publishing, most of which won’t be a surprise to anyone. Being able to control the various design decisions mean that I adore all four of my covers, rather than having to compromise on and have less input into ones designed at someone else’s expense. Live sales reports are a mixed blessing (and can be downright depressing unless you’re a smash hit), but there are advantages there if you want to test out different forms of advertising to see what sales effect they have.

So, after all that, would I publish with a small press again? No, I wouldn’t. Although self-publishing the way I want to, with more professionalism than I can bring to bear, costs money, I’d rather do that. Small presses are a mixed bag, and the Amazon-dominated market is unkind to them. (It’s what killed TMP.)

Would I publish via traditional publishing, were the opportunity to present itself? Yes, because they can offer something I can’t get via self-publishing: market reach. The idea of being a hybrid author (one that does both traditional and self-publishing) has a huge amount of appeal to me.

Have you tried multiple avenues for publishing your books? Which worked best for you?


Isla3_Front_smlMelpomene’s Daughter, the final book in the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, is once again available at all good (and some evil) online book retailers. You can find the buy links for it, and the rest of the series, here.

Isla struggles to embrace her fae nature while preserving her humanity in the final, exciting instalment of the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy.

Isla has spent months persuading the Canberra fae that she isn’t a tyrant like her mother, trying to prove that—despite her mixed blood—she’s human, not a monster. That she’s one of them, not one of the high fae who enslaved them.

But a vision of a fresh-dug grave warns that someone is going to die.

When the Old World fae once again move against her family, seeking revenge for old wrongs, Isla will stop at nothing to keep those she loves safe. She just wants to be left alone. But to win that right for herself, her family and all Australian fae, she must cross the oceans and take the fight to the country of her birth.

Isla must prove she really is Melpomene’s daughter after all.

News: Isla’s Inheritance re-release coming soon

I’ve been sitting on some big news for a few days now, because I wanted to wait till it was official, and to give myself a chance to let it digest. My publisher for the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, Turquoise Morning Press, is closing its doors this month. That means that the books will soon be temporarily unavailable while I get them ready to re-release.

I admit the timing isn’t great for me, given that Lucid Dreaming comes out next month. (Speaking of which, signups for the book blitz are up now!) But TMP hasn’t gone broke — meaning royalties are getting paid out — and the owner is doing her damnedest to look after the authors. That puts it light years ahead of some small press closures that I’ve heard of. #silverlining

Anyway, all of this means that, if you want to buy the trilogy with its current covers, you need to be quick*! I’ve decided to give the books a fresh look, with covers by KILA Designs, the same cover artist who did the gorgeous Lucid Dreaming cover. I want the books to all have a similar feel, since they’ll all be released by the “publishing house” that is me. (Branding, yada yada yada.)

In other news, I am over at Aussie Owned and Read today, talking about writing your way out of a sad place. The timing is coincidental, I swear!

*If you’re interested in a paperback of Isla’s Inheritance, I have a limited supply available that I am happy to sell for AU$10 plus postage — that’s less than cost! Send me an email at cassandrapage01 (at) gmail.com.


Interview: Shelby C. Madison, Senior YA Acquisitions Editor

On Tuesday at Aussie Owned and Read I interviewed Shelby C. Madison, the Senior YA Acquisitions Editor at Turquoise Morning Press. She’s the one that acquired the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, so give her lots of love! ❤

In good news for those of you who might have a romance book (or one in another genre with romantic elements) looking for a publisher, Turquoise Morning press is opening to submissions on 1 January next year (and not just for YA!). Read more for details!

Aussie Writers

Today I’m interviewing Shelby C. Madison, the YA and NA editor at Turquoise Morning Press, or TMP. Shelby is the person that acquired my trilogy, so of course I luff her. ❤ If you’ve got a romance novel looking for a home, or a book in another genre, but with romantic elements, this may well be of interest to you!

Academy For LosersTMP has just opened up its books to submissions from 1 January 2015. What sort of genre or genres are you looking for? Is there anything that is a no go?

I mainly deal with young adult, with the occasional new adult submission. As a whole, TMP looks for engaging stories with strong female protagonists. Within your non-traditional romance genres, like mystery or crime fiction, we like a romantic element to play out in the story. We find these characteristics engage our readers. Check out our submissions page for more…

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Mystery in Love: Good or Bad?

SmallTownCLM-MD As part of the Small Town Charm, Love and Mystery boxed set blitz, some of the many fabulous authors have stopped by to talk about love in mystery. I’d love to hear what you think too — please leave a comment! Julie Anne Lindsey

Julie Anne Lindsey. I’m a huge fan of mystery, amateur sleuths, cozies and all sorts of who-done-its with a witty heroine and a circle of friends and family that draw me in to sequel after sequel. You could say I’m obsessed. (You shouldn’t, but you wouldn’t be wrong!) In fact, I write cozies as much as I read them. One thing I never leave out is a little chemistry between my heroine and a man smart enough to keep up with her. There’s just something about throwing love into the mix that ups all the stakes. On the one hand, what wouldn’t we do for love? On the other hand, what complicates things faster than a new romance? Right? Watching the heroine juggle her real life, career, family and a budding murder investigation is great fun. Watching her do that while hoping not to ruin things with a cute new friend is just fabulous. I vote for Love in Mystery!

Jennifer AndersonJennifer Anderson. Yes, yes, yes! A little mystery can add to the angst. The longing looks. The…mystery that is love! And I think in most love stories there is a drop of mystery. Of course, you do have those stories where the heroine is in love with a guy and she’s not sure if he’s killed someone, but I think that’s an entirely different question! In my personal life, which isn’t a story no matter how much I think it is, I like a little mystery. Being married for almost 15 years and with the same man for 20, I’ve found you need a little mystery to keep the spark there.

MagdalenaScottMagdalena Scott. Good, as long as the mystery will end well for the parties involved. I love an element of mystery in a romance novel. Maybe it’s the challenge of keeping the reader guessing and providing a pleasant surprise at the end of the story. I have done that to some extent in most of my stories, and I think sometimes it was almost unintentional. That likely stems from my own enjoyment of a nice surprise. It doesn’t need to be a gift, or expensive, but maybe just an evening when my guy decides to cook and invite me over. On days when I’ve “slaved” at the laptop for 10 to 12 hours, a home-cooked meal for which I have no responsibility is a fabulous gift. Back to mystery, I always loved reading Agatha Christie. Perhaps not one of her best-known books, but one of my favorites, is The Man in the Brown Suit. Definitely a mystery, definitely a romance, and definitely sigh-worthy.


Enter for a chance to win one of two fabulous ebooks: Prince Charming (Honey Creek Royalty, Book 2) by Jennifer Anderson, or Reinventing Chloe by Julie Anne Lindsey
Enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card

The boxed set

Small town America has its charm—not to mention its fair share of romance and mystery! Everyone knows small towns have their own unique charm, that’s why they make fabulous settings for stories! Turquoise Morning Press presents the best of their small town settings—all in one volume, and for one very small town price! From Drakes Springs, Florida, to Briny Bay, North Carolina, to Wheeler, Texas, where a little romance and a lot of murder and mystery take center-stage—and then to Honey Creek, Ohio and Legend, Tennessee, where home-grown romance blooms, and love lives right next door. Eight fabulous authors share their views of small town charm, love and mystery in this eight book boxed set—providing you with a satisfying glimpse into the lives and stories of the quirky characters who live in these charming settings.

Release date: September 2, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-62237-334-5 Retail Price: $5.99     Promotional Price: $0.99


Love & MysteryThe books

Bloom by Julie Anne Lindsey In a town filled with her past, she never expected to find her future. Seven years ago Cynthia left Honey Creek with a broken heart. Three years ago Mitchell arrived with one. If they let it, love will find a way to bloom. Julie Anne Lindsey really brought me back to the books that made me love to read. Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars; Bloom is one of those romances that transports you back in time. Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars

Buried in Briny Bay by Bobbye Terry Roxie Turner finds herself up to her neck in trouble her lifelong nemesis, Georgia Collins, is discovered buried in the town’s landfill. Worse, with her characteristic Southern sass, Roxie has been saying she’d kill Georgia for more than twenty years. I had Janet Evanovich, Julie Garwood, Jill Shalvis and Pamela DuMond all grouped together for this category. But I think the crazy sisters, Roxie and Trixie just had to come out on top. What a feel good book Buried in Briny Bay was, as it kept me smiling from the first page till the last. Another Look Book Reviews Award, Best Book to Bring on Smiles

Midnight in Legend, TN by Magdalena Scott. Midnight Shelby has grand ideas to help her adopted hometown, and she’s not going to let a stick-in-the-mud realtor get in her way. I loved this book and highly recommend it. I must warn you, however, that [Magdalena Scott] will quickly become addictive. Brenda Tulley of The Romance Studio, 5 Hearts

Murder at the Blue Plate Café by Judy Alter Small towns are supposed to be idyllic and peaceful, but when Kate Chambers returns to her hometown of Wheeler, Texas, she soon learns it is not the comfortable place it was when she grew up. Alter serves up a delicious whodunit by stirring up a healthy serving of suspense and a splash of romance, then bakes them to downhome perfection. Add an appealing protagonist, and you have Murder at the Blue Plate Café. Highly recommended. Polly Iyer

Shades of the Future by Suzanne Lilly Mariah Davis loves animals, running, and her hunk of a boyfriend, Kevin Creamer. Everything looks bright for her until the day she finds a pair of sunglasses that allows her to see the future. Suzanne Lilly weaves an engaging world populated with charming and eccentric characters that readers will want to visit again and again. Brenda Hiatt, award-winning romance and young adult author

Heart to Heart by Jan Scarbrough When Jeremy’s aunt gives him a second chance, he must decide if he believes in the unbelievable and the pet psychic who teaches him about faith…and love. If you want a humorous, sweet book for a quick read at the pool or beach, this is it. Ms. Addie is still stirring up things in the town of Legend, even after her death. Amazon Reviewer, 4 Stars

Rebuild My World by Cheryl Norman More than anything, Taylor Drake wants her life back. Suffering from the agoraphobia that has plagued her since a brutal attack, the once confident and successful photographer now cowers behind closed doors with a loaded pistol. …Ms. Norman is a gifted storyteller. I loved Rebuild My World and eagerly turned the pages, excited to see what event would next happen to keep this story moving. Not only is it well plotted, but the characterizations draw you into the lives of these people. Ms. Norman tells a compelling tale that keeps you guessing. Vine Voice Amazon Reviewer, 5 Stars

Ice Princess by Jennifer Anderson Mya Newman never minded the routine or quiet that came with living in Honey Creek, Ohio. For her senior year, she craves something exciting to happen instead of it melting into a cookie cutter routine like the previous years. …a wonderfully emotional short story with just the right balance of sweetness and sadness. I recommend it to anyone who relishes a charming story of love and friendship. LASR Review, Great Read! 4 Stars

The authors

Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. Julie writes sweet romance for Honey Creek Books, the Calypso series with Lyrical Press/Kensington and pens the The Patience Price Mysteries for Carina Press/Harlequin.

Bobbye Terry is a multi-published author of romantic comedy, fantasy and suspense—writing where southern charm sometimes meets macabre reality. Her awards include Eppie finalist and two-time finalist of Detroit’s Bookseller’s Best Award.

Magdalena Scott lives in her own fantasy world of Magdalenaville, Indiana, and spends her time writing stories with small town settings. Magdalena knows that life in a “burg” is seldom dull—if you’re paying attention. She is the Amazon bestselling author of the Ladies of Legend romance series.

Judy Alter, award-winning author, penned the five books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series. With Murder at the Blue Plate Café, she moved from inner city Fort Worth to small-town East Texas to create a new set of characters in a setting modeled after a restaurant that was for years one of her family’s favorites.

Suzanne Lilly writes lighthearted young adult stories with a splash of suspense, a flash of the unexplained, a dash of romance, and always a happy ending. Her short stories have appeared in numerous places online and in print. She lives in Northern California where she reads, writes, cooks, swims, and teaches elementary students.

Jan Scarbrough is the author of the popular Bluegrass Reunion series, writing heartwarming contemporary romances about home and family, single moms and children, and if the plot allows—horses. She is an Amazon bestselling author of the Ladies of Legend contemporary romance series and a RWA Golden Heart finalist.

Cheryl Norman turned to fiction writing after a career in telecommunications and won the 2003 EPPIE award for her contemporary romance, Last Resort. A mention in Publisher’s Weekly called her one of ten new romance authors to watch. She resides in Florida and is currently writing the Drakes Springs romance series.

Jennifer Anderson wears the hats of Mommy, wife, cat owner, author, and marketing coordinator. She has lived either coast, but has spent the majority of her life in the Midwest, where she says her heart grows with the love of family and friends, and where she finds inspiration for her young adult and romance stories.

This Writer’s Space: Leslie Hauser

This Writer's Space

This week on This Writer’s Space I have Leslie Hauser, who was one of my awesome team during this year’s Pitcharama over at Aussie Owned and Read.

Where I Write

Have you ever seen those offices in the Pottery Barn catalog? I sure wish that was my writing space. My dream is that one day I will take all my millions in royalties and create one of those Pottery Barn offices where I will write my way into people’s hearts, with a messy bun atop my head and a pair of hipster glasses. In red.

But until then, I write mostly on my laptop at the kitchen table. I have a wonderful non-Pottery Barn office, but I don’t write there. In fact, I don’t always write at the kitchen table. And I don’t always write on the computer. *Gasp!* Yes, it’s true. I handwrite much of my stories. As you can see in the picture, I adore yellow legal tablets, and I’m engaged in a lifelong love affair with Post-its. I outline each chapter on a Post-it (and I check off each scene when I’m done. Geek much? Why, yes!). So, wherever my legal tablet and Post-its can go, so goes my writing. Sometimes I write on the couch. Sometimes out on my deck. Sometimes at a coffee shop. And once, even during an assembly at school. (I am a teacher.)

I wish I had a cool artsy space to call my Writer’s Room, but really, I just write wherever and in whatever position I can fold myself to let the story flow.

Leslie_WhereImInspired (2)

Where I’m Inspired

I live blocks away from the beach. And I run long distances. So, I am definitely inspired by the beautiful ocean view, and the miles I travel alongside it give me plenty of time to create characters and plots and to live in the world of those characters. I’m also inspired in my car. Though I don’t have a long commute, the time spent alone with just an iPod full of songs transports me to a world of possible storylines and characters. Luckily I’m a good driver.

But really, I just shared those two inspiring places to distract you while I reveal the (slightly embarrassing) location of the majority of my inspiration. I guess there’s no spoiler alert since you’ve seen the photo. The shower is my true inspiration. Anytime I need a new idea or to flesh out (pun sort of intended!) a current idea, I hit the shower. I’m not sure if it’s the extremely hot water igniting the blood vessels in my skin or the rhythmic pounding of the water on the shower glass. Or maybe it’s the fragrant citrus of my soap. But something about the shower always takes the seed of an idea and turns it into a blooming garden.

Leslie_WhereImInspired (1)

To Be Read

I love reading, don’t get me wrong. But I think that I might enjoy buying books just the teensiest bit more. I have “buffet syndrome” when it comes to buying books. I tend to think I can read more and read faster than I actually can. So the books pile up. There’s no order to this line-up. I’m crazy like that. Just pull one out and read it!

If the stack gets whittled down to one or two books, I make a desperate dash to the bookstore. What if I read those two books tonight? And on trips, I take at least three or four books. What if I read the entire book on the first day? * Having extra books is like a safety blanket. If there were a natural disaster, I might starve to death, but at least I’d have enough to read.

(*I suppose you’re thinking a Kindle would solve that problem? I handwrite novels. I’d rather pay $75 and carry an extra suitcase to accommodate my books than read electronically. 🙂 )


About Leslie

Leslie Hauser is a YA writer and middle school teacher. She has a B.A. in English from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

When she’s not living in fictional worlds inside her head, she runs all sorts of distances, tortures her body at CrossFit, and DVR’s entirely too many television shows.

She dreams of one day returning to the Midwest to live on a farm. Or perhaps owning a cookie delivery service. But for now, she’s just extremely excited about one dream coming true: her forthcoming YA contemporary Chasing Eveline, to be released by Turquoise Morning Press. She’ll probably celebrate its release with cookies and a trip to Indiana.

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This Writer’s Space: Tess Grant

This Writer's Space

Today’s This Writer’s Space features Tess Grant, my fellow Turquoise Morning Press author and author of the The Kitty Irish Trilogy, about a pair of werewolf hunters. I’m really looking forward to reading this one, you guys.

Where I Write

I affectionately call my home The Farmette. It’s a little old farmhouse/big red barn combo with about ten acres of pasture/cornfield. I love the land and the space. I love my farmhouse too, although as is often the case with older houses, its layout is a little bit funky. No closets to speak of, a long skinny living room, and two huge bedrooms upstairs. Plenty of room for an office but there isn’t one included anywhere. Some day I’d dearly love to have a nook to call my own, but right now, my writing is right out there in the middle of life.

Write_Tess Grant

That’s it. The dining room table (decluttered specifically for this picture).

Since the dining room is in the little addition connected to the original house, it’s quite chilly in the winter, especially when a west wind blows (which is about 90% of the time). That’s when I retreat to The Chair with my lap desk. It’s tucked in the very east corner of the original house and is quite cozy.

Write2_Tess Grant

Where I’m Inspired

These are two of my big inspirations…caffeine and tunes.

Inspired_Tess Grant

I like the first black, flavored, and leaning toward lukewarm. And I like the second minus earbuds. Those stupid things always pop out of my ears; I know one of my ears is slightly higher than the other, but is that any reason to harsh my groove?

I make a playlist for each book. I find after a few times of listening and writing that I drop into the writing groove as soon as the music comes on.  There’s a lot of overlap between lists usually, and it varies wildly…from movie soundtracks to current stuff.

Inspired2_Tess Grant

My other inspiration comes from my little dirt road. It’s got deep dark woods, an abandoned farmhouse, and lots of vultures (no kidding!) and is just the right length for a quick walk to get the creative juices flowing.

To Be Read

Like other authors, my TBR pile is huge! So, I’ve only included my most immediate reads on this list.

TBR_Tess Grant

I love Maggie Stiefvater, so I’m in the process of rereading The Raven Boys so that I can dig into my Christmas present from my daughter, The Dream Thieves. After that comes my autographed copy of We Hear the Dead by Dianne Salerni (have you read The Caged Graves yet? You should!) and Quest for the Swords of Healing by Trista Vaporblade (who just happens to be my niece!). After that I hope to dig into some Wiley Cash and Jenny Trout.

About Tess

After nearly ten years as a forensic anthropologist, Tess semi-retired to a farmette in the backwoods of Michigan to raise organic veggies, free-range children, and novels. She writes YA suspense.

Blog | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Tess Grant

This Writer’s Space: Jennifer Anderson

This Writer's Space

Is this thing on *taps microphone*…*loud feedback* *covers ears*. Good! Hey, I’m Jennifer Anderson, author of the Honey Creek Royalty series, Spider and My Brother’s Wedding. *waves*

Where I Write

Jennifer AndersonBack when I was a newbie, thinking writing would solve all my problems, I wrote wherever my butt would fit (I don’t actually have a big butt!). Usually, you’d see me plopped between my two children at the kitchen counter while they did their homework.

Then, the best thing ever happened. Ice Princess was picked up by Turquoise Morning Press! Overjoyed and high on writing accomplishment, I was determined to have a place of my very own. So I turned our playroom into a writing room/kid TV room. I cleaned out the toys, added a desk (an old one stored in our basement) and decorated it with all the funny things I could find. I had baskets, cup of pens, my red laptop and an assortment of Angry Birds (my son’s contribution).

Life was good. Great! TMP picked up Prince Charming, Queen Mean and King of the Lake, all from that very special spot.

Then I found out I was pregnant with my third kid (with an eight-year difference with middle kid). And about seven months later, gone was my desk (the curb), my Angry Birds (my son’s room), my baskets (storage) and even my red laptop shot craps. I tried setting up shop in the living room with a TV tray and my baby glider, since I’d be nursing every few hours (she was a pig) but alas, that never felt right either.

Now I’m saddled with a new laptop (plain black) and I’ve returned to the kitchen counter. Instead of my kids flanking my sides, I’m joined by a high chair, baby snacks and a countertop littered with everything imaginable.

Where I write

But I don’t let this stop me. I have a submission at Swoon Reads, one waiting to be edited and one in the works.

Where I’m Inspired

Where do I find my inspiration? Actually, even though I have an amazeballs view, I find the one spot that is sure to conjure up a plot bunny is tightly snug beneath my covers in bed!

What inspires me

What inspires me2.jph

And more often than not, I have to jump from a plot dreaming stupor to find a piece of paper (often an old stray receipt) and jot down my idea.

To Be Read

Jennifer Anderson TBRMy taste in books run all over the place. But a must is a HEA (Cass: that’s a happily ever after, if you’re not up on your TLAs, or three letter acronyms). I’m in the middle of several series and with 13 books some of them, I’m not in any rush. There are also books that I think I’ve read and forgotten to review! What can I say, mom of three!

You can tell me if I’m successful or not at my countertop writing and check out my latest, My Brother’s Wedding (contemporary romance) or Spider (YA suspense). I’d also love to hear what you think of my Swoon Reads submission, Need To Know. A New Adult fiction that involves a summer hunt, a hot guy on the side of the road and a bestie with an unusual name.

I’m always around to chat on Twitter. Thanks for listening to me ramble and I wish you luck on your writing endeavors!

Author Bio: Mommy, wife, cat owner, review coordinator for Turquoise Morning Press and author. Needless to say, my plate is full. I call the Midwest my home and that’s where I find inspiration. I didn’t grow up wanting to be an author but knew I needed to do something creative. After many years of moving from one job to the next and not finding happiness, I set pen to paper and began work on a young adult novel that will never see the light of day. And that’s okay.

Jennifer's covers

Interview: Ingrid Alexandra, Australian author


Today I’m interviewing fellow Turquoise Morning Press author and Australian, Ingrid Alexandra, about her debut novel, paranormal young adult GIFTED.

Gifted came out on 27 December. Did you squee more that day, or on Christmas morning when you saw Santa had been?

That question made me giggle. Of course I ‘squee-ed’ more on December 27th! It felt like all my Christmases had come at once, if you’ll pardon the cliché! But I was pretty stoked seeing Santa had been, too. 😉

How would Lucy, your main character, describe her greatest strength and her greatest weakness? And would you agree with her?

That’s an interesting question. Strangely enough, Lucy’s greatest weakness was what eventually became her greatest strength. Lucy lacked self-belief and allowed herself to be governed by fear. It was overcoming that fear and believing in herself that became her greatest strength. Sorry, you asked what Lucy would say. Well, I think that’s what she’d say – and I’d agree with her. 😉

And what about Heath Stone? (What a great name, by the way.)

Thank you! Heath’s weakness, by his own admission, was Lucy. But that’s secondary to the real issue. On a deeper level, Heath was afraid to pursue something he believed would be too complicated and potentially dangerous. But he grew to understand that the greatest things in life often require the greatest risks and so, similarly to Lucy I suppose, the characteristics that could be construed as weaknesses were, in the end, transformed to strengths. Both characters had the courage to overcome adversity, to challenge their innermost fears and take a flying leap of faith in to the unknown!

Tell us about Duruga. Did you create it for your story?

I’m so glad you asked! Duruga is a place close to my heart. Although I won’t reveal the ‘real’ location, I will say that the descriptions in the novel are based on a real place where I am privileged to spend much of my leisure time. It really is a little piece of paradise!

Music seems to have played a strong role in your life. Do you think that has affected the story you wrote?

You’ve done your homework! 😉 (I didn’t get a cyberstalking award during PitchWars for nothing!) I had to think about that question quite a bit, actually. I suppose, indirectly, my love of music influences the way I express myself in my own art.  All creative art forms share a common link in that they are based on the creation and expression of a concept, story or feeling, but I don’t think that in this case there is a direct link between music and how GIFTED was created. A great question, though. Food for thought. 🙂

What has been the most surprising thing about your publication journey so far?

Wow, to pick only one…?! 😉 Hmm. Aside from all the incredible people I’ve met along the way and the support network I’m privileged to have attained, I suppose I’d have to say I was most surprised by my own resilience. I didn’t think I had very thick skin (I’m a sensitive soul!), but it turns out thick skin can be grown. 😉 I faced countless rejections in various forms in my journey towards publication, but I truly surprised myself that I was able to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again. It’s been said so many times, but believing in yourself is vital. I recall, even at my weakest moments when I doubted myself and my ability, I never stopped believing that I could do this and that my dream would be realised. It wasn’t easy. But courage is being afraid, being uncertain of something, and doing it anyway.

In dark times that belief is what drove me, what got me out of bed in the morning, what gave me something to live for. Dreams are essential. Don’t let anyone tell you they’re wrong, or just a fantasy or that you could be doing something better with your life. I believe it is unfailing passion, dedication and self-belief that will win you your dreams in the end, whatever they be. 🙂 But self-belief is the single most irreplaceable ingredient. Without it, you set yourself up for failure.

Cassandra, I’d just like to thank you for this opportunity to discuss my story and my characters with you and for your insightful, thoughtful questions. 🙂 (Aww. Thanks for dropping by!)

Lucy Jones possesses an unusual—and extraordinary—gift. Her ability to sense the emotions of others is both a blessing and a curse, eventually driving her to seek refuge from its consequences by fleeing her hometown of Sydney.

The coastal town of Duruga is everything she imagined it would be: sleepy, isolated and void of the emotional chaos that plagued her in the city. But when the mysterious Heath Stone enters her life, Lucy is overwhelmed by startling sensations in his presence. Frightened and intrigued by this uncommon reaction to a person, Lucy is uncontrollably drawn to Heath. Despite her efforts, and the sinister warnings from the townsfolk, she cannot fight the force of her attraction.

When strange events begin to occur and the truth about Duruga’s sordid history is unveiled, Lucy suspects that there may be more to the quiet town, and to Heath, than she had first imagined.

As Lucy and Heath’s fates become irrevocably entwined, the answers Lucy has been seeking all her life may be closer than she ever wanted to believe.


Gripping the steering wheel, my eyes slammed shut and I sat for several seconds with my heart pounding in my ears. My breath came out in gasps, my lungs constricting in anxiety. Images, dotted with light beneath my eyelids, teased me with things I wasn’t sure I’d seen. The vision of a ghostly, young man’s face, so alarmingly handsome and with eyes of such intense green I wondered if they could be real. I dug the heels of my hands into my eyes, trying to see clearly, though the headlights provided a limited view of the shadowy world outside the car.

The road was deserted.

I shook my head, blinking to make sure I was seeing right. What the hell just happened? Was I hallucinating? If someone had been there, where was he now?

And, my conscience taunted, what might have happened if he hadn’t been there to stop you?

A tingle ran down my spine and I tensed, on alert. Someone was out there. I knew because I could sense him. Nearby. He had to be there for me to feel the strange, weaving warmth, the rapid pulse in my veins. And sadness, so deep and powerful I clutched my chest against a sob.

GIFTED is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Ingrid Alexandra

Ingrid Alexandra has been writing since she could put pen to paper. Growing up, she took pleasure in learning musical instruments, visual arts, dance, acting, singing and, of course, she spent a great deal of time reading and writing. Having so many interests meant her career aspirations had a habit of changing, but her profession eventually chose her.

She dabbled in writing short stories and novellas as a child and teen, and began writing full-length novels in recent years. Being a child at heart, it was a natural progression for her to move in to writing fiction for children and young adults. Her love of teaching and interest in human emotion and psychology play a large role in the creation of her novels.

You can find Ingrid at her website or on Twitter.

Edits, procrastination and Chicken of the Year…

I edit for a living. Not in the publishing industry, mind you—so don’t try and pitch me anything!—but in the public sector. Lots of boring non-fiction. So I’m pretty familiar with the process.

Not the receiving end of it, though.

As I mentioned in my last post, I got my first-round edits back from Turquoise Morning Press a few days ago. In her email, Shelby said, “Please don’t be discouraged when you open it and see all the comments and marks. This is the first round and I ask a lot of questions.”

Uh oh, I thought. That’s the same thing I write in my feedback emails when I’ve totally smashed a piece.

I mentioned it to a colleague, who laughed and asked me what I’d do if I opened the document and it was a wall of red. I squirmed.

I should add, everything Shelby said in the email itself made perfect sense, and some of it confirmed quiet suspicions I’d had about some of my characters (one in particular I neglected as the book went on, and I probably shouldn’t!).

I wasn’t able to open the file at first. I was still in the process of setting up my PC, and hadn’t installed Word yet (a long story that involves a product key not kept with the disc, because it was in my email, which I couldn’t access until my ADSL had been set up, which I couldn’t access because my network card wasn’t wireless—ok, not that long a story).

This is basically me, without the glasses. (Source)

This is basically me, without the glasses. (Source)

But I got my Word and email set up on Sunday night. It’s now Wednesday, and I probably qualify for Chicken of the Year.

I told myself that, since I was part-way through a beta-read of Stacey’s manuscript, I really should finish that first.

I finished it yesterday evening.

Now I’m telling myself that I’ve got guests tonight, so I couldn’t possibly have time to have a quick look at Shelby’s comments. Thursday. I’ll do it Thursday.

Although I do still have to unpack the rest of my books, and sort out the garage so I actually have room to use it as a, you know, garage.

Maybe by the weekend?

You may commence making chicken noises in three, two, one—GO!


I’m baaaack!

So I know you guys have all been wondering where I was. Well, probably not, because if you read my blog at all you know I was about to move into my new house — and if you don’t, you wouldn’t care. 😉

I’ve been in the new place for five days and we only just got the PC set up and connected to the internet. I was a bit alarmed to find myself getting  twitchy and a little depressed about being sans PC. Even though I had my smart phone and access to social media, at least, I really felt the lack of access to the internet — and to word processing facilities.

Especially when I downloaded my emails yesterday and saw that my editor at Turquoise Morning Press SENT BACK THE FIRST ROUND OF EDITS ON ISLA’S INHERITANCE!


I haven’t cracked open the file yet — I’ll save that for when my little guy is in bed — but Shelby’s notes in the email were spot on. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into them. (Make a note of when I said that, because I bet you $100 I’ll be suffering soon enough!)

I’m also beta reading a YA sci-fi by my friend Stacey, which I haven’t been able to touch for a week, so it’ll be good to get back into that too. The last time I read it was a climactic scene and having to wait has been killing me!

I’ve unpacked two and a half out of six bookshelves — I had to wait to do the rest till the PC was set up, in case we had to move furniture. It’s been fun reuniting with all my novels; once they are all out and looking fine I’ll post a photo of my study. I’m surrounded by books and have dual screens. And this is my view:

Study view

How’s the serenity?

Aww yeah.