Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Coffee chat with Druscilla Morgan - author - Like A Girl anthology contributor

photo courtesy
Grab your cup of coffee and join me in welcoming Druscilla Morgan to my blog today for a  chat.

DL: How do you have your coffee, and what is you favourite time of the day to partake? 
DRUSCILLA: I like my coffee brewed and strong, with a dash of cream.

DL: Why did you submit a story to this anthology?
DRUSCILLA: Malala’s story touched my soul, as with the plight of so many girls like her. My mother was a teacher for over 30 years and I was brought up to see education as the means to freedom and power. This anthology provided a great opportunity to reinforce that message and help a wonderful cause at the same time.

DL: As a child, is there a woman who influenced you? How did she help shape you into the woman you are today?
DRUSCILLA: There were three women who powerfully influenced me. My mother, as previously mentioned, was a driving force in my thirst for knowledge. She instilled in me a love for learning, reading and writing that has never diminished. My grandmother was also a strong influence. Her compassion, optimism and unwavering faith in me has remained with me through the years. I miss her terribly but can sense her looking over my shoulder and smiling at my achievements. The third influence was my high school English teacher, Jo Ryan, who gave me an A+ on a major assignment along with the comment “I know you can do better.” She reinforced both my love of writing and my belief in my own abilities and never settled for mediocrity.

DL: If you could tell your teen self just one piece of advice, what would it be?
DRUSCILLA: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t listen to negativity. Believe in yourself and your dreams.

DL: What are you currently working on?
DRUSCILLA: I’m working on several projects at the moment, including the sequel to my debut novel with Roy C Booth, Blood of Nyx, which is due for release in 2016. I’m also finishing the first draft of a sci fi novel and am about to start another novel which is close to my heart and related to animal activism. In addition, I’m designing book covers for other authors and am about to launch a premade ebook cover collection.

DL: Which writer/s influences your writing?
DRUSCILLA: Oh, so many! Stephen King comes readily to mind. His books fired my imagination and my love of the horror genre. Poppy Z Brite, whose vampire novel Lost Souls inspired and moved me. Brad Land, whose debut novel, Goat, showed me that a new writer can hold their own. Beryl Bainbridge and Daphne du Maurier, whose novels took me to the deeper depths of the human psyche. Hunter S Thompson, for taking me even further. And currently, Scott Blackwood, whose prose moves me to tears.

DL: How many print books do you have in your house?
DRUSCILLA: Hundreds, and I refuse to cull.

DL: Because this is a coffee chat, I also must know, if you came to my house for coffee/tea wouldI have to put out a cake or biscuits for you?
DRUSCILLA: I’m rather partial to cake, but can do a nice shortbread biscuit justice.

Like A Girl is a collection of short stories and poems from authors around the world, with the theme of education of girls in impoverished countries, and profits donated to Plan International.

You can read a review of the book HERE.


Druscilla Morgan is a Sydney born writer and artist who loves cats and vampires. Druscilla works in all genres, particularly horror, sci fi and fantasy. Her literary influences include Daphne du Maurier, Anne Rice, Poppy Z Brite, Stephen King and Beryl Bainbridge. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies and magazines.

Druscilla describes herself as a creative shape shifter who enjoys weaving a narrative that both entertains and challenges her readers. She is currently designing book covers and collaborating on the next book of Nyx with co-author Roy C Booth.
Thank you so much, Druscilla, for stopping by and sharing your writing journey with us. Good luck with your creative ventures.

D L Richardson

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Win awesome YA novel - Feedback by D L Richardson

a Rafflecopter giveaway

easy entry, no purchase necessary

Also listed on these great giveaway sites
Great blog giveaways
Sweepstakes Max


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Coffee chat with Avril Sabine

Today I'm welcoming Avril Sabine to my blog for a coffee chat. Avril has had more than 30 stories published; a mixture of short stories, novellas and novels with the majority of them being novels. She has another 30 at different stages of production. But today we're here to talk about the release of the anthology where 14 authors from around the globe donated their time and stories for a charity called PLAN Australia. The anthology features authors such as D L Richardson, Druscilla Morgan, Jeanette O'Hagan, and of course Avril.

Welcome Avril.

D L: How do you have your coffee, and what is you favourite time of the day to partake? 

AVRIL: I don't drink coffee unless I have no plans to sleep for a couple of days. Although that happens regularly even without the help of coffee. I tend to mostly drink water and my last coffee would have been approximately twenty years ago.

D L: Why did you submit a story to the Like A Girl anthology? (3 copies to be won - Click HERE)

AVRIL: I submitted a story to this anthology because it's a cause I believe in. I've always encouraged my children to follow their own paths and I've noticed over the years that some people are rather negative about some of the choices I've allowed my daughter to make, telling me I should encourage her to be more lady like. That she's a girl, not a boy. Enjoying cars doesn't make you a boy, helping put up fences for your horses doesn't make you any less feminine and climbing trees isn't something only boys should be allowed to do. On the other hand boys should be able to play with dolls, have toy ovens and tea sets and gather wildflowers to arrange in a vase. Children shouldn't be discouraged from following their own path due to gender restrictions.

D L: As a child, is there a woman who influenced you? How did she help shape you into the woman you are today?

AVRIL: I was lucky to have a lot of strong women in my life and my mum was one of them. My mum might not have been perfect, after all who of us are, but she taught me a lot about being a woman. When something needed to be done, she did it. If she didn't know how to do it, she learned. I know there were times she found it difficult raising three children on her own, particularly a highly independent child who tended to stubbornly follow her own path. (With emphasis on the stubborn.) But by watching her I learned a woman can do whatever she chooses to do including house and car maintenance, cook, sew, travel and so many other things it would take pages to fill, and she can do them on her own if she wants. There are only the limitations you set upon yourself.

D L: If you could tell your teen self just one piece of advice, what would it be?

AVRIL: Don't change anything. Everything I experienced, both the good and bad, made me who I am. It also helped that I knew at an extremely young age that I wanted to be an author and I worked on making my plan a reality from that moment on.

D L: What are you currently working on?

AVRIL: I usually have twenty or more projects on the go, all at various stages of the process between first draft and final edits. I rarely have more than a couple of first drafts on the go at once.

D L: Which writer/s influences your writing?

AVRIL: When I first started writing as a young child I was heavily influenced by what I was reading at the time. First it was fairytales and later is was stories such as Famous Five, Secret Seven, Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. These days I'm not as influenced by what I read as I was while learning to write.

D L: How many print books do you have in your house?

AVRIL: Ooh, a trick question! I remember when I was younger going into a shop and they had a large bottle of jellybeans. You could buy a ticket to guess the amount in the jar and the closest guess won the jar. I stared at that jar for ages wondering how it was possible to even come close to figuring out the answer. That's pretty much what it's like when someone asks how many print books I have in my house. Shall I count bookcases instead? There are ten tall bookcases, two short bookcases, books in cupboards because there's nowhere else to keep them and a couple of shelves. Most of the bookcases have double rows of books and books sitting on top of rows. I've had people who've stepped into my house for the first time tell me it feels like a library.

8. Because this is a coffee chat, I also must know, if you came to my house for coffee/tea would I have to put out a cake or biscuits for you?

Having a lot of food allergies I've learned to bring my own. It's much easier. So what would you like me to bring? Ginger cake? Or how about orange and chocolate chip cake? Maybe you'd prefer biscuits. What about vanilla and chocolate chip? I do like chocolate!
Thank you Avril for sharing with us your journey of writing. You can check out more about Avril below:
On my website you'll find links to all my books, my release schedule and blog. You can also sign up to my newsletter to be kept informed about new releases, current projects, exclusive news, blog posts and more.
Avril Sabine is a Queensland author who writes mostly young adult speculative fiction. She has been writing since she was a young child and wanted to be a writer the moment she realised someone wrote the books she loved to read. Avril is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the Demon Hunter series, Dragon Blood series, Elf Sight and The Irish Wizard.


Saturday, 16 January 2016

GIVEAWAY - Win one of three print books - Like A Girl anthology

Easy to enter, just click on Facebook and Twitter pages and you could be the proud owner of this philanthropic anthology. 14 authors donated their stories so proceeds can go to a charity organisation.

Drawn end of February 2016.

What have you got to lose?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Coffee chat - Jeanette O'Hagan and writing for Like A Girl anthology

photo courtesy FreeDigitalImages.Net

Today I'd like to welcome to Jeanette O'Hagan to my blog. Jeanette is here to talk about her writing and to launch of Like A Girl anthology.
Review at the bottom of the page.

ALSO - WIN print copy. 3 copies up for grabs. Entry form at the bottom of the page.

D L : How do you have your coffee, and what is your favourite time of the day to partake? 

JEANETTE: I do coffee two ways. Most days I just drink 3 cups of Moccona(milk without sugar) but I love a Mugachino on Lactose free milk when chatting with friends. The first cup in the morning often tastes the best, though enjoying one in excellent company adds an extra zing to the day.

D L: Why did you submit a story to this anthology?


JEANETTE: I love writing stories and I’m passionate about girls and women getting a fair go in life. I can remember when I was five being devastated at getting a Doll’s Tea Set for Christmas while my two brothers got Tonka trucks. We were an inseparable trio looking for adventures together. My dad encouraged me to pursue knowledge and education, which I did and have never regretted it. So for me, Like A Girl is for a great cause — supporting girls’ education, nurturing and encouraging their abilities to make a difference in the world.

D L: As a child, is there a woman who influenced you? How did she help shape you into the woman you are today?

JEANEATTE: Well, of course my mum but also my dad’s older sister, Aunt Kath. When our family lived in Africa, I lived with Aunt Kath for a year. She was single, she left school at 13 but eventually became a kindergarten teacher and the hub of our extended family — never forgetting a birthday, even down to the grand-nieces and nephews. I found her love for a cuppa, quiet faith and openness to life inspiring.

D L: If you could tell your teen self just one piece of advice, what would it be?

JEANETTE: Not to worry so much about how things will turn out — and to relax, your parents love you and you have lots of great qualities that make you a good friend.

D L: What are you currently working on?

JEANETTE: I’m in throes of finishing the third book in an unpublished fantasy trilogy – Mannok’s Betrayal. TheAkrad’s Legacy trilogy(including Akrad’s Children and Rasel’s Song) follows the adventures, friendships, loves and rivalry of five young people caught up in Tamrin courtly intrigue, assassination attempts and border skirmishes between Tamra and their fierce northern neighbours.

D L: Which writer/s influences your writing?

JEANETTE: Both C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien inspired my imagination as a child and I’m sure my world and stories owe them a great debt. I’ve enjoyed reading a great many writers over the years (Blyton, Austen, Asimov, Christie, Dickens, Heyer, Lessing, Long etc). I think Anne MaCaffrey and Julian May have most likely influenced my writing. A few readers have suggested my WIPs have some similarities to George R R Martin or Robert Jordan. I’ve just started exploring Martin’s books (I’m currently reading A Clash of Kings) — I can see some parallels though significant differences as well. Jordan is on my to-read list.

D L: How many print books do you have in your house?

JEANETTE: Too many to count— I can tell you how many bookcases we have — eleven — and then there are the book piles all around my room (I need another bookcase, but where to put it?) —so at least 500, possibly over 1000 print books.

D L: Because this is a coffee chat, I also must know, if you came to my house for coffee/tea would I have to put out a cake or biscuits for you?

JEANETTE: Well, only if you wanted to —I do like to have a snack with my coffee, but as I have a wheat allergy, the cake and biscuits would need to be wheat free.

Thanks for inviting me for a chat over coffee. It’s been fun.


Jeanette O’Hagan enjoys writing fantasy, poetry, blogging and editing. She is currently writing her Akrad’s Legacy Series— a Young Adult secondary world fantasy fiction with adventure, courtly intrigue and romantic elements. She has short stories and poems published in Tied in Pink romance anthology (December 2014) and Poetica Christi’s Inner Child (July 2015), in several upcoming anthologies, and on her website Jeanette O'Hagan Writes. 

She has a medical degree, a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Theology and has completed her Master of Arts (Writing) with Swinburne University of Technology in June 2015. Jeanette loves reading, painting, travel, catching up for coffee with friends and pondering on the meaning of life. She lives in Brisbane with husband, two school-aged children and two cats.

Tied in Pink (Romance anthology for Breast Cancer Research)

Her websites: 
Twitter:  @JeanetteOHagan
Pinterest :

Since I have contributed a story to Like A Girl anthology, my review is written around the concept of the book and reasons to buy it. The brief was to write a story with the theme of "helping girls stay in school". PLAN Australia is using the proceeds of the book to help fund education in countries where girls are denied it through poverty. So all the stories feature some element of learning from a mother, issues around running away from home, problem solving on a space ship, lessons on a violin, or outwitting an age old problem that could lead to a war.

All the stories are well written, with characters and plots and well rounded stories. Many of the stories are told in a child or young adult's point of view, but not all are. I guess that if girls and teens are going to be the target audience then it makes sense to make the characters girls and teens.

What's truly beautiful about this anthology is the message it sends to girl, boys, women and men. While the heroes in these tales are all females, this isn't a chick's book. It's a must read for both male and female.

Girls and women should read it to know they are supported with whatever decision they make in life or whatever journey they take. The tales in Like A Girl will no doubt inspire girls to make an effort to become educated and thus improve their lives.

Boys and men should read it to see that woman can be strong and still be sweet. It's a bit like it you want a boy to grow up and treat a woman as an equal then don't let him see women doing everything for men. It's worth the read. And if it inspires you to take that new job or take that trip or book that course or simply stay in school, then we authors have achieved our brief of improving the lives of women.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Colouring in version of YA novel Little Red Gem

The colouring in version of YA novel The Bird With The Broken Wing has proven popular, so I've created one for the YA novel Little Red Gem. Feel free to share with your friends. You can download a pdf copy from my website by clicking on the image of HERE.!artwork/nbwis

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Colouring in version of book cover The Bird With The Broken Wing

You know how you have an idea and then it becomes a BRILLIANT idea. Well, I've had one of those. Most authors do. But I actually think this is rather clever and brilliant. Colouring books are the rage at the moment, outselling fiction and non fiction books. So I had this idea about doing a colouring in version of my book cover for people's creative pleasure.

Turns out I can't do the actual cover because it is a photo and would not translate well to colouring in. But I did play around with a cover a while ago and guess what, it translates PERFECTLY into a colouring page.

So I'm offering it as a free download to anyone who would like to partake in the colouring craze taking the world by storm. You can download a pdf copy from my website HERE.

all images licensed Serif DrawPLus X5

Over the next few weeks I'll do colouring versions of my other books. Feedback and Little Red Gem, plus my horror novella Poison in the Pond. I can't wait to create these colouring pages. Especially the horror one. Mwah hahaha.

Please feel free to share with your friends.


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Coffee chat and free ebook - Shatterwing by Donna Maree Hanson

photo “Drinking Cappuccino” by patrisyu, FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Today's coffee chat is with Donna Maree Hanson. Welcome Donna Maree.

Donna Maree Hanson is a Canberra-based writer of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and under a pseudonym paranormal romance. Her dark fantasy series (which some reviewers have called ‘grim dark)’, Dragon Wine, is published by Momentum Books (Pan Macmillan digital imprint).  Book  1: Shatterwing and Book 2: Skywatcher are out now in digital and print on demand. She's touring with Shatterwing at the moment and its free on ebook for a limited time as part of this promotional tour.

Details on how to get a free copy of this book are at the end of the coffee chat.

D L: How do you take your coffee and what is your favourite time of the day to indulge?

Donna Maree: Coffee used to be my best friend. I’d drink lots of it, home expresso or out in cafes. I think coffee is a very social drink. It was makes having to cut down a bummer. Note I said cut down and not give up! I usually have coffee in the mornings and usually with work mates. Otherwise I’m a traitor and drink tea on my own. There’s such a ritual about coffee drinking and what someone orders says so much about them—like are they easy going or are they finicky and then there’s bad coffee when we all join together in outrage. So with my reduced coffee intake (this is going to sound appallingly bad!) I take a very weak cafĂ© latte and wait for it (once per week as a treat). I do not have any instant coffee in my house, only beans which we grind. So I sort of qualify as a purist.

D L: How did you come up with the idea for Shatterwing?

Donna Maree: Shatterwing (Book 1 of the Dragon Wine Series) started out as a short story that wouldn’t behave.  So I was encouraged to write more and I did. The opening scene starts in a vineyard where they grow grapes for Dragon Wine. I owned a small vineyard at the time (nearby in Murrumbateman) and I thought a lot of the story up while pruning grapes and staring at goats. I also added in some ideas and scenes that I had written elsewhere to make the book For example, Nils of Barr was invented during a workshop with Trudi Canavan.

D L: How are you writing two series at once? Do you have overviews for each? Storyboards? Is it a challenge switching from YA to adult fiction?

Donna Maree: Well I’ve been writing quite a while. I started Dragon Wine (Shatterwing and Skywatcher) in 2003 so that’s a long time ago. I didn’t work on them all the time. I’d go nuts so I wrote other things. Also, I usually do writers’ retreats in January and I like to have a new project to start. Ruby Heart was a book I wrote during a retreat. First draft of 80,000 words so I had the year to play with it. I’ve written more in the Dragon Wine world on a retreat way back when…say 2007 0r 2008? So when you look back in time like that you can see that I can work on many series at the same time, except it’s not the same time (time warp your brain here).

To answer your question more specifically – no storyboards. That would be organised! I use white boards and note books but not in any  normal sort of way. White boards are for goals (currently listed with books I want to write and books I need to revise). I don’t have trouble switching between genres or stories. I just need to get a point where I can disengage and dive back into something else. For example, for NaNoWriMo I obeyed the rules and started a new project so I have 50000 words of a SF romance drafted. Before that I was working on a Regency Romance (a dream project) and I have about 65000 words of that drafted and then I diverted onto revising a young adult novel and sent it out to beta readers. Of course I have decision paralysis about what to work on next. Luckily I have January off to write. Christmas derails me usually.

D L: How long have you been writing?

Donna Maree: I started creative writing in 2000 I think so that makes 15 years. I was thinking I don’t spend anywhere near as much time writing as a I used to and that worried me. But then I think I don’t redraft as much as I used to. I also don’t write anywhere near as many short stories as I used to. I’m more selective on what I work on. I also think I don’t need as much practice as I did in those early days when I was such a newbie. That doesn’t mean I am not trying to improve as a writer. I am, but I’m more strategic, more thoughtful in my approach. I have some physical limitations so I have to be careful. I do sigh and think about spending the whole day on the computer and how wonderful that would be but it’s not healthy to do that.

D L: What are you currently working on?
Donna Maree: I am always working on many things at the same time. Either thinking, revising, drafting. I mentioned an SF romance. That’s called Cold Soldier and I can’t decide if it’s romance or more SF with romantic elements. It will take a while to finish it and then decide. I’m ready to do a final run through of Into the Dark Glass which is my latest YA manuscript. Ruby Heart hasn’t sold so I’ll be shopping this one in 2016 instead. I also want to finish Tainted Lady which is a Regency romance and of course I have Death Wings, Dragon Wine book 3 to get out next year some time which is currently in revision. I’ll also be self-publishing a YA fantasy called Argenettera in 2016. It’s going to the editor end of December and I’m working on a cover with a designer. I wrote that way back in 2002 I think and I’ve been working on it on and off for years. It’s a portal fantasy and the opening has been kicking my butt for more than 10 years.

D L: When you have coffee, do you have it with cake or biscuits?

Donnaa Maree: Because I have been dieting (I’m such a bore) I have forsaken biscuits as a regular thing. However, I’ll tell you a secret. I ate a whole panettone the other week! It’s great with coffee or tea actually and I first picked up the addition to Panettone in Italy in 2000. Panetonne is fruit bread but careful it’s loaded with butter. My other faves though are shortbread, particularly homemade, fudge brownies, peanut butter and choc chip cookies etc etc…you see why I need to diet I think.

Thanks for the chat. Now here's  a bit about the book.

About the book:

BlurbDragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.
Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.

The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.

There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison’s best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.

Dragon Wine Book 2 :Skywatcher, the follow on book is also available in ebook and print.

Genre: Dark fantasy
Publisher: Momentum
Pages: 231 pages
Formats: ebook and print

Don't forget to leave a review on Amazon. Reviews really do help authors.
My review coming soon.
How to stay in touch with Donna Maree
Please join me in thanking Donna Maree for dropping by and sharing a hot beverage with us. Good luck with the writing.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Why writers always write down their ideas

One of the best tips for any writer is to always write down your ideas. That's why writers usually carry little notebooks with them everywhere they go but I have to confess that I'll use my phone or write on the back of a receipt because I don't like to add more weight to my handbag.

I'm often asked if I keep a notepad by my bedside, and I'm ashamed to say that the answer is no. If an idea is so strong it always lasts until the morning Or I just get up in the middle of the night and write it down. Sometimes I only need to write a few words and it will call forth the idea in the light of day.

But I have lots of ideas written down.

I have a folder in my filing cabinet. Inside is an eclectic mix of story ideas. Some are written on the back of business cards, pages torn out of journals, some of the pages are that lovely yellow colouring that tells me these were written while I was in my 20s. I even have cuttings from newspaper of articles that have ignited an idea. I haven't done it for a while but one of my favourite things to do on a Sunday was drink the morning coffee and cut out story ideas from the newspaper.

Technology is great. I also have plenty of story ideas on the computer. Yet somehow they don't evoke the same pleasure as rummaging through a drawer full of ideas so maybe my task this week is to print out these ideas and place them in the drawer.

I never toss these ideas out until I've turned them into a story. Like I did this week.

I found a magazine that I wanted to write a short story for. The problem is that I write novels and I have a hard time trying to write a snippet of a character's life. So I opened up the folder and had a look through the old ideas. And I found one. A story about lies and someone seeking payback for one of the lies.

I wrote 4000 words in one day! The story just flowed and it was done and submitted within two days of starting.

So the moral of this story is always write down your ideas. You just never know when you'll turn them into a magical tale.