All Good Things Must Come To An End

Alas! I have had two marvellous weeks off life, but it’s back to work this week for me. As the title of this post suggests, all good things must come to an end! Fortunately, I work with some pretty darn awesome people, so it’s not much of a hardship to get back to it with them, but still… *shrugs*… I wouldn’t be normal if I didn’t enjoy holidays! Everyone enjoys holidays! And I have certainly lazed the last two weeks of summer away, let me tell you!

So… What exactly have I done with my time, you ask? Well, I’m not at all ashamed to say that I’ve done pretty much nothing! (Like any good holiday, haha). But if you want just a few specifics… hmm… let’s see…

I’ve read a lot. As in a lot, lot, LOT. As in, I think I’ve devoured 12 books in 15 days. That’s kinda crazy, even for me! But it was amazing. I even managed to re-read The Juliette Chronicles by Tahereh Mafi that I only just read a few months ago and wrote an entire fangirling blog post about (here). I don’t even know why, but I just had to re-read them… They were calling to me. Probably because the current novel I’m working on has the same kind of “mood”, so re-reading them helped me get into my main character’s head, as weird as that sounds. And it was almost as good reading them the second time as it was the first!

In the smorgasbord of book-awesomeness I also managed to read the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I actually read the first one when it was released in 2012 but I haven’t kept up with two newest additions, and soooo many people have been raving about the third book that recently came out so I thought I’d go back and get into them again. Turns out, I pretty much devoured all three of these books. In one word, this series is EPIC. I totally recommend it/them for anyone who likes anything remotely related to fantasy. Not even YA fantasy—just good, rich, saga-like fantasy. Get into these!

The other books I read were okay, but nothing standout worthy. That said, I also read the hugely “popular” The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden by Jessica Sorensen and, to be honest, I’m not sure what all the hoo-ha is about. To me, it was just pretty much like many of the other stock standard New Adult contemporary books out there. Don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t bad… But I just didn’t enjoy it enough (or connect with the main characters enough) that I’d read any more of the series.  I guess I was hoping for something with a little more… substance, especially given how much readers of the genre rave about it. But hey, I love how everyone has different tastes in reading! That’s what keeps things interesting!

Okay, I’ll move on, since I could probably go into all the books I’ve read over the last two weeks and while some of you may enjoy that, the rest of you are already dozing off… So, what else have I been up to?

Well… I may or may not have marathoned two seasons of The Vampire Diaries… *shifty eyes*… Sure, I’m all up to date with the newest season, but I had the craving to “hang with” Damon, Elena, Stefan and co. when they have their adventures with Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah—those seasons (3 and 4) were awesome! And while the offshoot show The Originals was okay in the first season, it hasn’t gripped me as much as TVD.

Speaking of televisions shows, I also got into a new show called Scandal. Those of you in the US may have already seen it (I think it’s up to the fourth season over there) but here in Australia the first season only begins showing on free TV next month. But the first and second seasons are available at the video store, and it was “cheap Tuesday” last week so I rented it—and devoured it! The first season only has eight episodes and at the end I was like, “Oh, come on! You can’t leave it there!” So I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the second season next time I have some free time (so, like, next Christmas holidays, haha).

To combat the laziness of soooo much reading and television watching, I made sure to get out and about in the sun every day, always finding time to exercise (even on Christmas day, though that was mostly so I could eat way too much yummy, yummy holiday food)—and even with the early mornings and SPF50+ sunscreen, I’ve still managed to turn even more golden tanned than I already was. I guess that comes from living in a paradise that’s pretty much directly below a hole in the ozone layer. I could probably get sunburned at midnight if I tried hard enough. (Okay, not really.) The only annoying thing about it is that I’ve ended up with a pretty nasty sock-tan… *awkward face*.

Ooo-oooh, one last really cool thing to note is that I spent a good chunk of time plotting out some of the key elements to my newest novel. I wasn’t going to spend “holiday time” writing or plotting, but in the end I couldn’t help it! I just enjoy it too much so when the urge came upon me, I had to succumb to it! And I’m so glad I did! I’m stoked with some of the foundational ideas that will now help me build the story. Mostly, I’m just happy that I finally figured out where (and when) it’s set—and also the motivations of some of my main characters. But I’ll get into that in another post, since I think character motivation is something I could talk about for ages. So I’ll chat about that soon!

Okay, that’s it then! I have one more official day of “holidays” and then it’s back to all the exciting stuff, especially given that my book is being released in FOUR WEEKS TODAY!!! (That’s February 1st, just FYI). And the book launch is coming up in a month too—which is soooooo beyond amazingly cool that I have no words.

… And with those “no words”, I’ll leave it at that for today! I hope everyone reading this has enjoyed their holidays as much as I have!

Oooh, and let me know if you read any cool books over the break, too!

2014 In Review

Since we’re about to embark on the journey that comes with the beginning of yet another new year, I thought I would take a few moments to travel down memory lane and revisit some of the highlights of the year that’s coming to an end. Especially since 2014 was, in a word, epic.

I guess the most obviously fantastic thing that happened to me was having one of my dreams come true when I was offered a publishing contract in January. That was seriously beyond amazing. Like, no-words-amazing. And for those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning of the year, you’ve been able to experience all the wonder of this particular journey with me, which has been ridiculously awesome. I’ve loved sharing the amazingness of every step with you, from editing updates to cover reveals, to author photo shoots and all kinds of other excitingness (let’s act like that’s a real word!). I feel like I’ve been able to “meet” so many new and incredible people all over the world through this blog, and I’m so thankful for your continual encouragement, support and well wishes!

So, what else happened this year?

… *Thinking* …

Okay, so, honestly, I’ve been a little caught up in my publishing-bubble that nothing else massive comes to mind. But let’s see what we can come up with…

I’ve had the same job for nearly five years now, so nothing new there…

I haven’t moved geographically, and since I live in paradise I doubt that’s in the cards any time soon unless an incredible opportunity presents itself…

I haven’t travelled much, other than two trips to Sydney this year—one to meet my publishers and sign the contract in February, and one to go to Hillsong Conference in July—and both of those were fantastic experiences.

I had a really cool couple of days in the city for Oz Comic-Con and the Brisbane Writers Festival in September which was great…


I bought a fancy-schmancy treadmill, which is awesome since I set up a desk sort of thing with it so I can walk and write at the same time (yay for multitasking!). I also managed to fall off said treadmill (and nearly broke my neck in the process), but that’s a story for another day (or, you know, never).

I’ve baked yummy, yummy food… walked what feels like the entire coastline of Australia (okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but hey, creative license, right?)… made some new friends… reconnected with old friends… been traumatised for life after watching The Fault In Our Stars

Oh, and of course, I’ve read mountains of books. It has been a seriously great year for reading, let me tell you!

So, yeah, I guess that’s about it. I haven’t saved the world from a zombie apocalypse (yet!), I haven’t cured cancer, I haven’t travelled to the moon… But that doesn’t mean that my year hasn’t been without its own version of adventures. Here’s hoping that 2015 is even more fantastic—and between you and me, I just so happen to think it will be.

Why I Do What I Do

I almost titled this post, “Thank you, Isabella!” but I thought that might be a bit weird. That said, it’s because of a girl named Isabella that I’m writing this.

Let me explain.

I have no idea who this Isabella is, all I know is that she follows my blog and she took the time to send me a message via Goodreads the other day. And, goodness me, what a beautiful message it was! It was the kind of message that made me stop and think, “That is why I do what I do—so I can be an inspiration to others.”

I love to write. You all know this by now. It’s something I’m passionate about. I don’t care if I’m typing a novel or penning a grocery list; there’s just something beautiful about expressing life through words.

But why do I love to write? Why does anyone love to write?

Some people think writers are in it for the money. Ever since the whole publishing deal came about for me, I’ve had a heap of people say things like, “Oh, look out, here comes the famous author! When you’re rich, don’t forget me!” And sure, I always laugh and dream with them, but I also know that fame and fortune absolutely do not go hand-in-hand with the writing gig. I know for a fact that some of Australia’s bestselling authors still have to keep day jobs in order to pay the bills. Unless you strike metaphorical gold in the literary world, the reality is that novelists generally won’t see much money for their effort (or so I hear). Of course, there are always exceptions, especially when movie deals and foreign rights come in to play. But as a general rule, when people ask me for loans (jokingly or not), I pretty much have to stop myself from laughing in their faces and saying, “What’s mine is yours. Here’s a dollar and twenty-five cents.”

So, no, I don’t write for the money.

I also don’t write for the fame. That’s counterproductive, if you think about it. I have no idea how celebrities have time to actually hone their craft when they’re stuck in media interviews and all the rest of that publicity stuff for so much of their time. As a writer, my time is best spent—you guessed it—writing. Fame of any kind, while great for book sales and thus finances (see above paragraph), would stop me from doing what I love.

Approval is something else I don’t write for. This world is so dominated by social media and how many ‘likes’ we can get on a Facebook post or Instagram image that we are naturally becoming self-conscious in the most twisted ways. “Only twenty-five people liked the selfie I posted today; that must mean I’m ugly.” No joke, people are thinking like this. But if I wrote to please people or to gain approval, then I would lose every iota of joy that I get out of writing, and it would be a miserable experience.

Okay, so I don’t write for money, fame, or approval… But what do I write for?

It’s simple:

I write for me. And I write for you.

I write for me because I have to write. I can’t not write. There are too many stories bursting to get out of me, too many characters demanding to make themselves known to the world. If I don’t get it all out, then I become a crazy person (and trust me, no one wants that!). It’s sometimes chaotic, but it’s a beautiful chaos. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

… Which is why, when I write for me, I’m also writing for you. I’m writing to inspire you, to encourage you, to motivate you. I want you to leave your reality; I want you to dream in fantasies, to experience impossibilities. I want a few well-chosen words to lift you out of your everyday life and into a realm of unimaginable adventures. I want you to discover your own passions and find the courage to hope for an incredible tomorrow.

If you’re a writer, I want you to realise that you can be a writer. If you’re a painter, a personal trainer, a chemistry teacher, a checkout operator, a candlestick maker… whatever you are, whatever you want to be, I want you to know that you’re only limited by your own imagination. If you want to walk on the moon, then become an astronaut. If you want to cure cancer, then study biochemistry. If you want to sail the world, then get a boat (and, you know, learn to swim). Don’t let the can’ts, won’ts, and shouldn’ts rule over the cans, wills, and shoulds.

Never say never.

Reach for your dreams.

And remember that every day that you wake up is another day bursting with opportunity.

… Okay, so this was one seriously weird post. In my defence, I’ve been editing insanely for, like, three days straight, so I’m a little out of it. But I still hope you get what I’m trying to say! Carpe diem, people!

Do What You Love. Love What You Do.

I saw an old friend last night, a girl I went to school with. We hadn’t seen each other in over 10 years, and one of the first things she said was that she’s not surprised I became a writer. Her comment made me laugh since she’s the first person who has ever said that to me. But it was her justification that made me stop and think, because she said she remembers the stories I wrote in school and how good they were.

It should be noted here that I don’t have any memories of those stories. I mean, I know I had to write for various curriculum requirements, but I can’t remember being any good at it! So it’s fascinating that she remembers something like that about me when I have absolutely no recollection of writing much back then at all, let alone enjoying it or even creating anything worth remembering! (So weird!)

I guess it just goes to show that whatever we’re passionate about will find a way to burst out of us, even when we’re not aware of it. So many of us are gifted in beautiful, wonderful ways, and we often don’t even realise it – not even when it’s obvious to everyone else.

It’s moments like this when all I can do is be grateful that I somehow found my way to becoming a writer – and even more, that my publishing dreams are actually coming true. It’s mind-bogglingly amazing. I only hope those reading this are living their own dreams, igniting their own passions, and embracing their own gifts.

The Value Of Perspective

Have you ever had one of those days where things just aren’t going so great? You wake up with a headache, there’s no hot water for your shower, you’re out of milk, the car battery is dead, you miss an important phone call, you miss an even more important meeting, you get home to a messy house, your family is screaming for attention… and all you want to do is hide in a dark cupboard and hope for a better tomorrow? Well, we all have those days (though, hopefully not always with this particular sequence of events). It’s during times like this that I think the best thing we can do is find a little perspective; find some way to anchor ourselves in the knowledge that, yes, our day may have sucked… but we’re still breathing.

I was at work the other day and I wasn’t having the most perfect few hours. All I wanted to do was go home, bury myself under a blanket (with a block of chocolate), and only resurface again when I was feeling better. But then I heard something that shook me straight out of my funk.

One of my colleagues has a nineteen-year-old brother who I learned was involved in a car accident just over a week ago. He was riding a motorbike and was hit badly enough by the other vehicle that he broke every bone in his face except for his forehead. He also broke his collarbone, some ribs, bones in his arms and legs, and who knows what else. The doctors had to pull out what was left of his teeth and they also had to draw his eyes back into their sockets. Amazingly for all his injuries, he doesn’t have any brain, spinal or internal damage (that they know of). After eight hours of reconstructive surgery on his face alone, he’ll never look the same again, but thankfully he’s alive—and he should be able to walk out of the hospital in a few months on his own two feet. But at nineteen, there’s no ignoring the fact that this young man’s life is changed forever.

It’s stuff like this that makes you stop and think about what really matters in life. Even when things are at their worst, there’s always something we can be thankful for. We might be going through the roughest, toughest times in our lives, but the sun still rises each morning, it still sets each night, and we’re still here for all the moments in-between. Each day that we awaken with breath in our lungs is an opportunity for great things to happen. Sure, things could get worse—there’s no point in me sugar-coating the possibilities. We all know that life is unpredictable. We could be driving along and suddenly we wake up in a hospital with our faces smashed in and no teeth. That could happen. I may be an idealist who spends a great deal of time in happy-happy-la-la-land, but I’m not completely immune to the realities we sometimes have to face in this world. I’ve had to experience my own share of them, and I’m sure that I’ll have to do so again in the future. Because that’s just a part of life.

It’s beautiful—and it’s painful.

We live, we deal.

We survive.

And, hopefully, we learn how to thrive.

What I guess I’m trying to get across in this post is, perspective can be an incredibly valuable thing. It can pull us out of our situations, out of our circumstances, and it can open our eyes to what really matters. But it is challenging. Believe me, I know.

(Ir)rational Fears

I was in a conversation with some people the other day and we were talking about strange phobias. There are some doozies out there, that’s for sure. I’m not one to judge, since I certainly have my own share of irrational fears, but it’s really interesting to learn some of the things people are afraid of. Things like having a fear of the colour yellow (xanthophobia), a fear of bellybuttons (omphalophobia), a fear of rain (ombrophobia), a fear of beards (pogonophobia), a fear of trees (hylophobia), a fear of having no mobile phone coverage (nomophobia), and even having a fear of the pope (papaphobia).

Most of us can accept that these are somewhat bizarre fears – and I’m sure those who suffer from them probably can acknowledge that fact as well. But fears are funny things, because irrational or not, they can be hard to shake. And they often begin early in life.

Think about some of your childhood fears. Some of mine were really wacky. I remember how when I was young and couldn’t get to sleep, my dad would tell me to stare at the ceiling to make sure it wouldn’t fall in on me. He had good intentions, thinking that if I remained relatively still, I would eventually slip off to slumber land, but his words had the opposite effect, causing me to go to bed every night and mentally chant, “Must. Not. Sleep.” Of course, in hindsight, it’s kinda funny. But at the time I was terrified of the roof caving in on me as I slept. Irrational, right?

Then there was the time that my step-grandfather played that game, “Got your nose!” with me, using his thumb and forefinger to mimic stealing my nose… I think I bawled for hours after that, thinking I would never, ever get my nose back.

Then there were the other irrational fears, like how sitting too close to the television screen would give me ‘square eyes’; how if I pulled funny faces and the wind changed, I would be stuck frozen with that face forever; how I was certain that there was a shark lurking in the deep end of the swimming pool; how bathing would cause me to melt (this was after watching The Wizard of Oz); and of course there was the obligatory bogey-man-hiding-under-the-bed-or-in-the-wardrobe fear. (Really, who doesn’t go through that faze?)

Childhood fears are a natural part of life, I guess. And most of us eventually get to the stage where we can recognise how irrational those fears are. But often by then our fears (while still irrational) are much more ‘mature’-minded. They’re financial fears. They’re relational fears. They’re health fears, political fears, cultural fears. They’re fears regarding our families, our friends, our careers, our religions, our economies, our governments… The list of potential fears is endless.

But you know what’s really interesting? Fear is something we teach ourselves.

Think about it.

We’re not born afraid. Babies don’t know fear. They eat, they sleep, they cry, and they poop – but they don’t have the cognizance required to understand fear. That’s something we learn. We learn it from our environment. We learn it from those around us. We learn it from what we see in the media. We are learning beings, and while that can often be beneficial (since it’s good to learn new things!) it can also be detrimental, especially when we learn negative behaviours – such as fear.

I may have studied counselling and psychology at university, but I’m no counsellor, nor am I a psychologist, so I’m not really going anywhere specifically with this post. But if nothing else, I just wanted to provide food for thought. What do you fear? And how much of what you fear can you learn to un-fear? (Yes, that’s another one of my made-up words… but you get the point!)

As for me, here’s a little insight into one of my irrational (or not!) fears. I live near a rainforest and whenever it rains I live in a perpetual state of heightened alertness, always on the lookout for one of these nasties. They’re called Huntsman Spiders, and they range in size from ‘huge’ to ‘giant’. As far as I know, they’re not actually poisonous, but really, who cares? If I see one of these, I can’t resist my natural reaction – which is to jump onto the nearest piece of furniture while screaming at the top of my lungs. And can you blame me? I had a mini panic attack just looking for a photo online and had to give up after a while before I started hyperventilating.

So, yeah, there’s some insight into one of my (in my opinion, completely justified) fears. Of course, I have plenty more. But now after searching for these (traumatising!) photos I need to go and watch a Disney movie or something to get the visual out of my head. Fortunately, it’s clear skies at my place tonight, so hopefully that means no six-legged creepy-crawlies to worry about.

… *shudder*…

A Purr-fect Kitty-Cat


This blog post is dedicated to a very special member of my family who sadly went off to Kitty Heaven last week.

‘Slinky’ came into our lives just after my tenth birthday and was with us for seventeen years. He was the gentlest, most beautiful kitty you’d ever come across – all you had to do was look at him and he’d start purring (loudly!). And he was such a wuss! He literally defined the term ‘scaredy cat’. But at the end of the day, he was a lovely companion, especially for a cat (because, let’s face it, all cats have attitude – it’s what makes them so ‘funny’).

Another fun fact: not only did Slinky always sit on any black material he could find (and shed fur all over it!), but when I was going through my old photos the other day, I found these two from back when I was writing the first draft of my upcoming debut novel, Akarnae. I think he was trying to ‘help’ me write it (*rolls eyes*):

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And then there were the times when he just had to be the centre of attention:

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And don’t even get me started on the strange places we’d find him:


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All-in-all, he was a beautiful and beloved member of the family. And he made it to the equivalent of one hundred human years, which I think deserves some kind of kitty medal!

To finish this somewhat random (and somewhat morbid) post, I just want to briefly segue back into the theme of creativity that I’ve been focusing on of late – and I promise that it’s relevant…

We received a letter in the mail from our veterinarian (which arrived a few days after the Kitty Heaven decision), and it was a condolences card, of all things. It was completely unexpected, to the point that we weren’t sure whether to start laughing or start crying. The card itself was lovely and heartfelt, but they added in a poem on a slip of paper. After reading it (and fighting back the tears as I heard the phantom meows) I found myself realising yet again that creativity is unlimited. It can come from the stroke of a paintbrush, or the solving of a mathematical equation. It can be seen in the night’s sky, and in the freshly-mown grass at our feet. It can be found in the pages of a fantasy novel… or in the words of a veterinarian’s condolences card. Creativity has no boundaries. So let’s continue to stretch our own imaginations and see where they can lead us!

Creatively Creative

A few months ago, one of my work colleagues asked me a question: is creativity something you’re born with, or is it something you learn? In my mind, the answer is both. At least, that’s the way it is for me. My mother is extremely creative, as is her sister (my aunt), and their mother (my grandmother). I was born with those genes, but I’ve also had to cultivate and refine any ‘skills’ or ‘talents’ within me. Olympians don’t just wake up one day and say, “Hey, I think I’ll compete today!” It doesn’t work like that. Runners might be born with great legs, but they have to put in the training to become fit enough sprint long distances. You get what I’m saying?

So, I think we can be born with creative inclinations… But I also think we have to develop them.

Over the course of my twenty-seven years, I’ve tried so many different creative ‘outlets’ that I don’t think I could name them all if I wanted to, but let me take you on a picture journey down memory lane to give you an idea of a few…

Obviously I’m a writer, so we’re skipping past that one since I don’t think my publishers will be too pleased with me if I post anything from one of my books just yet (eek!)… So we’ll jump straight onto the next one. And that’s music.

I think I came out of the womb singing (my poor mother) and I haven’t stopped since then. I played various instruments all through school, and about two years ago I finally decided to teach myself guitar so that I could do the whole singer/songwriter thing – which I still do to this day since I love it so much:

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(Please excuse the lack of make-up and bogan hair/clothes, lol. Oh, and BTW, my guitar is named ‘Kovu’ – bonus points if you can guess why!):


… I’ve also sketched (this is such a great way to tune out on life if ever your head is going a gazillion miles an hour and you just need to find a way to relax):

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… I’ve decorated cakes (messy… always sooooo messy!):

… I’ve knitted (don’t judge me! I love it! I make the softest baby blankets in the world – this multi-coloured one is my favourite!):


… I’ve painted:



Okay, I confess: I’m not actually Leonardo da Vinci (gasp!). Le sigh. But I have played with a whole stack of other creative outlets over the course of my life: I’ve scrapbooked, I’ve done other needlecraft (is it even called this?), I’ve designed and created clothing from scratch, I’ve worked with clay and pottery, I’ve made masks (don’t ask), I even made a fake Christmas tree for my workplace last year when we didn’t have a real one available:


… Okay, I’m pretty sure you get the point. I’ve dabbled in a number of creative fields. Some I’ve loved, some I haven’t. One way or another, I’ve come to truly appreciate creativity in all forms.

It’s time for another confession: I think I’ve become so distracted by trying to find the pictures for this post that I’ve forgotten the whole point of what I’d originally intended to say. And for the life of me, I can’t seem to remember it. So I’m going to end this with a question for you: do you agree with the answer I gave my colleague? That creativity is both something you’re born with and something you develop? Or do you have a different opinion?

Writing Q & A

I thought for today’s post I’d tell you a little more about myself by answering some writing-related questions. I hope it gives you some insight into who I am and encourages you to think about your own responses. Enjoy!

1. Where do you write?

Someplace quiet. I’m easily distracted by noises, even music, which is why I do my best work in the ridiculously-early hours of the morning when most of the world is asleep.

2. What are your writing habits?

Once I start, I can’t stop. I’m not one of those people who sets out with a word goal for the day and finishes as soon as I’ve reached my target. No; if I’m on a roll, I have to keep going. It’s not uncommon for me to lose whole chunks of time to the fictional world of my imagination. I forget to eat, I forget to sleep, I just… lose myself in the story. More than once I’ve cranked out over 10,000 words in 14-hour-straight writing marathons. (Those days are insane!).

I recently read a quote by Stephen King that sums up my writing habits perfectly:

When you sit down to write, write. Don’t do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.”

3. How do you write your first drafts?

  • Without looking back. (There’s plenty of time for editing later.)
  • I have a starting point and not much else, but I always write from beginning to end without jumping ahead to random chapters.
  • I don’t plan my plots, mostly because anytime I do make a plans, they end up changing. I just let my characters drive the story where they want it to go, and I get to tag along for the ride.

4. Which writers have most influenced you or inspired you?

I’d probably have to be a walking cliché here and say J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis. (Yes, I can practically hear your groans, but that doesn’t make it any less true!). I grew up reading the Harry Potter books in between searching my wardrobe for an entrance to Narnia, so I’ve lived in my very own fantasy daydream long enough for it to have rubbed off on me. I’ve always loved how these two authors (among others) could draw readers into their magical worlds so much that we never want to leave. And I hope one day I’m able to create the same kind of beauty through my stories.

5. What genre(s) do you (aspire to) write?

I love writing for the young adult genre and I think I’ll mostly always stick with that – and usually in the fantasy or science fiction subcategory. That said, I’m currently working on a new adult contemporary (I’ll talk more about this on Wednesday!), which just shows that anything is possible. I also have a few WIPs that are completely different again. So, I guess when it comes down to it, if I find myself inspired by something (regardless of genre) then I simply have to get it out of my head and on paper. It’s as simple as that!

6. What’s your biggest challenge as a writer?

Remembering to live in the real world! (Sad, but true).

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?

As harsh as it sounds, unless you love writing enough that you’re willing to sacrifice your blood, sweat, and tears to make a real go of it — while knowing that your efforts might never amount to anything — then perhaps your time might be better spent pursuing other passions. Ernest Hemingway had it right when he said, ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.’ You have to be willing to do exactly that. So, my advice is to think long and hard about whether writing is just something you want to do, or if it’s something you have to do.

For me, the answer to this can be summarised in a statement I came up with a few years ago:

“Write. Breathe. Are they not but one and the same?”


Words Are Beautiful

Happy Good Friday, fellow bloggers! In the spirit of “peace and goodwill to all mankind” (and yes, I know that’s technically regarding Christmas, but we wouldn’t celebrate Christmas without the reason behind Easter!), for today’s post about things I would recommend, I’m going to wax poetic about… wait for it…


I love words. Words change lives. A single word of encouragement can brighten a person’s entire day, just as single word of criticism can, well, do the opposite. (How’s that for eloquent?)

I mean, think about it. How often do our thoughts remain unspoken? While this can often be a good thing (at least for the negative thoughts!), there are times when I think we should muster up the courage to say what we’re thinking – especially when those thoughts are complimentary. Because words are powerful… and they can be beautiful.

I have an old friend who I haven’t seen in something like ten years and she’s now a nationally recognised television sports presenter. She’s also one of those drop-dead-gorgeous women who, when she walks into a room, everyone nearby feels their self-esteem take an immediate hit because she’s just that attractive. But she’s also seriously, seriously nice (or, she was ten years ago), and you can’t help but enjoy being around her. That was the case for me when I was a young teenager, anyway. She’s a few years older than me and back before she was all journalist-extraordinaire, she was simply my horse riding instructor. That’s how we met. And over the process of about five years she became someone who I not only looked up to, but someone who inspired me to do greater things than I thought I’d ever be capable of accomplishing.

Where am I going with this, you ask? Well, the other day I flicked on the TV and found her hosting a big-deal-of-a-sports-show and I randomly decided to send her a message. All I really did was congratulate her on the super-awesome career opportunity (even I’ve heard of the show she was on, and that’s saying something) and I commented on how great she looked before ending my message with: I just wanted you to know that I was so stoked to be a part of your world back in the day and I’m super grateful for the influence you had on my life. Not just the horsey stuff, but life in general. I remember really looking up to you, and every teenage girl needs someone like you in their lives. So, thanks for being that to me!

I found it really fascinating when she replied, because along with her delusional comments claiming that she only looks presentable on TV because of the hair and makeup gurus (pfft, whatever!), she also said my message was the nicest she’d ever received. Whether that’s true or not, I’ll never know. But the point here is, if it is true, and if I’d never written the words, then they would have been left unsaid and unknown – and they wouldn’t have ever reached their potential to bring warm-and-fuzzies to another person.

And, hey, warm-and-fuzzies are so not overrated. They’re actually the reason behind this post, since I’d planned on writing about something else entirely. But that changed when my bestie, Jodie, sent me an email because she’s entered a pitch competition and one of the questions she was asked was: Who’s the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer?

Her answer floored me, because, well… see for yourself:

The first books that I really fell in love with was the Harry Potter series. They’re still my favourite books in the whole wide world. But I don’t necessarily think that JK Rowling inspired me. I guess the person who really inspired me to commit to my dream to become a writer was my best friend, Lyn. She started querying and writing seriously way before I did and I was inspired by her success. I always thought publishing was an elusive dream that would never happen, but Lyn’s a reminder that good things can happen if you work hard and commit to your ambitions. 

My first thoughts after reading her answer?


Haha, it’s seriously true! Well, I’m not much of a crier, so not that part, but there were definitely the aforementioned warm-and-fuzzies. And that’s because of Jodie’s words. You read them – they’re beautiful!

So, I want to encourage you today – if you think something nice about someone, say it to them! Don’t keep it hidden, because beauty like that should be shared. Think of how much nicer this world would be if we all deliberately tried to speak life into each other on a daily basis. There would be no stopping what we could accomplish!