Posted in books, characters, country, love, novels, romance, sci-fi, writers

Ever want to dance in the Outback? Let S.E Gilchrist take you there.

Sue Gilchrist

Hi Joanne. Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today. I’m a big fan of Florida, having visited my brother and sister-in-law in the Keys a few times. I hope to get back there someday and do more touring of the US.

A little about me: I’m Australian, live in the beautiful Hunter Valley of NSW and have three wonderful children in their twenties and two dogs. I love bushwalking, kayaking, swimming and am interested in the environment, astronomy/science and animal welfare.

Writing has long been a passion for me, borne from an insatiable love of reading and books.  I also love sci fi, history and fantasy/mythology and longed to read a book which combined both romance and these elements.  So I guess it was a natural progression to end up writing a story that I’d always wanted to read.  In January 2009 I experienced a bit of an epiphany. I decided either take my writing seriously or stop doodling with bits and pieces of stories. I took it seriously, joined writing organizations, attended writing seminars, workshops and bought bookshelves of how-to books.

After starting a couple of contemporary romances, I put them to one side and began a sci fi / space opera romance. This book ended up being 100k words and took around two and a half years to finish. I wrote my first ever love / sex scene in this book, it was my first single title and garnered me my first placement in a writing contest. Legend Beyond the Stars came third in the RWAustralia Emerald Contest in 2011. I also received an awful lot of rejections with this story when I started to submit, I shelved it for a while and went onto write other stories. I re-visited it in July 2012 and did a re-write. That version was then accepted by Escape Publishing (a digital imprint of Harlequin Australia) in September 2012 and was e-published in January 2013.

Since that time, I’ve had two short stories published with Escape Publishing (both continuing on in the Darkon Warriors series), a post-apocalyptic, erotic short story published by Momentum Moonlight (a digital imprint of Pan MacMillan Australia). I’ve also indie published two erotic novellas, both pre-medieval novels with a touch of magic set in Ancient Britain. I’ve recently been awarded a contract for my second, sci fi single title of the Darkon Warriors series, Star Pirate’s Justice, and given a release date of February 2014.

In late October, I indie published my first contemporary rural, Australian romance, Dance in the Outback. I will also indie publish in November a short erotic novella, Storm of Fire, set in a post apocalyptic world.

Dance-in-the-Outback--8.9.13 (2)

As you can see, I don’t restrict my writing to any particular genre. My stories are written in either third person or first person but I’ve never tackled present tense and can’t see myself doing so. The individual stories and the characters tend to dictate the heat levels (hot to sweet / sensual) and also from which perspective I write. I dread writing a synopsis and endure editing. My usual pattern is to start with an idea and then the characters come to me. I’ll write about three chapters, while the time the story is percolating inside my head. Then I sit down and write an outline of the external storyline, do detailed character sheets and GMC’s. I always know how I want the book to end before I start.

For anyone starting on their first manuscript, I recommend join a writing organisation, undertake courses or if dollars are tight, borrow how-to books from your library. I can’t stress how important it is to find like-minded people; I’ve made some wonderful friends through my writing. They’ve provided motivation, inspiration and support and I believe my road to publication would have been a lot longer, and certainly a lot less fun, if I’d never met them.

Thank you very much for joining me here today. I’d like to leave with a short blurb about my current release and an extract which I hope you’ll enjoy.

BLURB: Years ago Melanie Black was rescued from a burning house by her best mate and fellow foster child. When he begs for help, she can’t refuse. Melanie takes off to an Outback cattle station to supervise his children, while her friend and his wife use a second honeymoon to rekindle their romance. Out here, there isn’t a mall in sight. It’s hot and swarms with flies and yet, her soul tells her she has finally come home.

Station owner, Dirk Tanner, can’t believe his eyes when his brother-in-law’s ‘friend’ alights from the plane. She’s far too pretty, distracting and has brought pampered pets with her! Then he recognises her as the do-gooder who gave his ex-wife advice on ‘living her own life’. No way will he allow Melanie to meddle in his sister’s affairs too.

Both soon realize pre-conceptions can be wrong and a near brush with death reveals their true feelings for one another. But will this newly forged love be strong enough to overcome their painful pasts? Or will Melanie’s dream of belonging be reduced to ashes.

Extract from Dance in the Outback © S. E. Gilchrist 2013

Frowning, Dirk stroked his chin as he stared out over the parched land that stretched endlessly to the horizon, paying no attention to the awkward silence that had fallen over their small group. Bloody hell, I’ve still got those fences to check not to mention the homestead bore. He shot an exasperated glance up at the sun now beginning its descent.

“Aunty Melanie, over here,” hollered Tammy in such a high voice she could have been auditioning at the Sydney Opera House.

A dozing black cockatoo rose shrieking from its perch on a large mulga tree beside the runway. The huge bird flapped his long glistening, black wings and circled above their heads displaying the brilliant crimson-red feathers of his under tail.

The mutt in the dog carrier yapped hysterically.

Startled from his ruminations about what could be causing the bore’s engine to misstep and his ears ringing from the racket, Dirk swung back towards the plane.

The pilot was handing down the few steps of the plane, a young woman who exuded an aura of warmth and gentle energy. Dirk noted with disbelief the fatuous look on Tom’s face and the faint noises of encouragement he made to the woman as if she attempted a hazardous climb from the summit of Mount Kosciusko.

Dirk couldn’t blame the young pilot for his obvious interest. Even from this distance, Dirk could see how shapely her legs were beneath the short skirt of her buttery yellow sun-dress fluttering in a teasing dance against her thighs.

His hands fisted involuntarily and he heaved a resigned sigh as Tammy danced off again.

The woman raised her head and directed a sunny smile towards them before turning away.

Unease prickled along the length of Dirk’s spine.

Something about her…no, he must be mistaken. He was certain he’d never met the ‘family friend’ before.

The woman spoke to Tom who then began to enthusiastically haul more luggage from the interior of the plane. Tammy reached her and the woman scooped the young girl into a big hug. Then, hand-in-hand they strolled across the red dirt, faces turned towards each other, chatting as if they had all the time in the world.

“Catherine, how lovely to see you again. And there’s my darling Anabelle,” the woman called out. Her voice as thick and smooth as treacle slid over Dirk’s senses. “Tammy, be a sweetheart and let poor Muffin out of her carrier before she becomes traumatised.”

“Okay, Aunty Melanie.” Tammy ran off to fumble with the latch of the dog carrier.

An unearthly yowl split the air. “Oh poor Mister Gibbs,” crooned the woman bending down. The movement caused her honey blond curls to bounce and glow in the bright sunlight.

With an effort, Dirk wrenched his stare onto the box she carried; another animal carrier.

For the love of…not another pampered pet. My dogs are going to go ape-shit. Dirk directed an irritated glare at the woman. Their eyes met and all the air wheezed from his lungs as he received the shock of his life.


He stood and gaped, vaguely aware his sister was introducing the ‘family friend’ but the words flowed over him like the background noise of waves on a beach. All he could think of was the last time he’d seen this woman.

Sure, it had been years ago but he’d never forgotten that day — the day that had marked the end of his marriage.

Thank you Suzanne, for your interesting promo of Dance of the Outback and your other works.  Readers,  here are the links for you to buy her books, I know you will want to jump right on that.

Website –

Amazon –
Twitter – @SEGilchrist1
Facebook –
F2F writing group –

Posted in authors, books, conflict, editing, favorite books, fiction, Indie, mysttery, novels, series, thrillers, writers

Rich Goldhaber talks about writing a series.

It is my great pleasure to have my first author of a series on my blog. Rich Goldhaber spent forty years in Research & Development in the medical product industry. He has leveraged his knowledge of science and Technology into a second career as a Mystery/Thriller writer. His five books, The Lawson Series feature his main characters; Dr. Sally Graff and Detective Dan Lawson.  Her skills as an emergency room physician, and his as an energetic detective, make them a modern-day Dr. Watson and Sherlock Homes. Trouble always seems to find this pair as they travel the world in pursuit of bad guys.

Rich Goldharbor
Rich Goldharber

Joanne:  From my limited understanding of a series, there are several formats it can work.

Spinoffs: A series of novels that take an existing minor character, setting, or concept from the first stand-alone story and create a new plot/situation for additional stand-alone stories. Spinoffs are very common in the Romance genre

Serials: A series of novels that follow one particular character throughout many different, mostly unconnected episodes. Each novel is self-contained and could be read as a stand-alone title, though each successive title reveals more about the continuing character(s). Serials are seen most often in Mystery/Suspense and Action/Adventure

Sequels: A series of novels that contain one continuing story in a finite number of volumes. While each volume has a beginning, middle, climax, and denouement, the main plot/conflict of the series continues throughout the series and finally comes to a climax and resolution in the final volume. This main plot/conflict must be introduced early in the beginning of the first book. Sequel series are most common in Science Fiction, Fantasy (just do a search for “trilogy” in the books section of!), and Historical Fiction/Romance.

What style of series did you choose and why?

Rich: My five novels clearly fit into the serial classification.

the 26th   Stolen_Treasure_Cover_for_Kindle  vector cropped  succession plan_edited-1  risky behavior coveredited-1

Joanne:  Did you plan out all of your books ahead of time before you started to write your first book?  What was the process?

Rich: Halfway through the writing of my first book in the series “The 26th of June”, I realized that the characters deserved more than just one story to fully tell their stories.

Joanne:  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

Rich: I am an avid reader. About six years ago I was reading a New York Times bestseller. I thought it was terrible. I said to myself, even I could write better than this. That was a challenge I couldn’t refuse.

Joanne:  How long did it take you to publish your fist manuscript? Also, did books two through five come faster?

Rich: Once I settled on going the self-publishing route, I began exploring various self-publishing companies. Create Space, an Amazon company seemed the best, and once that decision was made it took me only three months to see my first book in print. Now I’m an expert using Create Space, and once I finish formatting my text in Word, and creating a PDF for my cover using Photoshop, it only takes a week to get a proof of my new book.

Joanne:  Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication? What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indie publisher to a colleague?

Rich: I tried going the classical route by trying to find a mainstream agent. It became clear to me after six months of trying that my query letters were for the most part not even being fully read. Feedback from my author friends indicated the general unhappiness of using second and third tier agents.

Joanne:  Do you think you have a distinctive “Voice” to your stories?  Exactly what does that mean to you and how did you find yours?

Rich: My technical background has allowed me to always have a credible technical aspect to my stories. Whether it’s about terrorists making a neutron bomb or a biological weapon, I like the reader to learn something new about a technical subject that they never explored. The trick is to do so without it appearing too much like schoolwork.

Joanne:  What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

Rich: Being a technical person during my business career, I was skilled in writing technical papers. Technical writing, however, is heavy on nouns, verbs, and numbers. Adjectives, adverbs, and emotion are out of the question. As a writer of novels, I had to learn to write with emotion. Easier said than done for a technocrat.

Joanne: What advice would you give to new writers that think they want to write a series. What factors are important for them to know before  they start?

Rich: Write the first story and then decide whether the main characters are worth additional exploration.

Joanne: One of my favorite series writers, Randy Wayne White always brings us exciting new stories but as a fan, I have my favorite characters that I would be so disappointed if they were not included. Do you have a favorite character that is in all your books?

Rich: Of course the main characters are my favorite, but one minor character, Benny Cannon is always exciting to write about. He’s the super-geek working at the FBI. He’s like the character “M” in James Bond movies. He always has a technical gadget to help Dan and Sally solve a problem. Also, I position him as a weird dresser (e.g. one green sock and one red sock).

Joanne: Do you have anything new in the works? If so, is it another book in the series or are ever planning on writing a new, totally different series?

Rich: After five books with the same people, my next novel moves to a new set of characters. It’s called “The Cure” and involves a young engineer who begins working for a start-up company that has found the cure to cancer. Is it really a cure or are there others factors at play? If it’s too good to be true is it always too good to be true?

Joanne:  Where should readers go to purchase your books?

Rich: My books are available on and Book stores are also able to get this book through their normal distribution channels.

Joanne:  Can you share a few paragraphs from one of your book to wet out appetite?

Rich: The beginning of my second book “Succession Plan” follows:

I had been living with the guilt for almost a year. Disgrace began on the last day of my father’s life. I sat silently at the side of his bed in the nursing home waiting for what I knew was inevitable. As always, a potent cocktail of urine and Mr. Clean filled the air.

The special care facility where he had lived for the last six months was one of the finest in the city, but all of the Andrew Wyeth prints and brightly colored rooms could not alter one overriding fact. This place specialized in managing death. His cancer had slowly eaten away his self-esteem, and the frail man who now resided in what was once a fit athletic body, clung tenaciously to life.

He suddenly awoke, and his dark sunken eyes reached out to my inner soul. He searched for my hand, squeezed it tightly, and reminded me of my promise to take care of the ring. He then closed his eyes forever and left on his ultimate journey.

Tears welled up in my eyes. I bent over, kissed his forehead, held onto his now lifeless hand, and openly cried; not over his death, his passing had been a blessing. During the last six months, his life had been filled with miserable pain and suffering, dulled only by the increasing dose of prescribed narcotics. Instead, my tears were shed over his last words.

You see, the ring was the problem. He had given me the present on my eighth birthday.  The gift was bestowed along with one of his famous long rambling speeches, and as he held the cheap looking plastic gold colored object reverently in his hand, he explained it was an authentic Captain Video Secret Decoder Ring.  He wanted me to understand its true value lay far beyond its intrinsic worth. Rather, it was a symbol of the wonderful memories of his own childhood. Captain Video was a TV program from the early 50’s, and when my father was a young boy, he had used the ring to decode special messages from the Captain. Handing me the ring in front of the extended assembly of family and friends, he made me promise to save his most cherished possession and pass it on to my children when the time was right.

I didn’t know what to make of the gift or the ceremony, but I did hide the ring in the safest most secret spot I knew, a small shelf hidden from view behind a built-in bar in our basement.  To reach the special place, a person needed to crawl behind the bar and reach up inside a cabinet; a difficult set of physical maneuvers unless you were less than four feet tall and weighed under fifty pounds.

Posted in writers

S is for Series


I wanted to write about Series because I know little about the subject. This exercise in blogging is as much a learning experience for me as it is for you. After reading many articles on writing a series and taking copious notes, I ran across a blog by Kaye Dacus which she titled “Writing the Series.” It is dated June 16, 2008, but the message is as relevant today as it was in 2008. What impressed me the most was her simple explanations of the three types of series. I didn’t know there were three types until she pointed it out. I had to hit myself on the head and say “Duh, how obvious.” Everything written below is entirely by Kaye Dacus. I cannot take a word of credit. I hope you find it as educational as I did. The actual link to her site is HTTP:// The first book of her Great Expectation Series, Follow the Heart is scheduled to be released in May 2013. 


Writing the Series by Kaye Dacus – June 16, 2008

When it comes to fiction, what is a series? Well, to put it simply, a fiction series is a number of books written around a particular continuity theme. It can be a duet, a trilogy, or an open-ended number of books, but they are a series only if there is some thread that ties them all together.
What kind of thread? Well, that depends. In Jan Karon’s Mitford series, the continuity thread is the main character, Father Timothy. Dee Henderson’s O’Malley novels are tied together because the main characters in each of them are adopted siblings. But they’re also tied together because each of the main characters is in some kind of “heroic” profession—like a police detective, a U.S. Marshal, a firefighter, a grief counselor, or an EMT. In Susan May Warren’s Deep Haven series, it is the setting that ties the books together, though the characters from the previous books do make “cameo” appearances in subsequent books.
With some series, there is a little bit of a difference, because it’s a continuing story throughout the series—which is seen most commonly in trilogies such as the Lord of the Rings series—in which the first two books may give a somewhat satisfying ending, but more than likely just leave the story hanging so that you have to continue reading to get any closure. This is true in some longer series, such as J.M. Hochstetler’s American Patriot series—which will extend to seven or eight volumes before the storyline comes to a conclusion.
The many ways of tying books together to create a series can pretty much be broken down into the three different kinds of series: spinoffs, serials, and sequels.

Spinoffs: A series of novels that take an existing minor character, setting, or concept from the first stand-alone story and create a new plot/situation for additional stand-alone stories. Examples: Dee Henderson’s “Uncommon Heroes” series or Christine Schaub’s “Music of the Heart” series that had as its continuing thread the novelization of the stories behind some of the greatest hymns of all time. Spinoffs are very common in the Romance genre—or in TV, though sometimes without as much success as in novels (e.g., Joni loves Chachi, Joey, or Frasier or the “Avonlea” series that was a spinoff of the Anne of Green Gables setting).

Serials: A series of novels that follow one particular character throughout many different, mostly unconnected episodes. Each novel is self-contained and could be read as a stand-alone title, though each successive title reveals more about the continuing character(s). Examples: Tony Hillerman’s novels featuring Navajo tribal police officers Leaphorn and Chee; Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels; Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels; Sherlock Holmes; Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys… are you sensing a genre pattern? Serials are seen most often in Mystery/Suspense and Action/Adventure. This is also what makes up the bulk of TV programming: the CSI and Law & Order franchises are prime examples. If you’re addicted to them, you watch every week and pick up on all of the tiny hints about the continuing-characters’ lives outside of the cases they’re working. However, the driving force of each week’s episode is the self-contained crime they must solve. Non-addicts can come in at any time and watch an episode and understand 95% of what’s going on (the other 5% being information about the characters that have been built throughout the series, such as Bobby Goren’s mother’s schizophrenia and cancer, or Horatio Cane’s relationship and short-lived marriage to Eric’s sister).

Sequels: A series of novels that contain one continuing story in a finite number of volumes. While each volume has a beginning, middle, climax, and denouement, the main plot/conflict of the series continues throughout the series and finally comes to a climax and resolution in the final volume. This main plot/conflict must be introduced early in the beginning of the first book. It cannot suddenly appear three chapters from the ending. While, if well-written, sequel-series books could be read separately, it is usually necessary to start with the first volume and read them in sequence to truly understand the entire storyline. Examples: Star Wars (whether taken as the original trilogy or the full set-of-six films), Tracie Peterson’s “Ribbons West” series, the Harry Potter series. Sequel series are most common in Science Fiction, Fantasy (just do a search for “trilogy” in the books section of!), and Historical Fiction/Romance. In television, these are shows such as LOST or Alias where each show builds the story upon what happened in the show before, and it’s really difficult to come into the middle of it and really know what’s going on without going back to the beginning to catch up.

Kaye Dacus (KAY DAY-cuss) is an author and educator who has been writing fiction for more than twenty years. A former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kaye enjoys being an active ACFW member and the fellowship and community of hundreds of other writers from across the country and around the world that she finds there. She currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, which she co-founded in 2003 with three other writers. Each month, she teaches a two-hour workshop on an aspect of the craft of writing at the MTCW monthly meeting. Kaye lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is an academic advisor and English Composition instructor for Bethel University.
Note from me: Thank You Kaye for your invaluable information.
Are you currently writing a series? Is it is Spin off, a Serial or a Sequel?