The Outback Story.

Alberta Prairie Building
Farraville Farm

So almost a year ago, I wrote this post about my books. I have, for quite some time, been tinkering with ‘rural romance’.

Having grown up in a small, idyllic community, these plots and people come to me quite fully formed. There is a different textural carpet to a romance set amongst a small community, and never more so than rural and outback towns, where each person counts on the next for, at times, their very survival. The publican, the grocer, the mailman, the doctor and nurse, the headmaster, these people all take on enormous importance. And lives, and the details that make them interesting, are almost impossible to keep private.

My first foray into Rural Romance is a still-being-edited 60,000 word story called Fighting the Tide. My heroine Sarah harks from a small community in the Pilbara, but has long since left it for dust, taking up residence in Perth where she’s an almost-graduated med. student. The love of her life, Conrad Stone, is King of the Bush, running the family station (one of the largest in the country). Enmity has long-since existed between their families, after Sarah’s grandfather won the small piece of land, with the only naturally fed dam in the region, from the Stones in a poker match.

But it is not a blood grudge over land that separated Sarah and Conrad, so much as a deep and dark family secret that, if discovered, may forever tear them apart.When her father decides to sell the land, seemingly on a whim, back to the Stones, Sarah has other ideas. She travels into the heart of her past to derail the plan, with no idea that the feelings she has for Conrad are waiting for her.

I love the story and I love, love, love the town of Stone’s Gorge and the inhabitants that give it colour. It has been over a year in the making, and I want to get it just right, so I keep picking it up, working it over, then putting it aside for a time to let it ‘breathe’.

Meanwhile, I’m plotting something new. A story of a woman on the run from from a dark and dangerous past. Lucy Lockyer needs to go somewhere no one from her previous life would think to look for her, and so she applies for a job teaching second graders in a small town on the South Australian coast called Farravale.

It’s a tiny community used to professionals coming for a six month stint and then fleeing back to civilisation. The name looks great on the CV but once people realise that a loaf of bread costs a fortune and there’s no espresso bar, they hightail it back to the nearest city faster than you can say ‘avocado sushi role.’ Though the town welcomes the beautiful young school teacher with open arms, there is one man who is fed up with the transient nature of those who come to teach the children. Powerful local winemaker and owner of the community pub, Grayson Jones has no time for city-slickers looking to dip their toes in the pool of rural life. These bush kids fall in love with their teachers only to have them up and go when the isolation of small-town-life becomes too much. Grayson doesn’t give our heroine much of a chance, until he realises that she’s not running from their community, so much as running to it.

The best thing about this is that I need to go a research trip or two to one of my favourite beachside towns … I cannot wait to drift from the plotting stage to the writing … I can feel these people coming to life inside my mind, and my fingertips, and I know that once I start getting their stories down I’m going to love it. But for now … plot, plot, plot, plan, plan, plan (trip, trip, trip).

CC.x

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Through the Wormhole

Loving couple in the park. Vintage retro style with light leaks

Every now and again, a story grips me to the point where it feels like I have been sucked through a vortex into a parallel universe. And that place, those people, become my reality. That’s where I want to be. I’m there, peering through a window looking at my normal life. Making dinner, doing laundry, school drop offs, all from that other world.

I’m there right now.

I woke up Thursday morning for a story idea. It always starts with a kernel. Two characters and their single point of conflict. Then the questions and answers begin to tumble like preschoolers down a hill. Why does she feel that way? Why would she hate him so much? Why can’t they tell each other the truth? What will happen if they do? Where did they meet? Did she plan to do this to him from the start? Or was it an accident she now has to live with? And what will happen when he realises everything he thought he knew about her is a fabrication?

I lay under the quilt, watching dawn slowly claim the day, and I asked and answered these questions, until I sprang out of bed, poured a coffee and began to write.

Three days later, I’ve written forty thousand words. That’s almost a full-length for me. And I don’t know where the words have come from. They’ve crashed out of my fingers almost without my control.

And I love it! I hope you do too. Christos and Elle won’t be published for many months – they have a journey of refinement to traverse now – but I can’t wait to share their rather angsty, angry, exotic story with you.

Love, CC.x

It’s my Second Book Birthday 🎉

beautiful girl with colorful balloons outside.

On the 18th May 2014, my first book went live on the Amazon website.

I had been writing for years. In fact, I have always written. But like many, many writers, I never really believed my books would see the light of day. I wrote because the only thing I loved more than reading great love-stories was being able to think up my very own.

When we lived in London and I worked in recruitment, I would come home from work and write. Sitting on a balcony as narrow as a shoe box, overlooking a jazz pub and a fish and chip shop, I would perch with my laptop and cup of tea, and I would write.

I wrote when we moved to our little South Australian town, overlooking the sea.

And I wrote when I took a job in one of the great wine-making districts in the world and had to drive hours each way.

Writing is under my skin; it’s a compulsion and an obsession. I recently read a précis of Stephen King Writing Advice. And while I would never dream of comparing myself to that awe-inspiring human, I wholeheartedly agreed with one point he made in particular: I write every day. Christmas Day. My Birthday. My kids’ birthdays. I feel like I’m suffocating if I can’t dip into my story. When I’m in a book, I am unbearable. My mind frequently wanders to my world (my poor husband tries to talk to me and finds me book-logged and blank-faced).

I adore being able to take a kernel of an idea — a conflict with seemingly no resolution — and flesh it out with side-characters, complications, motivations and suspicions, and most vitally a hard-fought Happily Ever After. Finding the words to turn an idea into a story and then polishing it until finally I feel like my words do the characters justice
becomes my sole focus.

This has been the most exciting and rewarding journey I could imagine. I can tell you honestly that I had the lowest expectations when, two years ago, I somewhat ambivalently pushed my first book out into the ether. I hoped that I might be able to connect with a few dozen readers. Within an hour of publishing, I saw a little red dot glance on my Amazon sales charts. And then another. AnIMG_6485d another. Dozens of people found my first book on its first day! It was … amazing. And surreal. And it has just become more amazing and more surreal with each book. The last data I saw showed more than 500,000 digital downloads since that day. These numbers absolutely bend my story-plotting mind.

So I guess what I wanted to say is that no matter how much I love to write, and to invent characters and conflicts, none of this would count for anything without the romance-mad-readership that has swarmed through my catalogue. Writing is its own reward and yet without my readers, I would still just be pixels into storage. So thank you — happy book birthday to us both.

CC.x

 

 

 

On Reviews

 

IMG_5960I included a little note in the back of my book, THE SHEIKH’S SECRET BABY, and I
just wanted to thank all of you who read not only the book, but also the note, and left a review.
I adore being an Independent author. It gives me the ability to write what I really want to write, and to share those words with you: The Reader.

Reviews are incredibly important to indie authors.

Leaving your thoughts on the Amazon, Apple or GoodReads platforms (no plot reveals please!) is a great way to support Indies like me and to make sure our books find their way into the right hands… people just like you.

CC.x

Two years in and I’m branching out.

Covers
99c Romances that will set your soul on fire

It’s almost my Book-Birthday … the second anniversary of pushing ‘publish’ on my first book, THE ITALIAN BILLIONAIRE’S BETRAYAL (Still one of my absolute favourites). It has been a crazy whirlwind two years in which I’ve had over 500,000 digital downloads of my titles and several bestsellers on the Amazon romance erotica charts (seriously, pinch me).

To date, my books have been exclusively available on the Amazon store (and I’ve loved every minute of that) but now … drumroll please … I’m branching out. I’ve chosen my about-to-be-released THE SHEIKH’S SECRET BABY to go live on iBooks – a fitting expansion as I am a complete apple-girl through and through (trying to find an iPhone costume to wear at halloween!🍏). Other platforms will follow in due course for select titles.

As always, my titles will be 99c for full-length category romance novels.

Despite having done this countless times, I’m strangely, weirdly trepidatious! Just like that momentous night two years ago, I’m feeling nervous as my finger hovers over the ‘submit’ button. But new is scary. In a good way, but scary nonetheless. What’s not scary is making this book available as widely as possible. I loved the story; I loved plotting it, writing it, editing it. I’m looking forward to connecting to a whole new bunch of readers.

If you’re a iBook-er, I hope to see you over there soon.

CC.x