Greek Young Matrons’ Luncheon

 

Very much looking forward to a fabulous lunch and conversation with the wonderful women from the Greek Young Matrons’ Association. 

Would love to see you if you are in Sydney and are free on Friday, February 19th.

Should be a lot of fun!

 

GYMA 1

 

 

The Callahan Split – 2016 Australia Day Book Giveaway

 

I am thrilled to be part of the 2016 Australia Day Book Giveaway, hosted by Shelleyrae and Bookdout!

It runs from today until Wednesday January 27 – Leave a comment on my blog and visit other participating bloggers and leave a comment, to be in the running to win fabulous books by Aussie authors.

On my blog, you could win one of two copies of The Callahan Split or one of two copies of It Started with a Kiss!

 

australia

My latest novel, The Callahan Split, centres on the lust, love, loss and lives of several fictional players on the international tennis circuit.  And as it happens, coincides with Australia’s summer of tennis…in fact the first page begins with sisters and doubles partners playing at The Australian Open!

9780994311405

Here’s a little more about the novel –

In tennis, as in life, nothing ever goes truly to plan.

Samantha and Annie Callahan are successful doubles champions — the toast of the Olympics, Wimbledon, and Flushing Meadow. But their winning partnership spirals out of control when Annie’s new boyfriend announces their engagement at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Amidst rising anger and betrayal, Samantha completely changes both their destinies when she does the unthinkable after a devastating Wimbledon loss.
The sisters are driven to create new lives by confronting the past and taking control of the present. But can Samantha and Annie both win? Click here to read more.

Zac and book

It Started with a Kiss…After the pain of her marriage breakup, Friday Jones makes some major blunders – from a misguided affair to online dating disasters. But can heartbreak actually be the best thing that ever happened to her? Click here to read more.

If you’d like to win one of these books, please leave a comment below – and make sure you visit all the other amazing Aussie authors who are joining in this promotion.  

Click here to check out the other authors – there’s quite a few!

Good luck!

It’s really here! The Callahan Split

After months of blood, sweat and tears I can hardly believe that today I get to tell you that my next book is finally here. It is!

The Callahan Split – now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo. I’ll post details of iBooks shortly.

Delivered to your Kindle August 1 2015.

I really love this one and believe me when I say that a little piece of me is contained in every full stop in the book!

Here’s what you’re in for: The Callahan Split…

The Callahan Split by Lisa Heidke

So here’s the blurb:

The Callahan Split: No one knows you better than your sister.

‘In pro tennis just as in any memorable film or book, you have your hero, villain, heroine, damsel in distress, rake and, of course, the girl next door…Let me tell you a story.’
Samantha Callahan

In tennis, as in life, nothing ever goes truly to plan.
Samantha and Annie Callahan are successful doubles champions — the toast of the Olympics, Wimbledon, and Flushing Meadow. But their winning partnership spirals out of control when Annie’s new boyfriend announces their engagement at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

‘Janko has the announcement. To say my bride, Annie, is for me the new koala. It matters not that Annie win tennis, she is Janko’s new wife, about to be.’

Bear, the sisters’ coach, guides Annie as much as she’ll allow. But when she insists on dropping Samantha in favour of a singles career, her game and rankings plummet.

‘You are such an older sister,’ Bear said. ‘Controlling, logical, determined.’
I glared at him.
‘What? You are. Annie’s more relaxed, sociable. God forbid if you were both like you.’
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
Bear snorted. ‘You’d kill each other.’

Samantha is left floundering. Disillusioned, her only sweet spot is the growing passion between her and Bear.

I walked up to him, my mind blank, and pressed my lips to his. When I pulled away, there was a look of confusion on his face. Then he returned my kiss and I let my towel drop – again.
‘Sweetheart,’ he said, as we stumbled our way toward the bed. I silenced him with more kisses.

Amidst rising anger and betrayal, Samantha completely changes both their destinies when she does the unthinkable after a devastating Wimbledon loss.

A very bad thing!

Annie1

Afterwards, the sisters are driven to create new lives by confronting the past and taking control of the present. But can Samantha and Annie both win?

The Callahan Split: Do you like the cover and the blurb?

Tennis, sisters and splits

So, I have a completed manuscript and a title but am still working on the cover…with a little help from my friends.

Initially, the kind of cover I envisaged was something abstract like this:

Callahan Split 3

But then a few people commented that it was too obscure and that the tennis reference wasn’t strong enough…Did they want something like this?

tennis 11
I think not.
And then a wacky friend came up with this one –

Tennis 10
The image is lifted from an original photo titled Tennis Girl, taken by Martin Elliott in 1976, of his then 18-year-old girlfriend, Fiona Butler.

I can’t use it, but I did laugh…sisters, tennis and a bit of raunch. …And I will definitely be using the byline ‘no one knows you better than your sister‘. Thanks Nicholas!

I also like the reference to Wimbledon…which brings me to my next point! Am off to London on Thursday! Yippee.

Yes, I’ll visit Princess Charlotte, have High Tea at The Ritz and attend the Chelsea Flower Show, But hopefully, I will also be inspired to create the perfect cover…or at least be able to tell someone far cleverer than me the kind of cover I’d like for The Callahan Split!

So, we’ve established that the title is The Callahan Split...

A story about two sisters…

Now here’s a bit more information…

In tennis, as in life, nothing ever goes truly to plan.

Samantha and Annie Callahan are successful doubles champions — the toast of the Olympics, Wimbledon, and Flushing Meadow. But their winning partnership spirals out of control when Annie’s new boyfriend announces their engagement at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Bear, the sisters’ coach, guides Annie as much as she’ll allow. But when she insists on dropping Samantha in favour of a singles career, her game and rankings plummet.
Samantha is left floundering. Disillusioned, her only sweet spot is the growing passion between her and Bear. Amidst rising anger and betrayal, Samantha completely changes both their destinies when she does the unthinkable after a devastating Wimbledon loss.
The sisters are driven to create new lives by confronting the past and taking control of the present. But can Samantha and Annie both win?
Thoughts?

*******Update

Look what the lovely (and perhaps slightly strange) Robin Riedstra has come up with!

Tom

 

Love it!

A coffee or a really, really good book?

Hello and thank you to all the wonderful people who have bought It Started with a Kiss – either print or e-book version.

Zac and book

If you haven’t, well, I still like you anyway, but here’s your opportunity to buy the Kindle version for a whopping 90% off the list price.

For a very short time, It Started with a Kiss is NOW available at Amazon for only $2.61.

Did I just say $2.61?

Why, yes! Yes, I did. In less than a minute, you could be reading It Started with a Kiss!

Click here to get the book for $2.61

If parting with that kind of cash doesn’t tickle your fancy, and you’re thinking ‘but what if I hand over my hard-earned money and hate it?’, fear not, because you can actually download the first chapter for FREE and then make your decision.

Click here to download the first chapter for free

Amazon hasn’t told me how long the promotion will run, but they are usually short, so, don’t delay.

Leave a comment and two lucky readers will receive a mug and notebook.

A ISWAK

 

You heard correctly! An It Started with a Kiss mug AND a notebook!  (Aren’t they both adorable?) I haven’t even given my mother a mug and notebook, but Mother’s Day looms and she may get lucky.

Lisa xx

 

Judging a book by its cover – do you?

quote2When readers tell me it’s all about ‘the cover and the blurb’ when buying a book, a little piece of me dies. (Not literally, but kind of.)

Within seconds of a glancing at a cover, readers, consciously or unknowingly, decide whether they’ll pick up the book and read the back cover blurb or keep on walking (scrolling through Amazon, iTunes etc) until they stop at a book that’s shouting ‘look at me’ the loudest and are compelled to pick it up.

Most people do that.

I used to, too. Probably still do on occasion. But…

What some people don’t realise is, that as an author, (we’re talking traditional print publishers, here) you have very little control over your book’s cover – okay, most of the time, zero control – unless you’re James Patterson, Nora Roberts or God.
Except if you go down the self-publishing road, in which case the author has 100% control…YIPPEE! More about this later.
But back to print publishers and book covers.
When I first got a publishing contract with Allen & Unwin, way back when, for Lucy Springer Gets Even, I assumed I’d have major input into her cover. Naturally, Lucy would have a kick-ass cover, sell a trillion copies and I’d feel very pleased with myself.

quote1
A good cover tells you what the book is about without giving away the whole story. An exceptional cover compels you to pick the book up and begin reading…immediately.
I didn’t have a problem with the pink background but who the hell was the woman in the ill-fitting purple velour jacket?

Lucy Springer Gets Even fiction book
This wasn’t my Lucy. My Lucy was feisty, fun and pretty (not that she was aware of it, though). And my Lucy was a red head. I didn’t want people having preconceived ideas about her, especially about the Lucy on this proposed cover. But by using a photo, that’s exactly what we are doing – encouraging potential readers to form ideas about my heroine in the blink of an eye.
In my mind, the cover for Lucy Springer was going to be a boppy illustration, along the lines of Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl. (It WAS 2009.)
But this one? I knew people would glance at the cover and make a snap decision. ‘I love her’, ‘I hate her’ ‘what the hell’s the story with her gruesome jacket and why is she looking so smug?’ etc and potential customers would be lost in seconds.
When Lucy appeared in bookshops, I’ll admit you couldn’t miss her – the pink was rather eye-catching, and besides, I was finally published. Yay!
With my next book, What Kate did Next, I was anxious when A & U told me they’d found the perfect designer and she’d created ‘the perfect cover for Kate.’ AND, when I saw the cover, I danced a very happy jig. I agreed with the decision one hundred percent. Others might hate Kate’s cover, but I was thrilled.
With my third, Claudia’s Big Break, A & U nailed it. I couldn’t have been happier. I think the cover captures the mood of the story perfectly. It’s light and fun and screams Santorini! The cover and the back cover blurb didn’t lie. They presented Claudia’s story perfectly.

Claudia's Big Break fiction book Santorini  holiday
Interestingly, that same year, 2011, Lucy Springer Gets Even won herself a new title, Lucy Bounces Back and a new cover. I loved it, but still the Lucy on the cover didn’t have red hair. Que será será.

Lucy Bounces Back fiction  book
These days, I look at book covers in a whole new light. For the record, covers I’m loving at the moment include Dr Seuss, The Cat In The Hat; Rainbow Rowell, Elenor & Park; H.G Wells, The Invisible Man; Max Lucado, Fearless; Pat Flynn, Let Go; and of course, Claudia’s Big Break!
This all brings me back to self-publishing, which is what I’m about to venture into.

To rise to the top of the To Be Read pile, I need to find a kick-ass cover, one that screams ‘I NEED TO BE READ RIGHT NOW!’ So for the foreseeable future – a week at least – I will be scouring the Globe for potential cover designs. It’s a pity I am a Libran and can’t make up my mind whether to write with a blue pen or a black one, let alone handle the daunting task of choosing a book cover and title.
I realise it’s all subjective but I’ll do the best I can to make sure my sixth book gets a look in by potential readers.
So, over to you. What are your favourite covers? How about turn offs?

Writer’s Block, Procrastination and Fear…I Know Thee Well.

What ever label you wish to stick on it, sometimes getting words down onto the page is damn hard…almost crippling. Some days I manage zero, other days 200, and then miraculously on others, 2000. Why?

Some writers like Philip Pullman would argue that ‘The Block’ doesn’t exist. He would say that ‘Writer’s block is a condition that affects amateurs and people who aren’t serious about writing’.

I disagree. I am very serious about my writing but sometimes my block or fear is so all-consuming, I want to curl up in bed and pull the doona up over my head for days or even weeks.

Me pulling my hair out...what next?

To those who experience it, writer’s block is very real.
So, having established that, how can you overcome – or at the very least – manage it?

1. Stop writing your work in progress. (What am I saying? You already have stopped because you HAVE writer’s block!)

writers block

Instead, write something completely different.
Step out of your writing comfort zone and walk outside into your back yard, a local park, or the local cafe. How are you feeling? Write about the flowers/coffee you smell or the birds/conversations you hear. Use your five senses to write a paragraph or page that is personal. Just for you!

 

2. Break down your writing. Can’t figure out what comes next? Take your characters on a holiday, an adventure, or unexpected holiday. Santorini looks nice!

A holiday may be the furtherest thing from your protagonist’s mind, but what if? Where would they go and why? How would this adventure propel the story forward?

imagesO8V1LHJC

3. Off the top of my head, ask yourself this of your characters:

What would make this character super successful? A failure?
What WOULDN’T this character do? Do it!
If you were your character, how would you feel? HONESTLY?
Challenge them.

Break the rules…let your imagination run wild. A three legged dog? Why not? A potential love interest lurking in the camellias? Of course.
Keep asking yourself, what if, what if, WHAT IF?

4. Stop when the writing is going well. Finish your days’ writing in the middle of a sentence or scene so that when you start writing again tomorrow or in a week’s time, you remember where you left off and can easily pick it up again with confidence.

writers block25. Get inside your protagonist’s head and have them write to a best friend or relative they haven’t seen for ten years. What’s been happening all that time? Who have they loved? Where have they worked? Who has died? Don’t worry that some or none of this will make it into your novel! You, the creator, are unlocking your character’s past and their motivation for the future. (Profound, huh?)

 

6. Show up! As much as you don’t want to turn up to your writing job at six am, six pm, midnight… or whenever you have the time to write, you need to. Even if it means researching your protagonist’s work, hobby, weird obsession with Birman cats on the internet, it’s progress. (BTW, so is staring out the window.) But seriously, try to write, even if it’s a stream of conscious piece about staring out the window…

7. And what about all those famous authors who hated writing? When you’re really feeling down about yourself, read their biographies…afterwards, you’ll surely feel better!
Including, but not limited to:

James Joyce: “Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives.”

dorothy parker

 

 

Dorothy Parker: “I hate writing, I love having written.”

 

 

 

Silvia Plath: “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

Finally, I especially like this one by John Dos Passos: “If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works.
Cheers, John!

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal: I never reread a text until I am finished the first draft, otherwise it’s too discouraging.

The key with these strategies to overcome Writer’s Block, Procrastination, Fear – whatever you want to call it, is not to lose momentum or faith.

Writing is mostly a solitary profession. It’s easy to lose heart and say ‘I give up’ or ‘I’m crap.’
You’re not, but you need to keep at your job.
As the old, but profound saying goes, ‘you can’t edit a blank page’.
So get to it and write even if it’s only 200 words.

images0I1MADOH zacIf you really can’t write, because, say your cat is sitting on your computer –

then READ, READ and READ some more.
(I’m off to scoff some chocolate.)
How do you overcome writer’s block?