Time for an update

Apologies to my followers for the long silence, but things in my personal life have been a bit unsettled of late and there hasn’t been much time, let alone enthusiasm to do any writing.

The reason for this has mostly been to the fact that my day job as a contractor at Kimberly Clark was coming to an end, and I had been frantically devoting as much time as possible in trying to find another job. Fortunately I have now scored a permanent role at Konica-Minolta so hopefully I won’t need to worry of an end date any time soon.

With the day job secured [a necessity as book royalties cannot be relied upon to make a living – unless of course you’re a famous author such as George RR Martin, Ken Follett, or J K Rowling to name just a few], I can now revert back to picking up where I had left off with my writing projects.

I have three books currently on the go; two novellas for Louise Roberts and a novel for me:

  • Passionate Harvest – Book 3 in The Sword and the Rose Series
  • Dragoon Serenade – Book 2 in the Romance in War Series
  • When Doves Weep – Book 1 [but is in fact the second book] in the Mark Lander Chronicles.

When I say that When Doves Weep is the second book it’s because after I wrote Out of the Darkness which is listed as Book 2 in the Mark Lander Chronicles I thought it would an idea to write a prequel to allow my readers to find out where Mark Lander, and Mark’s best friend Jim Saunders come from. The prequel also introduces the second of Mark’s closest friends, Chris Hardaker who will become a prominent character in the two subsequent proposed books in the series [Nightsafe – scheduled for 2016 and Guardian Angel – scheduled for 2017].

Having said that though, at present my creative juices appear to have dried up and I can’t seem to get into any of my works, apart from dabbling in a couple of hundred words here and there. Luckily, though, on the 21st of this month I shall be heading to Melbourne for the two-day 2015 Romance Writers of Australia Conference. I have enrolled to attend several workshops that I hope will kick-start my creativity again:

Saturday 22nd August

09.30 – 10.30                      How to Plot A Page Turner

11.00 – 12.00                      How Stories Work

12.00 – 13.00                      Scene Diagnosis

14.00 – 15.00                      Not another Sex Scene

Sunday 23rd August

11.00 – 12.00                      Deep Editing

12.00 – 13.00                      Media Boot camp

14.00 – 15.00                      Fact into Fiction

Somewhere in between the workshops I will also be pitching my novel Out of the Darkness to three publishers [put it this way, I have submitted my pitch appointments, I just now need to receive the designated time slots]. Even though this latest novel is written in my own name rather than Louise Roberts, and even though I have placed it into the genre of Crime Fiction, this book does contain romantic elements and as such I believe it could be included in the Romance Genre as well. I hope it will be well received – I have only had one book published this year [Letter from a Stranger] so it would be a great morale booster to get the opportunity to get another published in 2015. In truth however, even if I was lucky enough to score a contract for it, because of the long drawn out editing processes the book might not be released before 2016. Anyway… fingers crossed I say, one never knows how things turn out.

Regardless of what happens to Out of the Darkness, I am hopeful that the two romance novellas I am currently writing will have been picked up by a publisher or two by the end of this year which is when I am aiming to finish them both. Although there are no guarantees in life except perhaps taxation and death I am confident that whether they are published or not I will be moving on to starting the next two novellas planned for each of the series.

I have decided that the series will have no less than 4 books each; what happens after that will depend on how successful or unsuccessful they are. For now therefore the series will consist of:

Under the name: Robert L J Borg

The Mark Lander Chronicles

When Doves Weep – Book 1 [WIP]

Out of the Darkness – Book 2 [Completed]

Nightsafe – Book 3 [In Planning Stage]

Guardian Angel – Book 4 [In Planning Stage]

 

Under the pen name: Louise Roberts

https://louiserobertsromance.wordpress.com/

The Sword and the Rose Series

The Sword and the Rose – Book 1 [Published by Secret Cravings publishing – 2014]

Embrace Amidst Orange Blossoms – Book 2 [Published by Secret Cravings publishing – 2014]

Passionate Harvest – Book 3 [WIP]

Lady from Seville – Book 4 [In Planning Stage]

Romance in War Series

Letter from a Stranger – Book 1 [Published by Luminosity Publishing – 2015]

Dragoon Serenade – Book 2 [WIP]

Neptune’s Landing – Book 3 [In Planning Stage]

Warm Nights in Alex – Book 4 [In Planning Stage]

****

What happens after I complete these projects is anyone’s guess. My son Brad believes I should try something new, such as fantasy or science fiction – I’ve told him to write me a premise of a story and I’ll ghost write it for him, but to date he hasn’t come up with anything. I am tempted however to use him [or his name at least] and his faithful German shepherd as a crime fighting team of the 24th century in outer space – ha ha!!

As we authors always say – “don’t mess with a writer as you will never know what they might do to you in a story”.

Meanwhile however there are books to write so I had best get on with it… it’s no point keeping the ideas locked in my mind: I have to share them.

 

RLB – Tomewriter

 

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HUMP DAY HUNK: Louise Roberts

Originally posted on AusRomToday:

lfas-lr-450-675

Hump Day Hunk with Louise Roberts

Born in Holloway, North London on 20th March 1918 Sergeant William “Bill” Brooks was a tall, blond-haired, well-built young man. He had been apprenticed to his father, an electrician by trade, since he had left school at the age of fourteen. Bill was the second eldest of twelve living children. The eldest, a sister, May stepped in to the role of “mum” when their own mother had died at the young age of fifty six.

When war was declared in September 1939 Bill quickly joined up with the Royal Artillery as an anti-aircraft gunner and was sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Later he would be one of the last men to be taken off the beaches at Dunkirk. He would then serve defending southern England at the height of the Blitz.

As part of a morale boosting exercise…

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Moving On…

With Letter from a Stranger released it is time to move on to existing projects. Passionate Harvest still needs to be completed so I shall be concentrating on this novella moving forward.

However, over the last few days I have been piecing together the plan, synopsis and blurb for the next book in the Romance in War Series.

I was going to hold this back for a while, but after the excitement in completing Letter from a Stranger I couldn’t resist in carrying out the initial research and putting pen to paper for the next book in the series: Dragoon Serenade. The title came about from my love of all things Glen Miller – in particular the number Moonlight Serenade, and of course the code name of the Allied Landings in southern France that were launched on 15th August 1944: Operation Dragoon.

By wanting nothing more than to start writing this story [I tell a lie I have already written the first 1,000 words], I am determined to complete Passionate Harvest as soon as possible.

I suppose I had better end this blog, so I can get on with what I should be doing… writing my stories.

If you don’t hear from  me for a while it will be because I am trying to deal with my ever demanding alter ego :o)

RLB – Tomewriter

 

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Sydney – Travel Log 27

Well this isn’t a travel blog exactly, more like a summary of outings carried out during the month of April 2015.

We had overseas visitors stay with us – my wife, Sandra’s cousin, Jennifer and her husband, Barry from London who came to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary and Sandra’s 65th birthday. So I’m starting this round-up of events from Wednesday 15th April – the birthday.

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The four of us together with our son, Brad were to celebrate the momentous occasion at ARIA restaurant in Circular Quay and to take us there we booked a minibus through a local firm J & P Coaches. The driver picked us up on time and was waiting at a pre-arranged spot to drive us back to Berowra.

https://www.ariarestaurant.com/sydney

What can one say: ARIA was nothing short than beautiful. The food was superb and the wine list was longer than my latest novella.

We selected the three course menu option and every dish was a masterpiece.

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And the piece de la resistance for the birthday girl:

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The location was the best, with views of Sydney Harbour and Opera House, what more could one ask for?

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The celebrations continued on our return home. Sandra was given a doggy bag with petit fours which we enjoyed with more champagne.

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On Saturday 18th April Sandra spent most of the day cooking a turkey which had been defrosting for several days beforehand. She had been given it a few days before Christmas last year when she bought a new fridge-freezer from Bing Lee Electrical Store in Hornsby. The bird was far too big for the two of us, so it seemed a good idea to cook it whilst Jennifer and Barry were with us, but we also invited another couple of friends to make sure there wouldn’t be any left-overs.

Leaving Sandra in the kitchen, I took Jennifer and Barry to discover the beauty of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and marina located at Bobbin Head. Although overcast it was at least dry and it was nice to visit once again. Sandra and I escape to this part of the world from time to time when we want to relax. There is a nice café at the marina, and during this visit we were serenaded by a young couple who sang and played guitar whilst we enjoyed a coffee and sandwich.

http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/Ku-ring-gai-Chase-National-Park/Bobbin-Head/picnic-bbq

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Returning home a few hours later we found Sandra had decked out the dining table for dinner later that evening. The bird was cooked to perfection and we left it to Barry to carve.

Barry Carving

It was a good evening and we slept in the following day. Not much was planned except a trip to the Koala Sanctuary at West Pennant Hills. We shouldn’t have bothered… it was a true disappointment.

Sandra and I had taken Brad there once upon a time when we had first arrived in Australia in 1988. Although my recollection of that visit is a bit dimmed, from the photographs we took at the time the park had been more visitor-friendly. No more.

Parking was a nightmare. They have a concrete driveway which leads to dirt off-road spaces; but to get to them there is no ramp and the car would need to drop some four to six inches from the roadway to the dirt. You would need an off-road 4×4 to negotiate such a drop. There was no way I was going to subject my vehicle to such abuse. However as Jennifer is a disabled pass holder we were able to park in a disabled bay which is on the concrete.

The entrance admission fee was $27 per adult and $15 for children. We found the park in desperate need of attention. There were open drains with stagnant water attracting a host of unsavoury insects. The exhibits were probably the same ones as we had seen back in 1988. Mostly though I personally felt sorry for the animals, in particular the red-necked wallabies whose enclosure seemed like a wasteland with hardly any cover apart from one or two large trees. My understanding of wallabies is they like rocks to climb on and use to shelter. When we were at the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park the previous day, the kangaroos had bush and shrubs to call home, these poor creatures had nothing but a metal fence and dirt:

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They weren’t alone in looking miserable. Two small penguins seemed a bit mangy as they stood near their tiny paddling pool:

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And there was one dingo in a large enclosure [perhaps the others were hiding]; he was lying by the fence soaking up the afternoon sun – he certainly didn’t look as energetic as the photo of the dingoes shown on their website.

http://www.koalapark.com.au/myweb2/default.htm

The koalas were sweet – but all koalas are sweet, and very sleepy, but at least the visit was worthwhile for Jen and Sandra who waited patiently for their turn for a photo with one:

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We left the park after experiencing a feeble cup of luke-warm instant coffee purchased at the kiosk which was charged at the same price you would expect to buy a decent latte at proper café. It was a disappointing experience and Sandra and I felt quite embarrassed at having taken overseas visitors to such an inferior venue.

We drove home the long way round via Dural and calling into the country club located on the Old Northern Road for a well-deserved beautiful lunch. http://www.duralcountryclub.com.au/ . Afterwards we stopped at Swane’s Nursery http://www.swanes.com.au/catalog22/ before heading to Berowra Waters to catch the ferry and then onto Berowra.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berowra_Waters_Ferry

On Friday 24th April we set off early by public transport to Circular Quay to catch the ferry to Manly, which in my opinion is the best part of the journey.

The one thing about living in Sydney is to be able to, at minimum expense, sail the harbour and take in the views of the City from the Manly ferry. The trip might be short [30 minutes], but the vistas of the city, with its iconic landmarks of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge from the water are unique. Then to be able to see the spectacular views of the lower north shore, Royal Australian Naval dockyards, eastern suburbs and approaches to Manly, take your breath away. The photos below are just a small sample – I took far too many to share on this blog. I suggest if and when you are in Sydney, make sure you catch the ferry to Manly and see all these beautiful sights first-hand.

http://www.manlyaustralia.com.au/info/manly-ferry/

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The following day was Anzac Day. It was also Jennifer and Barry’s 45th Wedding Anniversary. We made an early start and headed west to the Blue Mountains. From Berowra the trip is quite quick, taking about one and a half hours. You take the M1 south, then along the Cumberland Highway [A28]. From there you pick up the M2, then the M7 and M4 until you finally get onto the Great Western Highway [A32]. It was a pleasant drive. The weather had started off okay, though quite cool at least it was dry and the sun poked its head out now and again.

We arrived at Echo Point late morning and the Three Sisters were as majestic as ever; so was the entire vista. Although only an hour from the City you can’t help but marvel at the expanse of wilderness on our doorstep. It is quite something!

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The only downside at this wonderful landmark is that there is no café and even if there was with all the parking restrictions it doesn’t give visitors too much time to enjoy this beautiful vista. There are only parking meters available but at $3.80 for the first hour and then $4.40 per hour after that it can prove to be quite an expensive day out.

http://www.bluemts.com.au/info/thingstodo/threesisters/

Of course when you come here you don’t just settle for Echo Point. You must visit Scenic World which is located across the valley. Follow the road signs; it’s only about ten minutes away by car.

There is plenty of parking available although I’m afraid I’m not too sure of the fees [if any] as we used Jennifer’s disabled parking ticket which gave us a spot right by the entrance. The fees to get onto the cable cars/railway were $35 for an adult ticket, $32 for a concession, and $18 for children. A Family pass [2 adults & 2 children] is $88. Scenic World is open every day from 9am – 5pm.

Sandra and I aren’t too brave to get on to the cable cars so we travelled on the railway… not your usual sort of railway; it’s more like a covered coal truck with seats which descends 310m down the side of the mountain at an angle of 52 degrees. To give you a sense of adventure the theme tune to Indiana Jones blares out from speakers.

Once down there are various walks which you can take. All are well signed so there is little chance of getting lost. It has been a few years since visiting Scenic World, this time we were treated to an exhibition of sculptures from International and Australian artists. What they represented left a lot to the imagination. The weirdest in my opinion, and perhaps the most eerie, was a child’s cot where a tree grew right through its centre; but what made it eerie was the sound of a nursery rhyme that emanated from it which could be heard dimly everywhere you went… spooky:

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http://www.scenicworld.com.au/experiences/sculpture/2015-sculpture-home/

Unfortunately we hadn’t been there long when a massive storm system moved in soaking us through. We made a hasty retreat to the railway to take us back to civilisation:

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Feeling utterly dejected we got back into the car and headed back into Katoomba and called into the luxurious Carrington Hotel for some well-deserved lunch. The hotel was built in the late 19th century and its grand opulence has been lovingly retained to this day. We found a table at their bar area and whilst enjoying a wonderful lunch and beverages [I suffered with soft drinks being the designated driver] soaked up the wonderful ambiance of such a historic establishment.

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http://www.thecarrington.com.au/default.asp

It was time to leave, but as the rain had stopped we took the time to stroll along the high street and pop into several of the many antique shops. Finally we returned to the car and drove back home. Always ahead of us the storm system lit up the sky. Numerous bolts of forked lightning dissected the sky providing us with a natural light show which was both spectacular and very frightening. We were amazed as part of the M7 outside Penrith the normally darkness of the roadside was white in our headlights revealing a heavy dusting of snow and ice. Winter is finally here.

Sunday 26th April was to be a quiet one. The only thing planned was to have some lunch with friends at the Club on the Hawkesbury at Mooney Mooney. Located only ten minutes away from Berowra driving north on the M1 the Club on the Hawkesbury boasts some beautiful views of the river and the sandstone cliffs which are predominate in this area.

Hawkesbury River 004  Hawkesbury River 005

http://www.mooneymooneyclub.com.au/about-us/

The table was booked for midday and our friends were already there when we arrived. We sat at our table out on the terrace and amidst wonderful conversation, excellent food and ample quantities of wines, both sparkling and still [once again however I found I had to restrict my consumption to poor man’s champagne – lemonade], the hours melted away until we were politely asked to vacate the table at 5.30pm.

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The next morning Jennifer and Barry, suitcase in hand, were off to Adelaide and Perth for the next leg of their holiday, so I drove them to the airport. They would be back in Sydney on 12th May where they would stay with us a couple of days before flying out once more, this time to Cairns. As I write this, they are slowly heading back to Sydney on a coach tour which follows the coast road arriving in Darling Harbour on Friday 29th May. They will be with us for a long weekend before departing Australia on 3rd June.

We are sure they will have had a wonderful holiday, but possibly glad to be back home for a rest :o)

RLB – Tomewriter

 

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Writing Update

Out of the Darkness is done… and as of two nights ago it was submitted to a couple of publishers. I will be submitting it to one other this weekend and then I shall sit back and wait. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile though I have been working on Passionate Harvest much to Louise’s satisfaction, but I have also been writing up the initial plans for three more books:

Two for Louise [which should be started later this year] – namely these will be books 2 and 3 for the new series of which Letters from a Stranger is the first.

Both will be set during World War II – Book 2 in Southern France in 1944 and Book 3 in northern Ireland in 1942/43.

I have also begun drawing up the plans for the prequel to Out of the Darkness. There will be a third book later down the track perhaps in 2016/2017 in the same series that I have called “The Mark Lander Chronicles” – Mark Lander being my hero. I have experimented with Out of the Darkness in the sense that when the hero is present the story is written in the first person. It was fun to write…

Well that’s where I’m at.

Sorry I haven’t been blogging much lately but in my defence I just haven’t had much time.

Thanks for your patience.

RLB – Tomewriter

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Letter from a Stranger – Update

It’s getting close to release date – only 5 weeks to go.

Luminosity Publishing have been working on a cover for the book and I think we have finally come to an agreed image. Perhaps not what I had first conjured up in my mind but then do we ever get what we want?

The end result is vibrant and will definitely stand out from the crowd – I just hope it’s enticing enough to draw the readers in – here’s hoping.

I’ve been advised to expect being contacted by their editor for the first round of the editing process – not my favourite time, but a necessary one. I expect it will lead to some late nights to get the work completed in time.

When I get the okay from Luminosity I shall add the cover to the Letter from a Stranger page and get it onto Louise’s website as well, but for now you’ll just have to wait a while longer.

As the saying goes… watch this space :o)

RLB – Tomewriter

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Letter from a Stranger… Under Contract

tomewriter:

Well Done Louise… even though this means my own project gets delayed to allow for the editing processes to final publication of Letter from a Stranger. Wishing you many more successes :o)

Originally posted on Louise Roberts Author:

What a great way to end the week… on a high from having been offered a publishing contract for Letter from a Stranger by Luminosity Publishing, UK.

I just want to say thanks to the readers who took the time to read the first draft and pass judgment, and particularly to Tory who not only read it, but provided some editing tips, as well as a title name change. It will be coffee and cake to celebrate in the very near future – Thanks Tory :o)

Now the fun really starts [or should I say hard work]; as one of my LinkedIn and Facebook Friends, Catherine, said… writing the book was the easy part!

I know I’m no stranger [no pun intended] to the editing process of my books, but it is always daunting and very, very exciting… As they said in ancient Rome: Let the games begin. I…

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AUSSIE MONTH: Tea Cooper

tomewriter:

Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who ever got into trouble for scribbling on the walls :o)

Originally posted on AusRomToday:

Tea_CooperBooks

AUSSIE MONTH with Tea Cooper

Describe yourself in one word:
Capricious (I love that word!)

What is your background with regard to writing?
It began with crayons on my bedroom wall (I can still remember the belting!) then I started my working life as a journalist, became a teacher (English and History major), dabbled in PR, completed my Masters in Literacy and Creative Writing, taught Reading and Writing and English as a Second Language, retired and did what I had always wanted to do – write! Everything revolves around writing.

Tell us about Forgotten Fragrance your latest novel:
Forgotten Fragrance is the first in a new Australian historical series – FROM THE OCEAN TO THE OUTBACK. It releases in February with Escape Publishing

What inspired this novel?
A love of sailing, a trip aboard the magnificent three-masted tall ship Southern Swan and an over active imagination.

What are you reading…

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AUSSIE MONTH: Louise Roberts

tomewriter:

If I have to re-blog, it should be this one. I can’t have anyone saying that I don’t support my own alter ego? :o)

Originally posted on AusRomToday:

Louise Roberts

AUSSIE MONTH with Louise Roberts

Describe yourself in one word:
Intricate

What is your background with regard to writing?
I have always enjoyed history and literature from as far back as school days. I expect it was due to my teachers giving me immense encouragement. This was particularly expressed in art and drama classes in the way their professionalism nurtured my creativity. As a teenager I loved painting landscapes and seascapes, as well as writing short stories and poetry most of all. It wasn’t until adulthood when I wrote my first romance novel Beneath Southern Stars in 1994 but it didn’t get published until released as an e-book on Smashwords in 2012.

Still in the 1990’s I tried working on different genres rather than giving up on writing. I wrote a few children’s short stories mostly for my young son’s entertainment. Later I selected three of his favourites and…

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AUSSIE MONTH: Alissa Callen

tomewriter:

From one Chocoholic to another…wishing you a successful 2015 and beyond :o)

Originally posted on AusRomToday:

Alissa Callen

AUSSIE MONTH with Alissa Callen

Describe yourself in one word:
Chocoholic

What is your background with regard to writing?
I’ve always written and loved messing around with words.

Tell us about Down Outback Roads. What inspired this novel?
The setting and plot for Down Outback Roads much grew out of the things I see every day. The small town of Glenalla, and the surrounding red earth countryside, is based on central western NSW, in particular the Cobb and Co station at Molong and the murals at Eugowra. Some of the events that feature in the story are then drawn from my own farm.

What are you reading right now?
Allison Butler – The Healer

Number one thing to do on your bucket list?
Take my children to Paris.

Best thing about being an Aussie?
The intense blue of our sky.

What you want readers to know about the romance…

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