Stella’s Writing Journey

The Travelling Heart: a book lover's journey to romantic destinations with Stella Quinn

The Travelling Heart: a journey with author Darry Fraser

LATITUDE 35.9667° S, LONGITUDE 145.6500° E This month, The Travelling Heart talks to author Darry Fraser about the settings that inspired her historical rural romances.  What romantic destinations have you chosen for your novels, and why? Daughter of the Murray and Where The Murray River Runs are set on the banks of the Murray River, in Victoria, Australia. The Murray River has been in my blood since the mid sixties when as a child the family moved to Swan Hill for Dad’s job. I guess country has always been in my blood though I’m the only one of three kids all born in the city who took to the bush as soon as I could. There’s a serenity about the river, and it has a strength that, even though we humans continue to muck it up, seems to say that no matter what, it will prevail. It truly is a mighty river.   For The Widow of Ballarat (out Nov 2018) the setting is the Ballarat goldfields and it opens immediately after the Eureka stockade battle in 1854. My premise here was that while women continued to struggle as chattels in a marriage, the working man did not have a vote until after the Eureka crisis. The new miner’s right paper stated that anyone who paid for the paper would have a vote. At the time, it wasn’t gender specific – by accident. Had women been as one, and ready, they might have secured a vote in the 1860s. But as that didn’t happen, women who had found themselves independent on the goldfields were once again relegated to the kitchen by the end of the boom. How book-worthy are your settings? There’s writer’s romance to a river setting, no question. Plenty of authors would have used the Murray, notably one, Nancy Cato,…

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Instafreebie show case: what happened and what next?

In May, Finding the Betsy-Jade joined a bunch of other romance stories in an Aussie Kiwi showcase. Over 10,000 claims were made (as in, free stories downloaded). End results: 405 of those claims were for my story, which is fun. And thankyou to those people who signed up to my (very infrequent) newsletter. I’m one of those people who find newsletters a bit of a pest cluttering up my inbox, so I will only ever send one out to alert readers of a new release. I’ve left the story up on Instafreebie as a solo giveaway until the end of June. The link to the story is here   If that doesn’t work, here’s what you need to type into your browser: https://claims.instafreebie.com/free/h3Mf46oh

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What exciting announcement is happening on Saturday August 18?

Romance writers from Australia and beyond will be gathered in the ballroom of the Sydney Sofitel on Saturday, 18th August, 2018, to hear the results of RWA Australia’s annual competitions. Thrillingly, Stowaway is one of the finalists for the RWA Emerald Award. The award’s criteria are (according to the RWA website): The Emerald Award is our major contest for unpublished writers, and offers a unique opportunity to have your full manuscript judged if you make the second round. Initial entry is the first 10,000 words of your manuscript. The Emerald Pro is an equivalent contest for published writers who wish to try a new sub-genre they’ve never published in before. This year the final round is being judged by Liz Pelletier, CEO of Entangled Publishing. Fingers crossed! (If you’re wondering why I have a  book cover for an unpublished book – I love making them. I often make the book cover before I even write manuscript. Hours of fun and procrastination…)  

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RWA Blog #6: Cracking the W.I.P

This month, the Upcoming Fabulous & Famous Romance Writers turned their minds to their WIPS. What is making them tear their hair out? What’s working? Check out the full blog on the Romance Writers of Australia website here. Or … read it in full below 🙂   Challenges new writers face with their Works In Progress Everyone has a WIP on the go, right? A Work-In-Progress? Or maybe you have three on the go, or eight, and a hard-drive stuffed with gigabytes of words you’ll never deem fit to print. This month, the Upcoming Famous & Fabulous Romance Writers thought we’d share our current WIP dramas and triumphs with you. We especially hope that any newbies out there who are feeling a little flayed will find some encouragement in our words. You’re not alone! HELP NEEDED! STELLA QUINN’S WIP FELL INTO A PLOT HOLE I started the new year feeling pretty cocky (!) about my plan for manuscript #3. I had a plan (which I don’t often have): 27 scenes mapped out, and a schedule to knock out 55, 000 words before March 31. Well, it’s May 14 and I’m at 22,000. So, what went wrong? The answer (this time) is plot. For manuscript #3 I decided to detour down the darker narrative alleyway known as Romantic Suspense. Which meant, ummm, something suspenseful had to happen. So I threw in bad guys. A car chase. A drug baron with an Eastern European accent and an unexplained scar. A narrow escape from a crooked customs officer. A backstory steeped in wounded valiance and brooding machismo. But none of this was working because my underlying story was missing something and it took me a while (weeks) to work out what that missing something was. My WIP’s plot was missing credibility. Now that I…

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RWA Blog #5 – Attending a writers’ conference? You’re not alone

For our May 2018 post, the Upcoming Famous & Fabulous Romance Writers  thought through our experiences from attending the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference – what we learned, was it intimidating, was it amazing … You can read our article on the RWA blog here, or the full text is reprinted below. (If the graphic image seems perplexing – the theme for the cocktail party on the opening night of the RWA Conference 2018 is Tiaras & Tuxedos.) As the 2018 Sydney Conference is currently a hot topic in the RWA world The Upcoming Famous and Fabulous Romance Writers are tackling the issue in this month’s RWA blog.   Firstly, Lou Greene addresses The Big Question: To attend conference or not to attend.   I’ve been trying to talk myself out of buying a ticket for the RWA Conference this year. I’m not strictly a romance writer and it seems somewhat self-indulgent, and no, it’s not cheap. But first I thought I’d better consider the reasons I might want to go… Last year, one of the rash decisions I made was to share a taxi from the airport with a fellow RWA member who I didn’t yet know. Fortunately, she was no axe-wielding murderess and from that one point of contact, I became part of a small circle of writing friends that has since become my writing bedrock – yes this Upcoming Crew. I’m keen to reconnect this year, hear their writing journeys first hand, and enjoy company and conversation that we otherwise conduct over Facebook and Skype. Plus I don’t really want to think about the fun they might have without me. Then there are the presentations, workshops and breakout sessions to consider. Well quite frankly the main frustration is having too much choice, not being able to…

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RWA Blog #4 – Writers share the best and worst advice they’ve received

For their April blog, the Upcoming Famous & Fabulous Romance Writers looked at the best and worst advice they’d received along their writing journey.   You can read the blog on the Romance Writer’s of Australia website here, or below is the full text.   “Do you want a piece of advice?” Isn’t it funny? When people ask you if you want a piece advice, the chances are you’re going to hear it regardless of how you respond.   This is especially the case for anyone who happens to let it slip they’re attempting to write fiction. Suddenly everyone – from the next door neighbour to the barista at your local coffee shop to your Great Aunt Sally seems to brimming with advice – even if they’ve never written a manuscript. Everyone has an opinion on how to be the next best-selling author.   When you are first starting out, this is extremely daunting. What’s useful, what’s not? What should you listen to? What should you disregard?   This month, our group looks at the ins and outs of advice we’ve been receiving, seeking and how it is guiding the decisions we’re making in our writing.   A special thank you to all the wonderful contributors who added to our recent post on the RWA Community Facebook group for their advice, which unlike Great Aunt Sally’s, was actually very useful.   First up, Jayne Kingsley looks at putting into place a routine to get the words out of her and on to paper. This is the advice she’s put together:   Write every day   ‘Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.’ – Ralph Keyes   Every published (and unpublished) writer I’ve ever spoken to has told me you…

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BIG NEWS: Stowaway by Stella Quinn is an Emerald Award Finalist 2018

There are green fireworks going off on the Romance Writers of Australia blog with the announcement of the 2018 Emerald and Emerald Pro finalists for 2018. Winners are announced at the Conference in August. You can read the RWA blog here. Congratulations to all the other finalists! I feel pretty chuffed for Ben and Sabrina (Stowaway’s fab main characters) – really, they did all the hard work.  

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Instafreebie giveaway!

Over on instafreebie, author Ebony McKenna has organised an Aussie Kiwi Author Showcase for the month of May 2018. My short story, Finding the Betsy-Jade, is one of the giveaways. Here is  your free link to read the story If you enjoy it, please join my mailing list so I can let you know when other releases come out. (I won’t bombard you with emails, I promise). Stella xx  

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Tips & Tricks I learned from the Writers Group Convention, Brisbane 2018

Writers Group Convention, Brisbane 2018 I spent last Saturday morning attending this terrific event. For a humble $20 outlay, I gathered some fabulous information. Quick summary of bits and pieces that interested me: Covers and Merchandise I am a keen proponent of indie-publishing, so spent a lot of time checking out covers, bookmarks, book interiors etc on the display stands. Tips that worked for me: I prefer matte covers for fiction, gloss for non-fiction I prefer a simple interior rather than one with curly wurly graphics Bookmarks are fab giveaways! I’m using mine already (and I came straight home and made some – they are winging their way to me from the online printer as I type – fingers crossed they look okay Some booksellers had their table “themed”, e.g. with coloured cloth, and it looked terrific Events I have been asked to speak at a writers’ event later in the year, and I am a bit nervous about it. Tips from the conference: I don’t need to be nervous! The audience was SO invested in being there, they were interested in everything, and the atmosphere at the conference was so friendly and supportive. Writers and readers are great people 🙂 Practise with a microphone. Some people spoke too closely into it and it made PPHH noises; some people spoke too far away from it and their words grew indistinct. No doubt microphone quality varies widely as well … This is going to seem totally vain – but wear blusher! It was totally working for the blush wearers on stage 🙂 Everyone who spoke gave their website a gentle plug AND gave people a reason to visit it, for example – no need to take notes, you can go on my website and find this talk there Finding new authors…

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