Get to know Heather

In celebration of our two new bloggers we’re using March to reintroduce you to the AO&R team. I had the pleasure of chatting with our fabulous reviewer / contributor Heather. Here’s what she had to say.

Thanks for joining us today, Heather. We see your fabulous reviews on the blog, but our readers would like to know a little more about you. Fill us in!

I live in Newcastle, Australia which is such a pretty, underrated city. I’m seriously outnumbered by my three boys, so I make sure to fill our house with Disney movies and musical soundtracks to balance them out. I write ferociously, read addictively, and spend far too much time dancing to the Wiggles. Sarcasm and dry wit are basically what I live for.

Ha! Maybe your boys will grow up loving Disney. How do you balance work, writing, and a young family?

Badly. Haha is that an answer? I’m on maternity leave right now, which means I get two or three hours during nap time where I frantically pump out words that generally turn out to be no good, but at least its something. When I’m at work, I have to get up an hour and a half before everyone else so I have time to make a coffee and have a quick sprint. There are a lot of to-do lists in the mix also, because I always manage to over commit myself with beta reads, writing goals, and Life.

So, what type of stories do you write?

Speculative YA with flawed MCs and dark themes. Though I am currently plotting a contemporary which is meant to be happy (it won’t be).

Sounds fun! Your most recent big writing news is that you’re repped by Carrie Howland. How did you land an agent?

It took a looooong time. I finished Illusion of a Majesty back in either 2010 or 2011. It was seriously no good. There were rough little gems throughout but that first draft has been 99% reworked and rewritten. It has gone through so many versions I have notebooks FILLED with info to try and keep track of it all. I entered some of the later versions into writing comps on twitter and they generally did okay but nothing came of it. I did a huge edit and decided to try my luck one more time before shelving (traditional querying wasn’t fun for me). Thankfully this comp was the one. Kate Angelella (editor magician) chose IoaM to work on out of over 2000 entries. We spent two months getting it perfect and in the agent round Carrie Howland asked to see the full. The day I got her email offering to work with me didn’t feel real. I expected the usual ‘this is great but not quite for me’ response, so when I actually read it, I couldn’t take it in. I made my husband read it to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. I still go back to it sometimes to remind myself I’m not alone in having hope for my stories.

Naw, that’s beautiful. But I’ve read that story and can vouch for it’s awesomeness. Speaking of other rad authors, who’s your all time favourite?

My standard response used to be Richelle Mead (I love her!), until I read The Lunar Chronicles. I am such a Marissa Meyer fangirl it’s embarrassing. I will read anything she releases. When it comes to women’s fiction, I can’t go past Paige Toon.

Oh my gosh. I just finished reading The Lunar Chronicles and I adore all four of those books. Back to you now though, what’s one thing you can’t live without when you are writing?

My bestie (AKA Rebecca Bosevski). Poor thing has to suffer through my snapchats, my word count goals, and my constant whining that the story is no good and I need to delete everything. The amount of times she’s picked me up from an overemotional puddle on the floor is ridiculous and I wouldn’t have finished a story without her.

And one more question, who/what inspired you to be a writer?

I’ve always remembered writing. When I was in primary school I would have a different notebook for each story and create my own overs to go with them. They weren’t great, and even now I wouldn’t be able to make a cover worth a damn. I cowrote stories with friends in high school that never made it past a few chapters, and then a few years went by where I didn’t write anything. Funnily enough a character came to me sometime in my twenties who I couldn’t get out of my head. From there, my first book eventuated.

Fast Five!

Morning person or Night Owl – Morning. Though probably not by choice.
Tea or Coffee – Both. But I can’t function without coffee in the morning.
Harry Potter or Percy Jackson – Harry Potter for sure. Haven’t read PJ.
Writing or reading – Both equally. They compliment each other.
First person or third person (POV) – First.

Heather is rep’d by Carrie Howland of Donadio and Olsen

Heather lives in a little city in Australia with far too many voices in her head. She’s an escapist reader and writer and loves any story with ‘real’ characters who drive the plot. At the moment Heather is author assistant to the wonderful Sharon M. Johnston. Heather has teamed up with her awesome agent Carrie Howland and is currently shopping her most recent WIP (a YA fantasy), working full time, and eating far too much chocolate (haha, like that’s even a thing).

You can find her on Twitter or at Story Queens of Aus.

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This interview was conducted by Stacey Nash, who happens to think Heather is fabulous! Maybe it’s our joint love of YA. To find out more about Stacey’s books or to connect with her on social media (where she tries to be engaging), check out these places: www.stacey-nash.com, instagram, twitter, facebook.

 

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Author interview: Sharon M. Johnston, speculative fiction author

This month on Aussie Owned and Read we’re celebrating the arrival of two new bloggers with round-robin interviews, so you can learn more about each of us — new bloggers and old. 

Today I’m interviewing Sharon M. Johnston, who has been with Aussie Owned since it started four years ago. Welcome, Sharon!

Sharon JohnstonI often think of you as the networking guru of the Aussie Owned team. What advice would you give a new writer trying to figure out where to start?

Ahhh! *blushes*

I think one of the keys to networking is paying it forward. Jump online, connect with influences, cool people and peers, and when one of them asks for help or you see a need that you can fill, put your hand up. For me it all started on a site called Inkpop (now defunct) where you reviewed WIPs. That’s where I met Wendy Higgins, who invited me to be part of YAtopia. Then I saw Pitch Madness needed a new blog host and I offered Brenda Drake the use of YAtopia. And it just keep rolling from there.

You also mentor in a number of pitching contests. If you could recommend one contest — or one type of contest — which would it be and why?

By far my favourite pitch contest is Pitch Wars. It’s got a great reputation with agents; has a better success rate than querying; creates strong communities of writers with the mentors, mentees and applicants; and the mentor works on the WHOLE manuscript. There are not many contests that do this.

OpenHeart_seriesThe first two books in your Open Heart series, Divided and Shattered, have hit the shelves after a fairly tumultuous beginning. How would you describe the series? And what can you tell us about book three?

The series is definitely a labour of love, and had a rollercoaster ride with unprofessional publishing peeps before finding a home with City Owl Press. The series focuses on love and what it means to be human, all wrapped up with some sci-fi and fantasy fun. The first book focused on Mishca’s journey to finding out about her origins, while book two saw Mishca understand that her family may not be traditional but that it is nevertheless important, and delved more into Ryder’s past. Book three reveals to readers the truth about Nerissa, and sees Ryder reunite with his mother and Mishca succumb to her dark side. (Cass: AAAAH! Need!) In each book I reveal more to the readers about the cast of characters and what makes them the people they are.

You’ve posted on the blog before about having OCD and anxiety. Given the push for #ownvoices works in the writing community, is this something you have considered incorporating into a work of fiction? Why?

I have definitely considered writing an OCD project, especially to break down some of the stereotypes and misunderstandings around the condition. I’m very open with people about my mental health as I believe by me being honest about it with people it will demystify some of the misconceptions around mental illness. If I don’t want to have mental health treated as a stigma, it has to start with me.

Tell us about your current project.

I’m working on and off on three projects. The first one is a speculative fiction set in Brisbane around a clan of warriors responsible for delivering karma. The second is a rewrite of a far future sci-fi called Dirty Rainbow. And the third is the latest book in the Open Heart series — I need to talk to the police about what happens in a raid so I can move forward with it.

Either/or questions

Plotter or pantser? Pantser

Speculative fiction or contemporary? Speculative fiction

Dogs or cats? Cats

Coffee or tea? Neither — chai latte

Chocolate or ice cream? Both, smooshed together and covered in caramel (I think I have a problem!)

About Sharon

After growing up listening to her father reading fables and folklore, it’s no surprise Sharon loves stories. As soon as she could read, her nose was firmly in a book. She loves reading, listening to audio books and writing.

She has a gorgeous husband and two wonderful boys. Well-known for her fantastic taste in shoes, Sharon has actually been stalked by women wanting to know where she got her high heels from. She also has a love of fur-babies – cats and guinea pigs, specifically.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter

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Cassandra Page is a speculative fiction author who one time got to help launch Sharon’s paperback, Shattered. Which was especially exciting as she (Cass) didn’t faint while public speaking. Not even once!

 

I am, you are, we are Australian

Today, in celebration of Aussie Owned and Read’s fourth birthday, we’re talking about being an Aussie author — why we love it and why we set our books where we do. (Note: The feature image above is from Shutterstock and is used under licence.)

Rebecca Bosevki

Australia has a plethora of inspirational people and places. We are a mostly relaxed culture and that makes for an optimal writing environment. I love reading stories and recognising an Australian landmark, and so too love to put such things in my writing. For those who live here they can see instantly the environment I write about, and for those who don’t, I love being responsible for instilling an impression of what our county is like …even if we don’t really have portals to magical lands hidden in our public parks.

Heather M. Bryant

All the fantasy worlds I create are set in fictional cities that exist within a greater real-world setting. I have two set in America, one set in the country Georgia, and another planned out and set in Australia. I love experimenting with these worlds because I get to research countries and places I previously knew nothing about, and then use those cultural influences to create a world purely my own. I like to think of it as a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario.

Lauren K. McKellar

I love being an Aussie author for many reasons! Firstly, in our country, there are many opportunities to sub to major publishing houses without first acquiring an agent, making access that much easier (although having an agent sure doesn’t hurt!).

Secondly, as our writing community is rather small, it’s quite supportive. I’ve met so many lovely authors and writers who are absolutely lovely and happy to talk to you based on the fact we’re all from the land down under — how cool is that?

Thirdly, if you’re looking for location inspiration, we have it in bucketloads! From beaches to rainforests to deserts to cityscapes, we have it all, making for lots of exotic and interesting places to write about.

I always set my stories locally for this reason, and a few others. They say ‘write what you know’, and I’m confident I know this country well! I also like setting novels here as a way to introduce those from overseas to Australia and our beautiful beaches. In some ways, we’re a great relatable choice — far enough away to be foreign, but similar enough to the UK and USA to have a sense of the familiar, like sliding into a nice warm bath. Although at this time of year in Australia, you sure don’t want to be doing that.

Overall, I love my country and I love writing here. While we may not have some of the opportunities those overseas do, I think we’ve got it pretty darn great.

Stacey Nash

When asked for a paragraph on why I set my books where I do I was a little stumped on how to answer. You see, as well as the two series I have published I have several works in progress that are more in the vein of the Collective Series than my contemporary NA, the Oxley College Saga. Most of my writing falls into the speculative fiction basket — fantasy worlds and distant planets, sometimes both at once.

I find there’s a certain freedom to explore and discuss some of the big world issues in these fantasy worlds that just isn’t possible in a real world setting. Plus, writing in a hundred per cent fictional setting gives me so much creative license. You want a red sky and green sun? Got it. Giant bell shaped plants that eat people in a single gulp. Done. How about a night that lasts for a week? Easy peasy. My imagination is limitless with speculative settings and I love it!

But then sometimes all that imagining gets a bit too much and that’s when I turn to my Aussie-set new adult series. Writing new books set in a familiar environment, with established rules, feels like a breeze and that is just the reprieve my tired muse sometimes needs.

Beck Nicholas

The more books I write, the more my stories become firmly set in Australia. It’s part of my voice and my experience. My next story includes a road trip along the Great Ocean Rd (a trip I’ve done myself a few times) and I’m reminded what a great country we have. The beaches in particular have always been a part of my life and feature often in my books. I’ve spent some time on a farm too and there’s that particular country feel in Australia that is unlike anywhere else. My first readers are Aussie teens and I want to speak to them; however, I’ve also head great feedback from readers the world over who love Australian settings. It’s my home and I love it. I adore travelling and will definitely include more of my experiences in coming books, but I know myself and my writing will always have a link to home.

Cassandra Page

I’m a speculative fiction writer, but five of my six completed novels have been urban fantasy — and all five have been either partially or fully set in Australia’s capital, Canberra. There’s a certain amount of ‘write what you know’ behind that decision, as well as a love for the city that means I want to see more of it in fiction. I love Canberra’s  wide open spaces; the grassy nature reserves throughout the city provide a perfect avenue for more nature-loving supernatural types to get around (a factor when I wrote the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy). And over the past couple of decades the city has become a lot more cosmopolitan, so there are avenues to tell maturer stories like Lucid Dreaming. Also — and I’m getting super-braggy here — Canberra one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. The manicured lakes, the glorious sunsets over the Brindabella mountain ranges, the national monuments — I’ve been inspired to set particular scenes in places all over the city.

And no, I haven’t used federal politics as a plotline in any of my books! Boooor-ing. :p

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2015 – What a Great Year!

2015 was a busy year for us here at Aussie Owned and Read. We managed to achieve some wonderful goals, so I thought I’d give everyone a recap of where each of us is at coming into the New Year.

Stacey had a few releases, and she gave everyone three books in the Oxley College Saga, Shh!, Wait!, and Pretend… Stacey also released Never Forgotten, the third book in her Collective series, via her publisher, Harper Collins.

Lauren had lots of releases as well. She published Eleven Weeks, The Problem With Heartache, How To Save A Life and The Twenty-One. Lauren signed at Fictionally Yours, Melbourne, and ARRC in Canberra, then ARRA in Melbourne. She also presented a workshop at RWA on fiction editing for the self-published author. Over the course of the year, Lauren was lucky enough to cuddle more than 250 puppies and kittens.

Cass had a very busy year and her publisher, TMP, released Isla’s Oath and Melpomene’s Daughter, the second and third books in the Isla’s Inheritance trilogy. Unfortunately, TMP closed its doors, but this didn’t stop Cass from self-publishing and rereleasing Isla’s Inheritance and Isla’s Oath. Melpomene’s Daughter will follow this year. Cass also released her adult urban fantasy, Lucid Dreaming, as well as finishing the draft for another fantasy novel.

Katie was busy, not only with writing and releasing books, but with bringing another little human into the world. While she was doing that she managed to release a novella called Loving Avery (Bearville Novella #1). Her publisher, REUTS, released Deceptive Cadence (Cadence #1) and Diverging Cadence (Cadence #2). Soul Mate Publishing also released Katie’s novel Dancing in the Athenian Rain. Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh hit an all-time high of #3 in the kindle store just before Thanksgiving. Other things Katie achieved include acquiring book 3 of the December People for Curiosity Quills, and she became a member of RWA.

Sharon released Divided: An Open Heart Novel Book 1 with City Owl Press, and she had her first year helping to organise Sugar City Con.

Heather signed with her agent, Carrie Howland of Donadio and Olsen. She has been working on her WIP and is currently on submission.

K. A. I had a really busy year with the release of Fight For Me, the second book in the Tate Chronicles. I was also lucky enough to be invited to participate in an anthology, and I had a short story called Suffering published in Losing It a Collection of V-cards. I went a little notebook crazy and released two of them, the Tate Chronicles notebook and the Immagica Notebook. My other achievements include continuing my studies towards my BA degree, and receiving the Executive Dean’s Award for outstanding academic performance. I designed more book covers, and in amongst all of that I managed to take a three month adventure holiday around Australia.

As a group Stacey, Lauren and I went to Readers and Writers Down Under, and you can read about our amazing weekend HERE.

We’ve made it to another year, and I’m so proud to be a part of this amazing group of writers. I’m sure 2016 will see all of us achieving more of our goals. We hope you’ll stick around, and come along on the journey with us.

 

K. A. Last is excited about 2016 and what lies ahead. She is the YA author of Sacrifice, Fall For Me, Fight For Me, and Immagica. She drinks lots of tea, is obsessed with Buffy, and loves all things purple (it used to be pink). K. A. Last hangs out on Facebook or you can find her on twitter and Goodreads. She’s also been known to blog once in a while.

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Author Interview: Cassandra Page

Going through our interviewed authors, I noticed the absence of an interview of our very own Cassandra Page! I had to rectify this, so here we are today! Cass is one of those super supportive, hard working types, and has her trilogy out, plus another novel on the way. So with no further ado, here’s Cassandra!

Cassandra Page

  1. Tell us a little about you.

I could cut and paste my author biography here, but that feels a little bit like cheating. So instead, let’s go with this: I’m a long-time nerd, who has been role-playing since her teens and still has a weekly tabletop game even though she should have grown up years ago. At this stage it doesn’t seem likely, though. I’m a single mother to a bright little boy, having done the dreary marriage/divorce thing. (I don’t recommend it unless you have to.) I have a weakness for good coffee and chocolate, and an abhorrence of bad coffee and chocolate. I’m an introvert who would prefer to spend her time curled up with a book, a pen and paper, or a colouring book, rather than go to a noisy party full of strangers. I’m a public service editor, so I spend a lot of time reading boring reports and have opinions on hyphens (yes please), the Oxford comma (where required) and semicolons (not just for winky emoticons).

I think that about covers it!

  1. You currently have The Isla Inheritance Series available. Tell us a little about the series and how you came up with the concept.

Actually, sadly, Isla’s Inheritance is currently unavailable. The small press that published it is closing its doors this month, and so the trilogy has been pulled from sale. I’m currently working on getting it ready to self-publish, with shiny new covers and a new feel. One of the things about publishing through a US press was that some of the Australianisms got toned down in the editing process — entirely reasonable at the time, but I’m re-editing them to correct that. I love my Australianisms.

But to answer your actual question, Isla’s Inheritance is a trilogy about an Australian girl named Isla (surprise!) who lives with her aunt and cousins here in Canberra. Her father immigrated here when she was a baby after her mother died … or so he has always told her. During the course of the series, Isla discovers her mother is actually an aosidhe, a member of the high fae: the cruel elfin overlords of the various fae races. Her father fled to Australia to escape her, but loves her still. Isla needs to navigate a fae world she’s never heard of before in order to keep herself and her loved ones safe. But with kissing.

  1. LD_CoverEbook_Fina_smllYour next book, Lucid Dreaming is due for release soon. When will that be and what can you tell us about it?

Lucid Dreaming is scheduled for release on 3 November. As I write this, the Kindle ebook is available for pre-order, and I’m hoping to have links for the other retailers soon.

Melaina, the protagonist, has a few things in common with Isla: she also lives in Canberra, and she is also only half-human – although her non-human half is Oneiroi, or dream spirit. That is something that had always been impossible, for rather obvious anatomical reasons; her birth caused a significant amount of consternation among the Oneiroi and caused her non-human father to go into hiding rather than reveal how it had happened…

Lucid Dreaming is a story for older readers; while Isla’s Inheritance is suitable for teens, Melaina’s story is darker and, well, has a few steamy moments. I’m currently preoccupied with trying to figure out how to stop my mother from getting hold of a copy. 😉

  1. What types of books do you read?

I usually read speculative fiction: mainly urban fantasy, but with some high fantasy, steampunk and sci-fi thrown in. I’ve also started reading a fair smattering of contemporary in the last couple of years, partly because several of my very talented author friends write it, and partly because I’ve been doing the Australian Women Writers Challenge, which has forced me to diversify. I just finished a devastating historical, The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth, and am still reeling.

  1. Do you have any advice for novice writers?

Write now, edit later.

I’ve read a lot of books and blog posts about writing, and when I was drafting my first novel I spent a fair bit of time thinking – no, obsessing – about all the things I was doing “wrong”. For example, I knew my first chapter had issues. I spent a lot of time worrying about that, and tinkering with it, rather than continuing to draft the book. As a result, writing that first draft took over a year. And it wasn’t until I’d received some valuable beta feedback and gained some critical distance from my work – something you can only get through time and practice – that I was able to see the issues and fix them.

  1. Tell us about your writing habits.

I wish I could say I wrote every day, but that would be a lie. I usually only write two or three times a week. To keep myself on track, I use a weekly word goal instead. With my most recent manuscript, that was 2000 words, although often it’d be higher when I had to catch up due to disruptions. All three Isla’s Inheritance books came out during the drafting process, so I was somewhat distracted!

I don’t write to music or anything like that. I prefer the house to be quiet, although the distant chatter of the TV is okay if I’m trying to get work done while the boy is awake. It’s terrible parenting, I know – but I tell myself that it’s good for him to see me role-modelling values like persistence, and following your dreams. (Seems legit.)

  1. If you were one of the characters in your book/s which one would you be and why?

I wish I could say Melaina – she is sassy, confident and a little bit punk. She’s what I wished I was when I was a teenager. But, if I’m truthful, I’m closer to Emma: the bespectacled, socially awkward girl who runs the séance for Isla in the first chapter of Isla’s Inheritance. I’m also a bit like Isla herself, in her sensibleness and, well, squareness – although Isla isn’t a nerd.

I need to write a book with a nerdy main character. *writes that down*

  1. If you could live and write anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I love Canberra but, if I could, I’d live somewhere close to the beach, where I can go for a walk along the rocks with my son, or sit on the dunes and watch the waves while I contemplate a plot problem.

  1. If you had one wish (something personal) what would it be?

It’s a bit of a cliché, because most writers probably say this, but I wish I earned enough from my writing so that I could support myself and my boy without having to work my day job. I enjoy what I do, but working around everything else means I’m such a slow writer. Also, being able to collect my son from school every day (and write in peace while he’s there) would be a real privilege.

Bio

Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — despite being allergic to cats. She has loved to read since primary school, when the library was her refuge, and loves many genres — although urban fantasy is her favourite. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Pinterest | Goodreads

Katie Teller

Katie Teller is a writer of NA fiction. Her debut, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, has sold more than 10,000 copies. You can find out more about Katie, the Kiya trilogy, and her other books on twitterfacebook or at her own blog.

Aussie Owned and Read Hit the Gold Coast for RWDU

On March 27th I made the journey to Qld for the Readers and Writers Down Under Convention. This was my second year attending this event (formerly known as Indie Authors Down Under) and I had an absolute ball.

Friday

My assistant, Katrina, and I were on the road to the airport at 5am, and our plane from Sydney left the tarmac at 7.10am. We watched the sun rise from our seats as we taxied along the runway.

01_Sunrise

When we reached the Gold Coast we met up with our beautiful Aussie Owned member, Stacey, and dumped our bags in our room. Stacey and I spent the morning attending some panels. There were discussions about all sorts of things, and we enjoyed watching Aussie Owned’s lovely Lauren talk on the Fine Line Between Young Adult and New Adult panel with Jay McLean.

02_YAPanel

Jay McLean and Lauren McKellar

 After a relaxing lunch, a glass of wine, and a pedicure with Katrina by my side, it was back to the panels with Stacey. We got to hear Abbi Glines talk social media, and after meeting her last year, it was great to be in the same room with this inspirational woman again.

02_Abbi

Abbi Glines

By this time I was walking dead on my feet. Being up since 4am can do that to you! But we pushed on and Stacey, Katrina and I had a lovely dinner with Bianca from Martini Times Romance. After dinner we strolled through the markets on the foreshore and were treated to an unexpected fireworks show.

04_Fireworks

It was then time to prepare for the big event the next day, and get everything ready for the signing. We finally climbed into bed at 11pm.

Saturday

We were up at 6am, had a quick breakfast and fussed about with last minute preparations before we headed down to the ballroom to set up. The room buzzed with organised chaos, and the atmosphere was invigorating. At 9.30am the doors opened for the VIP guests, and at 10am it was open slather for all.

05_SetUp

Me with my wonderful assistant, Katrina, after we’d finished setting up

 My wonderful assistant never left my side, and I spent the day signing books, meeting new readers, and catching up with some lovely people I’d met last year. One of the highlights was getting to meet Fiona Miller-Stevens. She was on my team for Pitcharama 2014, and since then we’ve stayed in touch. It was really nice finally being able to chat face to face.

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Me with Fiona Miller-Stevens

 There was no time to spend with Stacey or Lauren at the signing, so Stacey and I took the opportunity to catch up on everything over lunch.

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Stacey and I at lunch

 Before we knew it the day was over and it was time to get ready for the red carpet awards dinner. Lauren, Stacey and I were all nominated in several categories, so the excitement was high. Although none of us brought home an award, they all went to deserving and wonderful people. Besides, we were having too much fun in the photo booth to care about anything else!

PhotoBooth

Stacey, Katrina and I shared a table with Bianca and M.J. Stevens, and we all had a fantastic night. I fell into bed around 11pm again, and I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

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From L-R M. J. Stevens, Bianca (Martini Times Romance), Stacey Nash, K. A. Last (me), Katrina (my assistant)

Sunday

On Sunday morning I think I was too tired to really process the weekend in its entirety. When Katrina and I boarded the plane at lunch time, I felt sad to be leaving, but I was so glad to be heading home to my family and my own bed. Looking back on it now, it was a fantastic weekend, and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

K. A. Last has recently converted from pantsing to plotting. She is the YA author of Sacrifice, Fall For Me, Fight For Me, and Immagica. She drinks lots of tea, is obsessed with Buffy, and loves all things pink. K. A. Last hangs out on Facebook or you can find her on twitter and Goodreads. She’s also been known to blog once in a while.

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AOR: Our year in review

As 2014 draws to a close, so too does a huge year for Aussie Owned and Read. this year we wrote all the stories, published all the book, went to all the conventions and basically had an all-round good time.
 
Lauren: This year Lauren showed us that she’s not only a fabulous writer, but a stellar editor as well, when several of her clients hit ‘those lists’. Lauren went to all ALL the cons this year: Indie Authors Down Under, RWA, and Sydney Author Event. 2014 saw the publication of her fabulous contemporary romance, The Problem with Crazy.

 
Stacey: Had a roller coaster ride with the publication of her first book, Forget Me Not. Everything turned out in the end and both it and Remember Me are now available through HarperCollins Australia. Stacey went to a few conventions this year as well: RWA and Book Expo Australia.
 
Cassandra: Made her debut into the YA ranks with Isla’s Inheritance, published through Turquoise Morning Press. She’s also been busy slaving away on perfecting the next book in the series, Isla’s Oath, coming to your shelves on January 20. We also hear she has a little side project in the works; but that’s more for those who like to read adult works, as well!
 
Kim: Showed us that she’s not just about vampires and angels with the publication of Immagica, a portal fantasy with an amazing cover. Kim went to Indie Authors Down Under and Book Expo Australia, and helped form a YA/NA writer’s group in NSW with Stacey Nash. Her cover design business, KILA Designs, has also continued to grow.
 
Katie: My gosh, this woman is a publishing machine. The year saw the conclusion of Katie’s best selling Kiya series, through Curiosity Quills, as well as Branded, published by Soul Mate. Katie also released Papina and attended several writing conventions.
 
Sharon: The Aussie Queen of Contests. Sharon judged them all and then some this year, including Brenda Drake’s Pitch Madness, Pitch Wars, and Nest Pitch just to name a few. She also attended Sugar City Con, and is now doing some impressive marketing work for them in 2015.
 
Emily: Put us all to shame by finishing NaNoWriMo in just over a week. TWELVE DAYS, people. This girl is a writing machine! And let’s not forget she did that while going to school. Emily managed to get some very impressive feedback on her hilarious YA novel, Mutual Weirdness, from a big-name publisher and also attended the Penguin Teen Live event.
 
Suse: Sadly we said goodbye to Suse earlier this year. Don’t worry; she’ll still be around from time to time.
 
And of course we welcomed Heather and Cait into the team as reviewers. We’ve had a bunch of fabulous reviews from them which you can see on our goodreads page or right here under the book reviews category.  
 
2015 will hold just as much excitement. In January we will welcome a new contributor to the team, as well as unveil the new look AOR. And I’m sure there will be many more new books and new stories for us all. Thanks for being a part of our year!     Untitled