Gold Coast Writer’s Literary Luncheon Sunday 25th September 2011

Be sure to get a ticket to this wonderful event! So many talented authors to rub shoulder with over a delightful lunch. With the impressive line up this year, I am going to be very busy trying to have a chat with all of the following authors; Guest Speaker – Tony Cavanaugh, Michael Gerard Bauer, Jesse Blackadder, Kay Danes, Belinda Jeffrey, Marianne de Pierres, Anthony Puttee, and Charmaine Wilson. I am getting so very excited. I will be hosting Marianne at my table and so looking forward to chatting about her new Tara Sharp series, which she produces as Marianne Delacourt. All the authors will have their books for sale too and our book FAN-TAS-TIC-AL TALES will be among the great raffle prizes. I hope you can come along and join in the fun! It is held at The Colonial Golf Course restaurant, Robina.

Hello again!

I am writing this very quick post as a kick up the bum to me, so I will finally get back on track with my blog! I have neglected it for such a long time and I really want to be blogging again. So now I have said my official hello, again, I will get into writing my next blog piece and send out some interview questions to some very interesting people that I would love to chat to. Have a lovely rainy weekend!

A Jill with Dual Visions!

Today it is my pleasure to interview one of my fellow Ten Penners, Jill Smith  

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who has just released her stunning Sci-Fi novel Dual Visions    .

Hi Jill, thanks for joining me today!

I know you have been so excited to see your first novel in its printed form. Were you working on it for long?

This is a book I started years ago when our son was little. I’ve always worked so it was done between jobs. I remember having our son in Primary school and working one part time job in the morning and coming home, writing for about two hours; then going to my evening job. Dual Visions evolved over many years this way. I started out writing it as a series of short stories then linking them up. After I paid for a professional critique I introduced more conflict and fleshed out the characters. Initially I had it printed as an e-book through Zeus publications, although it was good to have it out there, I was never entirely happy with the result. I still had a lot of editing to do before the final story really came up to scratch. Thankfully, due to the Gold Coast Writers and my fellow Ten Penners, I did some more serious editing and completed the book ready for publication by Publicious. The cover is one I’m very happy with, and the professional overall result is extremely pleasing. I’ve had great feedback and sold most of my first print run.

 
You had some of your children’s stories published in The Ten Penners anthology FAN-TAS-TIC-AL TALES.

     

What was the experience like?

I loved this learning curve. It really pointed out to me my major short comings as a writer. Essentially the importance of editing was really bought home. The getting a group of very different people together to produce a quality product, is in itself an experience. Thanks to you Marion for your great efforts in bringing a cohesive work to the table and a publishable product that is well edited and crafted with the input of all eight ladies. As a result, I decided that the formatting is something I would rather leave to other capable people, ie Andy at Publicious for my own book.

 You have published something else before, an e-book?
 I’ve had some success in writing competitions and another e-book of short stories called Living Tales, also through Zeus. The other family produced book was my Grandmothers Life Story, 90 Years Young. This was simply one I helped my mother put together by recording interviews with Gran then transcribing the results. Mum had terrific pictures and documents to add to the book which is a great legacy to our family history.
 
But of course, you are always submitting reviews and articles for the Gold Coast Writers’ Association newsletter e-writeabout.
I do enjoy writing book reviews. This is a way to dissect another authors’ way of telling a tale, relating their efforts, without telling the whole story, but essentially giving the review reader a feel for the book that may entice them to go out and buy that book. I’ve discovered that this is not always easy to do.
 
Do your reviews get published anywhere else?
Yes, I have had reviews in Queensland Writers Centre magazine Writing Queensland, Fellowship of Aust Writers Queensland SCOPE magazine, on line publications such as Pass It On and The Reading Stack. There are other outlets that I must explore, but these are the ones I’ve done to date.
 
You are almost an original Gold Coast Writers Association member how has the GCWA inspired your writing career?
Not quite an original, Robyn Lee Burrows was number 4 I believe and my original number was 159. When the records were lost at one point early on in the Club history they made the numbers 100 further on so I’m now 259. Noni Sinclaire, is surely one of the originals to still attend our meetings. I’m sure that without the support and encouragement of fellow writers at the club my work would remain in a draw. Writers I fear are notoriously self-judging and need to be coached in how to be kind to their own fragile egos.
 
What position did you hold on the GCWA committee?
I’ve participated on the Committee of GCWA in various capacities. Mainly, four years as Membership Secretary, which morphed into other areas such as helping fill in Treasurer, Competition Receiving Officer, Secretarial assistant etc. I’ve also helped with Christmas Party meetings. On the whole, I wouldn’t have anything concrete to show for my writing if it wasn’t for the GCW.
 
You’re a grandmother twice over now, does having grandchildren inspire you to do more children’s writing?
Well, I think it does. I still think of myself as an adult story writer and often am surprised by the results of the children’s stories that I do put to paper.
 
 Has writing been a part of your life since childhood.
I’ve always written, originally poetry, which wasn’t all that good. When I realised that my poetry was more like prose I switched to short stories, and this was in my teens. I’ve kept a folder with all my scribbling and will occasionally go and have a look to get back into that mind space. I had a very happy childhood and often find the self torture I put myself through as an adolescent amusing (and a good place to start to relate to young adults).
 
What are your plans for the future?
I am writing a follow on book to Dual Visions. The draft of which has been fairly incomplete for years, so now I have a good reason to finish it and get it published. I’m enjoying my blog and want to ensure that it reaches a wide public and enhances my opportunities to sell my books. I’m hoping there will be many more books to come that I will be able to showcase.
 
 Thanks for joining me at my blog page today Jill, I have really enjoyed your company!
I’ve enjoyed it too. Thanks for having me as your guest this week.
 
 You can read Jill’s reviews and interviews on her web blog authorjillsmith.wordpress.com

Joan

I am very happy to be interviewing long time Gold Coast Writer’s Association member Joan Songaila. She is an author and co-ordinator of the Southern Short Stories group, a support group of the Gold Coast Writers Association.

Hello Joan, Thank you for joining my blog today.

You have been very busy lately, with the production and launch of your GCWA support group’s anthology “Love, Lies, Laughter and a Few Little Tears”   how long did it take you to put together?

It took the best part of 18 months from our first suggestion to produce a book of short stories until our book launch. Thanks to you, Marion we delayed launching the book at the end of the year because you said, ‘Everyone gets so busy before Christmas’. It took us to the following September to get everything edited and re-edited, and a booking at GCWA.
  
How many stories and how many authors contributed to the book?  Who are the writers that contributed to the anthology?
There are 54 stories of varying lengths. Four men and four women contributed – Julie Baythorpe (who painted the cover from a photo of Coolangatta Beach), Julie Boyd (who formatted and sent the work to the printer), John Clark (he added the humour and organised the display of local authors’ work at Borders in Robina), Owen Clement (two of his original art works appear in the book), Doug Fraser (our legal adviser), George Lewis (our chief editor and illustrator), Fay O’Neill (our Australian history researcher and chief cook for our morning teas) and me (Joan Songaila – convener of the group and most likely candidate for a nervous breakdown!).
 
Was it a good experience to pull together as a team and produce something as big as this?
 Oh, yes! We discovered each other’s talents and ended up as one big happy family. We have a break-up party with our partners at the end of November. Because we meet on the second and fourth Saturday mornings of each month, we have a break until February and catch up with the rest of our lives.
 
What genre of stories have you presented?
 All sorts! We started off looking for a theme, but we are all ‘mature’ and have led such different lives.
 
You have published books before, what were they about?
Yes. My first full length tome was about my husband’s journey through life as a Lithuanian Displaced Person – Journey to Paradise. Previous to that I was a regular contributor to the NZ Herald’s Saturday Magazine. As secretary of the Gold Coast Lithuanian Community for the last twenty years, I have produced their newsletter twice a year.
 
How did this production compare to self publishing?
Love, Lies, Laughter and a Few Little Tears  is self published. Griffin Digital did the final printing and binding in Adelaide.
 
You have been running the Southern Short Stories group for quite some time. When did you join GCWA and when did you start the support group?
 I joined GCWA twenty years ago when I came to live on the Gold Coast. We started the Southern Short Story Support Group with eight of us in 2002. We try to keep our numbers down to ten to fit around the table in my unit.
 
Have you always lived on the Gold Coast?
I lived my ‘first life’ in NZ where I trained as a physiotherapist and was a champion water skier. After my Kiwi photographer husband died, our oldest son took over our photographic business.
 
Have you travelled and did this influence your writing?
One of my short stories in Love, Lies, Laughter and a Few Little Tears  is about my first experience as a Kiwi in Australia, being conned by a gypsy on the road from Sydney to the Gold Coast. With my Lithuanian husband I have travelled to Lithuania and the rest of Europe. I now appreciate my years of learning Latin and French at Auckland Girls’ Grammar School. Such a help in studying the Lithuanian language and in editing our writing.
 
Thanks for joining me today Joan, it has been a pleasure to find out more about you and your writing!

You can find out more about Joan by Googling ‘Joan Songaila’ – some of it is true!

BOND….Tiffany…Bond

This week I have Brisbane writer, Tiffany Bond joining me.  Tiffany is a private investigator and her first book is all about what really happens in the life of a PI. It’s not kids stuff and I was surprised it’s a selection of short stories that are quite factual instead of the steamy novel I had imagined. Simply, I was enlightened and amazed by some of the stories. Her website is www.tiffanybond.com.au but there is more to Tiffany than just a few interesting stories. She is the Managing Director of Detection Group Pty Ltd.  They specialise in infidelity cases but also do private & corporate work, and as she moves toward launching a second book, she is also planning a TV series.

Hi Tiffany and welcome to my blog!

I was most impressed when I met you at the Gold Coast Writer’s Association’s 20th Anniversary luncheon.  I was wondering what a female private investigator would be like in person and was pleased to find such a lovely, down to earth and approachable person. You seem to have quite a zest for life and a great personality. I am so looking forward to our interview today.

Thank you very much Marion. I’m looking forward to our interview too.

Being a managing director of Detection Group Pty Ltd, plus being author of “Confessions of a Female Private Investigator

and soon producing a TV series, as well as launching a second book ,

The Other Woman,

you must be almost worn out! What is it like to be so busy? Do you thrive on the excitement or are you so well organised that you have life controlled?

I love being busy! I’m not someone to sit around on a quiet day, but sometimes I probably should. To be honest, I do thrive on excitement. I have always chosen careers that are fast-paced and dynamic, and because of that, I do need to be well organised. I still allow room for spontaneity as I believe it is the essence of life.

I was surprised to find the stories are quite factual. Is this a reflection of an orderly, methodical private investigator character? Or an extension of writing reports out when you were a police officer?

I have never thought about it that way before, but you’re probably right. I am quite methodical and matter-of-fact by nature. When I say or write something, I like to be direct and factual. It’s probably a result of many years of report writing and statement taking.

Have you thought of writing a sizzling fiction?

My next book “The Other Woman” is the start of my fictional series. Like my first book, it will be fast-paced and direct. I don’t like to ‘fluff’ things out too much. I’d rather draw the reader into the story fast and leave them breathless at the other end. Like a rollercoaster ride.

How did the thought of a book come up? Was it therapy or did you think you had the seeds of a bestseller?

I wrote my first book as a result of a radio interview I participated in. It aired across Australia and I received many calls from people telling me that I had inspired them. I wrote my book for the listeners. I wanted to share my experiences with them to entertain them and to help them if they have suffered similar circumstances. It was whilst writing it, that I also achieved personal closure.

Your web page says you hope the book will help people who find themselves in similar situations by giving them inspiration and support. Have you found that your service has actually made people’s lives better in the long run?

Definitely! I still receive beautiful calls, emails and letters from previous clients who have moved on with their lives because they had discovered the truth. The truth gave them the courage to stand up for themselves and make decisions based on fact. Whether they left their relationship or decided to stay and make it work, they were armed with the evidence we had gathered to confront their fears and suspicions and make informed decisions.

  This photo is with you and I, and my husband Jason and your bodyguard Earl. Do you always have a body guard? Does Earl assist you in your business?

I only have a body guard if I’m going to be at a publicly announced event. Unfortunately, what I do for a living, offends some people and I have received threats in the past. It’s usually a cheating partner caught out, but sometimes it’s someone random who has taken it upon themselves to make their personal resentments towards me known. Earl doesn’t assist me in my business, he offers me regular security risk and threat assessments.

Let’s go back to when you were a little girl, what did you think you wanted to be when you grew up? Have you always wanted to be a detective?

Yes! I had always wanted to be a Police Officer/Investigator since I was very young. I loved mysteries and problem solving. I would sit on the roof of my parent’s house at night and watch the neighbours through binoculars. I also used to visit the old lady across the road. She lived on her own in a huge, historic three story house. I would pretend I was there to investigate murder mysteries. I was always naturally inquisitive.

Did you read investigator type books as a child?

I certainly did. I used to read Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew and The Famous Five. I loved them so much.

Did you role play from these?

I remember the sense of independence and courage the book characters portrayed. I believe that’s where I get some of my strength from today. I have been independent and strong-willed since I was very young, much to my mother’s horror.

You are a mother too. Do you get to have much quality time with your children, when your life is so busy?

Yes, I have two little girls. They are currently living with their father. When they were with me, I always made time for them. That’s the main reason I initially set up my company. It gave me the flexibility to take my daughters to school and attend extra-curricular activities with them.

Have your children inherited your curious nature?

My youngest daughter certainly has! I gave her a video camera for her birthday a few years ago. She sneaks around the house taking secret video footage of me. Both my daughters have always had an interest in what I do and own their own little voice recorders and spy kits.

Would you recommend the life of a private investigator to others? Or your children?

Yes I would. Some of my previous clients have in fact become Private Investigators after their suspicions were uncovered. I think that women are naturally curious and inquisitive and have the ability to tap effortlessly into their intuition. My youngest daughter wants to be a private investigator. I fully support her desires if that’s what she decides to do.

When is your next book, “The Other Woman” due to be released?

This book has just been sent to my editor. I’m currently debating whether to self-publish again or find an agent with the view of publishing commercially.

 When should we expect to see you on TV?

We have another producer from America flying over here later this year who wants to be involved in the TV show. I have discovered that this industry is extremely slow moving, so I don’t know when the show will be aired.

Will you be the star? Or will you have an actor play your part?

I will be playing the role of myself in the show and we’re using actors for the other roles.

Are there plans for a movie?

Yes, I’m currently in talks with an American producer about turning my first book into a movie.

What is in store for the future?

I’m currently halfway through my third book (another non-fiction) and have outlined another six fictions to complete.

Now for a cheeky question… being in your type of business, do you find you get a lot of James Bond references? Like, Bond, Tiffany Bond, licensed to…?

Yes I do! All the time. It was with complete irony that my x-husband’s surname is Bond. But it fits well doesn’t it?

Thanks for visiting Tiffany. I have really enjoyed having you as my guest and look forward to seeing your TV series and new book. Anyone wanting to find out more information can go to Tiffany’s webpage at www.tiffanybond.com.au 

Thank you very much Marion for this delightful interview. It’s been fun. I would like to end with a quote that I am so passionate about that I had it tattooed on my back: “Live as Though Heaven is on Earth x”.

Wild Women!

GC Creative Textiles Group

On Thursday night I stumbled upon a fantastic group display at Robina Art Gallery, Robina Community Centre (where the library is). My daughter and I were in awe of the fantastic hand made pieces of art. Being a smallish group they don’t have a web page, so, being the writer I am, I asked if they would like a guest appearance on my blog. I hope you enjoy the interview!

Hi Leona, thanks for joining my blog! What position do you have in the Gold Coast Creative Textiles Group?

Hi Marion, thank you for inviting me to participate on your blog – its such a great way to connect with people, much like our Group. Being very informal we don’t have office bearers or a prescribed structure – we are all simply members. I am however, the coordinator of the Wild Women exhibition.  

My first impression of your groups’ exhibit was the life and vitality that exudes from the display. I guess that’s where you got the display name of ‘Wild Women’?

Absolutely. We wanted a theme to the exhibition, but nothing too restrictive. The Wild Women theme could apply equally to us as individuals, as a subject – a number of the pieces are of female figures, goddesses,etc – or as a comment on the nature and mood of the work.

Can you tell me what your group is all about?

We are primarily a social group of like-minded, free-spirited women who have a love of textiles. We like exploring the use of colour and texture and experimenting with new techniques – or using traditional techniques in new ways. We like to mix things up.  

How long have you been a group?

We first started meeting as a group in January 2009. In September 2008 the Australian Textile Arts and Surface Design Association` (ATASDA) held a wonderful exhibition titled ‘Leaf no Stone unturned’ at the Robina Art Gallery. The response was very positive and generated a lot of interest in forming our own local group.

What type of people do you have in your group?

A real mixture. Most of us started off learning to sew, knit or crochet from our mothers or grandmothers. Some made their own clothes and then, over the years, progressed into quilting, embroidery, millinery, spinning and weaving, doll making, felting, silk painting, pattern making etc. Some of us have formal qualifications, our own businesses, are tutors, or have established reputations as textile artists – but many, like me, simply like to dabble and learn new things.

Why combine so many creative works?

We each see things and interpret things in different ways. We all have our own particular skills and strengths. This exhibition was an opportunity for us to showcase our creativity and diversity. As a group we inspire and encourage each other to push the boundaries.

Do you find your members teach each other new craft techniques?

All the time, both formally and informally. Sometimes we will all be interested in learning a particular technique – rust dying for example. One of our members will demonstrate the technique at our monthly meeting and show how they have used it in their work. We will the normally go way, start experimenting and then over the next few months at our ‘show and tell’ sessions people will display their creations. Often they will have taken the idea in a totally different direction.

Do you sell any of your creations?

Some of us are more business oriented than others – I have a tendency to give a lot of my creations away as gifts! Others in the group regularly sell their pieces. If there are specific pieces in the Wild Women exhibition that people are interested in buying, or if someone is interested in commissioning a piece, we can take their details and put the artist in contact with them.

What are your favourite pieces?

There are so many! I love the group exhibits because we had such fun working on them – the bra bags are exquisite, the scourer challenge pieces are so creative, and the cone bags are all so different. I just adore the Wild Women sign which was put together, at the last minute, by three of the artists. We all contributed fabric and beads, so it really does represent all of us.  

When do you meet?
We meet at Broadbeach Library, 61 Sunshine Boulevard, Mermaid Waters on the third Saturday of the month between 10.00 am to 2.00 pm.

How can people contact you for more information?

You can email us at gccreativetextiles@gmail.com

How long is this wonderful display going to be at Robina Art Gallery?

It has been going since the 9th September and will finish 20th September 2010 What times is it open? Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri 9 am to 6 pm; Thu 9 am to 7 pm; Sat 9 am to 3 pm; Sun noon to 4 pm

How much does it cost?

IT IS FREE!

Thanks Leona, I hope you get heaps of recognition for your fantastic artworks!

Thanks Marion.

Gold Coast Writer’s Association 20th Anniversary Party!

The Gold Coast Writer’s Association’s 20th Anniversary party! 
Held 11th September, 2010 at Burleigh Bears Leagues Club. The 20th Anniversary party was a lovely luncheon event for members and their guests to remember and treasure. I was one of the excited committee members, who had a visiting guest author at my table and it was great to meet a most interesting lady by the name of Tiffany Bond. I was very good and resisted the urge to make any James Bond jokes or references. Tiffany just happens to be a female private investigator! What I did find was a most interesting and down to earth woman, who was a delight to chat with and introduce to fellow GCWA members.  Other lucky members had the likes of Katherine Howell, Kerry Brown, Annette Henderson, Oren Siedler, Debra Jarvis, our MC for the day and our guest speaker journalist David Lesser. It was quite the star-studded event for our humble club. Many thanks have to go to the committee members and especially the president Jeannie. Their hard work (which is all voluntary) pulled together very well and today at the regular monthly meeting, one suggested we do this each year! Wow, lots of hard work to come but what a wonderful date to keep free in our diaries for years to come. I am one member who hopes the annual luncheon will become a tradition.