All posts filed under: Writing

Haiku: Softest breath

I took this photo yesterday and even though the dandelion seed is a touch blurred, something about this image spoke to me of writing and growth, of grasping hold of ideas and growing them. This morning, in a peaceful hour, I wrote this haiku. “Softest breath; wind sows seeds of life. New creations soar from fertile ground.” © Monique Mulligan 2016  

10 writing habits of most writers

I’m a writer. Before you get this idea that I’m also a broke, reclusive, eccentric, pyjama wearing, cat-loving, coffee (or alcohol) guzzling creature, as author stereotypes commonly go, let me tell you what ten things I really do when I write. Procastinate: This step is actually the prequel and interval/s of any writing session and as such, is not one of the 10 habits. It involves important things like keeping up to date on social media, watching epic fail or cat videos for inspiration, making cups of tea for alertness, testing alertness by checking that the oven is off, hanging the wash for fine motor skills and stretching, tidying the desk to encourage an uncluttered mind, and so on. This step takes a considerable amount of time and is sometimes confused with step 3. It is not the same. My actual writing habits are as follows: Make Faces: Scrunched up mouth and nose, furrowed brow, arched eyebrows, self-satisfied smile, tongue stuck out, biting lip, pursed lips … the variations are endless. Talk to Self: Whether it’s mouthing the words, or speaking them …

It’s time to ban the phrase ‘guilty pleasure’

This article was written for the Champagne Cartel online magazine in April 2016. It’s reprinted here with permission.  She sat in the lunch room engrossed in her book, a tattered Mills & Boon. A small, breathy ‘mmm’ escaped her slightly parted lips; she licked those lips, closed her eyes and sighed in pleasure, before our giggles reminded her she was not alone. We – a trio of journalists – teased her for about her choice in books, but the sales rep remained out, loud and proud about her love of the romance genre. And while some of us were forced to admit we’d read (and enjoyed) the occasional romance novel here and again, I suspect we believed our reading tastes were far superior. We knew the difference between trash and treasure when it came to reading and writing, we agreed later, in the comfort of the editorial department. Cultural cringe in action. It’s partly the cultural cringe in Australia that drives many women to act like coy virgins when it comes to admitting a love …

Working with an illustrator

Ever wondered what it’s like working with an illustrator on a picture book? Over the past few months I’ve had the privilege of working with Veronica Rooke on my debut picture book, My Silly Mum. While some authors have little to do with the illustrations once the publishers take over, I’ve been in the fortunate position of being able to collaborate with Veronica from start to finish. With picture books, all the elements must complement each other. Combined, all these elements tell the story. Neither has more importance. From the start, Veronica made it clear she welcomed my input, and that was good for me, because I had lots of ideas (she may have regretted that welcome at some point). First up was creating the cover, which involved getting the right look for the characters. I felt that Veronica’s first sketch of the mum was too ‘goofy’. While I didn’t mind the mum looking a little scatty, I didn’t want her to look stupid. Mums can be silly, but sometimes, and that’s the point of …

New release + giveaway

The Point of Love novelette will be released tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, as an e-book and in print form. It’s available from Amazon Australia here, Amazon US here and Amazon UK here. I have two signed print copies (Australian and NZ readers), and two e-books (other international readers) of this short romance to give away. New girl in town and journalist Lexie, has been targeted by developers who want to sell her their vision for a marina at Mangles Bay. On paper, the proposal looks good, but when Hands Off Point Peron spokesman and Thor-lookalike Andrew Fletcher takes her to nearby Point Peron, she starts to have second thoughts. A date at Penguin Island sets the scene for love, but when Lexie’s front page story about the marina is published, Andrew is far from impressed. Will Lexie be able to turn the situation around? Or is the story a deal-breaker for Andrew? Simply like this blog post and tell me in the comments section about your best Valentine’s Day memory. You can spare the spicy bits though! Competition …

Submitting a manuscript: 10 tips

Originally posted on looking up/looking down:
At the beginning of a new year, writers have often been working hard on a manuscript and are trying to summon up the courage it takes to submit it to an agent or publisher. Here are 10 tips for those who are new to this stage of the journey to publication.   1. Don’t send your manuscript to a publisher who doesn’t publish in your genre. It sounds obvious, but publishers report that it happens all the time. Do your homework first. Take note of who publishes the books in your genre that you read, and research those publishers. Look for information in the newsletter or on the website of your state writers centre or other writers centres you belong to. Read the websites of publishers; if you’re still not sure, email a polite enquiry. Commercial marketplace guides, online or print, are also available (e.g. Australian Writers Marketplace). 2. Adhere to submission guidelines (e.g. what publishers or agents want to see, how much, what other information they want,…

My writing week #14

“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proverbs 12:18, New International Version “If a man be under the influence of anger his conduct will not be correct.”  – Confucius Whatever your spiritual (or non-spiritual) leaning, I think anyone who knows the power of words will resonate with these quotes. Words can do many things – inspire, inform, excite, arouse, seduce, awaken, heal, poison, cut, shut-down, turn off, burn, bore, brainwash, deceive … The list is endless. I didn’t do a lot of writing over the Christmas period. Aside from the holidays, multiple family reasons prevented words from flowing the way I wanted. One day, I sat at the computer for 20 minutes, writing and re-writing one sentence. I know, I know. It’s not the way you’re supposed to do it. My words were crowded with worry. So, I stopped writing what I thought I should write, and wrote something else instead. A chase scene. With geese and ducks. The next day I had a critique …

A book trailer: #RockyRomance

What do you think of #book trailers? I’ve seen some pretty good book trailers in the past, but the one that stands out is one Pan Macmillan released for Louise Moggach’s Kiss Me First. No ordinary book trailer, it was an app that enabled viewers to engage with the key theme of online identity and recreated the book’s unsettling atmosphere. I logged in with Facebook and watched my own details appear in the trailer, which was freaky. Recently I made a book trailer for Rocky Romance using iMovie. What do you think of it? It’s not freaky or hard-hitting, but I do think it sets the scene (and highlights the beautiful Rockingham landscape). Next time I’ll work on the lengthening the transition times – it was my first attempt. If it makes you want to buy the book, which features my romance “The Point of Love”, check out Amazon or serenitypress.org

My writing week #10

Roadblocks. Speed bumps. Common things in every writers’ journey. I hit a couple of those yesterday. I woke up early, made a cup of tea and sat down to write. Hang on, I thought. There’s something very important I need to do … see if my cat is scared of cucumbers (if you have no idea why I would do this, click here). I gave her a little extra breakfast, placed a cucumber behind her and grabbed the camera (see here for result). Then I watched the first video again to see if I’d done it wrong, shared my video on Facebook and giggled at my own funniness. After a bit more dithering, I opened Scrivener, changed a few words and stared at the screen. Fifteen minutes later I had accomplished little more apart from wondering, ‘Am I on the right track?’, ‘Am I kidding myself?’, ‘Should I start again?’ and ‘There must be a better word for that’. None of these questions were particularly inspiring. To be fair, last week I tipped the 20,000-word mark on …