One Life Changing Moment…

… we’ve all had them. Those moments where for some reason your life changes, usually without your consent. My new Lucy Clark Medical Romance is out on shelves now, or you can pick up your copy on-line through Harlequin and Mills & Boon websites. http://www.millsandboon.com.au/product/9781743551219

 

This book is super special to me because during the writing, my children’s 13 year old friend, Zoe, suddenly passed away. She was such a beautiful girl, always happy, always smiling and she loved her music. She played the flute beautifully and even though it’s well over six months since she left our lives, we still think of her. This story is my way of not only writing out the grief I felt at such a loss but also as a means of honouring Zoe’s short but amazing life.  She was definitely the girl who would always be there to help anyone in their time of need, who always greeted people with a smile and who, at the age of 5 years old, told me she was “engaged” to my son (who was 6 years old). I’d always looked forward to having Zoe as my daughter-in-law… but now all I can do is to remember her with a smile and to hopefully share my thoughts and feelings of her with you all in my story – ONE LIFE CHANGING MOMENT.  This isn’t a story about the death of a young girl – far from it. It’s a story about moving forward, about celebrating life, about reaching a new level of happiness.

One Life Changing Moment

One Life Changing Moment

Lucy

 

SILK & SCANDAL, The Silk Series book 1, is now available! #newrelease @DecadentTEASE

Hey peeps!

So, Lucy has very generously allowed me to post this week because I have a new release. Isn’t that lovely of her??

So, peeps, say hello to SILK & SCANDAL!
 
 
Silk & Scandal by Cassandra Dean book 1 in the Silk Series Decadent Publishing

 
Eight years ago…
Thomas Cartwright and Lady Nicola Fitzgibbons were friends. Over the wall separating their homes, Thomas and Nicola talked of all things – his studies to become a barrister, her frustrations with a lady’s limitations.

All things end.
When her diplomat father gains a post in Hong Kong, Nicola must follow. Bored and alone, she falls into scandal. Mired in his studies of the law and aware of the need for circumspection, Thomas feels forced to sever their ties.

But now Lady Nicola is back…and she won’t let him ignore her.
 
Decadent Publishing Tease Captivate Allure Entice

Early Victorian Romance
$2.99 Decadent Publishing | ISBN 9781613335185
Amazon.com | Smashwords | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble

 
 

~ Excerpt ~

Thomas took a breath, knowing he had to phrase this just right. “Lady Nicola, while I am cognizant of the honor you do me, I don’t believe it appropriate you visit me in my chambers. Shall we arrange a time that suits us both, perhaps for a walk about the park?”

China-blue eyes laughed at him. “Oh, pish. Don’t be such a fuddy-duddy, Thomas. We never stood on such ceremony before.”

Didn’t she know he couldn’t be her friend? Not since their ways had parted and she’d become who she was, while he had become who he was. “Our situations were different before, Lady Nicola. It is not appropriate for a lady of your standing to visit a bachelor in his chambers.”

“Who is going to comment? No one knows I’m here.”

Was she serious? “My clerk knows you’re here. By now, the senior clerk undoubtedly knows you’re here. Before ten minutes have passed, everyone in the building will know you’re here.”

“Well, then, they are a bunch of shocking gossips, and I should not like to know them any better.” She folded her hands in her lap.

“Not the point, Nicola.” Bloody hell, but she drove him mental. She tore at him and picked at him until he didn’t know where he stood. Always she’d done this, taken what little sense he had and driven it right out of his brain.

“I should say it is the point. Our visit would not distress you, if it weren’t for them.”

“It should distress me in any case. You should not be here.”

“Do you know what I’m hearing, Thomas? I’m hearing a vast amount of negativity, when you’ve not even greeted me properly. Why, you’ve yet to kiss my hand, or perhaps give me a h-hug.” Chin up, she looked at him with eyes brimming, and he saw right through her facade. She was truly hurt he’d not yet greeted her as he should.

Helpless, he stared at her. How did she do it? How did she turn his brain to mush? She’d been here less than five minutes, and already she had drawn him back in.

But she was right. He hadn’t greeted her as he should.

Standing, he went to her and drew her to her feet. “Welcome home, Nic.” And he hugged her.

 
I hope you guys enjoy Thomas and Nicola’s story :D
– Cassandra
 
 

I dreamed a dream…

… and it was in TECHNICOLOUR.

technicolour

What my dreams look like… sort of.

Whenever I take some time off from creating, allowing my stress levels to return to normal after being in deadline, of allowing my body to detox from all the caffeine I’ve pumped into it, of catching up on my reading and tv watching… whenever this happens, and I start to chillax, my dreams become more vivid.

Being a writer, we get to take our imaginations out for a healthy sprint around our worlds of fiction almost daily and on the days when we don’t write (and we should be) we tend to get quite grumpy and annoyed (and never at anyone more than ourselves). Yet when I’m not in deadline, when I can allow my thoughts freedom to roam, to unwind, to take in the genius of another writer (presently reading Rick Riordan – THANK YOU, RICK), my dreams start to become far more… vibrant.

Oops... wrong pic. Didn't mean to insert that one.

Oops… wrong pic. Didn’t mean to insert that one.

I have learned, though, through trial and error, that if I go any longer than 2 weeks without creating – and I’m talking fiction here, not silly university essays (blech) – then I actually don’t sleep too well. 2 weeks!! That’s all I get because as I am not actively taking my imagination out for its daily sprint, its healthy jog, its 10,000 sit-ups, it starts to plague me during my unconscious time (otherwise known as sleep).

I will awaken in the morning, with a Chuck-worthy-FLASH of images buzzing through my brain as my dreams, which all happened in vivid technicolour, wake me with a jolt. I’ve tried to write down these ideas but the images come and go so quickly and if I think really hard, I can piece things together, in a disjointed jig-saw type of way but a lot of the time, they don’t hang around too long. Instead, I am left feeling… exhausted – AND I’VE JUST WOKEN UP.

Chuck worthy FLASH

Chuck worthy FLASH

This is one of the down sides to having a highly over active imagination. Whenever I hear a new song, either on the radio or one a friend is sharing with me, I close my eyes and an entire music video clip unfolds before me. When I’m reading a book, I not only get a picture forming in my mind of where the characters are but I can imagine the smells and sounds and tastes – (again – THANK YOU, RICK). I do so love this when I’m reading other people’s work and I do love it when I hear a song and I do love it when I get so invovled with a TV show that I am left shaking with delight at the end of it (THANK YOU STEVEN MOFFAT!) But seriously, if after only two short weeks of being allowed to chillax, my own imagination turns on me, taking me on adventures against my will and forcing me to be mentally active whilst I sleep… then there really is nothing else for me to do other than to sit down at my computer and start creating again!

Tee hee!

Tee hee!

The good news for me right now, is that it’s only been 1 week since I sent the last book to my editor… that means 1 more week of reading and watching tv and chillaxing before my imagination zaps me with the cattle prod!

Lucy

Have you been watching…my blog

Have you been watching...with Cassandra Dean

Hey peeps,

So, I’ve got this nifty little blog on my author website and I’ve been toying for the longest time with establishing regular features. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but me and regular? We’re sort of passing acquaintances :)

Anyhoo, I’ve been toying and I’ve come up with a bit of a corker concept. Introducing…Have you been watching…

Have you been watching… is a feature that I thought I might actually stick to. I do enjoy watching a bit of telly and so I thought, why not blog about this? Quite a few of my friends ask for my recommendations on tv and the like, so I thought I’d share it with the general populace at large.

You’re welcome, populace.

Every Thursday, I feature a TV or web series and detail what I find noteworthy about it. It’s a bit of fun and frivolity, and I hope you peeps enjoy it as much as I do!

The below are the shows I’ve featured thus far. If anyone has any requests, I’m more than willing to take a look at them :)

- Cassandra
 

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

H+ The Digital Series

Spartacus: War of the Damned

Utopia

Husbands

The Guild

Being Human (UK)

Vaginal Fantasy Book Club

Game of Thrones

In The Flesh – unfortunately, no pic, peeps :(

FarScape

Vikings
 
 
 

The top ten reasons why I procrastinate…

This is soooo me.

I make no secret of the fact that I hold a Ph.D. in Procrastination. The fact that there has been no blog post on this site for the entire month of April (so far) is entirely my fault and whilst I can give excuses that I’ve had book deadlines and then revision deadlines and then uni work to catch up on it all comes down to the fact that doing this blog was something I had indeed pushed aside in favour of playing games on my new smartphone, watching movies with my teens (Shawshank) and catching up on my TBR pile (Rick Riordan top of the list). I kept telling myself that after all my hard work, meeting my deadlines and getting the revs to my ed in record time (and doing proofs on the previous book in between the two) meant that I did deserve  a little time off. A break. A respite… and so this blog has been shoved aside so I could do things that made me feel chilled and relaxed. (or “chillaxed” as the youngs ones are saying nowadays. Oh those teens!)

So why are you blogging now? What has brought about this transformation? Peeled you away from that gripping chapter of Rick’s book? Stopped you from baking yet another batch of cookies? Halted the progress in movie vegging? These are all excellent questions and the answer is, of course, that I have something that MUST be done today and I simply do not want to do it. I HAVE to do it. I know this. It must be done TODAY because the deadline is TODAY and therefore it must be done… TODAY. And yet here I am – blogging – simply because I do not want to do this other thing. So I rationalise with my brain… I say, “There is no way you can concentrate on this MUST BE DONE TODAY task because you have a huge “to do” list which desperately needs your attention and perhaps if… IF… you can tick some of those little things, which would only take about twenty minutes each to do, off your “to do” list, then concentrating on this MUST BE DONE TODAY task will be easier.

These are the mind games I continually play with myself. When I have to do specific tasks, I give myself time limits. I say “let’s see how much you can get done in one hour” and then I hop to it and get it done, always forgetting to time check at the end of the task because I don’t care if it’s taken me more than one hour to get the things done – they’re done! I have an immense sense of accomplishment and feel good about myself. I feel so good about myself that I reward myself (because you should always reward yourself after you do something brilliant – right?) But still… looming overhead is that now ginormous MUST BE DONE TODAY task. I know that this task will take me approximately two hours complete. That’s not much in a day of 18 hours of awake time. That still leaves me 16 hours to do so many other things… and thus, the justification of completing all these so-called “small” tasks is what I then focus on.

Now I don’t have a clue if I’m making any sense at all, or if anyone else in the world feels this way but I do know that when I am like this, when I have something that MUST BE DONE TODAY AT ALL COSTS, so much else gets done instead (it’s times like these that I clean my oven because who in their right mind would ever clean their oven voluntarily).

Darn. Now I’ve just added “clean oven” to my “to do” list and you can bet your bottom dollar that the oven will be sparkly clean at 10pm tonight… when I’ll have just two hours left to do this task that MUST BE DONE TODAY.

For now, though, I can at least tick off “blog” on my “to do” list because all these ramblings have not only provided you with an insight into the confusion which is my mind but have assisted me in my procrastination. I’m sure no one else in the world does this… right?

 

Dr Lucy Clark – Ph.D. (Proc)

Google is scuttling Reader? NOOOOOOOOO!

Google Reader is no more
So devestational, peeps. Google have declared as of 1 July, Google Reader is no more. To this I cry to the heavens, why? O why have you forsaken me, Google? Don’t you know I love me some Google Reader? I check thee every day, and twice on Sundays. But alas, my pleas go unheeded and so I have to find a new blog reader.

BloglinesI’ve tried several. Bloglines was great but it had this annoying habit of taking up half the screen with a grey banner at the bottom and all their affiliates listed top to bottom instead of across the screen. As I like to scan my blogs as I’m doing other things, this was molto annoying.

Tried The Old Reader next. The Old readerI’m 35,001 in the queue for having my blog roll uploaded. Yeah. I reckon people, they have jumped on that thing called a ‘band wagon’.

feedlyNext up, feedly. I think it’s love. I’m still getting used to the layout and the functions, but feedly takes your Google Reader account and loads it into their system. What’s even better is once Reader is shut down, it will continue to work, saving the hassle of transferring over the blog roll to another reader.

Huzzah! I think we have a winner!

Farewell, Google Reader. I will miss you.

MUSE? Or just the creative genius of the right brain?

‘I’ve always wanted to write a book.’

You have no idea just how many people have said these same words to me over the years and yet 4% of them actually do. I pull that figure of 4% from thin air as since I started running workshops and sharing the secrets of the writing world (shh) with others, 4 people have actually done something about it and achieved publication! Yay!!

Thank you! My public. I love you all.

Thank you! My public. I love you all.

 

When I quizz people further about this great masterpiece they’re going to write, the next thing I’ve heard is:

‘I’m going to write it when the MUSE hits.’

Now, being a writer, the first thing I do is turn to the dictionary for a definition.

“to become absorbed in thought; especially: to turn something over in the mind meditatively and often inconclusively”

jack sparrow

 

If I go to Wikipedia (which everyone knows is exceedingly accurate!) it says:

MUSE  (band) – an English rock band who formed in 1994

or

MUSE – Greek goddesses (there is controversy as to the exact number) who have the ability to inspire creation with their graces for song, stage, dance, traditional music and writing.

Now I’m a very right brained person (the right side is the creative side of the brain) and at often times am found to suddenly be colouring my hair – with little plan or forethought. Or I might decided to bake a cake at 10pm at night just because I feel like eating cake. When I was a teenager, it was not uncommon for me to change the furniture around in my room at 11pm simply because the mood did strike. I’m sure my parents and siblings thought I was nuts but then, none of them are as right brained as me and therefore, had no hope of understanding my ways.

So my question is, do I bake at odd hours and suddenly colour my hair or move furniture because of a MUSE or because my creativity bubbles up inside me and needs to find an outlet? I love witing, I love creating awesome characters but oftentimes I have to put them on pause while I deal with “real life” (blech). Then, when I have the time – which is usually late at night – I sit down and let the inspiration I’ve bottled up flow from my mind, my fingers typing furiously on the keyboard as I race to get the words down before I forget them.

Is this a bottled up MUSE fuelling me on? Is this just the pressure of a deadline? Is this just me?

I have never been the type of writer to sit around and wait for the MUSE to do their thing, for inspiration to hit. If I did that, I wouldn’t be presently writing BOOK NUMBER FIFTY-NINE.  It is possible to train your creative brain, it is possible to find self discipline and it is possible to produce an awesome story which a publishing house will love and rave over, by employing hard work and dedication to your craft.

Seriously folks, if you’re waiting around for your MUSE, you’d be better off listening to MUSE (the band) while you bake a cake. Time is precious. Don’t waste it.

snoopy_snowflakes

 

Lucy

 

 

 

The Big Let Down

Hey peeps. Long time, no see. My apologies for my slackness, apparently the beginning of the new year decided to kick me about the bum a bit. I’ve also finished two big projects, as well as doing stuff in The Other Life, so I’ve needed a bit of a breather. It’s been…well, it’s all been kind of a let down.

You know what I mean? You’ve finally finished your big project. You’ve worked on it and loved it and you’ve spent every waking minute thinking about it. You’ve been sat in front of a computer feverishly typing away, adhering to a deadline you may have established or your publisher has established or you are going away on that holiday to Thailand and you really, really have to get it finished…

Any-the-hoo, you’ve been working away like a busy little bee…and then it’s finished…over…and you wonder what on earth you’re supposed to do now.

You feel like you should be working but there’s nothing to work on. You feel like you should be starting the new story but you are too burned out. There is a constant feeling the other shoe is about to drop and you wonder what is wrong with you that you feel this way.

I felt like this after finishing those projects I’ve mentioned. Every weekend I worked, in the evenings, at odd moments during the day. I spent my downtime thinking about the projects and was generally consumed by the story for a few weeks. Then, I handed it in to my editor…and I was at a complete loss.

I felt like I needed to do…something. Didn’t I have a manuscript I needed to work on? Was I supposed to be editing? There was an extra scene I needed to write, surely. I should be in front of my computer, tap-tap-tapping away at the keyboard…but, of course, I had no manuscript to work on. I had finished. Finished, I tells ya!

So how did I combat it? I talked about how I felt ‘let down’ with my friends. I discussed it with my Lucy. I tried to start the next project. It’s a strange feeling when you think you should be doing something even though you know you have finished. Your head is saying one thing and your heart (for want of a better term) is saying another and you just can’t reconcile the two. You tell yourself to have a break but you’ve been working so hard for so long, surely you should be continuing with that?

Next question – how successful was I? Well, I’m still trying to discover that. I think the only way to combat the big let down is to allow time to pass. I think you need time to adjust back to normal, to find your creativity again and be able to shift into the new story. There’s no point writing a historical romp through Romania in 1845 when you’re still mired in an operatic space drama set in Galactic Space Zone Trifixidoria, Quadrant Alpha-Numrea G7.

I guess what I’m saying is it’s okay to do nothing. To relax. Wind down. Learn how to be calm and collection again. Have a glass of wine, eat that chocolate, enjoy a walk along the beach. You need time to recharge so you can tackle the next big project and go through the whole process again!

Acrostics, Roses and ‘Prevail’. What do they have in common?

Merry New Year!

Wow it’s February already. The shops seem to go from one event holiday to the next and at the moment, they are all red and rosy with red roses for St. Valentine’s Day (which I believe is on the Thursday – DON’T FORGET!). As a romance author, this is usually the time when the media are most interested in our profession, thinking that as we write romance, we know all about it… and let’s face it -

WE DO!!!!! 

love heart lollies

 

Now if you’ve been following Cassandra and I on Twitter – checking out the sometimes crazy chats we have, completely forgetting that everyone esle can read what we’re writing (IMHO, that’s the sign of an awesome friendship, we just get carried away) then you will know that we’ve been bandying (cool word, eh?) around the word PREVAIL (even cooler word).

We have both been hectic with book deadlines and other… you know life things that happen like work and family and stuff (stuff is VERY important) and we were wondering whether or not we would PREVAIL to ever get a blog done. Well, the answer to that is… YES (duh!) and to top it all off, I’ve written an original-pulled-from-my-exhausted-creative-braincells acrostic poem just for y’all.

As it’s St. Valentine’s Day super soon and as Cassandra and I are awesome romance writers, it was only fitting that the poem reflect all those groovy things.

And so I present to you, dear reader, a St. Valentine’s Day PREVAIL poem. (applause! cheering! then hushed, anticipatory silence)

P is for Perfect

R is for Romance

E is for Ever

V is for Valiant

A is for And

I is for Inspiring

L is for Love

You may now throw your (de-thorned) roses of appreciation my way!

Thank you! My public. I love you all.

Thank you! My public. I love you all.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much! You’ve been a great audience.

Lucy