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

 

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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

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)

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

 

 

 

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

 

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Bring on 2013!

Like a lot of people, we tend to have quite a few “Christmases”.  One of my sisters is heading interstate for the big day – to spend it with our other siblings and their families – so last week-end we celebrated Christmas on the 15th December… a few days early but by golly did we all have a wonderful time!  The food was… AMAZING.  Ham, turkey (with macadamia nut and cranberry stuffing) and loads of brilliant salads and I haven’t even MENTIONED the desserts!

IMG_7143

After eating, we all played “Bad Santa”.  This is a brilliant game where everyone brings a present (value $10-$15) and puts it in the middle. Then you take turns to take a present from the middle and open it… BUT… (there’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there) when it’s your turn, you can either choose to take a present from the pile or… steal from someone else – hence the ‘bad’ in the game title.  If someone steals the present you’ve opened, that means you can either choose to take one from the pile or… steal from someone else.  You can’t, however, steal back what someone has immediately taken off you.  It might sound confusing but when you get into the swing of it, it’s a lot of fun.  We had 14 people playing (the more, the merrier) and the game lasted at good 40 minutes!  Loads of laughs, loads of fun and I ended up with a brilliant set of 20 blank cards (which I really wanted).  My son ended up with a glow in the dark cup (shiny), my daughter ended up with an enormous box of chocolates (and a LEGO figurine) and my husband ended up with gold, edible glitter – which means there will be some fantastic gold cakes for him to eat in the future.  As you can see, the diversity of presents was great.  There were also things like note pads, jigsaw puzzles, gourmet salad dressing (lemon grass and sage), beer shampoo, a hand-painted Chinese picture on leather and a leather knife holder from Mongolia!  There was also a dinosaur tail and an Angry Birds hat.  Diversity brings awesomeness (and a lot of stealing… especially of the Angry Birds hat).

josh angry bird

As I’ve said, an awesome day was had by all but now, for me, it’s like Christmas is over for 2012 and I’m gearing up for 2013.  I keep getting confused why there are still so many people at the shops, why the Christmas music is still blaring over the loud speakers and why the 2013 Calendars aren’t on sale yet! (always buy them AFTER Christmas)

I’m ready for the next Lucy Clark book to go on sale.  ‘Dare She Dream of Forever’ is on sale in January 2013.  This is the last book in the Goldmark Family Series.  If you’re coming to the series late – then check out Amazon or Mills&Book UK for e-books or backlists.  There are six books in the series:

The Boss She Can’t Resist

Taming the Lone Doc’s Heart

Diamond Ring for the Ice Queen

Falling for Doctor Fearless

A Socialite’s Christmas Wish

and the new one, Dare She Dream of Forever.

Dare she dream of forver

Dare she Dream of Forever

So I do hope you all have a fantastic Christmas (even though mine is all done and dusted for this year) and enjoy your New Year celebrations.  2013 is promising to be one cracker of a year!

Lucy

PS. Don’t forget, you can still snag your copy of A Socialite’s Christmas Wish, after all, Christmas hasn’t really happened yet.

A Socialite’s Christmas Wish

Bublé, Koeksusters & Family Fun

Do you ever find that Christmas sometimes sneaks up on you?  That you have so much to get through that you’re frantically trying to tick things off your list and suddenly it’s the 24th December and you haven’t even started your Christmas shopping? The 25th December arrives and for you – because you’ve been so incredibly hectic – it just doesn’t “feel” like Christmas?

I’ve had these a lot over the years but as Christmas is one of my absolute favouritest times of year, I’ve realised I actually have to put some effort into the build up.  It’s the same as when we’re writing our brilliant masterpieces… we need to put ‘set-up’ time into our characters, into their goals, motivations and conflicts in order to get them through to their happily ever after.  Well, this year, I have started my “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” preparations.

We have a tradition in our family, that every year,we get together as a family and make koeksusters (pronounced ‘cook-sister’).  Now these are a pastry like delicacy that I remember making every year at Christmas with my siblings.  It’s a dough that is rolled out, cut into strips, plaited and then fried in hot oil and dunked (generously) in a syrup mixture.  I also like to eat mine cold – straight from the freezer (as the koeksusters don’t freeze all the way through).  So this tradition is something I have continued with my own children (yes, my son has had to learn how to plait) so on the 1st December this year, determined to get the Christmas excitement build-up underway, I put on the Michael Bublé Christmas CD, stood next to my mother and daughter at the kitchen bench and made koeksusters.

IMG_4998

Seriously, when I take the first bite of a koeksuster, it immediately feels like Christmas… and the excitement build-up begins.

Another exciting Christmas thing is that I have a book out.  Yes, a Christmas book with a Christmas cover.

clover and brandon

A Socialite’s Christmas Wish is in stores NOW.  So why not purchase a copy, either as an ebook or a hardcopy and even if it’s not your cup-of-tea, it will certainly make an excellent Christmas present… that way, you don’t have to worry about thrashing it out at the shops on the 24th December with all those other frantic people!  http://www.millsandboon.com.au/product/9781743064092  This is also the 5th Book in the ‘Goldmark Family Saga’ – book 6 will be out in early to wrap up the series.

Anyhoo… do you have any Christmas traditions?  Anything that makes you think – Yes.  It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas?

Lucy

 

Giant Drops and Restrooms?

Well if Cassandra dropped the ball the other week, I’ve clearly lost mine! Sorry the blog is so late. I could offer a mountain of excuses but I won’t insult your intelligence.

There’s always the big question of ‘what to write’ when it’s your turn to blog and this week, I guess I’ve really struggled with exactly what it was I wanted to say. I did think of telling you about my week-end. They’re usually not that exciting, dealing with washing the clothes and writing words of some kind in my latest WIP but on Sunday afternoon, we went out to an adventure camp and after a lovely BBQ (or salad focaccia, in my case), we headed up an enormous hill to where there were climbing and abseiling frames set up and also a ‘giant swing’. Now I’d love to be able to put a picture right in here —- but the truth is that whilst we did take photos and video, they’re presently stuck on my phone and I can’t find the cord to hook the phone to my computer. (always the way)  However, it did look a little something like this:

It was great to be in an abseiling harness again (last time was when I was a teenager), with hard hat on, being winched up via a rope and then, when you pull the release string, you definitely swing to and fro. But… before I could write this blog, something else happened to me which, thanks to today’s technological society, actually embarrassed me.

My sister called me on my mobile phone while I was on the toilet!

Now, in the past, if I was in the ‘room where legends die’, and the phone rang, I had instructed my family to always say “she’s unavailable at the moment, can she call you back?” thus, preserving the my dignity and also the belief that I am perfect. (which, let’s face it, I am)

These days, with our mobile/cellphones glued to our sides, instructing our every waking moment as we use them for alarms, calendars, diaries, reminders, phone contacts etc, when you’re on a toilet – especially a public one, how utterly embarrassing is it when you get a call? Do you start to wonder, as I do, exactly what the other person can hear? Is the echo of the small cubicle evident? Do they hear the flushing sounds of the other toilets (if you’re in a public restroom)? You also know that everyone else in that restroom is listening in to your conversation.

Has this ever happened to you? Are you embarrassed or do you not particularly care? Have you ever read of character’s being in such a situation in any books?

When we write our stories, there are usually parts of normal human life that we tend to leave out – such as certain bodily functions. I do remember years ago, accepting the challenge to have one of my characters vomiting. She had food poisoning and I’d entwined the food poisoning into the plot specifically so I could have the scene of the hero holding back the heroine’s hair, rubbing her back and generally being supportive as she “hoiked up her guts” and oddly enough, my editors changed the scene to having him “being supportive” and then tucking her into bed. The vomiting was deleted.  Instead, the heroine had “felt ill”.

What books have you read where ‘bodily functions’ are more readily acceptable? Were they fiction? Non-fiction? Romance? Horror?  Enquiring minds want to know (especially mine).

From now on, though, whenever I enter a public restroom, I will definitely be turning my phone to silent!

Lucy

Syntax, Sex and Soy Lattés

If you were a fly on the pillar next to where Cassandra and I were sitting today at The Coffee Club (and big shout-out to all the staff there who always greet us with a smile and the words “the usual?”), then you probably would have been gobsmacked and flabbergasted at the road our topic of conversation took. No, we actually weren’t talking about sex – I just threw that into the title because I knew it would get your attention. We were actually sitting there, talking about ‘syntax’ (and vernacular – but that doesn’t begin with an “s” so I left it out).

Due to our super-secret project (shhh), we were talking about how, although those of us who live in Australia, North America and the United Kingdom all speak “English” we still have different syntax for the same thing.

Eg: In America, if your character was lighting a candle, you would write: “Helena lighted the candle.”

In Australia, you would write: “Helena lit the candle.”

In the UK, if your character was standing right next to another character, you would write: “John was stood next to Agatha.”

In Australia, you would write: “John was standing next to Agatha.”

Even if we just take a quick look at the humble bathing suit, it can be known as: Bathers; Swimmers; Trunks; Cozzie – and those are just from the different States in Australia!

Hand-me-down cozzie

enjoying a little… garden bathing – 1970.

The point we were chatting about today over our coffees, was that if you’re writing a story set in a different country, or where your characters come from a different country, then their speech patterns should reflect this. That means research… and if research means that Cassandra and I must go and live in another country in order to accurately complete our “super secret project” (shhh) – then so be it!

I won’t say “good-bye” because in Australia, we prefer – “see ya later”.

Lucy– the soy latté drinker.

(lactose intolerance is not fun)

The importance of being named

I have a terrible time naming my characters. I’m very particular about names. Names mean something, names are important and can really define a personality. For my protagonists, there is much deliberation before the starting a story but for secondary characters, it’s usually whatever name I can pull from the air first. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to find me looking off into space, when I need to come up with a new name for a secondary character.

I sit at my desk. I look around me. I search for anything that’s going to give me some help. I have several different dictionaries on my desk and as an example, my medical dictionary is credited to Robert M. Youngson so you can bet your bottom dollar that somewhere in one of my stories is a Mr Roberts or a Mr Young or a Mrs Robertson.

I’ve just finished writing a six part mini-series for the Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance line where I created a family – the Goldmark’s – and proceeded to tell the stories of how the members of this large and extended family eventually find true happiness after experiencing much hardship. Several of the stories are set around a fictitious town near Australia’s snowy mountains, called Oodnaminaby. Now if you’re a Doctor Who fan, you’ll have some idea how I came up with the name of this town. 😉

Some of the other books in the Goldmark Series, were set in an outback town and before I tell you the name this town eventually received, I feel I should also let you know that when I write, I usually have headphones on, listening to loud, blaring music. As with finding the right name for my protagonists, so it may take a few chapters to find the right music to suit the storyline. Music can be highly inspirational, helping to set the mood and tone within my mind, so that creativity can be unlocked and the words can flow. (at least, that’s what I tell myself is happening as I play another game of Spider Solitaire)

So as I sat there, trying to figure out what on earth to call this new outback town, I closed my eyes and listened the music of Huey Lewis and the News. This is an 80’s band I have loved since… well since the 80’s. I have most of their records, which I now have on CD or iTunes and for this particular outback book, for some strange reason, Huey Lewis and the News was the music of choice to get me in the mood to create.

And now I’ll bet you can guess what I called that little outback town. That’s right, it’s Lewisville, which is nestled in the electoral district of Hueyton. That story is Falling For Dr Fearless and it’s out in Australian stores right now or available in ebook at:

Book 4 in The Goldmark Series

 

 

http://www.millsandboon.com.au/product/9781460885055

 

Other books in the Goldmark Series:

 

  • The Boss She Can’t Resist
  • Taming the Lone Doc’s Heart
  • Diamond Ring for the Ice Queen
  • Falling for Dr Fearless

 

Soon to be released:

 

  • A Socialite’s Christmas Wish
  • Dare she Dream Forever?

 

Lucy