Capricorn Coast Writers Festival


With a little over four weeks until The Cinema at Starlight Creek hits the shelves in Australia and New Zealand (it will be released as The Cinema of Lost Dreams in November throughout the rest of the world), I’m gearing up for lots of events that will have me travelling Australia far and wide in the months of May, June and July. I’ll be posting a calendar with all the events shortly, but for now I want to announce my first event which will be appearing at the Capricorn Coast Writers Festival in Yeppoon, Queensland. 

I’m really excited about this festival as it’s the inaugural one and I know the organisers have been working so very hard to make this happen. It is so wonderful to see the passion and care they have put into this event and I hope that if you are in the vicinity of Rockhampton and Yeppoon that you can come along and support this festival.

I’ll be running a workshop on Creating Memorable Characters and also doing a breakfast panel about the state of the publishing industry. I’m really looking forward to these and also attending other sessions presented by some of Australia’s most talented and loved authors. 

If you know of anyone in this region, please let them know about this wonderful festival and if you’re in the vicinity, please come and say hi!

You can find out more details about the festival HERE




Story Behind the Story: Juliet M Sampson

Juliet's Author photo .jpgToday I’m delighted to introduce you to Juliet M. Sampson. Juliet is an award winning author. Dance Demons, her third novel won 2016 Book of the Year in the Reader’s Choice Awards in the AusRomToday competition. She was also one of ten finalists for 2016 Author of the Year in the same competition. Her other three books are Behind the Mask, Bon Voyage! and Outback Wonder. Grace’s Mystery Seed is her first picture book.

After several successful years as a primary teacher, Juliet made a commitment to full time writing and became a novelist. She wanted her stories to reach a wider audience. As well as writing five books, Juliet has written various articles for magazines and online blogs.

She loves to inspire others and her quote ‘spread sunshine and inspiration,’ has reached a global audience. Juliet lives in Melbourne near the bay where she is surrounded by family and friends. Her other passions are travelling, dancing and sketching.

Hello Juliet. Please tell us your story behind the story.

‘Spread seeds of kindness and watch them grow,’ this was how the story started. Let me introduce myself, I’m Juliet Sampson, the author of four young adult novels, Outback Wonder, Dance Demons, Bon Voyage!and Behind the Mask. I’ve had a passion for storytelling from a young age, enjoying my mother reading to me and attending Storytime at the library.Grace's Mystery Seed HB Cover-4.jpg

The world of the classroom and sharing books with children occupied my days, after I graduated from university. My room was filled with paper, books, pencils and an environment that embracedlearning. Being a primary teacher this is what I loved to do. My belief was and still is that learning is forever, no matter our age.

Years passed and my life was changing. My desire to write was growing.  Flash forward to today. I’m pinching myself, as my dream has become a reality. In March, my first picture book Grace’s Mystery Seedhit bookshops.

Grace’s Mystery Seed was inspired by my love of gardens. This fondness occurred when I was at a writing masterclass. The famous writer gifted his students with seedlings to care for and grow. I had never been a gardener before and wondered how I would manage this task.

I planted the seedling and watched it grow. It passed my knees, then my hips and reached my shoulder. One day, there was a bud and finally the mystery seed was revealed.

Bryce and JulietThe famous writer had made one final request to collect the seeds and distribute them to others. I have kept my promise. The seeds have been shared with people of all different ages and from various walks of life.

He was right this single thought of spreading seeds of kindness and watching them grow has created an abundance of connections, sense of community, friendships and happiness.

Grace’s Mystery Seed is about a garden but digging a bit deeper, the readers will not only discover what hides in the pages but how friendships are formed and community is built.

passing on the seedsBLURB:

‘Polly likes these stripy seeds,’ Grace said. ‘What are they from?’

‘Let’s find out,’ said Mrs Marino.

Grace and her neighbour plant a mystery seed. They wait and wait for ages. Then a little green shoot starts to grow . . . and grow . . . and grow . . . until, at last, Grace discovers the truth about her amazing mystery seed.


Juliet has kindly offered to give away one copy to a lucky commenter. Entries close on April 17 at 11.59 pm AEST. We’d like to know what your favourite plant is and why. Good luck everyone!

Grace’s Mystery Seedis available in all good bookstores. To download the free teacher’s notes, visit the Ford Street Publishing website.

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Ford Street Publishing Teacher’s Notes for Grace’s Mystery Seed

Behind the Story: Cheryl Adnams

Author_CAdnams_smallfile.pngI am delighted to introduce you to the lovely Cheryl Adnams. Cheryl lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has published four Australian rural romance novels and a Christmas novella. Cheryl has a Diploma in Freelance Travel Writing and Photography and has lived and worked in the United States, Canada and spent two years with a tour company in Switzerland and Austria. Her passion for Italy, volcanology and cycling have made their way into her stories and her favourite writing retreats include Positano on the Amalfi Coast and Port Willunga Beach just south of Adelaide. When she’s not writing, Cheryl is still creating in her busy full time job as a trainer and learning designer.

The idea for “The Girl from Eureka” came originally from Clare Wright’s 2014 Stella Award winning novel “The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka”. Her in depth look at the women who were in Ballarat during the 1850s was probably the first non-fiction book I had read cover to cover in years. I couldn’t put it down. I latched on to the idea of a female gold miner and Indy Wallace was born.

Then came the hard work. I’d only ever written contemporary rural and while research was required for my Muller’s of McLaren Vale winery based novels, and also Common Ground which features a war journalist who is suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, I hadn’t undertaken anything as daunting as an Australian historical romance. And to write a book based around a true event in history that featured real people and a real timeline, well, I’m not exactly sure I knew what I was in for.

CradleThe first forty thousand words came fast. I knew my characters, I knew my plot and, since the story was based on factual happenings, I had my climactic point already written for me, — the big battle at the Eureka Stockade. Right? Except, I wasn’t writing a non-fiction book and I had to figure out how to weave these real events into my story without it coming out as a regurgitated text book.

So many of the events that happened in the six months leading up to the battle of the Eureka Stockade were catalysts for the building of the barricades by disgruntled miners. I had to choose carefully which of those events to include. Which of those inciting moments would be interesting to readers? How would my fictional characters have been involved in them? Could I use some of the real people who actually played a part in this small moment of Australian history?

CampandmineThere are so many little things you have to be aware of when writing Australian historical, basic questions you have to ask yourself like: How much did a nobbler of whiskey cost? What was the British soldier’s uniform of the day? What food did they have access to in such a remote but rapidly growing region? Things were changing fast in the 1850s and 1860s because of the gold rush. There was sudden wealth and staggering poverty living side by side. Melbourne was the fastest growing city in the world on the back of the gold rush. I buried myself in the history of British military, women’s clothing, food, diseases, weaponry, a police force made up of convicts, bushrangers, carriages, mining equipment, dances of the time. Hours of research could be undertaken to ensure just one line of text was historically accurate.

I’ve never considered myself a patient person, let alone a researcher, but I found a new love for history in the course of writing this story. And as “The Girl from Eureka” is released, I have a second Australian story based in the 1860s and am currently working on an Australian World War 2 story. So it seems I’m having a romance with Australia’s history. I just hope my readers will too.

GirlfromEurekacoverOn the sun-drenched goldfields of Eureka, a wild colonial girl and an honour-bound soldier will break all the rules to claim a love worth more than gold …

Ballarat, Australia 1854

Gold miner Indy Wallace wants nothing more than to dig up enough gold to give her mother an easier life. Wild and reckless, and in trouble more often than not, Indy finds herself falling for handsome, chivalrous, British Army Lieutenant Will Marsh. But in the eyes of immigrant miners, soldiers are the enemy.

Will has been posted to Ballarat with a large contingent of Her Majesty’s Army to protect the Crown gold and keep the peace. But once he meets rebellious Indy, he doubt’s he’ll ever be at peace again. As Will and Indy’s attraction grows, their loyalties are tested when the unrest between miners and the military reaches breaking point.

On opposite sides of the escalating conflict, can their love survive their battle of ideals? And will any of them survive the battle of the Eureka Stockade?

Buy links:

AMAZON Australia