Tag Archives: blogfest

Blog tour stop number 5 and the winner of The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest!

Blog tour

In the fifth stop of my blog tour, I’m been interviewed by Melissa Maygrove. Here’s a taste of the interview…

Do you have a favorite character or a favorite scene?

This is a tricky one because I have a lot of favourites. As much as I love my main female character, Ceara, she’s a little too much like me (worries way too much), so I think my main male character, Seb, wins out. He’s a bit hopeless at times but his heart’s in the right place, and he’s quite funny. I laugh at all his jokes – we must have the same sense of humour. 😉
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To read the rest of the interview, head on over to Melissa’s blog.

Blogfest wrap-up and winner announcement

Thank you to everyone who participated in my blogfest, The Year I Turned 18. I really enjoyed reading all of your entries and hearing about your eighteenth years. There was so much variety: round-the-world trips, marriage, fights with close friends, beginning to live a Jewish life and many more fascinating experiences. If you missed any of the entries, I’ve included the links below for easy reference.

What Else is Possible?

The Warrior Muse

Teresa Coltrin

Trisha @ WORD+STUFF

Anything Imagined

Pivot Coaching

Rachel Morgan

Clare Dugmore Writes

Words from Sonobe

Cally Jackson Writes

Carrie-Annes Magick Theatre

Write Here, Write Now

Charitys Writing Journey

Paper, Ink and Coffee

Martin Knox

Each blogfest participant (except for me) went into the draw to win a $20 Amazon voucher, and I’m sure you’re all waiting with bated breath to see who took out the prize. I shall keep you in suspense no longer. The winner is…

Rachel Morgan!

I haven’t contacted her to tell her that she won yet because I thought it might be fun to see how long it takes for her to discover the news herself. So do me a favour and don’t tell her! 😀

Once again, thanks to everyone who participated and to everyone who visited and commented on the blogfest participants’ entries!

And don’t forget to check out Melissa Maygrove’s interview with me!

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Filed under blog tour, Blogfests, Competitions, The Big Smoke

The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest: my post! So many memories…

In the third stop of my blog tour, I’m guest posting on Rebecca Enzor’s blog about revising after contradictory beta reader feedback. Make sure you check it out!

And in the fourth stop, I’ve been interviewed by Bailey Kelsey over at Bailey is Writing! She’s got some awesome questions so make sure you drop by and read it!

Blogfest badge

As you probably know by now, I’m holding a blogfest called ‘The Year I Turned 18’ to celebrate the release of my debut new adult novel, The Big Smoke (in which the two main characters both turn 18). Posts can be about anything from that year – something momentous that happened, what your hopes and dreams were at that time, diary entries, anything that comes to mind. 

And this is MY post for the blogfest, all about the year I turned 18.

With my dad at my year 12 formal on the night after my last day of high school.

In preparation for this post, I pulled out my diary from 2001, excited to take a trip down memory lane. Unfortunately, I discovered that the vast majority of my diary is totally boring! I’m not quite sure why I decided to record monotonous events in such ridiculous detail, but I did. I shan’t bore you with those parts! Here’s a quote from early in the year while I was still waiting to find out which university I’d be getting into:

‘Sometimes you’ve got to wonder whether dreaming is that great if it sets you up for a fall. But I can’t possibly think that, because so much of my life is taken up by dreaming. But the dream world of mine and reality are so different. Will they ever be similar? Probably not, but I’ll still keep dreaming. Something’s got to keep me going, doesn’t it?

Why can’t I just be satisfied? Why?? I have so much which I probably take for granted, but on the inside my emotions are constantly see-sawing. Can’t you just balance, please? I don’t even know what I’m bloody complaining about. But maybe that’s part of the problem. I DON’T KNOW.’ 

How’s that for turbulent teenage hormones? 😉 And here’s a bit more:

‘Life just isn’t what dreams are made of. At least, not my dreams. The one thing that really scares me is, what if Billy [ex-boyfriend] is the best thing I’m going to get in life? What if it’s all down hill from here?’

Cheery, wasn’t I?!

A bit later after those entries, I discovered that I’d got into the course that I’d been dreaming of – drama at QUT. Unfortunately, I didn’t really write about it because I was too busy writing page after page about this random boy I obsessed over for two weeks. Teenagers! 😉

But getting into QUT meant a move away from my country home town to Brisbane (sound familiar?!). Here’s a diary excerpt from the day before I moved:

‘Kate [a close friend] just left. She slept over last night. We both cried today because it will be the last sleep over we ever have here, like this. It’s really just starting to hit me now. I’m moving out of home tomorrow. TOMORROW. As of tomorrow I’m supposed to be responsible and mature enough to look after myself. No more Mum and Dad to remind me when I’ve forgotten something. If I’m going to eat healthily, it’s up to me to buy myself fruit and vegetables. If I want to have clean clothes, I have to wash them myself…

It’s weird, I can’t wait to do it [move out], but then in other ways I don’t want to leave at all. I’ve been throwing out all of my old posters, and it just feels like the end of my childhood….’

Here’s the posters I was talking about:

My bedroom wall

My bedroom wall

And here’s me at my new home in Brisbane:

Outside my home in Brisbane

Outside the Brisbane share house

My room in the share house

My room in the Brisbane share house

Sometime later, I wrote this entry about my first trip back home:

‘I really enjoyed going back home to visit. It was really good to see Mum and Dad that night. However, the person that really affected me was Jack [my then seven-year-old brother]. I went down to him in the dirt where the pool used to be. The way his eyes lit up when he saw me almost brought tears to mine. He hugged me so furiously as well. It was really nice to hang out with them on the verandah, like usual. Mum even cooked roast lamb for tea… Jack was mortified that they made me do the dishes. I miss him so much! 

It was fairly cold with the air conditioner on, so I went to get a jumper out of my room. It then hit me that my room no longer held my belongings – they were all in Brisbane. Dad laughed because he realised what I’d gone to do. It made me feel quite sad though, standing in my room with none of my old stuff in it.

Mum and Dad said that in some ways, it felt like someone had died. I know exactly what they meant. It reminded me of when Kerry [a friend] changed schools at the beginning of year seven.  When the rest of us talked at lunch time, I could feel her absence. The conversation seemed to be missing an element that Kerry had provided. When I realised she’d never be back to fill that gap, it truly felt that, in a sense, she had died. 

But I was back. Back listening to Mum and Dad argue, and Jack being told to be quite and sit on his chair… ahh, home! 

A couple of months later, I wrote this poem:

The morning after…

As I sit, waiting for the train
I look through murky eyes
God, I feel like hell today
But I guess that’s no surprise
At a place called Cannon Hill 
Wherever that might be
I don’t really even care
It means sweet nothing to me
The only thing that matters now
Is getting home to bed
Hopefully that will calm
The throbbing in my head

Bits and pieces of the party
Are floating through my mind
People drinking Bourbon and Rum
Or whatever they could find
When I arrived at the party
There were only three people I knew
But as the night progressed
That number slowly grew

Watching a bunch of people 
I’d never met before
I could tell who were friends
And who wanted more
A couple at the party
Were quite saddening to view
She flirted with all his friends
And there was nothing he could do

By the time my accompniants left
I was feeling quite at ease
I’d made friends with everyone
Even the girlfriend tease

Crashing at a bloke’s house 
That I barely even knew
Seemed quite fine and natural
What else was I to do? 

As I awoke the next morning
My stomach let me know
That my fun was definitely over
It was obviously time to go

An expensive taxi trip later
I’ve still got to bus and train
On the wrong side of the city
When even thinking’s a strain!

But despite my current seediness
And having to wait around in the rain
I know that come next weekend
I’ll probably do it all again. 

Towards the end of my first semester at uni, I had a very short romance with a guy I worked with at Eagle Boys Pizza. My diary says this:

‘Well, I broke up with Ben, so that’s over. Somehow, everybody at work found out about us, so we’ve been the topic of constant conversation and jokes ever since. It’s interesting between us though because we’re still friendly, but what happened between us is always present. I’ve actually been dreaming about him recently, but it’s not really him. I mean, it’s him physically, but personality wise, it’s someone else. I guess it’s my made-up Mr Perfect’s personality – someone I unfortunately haven’t had the pleasure of meeting!…

Mum and Dad have supported me so much lately with all of my uni fears and struggles. A few nights ago, Dad drove all the way to Brisbane and took me home because I just flipped from the stress and thought I was going to drop out of uni. Mum and Dad both totally supported me and allowed me to consider it at home that night. The next day, when I had decided that I at least wanted to finish the semester, they helped me do what I had to do to get back on my feet. 

They also helped me when I slacked off with studying for my only exam and then totally panicked for fear of failing it. They helped me get my head together and study for it. Dad called me every two hours while I was home to see how I was progressing and to keep me motivated. It was so insane though. I just let myself get into a mess and I hid in it because I was so scared and so unprepared to do anything about it. I just wanted the situation to go away and not to deal with it.”

That was the last diary entry I wrote for more than five years. At the end of that first semester, I returned to my country home with my tail between my legs. Although I didn’t realise this at the time, it was a classic case of big fish/small pond to small fish/big pond syndrome. At my country high school, I was the best at drama. In my uni drama course though, everybody had been the best at high school, and now all of a sudden I was only mediocre. Poor little teenage Cally couldn’t handle that!

So I dropped out of acting. Interestingly, I couldn’t go for long without a creative outlet, so I turned to writing instead. And I decided to write a novel based around a lesson that I felt I needed to learn  myself (which you may have picked up on from some of these excerpts). The lesson was this: getting a boyfriend wasn’t the answer to finding happiness; I had to do that on my own. Those first ideas were the seeds that grew into what we now  know as The Big Smoke!

My 18th birthday

My 18th birthday (with my brother, grandma and father also in the photo)

Ready to hit the clubs

Ready to hit the clubs

Before the year was out, I met the guy (at the Pig N’ Whistle pub) who would become my next serious boyfriend. A very cute boy called Mark… who is now my husband of eight years! And to think that 17-year-old Cally was so worried that her most romantic days were behind her! Kind of makes me smile now… 😉

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the roller coaster that was the year I turned 18 (Note: I’ve changed some names from my diary entries to protect the innocent!).

If you’d like to read more posts for the Year I Turned 18 Blogfest, visit the Linky List!

And don’t forget to visit Bailey’s blog and Rebecca’s blog for my interview and guest post!

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Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest!

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Tonight, I’m participating in the Did I Notice Your Book blogfest, hosted by awesome bloggers Ninja Captain Alex and Ciara Knight. As the name alludes, this blogfest encourages us to post about a book we’ve noticed. Here are the rules:

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You can choose a book that you’ve read, something you saw on a blog or social media site, Goodreads, or a sales website. Anything that caught your eye because of a great cover, blurb or reviews, but DON’T tell the author that their book has been noticed. Instead, shout out on social media sites, and encourage others to do the same, until the author finds his/her book. 

Leave a blog comment at Ninja Captain Alex’s BLOG or Ciara Knight’s BLOG when the author finds their book. 


Only two rules: 

1) You can’t post about your own book. 
2) The book shouldn’t be on the New York Times or USA Today bestseller list. 
This is your chance to shout out about a book that might not have been noticed by others.
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Confession time: there are 94 participants in this blogfest and I’m secretly hoping one of them will notice my book. Don’t know why I feel the need to share these embarrassing things, but there you have it. Moving on to the book I’ve noticed, I decided that I wanted to feature a book by a fellow indie new adult author, so I had a look through Goodreads to see what caught my interest. Here’s the book that captured my attention the most:
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Description (from Goodreads): 

Courtesy of watching his mom’s relationships, Sebastian Hawkins knows what girls need to do to get a guy. He has what he considers a PHD in hooking up. When he needs extra cash for a car, Sebastian starts up an online venture as The Hook-up Doctor, to anonymously help girls land the guy of their dreams. Of course, his services don’t offer a happily-ever-after guarantee. He’s seen firsthand getting together never means staying together. 

And then he falls in love… 

With the last girl he would expect…

Totally not in his game plan. 

Suddenly, Sebastian finds himself muddled in the game he’s always prided himself on. He can’t even pick up girls at parties anymore! Why would anyone want to be in love when it turns you into a stuttering, screwed-up, mess with really lame stalker tendencies? Stalking? Totally not his gig. 

But the Hook-up Doctor won’t let himself go down easily. He’s always known how to give a girl what she wants and now it’s time to figure out what a boy wants… and he definitely plans on getting it.

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Regular followers of my blog might realise part of what caught my attention about this book – the main character’s name is the same as the main male character in my soon-to-be released novel, The Big Smoke. And I don’t think Sebastian is a very common name!  What A Boy Wants sounds right up my alley and I’m looking forward to reading it.
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I wonder if Nyrae will notice that I noticed her book? 🙂
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Speaking of blogfests…
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To celebrate the official launch of my new adult novel, The Big Smoke, I’ll be hosting a blogfest called The Year I Turned 18 from Monday 29 October to Friday 2 November. Seeing as both Ceara and Seb (the two main characters) turn 18 throughout the story, I thought it might be fun for us all to post about the year we turned 18. You can find out more about the blogfest in last week’s post.
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Your turn

Have you read What a Boy Wants or other books by Nyrae Dawn? If so, what did you think?

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Genre Favorites Blogfest by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Tonight I’m taking part in the Ninja Master‘s Genre Favourites Blogfest.
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Initially, I thought participating in this blogfest would be easy. After all, all I have to do is list my favourite genre of movie, music, books and a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories. But then I realised something… I don’t really have genre favourites! Seriously, I don’t! So, instead, I’m going to list a handful of my specific favourites in each category, which will give you an idea of how NOT clustered into genre they are.
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Favourite movies
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Death at a Funeral
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Cruel Intentions
  • Knocked Up

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Favourite music
  • Lisa Mitchell
  • Missy Higgins
  • The Beatles
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • The Eagles
  • Powderfinger

Favourite books

  • Room by Emma Donoghue
  • 48 Shades of Brown by Nick Earls
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (yes, I know, I know. Be quiet)
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  • The Time-Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

My guilty pleasure 

Since I’m already breaking the rules, I’m going to share a guilty pleasure that doesn’t actually fit into any of the above genres. But it’s still entertainment, so I’m not straying too far. My guilty pleasure is… reality television. Right now, as I’m writing this, I’m watching Big Brother Australia (nomination night!) and taping X Factor Australia. I also quite enjoy Misbehaving Mums to Be and World’s Strictest Parents. I even like Border Security. Yes, it’s a very, very guilty pleasure!

Your turn

Do you have favourite genres or are your favourites all over the place like mine?

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Blogfest: what was your childhood monster?

Today, I’m participating in Christine Rains’ ‘What Was Your Childhood Monster?’ Blogfest, in celebration of her recent release, paranormal romance novella Fearless.

Firstly, a bit about Fearless

Abby White was seven years old when she killed the monster under her bed. Now she slays creatures spawned by the imaginations of children, and the number of these nightmares are on the rise. Neither she nor her guide – a stuffed hippo named Tawa – know why. With a gorgeous fae fighting at her side, she must avoid distraction and find a way to become truly fearless.

Doesn’t that sound like fun? I’m looking forward to reading it. You can buy it in hard copy at Createspace or download an e-copy for free at Smashwords!

My childhood monsters

So, onto the blogfest. There are two monsters that I remember scaring the life out of me in childhood and both came from fiction.

The first was a werewolf. My well-meaning parents let me watch My Mom’s a Werewolf (which, in their defence, is actually a comedy) at the ripe old age of seven (actually I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but let’s run with seven).

Although I enjoyed the movie itself and didn’t find it remotely frightening, the idea of werewolves planted itself in my brain and soon had me waking up at 3am every morning, scared out of my wits. In order to save myself, I’d take my pillow and doona, sneak into Mum and Dad’s bedroom and spend the rest of the night on their floor. Surely no werewolves would get me in there!

Unfortunately, I always slept beside Dad’s side of the bed, and he stepped on me every time he got up (by accident, I assume). I can’t remember how I eventually got over the fear; I guess I just grew out of it. Or maybe I got sick of Dad stepping on me. But I know it lasted a good few months.

My next childhood monster introduced itself to me at aged ten (or thereabouts) through a book of short, scary stories. Most of the stories were dumb, not scary at all, until I read the one about the vampire. It was a traditional vampire, sleeping in a coffin by day and only coming out at night to drink people’s blood. AGH!

My dad came into my bedroom that night while I was sleeping and noticed I was clutching something in my hand. He pried my little fingers open to find several cloves of garlic. I woke up and begged him not to take them away, but he did, attempting to convince me that I had nothing to be scared about because vampires aren’t real. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night – it’s surprising I didn’t end up back on Mum and Dad’s bedroom floor!

So there you have it. My two most memorable childhood monsters. What were yours? If you’d like to participate in the blogfest, you have until Thursday 9 August!

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