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The wonderful Belinda Williams has written this fantastic guest post on Writing characters: the good, the bad and the ugly.

I once heard that characters are made up of 40% the writer, 40% people the writer knows, and 20% imagination.

I actually think this breakdown is pretty close to the mark, which absolutely terrified me when it came to my latest release, Modern Heart, the third book in my contemporary romance City Love series.

Let me explain. Scarlett Wong, the leading lady in Modern Heart, is a self-confessed tough girl. She doesn’t do relationships, she most certainly doesn’t do love, and she never lets people get too close.

A stark contrast to this writer, who has been happily married for fifteen years!

Despite this, I enjoyed the process of writing Scarlett very much and I discovered I had more in common with her than I first thought.

For example, giving free reign to my grumpiness and sarcasm was a lot of fun.

Interestingly it was Scarlett’s vulnerability that I could relate to as well. I discovered tough girls are just as vulnerable as the rest of us, it’s just that you have to break down their walls first before they can be open to love. They’ve often built these walls to protect themselves so the vulnerability can be harder to reach. But when someone does get past the hard outer shell, it can be very rewarding with a whole new layer to explore.

Oh, and alright, Scarlett’s potty mouth, too. Intelligent girls swear, OK? I’ve had my son pick me up on swearing occasionally, so writing Scarlett let me get that out on paper instead of getting in trouble for being a bad role model!

And perhaps my stubbornness too, if we’re being honest but don’t tell my husband I admitted to that...

The one night stands, occasional nudity, her talent as an artist, and doing things I would never dream of doing—I couldn’t relate to those quite so much. But I do think following the antics of a bold character can be quite a ride.

I hope you’ll join Scarlett on her journey to finding love in my latest release, Modern Heart.

About Modern Heart


Scarlett Wong has a reputation for toughness. A talented and often feared Creative Director at an award-winning Sydney advertising agency, she doesn’t do relationships, she doesn’t invite men home, and she never stays the night. The only people who see her softer side are her three closest girlfriends, and they’re finally convinced they’ve found her perfect man: John Hart.
Scarlett’s never been one to back down from a challenge and she’s not going to start now. But when John secures Scarlett an invitation from one of New York’s leading galleries to exhibit her artwork, it means putting herself out there like never be
fore. Scarlett’s perfect man wouldn’t interfere in her life like this – would he?

For a woman who thinks she’s not scared of anything, Scarlett is about to discover she’s not as tough as she thinks. Will she take the chance to turn her secret passion into a career, risk the safety of her advertising career and let John in? Or will old habits die that little bit too hard?
Release date: 26 November, 2015.

Purchase links available here: http://momentumbooks.com.au/books/modern-heart-city-love-3/

Where to find Belinda:
Twitter: @bwilliamsbooks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/belindawilliamsbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6979975.Belinda_Williams


Lily in a bag...

Because we all need this level of cute in our lives...

I rushed up to Queensland ahead of GenreCon to spend time with my nana (who we called 'Nana Queensland'), who was very ill. She's been unwell for a long time, and after the passing of my grandfather, Papa Queensland, her health just hadn't improved.

I wasn't sure what I would find when I arrived on Thursday, but Nana was up and dressed, and even tried to hold a conversation even though you could see she was clearly exhausted from the effort. I ducked out at lunch time to buy her some flowers, and came back to find her in bed. I spent most of the day reading next to her, while she dozed on and off. Reading is a past time that we both loved - along with my mother - and I spent many a holiday sitting next to Nana, sharing in her warm company, even though we both had our heads in books. But we weren't alone, and that was the important thing.

I spent two days with Nana, reading quietly and engaging with her while she was awake. She was 91, and had lived a very long life. She taught me how to play cards, and much to my mother's horror, showed me how to play 5 card draw poker when I wasn't even 10. I spent hours playing canasta, 500, solo, poker, and various other games with Nana, although she beat me more often than not at solo, whereas I held the winning statistics for canasta.

Nana also loved to bake. I have all her old recipe books, and she always made sure my sweet tooth was catered for when I'd come to visit. I hope to be half as good as her one day - and we all know I love to bake, as well. I even told her how I'd managed to muck up her beetroot chocolate cake recipe when I was there on Thursday, and got a disbelieving smile in reply.

I knew when I left on Friday that I may not get to see her again, and as I held her hand, I hoped I was wrong. But sadly, she passed away last night. I love you Nana, and will/do miss you and Papa lots.



I'm going to be at Genrecon in Brisvegas this weekend! I'll be on one panel, Research, Reading and Authenticity, with Cheryse Durrant, Steve Vincent and Russell Proctor. So come along!

I'll also be swanning/stumbling around, so come say hi!

Books by Aussie women to read!

I saw this interesting article today about 25 books by Australian women writers you need to read. Of course, there are far more amazing Aussie female writers than is represented on this list, but it is definitely worth a look!

And for Isobelle Carmody fans, you'll be pleased to see Red Queen is listed!

You can check it out here.


...And Then!

I'm super excited to be able to announce that my story, 'It', will be included within the absolutely talent-packed anthology, ...And Then, to be published by Clan Destine Press.

The current ToC includes:
Peter M Ball ~ Deadbeats
Alan Baxter ~ Golden Fortune, Dragon Jade
Mary Borsellino ~ The Australian Gang
Lindy Cameron ~ The Medusa Code
Kat Clay ~ In the Company of Rogues
Emilie Collyer ~ The Panther's Paw
Jack Dann ~ The Talking Sword
Sarah Evans ~ Plumbing the Depths
Jason Franks ~ Exli and the Dragon
James Hopwood ~ The Lost Loot of Lima
Kelly Gardiner ~ Boots and the Bushranger
David Greagg & Kerry Greenwood ~ Cruel Sister
Narrelle M Harris ~ Moran & Cato: Virgin Soil
Maria Lewis ~ The Bushwalker Butcher
Sophie Masson ~ The Romanov Opal
Keith McArdle ~ The Demon's Cave
Jason Nahrung ~ The Mermaid Club
Andrew Nette ~ Save a Last Kiss for Satan
Amanda Pillar ~ It
Michael Pryor ~ Cross Purposes
Dan Rabarts ~ Tipuna Tapu
Tansy Rayner Roberts ~ Death at the Dragon Circus
Fin J Ross ~ Genemesis
Tor Roxburgh ~ The Boudicca Society
Amanda Wrangles ~ Come Now, Traveller

Can't wait to see the final product!

Wedding anniversary!

Well, Tom and I have been married a year now. To celebrate, we went back to the wedding venue and had a lovely lunch. Here are some photos of the amazing flowers I spotted today!!

(I tried to convince him we should get another cat to celebrate, but alas, he said no. I think anniversary cats should become a thing.)


Upcoming novella release!

I am super excited to announce that Momentum will be publishing a novella set in the Graced universe!

The novella is tentatively titled Captive, and is set before the events in Graced. I can't say too much more at present, but for those of you who wanted to learn more about the Graced universe, this book is for you!

I will provide a release date and other details as they become available :)

Conflux 11

So I was at Conflux 11 on the weekend. Canberra put on some lovely weather for us, which I managed to enjoy in between panels and book promotions!

I had a really great time, met lots of new friends, and caught up with old buddies. I even had a cocktail called the 'Zap Brannigan', and since I'm a bit of a Futurama fan, that was fun! (It also tasted nice, too.)

Of course, the highlight of the con was the pre-launch party for Bloodlines, where the Year's Best 2014 (edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene) was also launched. Bubbly was drunk, books were sold, and the authors delivered fantastic 'hooks' for their included stories! Kathleen Jennings, Joanne Anderton, Dirk Flinthart and Alan Baxter all came to the con to help celebrate the launch. Thank you, guys!!

And of course, a big thanks to Liz and Russell from Ticonderoga, for all their hard work with the book!

Proud editor moment...

Liz and myself at the launch - me mid-speech and Liz busy offering bubbly! (Photo courtesy of Cat Sparks)
To celebrate the upcoming launch of Bloodlines, I'll be hosting a series of blog posts from the fabulous authors. This guest post is from Pete Kempshall, who wrote a story about blood and the price of revenge, 'Azimuth'.
I’m not a very efficient writer. If my first draft comes in at 5,000 words, I’ll change 5,001 of them. But for all the fiddling about, for all the buckets of red ink sloshed away on edits, the story itself tends to remain much the same.

Except when it came to this one.

When Amanda sent out the details of her new anthology, and its theme of blood, I knew straight away what I was going to write: the tale of two young girls, utterly devoted to each other, who seal that devotion with the old ‘blood brothers’ ritual of cutting their palms and clasping them together. When the years drive a wedge between them, their blood-bond remains, with dire consequences for both.

I hammered out the draft, and was reasonably pleased with it, but it needed more meat on its bones. Nothing a bit of research couldn’t fix, so before starting my second draft/ground-up rewrite, off I went to look up some more about blood magic – how it works, what it involves, what it costs.

The more I read, the more about the story needed changing. Every little alteration suggested another improvement. And another.  And another. Girls became boys, two became one. The setting of a tiny country town became metropolitan Perth, and while the character of a young girl remained, the focus shifted to a former policeman damned for a small but crucial moment of inattention.
By the time I was done, the story bore absolutely no resemblance to that original idea.

What I was left with was 'Azimuth', which someone has very kindly described as the bastard child of Dexter and Hellblazer, a story about the price of power and that road…you know, the one paved with good intentions. I really hope you enjoy it because if you do, I’ve got another story you might like.

It’s about these two girls…

About Pete

Pete Kempshall is a writer and editor living in Perth, Western Australia. His stories have been published in Australia by Ticonderoga Publications, Twelfth Planet Press and ASIM, and internationally by the likes of Big Finish, Morrigan Books, Dark Quest Books and Apex Publications. He has been shortlisted for a variety of awards, including Ditmar, Aurealis and Australian Shadows awards.



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In a world where being different is dangerous, Elle Brown is just trying to keep her kid sister out of trouble. But can she manage to keep herself safe?

Graced is Amanda Pillar's first novel. Out now!


Bloodlines will be out in 2015! Edited by Amanda Pillar, this collection features 16 urban fantasy tales by 16 fantastic authors, all featuring blood.


Bloodstones, edited by Amanda Pillar, features 17 stunning tales of urban fantasy set in the contemporary world. BUY HERE


Damnation and Dames, edited by Liz Grzyb and Amanda Pillar, features 16 tales of paranormal noir. Put on your coat and step into a world of noir...with bite. BUY HERE


Ishtar. Powerful, sexy, and very, very deadly. This outstanding novella collection contains gems from Deborah Biancotti, Kaaron Warren and Cat Sparks! Edited by Amanda Pillar and KV Taylor. BUY HERE


Each story in this collection has been inspired by a track from the album, Scenes from the Second Storey. Quirky, dark, insightful and sometimes downright disturbing, these tales are written by an all-Australian cast and are set to enchant. Edited by Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall.


Are you looking for a dark chocolate anthology full of tales about the Morrigan goddess? Then go no further than the The Phantom Queen Awakes. Edited by Amanda Pillar and Mark S. Deniz. BUY HERE.


The award-winning Grants Pass is a post apocalyptic anthology, edited by Amanda Pillar and Jennifer Brozek. BUY HERE.

"Grants Pass is a remarkable, disturbing, and worthwhile read, and one that is likely to stay with the reader for some time to come."

- HorrorScope


Voices' is set in a hotel of horrors. Have you ever wondered what's happened in your hotel room before you arrived? Edited by Amanda Pillar and Mark S. Deniz. BUY HERE.

"Every story in Voices is of high quality, and the editors should be commended for their high standards. This is one of the best anthologies of dark fiction to have been released recently, and is highly recommended."

- HorrorScope

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