Saturday, 31 December 2016

May your writing sparkle in 2017!
With love from the Breathless Bloggers.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Breathless Bloggers wish you a joyous Christmas Season!
(See you in January with our favourite reads of 2016.)

Monday, 12 December 2016

A Writer's Christmas Wish List

by Enisa Haines

The year sure has passed quickly. Too quickly. Oftentimes, my writing time got away from me and the story I'm working on stalled. I didn't want that. Writers are meant to write so from now on, through good times and bad, I'm creative, I'm committed, I have a goal. To get down and just do it. Write the book!

But to do that I need a little help, a few wishes granted. It's Christmas soon, the season of giving and my wish list isn't long, not really, but everything on it is a gift I'd treasure.

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1. Time. Extra hours in a day. I'm writing through every minute and I'm loving it!

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2. Attitude. I'll get down and do it. Write the book!

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3. Coffee. Endless cups of the hot brew. No snoozing for my creativity when caffeine's in my system!

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4. A standing writing desk and treadmill combined. I'm on the move giving my body the workout it yearns while at the same time the words flow. A winner each way.

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5. A happy muse. My imagination is at the whim of my inner muse. If she wants time out I'll go for a walk or read a book or watch the sunset and, wham, there's no sign of writer's block.

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6. Minimal copy edits or structural changes. Preferably none, but if there are problems in my writing, my critique partners will point them out and show me how to correct them. And my writing will be all the better for it.

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7. A writer's retreat. I'm with a small group of writers in peaceful surrounds. Time to write, valuable feedback, I'm immersed in my story and that's what every writer wants.

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8. 'The End'. There they are, two magic words! I've done it. My manuscript is complete.

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9. A book contract. I've submitted my work and got The Call! I'm way, way more than happy.

Do you, as a writer, wish for the same things I do or do your wishes differ? I'd love for you to share.

Love to love: Yes, a writer's retreat in Wales in December, 2017. So looking forward to it!

Love to laugh: So many funny images on the Net. So hard to choose!

Love to learn: what other writers wish for.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Bush Landscapes and Settings

BITB welcomes romantic suspense author Bronwyn Parry!

I've always loved the blog title 'Breathless in the Bush' - I sometimes wish I'd thought of it first as a tag line for my books!

Where is 'The Bush'? When politicians (and some city people) refer to it, they generally mean anything beyond 'the suburbs'. But the Australian landscape is varied and amazing - I often think of it in terms of the various regions beyond the cities - the coast, the country (within an hour or so of a city), the mountains, the bush, the outback, the desert, the tropics.

I've been fortunate to have travelled extensively through Australia's stunning landscapes, and I'm lucky to live on 100 acres of regrowth bushland on the Great Dividing Range in northern NSW. I set my books a little further west though, where the western slopes and the Brigalow forest belt meet the dry plains on the edge of the outback. This area fits my idea of 'the bush' - the dry forests of eucalypts and native cypress, the mulga scrub further north, and the kilometres of cleared paddocks for grazing and crops. The towns are few and far between, the small ones dusty and dying, employment and services evaporating or shifting to larger centres, often hours away.

The landscape can shape both character and story. The isolation of the bush makes a great setting for my romantic thrillers, intensifying the drama and emotion by placing the characters beyond help, so that they have to rely on their own skills and strengths to survive.

For writers, my main suggestion for creating an evocative landscape setting is to describe the surroundings through your characters' points of view, as they are experiencing it at that point in the story. What will a particular character notice at this moment? What will they feel? How can you weave those things through your story so that the reader is there with your character, in both the physical and the emotional place?

In my latest book, Sunset Shadows, some of the early dramatic events take place around a waterfall in wild country. Here's Tess, a police officer, visiting the scene of the crimes again, when she's been through an emotional day herself:

     Standing here on the top of the falls, with all the beauty of the wild country around - the rugged hills behind her, the gorge opening in front of her - and the fresh breeze in her face and the soporific burbling of the water, it could be so easy, so easy, to simply step into it, to take that one step and fly into the mesmerising beauty. Just one little step...
     'Are you okay, Tess?'
     Steve's voice, even and gentle. He stood there on the rocks, only a couple of metres away, his face so drawn she realised how she must look. She stepped backwards, away from the edge.

Rather than simply a backdrop, making the landscape an essential element in your plot that your characters must interact with adds depth and emotional intensity to your characterisations and your story. Whether it's the bright sparkling blues of a beach in summer or the wind crackling dry leaves in the Pilliga Scrub, our characters' actions, thoughts, emotions, and choices will be affected by the environment they're in. And out there, in the bush, there are many things to make a character breathless - the beauty, the rugged country, the heat, the passion of being alone with a loved one - or the fear when being pursued by a killer!

Are there books that you love for the landscapes they are set in? As a reader, has a book's setting made you breathless?

Bronwyn's latest book is Sunset Shadows, published by Hachette Australia. For police officers Steve Fraser and Tess Ballard, a split-second decision saves the lives of fifty members of a cult, but in the aftermath of the rescue nothing is simple. As the violence escalates out of control, Tess's past comes back to haunt her - and Steve - with tragic consequences. Isolated in rugged country, they're both faced with the impossible choice: who do you protect when there is more than one innocent life at risk?

Also coming Dec13th - a special 2-in-1 print edition of Dead Heat and Storm Clouds.

Buy links for Bronwyn Parry's books: Booktopia Amazon US  Amazon AUS   Kobo  B&N iBooks

Love to love: the amazing support and friendship of the romance writing community.

Love to laugh: with my husband, especially when I'm stuck on a scene and he helpfully suggests that my characters can go out for a pizza. Not that there are many pizza shops in the bush!

Love to learn: New things about the environment around me - matching bird calls to birds, observing the behaviour and interactions of the wildlife, seeing where water runs and pools in the landscape when it rains.