EMOTIONAL TUG OF WAR – WRITING FICTION BASED ON A TRUE STORY
BY NOELLE CLARK
Stone of Heaven and Earth is based on the real lives of my grandparents in China, and spans the years 1914 to 1929.
I never met my Grandfather, but was lucky to live with my grandmother until I was thirteen. I clearly remember as a child being told their story often. Their life together was one of the most amazing, adventurous, happy and sad stories I ever heard and it never failed to make me cry when my Nana described her years in China.
About eight years ago I travelled to China to walk in the footsteps of my grandparents. With all the changes brought about by cultural change and civil wars, China is a very different place now from in the early years of the twentieth century. It was very difficult to find exact addresses and places, however I did form an appreciation for the city of Shanghai and its inhabitants. I visited landmarks that I knew they had been to, places they had lived, and of course the buildings along The Bund are still there.
I mulled over how best to present their story for a long time.
The only way to do it justice was to write fiction based on real life. Memoirs are written by people who were there, and so I had no choice but to add meat to the skeleton. Apart from my grandmother telling her story, I was able to draw on two memoirs written by my mother and my aunt. But their memory was almost hearsay, as they were both quite young at the time. I also had a couple of letters, but the actual details were lost over the years. I have only a handful of photos of their life in China, so while I knew the bare bones very well, there was an awful lot I didn’t know.
I set out to find out what I needed. I had two tools: Research and Imagination.
The result is a story about four people whose lives were changed forever in the years from June 1914 until March 1929 whilst living in China. Yes, it contains all the elements of the true story, but I’ve enriched it with details gleaned from research, and character development based on traits I knew they possessed.
Stone of Heaven and Earth is very dear to my heart, and it will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading about adventure, adversity, hope, and triumph of the human spirit.
Out now as an ebook. A few weeks later for print version.
It’s 1914, and while clouds of war gather over Europe, Australians are signing up in their thousands to help the Allies. In sleepy Brisbane, two women set sail on a passenger steamer for Shanghai to fulfil a promise.
Spanning the years 1914 to 1929, Stone of Heaven and Earth is an epic tale of love and loss, extravagant expatriate lifestyles, intense danger, heroic acts, and the hideous effects of a cruel and barbaric civil war. The complex and volatile politics in China is played out in the intimate story of two intrepid couples, foreigners who embarked on the adventure of a lifetime and made their home in China.
Based on the author’s true family history, this work of fiction is interwoven with real stories gleaned from memoirs, photographs, and from growing up hearing the stories from those who were there. Extensive research, which included a month spent in China tracing the footsteps of the characters in this book, has resulted in a captivating account of foreigners in China during some of the most violent and devastating times.
An Australian author of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Action/Adventure, and Historical fiction. Noelle lives in Queensland, Australia. Visit her website at http://www.noelleclark.net
Noelle. I seriously considered setting book 1 of this series in Hamsterland, but I got lost and ended up in Amsterdam. It was very strange there….lots of red lights in shop windows. As my favourite colour is green, and not red, I decided I should hop across to Ireland where everything is green. It is also the land of my forebears, in particular, County Tipperary. I feel a special bond with Ireland and I wanted to write a story that would allow me to ‘tip my hat’ to my great grandparents.
Noelle .This book? As opposed to the first two books in the series? Lots. As the subtitle – Winds of Change – suggests, we move outside Robinhill Farm and into the little village of Timpelaire. The characters from the two previous books are in it too, but there’s nothing like a bit of new blood to liven things up. And Dylan Thompson arrives out of nowhere and sets hearts a-flutter from Cork to the Antrim Coast.
Noelle. Oh, sure it does! It’s about a mile north of Timpelaire. Take the Lisdallen road for a while, then turn left into the track with the Robinhill Farm sign. Make sure you don’t end up at An Mullach farm by mistake. They have several dogs who just LOVE ham(sters).
Noelle. In Book 1, we got deep and meaningful with Bryan’s Zwartble sheep. In Book 2, Aislin introduced Liam and Bryan to alpacas, and in particular one randy stud called Fidel. And now, in book 3, we meet Rocky and Bullwinkle.
Noelle .I certainly have. Two of my friends and I – all fetching, available gals – attended the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival a few years back. Man, we broke some Irish hearts! Alas, we are still single, but we now have a good idea about what makes Irish Farmers tick. I left the girls in Lisdoonvarna for several days and drove all around Ireland on my own. I wanted to visit County Tipperary to check up on my cousins who still live on the family farm there. Next time I visit, I’d like to spend more time in Doolin, and visit the north-west coast. I also love the Antrim coast north of Belfast. Beautiful country.
Noelle Listen, guys. I – er – don’t know how to tell you this, but the answer is no. You see, Ireland is a VERY dangerous place for hamsters. They have wild foxes who hunt hamsters down, kill them, and eat them. You’re better off staying home with Shey.
Noelle Well, that was a shock to everyone involved. They gave us our rights back to our books, but Honor’s Legacy was due out a few weeks after they closed. So I’ve embarked on a steep learning curve and re-published books 1 and 2 in the series, and now Book 3. I could have submitted them to another publisher, but I’ve been keen to try self-pubbing for a while.
Noelle . I’m very fortunate that many of my author mates have self-pubbed very successfully, and they helped out, particularly Annie Seaton. She was my go-to person when I was pulling my hair out. Suzi Love ran a workshop on self-publishing too, and that was extremely helpful. Publishing eBooks is fairly straightforward, but the print versions takes a bit of effort.
Noelle. In July, I will release Buckley’s Chance. It is book 13 in the fantastic Bindarra Creek Romance series. The series is written by a collective of 13 authors, each writing a book a month set in the fictional-but-could-easily-be-real town of Bindarra Creek. I’m also down for two short stories for inclusion in anthologies, and I hope to be publishing my long awaited historical – Stone of Heaven and Earth.
Noelle Clark is a romance writer. Photo by Chris McCormack
Honor’s Legacy – Winds of Change
Forced to grow up tough and alone, Dylan and Ellen are unlikely candidates for a match made in heaven. But no one factored in Honor’s Legacy.
Australian stockman, Dylan Thompson, has had enough of farming. He seeks greener pastures and stumbles upon Robinhill Farm in beautiful Ireland. It’s there that he meets the beautiful young nanny, Ellen O’Malley. He’s intrigued by her but it’s clear she wants nothing to do with him.
Despite her vulnerable-looking exterior, Ellen O’Malley is tough. She’s had to be. All her life she’s had to struggle against not fitting in. The cruel and lonely hand she’s been dealt has made her mistrustful of many, and extremely loyal to a few.
Is it just coincidence that Ellen and Dylan meet? Or could it be part of the magic of Honor’s legacy?
In this tale of redemption, forgiveness, love, and letting go, Dylan and Ellen come to terms with their past. Under the watchful eye of loved ones they slowly learn how to put their demons to bed and embrace a future full of promise.
Noelle Clark is an Australian author of contemporary romance novels, rural romance, and historical fiction. Her books weave romance, intrigue, and adventure into colourful and interesting settings. They feature characters who deal with love and loss; and who experience the often difficult facets of life, such as forgiveness and redemption. Noelle lives close to the sea in sunny Queensland, Australia, and shares her home with one cat and two dogs. She has two grown up children and four very small grandchildren. When Noelle’s not writing and travelling, she procrastinates a lot by thinking about travel, and perfecting ways to avoid housework.
Q. Abbie – firstly HUGE congratulations on your debut publication. I loved reading your story – Shannon’s Legacy – in the anthology Second Chance Café, but have to admit to reaching for the tissues a couple of times. J Can you tell us the inspiration for this story?
Thank you so much, Noelle! I’m so pleased to be a part of this anthology.
Yes, Shannon’s Legacy is not your standard romance novel, for sure. The inspiration for this novella came to me after a lunch meeting with the other authors involved in the trilogy where we were all discussing ideas for Second Chance Café, and what ‘a second chance’ really meant to me.
I think, so often in life, things happen to us that are beyond our control, just as it did for Shannon. What I wanted to portray to the readers is, sometimes you really need to push for your second chance in life, not wait for it to be handed to you.
Q. What’s the best part about collaborating in a project such as the Second Chance Café anthology?
I love the brainstorming, the support, the sharing of ideas, the vibe of working with such a wonderful group of writers. And I love how, this year, we are able to welcome debut writer, Abbie Jackson, and travel with her on the first step of her writing journey. It’s FUN!
Can you please share a blurb about the story – September Harvest?
Seasonal crop picker Andrew is still a boy himself when he introduces 12 year old Tilly to reading. Instantly besotted both with Andrew and with books, Tilly eagerly awaits his return to her village over the course of 7 summers. Childish adoration is now a young woman’s love but has she misread his feelings for her over the years?
‘Second chances have often taken years to emerge. I’ve waited, reasonably patiently, for something that I’ve wished for, longed for, and now – at this particular point in my life – I think I can see that it is finally happening. The exact nature of what I longed for has blurred at the edges over many years. It’s not as clear, nor am I as driven, as I once was to hold the dream in my hands. But, although I am scared to say it out loud, I think it has finally come. So now, as I take my first scary, tentative steps toward a new future, I’m holding my breath and closing my eyes tightly and hoping fervently that this chance won’t disappear before I’ve grasped it with both hands.’
Second Chance Cafe is a collection of four very different short stories about love, relationships, and hope.
This anthology is proudly brought to you from four Australian authors:
Elizabeth Ellen Carter
and debut author – Abbie Jackson.
All right dudes, can we can it please? We are here today to show off Noelle Clark’s new cover.
Of her new book. in the Robinhill Farm series.
Noelle’s book isn’t out till June 30th but I am sure she won’t mind us having a sneak peek at her cover and blurb. And maybe she will come back with a wee Irish story for us.
James of the Glen? Well, James was a Scotsman famous for being wrongly accused and hung for the murder of The Red Fox.
The Red Fox, was of course a government factor of estates forfeited after the Battle of Culloden when the British government wanted to wipe the Highland people off the face of the earth by any means possible. He was shot dead by an unknown gunman while on his way to evict Glen Duror’s farming tenants. The Government demanded blood and who better to arrest than James Stewart, veteran of Culloden and organiser of the opposition to the Red Fox. The story was the inspiration behind the book Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. And the photos well above are of James’s actual birthplace in Glen Duror. It’s a very nice walk to the bothy. Quite the spot to camp in if you are into bothies.
AND there are other walks associated with what is known as the Appin Murder. There’s the Duror walk from Ballachulish to Glen Duror, if you fancy a nice long trek
and there’s the Brecklet Trail, if you’re not so sure about that.
I leave you with Noelle’s book.
HONOR’S PROMISE (Liam’s Journey) by Noelle Clark. Release Date 30 June 2015
Loyalty and love define Liam. But will obligations to family and farm get in the way of him finding true happiness?
Loyalty is high on Liam Cullen’s agenda, but lately he’s been feeling restless. He wants to run away from the endless routines of life on the family farm. He contemplates busting free of the sometimes suffocating confines of the close-knit family. He’d like to see the world. Maybe meet a few girls.
Riddled with guilt that he could even consider such a thing, the final blow comes when Liam’s abilities as a first rate farmer are questioned. He sees red and his quick temper is sorely stretched. He struggles inner demons and attempts to fight the inevitable – until he meets the girl with the blue-green eyes and the copper-colored hair.
Without knowing it, Aislin O’Neill sweeps Liam off his feet, and transports him to a place he’s only ever dreamed of. It’s soon apparent that Aislin has her own inner battles. Will she break her self-imposed vow to never get involved with anyone again?
A couple of hours later, Liam pulled up out the front of the home he shared with his mam and brother. The only home he’d ever known. He knew every square inch of the house, the gardens, all the outbuildings and sheds, and most likely every grain of soil as well. It was his home and he loved it. He loved his family. He turned the ignition key and cut the engine. But had he missed any of it while he’d been away in Cork?
The answer turned like a knife in his chest. If he’d been a married man, maybe even with children of his own, he would have been like Kevin and rushed off as soon as he could to get back home. To kiss his wife, hoist his children high up on his shoulders and give them some chocolates or other little treats he’d bought them in Cork. That night, he’d make passionate love to his wife and tell her how much he missed her and how much he loved her.
But here he was, thirty-five years old, and he had nothing. He had no one. Of course, his family loved him. He never questioned that at all. And he loved them back, maybe tenfold. He knew he had a massive capacity to love people, especially since little Rory and Dev had joined their family. Both now three years old, they never failed to warm his heart with their enthusiasm for life, their passion for learning new things, and their funny sense of humor.
He slowly opened the car door and grabbed his bag from the back seat. The door slammed shut harder than he had intended. With leaden feet, he plodded slowly to the kitchen door and let himself in.
Predictably, his mam was in the throes of boiling a kettle for a cup of tea and placed a still-warm apple tart on the table. The aroma made his mouth water.
“Heard you drive up.” His mother turned to him, a loving smile plastered across her face. She stood on tiptoes and threw her arms around his shoulders. “How are you, my love? I’ve missed you.”
As he always did, he picked his mother up like she weighed a feather and swung her around the kitchen, her feet swinging and her laugh ringing out. He kissed her head, loving the familiar scent of her shampoo, then gently set her back down on the floor just as the kettle on the gas hob whistled.
“I’ve missed you too, Mam.”
She threw some tea leaves into the pot, poured boiling water in, and replaced the lid of the teapot. Then she turned and surveyed her oldest boy from top to toe.
“Oh, Liam. You don’t half look like a very handsome man all kitted out in those clothes. You should wear them more often.”
“And where would I wear them, Mam? To the dairy? Eh? To milk the cows in them?”
He saw a light, a mere speckle, extinguish in his mother’s eyes, and kicked himself for being such a grump. He hadn’t been in a bad mood for a whole week, and here he was, home less than a minute, and he was already hurting the woman he loved most in the world. He strained to form a smile, managing one that he thought would probably convince her he was just joking. “’Course, I’d have all those doe-eyed cows trying to get me to breed with ’em if I did that, to be sure.”
He held his breath. Moira Cullen was no dill. She knew him better than he knew himself, of that he was certain.
She gave a brief nod. “Well, that’d make for front page news in the Tipp Times now, wouldn’t it?” She reached down and rotated the tea pot three times while it sat on a trivet on her kitchen table, then picked it up and poured two cups of tea. “I made yer favorite. Apple and cinnamon tart.”
“Aw thanks, Mam. Ye do spoil me. I’ve really missed your home cooking.”
And so, the following hour passed pleasantly, Liam’s mother eager to know every detail of his week in Cork. She was interested in the course, in the other farmers who went, and of course, in the teacher. He obliged her, telling her every detail he could remember. A pang of guilt made its presence known when it came to telling her too much about Aislin. His mam was at first surprised the teacher was a woman, then, after she asked how old, she was in deep shock.
“What are they thinking, having a bit of a girl like that teaching fully grown men? I’m sure Father Flynn wouldn’t approve of that at all. Disgraceful.”
And so, Mrs. Cullen never found out how beautiful Aislin was. He didn’t tell her about her beautiful green-blue eyes, and the way the sunlight glinted on her hair at about three every afternoon as it peeped in through the western window of the training room, reflecting copper-red highlights around the room and brightening his whole day. He didn’t bother to tell her how the cadence of Aislin’s words, the timbre of her voice, lulled him into a total trance as surely as if she’d hypnotized him. And he certainly didn’t tell his mam that he knew as sure as night follows day that he’d fallen in love with the beautiful Aislin O’Neill.
Noelle Clark is an Australian author of contemporary romance novels and historical fiction. Her books weave romance, intrigue, and adventure into colourful, exotic, and interesting locations around the world. Noelle infuses real life experience of places, culture, and people into her stories, giving the reader an authentic taste of the location. Her novels feature strong, mature heroines and heroes, who—often without knowing it—are ready for new beginnings. Noelle lives close to the sea in sunny Queensland, Australia, and shares her home with one cat and two dogs. She has two grown up children and four very small grandchildren. When Noelle’s not writing and travelling, she procrastinates a lot by thinking about travel and perfecting ways to get out of doing housework. Oh, and she babysits her grandchildren a lot. CONTACT DETAILS
No. Cos I brought Noelle’s blog here for those of you who need to stop moaning.
Here it is…word for word what she said.
It’s the Christmas Hamster Hamper!!
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the hoose
Not a creature was stirring, except hamsters with tongues all a-loose
They whined and they argued, they’d cooked their own goose
But the biggest question was, had they been naughty or noice?
Today I am celebrating the fun, friendship, and frivolity that our little friends, the Hamsters from Shey’s Blog, deserve. Today, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you — THE CHRISTMAS HAMSTER HAMPER Let’s meet them all:
The DoodDO NOT SAY ANOTHER WORD EXCEPT THANK YOU, YOU LOT OR YOU WILL FACE THE WRATH OF SHEY.
Yes, the little pack of hamsters who have kept Shehanne Moore, and us, company all year are suffering from a very debilitating illness – Christmas Countdown Regret.
You see, everyone knows that for Santa to bring you presents at Christmas, you have to lead an exemplary life, a year of being kind, helpful, friendly, hard working. The big test comes a month or so before Christmas, as soon as all the supermarkets and department stores drag out the tinsel and trees. And that test is:Have you been a good hamster all year?Have you been naughty or nice?
Okay, most of us lie through our teeth, and no doubt some of the hamsters will do that too, but a couple of the more…sensitive…hamsters will answer truthfully, and will wake up on Christmas morning with nothing under the tree for them.
So, in an effort to help Shehanne’s furry little friends step up a little and ensure that they get a gift under the tree from Santa, I’m going to teach them some rules.(We all know how much Shehanne loves rules.)
Rule 1: Thou shalt not whinge, whine, or carry on when Shey constantly overlooks you in favour of some fancy US Best Seller author, or some tramp who writes naughty books.
Rule 2: Thou shalt not interrupt when Shey is speaking. The consequences of you continuing to do this are awful. Heck, you’ve seen what happened to Mr Shey! He’s lost all his hair from being told to shut up all the time. A bald hamster will be a very cold hamster in the freezing Dundonian winter.
Rule 3: Thou shalt learn to bring Shehanne her slippers without her even asking; fill her wine glass before it’s empty; and help her in her new garden. Reason is, a happy Shey makes for a happy day. Rule 4: Never, never, NEVER, interrupt Shehanne when she is on a deadline, or has edits to do. This will make her angry, and she will withhold certain important…favours…such as feeding you, changing your water bowl, and letting you visit her blog posts.
Time for some Christmas Carols.
Hint: sing this to the tune of the First Noel.
The first little Hamstah, appeared in Shey’s post
And to certain poor authors, they were the ultimate hosts.
Always cheerful and glad, and happy all the while
They brightened our days with their innocent guile.
Hamsters, hamsters, hamsters, hamsters
Move over Shey, and give room to hamsters.
Here’s a cute little guy to sing for you:
Well little hamstahs has Noelle Clark silenced you. Let’s ask what our visitors think.
Okay….Okay… Can we just get back with the program here.
Today we have some very special ladies, not just with a FREE Christmas ebook
but some seasonal good wishes. Dudes, let us welcome…..
Eva Scott. Elizabeth Ellen Carter.
Noelle Clark and Susanne Bellamy
Now then, the exciting part, ladies, give it to us straight….what is your all time fav Christmas song and very briefly why?
Noelle – O Holy Night. I just love the way it soars. Hearing it never fails to make me tear up.
Eva – Little Drummer Boy for me. It’s the perfect combination of solemnity and joy.Gets me every time.
E.E.I agree with Noelle I love O Holy Night, but since she got there first 😉 I love Joy To The World
Susanne – Love IlDivo’s version of “Oh, Holy Night” too but for me, it’s “Six White Boomers” which is inextricably linked to my children’s delight in all things Christmas when they were little.
Ladies your favorite Christmas film and why?
Noelle – Can’t not watch Home Alone 1 and 2 each year, and now my grandchildren love them too. Extra fun. I love seeing the snow and especially the scenes in Central Park in HA 2.
Eva – While You Were Sleeping. Never gets old for me. And if I can be cheeky and pick two films the second will be Love Actually.Another great Christmas flick.
E.E.The Thin Man (1934) with Myrna Loy and William Powell. A murder mystery set at Christmas with the most sassy, romantic detectives you will ever meet. And, Die Hard (1988), just thing to watch while Christmas lunch settles.
Susanne – “White Christmas”. My family used to watch it every Christmas Day when I was a child. It’s tied in to my Mum and Dad and sister who are no longer with us.
Noelle. Can you give us favourite Christmas memory?
I have three siblings and ten nieces and nephews. When the nieces and nephews were all little, and mine were tiny, we all gathered at a local park at one of our nearby beaches for Christmas lunch. We’d all take food to share, play games, swim. Was fun. But then our families grew up and we now celebrate separately, with our own little broods. I miss those big gatherings.
Eva. Share a special Christmas recipe.
I host Christmas Eve dinner and my guests get to vote on what stays on the menu for next year. This is a huge favourite which I think you’ll enjoy for any special occasion.
Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake
Grease and line a 24cm spring form cake pan with baking paper.
Preheat oven to 160C.
Process 300g chocolate biscuits until smooth.
Stir through 125g melted butter and pour into prepared cake pan.
Using the back of a spoon smooth the biscuit mixture evenly into the base.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Beat 3 eggs and ¾ cup caster sugar for 1 minute.
Add 2 x 200g soften cream cheese blocks and beat until smooth.
If your cheesecake does crack simply smother the top with whipped cream and serve! Enjoy!
EE. How will you spend this Christmas?
My husband and I are ‘orphans’ but we’ve been adopted by some very dear friends, so after church, we’ll be going up to Mt Tamborine and drink champagne.
Susanne.The low down on a fav Christmas Day game.
Our Christmases are spent at the beach with family. Games centre around the pool and usually involve a ball. “Piggy-in-the-Middle” mixed with baseball practice is the closest way to describe it!
Noelle.The hook for your story.
Look back on memories with fondness; but be excited about the future. Time stands still for no one, so love every moment of life.
Eva.Two lines about the heroine in yours.
Molly is a gal who struggles to see that she’s fine just as she is. She’s warm, earthy, caring and just needs to see herself through Love’s eyes.
EE. Tell us briefly about your hero.
Lieutenant Michael Renten is a naval officer who has been charged with exposing smugglers on the Devon Coast. He is tall, handsome and very resourceful.
Susanne. How does your story fit with the title? –
Christmas is about families coming together and the idea of giving, preferably not in a materialistic manner. The greatest gifts are life and love and “A Touch of Christmas” offers both in unexpected ways. The most memorable gifts are those made with love, time and effort. I hope my final image sums up this concept.
Who or what would you most like to find in your stocking.
Noelle – A bottle of elixir that cures all sadness, illness, and poverty for every person on this planet.
Eva – Such a hard question! But I think I’ll settle on a housekeeper. (Are you listening G.W. Gibson?)
E.E. Actually, can I have the stocking? I love soft and silky stockings and they’re so hard to find now. Stay ups just aren’t the same with suspenders.
Susanne – Daniel Craig 😉 Failing his availability,
I’d be thrilled with a new Il Divo CD.
FREE DOWNLOAD –
Title: A Season to Remember
A Christmas anthology from four Australian authors
Eva Scott, Susanne Bellamy, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, and Noelle Clark
Noelle Clark is an Australian author of contemporary romance and commercial historical fiction novels. Her books weave romance, intrigue, and adventure into colourful and often exotic locations around the world. Widely travelled, Noelle uses real life experience of places, culture, and people as a backdrop to her stories, giving the reader an authentic taste of the location. Her novels feature strong, mature heroines and heroes, who—often without knowing it—are ready for new beginnings. She lives close to the sea and shares her home with two cats and two dogs. She has two grown up children, and five very small grandchildren. When Noelle’s not writing and travelling, she plays guitar, tends her vegetable garden, enjoys the company of family and friends, and—of course—reading.
Eva Scott writes contemporary romance set in her homeland of Australia and historical fiction set in the Ancient World. Her books offer passion and adventure in some of the most beautiful and intriguing places in the world. Her heroes and heroines are strong, sassy and ready to rise to their challenges, and learn a little bit about themselves along the way.
She lives on the Redcliffe peninsula with her husband, small son and an assortment of animals. When Eva is not writing she enjoys mentoring first-time authors, cooking up a story, practising yoga and getting out on the bay on her stand-up paddle board.
A future with words was always on the book for Elizabeth Ellen Carter who started writing her own stories when she ran out of Nancy Drew mysteries to read when she was 10.
Using her mother’s Olivetti type writer with the italic keyboard, she spent endless school holidays making up her own stories and then using the Dewey Decimal System to arrange and categories her bookshelf.
Somewhere around the age of 13 she determined to become a journalist and at 17 was awarded a cadetship to the Gold Coast Bulletin.
She covered news, council, education, health but had the most fun as the paper’s entertainment and features reporter covering film, TV and music.
Best of all she met her husband there and together they started a small award-winning media, marketing and advertising agency and now she works as marketing manager for an international organic skin care company.
In 2012, Elizabeth also returned to the keyboard to write stories (and laptops are so much better than manual typewriters).
Her debut, Moonstone Obsession was shortlisted for the 2013 Romance Writers Of Australia’s Emerald Awards for unpublished manuscripts.
It was published by Etopia Press on October 18, 2013.
Her second historical romance is Warrior’s Surrender, set in England in the years after the Conquest of England by William in 1066.
It will be published by Etopia Press on November 7, 2014.
Susanne is an Australian author of contemporary and suspense romances set in exciting and often exotic locations. Her heroes have to be pretty special to live up to the real life one she married. He saved her life then married her. They live on the edge of bush land on a mountain in beautiful sunny Queensland, Australia with two children and their dog.
Paris will always be one of her top spots, and she fell in love with Scotland when they visited the west coast (nothing to do with fine single malts!), and recently had her first real trip to Italy–tick off one Bucket List item! She has enjoyed New Year in Kathmandu and trekked in the Annapurnas, sailed in Ha Long Bay on a junk, and stayed on a floating hotel beside a tethered elephant in Thailand. The Peak in Hong Kong and Mt Faber cable car ride in Singapore are favourite spots. Susanne loves travelling to new places and exploring the culture and history, and meeting new people. These experiences are gradually being incorporated into her stories.
Her as yet unrealised dream is a trip into Earth’s orbit.
Susanne is a member of RWA and enjoys mentoring new authors. She is published with Escape Publishing, and will be a 2015 release author with Entangled Publishing.
A Season to Remember
Four short stories on the Christmas theme, spanning time, places. Uplifting, funny, thought-provoking, heart-warming, ‘A Season to Remember’ will make your heart sing.
On a quest to make amends for a long-ago indiscretion, Honor unexpectedly discovers the one thing she’s been missing in her life.
Honor Quirk arrives in Ireland excited—and a bit anxious—about meeting up with the estranged family of her late great-grandmother. The welcome from the residents of Robinhill Farm, Dermot and Bryan, is confusing and far from comforting. One is warm, the other aggressive. The outwardly antagonistic Bryan makes it very clear he doesn’t want her there, branding her a gold digger.
Dermot, on the other hand, is delighted to meet her.
But Honor is no pushover and stands up to Bryan, letting him know that his bad attitude and trail of baggage have nothing to do with her. Despite their confrontational and hostile relationship, an undeniable attraction to each other creeps insidiously into the house on Robinhill Farm. They both desperately try to stifle the sparks, but living under the same roof makes it impossible. Unable to cope with the turmoil of living with Bryan, Honor runs away, straight into the arms of a charming newfound friend, Sean, who offers her a home—and love.
Shattered, Bryan finally takes control of his irrational belief that all women are evil, and fights to bring back the woman he loves. But is it too late?
About Noelle Clark
Noelle Clark is an Australian author of contemporary romance and historical novels. Her books weave romance, intrigue, and adventure into colourful and often exotic locations around the world. Widely travelled, Noelle uses real life experience of places, culture, and people, as a backdrop to her stories, giving the reader an authentic taste of the location. Her novels feature strong, mature, heroines and heroes, who—often without knowing it—are ready for new beginnings. She lives close to the sea and shares her home with two cats and two dogs. She has two grown up children, and five very small grandchildren. When Noelle’s not writing and travelling, she plays guitar, tends her vegetable garden, enjoys the company of family and friends, and—of course—reading.
Dudes….is this wise? I mean, I never let that delusional hamster in here.
Dudes, can we seriously quit sounding like Fury and Flint and get with the program for the rest of the Spooktacular. It’s Halloween and time is running out.
For when you go to visit her blog…yes..
Look….the bear picture was an honest mistake. Lace sent that weeks ago. I forgot it was there.
After Noelle invited you, Cat Cavendish invited you AND Lace Winter gave you a lovely blog award.
Of course she didn’t. Lace deeply regrets that photograph which she sent you in good faith.
For your own safety…….I have shed buckets.
But, if you cannot find it in your hamstah hearts to welcome Noelle to the last post in the Spooktacular, well I shall just have to do it myself. AND swipe the blog award. AND have a hamstahs week.
I know. But as they say, it is not raining either. Now then, Noelle Clark is an Aussie author and a wonderful supporter of other authors.
In another few weeks she has a new book coming out, which I know she worried about ever seeing the light of day.
But you do, cos it’s not. Anyway Noelle isn’t here today to talk about that. What she drew out the cauldron wasn’t a recipe, it wasn’t an interview, it wasn’t a spooky place, or character. NO…What she drew was the following…
‘Whilst my generation of Aussies don’t really celebrate – or understand – Halloween, the younger generation are embracing the Trick or Treat fun with gusto.
These days, supermarkets are decorated in ‘scary’ stuff, pumpkins, and witches, and I have to ensure I buy some lollies to hand out to the local kids in my street. Heck, don’t want them to egg my car!
But if I had to choose the singular most scary movie that I’ve ever watched (through slits in my fingers because my hands covered my face), then I would choose……
Sorry dudes….the Australian movie Wolf Creek. Scared the you-know-what outta me!
There’s now Wolf Creek 2 out, but I haven’t seen it yet. Not sure I will either.’
Hi Shey, thanks for having me here today to talk about my heroine in Honor’s Debt.
Okay Noelle, as you can NOT see, it’s IT’S GIRL FRIDAY where we dress up in pink hair bows to spill beans on our heroines.
So Noelle, what can you tell us about your latest heroine?
Honor Quirk has seen her fair share of tragedy in her young life. At the age of twenty-seven, she sets out to fulfil a promise that will repay a very old debt. She arrives in Ireland determined to carry out her mission. When she visits the old family farm in Tipperary, she finds conflicting welcomes. One person makes it very clear he doesn’t want her there and does everything he can to frighten her away. Another greets her warmly. Another wants her in his bed.
I don’t think anyone would want to be like you. What kind of hero do you match them up to?
Not you, you klutz…Noelle..
In Honor’s Debt, Honor meets three men. There’s warm and friendly Dermot; there’s cold, brooding, bad-tempered Bryan; and there’s gorgeous, charming, flirtatious Sean.
Are your heroines nice or, well, you know?
Honor Quirk comes under the ‘nice’ banner, but she’s feisty and won’t put up with the antics of some people who seek to make her take responsibility for all that goes wrong on Robinhill Farm. She gives as good as she gets, but in private moments, she shows that the harsh criticism levelled at her hurts.
In a word, or maybe ten, how would you describe them?
Honor is straightforward, loyal, a fighter, likeable, and strong.
Why do you choose to write heroines who are nice?
I like writing heroines who are ordinary people – those with flaws, weaknesses, and strengths – just like most of us are. Readers are inherently good people, they can resonate with an ordinary person who gets some problems and issues thrown at them. Sometimes they stumble, sometimes they fall, but ultimately they are victorious. It’s good for the soul to read about nice people.
A line from the book to describe your current heroine?
“Shush.” She held up a hand. “Stop right there. Bryan, even I get angry sometimes, and I apologise for swearing at you, but you infuriate me sometimes. Other times you’re an okay guy. But I’ve let off my steam now, so let’s just get back to being friends again. Okay?”
Her favourite line or motto?
There’s a promise in a debt of honour, and forgetting a debt doesn’t mean it’s paid.
Tips on creating a believable good heroine?
A good heroine is one who engenders some sort of emotional response from the reader, whether that be love or hate. There can be no compromise.
That’s it for today. Honor’s Debt is the fab Noelle’s WIP.
But if it’s anything like Let Angels Fly and Rosamanti, it will be a winner.
Fate drew her to Rosamanti. Love made her stay…
After the death of her husband, best-selling mystery author Sarah Halliman has lost her desire for just about everything. Desperate to break out of her funk and rediscover herself, she answers a newspaper advertisement—For lease: Isolated villa on Capri, Italy. Must love cats. Traveling alone to the beautiful island of Capri, she locates Villa Rosamanti, a gorgeous 400-year-old dwelling nestled in the hillside of Monte Tiberio. Above it lies Villa Jovis, the 2000-year-old villa of Emperor Tiberius, ripe with history and intrigue.
Sarah soon discovers a strong resonance with Rosamanti and its gardens and quirky pets. She begins to feel a deep connection to Elena Lombardi, the deceased owner. But it’s not just the villa Sarah’s fallen in love with. Elena’s grandson, Pietro, is handsome and charming, the epitome of the passionate Italian. His dream is to own a restaurant of his own, but such dreams are for wealthier men.
Between the sparks that Pietro kindles in Sarah’s heart—and her kitchen—and the mystery of nearby Villa Jovis, Sarah’s muse begins to stir. She senses stories in the ancient stones, and romance in the phosphorescent blue waters of the Blue Grotto. But when her curiosity takes her to Elena’s library, a child’s notes and maps lead Sarah to a mystery that could be the answer to everyone’s prayers—or perhaps, be the destruction of everything they hold dear…
She called it an interview….but do we ask for water in the middle of interviews? Still maybe her stays were too tight….so, okay I’ll believe her although hundreds…… MIGHTN’T. Sharon Struth and Incy Black to name two.
Anyway the lovely Kate Furnivall….presently in Italy, researching, so maybe I might not forgive her either… Oh okay I sent her a Maximus Decimus Meridius commander of the armies hamster…
to show there were no hard feelings. The lovely Kate, author of
Yay! So now the hammies and I are going to answer some questies for you. Oh, it’s only four, you can take it. I’ve so much doing getting the PC back in order I am not even going to delay.
Obviously this blog. But then there’s the trying to get the younger daughter out of the hair and the emails answered etc etc etc. I am working hard on that you understand, so just maybe I can ratchet a newly added scene up several notches in my recently completed WIP, which I don’t want to say too much about…other than it has a Viking in it with a name that sums him up. And an equally delightfully named heroine who has a big choice to make.
Sil and Bobsleigh here, they are working on holding up placards.
Er… Well, I guess I just can’t do frills and flounces. Or nice people, from nice backgrounds either.
Because I was that desperate to break into writing and I was tired of rejection, of being told I could write but… But even then I HAD to have my characters my way. And I have to say that while genre romance isn’t my first love, or choice, I do love writing about what makes people tick, and I do love having them knock all the lumps off each other. I leave the bedroom door open because I feel you’re seeing all their hopes and dreams and vulnerabilities there and because sex is a great bargaining counter. And I guess at one stage or another in each of my books my characters use it for just that. Naturally. it backfires.
GAWD.. Well, I’ve said before with a lot of
and hair tearing.
I don’t know how it works. Works… if only! Okay. I get an idea flash first. In His Judas Bride, it was Kara baring all to the wrong man to get into Lochalpin.
Loving Lady Lazuli, it was the coach on Christmas Eve and Saff planting these emeralds on Dev.
In The Unraveling of Lady Fury it was her former lover turning up just as she’s ..er..interviewing suitable candidates, I won’t say for what.
Then I think a bit about the characters, their goal, motivation, conflict, what kind of people they are and start. But the thing is what goes on the page is never what I was hoping. Captain Flint was meant to be a nice helpful ex lover. Honestly.
The Black Wolf was meant to be patient and Hawley a poor, much abused soul….
Marveling at him too, that when he suffered so much…it did nothing to stop him making other people doing the same.
SO that’s where the trouble starts when they .come off the page the exact opposite. Then I never have any idea of the plot. I just run like the white rabbit with it. I usually end with roughly 100000 words. That’s really when I start thinking what is the main theme here. I go through and cut 20 thou to centre stage that theme. Then I add 10 thou of what is missing regarding the theme.
I do not set out to do any of that. It just happens. What I know is it is like being on a tightrope. I never look ahead. I never look down. I just put the next foot on the rope and hope. This far my faith has been rewarded.
both lovely ladies, both fabulous authors, Catherine of horror, and Noelle of romance set in exotic locations. So please pop over and visit them. Their blogs will go up next Monday BUT they always have some fabulous posts. I’m just heading over to catch the last few of Cat’s, which I kissed with having no pc last week!