Posted in work in progress 2019, Writers Group

The Dirty Draft

A dirty draft is a ‘thing’.

Apparently, I’m the last to find out.

I’ve started writing a new story and naturally, took my first scratching’s to read out at my writers group.

Bad move.

Questions, questions and more questions. I wasn’t ready for that level of scrutiny.

Days later, quite coincidently, a fellow writer shared a fantastic blog post by Monique Mulligan, Overcoming Writer’s Block with a Dirty Draft and as I read it I had an ‘Aha’ moment.

I’m immersed in the magnificent mess of a dirty draft right now.

Years ago when I first began writing, there was no editing, feedback or writers group in my life. I wrote whatever jumped into my head. I was probably more creative and took more chances.

Mulligan quotes Author Nikki Moore who describes exactly what a dirty draft is:

… a raw first draft that is full of plot holes and peppered with spelling and grammar mistakes and it doesn’t matter

Quite obviously, a writers group is not the right audience for a dirty draft.

This first dirty draft will be (for me) like learning to ride a unicycle – a lot of mad pedalling back and forward before I get control of that wheel. Fun, a little freaky and frightening. But in the end (and during), very fulfilling.

The only voices giving feedback and telling me what to do, for now, should be me and of course my story’s characters.

It’s only a dirty draft after all!

Posted in Books


Available on Amazon today. It’s the first in the Evanee Sheperd series by T.S Petersen. I’ve included the blurb below and a review but first…

There are so many books out there and impossible to read everything. I love when the opportunity comes up to read a genre I haven’t delved into for a while.

Fans of Twilight will love Moribund.

Ending up in front of me is no one’s idea of a good day – besides mine.

I’m Evanee Shepard, Acrasin General Hospital’s Forensic Pathologist and suspected psychic. My life was finally heading in the right direction until the night I went to my co-worker’s house party, and met him again. Erick Tenebris, local mystery man who left Murder Point Bay 12 years ago, only to return at my weakest hour. Now my life is in disarray, and my feelings for him aren’t far behind that.

Finding out I’m part of a supernatural community is not what I wanted for my life; neither is autopsying the three victims whose souls are fractured and partially drained by something I’ve never encountered before.

My life is in disarray and I’ll be lucky enough to make it out of this mess with my sanity intact, let alone my life.

Moribund is a great read. Lots of fun. Plenty of action.

All Evanee craves is a quiet evening in, watching her favourite TV series, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Bodies are arriving at the morgue and they need more than Evanee’s forensic and autopsy skills to discover who or what killed them. This is where it gets interesting!

And of course there’s Erick who has brought with him an unusual entourage to the aptly named Murder Point Bay. Immediately drawn to Evanee, despite her resistance, he seems determined to protect her.

Moribund has plenty of paranormal and horror elements and clever twists. T.S. Peterson has created a great cast of characters who will draw you into the series and a clever, sassy, kick ass, take no prisoners heroine. When things get crazy, you definitely want to be on Evanee’s team.

Posted in The Beach

Your… you’re… what?


sourced from

One of my beta readers was a professional so did a very thorough review of The Beach. It was mostly high level comments until I reached a note near the end.

It referred to the incorrect use of ‘you’re’ versus ‘your’.

I thought – not me! I know the difference. I didn’t get A’s in spelling for nothing!

I mean, who does that?

Maybe it’s only misspelt once or twice? I did a search on ‘you’re’ and read each sentence aloud saying ‘you are’. The result was grim. Many were meant to be ‘your’.

Mortified, I stopped counting when I reached five and continued on making the correction.

How did that happen? A trick of the brain? Writer’s incompetence? No idea. Thank goodness for beta readers and manuscript reviewers who go over and above.

On the positive side, it was an easy fix and I’m consoled by what I found on

If you’re getting them mixed up, your secret is safe with us.


Posted in The Beach

The Beta Reader Process

The beta reader process, for me, was a real eye opener.

I was thrilled to have people agree to read my manuscript (well actually one had it foisted on them by their partner because assessing manuscripts was what they did – lucky me!).

This is what I realised:

Target audience:

You definitely need beta readers (average readers) from your target audience but expand that to others who want to read it. The bigger the cross-section of feedback the better.


Be clear up front that ‘it was really good’ is not the feedback you’re looking for. What I found useful was knowing:

o   whether it made them want to fall asleep or keep turning pages?

o   if they cared about the characters and were they believable?

o   whether they were cringing during the steamy scenes or did they rock?

o   if the story made sense and what didn’t?

o   what parts that took them out of the story?

I’m working on incorporating the feedback I’ve received and will then put it out to another round of beta readers.


Not everyone is going to like every bit of your story. That’s okay. It’s your baby, your masterpiece, your opus – it hurts. Then let it go! You don’t have to agree with everything your beta readers’ comment on but you should consider it. If it hits a nerve, they’re probably right.

Remember, you want your story to be the best it can be.

Posted in work in progress 2019

Talking, not writing.

This quote, by Franklin P. Jones, greeted me as I walked into the library today with my laptop, ready to write. 

Of course I talk to myself. Writing can be such a solitary activity. Who better to bounce ideas off then yourself?

It’s when your characters start having ideas of their own that it gets crowded. Imagine what it’s like for authors who have hundreds of characters vying to be heard, pitching their storylines?



Posted in work in progress 2019

Starting with a Synopsis

While my manuscript of The Beach is out with Beta Readers (the calm before a storm of rewrites), I’ve started my next writing project.

Although the word ‘synopsis’ can be scary I knew that it was the right way to begin.

A few years ago I went to a great Writing a Synopsis course run by Laurel Cohn at the NSW Writers Centre (now called Writing NSW).

Up until that day, I thought a synopsis was something you wrote when the manuscript was all finished, polished and ready to be sent out to publishers.


According to Laurel, you should write it ‘as soon as possible and often’ as it ‘can help you focus your intentions and vision for the project.’

Synopsis writing is hard. To encapsulate the main points of your novel in less than a page is daunting. Making it ‘work’ and read like something that ‘sells’ your story, challenging!

So I wrote a synopsis to take to my Writers Group. It was a way to make myself accountable. If I took the synopsis, then of course I needed to follow up with the writing.

It didn’t matter that my synopsis was rough or even more like an ‘outline’. It was a start. It raised questions, provoked discussion and best of all got the words and ideas pouring out.

Already, I’m recrafting the next version of the synopsis in my head.

By the time I’ve finished a first draft of this new writing project, I intend to have rewritten the synopsis over and over.

As Laurel pointed out ‘… just as the craft of writing a book-length work requires practice, practice and more practice, so does the craft of writing a synopsis.’

Posted in Books

Fiction vs Self improvement (or The Deckchair Divide)

The holiday poolside reading scene has apparently evolved in my absence. Paperbacks and magazines have been replaced by kindles and mobile phones. Non-fiction/self-improvement reads are just as popular as fiction.

On holiday, I counted a mere eight actual books being read poolside. This was over a six day period! There were so many people. Where have all the paperbacks gone?

I spotted three kindles and I’m not being rude but kindles have no spine. It’s a fact. So I can’t report what they were reading.

Everyone else (and there was no upper or lower age limit) was tapping away on their mobile phones. Seriously? On a deckchair, in the sun, under palm trees, by a lagoon like pool?

Call me crazy but I prefer to be ‘out of touch’ on holiday.

I brought two real books along to read: some light fiction which I never opened and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

It’s a month by month account of everything she tried in the pursuit of finding and understanding how to be happier. Each month has a theme and a purpose. It’s funny, relatable and perfect for a relaxing holiday read plus she does great research.

Other books I spotted getting some sun were the latest novels from Liane Moriarty, Daniel Silva, Michael Robotham and Lauren Weisberger (of Devil Wears Prada fame).

Just as many people were reading non-fiction:

–          Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims

–          Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

–          The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

My 2019 ‘to read’ list just got a little longer.