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The Ghost Mothers – Official Launch Day!

Well, it’s happened – today is the official launch day for my debut novel, The Ghost Mothers!

I wish I could say I’m beyond excited, but the truth is, it’s all a little overwhelming. But also, exciting. But also, I’m ready for a 24-hour nap.

So would you like to know a little about the book? For those of you who like quirky, humorous tales with strong female characters, I hope you’re in for a treat – especially if you like your fiction with a historical nod and magical twist.

Here’s a quick rundown;

Yasmin has just landed her dream job, the one she’s yearned for since childhood. But it’s all a sham, just like her resume. Will her ‘fairy ghost-mothers’ reveal her biggest lie of all?

When Yasmin Taylor-Lee starts her first day at The Woman’s Standard magazine – after telling some pretty sizeable porkies to get the job – she learns that they have one shot at hitting record circulation, or the whole company will go under.

Yasmin draws on the strengths of her beloved ghost-mothers, sprung from past issues of The Standard – her only friends, and her emotional crutch since childhood. Life without her besties seems unthinkable, even now at 24 years old – which is a little long in the tooth to have ephemeral floating entities as best friends. Unless…they’re not so ephemeral?

But, Yasmin is in over her head. She has no experience, is woefully under-skilled at life and her ghost-mothers keep appearing at inopportune moments. Will the domineering editor, who has the ear of the most influential people in the country, discover her secret?

More importantly, can Yasmin pull off the biggest con of her life and save the magazine, the company and the very existence of her ghostly friends?

If you would like to grab The Ghost Mothers right now, you can do so here:

www.books2read.com/u/3GaWpp

Please note that you don’t need a Kindle to read the ebook, you can enjoy the book on any device, using the free Kindle App.

For those who have stuck by me so far, thank so much. It turns out that it takes a long time to write a novel, and an even longer time to edit and put everything in place for launch. It’s been 1 year and 8 months (almost to the day) since I started work on The Ghost Mothers, and I’m over the moon that I am able to share it with you now.

So, what am I doing next (besides that 24-hour nap)? I’m already at work on another book, which I hope will be part of a brand-new series. If you’d like to be kept up to date with all of my books, as well as find out when the print book of The Ghost Mothers is released, feel free to join the Reader’s Group here:
www.jackiemccarthy.com/pre-release-list

Thanks again for supporting the book, and have a wonderful day!

Jackie

Book cover reveal – “The Ghost Mothers”

Hello lovely people! It’s been a while since I last posted, as I’ve been busy putting the final touches on my debut novel, The Ghost Mothers. And I’m finally ready to reveal the cover (read on)!

I entered a design competition and received over 100 entries from freelance designers from around the world. I narrowed it down to 5 finalists, and from there had a choice between the top two entries, as voted by my readers. If you helped with the book cover poll, thank you for helping me narrow down the options! I would have been truly lost without you.

It was a difficult choice, and it could have gone either way, as the final 2 concepts were vastly different, but I finally settled on the version at the bottom of this page.

It’s now not long at all until the book is finally published – which will be 1 year and 8 months (almost to the day) after I first started working on it. I can’t wait to finally push it out into the world! Look out for launch details around the first week of April 2019.

My novel, The Ghost Mothers, takes us on a magical romp through the ages of Australia’s longest-running magazine, with ‘fairy ghost-mothers’ springing to life from the pages of magazines past. It’s women’s fiction with a historical nod and magical twist.

For those who can’t wait to delve in, I’ve prepared a free short story prequel, which you can read either before or after the novel (there is no set order and no spoilers). It’s free to check out here:

Free Short Story Prequel

The short story introduces three epic characters from the novel:

Meet Audrey, Australia’s most decorated WWII spy and saboteur from 1950, celebrating her exploits; Deborah, a preeminent feminist from 1970, leading the inaugural women’s marches of the era; and Nicole, a Nobel-Prize-winning climate scientist from the year 2000, deep in the Antarctic waters on a research expedition. Find out how they came to be ghost-mothers in the ultimate adventure on their last day on earth.

I want to thank you for coming along the publishing journey with me, it does feel like quite some time ago that I first started working on the novel, and now it’s finally making it out into the world.

I hope you enjoy the short story and I will be in touch soon! And…as promised, here is the cover reveal for the novel, let me know what you think!

The-Ghost-Mothers-1_small

Win a Kindle Competition (drawn Jan 2019)!

If you like reading as much as I do, and like to read on the go, then this one’s for you!

To celebrate the upcoming release of my debut novel, The Ghost-Mothers, I’m giving away a Kindle Paperwhite to one lucky reader. Simply click here to enter.

Yep, the competition is officially open – the latest Kindle Paperwhite retails for a cool $199.

Once you enter there will be ways to increase your chances of winning. You can enter at the link below:

https://kingsumo.com/g/tpcvby/win-a-kindle-paperwhite

A little blurb about the prize – it’s the thinnest, lightest Kindle Paperwhite yet – with a flush-front design and 300 ppi glare-free display that reads like real paper even in bright sunlight. Now waterproof, so you’re free to read and relax at the beach, by the pool, or in the bath (because who doesn’t like reading a book in the tub)!

Some details about the competition:

  1. The competition closes at 11pm on Friday 25th Jan (AEST). So get clicking to increase your chances of referrals.
  2. I may end the competition sooner, depending on the results, so it’s best to enter right away.
  3. The winner will be drawn on 29th Jan and notified by email (be sure to add info@jackiemccarthy.com to your address book)
  4. The prize is a Kindle Paperwhite, retailing for $199 (in Australia). Check local stores for pricing in other regions
  5. The prize will be mailed as soon as the winner confirms their postal address.

Sorry, residents of NSW are not permitted to enter (due to gaming laws that prevent us from having fun). Click here for the full T’s & C’s.

That’s it! Best of luck and thanks for entering!

Yours in creativity,

Jackie

Ps: for the rules of the competition, please go to www.jackiemccarthy.com/rules

 

Book Title Reveal and Win a Kindle!

There is so much happening in January – including a competition to celebrate the upcoming release of my book. Sign up to my Readers’ Group if you’d like to hear how to win a Kindle! Be quick, as the competition opens very soon.

Things are stepping up a notch – we’re now just a few short months away from publication of my debut novel. There’s a tonne of activity happening behind the scenes, starting with choosing a title for my debut novel. It’s done. Phew!

I put the title out to loads of people for feedback, including a survey of the short-listed titles. It was a close call between two of the entries, and I lost sleep over which one to choose. It turns out that nailing down a title for your debut novel is more difficult than writing the book in the first place!

Massive shout-out to everyone who commented or helped brainstorm the title, or who completed the survey. I considered all feedback very carefully, and apologies if I didn’t choose your favourite – there was so much to ponder (including my editor’s feedback, as she knows the industry best). In the end, the title I chose was;

“The Ghost-Mothers”

Congrats if this was your favourite option!

In other news, I have submitted the manuscript to my copy editor, so the book is on track for publishing in late March. In case you’re new to this blog, a little about the book;

The Ghost-Mothers takes us on a humorous, magical romp through the ages of Australia’s longest-running women’s magazine, with ‘fairy ghost-mothers’ springing to life from magazines past.

It is very loosely inspired by my time at The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Click on over to my previous post if you’d like a more detailed plot reveal. Oh and if you’re entering the Kindle competition, good luck!

Yours in creativity,

Jackie

Ps: Yes, I’m really giving away a free Kindle Paperwhite to one lucky reader! To be notified when the competition opens, simply sign up to my Readers’ Group. I’ll let existing subscribers know as well, of course. Good luck!

My Debut Novel – Plot Reveal!

I’m currently trawling through the feedback of my beta readers and working on the rewrites of my debut novel. Now that the story is coming to a more conclusive phase, it’s time to reveal a little more about the book itself.

The novel takes us on a magical romp through the ages of Australia’s longest-running women’s magazine, with characters springing to life from ‘magazines past.’

That’s all I’ve revealed so far, which is just a taster. So, let’s dive into more details.

The genre is women’s fiction, and I’ve used female characters almost exclusively. Most of them are epic. Some of them have a lot to learn (ahem…cue the hero).

Oh and, on that note, it’s unfortunate that I have to call it ‘women’s fiction’ just because that’s the recognised genre on Amazon. It’s a little dated in this day and age, and I apologise.

But, I digress.

Back to the story, we have a flawed hero, a young woman called Yasmin, whose skills lay in telling porkies. She’s not the most honest of people. But she has a dream – like most of us – and her dream is to work at Australia’s longest-running magazine. Throughout the book, we’ll see her ruthlessly pursuing that dream, sometimes to the detriment of herself and those around her. All while concocting the most fabulous tall tales she can muster.

Sounds like nothing can go wrong, right?

Well, the problem is that Yasmin has to face off the all-powerful and well-respected editor of said magazine – the irreplaceable Felicia Pine. Nothing gets past her. So, how will Yasmin land her dream job, with no experience and a faked resume?

Look out for the next blog instalment, in which I’ll reveal a further complication for our hero, in the form of fairy ghost-mothers!

Yours in creativity,

Jackie

Ps: I’m revealing exclusive details about the book over at my Reader’s Group. Not everything is going to make it onto this blog, so head on over for goodies you can’t get anywhere else!

Swimming with the Funk​

This is not a post about a musical movement, or polluted waters, but what happens when life gets in the way. Maybe you can relate to this.

I’ve had a month of particularly bad luck. So apologies for being somewhat silent on this blog of late – life’s been handing me ginormous lemons and I’ve had neither the will nor the juicer to turn that much sour fruit into lemonade.

I’ve had every intention of writing, but each time I’ve sat at the keyboard, something pulled me in a different direction. Eventually, I gave into the momentum, let it take me for a little while, and decided to put my writing to the side. Other things can be more important than writing a book (or a blog post).

And that’s the point I want to make – life ebbs and flows, we have times when things are going well, and other times that are challenging. Make headspace for dealing with things and don’t feel guilty about taking time off.

There is good news though – I decided that my run of bad luck ended last Saturday and that I would dip my toes back into writing. But that in itself seemed as scary as the latest Halloween movie.

How would I find the momentum I’d previously had?

I have a secret – something I’ve learned on my travels. It never fails.

Set yourself a laughably small goal. For me, it was to write one new chapter over the course of the weekend (approximately 1,600 words). I knew I could do that. I had all day Saturday and all day Sunday to achieve that goal. And of course, once the weekend rolled around, I actually wrote two new chapters and edited 10 more.

If I had set myself that more challenging goal – write two new chapters and edit 10 more – I might have felt overwhelmed and gone to the movies instead (but definitely not to watch Halloween. Have you seen the poster? It’s terrifying).

Instead, I beat my goal, broke my writing funk and had a sense of achievement. I felt hopeful again!

So, wherever you are, if life is beating you down, know that things are cyclical, that most states are temporary. Swim along with the funk, instead of resisting it. And when you’re done dealing with life, commit to a tiny goal that sets you back on the path to where you want to be.

It really works.

Yours in creativity,

Jackie

Why I want to High-Five Perfect Strangers

On my daily commute into Sydney’s CBD yesterday, I found myself staring out the window, occasionally nodding off as I tried to recreate the feeling of snoozing in bed beneath warm covers.

As my stop approached, my inner clock warned me that it was time to wake up.

I glanced around the train and saw other commuters, also wishing they were somewhere else. Some people expressed this aggressively, by playing loud music through headphones that could only be classified as ‘metallic construction shriek.’ Some ate into others’ personal space, in a tribal display of man-spreading. Yet others were glued to phones and the latest addictive must-play game of the year.

But there was one woman I wanted to high-five. Why you might ask? What could I possibly find in this forced shared experience, that would make we want to jump out of my seat, traverse the train carriage and slap hands with this perfect stranger?

She was reading a book.

You know, that thing we all used to read. With a pretty cover and real pages bound together. The thing that doesn’t need a power source. That is blissfully silent.

And it restored my faith that out there, somewhere, other people were enjoying books too, just like we did back in the 90’s, before the internet. It gave me hope that someone was savouring the simple act of turning the page, and hearing the paper rustle slightly against itself, and to feel the weight of those words in their hands.

Granted, this was one woman, on an entire train carriage. But it reminded me of what it was like, not so long ago in our human evolution, when smartphones were replaced with books or newspapers. Remember those?

So, I wanted to say ‘up high/down low/too slow!’ to this perfect stranger. She made my day.

I dare you to high-five a random book reader on your next commute. They’re difficult to spot, but they deserve our respect.

Yours in creativity,

Jackie

Ps: Do you like reading books too? Well, I’m writing one. If you’d like to read exclusive content that doesn’t make it onto my blog, and you’re a fan of women’s fiction, be sure to sign up to my newsletter. Thanks a bunch!

Bring on the Rewrites!

So here is the view from my editing desk tonight, as I hunker down and get some serious butt-in-chair time clocked. It’s great to be back working on the book, after waiting for my editor’s notes.

I am currently working hard on the rewrites, and I’m excited about this next stage. I realised that this is the only phase where I will be editing my debut novel – and to just enjoy it! The journey is just as important as the end result, which seems sooo far off at this point, but it’s getting closer. I promise.

I’ve also found the month’s break from the book to be inspiring – I’m keen to jump back in and rediscover the world that I’ve built (even if that world needs a little finessing to get it ship-shape).

While my amazing editor was busy making notes on the book, I was at a loss. What would I do with myself? Any changes I made to the book would have been redundant, so I was forced into a state of limbo.

Having spare time meant I was able to create a logo for my website (check it out at the top of this page). It’s always fun working with designers and seeing the concepts they create. And I’ve given my website a slight colour palette refresh. What do you think?

I’ve also been studying all things publishing and peeking ahead at the stages to come. I can’t wait to share my book with you!

One thing I learned during my ‘break’ is that Facebook only shows my posts to around 5% of people who like my page. Crazy, right? So the best way to keep in touch is via email (so I can let you know directly). Email is friendlier, and you get to ask me anything you fancy!

Be sure to sign up here if you’d like to follow my publishing journey. I share behind-the-scenes info that doesn’t make it onto my blog, plus first-look launch details. I send emails infrequently so your inbox won’t be bombarded. I’d love to have you along for the ride!

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. First the rewrites, which will be fairly extensive. Which means, back to the editing desk for me!

Yours in creativity,

Jackie

Long Weekend Cons​

I flew down to Melbourne this long weekend, to attend the Continuum Speculative Fiction Convention, otherwise known as #Con_14, full of inspiring people, engaging panels and cosplay characters in action.

For those of you who aren’t quite sure what ‘speculative fiction’ entails, it’s an umbrella term used to group fiction with supernatural, fantastical or futuristic elements. Some examples are dystopias like Handmaid’s Tale, fantasy like Harry Potter, and Space Opera like Star Wars (OK, Star Wars is known more for its movies than its fiction, but said fiction does exist, and it’s a free pass to include the words ‘Star Wars’ in my blog).

Basically, Spec Fic is just a fancy name, an excellent excuse for Melbourne to host the con, and for me to geek out and hang with my peeps!

It’s been a while between visits to Melbourne. During my stay, I met outstanding writers, was thoroughly confused by – and accidentally paid for – the free trams, and sampled Melbourne’s best coffee (a large claim, but it didn’t disappoint) at Journeyman in Windsor.

I shared a room with my friend’s cat, Mozart, who is quite possibly the cutest feline on social media (again, a daring claim, but Mo-Mo definitely delivers). I learned that a cat can wake this human simply by staring at me, inches from my face. That’s kitty power.

I was also able to meet my writing buddy, who’s been there since the start of the novel-writing process, and who is a stand-up guy. We’ve had weekly progress chats each Sunday night since August, spurring each other on, but this is the first time we’ve met face-to-face.

So, a pretty inspiring trip (kitty-induced nightmares aside).

Back in Sydney, I’m enjoying a little downtime while waiting for feedback from my editor in a couple of weeks. I’ll then delve deep into the re-writes. The publishing calendar is coming together.

Until the next instalment, keep warm (if you’re in the southern hemisphere, like me), or enjoy the warmer climes (if you’re not). And thanks for sticking around!

Yours in creativity,

Jackie

Ps: If you’d like to follow my publishing journey, feel free to register your interest. More sneak-peeks, goodies and freebies to follow!

Pss: If you’re more into social media, head on over to twitter or my Facebook page. Come and say ‘hi’ (I promise my purr is louder than my bite).

Ready For the Editor!

Well, it’s done; the 7th Draft of my debut novel in only 8 months. I’ve just finished the verbal read-through and it’s ready for the editor. The pic above is what 90,000 words looks like!

8 months might seem like a long time to some, and a short time to others. But I have never reached this far with a novel, so it feels a little special. And everyone has to go at their own pace.

Now that I’m finished a fairly polished draft, this week I will find an editor and send out for quotes. It will be the first time I’m seeking professional feedback on the novel.

A little scary! But also exciting.

So, while I enjoy this little milestone, I wanted to give some encouragement back to you.

Celebrate your own milestones, whether or not they’re writing-related.

If you’ve started anything new recently, you’ll know that at first, it’s terrifying. Who wants to be a beginner again? Especially if you’ve reached a stage in your life where you’ve pretty much got your life and work down to a fine art (you hardly have to think when driving to the supermarket, or preparing a familiar meal, or deciding which cafe delivers the most consistent cup of java).

For me, there were many scary moments in the writing process; joining the self-publishing course. The first time I posted in various expert Facebook groups. My first call with an accountability buddy. Persevering to write through the doubt and fear. Committing to a schedule, then committing to deadlines. Calling myself a ‘writer’ for the first time.

So be sure to celebrate as you go along, with all the new things you’ll learn and do. The people you’ll meet, the inspiration you’ll find along the way. Because it’s those milestones that keep us moving towards our goals, that breaks the process down into manageable chunks.

Life ensures we have some tough days, each and every one of us. So when things are tough, just remember how far you’ve come. You may surprise yourself at all the ‘firsts’ you’ve accumulated so far.

And, if you haven’t tried something new in a while, I can totally recommend you do. Listen to a new genre of music. Read a non-fiction book, if you usually read fiction. Go along to that Spanish class you’ve always wanted to try. Heck, even walk a new route to work.

And above all, keep celebrating, friends!

Yours in creativity,

Jackie

ps: if you’d like to follow my publishing progress and never miss a post, be sure to sign up for my newsletter (at the very top of this page). And thank you for your support! More news to follow.