Monthly Archives: November 2012

Author Spotlight: Cally Jackson

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Cally Jackson!


Nicknames: The usual is Cal. Cal-Bal is my family nickname from when I was little.

Where do you live: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (great weather if you like it hot, which I do!)

Your favorite dessert: Oooh tough one. Probably cheesecake or good old vanilla ice cream with milo on top!

Your favorite TV series: I have a few – Home and Away (an Aussie soapie), Packed to the Rafters, and Revenge spring to mind. I’d like to pretend my taste in TV shows is more cultured, but it’s just not. :-)

Last book you read: Last book in general: Up the Duff by Kaz Cooke (an Australian book about pregnancy), Last fictional book: The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan

Last movie you watched: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (yes, I’m a Twi-hard. Looking forward to seeing the final instalment this weekend. Please don’t think less of me!)

Last song (or album) you bought: I haven’t bought any new music in so long I can’t remember – I just listen to the same stuff over and over again. I think it was the latest volume of the Triple J Hottest 100 (which I’m sure means nothing to most readers but it’s a great collection)

A book/series you could read over and over again: Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life (one of the biggest literary influences on The Big Smoke)

Coke or pepsi? Coke

Day or night? Day

Pen or pencil? Pen

Summer or winter? Summer

Cat or dog? Dog

Tea or coffee? I love both, but if I could only ever have one for the rest of my life, I’d choose tea. I’ve discovered decaffeinated black tea, which is great for me since I’m 32 weeks pregnant!

Plotter or pantser? Plotter all the way. Even writing a chapter out of sequence makes me twitchy!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Writing has always been part of my life but it was only when I gave up on becoming an actress that I decided to pursue writing more seriously. Eleven years later, I’ve just published the book I began back then. Perhaps I need to work on my time management… ;-)

What are you working on now? I’m really excited about the ideas I have for my next book, which will be a young adult time travel romance. However, I’m currently 32 weeks pregnant so something tells me writing might have to go on the back burner for a bit…

If you decided not to be a writer, what would your other dream job be? Why? I’d love to work in communication for a not-for-profit organisation advancing the welfare of animals. I’m passionate about animal welfare, and I enjoy communication (it’s my current day job), so it’d be a great mix. If I could get work/life balance into that mix as well, that would be super!

What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done in your life? Scary in a physical sense: “canyon swinging” in Queenstown, New Zealand. Scary in an emotional sense: trying to maintain a normal life while struggling with a panic disorder (which thankfully is ‘in remission’)

Who is the one person that has singlehandedly inspired you the most in your life? I actually can’t pinpoint one person. Sorry! But that’s because SO MANY people inspire me. Both my parents have inspired me in many different ways, and there’s a raft of public people who I find incredibly inspirational, like Nelson Mandela and Lyn White from advocacy group Animals Australia.

What is one talent that you’re hopeless at, but you wish you had? I wish I could sing. Some people are born with the most amazing voices. Sadly, I wasn’t one of them. Doesn’t stop me from singing along to the radio though!

What is one trait or physical characteristic that you are proud of/love about yourself? I’m a very genuine, approachable person, and even though it can get me into trouble sometimes, I wouldn’t want to be any other way.

Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? Keep writing. Even if you feel like what you’re writing is rubbish, get it out on the page. You can edit rubbish; you can’t edit an empty page. Have faith in yourself – not every word you write will be gold, but if you persist, you can make your story shine.


Bio: Cally Jackson grew up in the small country town of Gatton. After deciding at 17 that a Hollywood acting career was sadly out of reach, Cally turned to a career in professional communication and is currently employed by the government.
Cally’s passion for fictional writing first emerged in grade two when she got in trouble for penning her own tale instead of copying directly from a story book as she was supposed to be doing – it was a handwriting exercise, after all.
Cally now lives in Brisbane with the two loves of her life – her husband, Mark, and her dog, Lucy.

Blog | Twitter | Goodreads


Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance.

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N



RTW: For Inspiration

Road Trip Wednesday is a “Blog Carnival,” where YA Highway‘s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic:

Tons of writers are in the midst of NaNoWriMo, trying to stay inspired as we reach the dreaded middle. Share your most inspiring and/or motivational video, book, or quote on writing!

Well, I’m a little behind on NaNo. I should have 23,800 words today, but I have 18,000. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to catch up because I don’t write on weekends and, next weekend being Thanksgiving, I’ll be visiting friends in another state and that means no writing for 4 extra days.

My inspiration doesn’t change for NaNo. What changes is the support and the team that the community becomes. That’s the most inspiring thing. Seeing tons of writers hammering down word after word and cheering for each other. That’s the real inspiration.

However, my everyday inspiration comes from my Pinterest boards these days. Of course, sometimes I listen to a song or watch a movie and that inspires me, but I don’t go looking for those.

This is one of my favorites quotes:

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”

Neil Gaiman


I know the following three videos aren’t that short, but they are really, really worth it. I mean it.

Here’s the famous commencement speech from Neil Gaiman:


Here’s Steve Job’s commencements speech:


And here’s a speech by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love:


And for fun, this song has been my listen-on-repeat-about-1000-times-a-day lately (I first heard it during an episode of Beauty and the Beast):


How about you? What’s your inspiration for NaNoWriMo–or writing in general?


The Next Big Thing …

I was tagged by my awesome CP and friend Jani Grey and my super NA sister Victoria H. Smith on this fun game. Thank you, dears!

The rules:

Give credit to the person/blog  that tagged you
* Post the rules for this hop
* Answer these ten questions about your current WIP on your blog
* Tag five other writers/blogger and add their links so we can hop over and meet them


Okay, but I’ll cheat. It’s not a current WIP – it’s a contracted book that will come out next month. Here it goes:

What is the working title of your book? 

Her Heart’s Secret Wish


Where did the idea come from?

Not sure. I just thought about a girl with a bad reputation and an attractive nerd and went with it, I guess.


What genre does your book fall under?

New Adult Contemporary Romance


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Difficult question. I’m sure it would be impossible to find them as I truly imagine them, but here is the closer I got:

Ryan Doom as Jason Stone.

Emma Roberts as Natasha.

In this photo you can’t really see, but her eyes are green.


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Girl needs to let go of the walls around her heart before it’s too late.

And, just because I want, here’s the un-revised blurb:


With a renowned reputation as a player, she had everything figured out…

Twenty years old college student, Natasha is the life of every party and the reason behind many celebrations. The easiest girl on campus has all guys at her feet and more than a few in her bed.

…until he came into the game…

Having entered the academic world by chance, Professor Jason Stone is surprised to find one of his young students a huge temptation. The infamous Natasha has caught his attention. But is there more to her than meets the eye?

and changed the rules.

As their unexpected friendship grows, so does their attraction to each other. When Jason’s Christmas plans are cancelled and he ends up at the same party as Natasha, sparks flare, destroying the safe zone around them. Will they figure out how to break through their self-imposed barriers to be together, or lose one another forever?


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither. It’s going to be published by Decadent Publishing as an ebook in December, just in time for Christmas.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Since it’s a novelette (just under 15k words), it took me 3 or 4 days.


May we see an intro?

“Anything for me?”

Bells rang in Natasha’s mind along with the male voice addressing her. She stood from her crouch behind the shop’s counter, where she’d been looking for one of the fifty staplers they kept in the bookstore, and found Mr. Stone—or just Jason, when he wasn’t wearing slacks and polo shirts—smiling at her.

“Hi.” Reminding herself to stay cool, she said, “In fact, there is something for you. It arrived this morning.” She picked up the small package under the desk and handed it to him.

“Sweet!” He tore open the parcel and stared at the book and DVD inside. His bright blue eyes contrasted his indigo T-shirt, causing the butterflies in her stomach to flutter their wings.

Wow, sweet is his scent. She didn’t dislike the aroma of books and pens around her, but whenever he was close, his cedar wood, nutmeg, and coffee cologne was the only thing her nose caught, teasing her mind and other body parts, including the butterflies.

She soothed the flapping of the wings, knowing she shouldn’t be so casual with him, but she couldn’t help herself. Illustration and gaming professor or not, she liked talking to him. Many times they had accidentally met at the library or the computer lab and chatted for hours about numerous topics, but mostly about design and graphics and all kinds of things from fashion to cars, and even his games.


What other books would you compare this story to?

Hard to tell. Any New Adult Contemp out there, I think. The difference is this is shorter, but still very emotional and angsty. I can tell you it share a trope with Easy by Tammara Webber and Losing It by Cora Carmack, which is the student-teacher relationship.


Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I saw several submission calls for novellas or novelettes revolving around Christmas, and I tried my hand at writing one.


What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

A sexy nerd. Do I need to say more? A pretty girl, who looks perfect on the outside, but is broken on the inside. Sparks and sexual tension. Forbidden love. Hot kisses.


Now I need to tag some friend to tell us about their Next Big Thing: Melissa Hurst, Heather L. Reid, Lauren Garafalo, Lena Corazon and EM Castellan.

Even if I did’t tag you, feel free to write a post like this one—and please, leave the link on the comments so I can check it out!


#ROW80 check-in 11/11

Hey friends! Welcome to my weekly ROW80 update!

Here is my goals for the past week and how it went:

  • Writing: Just keep writing. It’s time to catch up with NaNo. That went very well on Monday – I wrote over 6k words. Tues, my kid didn’t have school, so no writing. And then my NaNo plans fell apart (explanation bellow). Wed and Thur, I worked on pre-edits (of the manuscript I’ll mention bellow). Fri, I wrote around 2k words.
  • Reading: read book #67 of the year. I did read #67, but I confess I skimmed a lot because I wasn’t happy with the writing … and I read two short books, #68 and #69.
  • Social media: I want to spend LESS time on twitter and blogging—so I can get more writing done! Meh. I blogged a lot, but most were blog posts sent to me, I just had to format them. And I’ve been on and off twitter.
  • Exercising: at least 2x. My doctor said I shouldn’t exercise for a whole week after the surgery, which means I shouldn’t exercise once this week … I wanted to go, but didn’t feel good enough. My jaw and teeth (or lack of) still hurt and I can’t imagine lifting weight and running around like this. Damn my dentist for being right …

So, why my NaNo project fell apart? See, I wrote a novella last year about Valentine’s Day and shelved it. Later this year, I kept thinking about it, that I should submit to small presses and try to publish it. So I did. But then later, a sudden will to transform it into a novel hit (a total rewrite …) and I emailed the publisher with my manuscript and asked to get out of the submission queue (and I was told I was out of the queue). Then I lunged into the rewrites of that novella, turning it into a novel, during this NaNo … on Tuesday night, I got an email with a contract offer on the novella. See, the novella is great, I just would add length and one more subplot (to explain the new length). The story would be basically the same. So … I accepted the offer (here’s the announcement post) and was left without a WIP for NaNo!

While working on pre-edits on Wed and Thu, I thought about what to write next. It can be a problem when you have too many ideas. After much thought, I chose a WIP and worked on it on Fri. Though, right now, I’m not sure I’ll meet the 50k words for NaNo, especially since I’ll be visiting friends during Thanksgiving week … so, yeah, that leaves me 10 weekdays to write about 50k words. So not happening. But, this is my job and I will write anyway, right? So, let’s count the words and see how it goes …

My goals for next week:

  • Writing: Just keep writing.
  • Reading: read book #70 of the year. This challenge began with 52 books (1 per week) and I increased as I went. It’s sitting on 70 right now, but I won’t change.
  • Social media: I want to spend LESS time on twitter and blogging—so I can get more writing done!
  • Exercising: at least 4x.

On my blogs this week:


How was your week?


Hi! I'm Juliana Haygert,

USA Today Bestselling Author.

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