Monday, November 30, 2015

EXPANDING PERSONAL SPACE IT’S ALL ABOUT THEM {Making your blog work for others}

Image: Jonathan Pendleton via

Last week I talked about my blog as my personal space, and I asked myself a series of questions to help me find out what I wanted to get out of blogging. I discovered I wanted to focus more on me and my writing, and since making that decision I have felt much better about my blog, because it’s now something I’m doing for myself. It’s all about me.

You can read the post HERE and download the free worksheet to help you get your blog back on track.

However, I also want my blog to be a space for others. I want to expand my personal space, and invite you to come in and have a look around.

In order to do this, my blog needs to be a place where people will want to come. Sounds pretty simple, right? I’m not so sure. I’ve thought about it long and hard, asking myself what I like from the blogs I read regularly, and I’ve come up with this:

Easy to read: The typeface and size of the text has to be comfortable to read. If it’s hard work, I don’t want to stick around. Usually online a sans serif face works well. My blog is set in Calibri at 16 point. Also consider background colour. Black or grey text on white is far easier on the eye than white text on black.

Nice to look at: I’m a graphic designer, so I’m constantly looking at how things are designed. I often pull them apart in my head and put them back together again. If the blog I’m looking at is designed nicely, then I’m more likely to stay a while.

Easy to navigate: Blogs have come so far in that they aren’t just a blog anymore. We can have several pages to our websites that contain a limitless amount of content. Finding this content needs to be clear and simple, and this is something I’m constantly working on.

My suggestions are:
  • Use a few key tags or labels as opposed to too many (something else I’m working on)
  • Have the main navigation clear at the top of the blog
  • Make your blog archive easily accessible
  • Use eye-catching graphics in the sidebar for extra interest and easy content click through.

Interesting content: By now the blog has sucked me in with its prettiness and ease of reading, but what I’m reading needs to keep me interested. This could be anything from the way the blogger writes, to the topic they’re writing about. It’s a very personal thing, and what holds my attention on one blog may not hold yours. I do believe though that if you’re writing on a topic you’re passionate about, this will shine through your words and make the post interesting.

Informative: As well as being interesting, the content should aim to inform on a certain topic. Whatever topic you’ve chosen, blog posts need some direction, otherwise they risk becoming boring.  There should be a clear movement from introduction, to the presentation of information, to the conclusion. Much like a story has a beginning, middle, and end.

Something of value: For me this is an important key point. Sometimes the value is in the information. If I come away from reading a post knowing something I didn’t know before, then I’m satisfied. If the post has made me think, or encouraged me to engage with the writer, then their job is done. Other times value can be found in aspects such as free downloads or samples. The idea is to leave the reader with the sense that they received something from your blog post.

Regular: If a blog I like doesn’t post content on a regular basis, I tend to forget about them. Because I’m so busy, usually I’ve signed up to follow them so I won’t actively seek out new blog posts. They have to land in my inbox. If this happens on a regular basis I’m more inclined to stay for a while after I’ve read the new post. Your posts don’t have to be frequent, but they should be regular so the reader knows when to expect a new post (something else I’m working on yet again).

Download my free worksheet to help you structure an effective blog post.

When I decided to move away from promoting other authors and to focus my blog on me and my writing, it didn’t mean I wanted to stop helping others. Through sharing my own experiences, thoughts, and knowledge, it is my hope that what I have to offer from this point forward is something the online community will find helpful.

Be awesome
K x

Sunday, November 22, 2015

PERSONAL SPACE IT'S ALL ABOUT ME {making your blog work for you}

Image: Dustin Lee via

I’ve been blogging here since October 2012. It’s been more than three years, and I’m surprised at how fast time passes. When I took a look back through everything I’ve posted until now, I realised that I’ve spent a lot of time helping and promoting other authors. I love to help people. I think it’s one of the most rewarding actions we can take in this world that’s so full of negativity. Helping others makes the world a better place.

But … I’ve had a long think about it, and I’ve also realised that while it brings me great joy when I help other authors spread the word about their work, my blog is not the space I wish to do it in. Over the past few weeks I’ve had several close author friends have cover reveals and new releases, and it’s always exciting when something comes to life that you know someone has worked so hard on. A few of these I committed to posting here, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get around to it. The guilt ate a hole in my stomach, and I promised myself I would stop agreeing to do something I don’t have enough time for. My life is a bit crazy. On a bad day I barely have time to reach my 400 word goal. So spending hours formatting blog posts that inevitably won’t help me gain anything other than the warm fuzzy feels is not very productive for me and my work.

I want my blog space to take a new direction, and I want it to be about me and my writing.

When I say it like that it makes me sound selfish, but in my own space I think I have the right to be. This is the place where it can be all about me.

The other aspect of blogging I’ve struggled with over the years is getting into a routine where I can do it regularly. I’ve found in the past that I haven’t had much to say, so my posts have been erratic and at times probably not what you as my readers want to read about. I’m hoping if I shift the focus to where the heart of my love and passion lies, I’ll be able to write more interesting and engaging posts, and to also do it more regularly. I’m hoping my posts will still be able to help others, but in a different way.

Have you found yourself in the same position as me? Have you gotten to the point where the content of your blog has overshadowed what you originally set out to do? If the answer is yes, then ask yourself the questions I asked myself:

  • What lies at the heart of my blog?
  • What is my blog about?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What do I want to offer in my blog posts?
  • What is the direction I want my blog to take?
  • How frequently do I want to blog, and what can I do to make it happen?

Download my free worksheet to help you answer these questions.

I’m planning to make my blog space more personal, and give you the chance to see inside my head more than you would by reading my books. I hope to write posts about what’s going on in my writing life, what’s easy and what’s hard. Projects I’m working on, books I’m reading, helpful resources, and things that bring me happiness. I might even throw some advice in there every now and again. I’d love to know what you would like to hear from me, so please comment and we’ll get the conversation going.

Be awesome.
K x

Monday, November 02, 2015

Setting Achievable Goals – Writember Workshop and NaNo WriMo

I haven’t really shared much writing news with you all this year. Mainly because I haven’t had all that much to share. Fight For Me, the second book in the Tate Chronicles, released back in January. After that I began the draft for Die For Me, which will be the final book, but with uni, and life, and a three month holiday, time got away and the draft still isn’t finished.

I’m okay with that, because now I’m more prepared to get stuck into it and get that sucker written. Although I won’t be announcing a release date until I know that I can pull it off, I can tell you it will be some time in the New Year.

Nano started this week, and I have every intention of participating (I think), but I’m also doing something else to help me achieve my writing goals. I’m taking part in the Writember Workshop via Writerology, and I’m excited about this because I’m looking forward to changing from a sporadic binge writer to someone who can find the time to write every day.

I took a pledge, and I vowed to write 300 words of fiction and 100 words of nonfiction every day. It’s a far cry from the 1667 daily nano goal in order to reach 50k, but one thing I have learnt since starting the workshop is that I need to set attainable goals. If I have a goal that’s too hard to reach, then I’ll feel like a failure if and when I fall short. By setting a goal I know I can achieve on my worst day, it will be easier to go above and beyond on all the good days.

So in terms of writing news, in early 2016 you can expect to see the last book in the Tate Chronicles come to life. I also have a few other novel ideas almost plotted out, and I’ll be deciding which of those to move forward with. When I know, I’ll let all of you know, too. And lastly, I have another exciting project I’ve been working on for the past few months, but one I’m not entirely ready to share yet. Make sure you keep an eye out for it though. It will be one for the writers.

K x

Sunday, November 01, 2015

End Radio Silence – It’s Been a While

It’s been a long time. A long time since I posted anything on this blog, and a long time since I got back from my extended holiday.

I haven’t been around for a while because I was off gallivanting around Australia with my hubby and two young children. We drove, we bushwalked, we went places we’ve never been, we pushed boundaries, we swam, we ate, we drank, we met amazing people, we relaxed, and we had the most awesome time ever. The pink line on the map still blows me away …

I had every intention of keeping everyone in the loop. But the truth is, I enjoyed the time away, and the solitude of the open roads, and the quiet of the Aussie outback far too much to worry about keeping up with everything and everyone else.

I went into the trip filled with optimism, and with the best intentions of writing every day, because I should have had all the time in the world. But even though we did so much in the three months, what I didn’t do much of is write. I did keep up with my daily blog post on our personal travel blog which sometimes equated to more than 1k words a day, and I made quite a few entries into my notebooks as we were bumping along those outback roads, but not once did I turn the laptop on and write new words for any of my current WIPs.

At the time this was perfectly fine, because I was so busy with everything else, and all the fun we were having, that I didn’t give it a second thought. When I got home, I felt conflicted. One minute I wished I’d set aside a little more time to spend with my laptop, then the next I remembered all the things we did instead. The first few days back at home I felt guilty because I hadn’t reached my goal of getting the draft done for the final book in my series. I was on a downer because our adventure was over. Then while I was slapping myself on the wrist, telling myself to get over it, reality was whacking me in the face. And when I thought about it some more, I was actually glad I didn’t spend any time engrossed in my imaginary worlds, because I had all that time to spend with my children and reconnect with my family.

We’ve been home for over a month now, and the holiday seems like a distant memory. But apart from broadening my life experience, it taught me a very valuable lesson.

Even though I’m a writer and author, it’s not the only thing about me and my life that matters. I’m also a wife, mother, friend, reader, artist, graphic designer, adventure seeker, uni student, and so many other things. I have goals, and I should try my best to achieve them, but sometimes it’s okay to take time off … from everything. Sometimes doing that is the best thing, because I don’t ever want to lose sight of what is most important to me. Even though I have a million and one things I want to do before I die, my family is at the top of my most important list, and if I needed to take three months off from doing something I love to spend it with them, then it was totally worth it, because I can only watch my kids grow up once.
Our trip was amazing. So amazing I can’t really put it into words. And even though I didn’t write like I’d planned to, I’ve come away with more worldly experience, priceless memories, and a brain full of fuel for future writing.

It would be impossible to show you everything we did in one blog post, but here are some of the amazing places we visited.

Ayreshire Hills


Lichfield National Park

The Horizontal Waterfalls

Cable Beach, Broome

Coral Bay

Shell Beach, Shark Bay

Monkey Mia

Steep Point

Kalbarri National Park and Aussie wildflowers

K x

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I Hit the Gold Coast for RWDU With My Aussie Owned and Read Girls

On March 27th I made the journey to Qld for the Readers and Writers Down Under Convention. This was my second year attending this event (formerly known as Indie Authors Down Under) and I had an absolute ball.

My assistant, Katrina, and I were on the road to the airport at 5am, and our plane from Sydney left the tarmac at 7.10am. We watched the sun rise from our seats as we taxied along the runway.


When we reached the Gold Coast we met up with our beautiful Aussie Owned member, Stacey, and dumped our bags in our room. Stacey and I spent the morning attending some panels. There were discussions about all sorts of things, and we enjoyed watching Aussie Owned's lovely Lauren talk on the Fine Line Between Young Adult and New Adult panel with Jay McLean.

Jay McLean and Lauren McKellar

After a relaxing lunch, a glass of wine, and a pedicure with Katrina by my side, it was back to the panels with Stacey. We got to hear Abbi Glines talk social media, and after meeting her last year, it was great to be in the same room with this inspirational woman again.

Abbi Glines

By this time I was walking dead on my feet. Being up since 4am can do that to you! But we pushed on and Stacey, Katrina and I had a lovely dinner with Bianca from Martini Times Romance. After dinner we strolled through the markets on the foreshore and were treated to an unexpected fireworks show.


It was then time to prepare for the big event the next day, and get everything ready for the signing. We finally climbed into bed at 11pm.

We were up at 6am, had a quick breakfast and fussed about with last minute preparations before we headed down to the ballroom to set up. The room buzzed with organised chaos, and the atmosphere was invigorating. At 9.30am the doors opened for the VIP guests, and at 10am it was open slather for all.

Me with my wonderful assistant, Katrina,
after we'd finished setting up

My wonderful assistant never left my side, and I spent the day signing books, meeting new readers, and catching up with some lovely people I’d met last year. One of the highlights was getting to meet Fiona Miller-Stevens. She was on my team for Pitcharama 2014, and since then we’ve stayed in touch. It was really nice finally being able to chat face to face.

Me with Fiona Miller-Stevens

There was no time to spend with Stacey or Lauren at the signing, so Stacey and I took the opportunity to catch up on everything over lunch.

Stacey and I at lunch

Before we knew it the day was over and it was time to get ready for the red carpet awards dinner. Lauren, Stacey and I were all nominated in several categories, so the excitement was high. Although none of us brought home an award, they all went to deserving and wonderful people. Besides, we were having too much fun in the photo booth to care about anything else!


Stacey, Katrina and I shared a table with Bianca and M.J. Stevens, and we all had a fantastic night. I fell into bed around 11pm again, and I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

From L-R M. J. Stevens, Bianca (Martini Times Romance), Stacey Nash, K. A. Last (me), Katrina (my assistant)

On Sunday morning I think I was too tired to really process the weekend in its entirety. When Katrina and I boarded the plane at lunch time, I felt sad to be leaving, but I was so glad to be heading home to my family and my own bed. Looking back on it now, it was a fantastic weekend, and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

K x