DB Tait

love can be dangerous …

Cold-Deception-high-resFor a short time, the first in the Dark Mountain series, Cold Deception, is free on Amazon.com Amazon.com.au iTunes and Kobo. Go get it!

Secrets, lies, deception. That’s what it takes to stay alive.

At 20, Julia Taylor went to prison for murdering a man who deserved it. Ten years later, she’s ready to put the past behind her and get on with her life. But someone won’t let her. Someone will do anything to drive Julia away, including murder.

As the body count rises, Julia is forced to accept the help of Dylan Andrews, a cop with dark secrets of his own. Unfortunately help has a cost. Dylan is digging into Julia’s past, uncovering secrets she is desperate to keep.

Julia must keep Dylan at a distance, or else risk her own safety, and the safety of everyone she loves …

And if you like it, you can get Desperate Deception: Dark Mountain 2.

 

Mel15banner-2I’ve had a busy couple of months, finishing a book (Desperate Deception: Dark Mountain 2 – out on 8 October!), having some fun at the Byron Bay Writers Festival and being with my tribe at the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference. DesperateDeception-high-res

I’ve also started the third in the Dark Mountain series; Fatal Deception. So far a forensic psychologist (the heroine), a narcissistic psychopath and a rather likable serial killer have turned up on the page. The hero is waiting in the wings, ready to give the heroine some bad news. Her life is going to get a lot more problematic.

I can also hear the siren call of some erotic romance stories. Maybe I can slip one in while I write about murder and mayhem.

Today there was an interesting discussion on Twitter about the lack of a romance genre presence at writers festivals. There’s a common belief among romance writers that the major Australian literary festivals are not interested in genre writing and romance writing in particular. Crime is the usual exception being well represented at most festivals.

I think that’s changing. This year the Melbourne Writers Festival had a good romance presence, the result of a pitch to the festival organisers by Kate Cuthbert and others. Having a good pitch is the key. Lisa Dempster the CEO of the Melbourne Writers Festival gave a useful presentation at the RWA conference about how to get onto writers festival panels. Pitching a good idea that is not necessarily genre specific seems to be what they’re interested in.

I could see this at the Byron Bay Writers Festival. One of the sessions I went to was about Duplicitous Lives – a session about writers who’d written books about adulterous men. Another was about Grief and Creativity. Both panels were about ideas and themes such as denial and forgiveness. I could see genre writers contributing to each panel, brining to them a different perspective.

Honey Brown, Krissy Kneen, Jennifer St George, Moya Sayer-Jones

Honey Brown, Krissy Kneen, Jennifer St George, Moya Sayer-Jones

The Byron Bay Writers Festival did have a panel that was allegedly about romance but wasn’t really. Honey Brown, Krissy Kneen and Jennifer St George ended up talking about sex and erotica. It was interesting but not a panel on romance as a genre. If you are a member of the Australian Romance Readers Association, there will be a write up about this panel in the September newsletter.

Some panels I’d like to see at writers festivals would be feminism and romance; how to write authentically about happiness; does success lead to intellectual dismissal in Australia; writing what you know – using your profession in your writing. Maybe I’ll pitch!

The RWA conference was dazzling this year. Held in partnership with the Melbourne Writers Festival,

Anne Gracie as Barbara Cartland; Marion Lennox as Captain Jack Sparrow; Trish Morrow as the conference logo.

Anne Gracie as Barbara Cartland; Marion Lennox as Captain Jack Sparrow; Trish Morrow as the conference logo.

there was a significant non-romance element to the conference which I was a bit ambivalent about. Graeme Simsion author of the Rosie books gave a key note address, and while I loved The Rosie Project and he is a funny and engaging speaker, I still have a niggling doubt that if he was middle aged and female his books wouldn’t have been the hits they are. Is that me being unfair? Maybe it is.

Chris Corbett’s workshop on screen writing was excellent. He was able to present in an hour a concise and funny workshop, jam packed with meaty, useful material. I’m seriously thinking of doing a day workshop with him in January 2016.

Likewise CS Pacat’s workshop on narrative traction was a terrific rundown on how to maintain tension throughout a story. Her Captive Prince Trilogy is a great example of withholding the resolution of tension in order to keep the reader turning the page.

In late October I’m off to GenreCon in Brisbane, while some of my romance writing friends are off to Jindabyne for Romancing the Snowy. Can’t fit it all in!

Snow! We had a huge dump on Thursday night, so Friday was Snowday! Up in the Blue Mountains that means everything grinds to a halt and we all go a bit crazy. Me? When I woke up at 7:00am I had no power and no heat, but luckily a gas cooktop. This meant I could at least make a cup of tea. So I went back to bed and tried to stay warm. Swathed in woollen shawls and scarves with sweaters and track suit pants, ski socks and gloves, I had the company of Tana French’s latest The Secret Place.

When the power came back on at 10:30am that first hot shower was absolute bliss. The thermostat on my heater said it was only 3C inside. Brr. So cold I couldn’t hold a pen to write. Even now, the next day, there’s still a lot of snow around and the highway is closed again. But it’s a glorious winter day here, the sun is out, glittering on the snow and my heater works. All is good.

So, I haven’t been here for a while. There are reasons for that. Not very good ones, but nevertheless, reasons. Cold Deception came out in March and I was writing Desperate Deception. Now I’m gearing up to start Fatal Deception. But there is an elephant in the corner I’ve been ignoring. In my case it’s a big, wooly mammoth.

It’s the problem of discoverability. Really, it’s the problem of promotion. promo

I hate promotion. Which is not very helpful if my book is only available as an ebook and isn’t in a bricks and mortar store. I face the issue that most e-published writers face, which is how to let people on the wide, infinite black hole that is the internet know that my book is available from their favourite etailer and that it’s really good and they should buy it.

It’s a simple message but hard to execute.

Why so hard? It means I have to get onto places like Facebook and Twitter and sell myself. As soon as I do that, I have the nuns of my childhood telling me it’s a sin to want to be the centre of attention and I should do a rosary as penance. I told my fellow author and A Team member Lizzy Chandler that I get squirmy at the thought of posting some of the positive reviews I’ve had of Cold Deception on my Facebook page. She looked at me as if I was mad and told me that’s what it’s for. To sell myself. Oh, yeah, I thought. That’s right. So it is.

Be prepared to see a bit more promotion of on my Facebook page.

What else have I been up to? Reading of course. You can see what I’ve read so far this year here. Lots have been good, but the two stand outs for me so far have been Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel20170404 19486412and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I’m in the middle of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life which I think will be up there as one of my favourites too.

I’ve also been cooking! My work mates and my Facebook friends know I hummed and hawed about purchasing a Kitchen Aid bench mixer. I finally did and she’s a beauty. Takes a bit of getting used to, but I’m working up to making some bread. I blame Martha Stewart Bakes as the reason I’ve developed the cooking bug.

I’m watching too much television but there is some interesting stuff on. I got completely caught up watching Grace and Frankie and watched the whole series over two days. I’ll watch anything with Lily Tomlin and Martin Sheen. Another series on Netflix which is really intriguing is Residue, a British scifi 1252062046571494799series with a couple of the actors from Game of Thrones playing the leads. Poor Iwan Rheon, I think he’ a very good actor but might be cursed by playing the detestable Ramsay Bolton.

I’ve missed the Poldark train but caught the Mapp and Lucia one. I read the EF Benson books years ago and loved them. mapp_and_lucia_officialMiranda Richardson is a treat as Elizabeth Mapp.

So, back to promotion. I’ll probably set up a newsletter as most authors do. I’m not sure about them though. Perhaps I’ll just keep to this blog. It’s seem much more user friendly and I can prattle on about anything.

Essentially though, this is in my immediate future. Plotting tools. IMG_1424

Cold-Deception 500 x 667Prologues are definitely out of style. A few years ago, when Jenny Cruise attended the Romance Writers’ of Australia Conference, she railed against them vociferously, stating she’d never seen a prologue that couldn’t be cut.

I sat at the back of the conference room bowing to her greater wisdom (and writing success!) but secretly quite liking prologues, particularly in crime and mysteries. I don’t mind a mysterious set up that the book has to resolve, or where a clue might be planted.

So when I submitted COLD DECEPTION to Momentum it was with a prologue, even though I didn’t call it one. It got cut.

I wasn’t too concerned, there was nothing in it that wasn’t in the book, so I could see it was superfluous. But I did like it. So, here it is for you to read. Do you like prologues? Hate them? Make a comment and go into the draw for a giveaway copy of COLD DECEPTION.

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10 years ago …

Julia couldn’t look at him. Instead, she stared down at her hands and picked at her cuticles.

“The offender, Julia Margaret Taylor, has pleaded guilty to the murder of Father Patrick O’Donnell. The offence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. There is a standard non-parole period of twenty years.”

Hearing those words, so casually uttered, forced her head up. She thought the court room would be like American television: full of Armani-dressed lawyers and a youthful, fifty-something judge with black robes who ruled his court with an iron fist.

Instead he was old. Justice William Reynolds. Not a judge, not in an Australian courtroom. Justice. The relics of Britain still reigned in this domain. He wore a horsehair wig, like the barristers for the defence and prosecution, and he spoke in a dried out, thin voice that was hard to hear.

The brilliant scarlet of his robes mesmerised her, letting her drift away, far away, back to all the red on the floor, splashes up the table. . .

“The offender made admissions to the investigating police when traces of blood, which was subsequently determined to be that of the deceased, was discovered in a car belonging to the offender’s mother. This discovery was made the day after the body of the deceased was found in his home.”

She continued to tear and pick at her cuticle. Blood oozed from the corner of her nail. She watched it turn into a drop and tried to focus on the words.

“The offender stated she went to the deceased’s home in a state of some agitation after a young friend, here after referred to as AC, confided to the offender that she had been sexually molested by the deceased, who at the time of the offence was the Roman Catholic priest in the Blue Mountains diocese.

“Julia Taylor stated she wanted to confront the deceased as she was concerned about the welfare of AC. She was unable to explain the purpose of this confrontation or why, if she believed the deceased to have committed such a dreadful crime, she did not contact the police.”

“Because she had more courage than me!” Sally’s outraged fury filled the courtroom. “I should’ve killed him after what that bastard did to me and all the others—”

The gavel slammed amid the chaos of court officials running and shouting. Julia looked back down to her hands and picked harder at her cuticle.

“Remove that woman immediately. I will not have this behaviour in my court.”

His voice was loud now. She had no trouble hearing his words but shut her ears to Sally’s sobs and pleas.

“Julia! Julia!”

She wouldn’t look. If she looked she’d remember and she didn’t want to remember.

The court settled like a bird with ruffled feathers. Justice Reynolds shuffled his papers and continued.

“The offender claimed that the subsequent confrontation between herself and the deceased was heated and became violent. She states that at first the deceased denied involvement in any criminal activities against AC, but eventually admitted his actions.

“She states she became enraged with his admission, as he laughed at her and told her no one would believe her since AC was known to be a liar and a thief.

“The offender states that, in her words, ‘when he sneered at me as if I were scum,’ she grabbed a knife from the kitchen bench and stabbed the deceased in the stomach three times. This is consistent with evidence submitted by the forensic pathologist. In addition, DNA from the offender was found on the knife and in blood splatters around the deceased, probably as the result of a cut the offender sustained to her hand in the commission of this offence.”

He paused. She looked up to see him peering at her over his glasses. Frowning, he returned to his papers. She dropped her head again. The white scar across her palm still throbbed.

“The offender then returned to her home in her mother’s car, removed her blood-splattered clothing and showered. She states at this stage she did not really realize what she had done and seemed to be behaving, again in her words, ‘on automatic pilot.’

“Evidence from both her mother, the well-known artist Eleanor Taylor, and from her mother’s partner, Deirdre Castro, indicate later that night at the dinner table, the offender was withdrawn and silent. Her mother questioned her but the offender was not forthcoming. Ms Taylor and Ms Castro stated they were preoccupied with their other daughter, an eight year old who was suffering from a serious case of influenza and subsequently was hospitalised.

“However, the following day, the police attended the house the offender lived in with her mother, sister, and Ms Castro, with the intention of questioning Eleanor Taylor. Information provided to the investigating police officers revealed she was heard to have had a loud and acrimonious argument with the deceased a week before the offence.”

More sobs. Probably Ma.

“The police questioned Eleanor Taylor and asked to examine her car. Upon the discovery of the blood and other matter, the offender, Julia Taylor, admitted she was responsible for the offence.

“At this time it is appropriate to confirm that the deceased was indeed, a sexual predator of the most heinous type. Police evidence indicates that he had been sexually offending against a large number of children and young people for many years in parishes throughout NSW.”

The drop of blood was larger now. Even a small amount seemed to make a terrible mess.

“While this fact does provide some mitigation in relation to this offence, there is no excuse for vigilantism of any kind in this society.

“My finding, that the offence falls below the middle range of objective seriousness, is the reason for not imposing the standard non-parole period of twenty years. My findings as to the various subjective matters in the offender’s favour, including the discount for the plea of guilty, and her good prospects for rehabilitation, are further reasons for not doing so.”

She let out the breath she didn’t know she’d been holding.

“Julia Margaret Taylor, you are convicted of the offence of murder. I impose a total sentence of fifteen years with a non-parole period of ten years. Take her below.”

She looked up. Eyes the colour of blue ice. A frown as if he couldn’t quite work out a puzzle. Through the explosion of noise in the courtroom, she watched him watching her. With a shrug, he scooped up his papers and stood. Bowing, scraping, moans, and hand on her arm.

“Come on,” the screw said. “Time to go. Shit! What have you done to yourself?”

She looked down. Her hands were covered in blood. She held them up and watched the light glint on a thread, slowly sliding down her wrist.

Beautiful.

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Don’t forget to comment to go into the draw for a free copy of COLD DECEPTION. You have until Tuesday 31 March 2015.