Tag Archives: turning 18 blogfest

Blog tour stop number 5 and the winner of The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest!

Blog tour

In the fifth stop of my blog tour, I’m been interviewed by Melissa Maygrove. Here’s a taste of the interview…

Do you have a favorite character or a favorite scene?

This is a tricky one because I have a lot of favourites. As much as I love my main female character, Ceara, she’s a little too much like me (worries way too much), so I think my main male character, Seb, wins out. He’s a bit hopeless at times but his heart’s in the right place, and he’s quite funny. I laugh at all his jokes – we must have the same sense of humour. 😉
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To read the rest of the interview, head on over to Melissa’s blog.

Blogfest wrap-up and winner announcement

Thank you to everyone who participated in my blogfest, The Year I Turned 18. I really enjoyed reading all of your entries and hearing about your eighteenth years. There was so much variety: round-the-world trips, marriage, fights with close friends, beginning to live a Jewish life and many more fascinating experiences. If you missed any of the entries, I’ve included the links below for easy reference.

What Else is Possible?

The Warrior Muse

Teresa Coltrin

Trisha @ WORD+STUFF

Anything Imagined

Pivot Coaching

Rachel Morgan

Clare Dugmore Writes

Words from Sonobe

Cally Jackson Writes

Carrie-Annes Magick Theatre

Write Here, Write Now

Charitys Writing Journey

Paper, Ink and Coffee

Martin Knox

Each blogfest participant (except for me) went into the draw to win a $20 Amazon voucher, and I’m sure you’re all waiting with bated breath to see who took out the prize. I shall keep you in suspense no longer. The winner is…

Rachel Morgan!

I haven’t contacted her to tell her that she won yet because I thought it might be fun to see how long it takes for her to discover the news herself. So do me a favour and don’t tell her! 😀

Once again, thanks to everyone who participated and to everyone who visited and commented on the blogfest participants’ entries!

And don’t forget to check out Melissa Maygrove’s interview with me!

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Filed under blog tour, Blogfests, Competitions, The Big Smoke

The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest: my post! So many memories…

In the third stop of my blog tour, I’m guest posting on Rebecca Enzor’s blog about revising after contradictory beta reader feedback. Make sure you check it out!

And in the fourth stop, I’ve been interviewed by Bailey Kelsey over at Bailey is Writing! She’s got some awesome questions so make sure you drop by and read it!

Blogfest badge

As you probably know by now, I’m holding a blogfest called ‘The Year I Turned 18’ to celebrate the release of my debut new adult novel, The Big Smoke (in which the two main characters both turn 18). Posts can be about anything from that year – something momentous that happened, what your hopes and dreams were at that time, diary entries, anything that comes to mind. 

And this is MY post for the blogfest, all about the year I turned 18.

With my dad at my year 12 formal on the night after my last day of high school.

In preparation for this post, I pulled out my diary from 2001, excited to take a trip down memory lane. Unfortunately, I discovered that the vast majority of my diary is totally boring! I’m not quite sure why I decided to record monotonous events in such ridiculous detail, but I did. I shan’t bore you with those parts! Here’s a quote from early in the year while I was still waiting to find out which university I’d be getting into:

‘Sometimes you’ve got to wonder whether dreaming is that great if it sets you up for a fall. But I can’t possibly think that, because so much of my life is taken up by dreaming. But the dream world of mine and reality are so different. Will they ever be similar? Probably not, but I’ll still keep dreaming. Something’s got to keep me going, doesn’t it?

Why can’t I just be satisfied? Why?? I have so much which I probably take for granted, but on the inside my emotions are constantly see-sawing. Can’t you just balance, please? I don’t even know what I’m bloody complaining about. But maybe that’s part of the problem. I DON’T KNOW.’ 

How’s that for turbulent teenage hormones? 😉 And here’s a bit more:

‘Life just isn’t what dreams are made of. At least, not my dreams. The one thing that really scares me is, what if Billy [ex-boyfriend] is the best thing I’m going to get in life? What if it’s all down hill from here?’

Cheery, wasn’t I?!

A bit later after those entries, I discovered that I’d got into the course that I’d been dreaming of – drama at QUT. Unfortunately, I didn’t really write about it because I was too busy writing page after page about this random boy I obsessed over for two weeks. Teenagers! 😉

But getting into QUT meant a move away from my country home town to Brisbane (sound familiar?!). Here’s a diary excerpt from the day before I moved:

‘Kate [a close friend] just left. She slept over last night. We both cried today because it will be the last sleep over we ever have here, like this. It’s really just starting to hit me now. I’m moving out of home tomorrow. TOMORROW. As of tomorrow I’m supposed to be responsible and mature enough to look after myself. No more Mum and Dad to remind me when I’ve forgotten something. If I’m going to eat healthily, it’s up to me to buy myself fruit and vegetables. If I want to have clean clothes, I have to wash them myself…

It’s weird, I can’t wait to do it [move out], but then in other ways I don’t want to leave at all. I’ve been throwing out all of my old posters, and it just feels like the end of my childhood….’

Here’s the posters I was talking about:

My bedroom wall

My bedroom wall

And here’s me at my new home in Brisbane:

Outside my home in Brisbane

Outside the Brisbane share house

My room in the share house

My room in the Brisbane share house

Sometime later, I wrote this entry about my first trip back home:

‘I really enjoyed going back home to visit. It was really good to see Mum and Dad that night. However, the person that really affected me was Jack [my then seven-year-old brother]. I went down to him in the dirt where the pool used to be. The way his eyes lit up when he saw me almost brought tears to mine. He hugged me so furiously as well. It was really nice to hang out with them on the verandah, like usual. Mum even cooked roast lamb for tea… Jack was mortified that they made me do the dishes. I miss him so much! 

It was fairly cold with the air conditioner on, so I went to get a jumper out of my room. It then hit me that my room no longer held my belongings – they were all in Brisbane. Dad laughed because he realised what I’d gone to do. It made me feel quite sad though, standing in my room with none of my old stuff in it.

Mum and Dad said that in some ways, it felt like someone had died. I know exactly what they meant. It reminded me of when Kerry [a friend] changed schools at the beginning of year seven.  When the rest of us talked at lunch time, I could feel her absence. The conversation seemed to be missing an element that Kerry had provided. When I realised she’d never be back to fill that gap, it truly felt that, in a sense, she had died. 

But I was back. Back listening to Mum and Dad argue, and Jack being told to be quite and sit on his chair… ahh, home! 

A couple of months later, I wrote this poem:

The morning after…

As I sit, waiting for the train
I look through murky eyes
God, I feel like hell today
But I guess that’s no surprise
At a place called Cannon Hill 
Wherever that might be
I don’t really even care
It means sweet nothing to me
The only thing that matters now
Is getting home to bed
Hopefully that will calm
The throbbing in my head

Bits and pieces of the party
Are floating through my mind
People drinking Bourbon and Rum
Or whatever they could find
When I arrived at the party
There were only three people I knew
But as the night progressed
That number slowly grew

Watching a bunch of people 
I’d never met before
I could tell who were friends
And who wanted more
A couple at the party
Were quite saddening to view
She flirted with all his friends
And there was nothing he could do

By the time my accompniants left
I was feeling quite at ease
I’d made friends with everyone
Even the girlfriend tease

Crashing at a bloke’s house 
That I barely even knew
Seemed quite fine and natural
What else was I to do? 

As I awoke the next morning
My stomach let me know
That my fun was definitely over
It was obviously time to go

An expensive taxi trip later
I’ve still got to bus and train
On the wrong side of the city
When even thinking’s a strain!

But despite my current seediness
And having to wait around in the rain
I know that come next weekend
I’ll probably do it all again. 

Towards the end of my first semester at uni, I had a very short romance with a guy I worked with at Eagle Boys Pizza. My diary says this:

‘Well, I broke up with Ben, so that’s over. Somehow, everybody at work found out about us, so we’ve been the topic of constant conversation and jokes ever since. It’s interesting between us though because we’re still friendly, but what happened between us is always present. I’ve actually been dreaming about him recently, but it’s not really him. I mean, it’s him physically, but personality wise, it’s someone else. I guess it’s my made-up Mr Perfect’s personality – someone I unfortunately haven’t had the pleasure of meeting!…

Mum and Dad have supported me so much lately with all of my uni fears and struggles. A few nights ago, Dad drove all the way to Brisbane and took me home because I just flipped from the stress and thought I was going to drop out of uni. Mum and Dad both totally supported me and allowed me to consider it at home that night. The next day, when I had decided that I at least wanted to finish the semester, they helped me do what I had to do to get back on my feet. 

They also helped me when I slacked off with studying for my only exam and then totally panicked for fear of failing it. They helped me get my head together and study for it. Dad called me every two hours while I was home to see how I was progressing and to keep me motivated. It was so insane though. I just let myself get into a mess and I hid in it because I was so scared and so unprepared to do anything about it. I just wanted the situation to go away and not to deal with it.”

That was the last diary entry I wrote for more than five years. At the end of that first semester, I returned to my country home with my tail between my legs. Although I didn’t realise this at the time, it was a classic case of big fish/small pond to small fish/big pond syndrome. At my country high school, I was the best at drama. In my uni drama course though, everybody had been the best at high school, and now all of a sudden I was only mediocre. Poor little teenage Cally couldn’t handle that!

So I dropped out of acting. Interestingly, I couldn’t go for long without a creative outlet, so I turned to writing instead. And I decided to write a novel based around a lesson that I felt I needed to learn  myself (which you may have picked up on from some of these excerpts). The lesson was this: getting a boyfriend wasn’t the answer to finding happiness; I had to do that on my own. Those first ideas were the seeds that grew into what we now  know as The Big Smoke!

My 18th birthday

My 18th birthday (with my brother, grandma and father also in the photo)

Ready to hit the clubs

Ready to hit the clubs

Before the year was out, I met the guy (at the Pig N’ Whistle pub) who would become my next serious boyfriend. A very cute boy called Mark… who is now my husband of eight years! And to think that 17-year-old Cally was so worried that her most romantic days were behind her! Kind of makes me smile now… 😉

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the roller coaster that was the year I turned 18 (Note: I’ve changed some names from my diary entries to protect the innocent!).

If you’d like to read more posts for the Year I Turned 18 Blogfest, visit the Linky List!

And don’t forget to visit Bailey’s blog and Rebecca’s blog for my interview and guest post!

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Launching The Big Smoke and The year I turned 18 Blogfest!

Book launch

Drum roll… The Big Smoke is now available for you to read and enjoy!!

You can:

  • purchase a paperback from my buy page (Australia and New Zealand) or Amazon (rest of the world)
  • purchase an e-book from Smashwords (preferred digital supplier), Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Diesel and other e-stores.

Yesterday, I had my first-ever, real-life book launch, and it was such a wonderful day. More than 60 people came along to buy a copy (or collect their pre-ordered copy) of The Big Smoke and celebrate the release of my novel into the world.

My mum introduced me, and we had some readings from the novel – I read parts from my main female character Ceara’s perspective and my husband, Mark, read parts from my main male character Seb’s perspective. That led into a Question and Answer session, and, to my surprise and delight, there were stacks of questions from the audience, including a question from six-year-old Ella, one of the event’s youngest attendees!

You can see more of the photos from the book launch on my Facebook author page. Video of the Question and Answer session will be coming soon!

The year I Turned 18 Blogfest!

Today also marks the starts of my blogfest, The year I turned 18!

Blogfest badge

Seeing as both Ceara and Seb (the two main characters) turn 18 throughout The Big Smoke, I thought it might be fun for us all to post about the year we turned 18. Your post can be about anything from that year – something momentous that happened, what your hopes and dreams were at that time, diary entries, anything that comes to mind. If you could include photos of you at 18, that would be doubly awesome! And if you haven’t turned 18 yet, you might like to post about what you hope will be happening for you in the year you turn eighteen.

What are the finer details?

  • The blogfest will run from 12:01am (AEST) Monday 29 October to 11.59pm Friday 2 November (EST). (Yes, the start and finish time zones are different. I’ve gone with an early one for the start and a later one for the end. Hopefully  nobody will be caught out that way.)
  • Post your entry on your blog and then add a direct link to your post using the linky tool below before the finish time.
  • Enter the competition to win a $20 Amazon voucher by entering your blog link into the rafflecopter below.
  • All entries will receive a coupon to download an e-copy of The Big Smoke from Smashwords for 99 cents (down from $2.99).
  • To be eligible for the prize and coupon, please include a copy of the blogfest badge (above. To download, right click and select ‘Save image’) and The Big Smoke cover and blurb (below) in your post.
  • Once you’ve posted your link, you will be able to earn extra points in the rafflecopter by tweeting about the blogfest (which you can do daily – feel free!), following me on Twitter, liking my Facebook author page and adding The Big Smoketo your Goodreads to-read list
    The Big Smoke.
  • Come back on Monday 5 November to see if you’ve won the $20 voucher!

Anything else I should do?

Glad you asked. These aren’t mandatory, but they’d definitely be appreciated.

  • Throughout the blogfest, check out as many other entries as you can and give the participants some comment love!
  • Include the badge in your sidebar for the duration of the blogfest.

Can’t wait to read all of your blogfest entries! My own entry will be posted in the next couple of days. 😀

The Big Smoke blurb and cover 

The Big Smoke by Cally Jackson

The Big Smoke cover. To download, right click and select ‘Save image’

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?

Linky List

Once you’ve written your blogfest post, add it to the Linky List!

Rafflecopter

To enter the competition, fill in the Rafflecopter!

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Less than a week till The Big Smoke book launch!

I can’t believe that The Big Smoke launch date has come up so quickly! I’ve got so much planned that I’m beside myself with excitement (and perhaps a touch stressed as well)!

Book launch

The first big event is on this Saturday 27 October –  my real-life, physical book launch! About 60 people are coming, and all of them have supported the creation of The Big Smoke in some way, whether they’ve been beta readers, members of my novel writers group, or good old friends and family cheering me on from the sidelines.

The launch is going to be pretty casual but I do have a few things planned, including some readings from the book, a question-and-answer session, and a giant cake with 11 candles – one for every year it’s taken me to produce the book!

Blog tour

Then, next Monday, the craziness really begins! Monday kicks off both my blog tour and my blogfest. From Monday 29 October to Monday 12 November, I’ll be guest posting or being interviewed on a different blogging buddy’s slice of cyberspace. Here’s the line-up:

  • Monday 29 October – Michael Offutt – mental illness in fiction
  • Tuesday 30 October – Rachel Morgan Writes – character interview with Seb
  • Wednesday 31 October – Rebecca Enzor – the joys and frustrations of beta-reader feedback
  • Thursday 1 November – Bailey is writing – interview about writing The Big Smoke, self publishing and my characters’ most irrational fears
  • Friday 2 November – Melissa Maygrove  – interview about my inspiration for The Big Smoke, my writing space and my advice for new writers
  • Monday 5 November – Seeking the Write Life – the best writing-related decision I’ve ever made
  • Tuesday 6 November – Steph Bowe – using real experiences as a platform for fiction
  • Wednesday 7 November – Charity: My Writing Journey – the soundtrack to The Big Smoke
  • Thursday 8 November – The Eagle’s Aerial Perspective – the link between romance and happiness in fiction
  • Friday 9 November – Laura J Moss – interview about my road to self-publishing
  • Saturday 10 November – Laura Howard: Finding Bliss – ‘six questions’ interview about the writing lessons I’ve learned and my top three favourite books
  • Monday 12 November – Arlee Bird: Tossing it Out – is it possible/advisable to write from the point of view of the opposite sex?

In case you’re wondering, I haven’t actually finished writing all of these posts yet – that’s partly where that ‘stress’ I mentioned earlier comes in! But I’m thrilled to be appearing on so many wonderful blogs and to get the opportunity to share my thoughts on so many interesting topics. I hope you’ll follow me around the blogosphere and visit the awesome bloggers who are hosting me!

Blogfest

Most of you would have already heard about this by now, so I’ll keep this part brief.  To celebrate the official launch of The Big Smoke, I’ll be hosting a blogfest called The Year I Turned 18 from Monday 29 October to Friday 2 November. Seeing as both Ceara and Seb (the two main characters) turn 18 throughout the story, I thought it might be fun for us all to post about the year we turned 18. All entries will receive a coupon to download an e-copy of The Big Smoke from Smashwords for 99 cents (down from $4.99) and will go into the draw to win a $20 Amazon voucher.

I decided that my badge for the blogfest was a bit boring so I snazzed it up a little. Here’s the new one:

To find out more about the blogfest, go to my The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest post.

Total craziness!

… So yeah, there’s a bit coming up in the next few weeks. Oh, and did I mention I’m 28 weeks pregnant?

Babymoon on Fraser Island

My dear husband Mark is getting a little antsy about when we’re going to get the nursery sorted, and I keep saying, ‘after the book launch’, so I can’t see things slowing down for me for a little while. But you know what? I love it! Can’t wait to share this crazy ride with you!! 🙂

How about you?

What are you up to? Which blog tour post are you most looking forward to reading? Are you already sick of hearing about The Big Smoke (I hope not!)?

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‘The year I turned 18’ blogfest

I’m writing  this post from my hotel room at Rainbow Bay on Fraser Island, where Marky (husband) and I are enjoying our “babymoon”. For those not familiar with the term, a babymoon is a holiday to enjoy your life before everything changes! Ours is going wonderfully. Tomorrow, we are going whale watching. I can’t wait! Hopefully I’ll have some great pictures to show you!

The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest badge

The Big Smoke by Cally JacksonMoving on to the topic of the post, I’m excited to let you know about the blogfest I’m planning to run to celebrate the official launch of my ‘new adult’ novel, The Big Smoke. Seeing as both Ceara and Seb (the two main characters) turn 18 throughout the story, I thought it might be fun for us all to post about the year we turned 18. Your post can be about anything from that year – something momentous that happened, what your hopes and dreams were at that time, diary entries, anything that comes to mind. If you could include photos of you at 18, that would be doubly awesome! And if you haven’t turned 18 yet, you might like to post about what you hope will be happening for you in the year you turn eighteen.

What are the finer details?

The blogfest will run from Monday 29 October to Friday 2 November.

  • At 12:01am (AEST) Monday 29 October, a linky list and rafflecopter will go live on this site.  Post your entry on your blog and then add a direct link to your post to the linky tool before 11.59pm Friday 2 November (EST). (Yes, the start and finish time zones are different. I’ve gone with an early one for the start and a later one for the end. Hopefully  nobody will be caught out that way.)
  • Enter the competition to win a $20 Amazon voucher by entering your link into the rafflecopter.
  • All entries will receive a coupon to download an e-copy of The Big Smoke from Smashwords for 99 cents (down from $4.99).
  • To be eligible for the prize and coupon, please include a copy of the blogfest badge (above. To download, right click and select ‘Save image’) and The Big Smoke cover and blurb in your post.
  • You will receive extra points for tweeting about the blogfest and adding The Big Smoke to your Good Reads list.
  • Come back on Monday 5 November to see if you’ve won the $20 voucher!

Anything else I should do?

Glad you asked. These aren’t mandatory, but they’d definitely be appreciated.

  • Post and/or tweet about the blogfest in the weeks leading up to spread the word.
  • Throughout the blogfest, check out as many other entries as you can and give the participants some comment love!
  • Include the badge in your sidebar for the duration of the blogfest.

Can’t wait to read all of your blogfest entries and to release The Big Smoke into the world. Please leave a comment to let me know whether you’re planning to participate. :-)

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Filed under Blogfests, The Big Smoke, Writing