Life, death and literary ramblings...

Brisbane News July 2014

July 28, 2014

Lea Brisbane News for Blog















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Remember my Name: Author Branding

June 26, 2014

Last week I had the opportunity to share some of my author branding successes with a fabulous group of Queensland writers, alongside successful authors Karen Tyrrell and Amy Andrews thanks to Queensland Writers Centre.

Author Branding








Now I’d like to share them with you.


 A brand is a product or service that is publicly distinguished from other products and services so that it can be easily communicated and marketed.


Branding is the process of creating and disseminating the brand. Branding can be applied to the entire corporate identity as well as to individual product.

This means you can brand 1) YOU and 2) YOUR BOOK/S

 Let’s look at how I did this…

Firstly I worked with website designer and photographer to create a ‘core message’ that I was a hard-boiled crime writer (with a gun) and that I didn’t write ‘cosy’ crime. You may have the talents or know someone who does to help you with this.

Then I continued this core message in my graphic book covers.  They reinforce the brand of hard-boiled crime.

Finally I created an author platform to disseminate my message.


 Platform, simply put, is your visibility as an author.

 Here is a list of some of the Building Blocks of a Platform – you can see that platform is more than just an online presence. You may not use all of these but I will show you some of the ways that I have…

•       A website and/or blog with a core message and access to YOU the author and your books

 Have a browse through the Home page of my website. You’ll see that is continues the core message and also has:

  • A Menu with

– Meet the Author – info on me and where you can find me

– Contact Me – email me and subscribe to mailing list

– Visit the Library – access to books (and free excerpts)

– Go Behind the Scenes – photos and news stories about me

– Read Lea’s Blog – writing advice, appearances, guest blogs and articles

  • Hot buttons for easy access to important information and freebies
  • Links to social media pages


  • Spread the word on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and the like

Continue the core message on your social media pages. My Facebook background is a crime scene. Create a presence on social media but follow the rule of thumb that for every 10 posts only one should be directly selling your book. Let people know about you and post and blog on topics related to your book or the craft of writing. Set up a mailing list to let interested readers know what you are up to.

  • Individuals of influence that you know who can help you market at no cost to yourself, whether through blurbs, promotion, or other means

Writing is a business of making contacts – get to know other authors and industry people. Many have re-blogged my message and posted pics of us together at events. Don’t be afraid to network and mention to everyone you meet that you’ve written a book. This can lead to all sorts of opportunities. I mentioned it in conversation at corporate event and my book was recommended to a corporate women’s book club who not only all purchased and read it, but rated it at their monthly dinner to which I was invited as their guest author.

  • Membership in organizations that support the successes of their own 

I belong to several writing groups who not only provide me with encouraging support but also help to spread the word to their writing and reading networks.

  •  Media appearances and interviews—in print, on the radio, on TV, or online

Put together a media pack for your book including promotional material and a media release and send it out to everyone you can. This has led to me being reviewed on radio and online, having a guest appearance on radio and I have had stories about my books appear in print media.

  • Public speaking appearances – readings, presentations, workshops

 The industry offers numerous opportunities to volunteer and give back to writers. Get involved by volunteering at festivals, offering to talk at schools and libraries, and appearing on ‘expert’ panels. These are not only wonderful ways to share your learning and experiences with fellow writers, but also to build your loyal following of readers. I increased my appearances by pitching seminars and courses – I have appeared on panels and seminars, and recently was contacted via Linked In to present a workshop at a writing festival.

Give it a go – what have you got to lose? Let me know how you go…



Social Animals

June 10, 2014

Guest Post by Lea (Reproduced from Queensland Writers Centre WQ Magazine, March 2014)

Social Animals

   The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote, ‘Man is by

nature a social animal’. Almost 25 centuries after those words

were written they still hold true. We are compelled to group

together in this thing we call ‘society’. The growth of today’s

social media society is nothing new. It is merely a modern

extension of this basic human need.

   As an emerging writer during the infancy of social media,

I had the choice to embrace this phenomenon or hide from it.

I’m glad of my choice to join in because the romantic notion

of the ‘non-social’ solitary author is lost on today’s readers. If

you think you can avoid social media, let’s look at some stats.

Facebook has approximately 1.23 billion users worldwide. More

video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the amount of

video that NBC, ABC and CBS combined have produced in 60

years. Vine, Flickr and Instagram took top spots in the bestselling

mobile apps for 2013, demonstrating the importance

we place on sharing personal information. Social media is a

phenomenon that is here to stay and with it has come a much

more demanding fan base. In a world where everything is

accessible at the tips of our fingers, readers want their authors to

be accessible too.

   Being an author in today’s society is about more than merely

writing a book. Editors and agents are attracted to authors who

have this thing called ‘platform’. Publishers will even demand

you have one. So what is all the hype about? You owe it to

yourself and your readers to find out so you can reach out and

give them not only what they want but what they need. Society

not only fulfils people’s basic needs, it also satisfies their desires

and aspirations, so grouping and partnering with like-minded

writers can also be a godsend in developing your skills and

achieving your dreams.

   So what do you do when all your dreams come true? You pay

it forward. Volunteering at festivals, schools and libraries, and

appearing on panels at writing events are not only wonderful

ways to share your learning and experiences with fellow writers,

but also ways to build your author platform.

   So step up on your platform and take a bow – it’s your new



BOOK LAUNCH – ‘One for All’

April 1, 2014

It was a dark and stormy night….cafe 1

This is a line could begin the story of many auspicious occasions in my life – my previous book launches, my fortieth birthday party, my wedding in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. And so it was, once again, on the night of my most recent book launch. ‘One for All’ was welcomed into the world on an unusually sodden autumn evening last Thursday 27th March 2014. The nasty weather certainly didn’t deter any of the guests who arrived with beaming smiles and countless enthusiasm, even after having battled the rain and ensuing heavy traffic by car, bus and boat. So I guess that it’s true – rain really does bring good luck!

IMG_6052The launch was wonderfully supported by fellow members of the literati and many supportive friends. Amongst those in attendance were a myriad of talented authors – Sisters in Crime, thriller, fantasy, romance and children’s writers.

Brisbane authors_ Leonie Hardy_Christina Lee_Brenda Cheers_Brenda Cross_Karen Tyrrell_Sharon Phillips_Lea Scott_Charmaine Clancy

Jackie Edwards_Christine Ryan_Amanda Christian_Stephanie Rowe_Karen Walsh







As it happens, the weather was somewhat aligned with the book in many ways.  The epilogue of ‘One for All’ begins during a particularly nasty storm in 1942, causing a horrific WWII plane crash which sets in motion a series of events for three generations of a military family, leading to a tempest of crimes committed against them in more present times.  Throughout the book, bad weather continues to play havoc with the cast, thwarting their efforts to race against a ticking clock until the story turns full circle on itself like a tornado.

Website picsYou wouldn’t believe some of the things a girl has to do in the name of research and authenticity! The writing of ‘One for All’ has taken me on my own meteorological journey from plunging into steep aerobatic manoeuvres in a WWII war plane to traversing the stormy Brazilian seas in a creaky boat, and riding a horse through the parched Arizona desert.  


IMG_6049‘One for All’ is the first book in a new crime series featuring sassy risk-taking undercover detective Sol Ramirez, who has only ever had one burning agenda as she climbed the U.S. police ranks – to track down the men who gunned down her parents and trafficked her as a teen. I had always said I wouldn’t write a series – that I didn’t have the commitment to stick with one character for that long – but Sol had other ideas and her story grew to be bigger than a stand-alone book could handle. The second book in the series is due out early next year where Sol helps another family take on an illegal adoption ring so watch this space…

Robert_DoddI would like to thank all those who braved the weather to attend the launch and a special thank you to my husband for his many and varied roles throughout the creation of ‘One for All’, research assistant, bag carrier, beta reader and launch host.  Thanks also to Erina and the wonderful venue Cafe Bouquiniste 

Lea Scott_Erina Wannenburg Cafe Bouquiniste owner








Unfortunately a crime of another kind kept one of my guests from attending. You can read about its happy ending on her blog ‘The Hipsterette’.

‘One for All’ is available in print and e-book versions. A list of online retailers can be found here.

Photos by Karlen Wannenburg (



HOW-TO: Turn a ‘Brilliant Idea’ into a Plot

October 2, 2013

If I had a dollar for every person who has said to me, ‘I’ve got this brilliant idea for a novel!’, my piggy bank would be overflowing. So why haven’t all these people written that novel? Because they haven’t known how to translate that one idea into about 80-100,000 words. So how do you start to turn an idea into a plot? Here are my tips.

1. IdeaBrainstorm (finding the pieces):  Write your idea or premise down in the middle of a large sheet of paper and circle it. Then write around it all the thoughts you have on characters, events, settings, etc, relating back to the circle when you get stuck. Just get all your thoughts on paper at this stage – don’t worry about how plausible they are or if they don’t fit together. You might not even know how the novel will begin or end at this stage.

2. Research (fleshing out the pieces): List all the subject areas from your brainstorming session that you need to find out more about. This may include procedures, locations, psychological issues for characters.  Add any additional ideas to your brainstorm chart that spring from your research. For tips on where and how to research for your plot see my blog post In the name of research – Plot  

3. Outline (putting the pieces together): A plot has three parts – a beginning, a middle and an end – and two main transition points. T1 is the ‘epiphany moment’ where the story is moving along and something happens to change everything. T2 is the ‘point of no return’ where something happens to force an ending either way. The rest of the structure, in basic terms, looks something like this:


 Beginning              |                          Middle                      |                 End

  20-30%                 |                            50%                         |              20-30%

Set up conflict          |            Flesh out/add complications       |        Resolve the conflict

                             T1                                            T2

Split a sheet of paper into three columns as above. Take your ideas from your brainstorm chart and start slotting them into the section where they fit best, including identifying your two main transition points.  Leave gaps between your ideas so you can create more linking ideas. At this stage your ideas can still be quite abstract, but this will form the basis for creating the scenes that will make up your novel. If you are a ‘pantser’ (ie. someone who prefers to write by the seat of their pants rather than creating a full plot outline) you might like to stop plotting here and just start writing your novel, filling in the gaps as you go.  If you are a serious ‘plotter’, read on…

4. Map (connecting the pieces): Create a scene map from your outline by fleshing out your ideas into scenes. Include all the information you need to keep your plot on track (I use a one line description, date/time, setting, name of your Point of View character for that scene in italics). Group your scenes by chapter. None of this is set in stone. Your scene map is a living document and can be changed as you write. Think of scenes as the building blocks of your novel. Once written, they can be moved around to change the pace and structure ie. you might write them in chronological order then decide to move one as a flash back or flash forward to increase suspense.  You might also think up new scenes to add in as your write (particularly if you develop a new subplot) or move scenes between chapters.

I use an Excel spreadsheet (see example below) to do this because it is easy to create columns and cut and paste the lines when moving scenes. But you can write them down manually, use index cards, the tables function in a word processing program, or you might like to have a go in writing programs like Scrivener, which allows you to break up your text into re-locatable sections.  

Scene map


This may seem like a lot of work initially, but it is much easier to keep track of your plot in this way than to go back through 80-100,000 words looking for a particular scene that you want to change or move during the edit process. It is also a good way, at a glance, to make sure your plot will keep the reader’s interest. Check that there is enough variety in the settings (is this the most dramatic place for the scene?), and the POV character is the one with the most at stake in that scene.

Once you have your plot in order, writing your novel should be a breeze. As Ernest Hemingway said…There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. 

Happy plotting, Lea

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Lea Scott