You've found the home on the net for romance writer, LaVerne Clark. Thanks for visiting! :)

I write suspense and light fantasy/paranormal set in the beautiful country of New Zealand. A land of myths and magic, Aotearoa (Maori for Long White Cloud) has always been a storytelling nation and it is my pleasure to share mine with you.

Make yourself your drink of choice, stay a while and feel free to leave comments. I love to meet new friends.

Heartpounding suspense and fantasy Downunder

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

To Curl or Not to Curl

Since this is the year I've decided to be serious about my career as a writer, one of the things I've been meaning to do is get a decent author photos done. I'm lucky one of my good friend's husband is an amazing photographer and he has kindly offered to do one for me. And Monday is the big day we will be getting them done! How exciting!

But - I have a dilemma. I possess the most frizzy, curly, unmanageable at the best of times hair. I can either use my straighteners to tame the beast and look groomed and sophisticated - or - I can use half a dozen products to boost the curl and give it shine to look less cave-woman like.

I've put the question out to my girly friends on Facebook and the battle is raging. What do you think I should do?
Straight and groomed

Curly (I'm on the left)
 I'd love to know your thoughts!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thoughts from a First Reader

Before I became published with The Wild Rose Press, I volunteered to be a preliminary reader for them. This involves reading a submitted manuscript and evaluating the story as thoroughly as possible, giving suggestions where you can or commenting on anything that didn’t ‘gel’ with you as the reader.
As a reader, it is such an honour to read these works early on. You get a real appreciation for all the hard work that goes into creating a story and a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at how an author’s mind works. The sense of pride when a story you worked on is published is similar to that of a proud Aunty. And when that same book gets great reviews – the sense of satisfaction is immense. I’ve been lucky to have read three books which I’ve thought were outstanding and gone on to see them get five-star reviews. There is nothing like having your idea of a good book validated by other’s thoughts on the same.

Of course, along with the good comes the not-so-good. I remember one story in particular made me want to hurl my e-reader against the wall. In the end, I apologized and told the coordinator I was unable to finish it, listing my reasons – and believe me, it was a long list! J Luckily for me (and my e-reader!), that was the only one in two years I’ve been unable to finish.

I credit the preliminary reading with helping me improve my own writing to such a standard, that I was offered a contract for my very first submission. It also gave me confidence in my own ability to tell a story, lending me the courage to finally send something in to someone. After all, these people whose stories I’d been reading had been brave enough to try. I should be too.

So when you submit your work to a publisher, who knows? You may just have been the inspiration to motivate another scaredy-cat writer to actually get their stuff out there and seen – helping another onto this exciting roller-coaster of a ride called publication. At the very least, you would have given someone a few hours of pleasure and taught them something new.

If you’ve ever thought about being a reader for a publisher, I’d urge you to sign up. What's stopping you? It is so much fun and I doubt you’ll regret it!

Photos courtesy of Photobucket

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Heroine - My Teacher

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a reflective mood. Edits were well past on my second book with the countdown to release day truly on. I was close to finishing and submitting another story I was really proud of, and my confidence that I had finally found ‘my voice’ as an author was sky-high. All was right in my world. I was living my dream.

Then I got to thinking about how this had come to be. No-one can achieve their goals without a bit of help along the way. For me, my own personal heroine and who shaped me into the person I am today (apart from my awesome parents of course!) is a woman by the name of Lois Senojak. How cool is that name by the way?

Mrs. Senojak was my last year of primary school teacher. As her name suggests, she was a strong, intelligent, caring teacher – and completely unforgettable. She had a way of teaching that made you want to learn and to earn praise. Her patience was unending, but she was no fool if you weren’t trying as hard as she knew you were capable of. She had a wonderful affinity for music and that year I was in her class, she composed a beautiful song called Seabird. Haunting notes soared and dipped perfectly capturing the spirit of a bird as it wheeled and played with the wind. I’d learnt to play the recorder and we were given the honourable task of playing for the school assembly, accompanied by Mrs. Senojak on the piano. I’m certain we butchered the song, but it was a beautiful moment as she played the notes and smiled proudly over at her incompetent students playing her creation. I still remember the words to this day.

On the last day of school as we were breaking up and I was all excited to get home, Mrs. Senojak asked me to wait so she could have a quick word with me. As it was her, I curbed my impatience to get home (patience still is not one of my virtues) and stayed behind. What she had to say to me has stayed with me ever since. And when doubt creeps in, I will remember it anew.

“Whatever you want to do in this life, you can achieve LaVerne. You have the will and determination to succeed in whatever you set out to do and the talent to see it through.”

Even now, writing it down gives me a shiver and brings tears to my eyes. This amazing woman believed in me so much, she felt the need to share such a moment with me. I am forever in her debt.
I’d thought about this special lady for many years and often wondered how she was doing but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d try to track her down and thank her. Google and the internet is such a wonderful tool! J

With a name like hers, she wasn’t that hard to find, and I managed to get an address. I dashed off a note from the heart saying where I was today, my family situation and my success in finally having one of my life-goals achieved, and how it was all thanks to her. Hoping I had the right person, I dropped it off into the mailbox without expecting too much. A few days later, I received a lovely card which made me want to cry again. I did indeed have the right person, it was such a wonderful surprise to hear from me and she was so happy to learn about what I had achieved. She finished with some more inspiring words about my children which I will treasure and make sure to act on as well.

I’m so glad I had that period of inner contemplation and had the chance to say thank you to a person who helped shape me into who I am today.

What about you? Is there someone from your life – in the past or recent past – who has made such an impact on your life? I’d love to hear about them.