Win the Iceberg Prize Pack

Come Full Circle – the raw, breathtaking conclusion to The Iceberg Trilogy – will be available from 11 December 2015.

To celebrate its launch I am giving away a Come Full Circle Iceberg Pack. This includes

  • 1 autographed paperback
  • 1 ebook (so you can read on the go or share with a friend)
  • a $30 iTunes voucher so you can download some of the wonderful Canadian songs that were part of my writing experience
  • Plus a bottle of Vodka made from the Greenland icebergs that flow down the coast of Newfoundland

Total value approximately $150.

Imagine sitting on Rebecca’s verandah in Newfoundland, scanning the horizon for icebergs, reading Come Full Circle, listening to Jane Siberry and sipping vodka. Hopefully this prize pack comes close.

To ENTER you simply need to:

  • Go to my Facebook page and
  • Leave a comment on my competition post as to why you would love to win – it will be going up tonight and will be the first post,  pinned to the top of my page. That will count as 1 entry point.

Earn extra entries by:

  • Tagging a friend
  • Liking my page
  • Sharing a post. (There will be regular posts)
  • Or tweeting about my book. My Twitterhandle is @ShezCaulfield

All entries will be collated and the winner randomly drawn and announced on my Facebook page and blog.

The competition is open worldwide till midnight Sunday 20 December (Hawaii time).


REbecca Verandah


Where Eagles Soar

Sherryl eagle


One Easter I spent all my spare time, when I wasn’t rock climbing, reading The Stonor Eagles. We were in Namadgi National Park just outside Canberra climbing the expansive granite slabs of Booroomba. The lovely Margaret Mortimer, intrepid travel guide, champion scone maker, could see I was so taken with this story that she insisted on cooking breakfast around our campfire for my partner Mark and myself, so I could keep on reading. (It’s difficult to read when you are at the bottom of a crag belaying someone.)

The Stonor Eagles is about Cuillin, last of the great sea eagles of Skye, who in her loneliness flies to Scandinavia in search of a mate. Eagles live well into their sixties and hers is a fascinating character and tale.

Shortly thereafter we were in Perth for work with a week-end off to explore the scenic and gourmet delights of the region. We ventured south to the stunning kauri trees of Cape Leeuwin and the famed Margaret River wineries, however the highlight of the trip – by far – was not easy glasses of mellow chardonnay, but a fledgling (pardon the pun) bird of prey rehabilitation centre, Eagle Heritage.

These days they have an entry fee. Back then, the softly-spoken owner, who reminded me of my brother, Greg, only asked for a donation. That day we dug deep into our pockets for we were in awe of what he was trying to accomplish. He was rehabilitating eagles and raptors from all over the vast Australian continent. He had struck up an arrangement with the now defunct Ansett Airlines to transport injured birds to him from anywhere in Australia. He was working with local farmers to obtain any carrion or road kill that they came across, trying to educate them that raptors did not kill live animals. The cages he had built for each eagle were considerable, easily 25 metres long and 6 metres high, so birds could coast and flap their wings from one roost to the other. Every dollar this chap made he poured into this park for his beloved birds. That Friday we were the only people there and we didn’t want to leave. We watched him as released birds that would fly into a tall gum tree then fly down to snatch a piece of meat out of his trusting hand, while I stood only two metres away. I got to pull on heavy-duty leather gloves and carry around a black kite roosting on my wrist (no sudden movements). It was surprising how heavy she was. (In the movies they make that look so easy.) When we finally drove away, part of me wanted to stay behind and be a part of his extraordinary venture.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself in the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia. Haida Gwaii as it’s known in the Haida language, has the highest density of Bald Eagles in the north American continent. You can’t help but notice them. They’re perched on wharf posts like sentinels guarding some ancient realm.

And so when I came round to writing Come Full Circle, set in British Columbia, these two experiences merged and two of my characters, Lindsay, and newcomer, Ryan, shares my love of eagles. Here’s a sneak peak:


 Off to starboard was the low-lying, densely forested landscape of Graham Island. Like Canada, the mountains of the Queen Charlotte Islands were on the west coast; the tops of a submerged range that plummeted into the ocean and a few kilometers offshore gave way to the continental shelf that dropped off even more dramatically to unknown depths. This side had the shallow sea but to Lindsay there was nothing shallow about it.

‘The original name for the Queen Charlottes was Xaadala Gwayee,’ Ryan said. ‘Islands on the boundary between two worlds: the sea and the sky.’

The name couldn’t be more apt. From her vantage point the island was like a long thin magnetic band that pulled the sky and the sea together. Today that sky was a warming blue, the sea a calm green blue, the island the result of their rapturous union: the silhouetted spires of cedar and pine and hemlock their climactic sonograph. Was it a land old and untouched or was it new?

Before long there was an announcement asking them to return to their vehicle. Once they’d docked they drove over the boat’s metal ramp, shuddering onto the island. But rather than vibrations what they felt was a sense of wonder. Perched casually on two of the pier’s wooden poles, almost like centurions vetting new arrivals, were two bald eagles.

‘Where else in the world would you see such a sight?’ Lindsay whispered in awe.

‘Nowhere,’ grinned Ryan.









5 autographed books in birthday bash

Win 1 of 5 Seldoms
In case you missed this:

I am giving away 5 autographed copies of Seldom Come By as part of my blog tour. This competition is open internationally and ends at 11.59 pm on 13 December 2014.

Enter via the rafflecopter competition link below. Good luck. Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours will be drawing the winner and and announcing on their page. I’ll also post here. Pop back here afterwards to find out who the lucky winners are. You must claim your prize (i.e get in touch within 48 hours) otherwise it will be re-drawn. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Seldom Come By on Tour

04_Seldom Come By_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL


I’m so excited to be touring the blogosphere with Seldom Come By to mark the first anniversary of its release. The tour kicks off today – 24 November – and will include 17 stops across the United States, England and Australia, ending on 13 December, Seldom Come By’s first in market birthday.

As part of this tour I am giving away 5 autographed copies of Seldom Come By. This competition is open internationally and you can enter here.

Some of the tour hosts will be giving away ebooks as well. The tour includes an incredible interview with a woman after my own heart, Jorie, and two guest posts at Let Them Read Books and The Eclectic Reader (Details below). I also want to thank Teddyree from The Eclectic Reader for introducing me to the wonderful Amy from Passages to the Past and Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours.

Amy Bruno and blogs

Amy hails from Georgia, USA, and has worked tirelessly for several weeks in pulling this tour together. Huge thanks and love to you, Amy.

So please come by every day to read reflections and reviews on Seldom Come By, meet some fabulous bloggers, talk about Seldom Come By and generally have a neat time! I’ll post a link up on my Facebook page each day so you know who to visit!

Monday, November 24
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Thursday, November 27
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, December 1
Review at Shelly’s Book Shelves
Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews

Tuesday, December 2
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Wednesday, December 3
Spotlight at Mina’s Bookshelf

Thursday, December 4
Guest Post at The Eclectic Reader

Friday, December 5
Review at Feminist Reflections

Saturday, December 6
Review at With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Monday, December 8
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, December 9
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, December 10
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, December 12
Review & Giveaway at Curiouser and Curiouser

Saturday, December 13
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past



High Five Nov 2014

This week my website is one year old and I celebrate my first year as an ad-hoc blogger, and, soon, my first year as a published author.

Was the experience what I expected? Did I even know what to expect? While I’ve been circling the book industry for many years and been a marketer for many more, I’m not sure I really did. Still, for those interested, here are my reflections on my first year.

The best parts of being an author

Connecting with readers from all over the world – Brazil, USA, Canada, UK, Sweden, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand – though sadly no inroads into Newfoundland that I know of. Don’t they know I’m a one-man tourist machine for their province? Don’t they know people are enthralled with icebergs now?

The joy of writing. I don’t write every day as I have too many competing priorities and distractions. Or are they my excuses? I try and carve out blocks in my year to dive into my books. These are the best of times. True bliss. I’m hoping to carve out more time next year and maybe even a new routine.

Reviewers reaching out to help me because they believe in my book. These amazing women were strangers less than 12 months ago. I’m talking about you The Book Bosses, The Eclectic Reader, and Honey Lemon Tea. Thank you for your kind hearts, for shining a light on my stories and for the introductions you made for me.

The worst parts of being an author

Being seriously challenged by the commandment: Thou Shalt Not Covet. Envy is a bit of a foreign concept to me. It’s not something I come up against that often except this year I found myself envying other author’s lifestyles. I’m talking some hugely successful ones. Not envying their success because mostly they completely deserve that. It’s what their success has provided – the luxury of being able to completely devote themselves to their next book for months, even years. To not have to worry about money to cover the every day costs of living. To be able to hop on a plane and go to one intriguing place after another to do research. At Least for Christmas I’m going to New Zealand where my next book after Come Full Circle is set. But I have big dreams for Romania and Samoa and Egypt…The list is long. Maybe I can find a sponsor? Wait, that’s a publisher, right? Multi-book contracts. Drats!

Running a Social Media promotion that was a flop. As in no entries. At all 🙁 Well that was a good idea – not! Fortunately that didn’t happen that often. But there have been many times when what you think will work doesn’t, and what you think won’t, does. Go figure. The adage: if you build it they will come, doesn’t wash. My approach: Keep focusing on writing books, keep marketing when I can.

Being a klutz with Twitter. I thought I set it up so that anytime anyone mentioned me I would get an email. Obviously not. Please forgive my tardiness in replying, dear readers. Hopefully the situation is all sorted and I’m there more regularly these days.

What get’s readers excited

I have always believed you have to write what’s in your heart, you have to write the story inside you needing to be told. Writing about what’s trendy is a fool’s errand.

I’ve clearly been living a sheltered life. This year I’ve had my eyes opened to the world of flesh marketing. And I’m not sure if this is what’s in so many writers’ hearts and minds or if it’s serving up stories that they believe will sell, for that’s what’s readers’ hearts and minds.

There are a lot of books out there that promote sex and lust. I mean in your face promote. There’s no missing those covers. Some days I feel like I’m wondering through a sweltering Roman bath with no safe place to look. Each to their own. And in some respects it’s great that ebooks have created such a huge market for so many writers in this genre. I never thought of myself as a prude. That’s my mother! Bless her she once added her own graffiti to one of my brother’s posters drawing a bikini on a naked girl draped over a motorbike.

It’s just that I prefer subtlety. For me, more skin does not necessarily equate to undeniable sensuality or romance. Where’s the seduction in that?

I find myself a bit of a misfit, which in some respects is nothing new. I don’t fit the historical fiction bodice ripper mould either. In my books there are no damsels ditching their underwear, no heroines or sisters having their finely threaded laces slashed or yanked apart in front of their brother or lover, nor do my novels culminate in my couples consummating their love and living happily ever after, at least not in the conventional way.

My stories blend romance and family struggles and adventure and ‘oh my god – did that character actually do that!’… not the easiest tales to market, but thankfully something that does seem to appeal to a select number of readers.

How authors help other authors

Over the past year I’ve been inspired by a number of authors – old and new favourites – not just by their writing but by their tenacity, their humility and their gratitude. Indeed this year I discovered that many authors don’t really make it till their fifth book has been published. Sometimes, for others, it’s even further along the publishing journey.

This from Richard Flanagan on his Booker Prize win:

I’ve got wonderful publishers in Australia and I’ve got many readers in Australia, but, when you only – you know, when it takes so long to write a book, things can become (financially) difficult. But I don’t think it does to complain about it at all, Leigh, because no-one asks you or expects you to be a writer, it’s something you choose. And if so, if you’ve been lucky enough to be allowed to keep on going back to the table, as I have been for, you know, the best part of 25 years, you just have to be grateful and sometimes you just scrape through and sometimes, like today, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky. 

Please note: I am not harbouring any aspirations re The Booker Prize, but I do concur that attitude and luck and gratitude have something to do with success in this vocation. So in that vein, let me leave you with my Top 5 Gratitudes.

1. Reviews

I’m grateful for every review – even the not so great ones, which thankfully have been few and far in between. On Monday this week I got a 1 star review (my first) with the response: just not worth it. Hookay. On the same day I got a 5 star review. See, it’s random and at times fickle. The only yardstick for me are the averages. On Goodreads I’m sitting on 4.4 stars for Seldom Come By and 4 stars for Come What May – I take heart from that even though it’s very early days because reviews do help authors like me get discovered. However, there is a caveat that I discovered at The Brisbane Writers Festival. Often there has to be a set number of reviews before some discerning readers will take any notice. Anyone care to enlighten me on the number?

I’m grateful for the readers and reviewers who are voracious readers and favourably compare my books to traditionally published authors. I was tired of being blocked by agents and publishers and wanted to put my books out in the market to see if readers would enjoy them. To know that you enjoy my stories and are keen to read more means the world to me. That, and the joy of writing, keep me going when some days I feel like going, ‘Oh, well, I tried. Obviously I don’t have what it takes.’

2. Supporters

I’m grateful for the women – and men – who regularly join me on Facebook and let me know you like popping by. Thank you dear people xo.

3. Family

I’m grateful that my brother of all people really loved Seldom Come By. I’m grateful that after my Mum read it, it opened up conversations we’d never had before.

4. My partner

I’m grateful for my partner Mark, his delight in my small wins and his perspective, particularly on days when I see my glass being half empty, and he reminds me that it’s half full and what’s more, the water is like the beautiful mountain spring water we had in our home in New Zealand, which very few people ever get to taste.

5. You

I’m grateful that you read to the end of this post. Seriously, well done. It was much longer than I intended it to be. Leave a comment and you’ll go in the draw to win my second novel, Come What May. Either a print book or 2 ebooks so you can share one with a friend. Competition is open internationally. I’ll announce the winners on 20 November.

1 Mark & Sherryl Blog

We all need a muse


If you’re a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander then I suspect you can’t get enough of Sam Heughan playing Jamie Fraser in Starz’s mini series production. For there is a lot to love about Jamie. As women we need our heartthrobs. And as writers we need our muses.

 We all need a muse

I’ve long been a fan of Viggo Mortensen who played Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. Can you blame me? I was living in New Zealand when LOTR was filmed. The premiere of the Return of the King in 2001 was a three-day celebration that climaxed in a red-carpet procession broadcast prime time on national television.

It was an exciting time. The long white clouds of Aotearoa lifted and the planes of middle earth flew low and slow up the length of New Zealand. Aragorn was larger than life. Gollum crawled atop of Wellington airport. Trolls and nazguls menaced pedestrians in the main street. Everyone got into the spirit – including Viggo himself who wanted to give back to Peter Jackson and New Zealand for the incredible opportunity that had made his career.


I dragged my partner across Cook Strait to hear Viggo’s poetry reading (I scored tickets!) and to see his photography exhibition. I drank copious amounts of champagne. Mark didn’t complain. He is a bit of Renaissance man after all. Like Chandler and Monica of Friends we have an understanding 😉 Viggo would be my leave pass. Penelope Cruz would be his.

Around this time I discovered the Outlander series (Cross Stitch in our part of the world) with the dashing young Scot, James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser. And then came two more notable historical figures, Nathanial Bonner (Into the Wilderness) and Alexander Barrington (The Bronze Horseman). If you haven’t heard of these characters then you haven’t lived read! You are missing out on some of the best epic love stories ever written.

I’ve long pondered what makes these men so appealing. I say men rather than characters for they truly feel real, nothing fictitious about them – except…they are unattainable.

Passion and adventure have a lot to do with it. But more than that, for me it has to do with them being men of honour, sacrifice and resilience. These are defining qualities that I sought to bring to my characters, Samuel and Sonny, in Seldom Come By and Come What May. (And maybe I physically described the character of Silas in such a way that Viggo Mortensen could play him in the movie if ever there was one…but I digress)

Ironically the resilience goes much deeper than what is on the page or screen. Earlier this year I saw The Two Faces of January set in Greece in the 1960s. On the week-end just past I came across an interview with Viggo about this film and his rise as a leading man. It came at a good time for I was feeling particularly despondent. Here’s a snippet of the interview.

It took a long time for you to really break into the industry. I read that early on you were cut from Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo?

I was cut from that… and I was cut from Swing Shift, the Jonathan Demme film with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Unfortunately, I was never told that I wasn’t going to be in it, so my family and me went to the movie theater expecting to see me and I wasn’t in it. I think the director or someone in the production should at least let the actor know that he’s not going to be in it…

After I read that I just wanted to give him the biggest hug. How upsetting that must have been! 🙁 But wait, there’s more:

…another one I had the role but lost it. It was the part that Willem Dafoe wound up playing in Platoon. Oliver Stone cast me in that role back when it was going to be a much lower-budget movie, but he was having trouble getting the financing together. Then, he cast Willem Dafoe and I read about it in the news…

“I read about it in the news”!! What? No phone call even?

And stupid me, I had spent the past year reading every possible book on Vietnam, looking at it from every angle possible, and doing my own, self-motivated boot camp. I got ahold of Oliver Stone’s number and called him and said, “What are you doing? The role was mine! Let me show you I’m the right guy for the part.” Willem Dafoe had just been in To Live and Die in L.A. and he was more “on the map” in terms of industry consciousness, even though I felt I was the person more knowledgeable about the character. I learned a lot there, too, and I don’t regret it. And Willem Dafoe did a great job in that film.

There you go, still my muse in other ways. Such a great lesson in resilience and letting go.

Are you a writer? Who serves as your muse? If you’re a reader, what do you love about these leading men?

Telling it like it is

Even the best authors – Richard Flanagan, Paullina Simons –struggle with mistakes

There’s a discussion over at The Book Bosses Facebook page regarding editing in self-published novels and a question:

Do you give a self-pub book with many typos and grammatical errors a lower rating?

It’s a very good question. They do have good discussions on that page. What do you think? The overwhelming response was: ‘Yes.’ There were two issues covered.

  1. typos and grammatical errors
  2. Poor sentence structure…you know when you have to re-read a sentence to try and work out its meaning, what the author is trying to say.

I’m probably one of those who prompted this conversation. I own my mistakes. Not happily. I know for a fact I had typos in my first book, Seldom Come By. I had 2016 when I meant 1916. I stumbled over haemorrhage. I had one too many ‘c’s in Rebeccca. Jon, a retired neurologist, wrote and explained the difference between chord and cord. And after I read his note, I slapped my forehead and said, ‘of course, I knew that but I forgot.’ The spellchecker never picked that one up. My 16 beta readers, yes 16 over three different versions, and my manuscript assessor, personally recommended by the managing director of Harper Collins Australia, did not pick this one up. It just goes to show.

These have all (fingers crossed) been fixed. That is one of the beauties of eBooks and print on demand. You can edit a file, upload a new version and then when people connect to their devices they are automatically sent the latest version. With a print book, from that point onwards, the latest version is the most correct version. But I know it doesn’t help at the time if there are mistakes in your version.

I know how frustrating this can be for readers because I am one too.

When it comes to writing and publishing I can’t talk for other indie authors, I can only share my own experience. Actually, that’s not correct, my friend Jennifer Collin, paid for a professional editor for her first novel Set Me Free, and after she published it, she was told it had mistakes. She was not happy 🙁  Jen, take heart, there weren’t that many. 🙂

I had three people plus myself proof the final version of Come What May, none of them professional editors, but people who are solid readers and have a good command of the English language, two of whom do a fair bit of writing in their day jobs. During those frantic 10 days I spent uploading what I thought was the final version to Amazon, Smashwords and CreateSpace (final files uploaded on 9 September) I was still finding tiny errors, odd spacing that I had missed. Oh the flagellation that goes on. The human eye, aided by glasses, can only take so much.

Over the years what I’ve learned through my corporate work and this publishing journey is that one person alone, no matter how good they are, can’t spot all the errors. Neither can many. Errors often are found once a document or book has been published; found by readers, who for some reason notice something no one else ever has till then. This is true. Keep reading to find out about my exchange with Paullina Simons.

So I think even with paying for a professional editor, mistakes can slip through. I investigated professional editing options for Come What May. To pay for an editor, the lowest quote I received was $2000. For me to recoup that at say 60% / $3 an eBook would require me selling close to 700 books. I still haven’t sold 700 copies of Seldom Come By. I can only wish. That decision was weighed up along with:

  1. I earn well below the average Australian salary. It’s the life I choose as I try to juggle freelance marketing work, continue to write novels and promote those novels, while still trying to pay off a mortgage.
  2. If I paid $2,000 would I end up with a perfect book? All my experience tells me no. Nearly every book I’ve read this year has had typos in it – even the ones I loved: Amy Harmon’s Making Faces, Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard and Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which has just been shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. Even in my old favourite, Outlander, which I picked up again earlier this year in preparation for the TV series, I found a mistake that I had never seen before.

Many people know one of my favourite books ever is The Bridge to Holy Cross, called Tatiana and Alexander in some parts of the world. I first read it in September 2004 when I was ill and home alone in New Zealand while my partner was half a world away in the United Kingdom. Then in March 2006 I picked it up to read again on my birthday as a special indulgence and you’ll never guess what I found in the opening paragraph.

Have a read yourself and see if you notice anything. Here’s the link to the book on Amazon so you can see inside the current version. Better still; to save you the trouble I’ve pasted it below.

Bridge to Holy Cross Small

Did anything stand out in that opening paragraph? Well in case you missed it, here’s my letter that I sent to Paullina:

 Subject: Tatiana & Alexander – opening para

Hello Paullina

Greetings from New Zealand. I hope Spring is coming early to you in New York.  I’ve just been re-reading Tatiana & Alexander and for the first time ever I noticed something unusual in the first para and thought I would drop you a line about it. Maybe it’s something I’m not getting…however in the first line Alexander’s tie is described as red and then four lines down it is described as gray-and-white. Just thought you would like to know this in the event that it’s not what you intended.

I hope the writing on your next novel is going well 🙂

All the best

Sherryl Caulfield

And here’s her reply, sent on my birthday, such a wonderful birthday treat!

Sent: Saturday, March 04, 2006 1:59 AM

To: Sherryl Caulfield

Subject: Re: Tatiana & Alexander – opening para

Dear Sherryl,

May I say, it’s too funny.

I mean, the book has been read and revised and edited not just by me, but by my husband, and my two editors, and by two copy editors, and by four proofreaders. The last time was just this summer when I was getting it ready for the American publication. Just goes to show you, doesn’t it, how things skip by, and this is the very first time I’m hearing of it. Oh, well, never you mind. Oops. 😀

More important, I want to thank you for your lovely card, sent last Christmas, that I just picked up this week from my post office box. It was very lovely of you to write me such kind and generous words that made my heart gladder.

Perhaps when I’m in New Zealand next, you can come to one of my little shindigs and I can shake your hand.

With my best wishes,


I was reading the original version published in 2003. But the US version that came out in 2005 had 8 paid professionals working on this book – imagine the cost of that – and they all missed it too, along with Paullina and her husband. Incidentally, you’ll note it hasn’t been fixed. Because there are more important things to worry about! There are new books to write, which millions of fans want right NOW!

So my takeouts are:

  1. People are only human, no one is perfect. I certainly am not, which really challenges my perfection streak!
  2. I apologise for any mistakes in my books. I am sorry if you stumble over them, if they detract from the story and stop you enjoying it. Because, most of all, I want you to enjoy my stories. I sincerely hope you can see beyond those errors and enjoy the story for what it is. I sincerely hope you can find compassion in your heart for all writers – those of us who are self-published and those who are traditionally published – to cut us some slack.

Do readers deserve a perfect book? Yes, they do. I will continually strive for perfection. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to afford professional proofreaders and may even have a publishing team behind me. Please understand that still won’t guarantee a perfect book. In the meantime I will do my best to write a good story.

Please feel free to comment on this post.

With thanks to Paullina Simons for writing back to me all those years ago, for being so engaging on her Forum when she had the time and for touring Australia and New Zealand as she has done. Sadly I left New Zealand in 2006 and didn’t meet Paullina then but my sister caught up with her in Australia that year (see pic below). It was wonderful to meet her in Brisbane in 2008 and 2012. (Thumbnail pic above.)

Paullina & Anita Brisbane Nov 07 @ Mary Ryans




Win The Iceberg Trilogy 3 pack

Come What May rafflecopter pic


And the winner is:

Gina Deckman

Congratulations Gina! ☺ Please contact me via Facebook or send me an email so I can organise delivery of your prize. A big THANK YOU  to everyone who entered.

* * * * * * *

I’m delighted to be launching Come What May, Book 2 of The Iceberg Trilogy, this week and to celebrate I am giving away a great 3 pack:

  1. A personally autographed and dedicated copy of Seldom Come By
  2. A personally autographed and dedicated copy of Come What May
  3. A Paullina Simons autographed copy of her novel, The Bronze Horseman*.

* This is one of my favourite novels and what do you know, I have 2 autographed copies, so am keeping my old worn favourite, published in 2000, and giving away my spare copy published in 2008, barely touched.

The competition is running from Monday 15 September to midday Thursday 25 September 2014 Brisbane time and is open worldwide.

To be in the running you must enter via the Rafflecopter competition manager – SEE BELOW – and

  1. Provide your name
  2. Like my Facebook page
  3. Comment on one of my Facebook posts
  4. Share one of my Facebooks posts

You will see once you sign-up to the competition you can do a number of activities multiple times (e.g. 3 & 4 above) to obtain Bonus points again and again for that category. When the competition closes, the more points you have earned, the greater your chance of being randomly selected as the winner. It’s a numbers game!! Good luck, have fun and thanks for getting into the spirit.

Winners will be announced here and on my Facebook page on Friday 26 September and I will email you. You have 3 days to notify me at: to collect your prize.

Sherryl’s Rafflecopter giveaway

In memory of Auld Lang Syne

How music and memories entwine

I am not as musical as I would like to be, not as musical as my brother, father and paternal grandmother that’s for sure.

Granma Jessie Caulfield was a fine pianist. She could play practically anything by ear. I used to love listening and watching her play In the Mood, Baby Elephant Walk and the mournful Godfather theme song. She never seemed to tire. She had a pianola, which we all wanted to play. Even though it was hard work pressing those pedals, press we did, hoping that by osmosis we too could tinkle the ivories just like her.

Granma Caulfield 2My grandmother had been playing the piano since the nineteen teens. During the second world war her husband, my grandfather, a taxi driver, would often arrive home for dinner, calling out as he came up the stairs, ‘Another one for dinner, Mama,’ giving her five seconds warning to rise, warmly greet a US soldier and put on more vegetables. But it was never a bother. She loved welcoming people into her home. Afterwards, she would play the piano for them with my aunt and uncle joining in for sing-alongs.

She played at country dances and private parties as well, and as my father grew up, he too would join her, playing the piano accordion. Years later when my brother, Greg, and I arrived we would tag along to these social events and at the end of many a gathering, everyone would form a large circle, hold hands, sing and charge to Auld Lang Syne – literally translated as ‘old long since’ but commonly translated as ‘for the sake of old times’.

It was my favourite part of the entire evening, albeit a challenge sometimes for me to stay awake till this climax – particularly on New Year’s Eve. To me, singing Auld Lang Syne was a sacred ritual that bound people together in a way that words or physical actions rarely ever did. To stand in that circle and hold someone’s hand gave me a palpable sense of belonging. This humble Scottish tune fills me with bittersweet nostalgia every time I hear it. It fills my throat with a great lump of emotion every time I sing it. Sadly it’s an important tradition, a beautiful tradition, that is dying.

In Come What May there is a moment when something sacramental is called for to mark the significance of an occasion. And in that moment one of my characters steps forward and sings Auld Lang Syne.

This version and this clip come close to capturing what that moment was like. The singer is Daniel Cartier from New York; the clip was filmed on a windswept winter’s day on Cape Cod.

Daniel in water

Daniel 2 in water

Years ago I went to Cape Cod on a windswept winter’s day. I was in Boston attending meetings with a spare weekend in between. My partner, Mark, was with me and we decided we’d go to Provincetown, even if were January and far from sunny. We’d seen enough of Boston in winter. (Seriously, this was my fourth winter visit.)

Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, was charming, full of wooden clapboard houses  and shopfronts. I bought a set of earrings made from space shuttle material, or so I was told. The Sonoma chardonnay we drank over dinner was mellow and superb. Everywhere we went the people were wonderfully friendly and as Mark and I discovered wonderfully gay. We could very well have been the only straight couple in town. We stayed in a place that reminded me of the inn from Nights of Rodanthe. Being the quiet season we had a choice of rooms. We chose one on the bottom level at the rear with glass windows around three sides opening to a bleached wooden deck hovering just above the grey sleepy sea. Late that afternoon a storm with winter lighting (!) swept across the harbour. It was exciting and elemental, lashing all around us while we were high and dry in our glass cube.

Years later when I was writing Come What May and wanting my character to sing Auld Lang Syne I went searching for the song, just for the pleasure of listening to it once more. And that is when I stumbled upon Daniel. His version warmed my heart in so many ways, reminding me how fortunate my life has been, reminding me of loved ones who are no longer with us, reminding me of the beauty of wide open spaces and the communion of kindred souls.

I hope you love it just as much as I do and come back here again when you get to that part in Come What May. Here’s what Daniel has to say about his rendition:

It’s one of those rare songs that makes me feel joy and sadness all at once. Faces from the past… faces from the present… all come together and tug at my heart. 

The one constant we have in life is change. In every life there are heartwarming hellos and heartbreaking goodbyes. That’s not always easy to handle. Embracing the new. Letting go of the old. Laughter and tears. This song has always driven these points home to me.  

I recorded this version in my home studio. The whole process took 10 minutes. I had a good cry when I was through. A few days later – my partner and I filmed the video with a cellphone, on a deserted beach of our beloved Cape Cod. It was well below freezing and very windy. I think we were on the beach for 15 minutes.

And now…What Comes Before

What Comes Before Cover

Here is it – What Comes Before  – a FREE collection of scenes from             Seldom Come By giving you the opportunity to spend more time with Samuel and Rebecca and the young Dalton family.

However it come with a WARNING: this collection contains MAJOR SPOILERS.

If you have not read Seldom Come By then see you later. 🙂

Seriously, don’t spoil it for yourself or me. 🙁

There are 8 mini chapters in all, totaling 8,000 words. These were in an earlier draft of Seldom Come By and would have appeared in the last section,             The Promised Land. They cover the time period from 1926 to 1939 and all take place before Come What May.

In Come What May, the Dalton children grow up fast and Gene goes on to take centre stage. However, in What Comes Before you’ll get to hear Rebecca tell the Dalton family about what happened in the days and months before she arrived in Toronto. You’ll meet the young Dalton children and get to know their characters a little bit more. You’ll also see Grandpa Dalton once more, but mostly you’ll enjoy the banter and love between Samuel and Rebecca.

Readers have given me feedback that they would love to spend more time with the Dalton family so I’m delighted to be able to share this with you.

So all you have to do is click on the link below depending on the format you want and download.

  • ePub (for Kobo, iBook etc.)
  • PDF (for computers and iPADs)
  • Mobi (for Kindle)