Positioning Seldom Come By

4 books fan


As an indie author when it comes to marketing you have to use ‘all the weapons at your disposal’. For me that meant being very clear on who I was targetting with Seldom Come By:  fans of Outlander, Into the Wilderness and The Bronze Horseman series.

There were some common elements: young love battling adversity; an intensity of feelings – not just passion but the full spectrum of human emotions; a stunning, unusual location as the backdrop; characters you could care deeply about…the list goes on.

People have been sceptical – understandably. I get that.

Did I think twice about adding these elements to my marketing:

“If Jamie and Claire

Nathaniel and Elizabeth

Alexander and Tatiana

mean something to you”


“Reminiscent of The Bronze Horseman”

Absolutely. Butterflies were in formation that’s for sure.

Did I word that extraordinarily carefully and get some trusted people to review it?  You bet.

Did I do that in complete isolation?  No.

This, from one of my early beta readers, Su:

“Their intense love for each other and the love scenes reminded me of Tatiana and Alexander.”

Was I far from the mark?

This, from Sarah who emailed me just a few weeks ago:

“I have read The Bronze Horseman, it is one of my all-time favourites, and Seldom Come By definitely gets to the same level.”

What I strove to do with this positioning was to pull my book from virtual obscurity and get it on to the consideration list. That is one of the biggest parts of the battle.

I’ve learnt long ago how true the cliché is: you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Writing like any artform is highly subjective.

But my aim is for part of the reading public to fall in love with my characters and what happens to them. If I’m honest, for enough of the reading public,  so I can write full time and provide more memorable, heart-wrenching books for people to read.

And so I want to say a special Thank You to Karen Scott from Ontario, Canada, for voicing what I’m sure a lot of people have thought when they’ve approached Seldom Come By.

I really appreciate you, Karen, telling it like it was for you. And I hope you don’t mind me reprinting your Goodreads review in full here:

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

4.5 stars

I was a little daunted by the size of this book and the fact that it was part of a trilogy. Used to books that were half this size, I wondered if my attention would last the full book (it did–in fact it grew as I continued to read!) Then, there was the summary that the author provided where she mentioned Tatiana and Alexander and Jamie and Claire. Okay, you got my attention, but can you really pull that off?? These are some literary power couples and those names should not be tossed around lightly. I’ll admit–I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder after that. Above all this, I had the encouragement from Hildy, my book boss, telling me to give this book a try and I try to listen to her suggestions. 🙂

This book was a real treat to read. Caulfield’s writing was refreshing in that if she’s writing about a scene, it’s valuable to the story. There are no wasted scenes or superfluous descriptions in this prose. (Though I love her, Diana Gabaldon might take note. *cough* Echo in the Bone *cough*) Caulfield gives you only what you need to understand and feel the characters–and feel you do! By 30% in this book, I was completely invested in the characters. I was excited to get back to reading and postponed lunch dates because I needed to return to Newfoundland! 

Are Rebecca and Samuel the Canadian Tatiana and Alexander? I wouldn’t go that far. I liked how reading this book *reminded* me of The Bronze Horseman (because I like being reminded of that book), but Seldom Come By is not a rewrite of TBH, not by a long shot. The strength, passion and adversity that the couple has to endure are reminiscent of TBH, but beyond that, Rebecca and Samuel find their own way of handling things.

I have already found myself recommending this book to others that have loved The Bronze Horseman. I do believe that if you enjoy an epic love story, this will make a fine reading suggestion.

Artists Come Alive in Set Me Free

Emma Sheldrake

Above painting and thumbnail by Brisbane artist, Emma Sheldrake 

I have always been enthralled with art – in fact drawings, sculptures, paintings and poetry feature prominently throughout my novel, Seldom Come By, and there’s more to come in The Iceberg Trilogy! <g>

And so it was that while reading Set Me Free, the story of  a young female art gallery owner in Brisbane’s West End fighting a determined and suave property developer, I was also devouring Beautiful Bizarre Magazine’s December issue and came across the striking portraits of Brisbane artist, Emma Sheldrake. And before I knew it, the three became entwined, which made for an enchanting read.

In Set Me Free, Brisbane author Jennifer Collin‘s debut novel, we meet Charlotte Evans who some years earlier moved from Melbourne to Brisbane to manage an art gallery to champion her younger sister, Emily, and other local artists. Emily’s paintings tend to be muted cityscapes that have a singular bright focal object – a bike, an umbrella, a geranium pot plant – that draws your eyes in. Emma’s artwork is the opposite, but equally magnetic: stylised colourful portraits yet with pale faces that lure you in due to the intensity of the model’s eyes. (See image above whose eyes incidentally remind me of my heroine’s Rebecca’s)

7090fdd401422e93d17eeffd8d69c9ff07005acb-thumbThe book opens with Charlotte returning from a holiday in Italy and on her first jetlagged night home has – what she hopes will not be – a one night stand with a man who comes into her art gallery just before closing.

The next day she discovers through her best friend, Ben, and Emily that a developer has bought the strip of buildings which houses her gallery, Ben’s coffee shop and their favourite Vietnamese restaurant and intends to tear the lot down to put up a soulless homogenous shopping cum residential block. And the developer in question is none other than Craig Carmichael: one night her ardent lover, the next her guilty, standoffish, silver-tongued enemy. Charlotte’s cringing and regret were palpable and quite a poignant lesson for us all. Would that she had prescience!

Setting this story up so the main characters were intimate before their conflict made for an interesting twist on this developer versus local community narrative which has also been covered by Australian authors, Helene Young, in Halfmoon Bay, and Di Morrissey, in The Plantation, in recent years.Fifties Dress

Charlotte also had a penchant for dancing, ala Dancing with The Stars style, and a love of all things 50s including her wardrobe. Who doesn’t love those fashions? A girlfriend, Andrea, who recently shared this pic said: “I wish I lived in the 50s instead of being about to enter my 50s.”

This was a light, easy read that will dovetail nicely into the sequel which I suspect will focus on Emily’s romance. If you like your local art scene and chick lit romances, give this book a go.

A Modern Country Girl’s Teenage Yearning

Tamworth Billboard Smaller

When I wrote about my Aunty Joan recently I mentioned reading Michelle D Argyle’s coming of age novel, Out of Tune. I  confess I don’t read much in the YA genre – the Twilight series comes to mind but that was also paranormal, however I completely related to the heroine’s creative dreams and desire to pursue them.

Out of Tune took me inside the world of American country music seen through the eyes of a young woman at a crossroads in her life. Twenty year old Maggie Roads has spent years touring the circuit, living under her parents shadow, depressed by her inability to sustain a song, yet so desperately wanting for music to be front and centre of her life.  And into that turmoil comes more hurdles and setbacks and temptations and the realisation that her parents could have been considerably more supportive.

michelle_d_argyle_out_of_tuneWhat I loved about this book is the original storyline and the surprises that kept on coming. I had no idea how the love triangle was going to work itself out – I still would like to read more anon on this Michelle –  if you are reading this <g>.

But ultimately this is a story about a very modern girl who could have made some bad choices for herself but didn’t. The way she was her own best-friend, honest and considered rather than inpulsive and regretful was a wonderful example for others who might be tempted to dive into relationships, ignoring all the waming bells and confusion of their heart. And through testing the waters and being honest with herself, she found her true north along with her true love.

“Nathan you can call me Mags” – just love the acceptance of this line.

And wouldn’t you know it, when I headed south for my Aunty’s funeral last week, on the outskirts of Tamworth, Australia’s country music capital, was the above billboard. Michelle said it took a week to dye her hair!