Kind words for Write About Me & Found

books Write About Me Found

What I love most about being an author is getting feedback from my readers on my two crime fiction series – the Missing Annabelle Brown Series and the Rhiannon Series. It’s not all positive and it does require developing a thick skin, but the kind words far outweigh those that are not so kind! When I’m doubting my ability as a writer or suffering from writer’s block and feel stuck on my work in progress, I go to my reviews to remind me – this is why I write!!

Here is one book review from Write About Me which is book 1 in the Annabelle Brown Missing Series that has absolutely made my day.

I am amazed at how deftly Melissa Pouliot wove her stories around what could (and no doubt does) happen when someone goes missing. Centering around the intricate webs of daily life, a simple decision like whether to turn left or to turn right, a decision any one of us could make on any given day, makes all the difference in someone’s survival.

I am also grateful that this story has opened my eyes to the plight of Missing Persons and that if I ever notice something ‘not quite right’ I know to reach out to a person and/or turn to the various resources in our community without hesitation. My heart goes out to all family and friends of Missing Persons ~ may your loved ones be found!

And another book review for the sequel, Found.

Page turning, gripping and beautifully written. Heartbreaking and heartwarming. FOUND highlights an issue that affects so many, missing, and gives you a very personal insight into what it’s like for those who are left behind. Bring tissues.

Starting 2023 on the theme of ‘new’

Happy New Year to you all, and welcome to my new MP Book News subscribers. I notice some from the UK, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and it’s such a big deal for me to have so many people from around the world in my book circle. Thankyou!

I saw in the New Year in the Australian outback and I managed a pretty impressive sunset star for the last day of 2022. If you are a Yellowstone fan you might notice that sun stars are a prominent feature and I think my photo definitely gives Yellowstone a run for their money!
It means so much to us to be here after a forced four-month hiatus from being able to run our fence contracting business. We haven’t been able to get here until now because it has been under flood water all that time, including our living quarters. A lot of areas in NSW flooded during 2022 and there was extensive media coverage when towns were inundated. But one story that didn’t make the news was the one about the rural families who were isolated for months and months, desperately trying to save their livestock while flooded inland river systems converged and spread water onto paddocks where they’d never been flooded before. There were many rural businesses like ours whose equipment was inaccessible, and for all those months we had to sit on our hands and wait it out. It was tough.
It is the longest running flood in many people’s memories and the damage, destruction and heartache it created is beyond compare. The farmers who we rely on for the food we eat are saying they would prefer a drought to a flood. They were isolated for a start, with the only access to their properties by boat or helicopter. The number of sheep, cattle and wildlife that perished will break your heart because the water spread over such a large area and there was nowhere for them to go. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops* were unable to be harvested because they were under water and it will take a long time for the agricultural industry to rebuild.

But the resilience of the people who live out here is like nothing you’ve ever seen, and they are moving forward day by day and leaving it all behind. We are too. I think this is a fantastic approach for the New Year and my theme for 2023 is NEW.

New year.
New beginnings.
New starts.
New ideas.
New opportunities.
New books!

Speaking of new books, this segues into what I’m planning for today.

I’ll start by asking, what’s the weather like where you are? As you would expect in the Australian outback in summer, it is HOT. Today the forecast temperature is 42 degrees Celsius and so this afternoon my plan is to sit under my air-conditioner and keep working on my new outback crime novel! My main character’s name is Bunny Brown-Leather and I’d love to know if that resonates with you at all? Naming characters is the hardest thing to do so I’m using names from my subscriber list as inspiration. Once I have a name the character starts to come to life. Bunny is a city girl, super smart, conservative upbringing and with a dream to be a reporter. She has landed her first job in Bourke which is a wild west town, and a far cry from the suburban, leafy city streets she grew up in. Bourke isn’t quite the romantic outback town with cowboys wandering the streets that she envisaged. She’s pretty sassy though, and is determined to get the latest scoop. There’s plenty of mystery and intrigue planned and a twist you won’t see coming.I’d love to get some feedback on her name though, all ideas welcome!

More free books

Amazon Kindle is offering the next two books in my Rhiannon Series for free this month. If you are still book binging for the holidays, now is a great time to download them so when you reach the cliffhanger of each one (sorry, not sorry) you can keep going!

Go to my Amazon page to keep an eye on when which book is free. When they’re not free I have them priced as low as Amazon will let me, less than a cup of takeaway coffee, so they are more accessible to more people.

If you are reading my books and love them, I would love if you could share a review. This helps my books get noticed in the biggest bookstore in the world, plus gives me a huge confidence boost and inspiration to keep writing. Have a great day wherever you are!

Melissa x

*I don’t know the exact numbers for crop losses or stock or wildlife losses of the NSW Floods, so the hectares of crop losses is an estimate only

Find Me book boxes shipped around the world

BOOK BOXES MADE WITH LOVE

This Find Me by Melissa Pouliot-inspired book box created by 4 Blue Stones is destined for a picturesque, small ocean town named Eden on the Sapphire Coast NSW where cruise ships from around the world stop.
They can browse the Eden Tourist Information Centre which is a brand new purpose built welcoming facility to the region. This means these book boxes will be shipped around the world – literally!
Sapphire Coast Buslines also takes visitors all around this beautiful part of the world where natural beauty and locally produced food, arts and experiences are a real highlight.
Visitors to the Sapphire Coast NSW are always looking for things to take back onto the ship with them to remind them of where they’ve been, and this box is filled with treasures that are all created locally on the Sapphire Coast, including my crime novels which are set in the Australian outback.
There have been many orders of these book boxes including from one of my loyal readers in the UK (thankyou Ian!).
If you are interested in a Melissa Pouliot book box containing one of my crime novels including Find Me, contact Wendy at 4 Blue Stones.

Well travelled books by Melissa Pouliot

It’s summer in Australia, Christmas is around the corner, and for many of us (who aren’t working in the hospitality or accommodation industries) it’s a chance to sit somewhere peaceful with a great book. This got me thinking about all the places my books have travelled and thought you might enjoy a little jaunt around the world with my books! Where is your favourite place to read?

The Amalfi Coast

Antarctica!

The beach

Reading with Henry

Poolside

In the backyard, anywhere that’s comfortable!

On the deck in the sun (one of my personal favourite reading spots)

Confession time, I didn’t achieve all my 2022 writing goals

I don’t know about you, but as I get to this time of year I feel a level of exhaustion I can hardly describe! Also some panic for the many things I had hoped to do during the year which I didn’t…including finishing writing another crime novel. *sigh*

Confession time. I haven’t achieved my writing goals and I have lacked writing motivation. I have three books on the go. One is finished and written as a memoir but I’m in the process of turning it on its head and using it as a backdrop to another crime fiction novel. The other is the next book in my Rhiannon crime mystery Series and I’ve got writer’s block about halfway through. The third is a very well planned out crime fiction novel set in the outback but the writing has been slow. I’m up to Chapter 3 and I’m loving where it’s going, but I have had such limited time for writing that it’s been challenging to maintain momentum. I’m definitely looking forward to a fresh start in 2023 on all fronts, including being a motivated writer!

I have just completed a fabulous writing workshop with Nadine Davidoff, a brilliant book editor in Australia, as the first step towards dedicating more time to my writing goals rather than trying to squeeze it in around everything else. It was so helpful and I am definitely inspired. All I need now is to be a motivated writer and FOCUS!

Knowing that you have all received a myriad of correspondence in this busy time of year, I will keep this short and take the opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy festive season. I know it is also a difficult time for many people, especially for those who are having their Christmas after losing someone special in their life and those who have experienced extreme trauma through a natural disaster or personal challenge. I am sending extra kindness to you all.

Perhaps you might find some solace and joy in a great book, which is always my go to and escape tool in times of great stress and anxiety. If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed on my stories I’ve been sharing some of my favourite books, there are so many wonderful books out there, if you have any recommendations please send them my way!

Melissa x

The cowboy stories on screen that inspire me

I’ve spent the past few weeks immersed in Yellowstone in anticipation of the Season 5 launch, which is probably time I should have spent writing my next crime fiction novel, so you can blame Rip!
I love a good Western and escape from reality, as much as I love a good crime movie or series. Some of my favourite cowboy movies are:
  • Billy the Kid inspired – Young Guns 1 & 2, Old Henry
  • Clint Eastwood – The Mule, Unforgiven
  • Sweet Country, The Proposition, 3:10 to Yuma, True Grit
  • The Homesman
  • Open Range
  • Tombstone (Val Kilmer is brilliant as Doc Holliday)
  • I also love No Country for Old Men even though it terrifies me from the moment it starts!
This is only a very small sample, I’d better get my day started and spend more of my time writing about Rhiannon McVee and her cowboy Mac and less of my time watching westerns!
*Image of RIP sourced on Google after a search for Yellowstone RIP images

Book Boxes made with love

Every year for as long as I can remember my husband’s parents put together a Christmas hamper for us filled with treasures they’ve collected during the year. Each item in these hampers has been thoughtfully added, and it’s always so much fun looking through because many of these items reflect the trips they’ve taken and the places they’ve visited which they want to share with us.

You can imagine my delight when a business that’s started near where I live on the coast approached me to add my crime novels into their hampers. 4 Blue Stones started as food welcome packs for motels to include in their accommodation packages, and has evolved into pamper hampers, wedding hampers, Valentine’s hampers and now book boxes!

Wendy is the owner behind 4 Blue Stones and she spends a lot of time sourcing local products and thinking how they best go together – she’s paired my books with wine, chocolate, biscuits, hand cream, candles, tea – the options are endless!

I just love how she’s styled Write About Me, my debut bestseller inspired by the cold case mystery of my cousin Ursula who went missing when we were teenagers. What Wendy didn’t realise when she styled it with the gorgeous yellow flower biscuit is that yellow was Ursula’s favourite colour. Synchronicity!

What would you love to receive a book box with one of your favourite books? If you have any suggestions and ideas I’ll pass them on to Wendy!

Soggy spring provides outback crime novel inspiration

In Australia it’s been raining. A lot. The impact has been devastating for many communities, and I am among those who have been significantly impacted. But if there is one thing I’ve learnt having grown up on the land and living a big part of my life in rural Australia – you can’t control the weather.

However, you can use it for inspiration in your next crime novel.

I am taking my sweet time with the new crime fiction novel which Candice Fox and I planned on a napkin during the Sisters in Crime festival weekend, and it’s a whole new experience for me. Despite being tempted to launch in and write randomly every spare moment I have, I am holding onto the incredible opportunity of being around seven of Australia’s top crime writers for a whole weekend (for those who are new, check out my website for the full story). Even though Sulari Gentill seems to be able to write brilliant books as a ‘pantser’, I’m determined to change my approach and put the time into figuring out what is going to happen and when. It’s already made a big difference to how the story is evolving, and I’m finding plot holes and fixing them before I’m knee deep in them!

Forget dry dusty outback scenes, this crime novel will show a whole other side of the Australian outback in flood.

Although water is life and people in these far-flung Australian landscapes have lived through more droughts than they’d care to remember, there are so many devastating and heartbreaking stories that are not being told in the news from this flood so I will be using these as inspiration in my narrative. Like the family who have not been able to return to their home for several months because the roads are cut off by floodwaters, only to discover when a neighbour flew over in a helicopter that their beautiful homestead which they had been hoping was spared was under water. Then having to wait for goodness knows how long for the water to recede to go in an assess the damage.

Or the families who haven’t left their remote properties in months and are getting groceries and mail via helicopter, and are spending their days waist deep in water trying to save their livestock while dead animals float by. Whole towns are cut off, entire crops have been wiped out, and all the rural businesses who rely on being able to move around and get from here to there have ceased trading.

All the while watching the skies and wishing it would stop bloody raining!

Please don’t despair though, there are flood stories that will warm your heart and give you faith in humanity again – but then again, it is a crime novel so be prepared for a plot twist you didn’t see coming!

Crime writers are funny! Sisters in Crime Sapphire Coast

What do you do when you want to hang out with Australia’s best crime writers?

You invite them to your home town and organise a festival so everyone gets to enjoy their company!

And what everyone discovered was that crime writers are funny!

Sisters in Crime festival, Sapphire Coast style.

I attended a 2016 Sisters in Crime Convention in Cobargo and loved it so much I just had to get them back!

The idea started with a conversation on Twitter after devastating bushfires impacted Cobargo. Plans were stalled for a couple of years, but we were determined to make it happen in 2022!

Candice FoxVikki PetraitisSulari Gentill, Fleur FerrisIlsa EvansProfessor Caroline de Costa, and Dorothy Johnston were part of the weekend, organised by myself with support from South East Arts, Well Thumbed Books, and Sisters in Crime Australia.

Sadly one of our authors, Kay Schubach, had to cancel her attendance at the last minute, and we send our sincere condolences for the loss of her father on the weekend.

We really missed her but I am planning the next festival and she will be there will bells on!

Sulari, Dorothy, Vikki, Melissa, Fleur, Ilsa, Dorothy and Candice. Photo by Sulari

The festival included a full day of panels and in-conversations at the Cobargo School of Arts and writing workshops in Merimbula.

People came from all over to attend including one aspiring writer who flew from Sydney for a half an hour speed date with Candice!

Around 100 people packed the Cobargo Hall, and we also live-streamed this around the world.

The lively panel discussions thrilled the audience because the simple fact is, crime writers are funny!

Candice Fox offered 30-minute speed dates on Saturday and Sunday, with Sydney writer Erica Adamson flying to Merimbula for the weekend to attend.

Thank you Candice, you inspired so many writers with these sessions! Bestselling YA author and screenwriter Fleur Ferris also ran a sold-out workshop on Sunday which again, inspired so many writers (including me!). 

The hall in Cobargo has something very special about it, from the beautifully catered curry lunch by the hall committee and Well Thumbed Books (including their famous egg sandwiches), to the enthusiastic audience which included people who attended the first Sisters in Crime event in 2016.

The Sisters want to make this an annual event and there is keen interest from South East Arts to bring more crime writers to the region as part of the Headland Writers Festival.

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who was part of the weekend, especially these incredible women who have such depth and experience in crime storytelling.

Candice Fox in Cobargo. Photo by Sulari Gentill

LIVESTREAM

For a limited time, South East Arts have given me a private link for my subscribers to the livestream! Subscribe to my newsletter by sending an email to  mp@melissapouliot.com to get the link.

Yellow Sunbird

This week is National Missing Persons Week in Australia, which is an opportunity for the media, the community and the world to take a moment for the many thousands of people who go missing every day and the families and friends who are left wondering. In Australia the number of reported missing people is around 145 a day, or 53,000 a year.

Can you imagine for a moment how many people who are impacted by that? A LOT.  I am one of those.

My experience when my cousin Ursula went missing when we were teenagers was traumatic, complex and impossible to describe in a few sentences. Which is why I have written many many sentences and turned them into a whole book.

The title is Yellow Sunbird and I’m working with an amazing woman in the US who is super excited to read my work, who is helping me edit and get it ready to send to publishers. I thought to mark National Missing Persons Week I would share with you the opening chapter. I’d love to know how it makes you feel.

Melissa x
………………………

May 6, 2016, 6.31pm

The usual Friday night. A race to meet my unmeetable work deadlines, three tired kids, and an even more tired Mum seriously contemplating serving dinner from a can. Wondering if I’d have the energy, after they had all settled in their beds, to sit back at my computer to continue editing my fourth crime novel.

You’ll Never Find Me is the title, reflecting the excruciating frustration at the twists and turns of the past three years, and the twenty-six before that. My angst burns bright on the pages and my chapter plan and narrative arc are all over the shop. This book is a dog’s breakfast and that’s exactly how my life was too.

I’d forgotten to turn my mobile onto silent and its stupid ringtone added fuel to my burning stress pile. With a frown, which had deepened considerably and was in need of Botox, I see unknown number.

Since I started searching three years ago with renewed vigour, earnest and blind desperation for my cousin Ursula, who disappeared in 1987, I  discovered ‘unknown number’ could be one of two people. Someone from the Australian Federal Police or one of the two dedicated and tenacious Kings Cross detectives investigating her case.

The other person it could be was my accountant, but I doubted he would call after six on a Friday.

It is Aims, or rather, Detective Senior Constable Amy Scott. She apologised for it being late, explained she didn’t want to call during work hours. She said she wanted to leave me a weekend before having to face the weekly routine again. That she would prefer to sit down face to face. That she didn’t know where to start.

By now I had moved rooms and was sitting in the quietest place in the house, on the edge of my bed. I had shut the bedroom door to muffle the household chaos.

The bedside lamp glowed a warm yellow and my feet gripped the white carpet, making me lose my train of thought as I wondered what possessed the previous owners to choose white. It is impossible to keep clean. I frown again as I noticed the vomit stain from a midnight visit from a child I can’t seem to get out. Mundane thoughts amongst madness, or maybe a sign of madness?

Finally finished with her bumbling around Aims brought me back to the here and now with five punchy, life-altering words.

‘We think we’ve found her.’