Writing on, and about, an island

Posts Tagged ‘Titanic conspiracy theory’

Going Offline to Get the Book Done…

In Books, Crime & Mystery Writer, Island Life, Tasmania, Travel, Writing on April 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging front as I’m getting my book, Undercurrent, ready for publication next month.

I’ve had a great response from my Carmen Cromer author site (Cromer means ‘lake of crows’. Creepy…), and on the Undercurrent prologue I uploaded (in part to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, as a conspiracy theory surrounding it is a major plotline in my crime novel).

Now, I’m off tomorrow morning – on my own – to my family’s 1950s surf shack on the East Coast of Tasmania, for a full five days. Enforced solitude. No internet. No phone calls. No-one to hear me scream if…

The location of the shack, on the edge of the cliff above the beach, is perfect, secluded; you can hear the waves at night…

… and it’s going to scare the s**t out of me to be there on my own.

I’m totally afraid of the dark. I’m one of these people who (at 35 years old) still checks under beds, sleeps with a knife under my pillow and has to close all the cupboards. I’m very suggestible. Perhaps that’s what’s makes me an effective crime writer?

Anyway, I wil be channelling my pure terror into getting Undercurrent polished for publication.

Wish me well (and at least one decent night’s sleep).

“Undercurrent”: Sneak Peek at My Crime Novel Cover

In Books, Crime & Mystery Writer, Tasmania, Writing on April 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Here’s the cover for Undercurrent, my debut crime novel.

My CarmenCromer.com author site will be live tomorrow – to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic (my plot revolves around the conspiracy theory) – with a free PDF of the prologue available for download…

What do you think of the cover? The image was taken a couple of weeks ago, at Tinderbox, Tasmania (where a lot of the book is set). It looks good as a thumbnail and in greyscale, too – which are both important for an ebook.

The Titanic Conspiracy Theory

In Books, Crime & Mystery Writer, Tasmania, Writing on April 11, 2012 at 10:38 am

The connecting ‘thread’ through my Tasmanian-based crime novel is a pretty contentious conspiracy theory surrounding the Titanic…

The ‘switching’ of the Titanic

As the theory goes, the Titanic didn’t go down on 15 April 1912—it was her sister, Olympic. The Olympic was scrapped in 1935; now, the Titanic lies buried so deep there’s no technology capable of unearthing it.

The propellers are the only thing that can prove the ‘switch’ theory, as they are branded with serial numbers: the real Titanic’s number is 401; the real Olympic, 400…

This conspiracy theory has provided me with a very juicy plot device. Imagine the implications if this conspiracy theory was proved!

Strangely, despite the fact that I’ve based my crime book around the conspiracy theory, I don’t have an obsessive interest in the Titanic – just the ‘regular’ level of curiosity and empathy. As a writer, I’m drawn to the pathos in what is an enduring human tragedy.


What Title Should I Choose for My Crime Novel?

In Books, Crime & Mystery Writer, Tasmania, Writing on April 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I’m about 10 days away from launching my dedicated author site (CarmenCromer.com). Exciting but scary.

Although I’ll be launching with a free chapter (with the full book to follow later), I’ll still need to upload a ‘coming soon’ banner and the book cover.

Little problem…

I’m still undecided on the title of the book.

I started with Tinderbox, as that’s where it’s mainly set. And ‘tinderbox’ is a noun that pretty well describes the plot…

However, there are oodles of books out there already titled Tinderbox.

I have two other options I’m considering.



Do either grab you?

There will probably be three cover images to choose from (choose your favourite when you buy). Like this…

All three of my covers will have this sort of feel…

(Stinson Beach, CA Sunset 6:34pm © Eric Cahan)

As background, here’s my (short) synopsis…

It’s 15 April 2012. And the Tasmanian coastal town of Tinderbox is still sleeping when an expert diver plunges into the dark waters off its shore. Within minutes, she is dead; carbon dioxide the silent killer.

The creepy, lonely death of the diver sparks a disturbing journey for Berlin-born academic, Cattis Cull—one that takes her deep into a conspiracy theory surrounding the greatest maritime mystery the world has known: the century-old Titanic tragedy.

Cattis’ unravelling of the crime takes place against a backdrop of political corruption, the contested Tasmanian wilderness, and an undercurrent of menace that began with slaughtered aborigines and cannibalistic convicts… and continues to this day.

Will curiosity kill Cattis? 

Having read the synopsis, do either of those potential titles make sense?

Checklist for Self-Publishing an eBook #2

In Books, Career, Crime & Mystery Writer, Writing on March 14, 2012 at 11:16 am

Since my previous post on this, there have been developments on the to-do front…


  • Complete editing of book GOD, NO… moved to March
  • Book design – internals, cover, epub compatibility CLOSE; rolled over to March
  • ISBNs x 2 (one for hard copy, one for online) DONE
  • Buy WordPress publishing template DONE (Templatic’s Publisher theme)


  • Complete editing
  • Complete book design
  • Create my author site* – including ‘store’ function**
  • Make a promo video

14 April

  • Launch author site (including video and free first chapter)
  • Email press release/teaser/video to book-publishing and media colleagues, plus to Titanic interest group and forums (the Titanic being a major plot device) – 15 April is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship, so I don’t want to miss that marketing boat…




Publish hard copy

*I’m going to have to bite the bullet on what name I go by as a fiction writer, as it’ll be my site URL. As I’m published in mainstream press under my real name, do I ‘liberate’ myself with a pen name (and, as Richard Curtis writes, possibly Perish by the Pen Name in the process), or do I have the guts/ego to be myself? My real name has traction already in publishing circles, so that’s probably the sensible, strategic way to go… Hmm.

**After a meeting with my web designer, he’s advised me against going down the path of the Templatic Publisher theme (while lovely, it’s too complicated as it turns out). He’s recommended customising a WordPress site that then redirects to a BigCartel ‘bookshop’, where the transactions will be handled fuss-free by the Pulley app (both ebooks and traditional books). At the moment, we’re looking at 1A3 Template for WordPress – but it’ll depend on how well my author logo (which includes a signature), masthead, style sheet (colours, fonts etc) fit into it. It looks pretty lean, but as it’s designed for writers, it can be beautifully customsied, and it suits the spare look I’m going for (to match my writing).

Writing a Novel in 3 Months

In Books, Career, Crime & Mystery Writer, Writing on February 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I wrote my crime novel in the 3 months of winter 2011. I wrote it while working full-time and running a part-time freelance business, and being a mum to a demanding five-year-old and being a brand new wife…

My writing style = fast results

Perhaps it’s due to my inherent impatience, my incubator-style of working, my advertising training and my time as a ruthless sub-editor, but I’ve never been the kind of writer to agonise over sentences, to re-work things over and over, to spend several years writing a book… For example, I write these blog posts in about 5-10 minutes each.

My time on weekly magazines (especially as the Lifestyle Director of Australia’s OK! Magazine) involved a team pumping out an entire 200-page magazine each and every week. I’d have to produce countless articles each week. Similarly, working as a weekly columnist for a national newspaper (Sydney Morning Herald) had equally hairy dreadlines. Neither was an environment where perfectionism to the point of procrastination was valued.

So, I like to bash things out. I like to get stuff down, then go back over the whole. For this reason, I’ve never suffered from writer’s block. I have no problem writing on demand (a far, FAR greater problem for me has been to turn off my ‘commercial writing’ mode, and go into narrative, personal mode).

1000 words a day x 90 days = 90,000 word novel

To write a novel in 3 months, I wrote 1000 words a day. This is nothing new to me in my line of work – and it’s certainly not a new concept in writing land. But I can’t stress enough that writing that 1000 words each day is what you need to do to get a book done.

Writing that much each day forces you to get over writer’s block, it creates discipline and drive, and it maintains momentum in your writing and story.

I would write 1000 words on my laptop – often in one go, and often more than 1000 – without worrying too much about following intricate plotlines. Above all, I wanted to avoid getting bogged down.

I’d then edit that 1000 words – usually in the evening, and on paper (not computer). The next day, I’d revise the previous day’s copy before writing my next 1000 words.

In my time not writing or editing, I’d think about the plot and characters, discuss my book with my husband, and do background research (the crime in my novel is underpinned by a controversial Titanic conspiracy theory).

Is this for you?

Perhaps not. And presumably no-one’s forcing you to write a book in 3 months. I simply chose to – because I was motivated to tell the story (and didn’t want to miss the boat, so to speak), because I was worried about my commitments coming up (and didn’t want to get waylaid), because writing fast is pretty much the only way I know how to work, and – crucially – the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is coming up on 15 April 2012, and I wanted to market my book around the event.

Even if I didn’t have an external deadline, I would probably still have written my book this way. It’s my style.

Some would say that a novel bashed out in speed is one that suffers in style and substance – I disagree. I have always felt that my writing is fresher, quirkier and more compelling when I go with the flow. When I’ve tried to be the considered, ponderous writer, my writing comes across as stilted and stifled. It doesn’t feel authentic – and if nothing else, I want my book to be authentic.

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