Grinding the coffee creative for a Rocky kaffeeklatsch

Two of my favourite past-times – other than writing – are drinking coffee and catching up with readers and writers. Combine the two and I’m in seventh heaven.

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So I didn’t miss a trick when I realised that an Author Kaffeeklatsch would be the perfect wind-down event following my Young at Heart workshop at the North Rockhampton Library on Saturday, August 1, 2015. (For more details about my Young at Heart: writing for young adults workshop, visit the Queensland Writers Centre’s information site here)

What is a Kaffeeklatsch?

The term kaffeeklatsch, according to, is of German origin (1877), from kaffee (meaning coffee) and klatsch (meaning gossip).  Author Kaffeeklatsches have long been a trademark feature of national and international speculative fiction conventions. One of my fave kaffeeklatsches in earlier years was with the inspirational Rowena Cory Daniells, who taught me to never stop writing, dreaming or giving up hope. I still see her as an amazing woman, author and role model, and coffee with her was where my love of kaffeeklatsches began. Another special memory was coffee with New York Times bestselling author Kylie Griffin and a group of her steadfast fans at an RWA conference. I’ve since plonked my name down for as many kaffeeklatsch events as the coffee grinders would allow me. In recent years, I’ve been the guest author at a number of kaffeeklatsches (which just means your coffee goes cold as you answer the many questions that readers might have for you).

So… Rocky readers now have the chance to ask me (face-to-face) their big, bad and embarrassing questions at a free Author Kaffeeklatsch at Café North at the Frenchville Sports Club at 4pm this Saturday, August 1.

“Visiting Rocky is like coming home because some of my fave published friends live here. This kaffeeklatsch is a chance for Rocky residents to meet and chat with published authors (not just me, but also Sue-Ellen Pashley, Greg Chapman, Shelley Russell Nolan & Dean J Anderson) to find out what it’s like to be published and why we write the things we do.

As you’ve already probably guessed, our real lives are often a lot less exciting than the tales we weave, but it’s fascinating when our idiosyncrasies are revealed. I write to halt the unrelenting chatter of characters inside my head so maybe I belong in a straitjacket, not a bookstore.

Benaraby’s Sue-Ellen Pashley, whose debut novel Aquila, was published by Random House earlier this year, will also be attending.

“As a working mum, I know how hard it is to set aside time for my writing,” Sue-Ellen said to me this afternoon. “For me, it’s about getting up at 5am in the morning – before the kids and animals have stirred – so I can savour a moment of ‘writing peace’. “It doesn’t always happen, but it’s very satisfying when it does.”

This Saturday’s Kaffeeklatsch is about bringing a little bit of the writing world, especially the creative magic of spec fic, to Rocky ahead of CONTACT, the national speculative fiction convention in Brisbane in April next year.


What: Author Kaffeeklatsch

Where: Café North, Frenchville Sports Club, 105 Clifton Street, Rockhampton.

When: Saturday, August 1.

Time: 4pm.

To RSVP: Just turn up at 4pm (or later), order and pay for your own coffee and relax with some crazy authors (if we even give you the chance to relax…)

In Conversation with Nina D’Aleo

Fairymead House soared to life with wine, laughter and not just fantasy tales when Aurealis short-listed Nina D’Aleo joined Bundaberg readers In Conversation last night.

Cheryse & NinaOver a glass of red and Alowishus canapés, D’Aleo enchanted readers (and a swag of our fave Bundaberg Writers Club convicts, myself included) with her down-to-earth honesty, delicious authenticity and colourful anecdotes of her writing career that started aged seven with a flying horse story, scribed with a feather dipped in water… so even the text was magical and invisible 🙂

Some of the gems from last night’s talk:

Coffee and night-time are credited as the tools behind her successfully writing and publishing her science-fiction-esque novels, despite the busy world of her everyday, which includes two sons aged four and six and a husband (age not supplied) and a psychology career which has demanded further study this year.

Nina received her first rejection at age 13 and didn’t get published until her early 30s. She said she could wallpaper her bedroom with the number of rejection slips and letters that she has received during that time (and it was pretty cheap wallpaper at that).

Her big break, she says, came from a previous Bundaberg WriteFest where she was interviewed and successfully acquired by The Cameron Creswell Agency (agent Sophie Hamley). She said, “I owe (WriteFest Director) Sandy Curtis big time, thank you Sandy.”

Although she’s only been published in recent years, Nina said she always thought of herself as a writer. I think that statement resonated with all the writers present – that it’s not about whether you’re published or not, but that writing is what you are – and WHAT YOU DO.

A background in psychology has injected additional layers of depth into her characters. “Having people tell you their deepest stories helps bring out, I think, a greater depth in your own stories. Readers say my characters have a lot of depth.”

Patricia C Wrede and her world-building resources came highly recommended.

Writing and publishing is a business process as well as a creative process, even though most writers just want to remain in the creative confines of their art

Working on a different book can energise you when you return to a previous WIP, especially a long-term series like the Demon War Chronicles.

Nina struggled with the writing of subsequent novels after publishing her first book because she is very demanding of her writing quality and will often rewrite and rewrite scenes until she is happy with them – and because real life still gets in the way (THIS resonated with all the published authors in attendance).

Nina D’Aleo In Conversation was brought to Bundaberg as part of the Queensland Writers Centre’s 25th anniversary celebrations (1990-2015).

For the first time last night, Bundaberg writers met the delightful Katie Woods, who took over the reins of the Queensland Writers Centre as its new chief executive officer two months.

Katie previously worked at the State Library of Queensland where she was most recently Manager of Reading, Writing and Ideas, and worked closely with the QWC on many partnered projects including Read Around Gladstone and the delivery of the Queensland Writers Fellowships.

Wide Bay writers are always a little nervous when there’s a changing of the guard at QWC. Although the centre is based in Brisbane, it has been highly supportive of its regional members in the past decade, recognising the tyranny of distance and the effect that has on rural careers, and subsequently implementing many initiatives for regional writers and supporting them in fresh and diverse ways. Without the Queensland Writers Centre and their courses, I wouldn’t be where I am today – and I am grateful for their continuing support.

Fortunately, Katie’s love of Queensland writing, and her own empathy for regional Queensland, means the QWC – and Bundaberg writing – are in safe hands for many years to come.

Thanks, Nina, for dropping in at Bundaberg and sharing your deepest thoughts and dreams with us and thanks, Katie (and the QWC), for bringing her to our little sugar town. Finally: Happy Birthday QWC!

For more information about Nina and her books, go troll her website or stalk her on Twitter. I’m very inspired now to check out her books and the other hiddens gems lurking in Momentum’s spec fic collection.

The Blood She Betrayed launches in Brisbane

Cheryse signing books at Mary Ryan's MiltonThe Blood She Betrayed has been officially unleashed on the world – well, it certainly will be by the end of the day. I felt goosebumps as I held my printed book in my hand for the first time. The cover artwork by Ran Valerhon is divine. Thank you, Ran and Clan Destine Press.

Thursday (October 10) was a packed day with signing stints at two bookstores (Dymocks Carindale and Chermside), followed by the launch of both The Blood She Betrayed (mine!) and Unnaturals (Dean J Anderson) by Brisbane Writers Festival CEO Kate Eltham at Mary Ryan’s Milton on Thursday night. Thanks to Kate for taking the time to launch our books and sharing lovely words about us and our books.

Mark Norris gets his niece's book signed by Cheryse Durrant at Dymocks Carindale
Mark Norris gets his niece’s book signed by Cheryse Durrant at Dymocks Carindale

My first in-store book sale in Brisbane was made to Mark Norris who bought one copy of The Blood She Betrayed for his niece Bailie and another for his neighbour’s daughter. It was awesome meeting wonderful people like Mark who made my time at the book signings absolutely delightful. I hope my readers enjoy The Blood She Betrayed as much as I enjoyed meeting them. Nah. Hopefully they love The Blood She Betrayed even more than that!

The Blood She Betrayed‘s official launch will be held at GenreCon at the State Library of Queensland today. GenreCon started with a bustling welcome reception last night where I got to catch up with many special writing friends – and was even able to put some new faces to other authors I’ve been talking to on the internet.

Tomorrow at GenreCon, I’m chairing a panel entitled Using & Abusing History. Panellists include John Birmingham, Anna Campbell and Dr Lynda Davies.

It’s back to Bundaberg on Tuesday for my hometown launch of The Blood She Betrayed at the Bundaberg Library at 6.15pm on Wednesday, October 16. For those who missed out on a ticket, email me via cherysedurrant(at)gmail(dot)com because I’ll be hosting an Author Coffee to sign books for those who missed out on attending the official Bundaberg launch.