Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goals for Twenty-Ten!!

These goals are a to-do list, not a wish list!! They're things I CAN achieve if I really put my mind to it (in no particular order).

Obviously my WISH is to be published in 2010, but that is not completely within my control!

Writing goals

Goal #1:
Finish revisions on the partial of 'Maverick Millionaire, Musical Mistress' and sub to the editor I'm working with.

Goal #2:
Read more!

Goal #3:
Finish 'OHHN' and sub to Superromance.

Goal #4:
Enter the eharlequin Superromance pitch.

Goal #5:
Attend 'Romancing The West' and the 'Romance Writers of Australia conference' in Coogee.

Goal #6:
Rewrite 'Falling For His Magic' and sub to Modern Heat.

Non-writing goals

Goal #1:
Lose another six kilos! Yeah baby!!!

Goal #2:
Finish Trouble's baby photo scrapbook and make a start on His Lordship's!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The year that was...

At the beginning of 2009, I posted my list of goals for 2009.

To refresh your memories and for those not here back then, I'll post them again below and next to the goal, I'll tell you how I did:

* To finish editing WWMM and submit the full to Lucy Gilmour by the end of January - this is TOTALLY achievable. Check - I achieved this goal. Unfortunately it was rejected but the letter why was detailed and I was invited to submit another partial directly to her.

*To write another category targetted romance (well at least one, but I'm being realistic that I have three young boys) - either for Modern Heat or Superromance, depending on feedback I get from editors. Whoops! I started numerous books this year and at the end there, I ALMOST thought I'd finish one, until I got revisions on the partial I had subbed and therefore abandoned the full :) Despite not finishing any books, I actually have a partial currently subbed with Supers as well as my revisions for MH.

*To read more how-to books - this was on my ''goal'' list last year and it didn't really happen. And books about writing - I've just ordered ''Becoming a writer'', which people have been raving about on RomAus, from Book Depository. LOL - Doesn't buying the books count? I delved into a couple of writing books - Save The Cat and Break Into Fiction, but haven't read them enough to get much out of them yet! Tsk. Tsk.

*To participate in an online writing bootcamp and attend the Romance Roadshow in WA. Check! And how AWESOME were these experiences. Through Bootcamp 209 I've met a load of other fabulous writing friends, who are so generous with their thoughts and ideas when it comes to helping me. How lucky am I? And at the Romance Roadshow not only did I have a fabulous time and learn lots, I also met other new writing buddy - Janette, whom I've become good friends with.

Now... non writing related:

*To get my toddler out of nappies - BRING IT ON! This has been the bane of my existence this year - that and not getting enough sleep! We're still not quite there, but I'm positive about the progress we've made in the last month or so!

*To lose enough weight that I'll look good in little shorts next summer - okay.. so maybe I'm dreaming! Check. The little shorts are probably still a summer (or maybe two) off but I lost six kilos in last half of this year and I'm hoping for the same in 2010!!!

So, how'd you go with your goals? I'll be back tomorrow (or the next day) with my goals for 2010!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Congrats Cathryn!!

My fabulous writing buddy Cathryn Brunet's first book is released today by Samhain Publishing! Just wanted to offer her a huge congrats and tell all you guys that if you like your books hot and original, this baby is for you! Head on over to Cathryn's website and follow the links to buy her book. You won't regret it!

Wanted: Insurance Know-It-All!?

Good news is I'm slowly climbing out of the puddle of woe I was in after receiving my first real revisions. Hopefully all the stress and lack of sleep is good training for if I ever actually get published.

The lovely editor I'm working with has given me the go ahead on my thoughts for revision, but there's just one itty bitty problem.


That's right... my heroine prangs into the hero's swish, red convertible and in the original incarnation she's 'between insurance companies' and therefore stressed because he's annoyed about his car and she's about to tell him she can't afford to fix it.

Problem is the heroine needs to be BEYOND REPROACH and let's face it, anyone who doesn't have insurance is a bit of a ninny! So I need her to have insurance just not want to claim it for some reason.

The heroine is saving for/pursuing IVF as a single woman and so she needs all the dosh she can get. However from my understanding excess, no matter what kind of car she prangs, will be maximum $500 or something. There was the option that she doesn't want to claim because she wants to look irresponsible for the IVF treatment but in Australia single women are legally allowed to do IVF, so I don't think this would be an issue either.

Still ... without the insurance issue, she has no reason to feel indebted to the hero and therefore the next bit of the plot doesn't work. If the next bit doesn't work, neither does the next and so on and so on. Besides... the editor liked the car prang and what the editor likes we give her!!!

So... am desperately hoping that someone out there knows a bit about insurance. Is there any way around my little problem!? Will pay oodles of cyber chocolates to anyone with a solution :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Maverick Millionaire, Musical Mistress!

Thanks to everyone who helped me brainstorm a new working title for my manuscript. Piecing your suggestions together I've come up with:


Yesterday the title seemed a problem, today that hurtle seems nothing compared to the revisions I'm facing. I've now got a tincy wincy bit of an idea why published authors always make cringy comments on their blogs, Facebook accounts, etc when revisions land in their inbox.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good challenge so I'm facing this thing head on but I'm only just beginning to realise the significance of each little thing in a book. If I change one seemingly small thing, it amazes me how it has a domino affect on the rest of the book.

It seems I finally got the internal conflict right in this submission, but all the changes the editor has suggested means taking out a LOT of the things that highlighted this conflict so well. So now I'm really exercising my brain trying to think of other ways to highlight this core conflict. It hurts my brain.

So... I just wanna take a moment to cyber toast all my good published writer friends, who still go through this kind of stuff on a regular basis. Thanks for slogging away to write books that captivate us and really hit the spot!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I have absolutely ALWAYS had the title of the book before I've started writing. I had Cameron and Peppa's title before I started the book - The Maverick Millionaire's Christmas Fairy!

Now that I've been given revisions on my partial the story is no longer going to be set at Christmas time, therefore really needs a totally new title.

Usually titles come to me but since this book has already been started, I'm stumped. So I'm turning it over to you guys! I'll pay any fabulous ideas with cyber choccies (Lindt balls of course) and pink champagne (of which I'm indulging myself with now for no particular reason aside from the fact it was cheap when I did the grocery shopping)!!!

The story is about Cameron (the head honcho of a major recording studio/company) and Peppa (short for Penelope - an aspiring singer). They meet when she's dressed as a fairy entertaining kids at a charity party for which he's a sponsor. She wants a big family (but is scared a medical condition won't let her achieve this dream) and to become a singer star - she wants IT ALL! He has lost a wife and unborn baby already and never wants to go there again. He's steering clear of any type of committment.

The category hook? An unplanned pregnancy during a no-strings liaison!

Is that enough to go on for the title? Please help!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gold Letter Day!

Well... it looks like I will NOT be finishing even ONE mss this year.

I heard from the very speedy editor at M&B this morning and she said lots of lovely and good things about my partial but has suggested revisions and another look at the partial before she requests any more.

Good thing is (as my friend Sue BT pointed out) she gave me ticks for dialogue, voice and sexual tension and there is no apparent problem with the conflict. The major issue with this mss was that I'd set it at Christmas time and that didn't really add anything to the story. Also they'd like me to loose the boss/employee hook!

The revisions are DAUNTING. I'd be lying if I said they weren't... but I know they are a chance. A chance to improve my mss to a publishable standard.

Revision letters are GOLD!

So I've ditched the full mss deadline and am giving myself another one - to revise (and improve) the partial and resubmit mid January.

I'll keep you posted :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Importance of a Deadline

I know I've been VERY quiet of late. It's cos I'm working to a self-imposed deadline.

I entered the Romance Writer's of Australia Emmy award with my current mss (the one subbed with Richmond) because I wanted to make sure I finished the full. I've been good at starting mss' this year but we all know to actually become a published author, you need to Finish The Damn Book!!!

The second round of the Emmy will be announced end of January/begining of February and any one who gets through will then have to send in the full mss within a week. On the off chance that I make it through, I wanted to have the mss finished at least a few weeks before so I have time to let it sit before doing a first edit.

I've given myself the deadline of December 31st 2009 to finish TMMCF and I'm posting it on here so you guys can all keep me honest. I'm almost at 40k so have about 10k (give or take) to finish.

I think I can... I think I can...

Yesterday I cheated, jumped ahead and wrote the epilogue. It was a LOT of fun :)

Anyway before I sign off just wanted to say a HUGE congrats to those four winners of the iheartpresents writing contest! As a runner up from last year I can't rave enough about the opportunity. From that contest, I'm lucky enough to still be working with an editor. And those editors know their stuff. Like this year's MH Winner, I didn't even get feedback in the first contest a couple of years back. So congrats to EVERYONE who entered and don't feel disheartened if you only recieve a form email!

Instead... be even MORE determined to succeed!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Compulsively checking email and the letterbox...

Last week a good friend of mine heard on her sub at Super. I subbed a partial there two weeks after her, so since then I've been on edge, thinking I might be hearing something soon.

Then this morning another good friend, heard on a partial which she subbed at Richmond LAST WEEK! I KNOW talk about record time.

Well... I subbed my revised partial (yep I emailed the editor I'm working with and told her about the changes I wanted to make to story and synopsis and she said to send the new version) last Tuesday to the same editor, so now I'm compulsively checking email every five minutes to see if I've heard.

I tell ya, this writing caper is seriously hazardous to one's mental health!!

Anyone else heard on subs lately!?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rachael Johns LIVE

I'm excited to announce that my website is now LIVE!

Click on this link to have a peak: Rachael Johns

In other news, the wip is slowly coming together. I'm almost at 30k and the BM is in sight!!!

May just have had a minor epiphany on the heroine's conflict though, which would mean going back and changing a few things. It also means the full would be quite different to the synopsis I subbed with my partial to M&B.

So I'm torn... do I make the changes, which I think will improve the mss or wait until I hear on my sub!?


Monday, November 16, 2009

All I want for Christmas...

Is an e-reader!!

Question is which one!?

Do I buy an Apple iTouch, which can do other things as well - as if I need the added diversion of games, music and the like.

Do I buy a Sony eReader (and if so, which model) when I can't actually buy one in Australia? I really like the look of these and as I really only want them to read on, think this is exactly what I'm looking for.

Or do I go the new Eco Reader which is one of the few readers available in Australia!?

Decisions... decisions....

So tell me faithful blog readers, who reads ebooks? If you have an ereader, I'd love to hear about your experiences!?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pssst!!! Have you heard?

The buzz overnight on the Net is that Harlequin is launching a new digital only publishing house - Carina Press.

The lovely Amy of Harlequin's digital team asked me to spread the news.

Carina Press will launch in Spring/Summer 2010 and they're actively seeking submissions.

The good thing about Carina (as I see it) is that they have the backing of an globally successful publishing company and will look at stories that do not traditionally fit the Harlequin Mills & Boon lines.

It certainly seems that with Carina the sky's the limit!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Speaking of contests...

My lovely, talented and all round fabulous friend and CP (note I wrote FRIEND first) has just finalled in the Spacecoast Authors of Romance Launching a Star contest!!! She finalled with one of my fave of her mss' in the Contemporary Series section and the judge is Susan Litman of Silhouette Special Edition!! Whoop Whoop!!! Oh and there's also an agent judge! How cool is that!!!!!?

I know Becca J Heath is just waiting for fabulous things and I'm so glad I'll get to share them with her.

So I'm making a cyber toast (hence the gorgeous pink champagne) TO BECCA!!!!

Love ya!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Controversial contest feedback!

I've entered a number of US contests this year - it's addictive - but so far I'm yet to final in any!

The interesting thing is that almost always my scores/comments are VERY diverse. This has happened in most of the RWA Oz contests I've entered too but until recently they had three or four judges per entry and always dropped the lowest, so I was lucky.

Anyway today I got feedback on my 'OHHN' mss - you know the one with the ghosts?! Funny that one judge absolutely loved it - she said fabulous things and comments on certain lines she just adored.

One line she liked was 'If lattes spoke, this was how they'd sound.'

Well... the other judge hated this line. Said it was way OTT! It was like this with many other lines/ paras - one judge loved it, one thought it was TOO MUCH!!

So, who do I listen to? LOL. In the end, I'm just gonna go with my gut!

Anyone out there entered any contests lately? Aside from the MAJOR one :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New look! You like?

You may have noticed my new look blog and the lovely pink gerbera heading?!

It's all changed because my darling mum and web designer extrodinaire is currently creating a website for me. I requested a pink gerbera theme and she came up with this header!!

It seems appropriate then that my good writing buddy Cathryn Brunet sent me this link about the importance of having a website in the pre-published years. There's some good and interesting advice here and its well worth the read!

Watch this space for the official site launch of my new site :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

NTAI Shoes...

Okay... they're not expensive, they're not boots, but I bought them because I've just pressed SEND on my current partial.

That's right, TMMCF first three chaps and synopsis have winged their way through cyber space and hopefully landed on a desk at Richmond!!

Ridiculous... but practically the MOMENT I pushed SEND, I started compulsively checking my email. Obviously I needed something to distract myself :) So... in the style of Jackie Ashenden I went online (hey, I live in the country and can only buy Rossi Boots near by) and bought myself a pair of nice, dressy black sandals.
Now... it's onward and upward with chapter four!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Themes in category romance!

I'm a proud member of Romance Writers of Australia and recently on our eloop, the very talented Fiona Lowe commented on the importance of writing to your particular line's themes but putting an emotional twist on those much-loved themes.

For example, she noted that some themes in Medical Romance are Secret Babies, Bachelor Dads, Playboy surgeons (to name but a few).

This sparked me to think about what particular themes are recurrent in Modern Heat novels.

I came up with this list, but I'm sure there are many more. Feel free to add!!

*Sex with the ex
* One Night Stands
*Hot Office Romance/Sex with the boss
*Unplanned pregnancies
*Millionaire's Mistress

In my current romance the themes are One Night Stand and Sex with the boss, but I've come upon a dilemma. A fabulous writer friend of mine was recently rejected and one of the reasons was there was too much focus on sex up front and not on the emotional conflicts between the characters.

My dilemma... how do we get past that in MH where the story begins with a ONS. In the nature of ONS's the partakers do not really get to know each other, it's all about the physical rush...

If you're an avid reader or writer of Modern Heat, I'd love to hear your take on the ONS hook and how to make sure it also ticks the emotional conflict boxes in the first few chaps!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Can Alpha males play Barbies!?

Good news is I've FINALLY finished the partial of the mss aimed at Modern Heat, which I hope to submit to Richmond very soon!

I've been really lucky to have the delightful Rachel Bailey and the lovely Anna Cleary look over my chapter. Rachel founds some holes in conflict, which I've hopefully now fixed and Anna thought my lovely hero could be more MENACING!!!

I agree! And I've so I've been asking my crit partners, when they read my partial, to look out for parts where my hero is not Alpha enough and parts where I could really make him more so.

Much of chapter two is spent at my hero's family's Christmas party - he DOES NOT want to be there - and in it, he grudgingly enjoys pretend tea with his nieces using the toy tea set he gave them for Christmas. So... my question is, can an Alpha Male, who doesn't want to have kids or really spend much time with his family, swallow his discomfort and play Barbies or drink tea with his nieces? Or does that make him just too adorable!?

Would love to hear your thoughts!!!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Busy, busy, busy...

I've been quiet lately (still surfing the blogs) but trying not to distract myself too much as my writing time is limited and I'm trying to make the most of what time I do have.

Following my R from MH with the offer to sub a new partial, I've been contemplating conflict and brainstorming what are hopefully stronger internal conflicts for my new characters.

I think the conflict I've chosen is emotional. They both think they want hugely different things in life but a spanner will be thrown in the works, when life chooses an alternate direction for both of them.

Brainstorming this book has made me realise even more so how generous and lovely the romance community is. My beautiful CPs are being so giving with their wisdom, the Bootcamp group I'm a part of has also offered their thoughts and some published author friends have gone beyond the call of duty!

So... I've penned the first chap and am almost finished chapter two. If I'm a little quiet it's because I'm writing and rewriting like crazy in an aim to get my new partial off to M&B by the beginning of November.

It's a deadline... and I'm sticking to it!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Importance of writing a pearler of a first page!

Thanks to a chat with a lovely writing buddy, I've been pondering the importance of the first page - especially in a category novel where the wc is VERY TIGHT.

This friend, who will soon be published, pointed out that most editors want the conflict CLEAR as MUD as early as THE FIRST PAGE!!

I KNOW!! I almost died? Surely not!!

So...I looked again at the first page of my new mss and found I've introduced the heroine but aside from that she's had issues with a guy called Tim, is looking forward to heading home and doesn't regard the wealthy workers in the offices above very highly, we don't have any real insight on that first page as to what her conflcits will be.

I think my problem may be that I've started the story in the wrong place because for once I think I've got their conflicts fairly developed in my mind.

Anyway... just thought I'd let you know what I'm up too and why the word count isn't shooting up on the side. I'm currently doing lots of research of stellar first pages and contemplating whether I need a totally NEW start to my story!

Go have a look at some of the first pages of your fave category romances!! How much is given away in as little as a few paras?!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another BIG R!!!

That's right... I finally heard from M&B about the partial I had subbed there - 'Red-Hot Road Trip' and I got a BIG FAT no!! But as I said the rejection letter was nice and juicy (FAT) and there were a lot of positives once I looked past the thanks but no thanks.

They said my style and voice show a great deal of potential for their Modern Heat line and that my characters have spark and I have a wonderful way with dialogue :)

Again the main mss concern was conflicts!! (cue lots of cursing from moi!)

They've asked me to put this mss to one side for now but I can already see ways to improve it ONCE I'm published and may be able to give it a second chance! Power of positive thinking at play here.

The best part? They said that my writing continues to be of a promisingly high standard and they want to see something else. I'm still able to sub directly to an editor, which is a HUGE relief as I was terrified I might have been slung back to the slush pile.

So it's back to the drawing board.

I had planned on entering the new Presents/Modern Heat writing contest but the editor I'm working with has told me to sub directly to her instead. I'd already written a chapter and synopsis for the contest and had tried to think a lot more about character and that elusive emotional conflict...

The plan now is to work on my characters even more - doing a fair bit of pre-writing about their backgrounds, beliefs, etc - and then finish the partial to sub.

So... while I'm playing with my Maverick Millionaire and his Christmas Fairy, I'm curious... what do YOU do to really get to know your characters!

I also finally succombed and bought Lucy King's debut as an ebook, cos I thought reading the most recently debuted MH author might help me get an idea of what they're actually looking for. CAn't wait to read it... even if I have to do so on my puter :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Yes... I'm still ALIVE

Yes... I'm still ALIVE but I think I'm riding some sort of emotional rollercoaster with my writing.

I've been TRYING (being the operative word) to write OHHN. One moment I'm stoked with it and start writing lots and the next I'm stumped and can't write more than two words. I think my problem is that there's something inherently wrong with the story. I REALLY don't wanna go back to the drawing board but at the same time, I don't wanna waste any more time on a story that is FATALLY flawed and I fear this one is!

After rereading an email from a writing friend, I suddenly realised that if I stripped away the complications my heroine has with her dependent mother, the long-distance barrier that will be between my h&H when she returns home and his playboy reputation, there's absolutely nothing stopping them from jumping into bed and/or having a HEA. There's no internal BELIEF about themselves that is stopping them from committing to the other. ARGH!! So first I had NO CONFLICT and now it's ALL external. Not doing too well here Rach!

So what do I do?! I've written 44k of a Superromance targetted novel (because until I hear back from the editor at Modern Heat, I was trying my hand at something different) and I think it has the bare bones of potential but it's gonna need a complete rehaul.

Do I scrap the lot and start afresh? Or try weave in?! Guess it's back to the drawing board.

Sorry for my rambles but I thought if I wrote a blog post, I'd at least have written something today and that's gotta be better than all the wallowing, I'm currently doing :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I didn't win the Valerie Parv Award. Piqued at the post by Kylie Short who came first AND third and my lovely CP Melissa Smith who came second.

Congrats to both of you!!! I came fourth btw (out of six), which is the same I came in this same contest in 2007! I'm determined to climb that ladder next year :)

Also want to shout a HUGE congrats to my lovely CP Becca J Heath for coming a BRILLIANT second in the RWA Emerald (full mss) Award. Both of us are eagerly awaiting the final judges comments.

Thanks to everyone who left me good luck wishes!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tonight's the night...

I'm in the mood!! Mood for drinking wine and hanging out on email/Twitter to follow the Romance Writers of Australia Awards night.

I'm up for the Valerie Parv Award (of which the prize is a year's mentorship with bestselling author of romance, STs and how-to craft books) and one of my dear writing buddies Bec is up for the Emerald (which is a full manuscript contest).

I kinda feel like I've been nominated for a Logie or an Oscar and can't be there to almost wet my pants with fear/nerves/excitment as I await the annoucement. The competition is VERY tough and I may not even place (there are six finalists) but hey, I'm stoked whatever happens cos the mss that finalled is close to my heart!!!

So... what are you doing tonight?

GOOD LUCK Bec!! And good luck to my other CP Melissa Smith, who although not in blogland is also a contender for the VPA. If I don't win... she better :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Remember me?

Yep - I've been slightly absent in blogland this last couple of weeks. Been trying to force my current mss (OHHN) into submission.

A lovely writing buddy (Hi Cath) pointed out that although written in quite a lovely style, it had NIL conflict. That's right my lovelies... NADA, ZILCH, NOT A SINGLE SMIDGE of good reason why my gorgeous hero and his delightful leading lady shouldn't buy a house with a white picket fence and live happily ever after.

So I've been brainstorming ways to torture them a little more. I've hopefully given them pasts and present probs that make falling into love and HEA not quite a simple as boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl likes boy and they say 'I do.'

It's meant that I've done a lot of rewriting, adding and deleting. Gosh it's painful when the wordcount goes up and then rapidly down again, but I'm sure it'll mean a stronger mss in the long run.

In the meantime... I'm still WAITING to hear from M&B about the partial I sent in May! I'm at the stage, where I sort of wouldn't mind an R cos at least I'd know where I stand. I thought being able to send straight to an editor's desk would mean the process was quicker - but apparently that's a fantasy. Oh well... I've started thinking about my Maverick and his Christmas Fairy's conflict so that I can enter the new contest if I still haven't heard on my partial by then!!

Right... thanks for listening to my rambles. Hope you are all well and happy and that next time I'll either have meatier news or an interesting craft thing to discuss!

For all those off to the Aussie conf this weekend - have a BLAST! Am sooooooooooo jealous I won't be there. Especially since I'm up for an Award Sat night. Who wants to drink cyber wine with me and hang out on Twitter to see how I go?!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Contemplating Naughty Naughty Things...

So it appears I have a voice suited to Modern Heat but I haven't yet cracked the whole character-driven-plot-emotional-conflict thing.

So... I'm contemplating ditching both the current wips and starting on a new story for the iheartpresents contest. I'm doing a 5k challenge next week with the lovely ladies I did a Bootcamp with earlier this year *waving to those of you who read this* and I'm contemplating the idea of writing something totally new!!

So far.. I've got:
*Christmas Eve
*A Maverick Self-Made Millionairre
*Santa's Little Helper
*And a broken down Voltswagon Beetle!!!

It's not much... but it's a start!
NB. I AM thinking about their conflicts too!! And I plan to make the Maverick and the Elf have LOADS of internal stuff going on!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I placed BUT...

Well... the fabulous news is that I came third in the RWNZ Great Beginnings contest. The finalists were judged by Kimberley Young of M&B and she gave me some comments on my first chap and synopsis.

Overall she said they loved my voice but I need to be careful of forcing humour; the hero is strong and the heroine's emotional conflicts progress well BUT there could be MORE between them AND although they loved the set-up (a road-trip) part of the conflict feels plot-driven and is therefore CONTRIVED!!!

ARGH!!! Can you hear me screaming?

I have two things bothering me now a) what the hell does contrived mean exactly, cos I've read so many category romances that are fabulous but seem far more contrived than mine and b) if the mss wasn't requested from the contest, what chance have I got that the full of the partial (currently with the editor working with me) will be requested.

So... while I'm pondering what moves I should make next with regards to rewrites, totally new stories or just waiting it out to see what happens, I'd love to hear your opinion on what exactly a contrived plot is!! Any ideas...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recharge, Re-coup and eEditors!

After a crazy couple of weeks, I needed a few days down time before throwing myself back into writing. Funny that the downtime actually included catching up on housework and washing (although I'll never completely catch up me thinks) but doing so made me feel better and put me in a better zone to get back into writing. I also read a bit and critted chapters of my friends and CPs.

Now I'm slowly easing myself back into writing OHHN and hope to have it finished by the end of August... that's unless I hear from M&B about the partial I subbed to them earlier in the year.

I finally emailed the eEditor address to find out what's going on with this partial, so hopefully I'll hear something soon. Best case scenario would be a full request - so fingers crossed please!

Will keep you updated...

Friday, July 17, 2009

A minor epiphany!

While reading Kandy Shepherd's debut book 'Love is a Four-Legged Word' yesterday, I had a minor epiphany about writing romance.

There's always so much focus (in blogs, workshops, editor interviews, etc) on making sure there's something MAJOR and IMPORTANT keeping the hero and heroine apart (INTERNAL CONFLICT)!! This seems to be the reason many wannabee authors (including myself) get rejected on mss, which are otherwise considered quite noice, so it's right we focus on such things. But... I sometimes wonder if in the HUGE strive to achieve the perfect internal conflicts between our lovely characters, we forget that there needs to be a MAJOR reason, if not reasons, why they should be together as well.

In Kandy's book, the hero and heroine get chatting (at a funeral as it happens) about their love for animated Disney films. Not only does this show they have something in common but it gives the heroine insight into the hero's more 'human' side and she begins to fall for more than his stunningly sexy good looks. I'm only at the beginning of this book and so I'm sure there's many more reasons why the hero and heroine go so well together, but it made me think about my own wips and wonder if I've given good reasons why my h&Hs are PERFECT and therefore will make the reader root for their HEA!

In my 'Feel The Heat' entry, Matt and Libby are instantly attracted to each other but quite aside from the physical, Matt likes Libby's gumption and attitude and Libby likes Matt's humour and passion for his cars. Yet... in terms of what they've got in common, I can't think of anything concrete. They both have issues with their parents, but is that enough? Me thinks not.

In my current MH wip, Sebastian and Martha find each other attractive immediately but have pre-conceptions about deeper issues of personality that stop them acting on this attraction. So far the only thing I can think of that they have in common is their love for younger siblings and the fact they both work with their hands. Is this enough? Somehow... I think I have to work on more!

So... I'm now gonna think about WHY my hero and heroines should be together as much as why they shouldn't. Hopefully... this helps bring my mss' up to publication standard.
Would love to hear your thoughts...

Monday, July 6, 2009

When All Else Fails... Buy Another How-To Book!

I'm suffering a SEVERE case of Mid-Book Anxiety! This happened with the last wip too... I get half way (or just before) and I start thinking that everything I've written is absolute rubbish and I wonder why I'm even bothering!!

So... what have I done? Gone out and bought ANOTHER How-To book. Actually... I didn't have to go anywhere cos I bought it online but I think it still equates to the same :) It's called 'Break Into Fiction' by Mary Buckham and Diana Love Snell and the blurb reckons it's ''all you need to master the art of fiction.'' That had me sold.

Pity I still haven't read the last three How-To books I spent hubby's hard-earned dosh on!

Go on... confess... do you have a writing-related addiction?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Still above water - just!

Hey lovely blog readers

Just thought I'd let you know that posts might be few and far between in July! Not only am I sick at the moment (yaya) but July is looking to be a full-on crazy month.

I'm off to Perth with my mum and the heroes-in-training for a few days next week, where I plan to catch up with wonderful old friends and hit the toy sales. When I get back, I'll be working two days (I NEVER usually work during the week), then have mother-in-law and other family coming to stay for the weekend and then a lovely friend coming to stay for a few days after that. Somewhere in there, I'm also having a bra party (yes, I know... all I wear is Bonds Maternity but still...) for a friend who's just become a consultant. Oh and on the 17th Trouble turns three and I was crazy enough to invite EVERYONE from PG, which means I'll be baking for days beforehand and recovering for days after!

Writing....?? I'm gonna be realistic and aim for 200w a day in July!

Oh and for those of you who've been lovely enough to enquire, I still haven't heard from Mills & Boon on either the proposals I sent or the partial I subsequently sent. Gotta learn a lot of patience in this business, doncha!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

In the name of RESEARCH!

The things we do in the name of research - the things we make our husbands do in the name of research!!

As you've probably guessed my current wip involves a ghost, so in the name of research I sat down to watch 'Death of a Ghost Hunter' tonight and of course, cos I'm a total wimp, I made my hubby watch it too.

Aside from the bad acting, I was quite freaked in various stages but I think this was because they made out that the movie was based on a true story. Too bad I looked it up after and found out it was a hoax along the lines of the 'Blair Witch Project.' Oh and the three main characters were TSTL!! Really... they were just thick!

But the REALLY, REALLY freaky thing?

I tried to save an image of the DVD cover to post to this blog and couldn't. That's right... tried numerous different images and although they said they'd saved to my computer, when I went to post (it said they'd been posted), it wouldn't work. So alas... I can't show you the cover!!

Movie watching aside, I'm calling it quits in my attempt to write 30k in 30 days. I'm just not woman enough to cope with all the lack of sleep and still churn out a regular 1k a day that I actually think is good enough! So... no more daily word counts or fave lines. If you wanna know my progress, watch the word metres on the side, which will hopefully continue to creep up at a nice, sensible pace - lol!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day Twenty-Eight (nearly there...)

Day Twenty-Eight

Nearly there... well... not exactly! It's nearly the end of June but I'm almost 10k short of my 30k goal.

Why? It's not so much because I had those few days away from writing completely... more that I CAN'T switch off the internal editor and I'm actually struggling to decide whether this is a bad thing or not.

Let me elaborate...I'm almost 26k into my 60k story. They h&H have done the deed but I'm not sure they should have yet. I could just plod on writing and hope that I'll be able to fix this if it's wrong in the rewrites, well I could... but I just can't. I seem to NEED to have the scenes that come before the one I'm writing pretty much right before I can continue. So I'm umming and ahhing about whether to do some rewriting and insert a scene or two or to leave the book as is! It's a nightmare!!!

Anyway enough whinging.

Word count (last two days cos I forgot to count yesterday): 1638

Fave Line of the day/s:

‘You’re not one of those women who channel Oscar The Grouch before they’ve had coffee and a shower are you?’

Word Count Thus Far: 20849

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day Twenty-Six (I think)

Day Twenty-Six (yep... I think that's the right date, am a little lost on such things if I'm honest)

Word Count: 1472 (but I'm not at all enthralled by any of them)

Fave Line of The Day (see above, but I'll put one in for the hell of it):
‘I suppose you believe in aliens, UFOs and the Loch Ne
ss Monster as well,’ she said, trying to sound flippant.

Total word count thus far: 19211

I had a lovely (okay, rainy and rather exhausting few days) away with the hubby and the three heroes-in-training. Didn't get any writing done (but wasn't expecting or planning too) as you can see by my dismal June NaNo word count, but I did finish
reading ONE book. I know... only ONE but honestly... it was an exhausting kind of holiday.

Luckily that one book was one that now rests on my KEEPER SHELF. It's.... DRUMROLLL...
This is only the second Anne McAllister I've ever read but I'm on a serious mission to hunt down her backlist now. This is the devilishly delicious Hugh and the feisty Syd's story - both the kind of characters I absolutely adore. Hugh is a very unusual Presents hero (and frankly, I'd like to see more of him - no, not like that, you naughty minded blog readers you - I meant more of his type). He's sexy and good-looking (obviously) but he's a little dishevelled, lives in a beach shack, has a puppy for a best pal and likes to take it easy and enjoy life as well as work hard.

But probably the best thing about the book is that she had me from PAGE one with a totally unique opening. I'm not gonna spoil it for those who wanna hunt this baby down... but let's just say, it'd be worth the read.

Anyway Anne's book got me thinking about openings and how they affect my own writing. I've realised that I can't actually plan a book unless I have the opening in my mind already. All the books I've written thus far have either started with a title or an opening scene (and usually the other has followed quickly on the heels of the first), yet if I don't have a title or a clear first scene in my head, I totally flounder.

So... what comes first for you?! I'd love to hear!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day Nineteen

Day Nineteen

Not one word written on either of my wips today - whoops! And we're off on holiday for a few days tomorrow and both hubby and I are NOT taking our laptops, so I won't be writing. Hopefully I'll have some time to read some good books though :)

This little break will mean meeting my goal of 30k in 30days is unlikely... but I'm happy with what I've achieved this month and will continue to write regularly throughout the rest of June and beyond.

Anyway I know I promised you a pic of my current heroine - Imogen Lewis - and believe me... she's stunning... but for some reason my computer won't let me save the pic!!! :(

So write heaps and I'll see ya in a few days...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day Eighteen - another slump...

Day Eighteen

Word Count: 318 (dismal again I know but I had a Playgroup meeting tonight and came home late - well for me - with a headache).

Fave Line: No man needed such an ego-boost.

Word Count Thus Far: 17739

Since it's a slow word day... thought I'd leave you with a pic of my lovely hero, Brodie Faraday!!!! I'll show you the woman special enough to tame his rogue-ish ways tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day Seventeen

Day Seventeen

Word count: 1632

Fave Line of the Day: (well a few lines actually)

Do this? He was past caring about beds, the shag rug on the carpet looked more than suitable for what he had in mind. ‘Do you always talk this much during sex?’

Total Thus Far: 17421

And... I've just finished reading Lynn Raye Harris' debut book 'Spanish Magnate, Red-Hot Revenge.'

I was lucky enough to win this over at Lynn's blog, so I've had a sneak peak before most other people down under *gloating*. I can see why Lynn won the Instant Seduction contest, she certainly has a way with words. I won't say too much about Rebecca and Alejandro's story because I don't want to ruin it for you, but let's say my heart was pumping wildly only ten pages from the end when I was SURE there was no way for these two to get their act together. I was seriously worried... but (of course) the HEA came good and it was a lovely feel good ending.

For me one of the best things about Lynn's book was that Alejandro was a seriously DARK hero and the lovely Rebecca totally reformed him. Isn't that just the best thing about romance? The heroine's ability and power to transform?!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day Sixteen - the first kiss!

Day Sixteen

Word Count: 1060

Fave Line of the Day:
His tongue nudged a line between her lips and she opened, rejoicing as she tasted her apple-tea cake mixed with whisky in his mouth.

Total Thus Far: 15789

And as you can see from the quote above... I've just written the first kiss!! Yay! Boy am I glad that's out of the way :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day Fifteen

Day Fifteen

Word Count: 1423

Fave Line of the Day:
All this was doing nothing to dampen the burgeoning feelings of lust wreaking havoc on her libido.

Word Count To Date: 14729

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day Fourteen

Day Fourteen

Word Count: 1280

Fave Line of the Day:

Old men making digs at each other about their gammy legs, false teeth, nagging wives, crushes on celebrities, all trying to make the others look foolish in front of the token lass. And the intelligent young woman laughs at their jokes, smiles sweetly, gets up to dish out gourmet deserts, then stuns them when she lays her winning hand on the table time and time again.

Total Thus Far: 13298

This arvo while all my boys were outside in the garden, I decided to treat myself to a movie. While shaping meatballs and then folding washing I watched an old favourite of mine - 'How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days.' I was watching and thinking about something Anne McAllister said on her blog recently about the 'Fun and Games' in the middle of a book. It reminded me that sometimes watching a great romance on film is just as good for analysing how a great story should piece together! Yay... for watching movies!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day Thirteen - Good News Week!

Day Thirteen

Word Count: almost too embarrassed to admit it - 103

Fave Line:
His eyes lit up when they saw her, but then they looked past, registering on him and nearly popped out of their sockets.

Total Thus Far: 12 301 (oh dear... behind the count now)

But I'm not gonna get too down about my dismal effort today, cos yesterday I found out I finalled in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Great Beginnings contest. The story that finalled is the one (partial) currently with Lucy Gilmour and the judge in this contest is Editor Kimberley Young - hoping they both like it!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day Twelve

Day Twelve

Word Count: 1135

Fave Line of the Day:The orange convertible tore past her and she jumped back just in time to avoid a shower of sludge. Unfortunately she copped an eye-full of the sensational blonde driver who had to be one of Brodie's many reported playthings.

Total Word Count Thus Far: 12198

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day Eleven

Day Eleven

Word Count: exactly 800!

Fave line of the day: Now she not only had to pout about the absence of Brodie, she could add being thrown out of her own house to her list of woes.

Total Word Count Thus Far: 11063 (only just on track)

Just wondering oh wonderful blog readers... how much time do you devote to writing each day? I try to write every day but sometimes I can only manage an hour at night cos I'm just too knackered... I wonder... is this enough if I'm serious about pursuing this dream!?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day Ten - and help with shopping!

Day Ten

Word Count: 1299

Fave Line of the Day: 
She wondered if he also liked listening to the hammer of her heart, because surely he could hear it thundering now.

Total Thus Far: 10263 (still on track for 30k in 30days)

Now for the help with shopping. My hero has just conned my heroine in to helping him Christmas shop for his three sisters. I want her to get them things that are really special and unique and I wondered if you'd help me brainstorm.

There's Bonnie who designs one-off, individual (what is the words for that) nappy bags for the rich and famous, Heather who owns a florist and has just had twin baby boys, and then there's Lucy... the youngest, his favourite, who's doing her PhD in Modern Languages.

What would YOU buy for these special women???

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day Nine - a dismal day of words!

Day Nine

Word Count: 338

Fave Line: 'Ah... Spar, the heigh of Cameron's Loch culture.'

Total words thus far: 8964

And my exciting news is I finalled in the Romance Writers of Australia Valerie Parv Award with a mss I thought would never final in any contests due to its controversial nature. Can't wait to see what the judges thought of it but will have to wait till August when the winner is announced! Patience is a virtue and all that stuff!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Day Eight and a bundle of books...

Day Eight

Word Count: 892

Fave lines of the day: 
The question sounded like one of those lethal 'do-I-look-fat-in-this?' queries. He got the feeling if he cited her biological make-up, she'd pick up one of the many colorful umbrellas hanging on hooks in the hallway and whack him fair over the head.

Total Word Count Thus Far: 8626

Highlight of the day:
The post lady dumping two packages of books in my letter
box. The prize I won over at Lynn Raye Harris' blog arrived - her debut book and two books by other hawt Presents authors. Will do a post about Lynn's book once I've read it - no spoilers - cos
 it's exciting to have followed this project from Lynn's win in the Instant Seduction contest to the publication of her first book. And in another wonderful yellow envelope was a book from the lovely Anne McAllister! I seriously thought about ditching my plans of writing anything much this week and curling up with these babies, but have decided to make them reward books instead. 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day Seven - keeping just ahead of target.

Day Seven

Word Count: 1111 (ain't that a pretty number?)

Fave line of the day: Then again, she was still wrapped in flanelette pajamas and judging by the shadows under her eyes and the red bird's nest on her head, she hadn't had the best night's sleep either. 

Total word count to date: 7734, which brings me just above where I need to be if I want to do 30k this month. 

I also downloaded the Typewriter program Anne McAllister mentioned in the comments section of my last post. I haven't used it yet, but I love the concept and plan to use it tomorrow when I start a new scene. 

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Day Six and a whole load of rambles!

Day Six

Word Count: 856 (although I may add a few more after this post - who knows!)

Fave line of the day: Really hard to pick cos I'm not particularly fond of ANY OF THEM today but...
Pushing aside these disturbing thoughts, she climbed the stairs, braved the shadows in the attic and curled in the fetal position on the single bed, only to tear back the covers moments later when her nose spasmed at the smell of smoke.

Word Count Thus Far: 6623

Now for the ramblings...

*My new friend Janette (whom I met at the RWA Perth Roadshow) has just started a blog - check it out at Tales of a Romance Nerd. Don't you just love that blog title?

*I'm finding it hard to switch off my internal editor - harder than hard, almost impossible. I keep wondering whether I've got the setting right and it's not a simple case of finding all the Edinburgh's and replacing with the name of a made-up smaller town, because this will change the WHOLE essence of the story. But I'm worried about using Edinburgh, because a) I wanted a small-town feel and b) I fear I don't remember Edinburgh in enough detail for what I want to describe. 

*I LOVE writing beginnings of stories. They just seem to flow so nicely for me and the characters really speak to me... until I hit about 10k... and then nothing seems right and the characters suddenly turn into two-dimentional cardboard cutouts!! ARGH!! 

*My hero is proving very obtuse. In almost 12k  I've had about 1000 of those words in his pov and although he's been talked and thought a lot about by the heroine, he's been absent for at least a third of the words so far. Is this too much (for Superromance?) I keep asking myself this question and getting different answers. 

*On a totally random note... I made the most DELICIOUS dessert yesterday night. I wrapped whole, peeled and cored apples in a piece of shortcrust pastry, sprinkled with sugar and baked in the oven. Served hot with ice-cream this was possibly the yummiest Apple Pie-type dessert I've ever had. Go on... try it... you know you want to!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Day Five

Day Five

Word Count: 1356 VERY forced ones!

Fave line of the day: Probably somewhere in the dusty shed out the back, but I’m more scared of creepy-crawlies than I am of poltergeists.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day Four

Day Four

Word Count: A dismal 213 (can I blame the fact I feel achey all over my body and just wanna sleep?)

Fave line of the day  (Slim pickings but): 
His fetish for chocolate was a laughing matter among his sisters. He’d happily sell his soul for a fix. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Day Three and a little sulk!!!

Day Three

Word count: 907 - no where near as good as the last two days but I'm feeling achey all over... hope I'm not succombing to the bug that struck down the rest of my little family last week! Grrr!!

Fave line of the day - Nothing stood out as that wonderful today, but here's one I didn't mind:

‘If you must know I was having a relationship with my boss, he proposed marriage and I turned him down.'

Also I STILL haven't heard whether or not the editor I'm dealing with at M&B has even received the partial of 'RHRT' which I sent almost a month ago. I'm hoping that a) she's received it and is just mega busy and b) she likes it and has sent it further up the food chain for another opinion! Hey... a girl can dream right? I succumbed and read a little of this mss today (even though I've put it aside for a while) and I would SO love to know what she thinks of it. 

Oh well... in the absence of any communication from Richmond...I better just keep writing, just keep writing, keep writing, writing, writing, writing!

Speaking of which, I'm almost at the end of chapter three and am wondering if I need 'A little less conversation, a little more action.' Anyone else find it hard to switch off their internal editor and just WRITE?!?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day One and Two of 30k in 30 days

Day One

Word count - a whopping 2249 thanks to deciding to enter an overseas contest at the very last hour.

Fave line of the day - Squeezing her eyes shut, she decided that if she wasn’t asleep in ten minutes she’d count ghouls and see if she could really freak herself out.

Day Two 
Word count - 1042
Fave lines of the day - What was the etiquette when you invited a ghost hunter into a house you didn’t want and they provided dinner?
One more stolen glance round the curtains – phwoar, he really was the most tantalizingly good looking man she’d ever laid eyes on – a breath to jumpstart her heart and she went to let him in.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

OHHN and 50k in 30days!

Since my rambles on rewrites, I've decided to set aside RHRT for the time being. It's only a short-term separation - I'll get back to it either once I've heard from the editor or before if the mood strikes, but in the meantime I've started another story, which has been pestering me to be written for some time now. 

As you've read my writing output has been slow (for me) these last few months and each work has been like drawing blood (is that the right cliche?).... well... not anymore. I threw myself into this story on Saturday morning and have written about 4k since. The best part? I actually LIKE what I've written for the first time in along while. And... I'm having FUN!!

I'm targetting this story at Superromance (in the name of not keeping all my eggs in the same basket).

I've also pledged to write 30k in 30days with RWA Australia's 50k in 30 day challenge. This began last year when someone suggested we do our own southern hemisphere version of National Novel Writing Month in winter (cos the original one is held in winter for the Americans). Last year I failed dismally, so this year I've decided on a more realistic goal - I'm aiming for 30k  in 30 days!  I plan to switch between my two stories whenver I stall in one.

So if I'm slow replying to emails or doing crits, you'll know why!

I'll keep you up to date on my progress and just wanna wish all the other challengers an abundance of fabulous words :)

On your marks, get set, go, go, go!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rewrites NEEDED! Like MAJOR rewrites...

 I have a boyfree morning this morning (and a baby sitting on the bed next to me playing enthusiastically with his toes) and was supposed to be writing while said baby slept (not that he does much of that).

Then... I got a fabulous email from a fabulous writer who made me think seriously about where my current mss RHRT was going. I haven't felt 'right' about this story from about chapter two but I do feel there are the bones of something good there. It's been bugging me a lot, until this fabulous writer pointed out that I need to go deeper into the characters and one way to do this was to add a SECRET!!

Ooh I love a SECRET story and I think she's spot on. If I give my hero a SECRET, it will also strengthen his motivation tenfold and create an urgency the story needs but lacks at the moment. PRoblem is I'm stuck on the secret and until I find out what it is... I can't really write any more of the story!!


On a totally different tangent... how do you guys research. Do you do it all pre-writing or post-writing or when it comes up mid-writing. I don't know WHY I do these sort of things to myself but I've just sent my h&H off to dinner at a teppanyaki grill Japanese restaurant when I've NEVER actually been anywhere near one myself!! 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Romance Roadshow Wrap-Up!

I spent all day Saturday in the company of like-minded women who love writing romance as much as I do! 

Jealous yet?

I also did three fantastic workshops (two with the talented Denise Rossetti and one with the lovely Kelly Hunter) and learnt lots of stuff about Deep POV, heroes and even a bit about the world of erotic romance. 

Still jealous?

Well... I also sat next to one of my favourite authors, Kelly Hunter for the dinner on Saturday night and chatted about the direction of Modern Heat, my current mss and editors. So interesting.

Come on... admit it... you're GREEN!!! 

But you'd probably like more info... so here's the gems from the day. In my opinion at least.

The first session I did was 'Deep POV' with Denise Rossetti. As well as telling us exactly what Deep POV is and why it's necessary if you want readers to connect with your characters, she tortured us with writing exercises. What I learnt from this is that if you're struggling with writing Deep POV, it may pay to try writing the scene in first person and then changing it to the Deep POV of the pov character. 

Also her tips on Deep POV killers:
*Don't use 'with' followed by an emotion - eg. Jean's skin prickled with fear. Show this instead.
*Watch out for words like 'knew' too - eg. Kevin knew Sarah was terrified. How??? 

She also pointed out that how the character swears can show a lot about he/she. Think about the difference between someone saying 'F*&k', 'Ah heck', 'Hell,' or 'Goodness gracious me.' 

Next I went to Kelly Hunter's workshop on Heroes. She made us think about what we like in our real-life romance hero and what we dislike in men. Interesting that out of the session many of us realised there were traits we quite  liked in a hero but would NEVER put up with in a boyfriend/husband. 

Kelly said that in romance we should write 'REALLY hero's.' Ie. Heroes that are REALLY hot, REALLY rich, REALLY smart, REALLY talented. This means choosing their qualities and amplifying them. She taught us that the hero sets the tone of the book and this really rang bells for me. One of the reasons I feel I'm struggling with my current wip is that I haven't got this hero quite right yet. 

In terms of heroes we all agreed to loving the bad boy and Kelly pondered that this is probably because the batter the hero the better the trip to the light for him, which is what we readers love. The heroine of course will be the only woman who could ever reform him!

I then went to Denise's sealed section, which was not just about writing sex but specifcially erotica. Although I don't plan on writing erotic romance, I learnt lots of great stuff here. She again reminded that unless you write in Deep POV, your sex scenes won't mean a thing. Readers need to experience the emotion of sex through one (at least) of the characters. 

In this session we discussed how REAL you have to make the sex scenes. Ie. Getting the balance between fantasy and 'yes-that-could-actually-work.' 

One final thing that struck a cord with me in Denise's session is that for characters to 'make love' there must be at least some trust. People are never as vulnerable as when they are having sex. 

Overall one key thing I took from the day is the reminder that it's okay to write crap and cliches in a first draft. That to complete a mss, you need to get down a dirty draft and go back and polish to remove/change the cliched type things. Kelly also pointed out that in romance it's OKAY to use the language that has been used for years - ie. the words frequently seen in a romance, like dangerous.

As you can see it was a jam-packed day. But not only were the workshops valuable and inspiring, the social side of getting together with other romance writers should never be underestimated. I met some more lovely people, one who travelled all the way from Sydney and is targetting the same line as me (hi Janette) and chatted with old friends who I don't get to see nearly as much as I'd like.  Once again... the generosity of romance writers amazed me.

I'd like to offer a HUGE thanks to Kelly Hunter, Denise Rossetti and Keri Arthur for taking the time to hike to Perth and offer us your wisdom! You guys rock!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm hooked...

Have found another MUST-BUY, MUST-READ, MUST-KEEP author. Well... actually she found me, cos she commented on my blog a few times and from that I hunted down her latest book, which sounded absolutely FABULOUS and didn't fail to live-up to this at all.

I've just finished reading Savas' Defiant Mistress by the lovely Anne McAllister and WOW. It's one of those books where I thought at least once on every page, 'WHY am I bothering to try and write books like these? I'll never be this good.'

It's such a gorgeous romance with a much larger cast than most category novels. It's jam-packed with animals, siblings, a wedding, father-issues and even a secondary romance. The whole story just seemed to spill from the page. The banter between the quirky heroine and Ice-man hero had me smiling constantly and just seemed so natural.

And... the premise - or how the h&H were thrown together - was one of the best I've read yet!
So thanks Anne. Thanks for stopping by my blog and thanks for writing one of the scrummiest romances I've ever read. I'm a fan for life!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Introducing Kelly Hunter...

Next weekend I'm going to Perth to RWA's Romance Roadshow. For more information visit the RWA Events Page.  

As a Modern Heat wannabee, I have my absolute fave authors that I just MUST BUY and one of these is Aussie RWA President Kelly Hunter

Anyway next weekend, I'm lucky enough not only to be hearing her speak twice - once about heroes and then about dialogue - but also to be introducing her to the other wannabees in the workshop. 

As I'm already a HUGE fan... I've got plenty to say, but I'd love to hear from you about how much you love Kelly's books! Have you got a favourite Kelly Hunter hero or story? Please... let me know!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nails gonna get a flogging...

Okay... I don't actually bite my nails (they happen to be the one thing I am blessed with in the appearances department) but if I did, they'd be getting a flogging now.

I just sent the partial of my current wip to the editor who I worked with after the Feel The Heat contest. I still hadn't heard which (if any) of my two proposals she preferred, so I just set to writing one. 

And following all your wonderful advise at my last post... I'm gonna keep writing it instead of starting something new and hope that if M&B do like the partial, they don't want a totally different version of the full than I've written. I can dream!

So... it's finally OUT THERE! And while its OUT THERE... there's HOPE!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Can I ask your opinion?

As you know I've finished my partial targetting Modern Heat and will soon send it to M&B. As this is still a semi-go-on (is that even a phrase) from the Feel The Heat contest, I'm hoping the editor will say whether or not she likes it and why and give me an idea, if she requests the full, of where she'd like the story to go. Knowing this, I had decided to stop writing this story until I hear back on the partial. 

So here's my dilemma...

We know that it can take months to hear back on a partial and sometimes leaving a piece of writing for too long means getting out of the tone and feel of the story and being unable to get back in properly. 

If I don't continue the story, I might lose it's special thang but if I do, I might be writing in a direction that the editor doesn't want me to go, thus causing myself a whole load of rewriting headaches.

Also, I wrote this partial for Modern Heat but if they don't feel it's suitable for them, I have ideas about how to rewrite it for Superromance, so I feel it would be best to wait until I hear something and hope I can get back the zest I currently have for it. 

Then comes ANOTHER dilemma... what to do while I'm waiting and NTAI!!! Do I rewrite an old story that has the barebones of potential or start a completely new one and write specifically for Superromance so that if MH doesn't like me, I've got some eggs in another basket.

Help?? What's your opinion?!

Oh and if you understand any of these ramblings... you deserve an AWARD!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Partial done!! But not dusted...

It's been EXCRUTIATING but I've finally finished the partial of RHRT!!

The plan now is to let it sit for a few days... bug my crit partners to read it... and then do any re-writing and polishing that I'm sure it'll need. In the meantime I'm rewriting the synopsis I sent to Lucy as I've since brainstormed this story with some fabulous writer-type-friends and planned what I hope will be a much stronger ending.

So, I'll rewrite the synopsis, polish the partial and send it to Lucy. Hopefully she isn't annoyed that I'm doing so before she's responded on the proposals. Hopefully she sees it as enthusiasm instead :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Announcing 'Becca J. Heath'

One of my dear writing friends - I'm sure you've heard me mention Bec before - has just started a blog, so I thought I'd tell you all in the hope that you'll go visit her new page!

She's one very talented lady who has three kids under four and still manages to write 1000s of brilliant words a week. She's just participated in the Silhouette Special Edition pitch, resulting in a full request and is a wealth of knowledge of where all things writing are concerned, so I'm sure her blog will be a-maz-ing!!

Welcome to Blog Land Becca!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What I've been up to... or not!

Would like to say my posts have been few and far between because my fingers have been busy at the keyboard. Truth is I spent the last week away with my man and three boys and didn't get one word written!! Thought lots about writing though and am hanging out to get back into it.

I've almost written the partial of one of the proposals I subbed to M&B. Don't know if I should have done this or not, but I got some advice from a published friend who said it was better to write something than sit around waiting... so I did. I rewrote the second chap today on the advice of a couple of wise writer friends, so hopefully this week, I'll be able to get back to the actual writing. My goal is to have the partial polished and emailed by mid May!! 

Then I'll be NTAI (the new buzz acronym created by Jackie Ashenden) - Not Thinking About It! She's gone out and bought herself a NTAI brand-spanking-new pair of black F-Me boots!! I'd like to splurge on a new pair of shoes but have already spent WAY too much this week... perhaps if I actually get The Call, I'll buy a nice pair of pink stillettos 
- my fantasy shoe - but where would I wear them???

So got me thinking... what do YOU plan on doing to celebrate when YOU get The Call or if you're already published, what did YOU DO???

While you ponder, I'll leave you with a photo from my wedding!! Since we're talking shoes... it's the boots, I want you to look at!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Feeling like the one locked outside during a party!!

Am peeved because I CAN'T get into the fabulous new community at Mills and Boon!! My log-in refuses to work and I've even had emails from the tech guys there and it still doesn't work. I can read what's going on though and it looks like such a fabulous new resource!

Right... baby calling so gotta go!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why M&B rejected WWMM - Part 2.

It's been a while between rejection posts but I did promise, so here's the second half of why WWMM didn't make the Modern Heat cut. 

Those of you who read my chapter on iheartpresents will know it begins with my heroine, Libby in the hero's rubbish bin. She's there (literally) digging up dirt on the hero who she needs to write a biography about. 

The editors thought this was a rather desperate way to behave and made Libby appear a tad unlikeable. They believed the external conflict made her appear unsympathetic to readers as she didn't behave like a professional young woman and went on to do terribly devious things in an aim to find the truth out about Matt. She goes behinds his back to get information during the novel and although she doesn't end up using this material, she's still decieved him. The editors believed her obsession to write a good article overruled her love for the hero and in a romance, this is of course, a no-no!

Basically there are things in Libby's character that make her unworthy of a Modern Heat hero and therefore she and the story didn't make the grade.

I guess what I've learnt from this little part of the rejection is that our heroine's really do need to be outstandingly special. They may have a little self doubt, they may have had bad luck in the past, but they need to be morally upstanding and likeable!! 

Friday, April 3, 2009

So... it twas actually the hero!

As you may have guessed, I'm still in chapter one of current wip, so I'm feeling my way about so to speak.

Anyway I read all your lovely comments on my ferret issue this morning then went about the usual morning chores - you know, picking up after three little boys, scraping Weetbix off the kitchen floor tiles, putting on hundreds of loads of washing - and a lightbulb flashed inside my head.

It isn't the heroine after all who has a pet in this little baby! It's the tough, hard-core, aloof, almost unlikeable hero and he's got a BIG ONE!! Dog that is! My hero is the proud owner of a Napoleon Mastiff OR a Napoleon Moutain Dog... can't quite make up my mind. See pics below and let me know which one you like best!!

Napoleon Mastiff:

Napoleon Mountain Dog:

Pets in MH?

I'm writing again! Yay! In the last week, I've written about 1500 words, which is good considering I'd been a writing desert for a long period before that. I think I'm SLOWLY finding my voice again. And, I'm having fun.

I've started writing the mss of one of the proposals I sent to M&B cos I have to do something!!

But... I've come to a dilemma. My heroine has suddenly told me she has a ferret (one of my other heroine's has one too and this new one came as a bit of a surprise) and she's just nipped back inside to grab it, but hang on... are Modern Heat heroines allowed to have pets? I'm trying to rack my brain for an animal in Modern Heat and I'm coming up short. So I'm throwing it over to you guys?

Anyone read of a pet in Modern Heat? Which one?? What was the animal? Was it a vital/big part of the story? Or... any other category lines?? 

Can't wait to hear!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Why M&B rejected WWMM - Part 1!

Surprise surprise - the first point Lucy Gilmour made about why they rejected The Who's Who of Matt McKinnell was EMOTIONAL CONFLICT, particularly the actions and motivations of Libby, my heroine.

Lucy pointed out that a strong emotional conflict needs developed, investigated and worked through for hero and heroine to finally be together happily ever after. In my story, the conflict was more external than emotional. Her career ambition and drive to write a story about him and he's resolve to not let anyone write anything deep about him, was what was providing the conflict. This wasn't personal enough!

I did actually give these two lovely people personal hassles - Libby has self-esteem issues and thought she couldn't have children and Matt has just found out he is not his father's child, but neither of these issues were developed enough to keep the hero and heroine from a) getting it on and b) staying together.

Apparently Libby's infertility issue is a FABULOUS conflict but I didn't use it to great effect. In the story she became pregnant really easily which kinda lessened the effect. It would have been a lot better also if I'd had her deal with this issue earlier on.

I had three majorly strong potential conflicts - adoption, illegitimacy and infertility but didn't use any of them with any real effect because I didn't link them enough to the developing romance.

Conflict was the major reason for this rejection and it seems to be a frequent reason for rejection. What I've learnt and will hopefully be able to implement in future mss is to DIG DEEP!!! Ask why questions until you're driving yourself insane! Be a three year old - WHY? WHY? BUT WHY? And make sure the conflicts really cause problems for the relationship!

Come back tomorrow (or the next day, depends what kind of kid-day tomorrow turns out to be) and I'll tell you the other reason why they rejected my mss!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My chapter up on iheartpresents!

Well... apparently it's what you've all been waiting for :)

Sometime today (probably while I sleep due to international time diffs) my chap is going up on iheartpresents!

As I found Jackie's comments following her chapter going up really useful, I've decided to share a bit more about why this story was rejected as well. So... in a few days, once the chapter, synopsis and editorial comments have been posted at iheart, I'll post a little more here about why this story didn't make the cut this time round!!