Friday, December 31, 2010

Books Read in Twenty-Ten

Every year I keep a list of all the books I've read! This year the list is really surprising cos by no means did I think I'd managed to read this many books.

List is below - I've put an * next to my favourite ones :)

Shadowfae – Erica Hayes

A Night With The Society Playboy – Ally Blake

Heaven Can Wait - Cally Taylor *

Marriage Reunited, Baby on the Way - Sharon Archer *

Vision in White - Nora Roberts

Road to Paradise - Paullina Simons

Conflict of Interest - Anna Adams

Zombie Queen of Newbury High - Amanda Ashby

Mistress: At What Price? - Anne Oliver

Fired Waitress, Hired Mistress - Robyn Grady

Border Watch - Helene Young

To Love, Honour and Disobey - Natalie Anderson

Good Girl or Gold Digger? - Kate Hardy

Claiming His Bought Bride - Rachel Bailey

Her Secret Fling - Sarah Mayberry *

She's Got It Bad - Sarah Mayberry *

Wedding Night With a Stranger - Anna Cleary *

Once Upon a Wedding - Stacy Connoly

Wild Fling and a Wedding Ring - Mira Lyn Kelly *

Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts - Lucy Dillon *

After The Party - Lisa Jewell

Bed of Roses - Nora Roberts

Unfinished Business With The Duke - Heidi Rice

The Newborn Gift - Nikki Logan

What Kate Did Next - Lisa Heidke

Propositioned By The Billionaire - Lucy King

The Carrie Diaries - Candace Bushnell

The Cattleman's Runaway Bride - Karlene Blackmore

Oh-So-Sensible Secretary - Jessica Hart *

Red-Hot Renegade - Kelly Hunter

Vegas Pregnancy Surprise - Shirley Jump

Saving Cinderella - Myrna Mackenzie

A Wedding At Leopard Tree Lodge - Liz Fielding

Three Times a Bridesmaid - Nicola Marsh

Savour The Moment - Nora Roberts

Seven Day Love Story - Nkki Logan

Home Is Where The Bark Is - Kandy Shephard

Red Dust - Fleur McDonald.

Inconveniently Wed - Jackie Braun

Her Brooding Italian Surgeon - Fiona Lowe

Her Bridemaid's Secret - Fiona Harper

Three Over Par - Cathryn Brunet *

The Truth About Melody Browne - Lisa Jewell

His Virgin Acquisition - Maisey Yates

Hopetown Wives - Fran Cusworth

Tipping The Waitress With Diamonds - Nina Harrington

Wedding Date With The Best Man - Melissa McClone

The Surgeon - Tess Gerritsen

The Most Magical Gift of All - Fiona Lowe *

Maybe This Time - Jenny Crusie

A Mistake, A Prince and A Pregnancy - Maisey Yates

Surf, Sea and a Sexy Stranger - Heidi Rice

Desire - Louise Bagshawe.

Alli's Playground - Bec Sampson :) *

Her Best Friend - Sarah Mayberry *

Juggling Briefcase and Baby - Jessica Hart

An Independent Midwife - Susan Wilson *

Tabloid Affair, Secretly Pregnant - Mira Lyn Kelly

The Distant Hours - Kate Morton

Happy Ever After - Nora Roberts

Christmas on the Children's Ward - Carol Marinelli

With This Fling - Kelly Hunter

Every Girl's Secret Fantasy - Robyn Grady

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Goals

I make goals... not resolutions. Sometimes I keep them, sometimes I don't. But I still think it's good to sit down and list what you'd like to achieve in a year. Kinda like a road map to where you wanna be by the end of the following year.

So my goals for 2011 are as follows (not all writing related):

*Finish my revisions for Carina Press on ''His Christmas Fairy'' and sub it.

*Finish my single title.

*Write one category novel.

*Enter a couple of contests.

*Attend Romance Writers of Australia conf in Melbourne.

*Read lots and analyse the books as I go.

*Join the gym again and tone up.

*Spend some more quality time with my hubby.

So that's me. What are your goals for 2011? If you've done a goal post, make sure to remind me to check your blog!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

All I want for Christmas...


Well, actually I can think of a zillion things I'd rather have but I was lucky enough to get one of these today.

Lucky you might think is a strange word. You'd probably be right.

But let me try and explain!

I'll start at the beginning. In 2006 I decided I wanted to write Mills and Boon category romance. I read as many as I could get my hands on and fell in love with them. I joined RWA Australia and fell in love with the brilliant people that are also members. I've made so many really good friends through my writing. In 2008, I came runner-up in the Mills & Boon Feel The Heat contest and got to work with and submit directly to an editor. Since subbing my first story, I've had two full requests, revisions and never a form R.

I've worked as hard as I could in between having two babies and working a part time job. I've held onto the dream...

I've consistently failed in getting good internal conflict on the page. I've done a darn good job of making my stories contrived - even though I'm still struggling to see this myself. I've thought that I've come up with original story lines and likeable characters but I keep being told that I'm rehasing plot points I've already read. I HONESTLY don't see this and I figure if I can't work out where I'm going wrong, then how the hell am I gonna get it right.

This business isn't easy and only the persistent make it. I'm not feeling very persistent at the moment, I'm bawling my eyes out in fact. Hey,... see... I can do emotional! The worst thing about this R is that I've been working with an editor for almost two years now and today, she sent me back to the slush pile. That kicks!

But if there's one thing an R makes me realise, it's what I do have in life. I'm so damn blessed in all the other areas of my life that who am I to spend too much time wallowing on something like this.

I have a roof over my head.
My family are healthy and happy.
I have a loving, caring, hard-working and devoted husband.
I have three adorable but cheeky healthy boys.
I have a mother who would do absolutely anything for me and my family.
I have friends. Good ones.
I have food in my fridge and clean water coming out of my tap.
If I want something, I can generally buy it.

So I want to take this time to thank God for the good things in my life and to focus on what matters.

I'm coming into a really busy time. I don't know what this means for my writing or where I'm going to go after this latest R, but I want to thank you all who read my blog for always being so supportive and fantastic.

I want to wish you all a fantastic Christmas and a very happy 2011.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I've been a BAD, BAD... Blogger!

You may not have noticed my absence but I've been away for a while. And sadly, not blogging has corresponded to not writing much either.

The supermarket buying has overtaken pretty much everything in our life at the moment, but hopefully once we're settled next year and hubby is slaving away in the shop, I'll have more time again to devote to my writing.

Now every year I do a few posts at the end of the year/beginning of the next. I usually do one of all the books I've read - yep, I keep a list. It's about the only organised thing I do. And then I usually do one about my goals for the year and whether I achieved them. Then there's another post about what my goals for the new year are.

So as well as wishing all you wonderful Blog Friends a very brilliant Christmas and a contract-filled new year, I thought I'd take today to do my round up of 2010, which I'm not expecting was as productive as I'd intended.

Here's my goals for 2010 and how I went with them:

Goal #1:
Finish revisions on the partial of 'Maverick Millionaire, Musical Mistress' and sub to the editor I'm working with. - I did this. Eventually got an R on the full but with the request to sub a new partial. I then subbed this mss to Carina and currently have revs from them on the full.

Goal #2:
Read more! - I didn't think I'd read that much but when I look at my list, I've actually churned through quite a few books. Always room for more though :)

Goal #3:
Finish 'OHHN' and sub to Superromance. - FAIL!! I actually realised that this book failed epic-ly in the conflict department, so I've filed it in that metaphorical bottom drawer for now :(

Goal #4:
Enter the eharlequin Superromance pitch - decided against this in the end as I didn't have a full mss because I'd been working on mss for Modern Heat instead.

Goal #5:
Attend 'Romancing The West' and the 'Romance Writers of Australia conference' in Coogee. - check! And they were both awesome!

Goal #6:
Rewrite 'Falling For His Magic' and sub to Modern Heat. - Oh dear... did I actually want to do that!? Maybe one day...

Non-writing goals

Goal #1:
Lose another six kilos! Yeah baby!!! - Epic FAIL. Last year was a much better diet year than this one :(

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

Things I achieved that weren't on my list but I'm happy about:
*Finalled in THREE RWA Oz contests.
*Wrote a new partial for M&B and subbed to the ed I've been working with.
*Started a Single Title.
*Started a new category idea.
*Went back to teaching one day a week.
*Kept my kids alive!!

Hope other people are doing reflection posts as I love to read how far people have come in a year. In the next few days I'll do a post about the books I read this year :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spread the LOVE!

The fabulous Marcy has issued a feel-good Christmas Challenge! I'm IN!

See the details below and pledge your committment on Marcy's blog.

So this holiday season I'm committing to doing one good deed, no matter how big or small, every day until Christmas. But that's not all. I'd like to spread the word, to see how many people I can get to join me in this challenge.

This doesn't have to be time consuming or expensive. Your deeds could be as simple of letting someone else take the coveted choice parking spot at the mall, returning a lost glove to an owner, or maybe baking cookies for a neighbour you know could use some cheering up. No matter what it is, it's sure to put a smile on someone's face. And chances are they'll be a little bit nicer to the next person they meet, and so on and so on...

So what do you say? Are you up for the challenge? Let's make this season the merriest it can be!

Pass it on...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Back in the saddle...

I've had to admit - it's part of who I am!

WRITING that is.

I try to take breaks occasionally - when life gets in the way - but then something happens to give me the boost I need to throw myself back on the mercy of my computer keyboard. I don't know whether it was the good news of my contest finals last week or the fact that I know this week will be slightly less crazy than the last and that hubby will be away the following week, so I'll have more time to write but something has got me back into it this weekend.

I've almost written 3k new words on the mss I'm revising for Carina. After realising I wasn't ready to sub, I'd decided to reassess my deadline and told the editor that I'd get it to her early next year, but now I'm hoping that somehow I can finish this rewrite before Christmas. Saying that, this rewriting business is VERY scary because I'm changing quite a bit but in doing so I'm scared that I might be losing some of the stuff that made Carina request revisions in the first place.

Anyone else been in this pickle before? Got any good advice... or do I just have to plod on and follow my gut!?


Thursday, November 18, 2010


Not sure TRIFECTA is exactly correct cos I've just looked it up and apparently it's to do with horse races and betting which horses will come first, second and third in correct order but I liked the sound of it.

Now I haven't come first, second and third in anything in any order but I have finalled in THREE Romance Writers of Australia contests in the last week.

With my experiment in ST, I finalled in the STALI contest - Single Title and Loving It.

With my New Voices entry, I finalled in the High Five - a contest in which you enter the first five pages of a category mss.

With the New Voices entry again, I finalled in the Selling Synopsis contest - which is exactly as it sounds, a synopsis competition.

All entries are currently with really fabulous editor/agent judges and I have my fingers crossed that more good news comes from them. But whatever happens, this was a MUCH-NEEDED boost for my writing at the moment.

People have mixed opinions about contests. They can be great for one's writing mojo if you score well and get positively constructive comments but they can also be really damaging if you let them.

I LOVE the thrill of entering contests and I've had luck in some and have placed dismally in others. But they are SO subjective. What one judge/contest loves another might hate.

An interesting tidbit - my mss which came Runner-Up in Mills & Boon Feel The Heat contest a few years back, placed really low to the bottom of the rankings in an RWA contest the same year. So don't let contests weigh you down and stop you reaching for those writing STARS!

HUGE congrats to the fab Jackie Ashenden who also finalled in the High Five.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dear Diary

Dear Diary

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sorry I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO shocking at writing in you. As you know, numerous times over the years I've tried to keep to a diary writing schedule and looking back on the few attempts I've made are hilarious. But fact is, two weeks is the max I ever manage. For some reason, I just can't commit - no matter how beautiful you are (I've bought numerous gorgeous journals for this exact purpose), you just don't hold my attention for long.

But I've been wondering of late if keeping some kind of journal would be therapeutic at this time when writing is a mission to achieve in my life. I'm seriously contemplating opening a new bright pink journal I bought last week and starting a journal/diary for a while.

I wonder if there's any other writers out there who fail diaries like I do? Or do most writers keep journals as well?

As another aside, I barely slept a WINK last night cos I was waiting for my dear friend LEAH ASHTON to text me with news about how she'd done in the New Voices contest. In the end, I tried to turn off the light and go to sleep but I woke with the baby at 1.30am and checked all the possible announcement sites. As I read the good news - yep if ya haven't heard, LEAH WON - on Facebook, my phone vibrated announcing a msg. AS IF I could sleep after that fabulous news.

So CONGRATS dear Leah and good luck with what lies ahead :)

As for you diary... I'll keep contemplating the issue and maybe you'll see me again sooner rather than later.


Thursday, October 28, 2010


You know how I published last week that I was taking a wee break from writing to deal with the other stresses in my life?! That declaration broke my heart cos writing is my passion and my dream is publication.

Well... the week has been MEGA-LY stressful in terms of supermarket stuff and there's so much going on right now that I feel constantly ill and exhausted BUT...

A good (published by M&B) friend of mine was lovely enough to take time from her busy schedule to read my WHOLE book (the one with revise and request from Carina) last week. Her crit was honest and hugely helpful. I have a fabulous first third apparently - like fabulous :) Like I like that news.


And there's always a humongous BUT...

I need to rewrite from chap five onwards.

I've read her comments through four or five times and made notes. I thoroughly agree with her thoughts. I need to get my h&H talking and about the conflict much, much sooner than they actually do.

The problem isn't even the rewrite so much as the time it is going to take. Time that I really don't have right now.

Now I know we NEED to make time for writing but my life is MAD at the moment. It might slow down for a while next month but then all the school and work functions/assemblies/awards nights start up in the lead up to Christmas. And then in January we'll either be moving or in the stress between jobs. It's NOT a good time for my creative world at the moment.

I could probably manage to find time for a new story - but a rewrite is something else entirely.

Sorry - I'm really just rambling here and bringing you up to date. I will not be subbing to Carina again just yet - cos when I do, I want to give them something they can't resist publishing.

I just hope they'll wait....

Friday, October 22, 2010

When a writer doesn't write!

As I've said on the blog - a LOT is going on in my life right now. The major thing being that we've bought a supermarket and are thus moving to a whole new town in January. This means our house is on the market and I'm trying to pack and organise removalist quotes as well as work out what needs to be done and action it to make our new place liveable at least.

So last week, I made a BIG decision. I decided to stop writing for a while. I've finished my revs for Carina and am waiting for a good friend to finish reading the full before I edit and push send. I've subbed a partial to the editor I'm working with at M&B and are waiting for her response. I've stopped working on my Single Title for the time being.

I was feeling stressed when I WASN'T getting writing done and, when I realised I don't have contracts or deadlines, I thought this was STUPID, unnecessary stress. This writing stuff is supposed to be FUN!

So I thought that while so much was going on, I'd take the pressure off.

This week... I've read more! I've watched TWO movies with my husband. I've been out to dinner with girlfriends. I've played less stressfully with the kids. I've kept up to date with the washing. And it feels GOOD!

But strangely, it also feels weird. I miss having a writing project. Even thought it's only for a short time, it depresses me that I'm letting the dream slip by.

This is what happens when writer's don't write! They feel LOST!

Friday, October 15, 2010

So you think you can WRITE?

Hot on the heels of the NEW VOICES excitment comes something from across the seas and the people at HArlequin (US).

My good friend Fiona Lowe sent me the link this morning. So You Think You Can Write!

From what I can see its a whole week of editor and authors posts about how to write for Harlequin Romance. There'll also be writing challenges, which I'm guessing will have prizes (whether they'll be books or critiques who knows)! It's not a contest as far as I can tell but it does say there'll be opportunities for submitting your story. Pity all my complete stories are currently already subbed :(

But just thought I'd share the news in case you haven't already heard it - which in the current cyber climate, is probably HIGHLY UNLIKELY!!!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wish me luck....

That's right, I need it BIG TIME! Have just sent off a requested partial and synopsis to the ed I've been working with at Mills & Boon, so I'm NTAI again! It's the story I entered in the New Voices contest and I'm so hoping I get the chance to submit the rest of it!

And on another aside, I have a little confession to make. I kept something TOP secret from everyone (even my hubby and closest writing friends) I knew last month - I subbed a mss to Carina Press. I don't really know why I didn't tell anyone but I just wanted something for ME!

I loved this mss and although it was R'd by M&B, it wasn't for major things like conflict, character or plot. I just didn't seem to be able to get the sensuality spot-on for Modern Heat.

Well, yesterday I received a revise and resubmit letter from a lovely editor at Carina, so I'm very excited to be getting on with that now.

So... what exciting news have you had lately!?

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Ha... that got you to come visit didn't it!? I figured if I wrote NO NEWS, you wouldn't bother reading... which is really the truth of this post :)

Sorry if you feel conned!!!

Anyway now for the NO NEWS!

I DIDN'T final in NEW VOICES (as you all know by now) but I wasn't really surprised. Whether my chap was good enough or not, I'll never know but I had a feeling they wouldn't pick a past finalist from one of their contests.

I DIDN'T meet my goal of writing another 20k on my Single Title in September - I barely made 2000k!

I DIDN'T sub anything but am planning to really soon. Have been battling it out with my synopsis for One Rogue, One Damsel for almost a week now (school hols here so NOTHING is happening fast) and have almost got it to a point I'm vaguely happy with. The BM and the ending have caused me REAL issues. I'm basically a pantser - I work out conflicts and some key scenes, usually a title too, and then I just go for it. Problem is that this time, I'm subbing a partial before having a complete mss (for a number of reasons) and so I can't write the synopsis checking back on what actually happened in the full. Thanks to fabulous CPs and writing buddies (you know who you are!), I've got it a lot better than I would have on my own :) And I think I'll send it off this week, unless I get chosen to be one of the NV extra 10 crits, in that case I'll wait till that feedback.

Although I didn't final in NV, I enjoyed reading the other entries (I unfortunately didn't read nearly as many as Susan Wilson) and am stoked for my fabulous writing friend and fellow sandgroper (someone who lives in WA) Leah Ashton who DID final. I've had a sneak peak of her second chap too and you won't be disappointed! However probably the highlight of NV for me was Heidi Rice's comments on my entry and her advice on how to tighten it up and improve the internal conflicts. Oh and the fact that she mentioned me as one of her faves on her blog was almost as good as Top Tenning it for me!

So... that's where I'm at. Not really any further than I was in September but then again there's lots of other things going on in my life at the moment. Our house is on the market, we've just bought a supermarket and are moving to a new country town early next year... so at the moment, ANY writing is a bonus!

Hopefully I'll be back soon with more riveting writing news or craft chat.
Until then....

Friday, September 17, 2010


So... is anyone else getting paranoid about their ratings on the New Voices website?

Actually it's not so much the fact that my entry is rapidly dropping down the popularity scale that's bugging me, it's the fact that people are obviously rating it badly for it to be dropping and yet they are not leaving comments!!!

I understand that not everyone will like my writing - such is life - but it would be nice to have some insight into why!?

I guess the solution would be to stop checking the site every five minutes, but hey... with my obsessive compulsive nature, that's unlikely to happen :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The use of the "Ordinary World" in category romance

Since the RWA Oz conf, I've been thinking on the stages of the Hero's Journey, which Deb Dixon spoke about during her Friday workshop. She discussed Joseph Campbell's famous Hero's Journey, which has 12 different stages the protagonist/s must take during the course of a novel.

The first stage is the ''ORDINARY WORLD." In this stage, the writer is supposed to show a glimpse of the world where the h/H starts the story. It's supposed to give context for the story, establish a mundane/ordinary life, which can then be compared and contrasted to the new world (which begins in the "CALL TO ADVENTURE" section. The idea is to establish this ordinary world as quickly as possible, but apparently you can take as long as you want - lol! I think the taking as long as you want bit really only applies to Single Title.

But this got me thinking about the many category books I read and how more often than not there is NO or only a tinsy glimpse of the h/H's ORDINARY WORLD.

In my New Voices entry, ONE ROGUE, ONE DAMSEL, I've completely missed out the heroine's ordinary world. The first sentence of the story launches her straight out of her comfort zone but the reader doesn't actually know then what her comfort zone (ORDINARY WORLD) is.

In the other wip, the first chap starts in the heroine's ORDINARY WORLD (a mundane place she's come back to after bad experiences overseas).

Both these stories are category novels aimed at Harlequin Mills & Boon, so what I'm interested in is how you see the ORDINARY WORLD applying in short category novels.

Do you think setting up an ORDINARY WORLD only to wretch the hero or heroine straight out of it is necessary or do you think slightly different rules apply in category?!

Have I made any sense at all!?

If you know anything about Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, I'd love your thoughts on how it fits category romance!!

On another issue all together, how fun is the New Voices contest? I'm surprised that they've only got 250-ish entries at the moment. I thought there'd be a lot more but am wondering if some people will upload at the very last minute so they don't have to subject themselves to public comment? Will be interesting to see how the contest pans out. There's plenty of really fabulous entries up there so far but I'm never one to second guess what an editor likes, so I reckon, it's anyone's game!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Check out my GROOVY badge!

I'm like a teenage girl with a new iPod cover (do they even make them? LOL). I've got a NEW BADGE! See on the left hand side of my blog for my New Voices Entrant badge - better still, if you click on it, it'll take you straight to my entry.

Have you entered?

Do you want one too?

Then head on over to Lacey Devlin's blog where you can pick one up for free - she's made them out of the goodness of her heart cos she is so damn cool! Thanks Lacey! You rock!

Promise I'll be back in the next few days with some craft posts. I have a few things I've been mulling over since the RWA Oz conf and I'd like to get your thoughts too!

Until then....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


That's me! I'm hooked on reading entries on the Mills & Boon New Voices contest website.

Hubby is snoring beside me, I have a headache cos I'm so tired and a massive few days ahead of me, but can I stop? Nope.

I'll just read one more entry and then I'll go to bed....

Promise :)

PS. I entered! Was gonna leave it longer but in the end, I just wanted it out there. Good luck to everyone else who's entering!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


It came to my attention recently that it's really important to me what font my stories are written in.

My favourite font to write in is Calibri - it just looks sweet on the page to me and generally makes me happy with what I'm writing. I'm okay with Times New Roman and will use it if I have to but I absolutely do NOT like my writing when it's in Courier or Courier New font.

There's no reasonable explanation for this but I read it and it just seems blah in Courier. This is a real pain because many contest entries (at least here in Australia) require that the entry font is Courier.

Anyway I'm the first to admit that I have many strange quirks, so I was wondering.... is it just me or does the font matter to you as well???

Thursday, August 26, 2010


My friend Christina Phillips - also from Western Australia - has her new book FORBIDDEN coming out very soon.

To celebrate she's holding a party on her blog and she wants help to spread the word. See below :)

To help celebrate the release of Forbidden, Christina Phillips's debut Roman/Druid Ancient Historical Romance from Berkley Heat, she's holding a launch party with lots of amazing authors and fabulous giveaways! In addition, Christina's giving away a signed copy of Forbidden to one lucky person who helps spread the love. All you have to do is mention the party (you can copy and paste this blurb), being held from 1st to 6th September at You can Tweet about it, blog, Facebook, MySpace or anything! And then drop her an email at ChristinapPh @ gmail dot com (no spaces) to let her know. Please put Forbidden Launch Party (or something similar) in the subject line. The winner will be drawn for that on Monday 6th September.

Well... that's me done my duty :) Head on over - you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What a GOAL can do for you!

GOALS - I wrote notes about characters' goals in my last blog post but I think there's another person's goals who are really important when we talk about writing.



Or rather the goals of the writer.

Since my dreaded R a few months back, I've been more like the tortoise than the hare when it comes to writing. I've still typed off the odd chapter but actual books? I'm a lo-ooooong way off! So just before the conf, I decided to set myself some writing goals that I wanted to achieve before the end of the year.

Goal #1 - write 10k of my kinda rural romance single title idea so I could enter it into RWA Oz' Single Title And Loving It Contest this year. Not that I expect to place, although I do hope to get good feedback... the main reason for deciding to enter this contest was to give myself a deadline. And I'm pleased to report that today I met this goal.


Goal #2 was to finish the partial and synopsis of my M&B Romance targetted mss, ready to sub the first chap to the contest and if I don't get past the first round (which let's face it, is higly likely cos there'll be a zillion people entering) directly to the ed I've been working with. I still need to edit and polish but this partial is basically done. The synopsis is well on the way.

Goal #3 was to write the first five pages (at the least) of a new M&B Romance idea, so that I could enter it into RWA Oz's High Five contest. The deadline of this (like the STALI) is end of September and I've written two pages, so I guess I'm on track.

Goal #4 was to write the first 50k of my rural romance so that I could apply for an ASA Mentorship. At the moment, this goal seems the most daunting. But, unless things go extremely well with the New Voices contest and my writing time is busy elsewhere, I'm gonna do my darn best to achieve this as well.

I've realised I work best with tangible goals that I can tick of a visual list and FEEL GOOD about!

What about you? Do you set goals? Does it work? If so, what's your next BIG goal!?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nuggets of Gold from RWA Oz!

Debra Dixon's GMC Workshop
  • Characters who want something they don't have = BETTER.
  • Goal - important enough for character to act against their own best interest; needs a sense of urgency.
  • Make sure short term goal outweighs long term goal but will affect long term goal.
  • Make the goal specific - something that is ACTIONABLE.
  • Starter goal - gets book going but is not necessarily what the book is about.
  • One goal should lead to the next - and keep raising the stakes!
  • You have to support the BIG GOAL with SMALLER GOALS.
  • External Goal - go something/do something - created FOR THE STORY.
  • Internal Goal - what character brings into the story - their baggage/damage that character has to deal with by the end of the book.
  • EVERY character should have goals/have an agenda.
  • Goals are NOT ALWAYS achieved.
  • If character doesn't read the goal, we need to know WHY.
  • If character is NOT going to achieve a goal - make the reader satisfied by showing it was the WRONG goal.
  • If you don't show character growth - YOU FAILED.
  • There are two choices for any character: 1) Sucky 2) Suckier.
  • Give characters grey areas - not necessarily noble choices/actions. eg) Give them decisions to make that are HARD - to adopt out a baby or to abort it.
  • Think about what a character will sacrifice and what they will not, then bring them face to face with these things/those choices.
  • Give your characters what they say they want and take away what they say they don't want - because its one thing to say things and another to actually do them.
  • Motivation - can be multi-layered/have more than one.
  • Characters can lie to themselves and they can take action on lies they've been told.
  • Minor goals need motivation too.
  • Any time the goal changes, check the motivation.
  • Conflict - bad things happening to good people or Two Dogs + One Bone.
  • The characters GMCs should COLLIDE.
  • Love is often a conflict - eg) wrong guy, wrong time.
  • Good conflict doesn't have an obvious conclusion.
  • You don't have to get BOTH the external and the internal conflict on page one.
  • You have to break your h&H to make them WHOLE AGAIN.
  • You need to be able to sum up each character's GMC in 25 words.
  • Each book has a life lesson and its often good when the character vocalises the life lesson.
  • Each scene in a book needs THREE reasons to be there - at least one reason needs to be G or M or C!!!
Debra Dixon's Hero's Journey Workshop
  • There needs to be a physical outward journey AND emotional inward journey.
  • Mass Market Fiction deals with BIG LIFE ISSUES and shows that change is possible, offers hope.
  • Journey teaches hero how to change.
  • Ordinary World - gives context for story; establish as quickly as possible but take as long as you want - LOL.
  • Call to Adventure - make clear the goal and what's at stake; big or small.
  • Reluctance/Refusal to the call - shows character is not stupid.
  • Mentor - helps prepare hero for journey.
  • Cross The First Threshold - point of no return.
  • Tests, Allies and Enemies - has to face things and take action, helps readers understand the conflict, develops character and plot development, tests character's motivations.
  • Approach The Inmost Cave - character faces danger, there's often a love scene.
  • The Ordeal - grey moment, on the brink of greatest fear, secrets about to come out, goals in jeopardy, characters lose ability to lie to them-self.
  • Reward - small victory.
  • Roadback - hero's decision to get out; recognises that we haven't won the war yet.
  • Resurrection - old self becomes new, central problem comes back, last gasp of evil forces, characters make decisions that they wouldn't have made at the beginning.
  • Return with the Elixer - back in their ordinary world, helps readers leave the character/s in a better place.
Melanie Milburne's Bin To Bestseller workshop
  • Each story needs a controlling idea - controlling idea is NOT the same as premise. (eg. Think I worked out the controlling idea in my current wip is "Hero throws himself into relationships because he doesn't feel worthy and heroine avoids relationships because she doesn't feel worthy." They both need to learn that they ARE worthy.
  • Characters are only revealed in their true essence when under pressure - when they have to make hard choices.
Jessica Hart's A to Z of Writing Life
  • Understand your writing process and accept it - however wacky and different from your friends, CPs and famous writers.
  • h&H's have to recognise the truth about each other and falling in love makes them realise the truth about themselves.
  • Reader has to understand why the characters think the romance can't work out.
  • Her take on Presents vs Romance: Presents = unresolved sexual tension; Romance = unresolved emotional tension.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Girl Who Spread The Lurgy...

Otherwise known as The Conference Delegate Who Kept Kleenex In Business.

That's right... I hit RWA Oz on Thursday laden with the most shocking cold I'd had in a long time, so I want to take this opportunity to apologise to anyone I passed on the shocking cold to. Send me your snail mail addie and I
'll post you a box of tissues :)

Did I let the Cold From Hell ruin my weekend? No siree!

The conf was as fabulous as it always is, but this time it was even sweeter cos I had so many good writing friends I got to catch up with. Always awesome catching up in person with the delightful bloggers Becca J Heath, Leah Ashton and Janette Radevski,
my other CPs Melissa Smith and Joanne Dannon, my lovely email buddy and now rooomie Cathryn Brunet and of course finally meeting the gorgeous Jackie Ashenden (who I felt like I'd known for a lifetime). Was also fabulous and awesome to share one night with my good friend Fiona Lowe and to meet people I'd met online via the loop or email but hadn't met
in person until the conf. Too many to mention, so I'm not even gonna try.

Enough with the name dropping, hey?

The whole weekend was fabulous - being in the company of other writers
is always inspiring but my favourite session would have to be The A to Z of Writing Life by Jessica Hart. She is one very funny and down-to-earth lady and I reckon her local pub will be famous after her talk. If only I could remember its name.

I hope to write more about what I
heard/learnt at the conference when I'm feeling a little better but I'll leave you with some pics from the Fancy Dress party on Friday night. Apologies in advance if Blogger won't let me position them properly!

The top pic is of Jackie, Janette and me.

The middle pic is my lovely CP Melissa Smith and moi!

The bottom pic is me with three of my fave writing people - Becca, Jackie and Janette before the conf... pic was taken by the gorgeous Cathryn!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Absolutely completely only two sleeps to go!

Two sleeps until all the fun of the RWA Oz conf begins. I arrive in Sydney on Thursday and its pretty much straight to the e-list dinner. From there there's dinners, drinks, workshops, brekkies, parties, more workshops, more dinners and I just can't wait.

Cannot wait to get up and cheer on my fabulous friends Becca J Heath, Leah Ashton and Melissa Smith (aren't my buddies talented?) who are up for awards. It's the first year I'm not up for an award, which is a bit depressing, but oh well... hopefully it's the lull before The Call! LOL

So, I'll be quiet online until mid next week when I've settled back in home, spent time with my men after the weekend drought and caught up on the mammoth pile of washing that will no doubt await me. But hopefully I'll be back with lots of pics (please send me remember-to-take-photo vibes, cos my track record isn't fabulous) and lots of inspiration to get writing again!

Until then... HAPPY WRITING!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My beast at LoveCats!

Hi all

Just a quickie tonight cos I'm knackered from duties not related to writing :( But wanted to let ya all know that my big woolly mammoth of a dog is taking the catwalk at LoveCats Downunder today! Please pop on over and say hello. He ADORES people.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Another course!

Last day of July and I must say I'm glad to see the back of it, cos August is RWA Oz Conference and I absoluely completely CANNOT wait. Catching up with good writing buddies, talking writing ALL weekend, learning heaps, hanging out in a swish hotel, having the odd wine... can't think of much better! Hopefully I'll remember to actually USE my camera this year and take lots of pics.

August is also a course month for me. Yep, I've enrolled in yet another online course. This one is with the fabulous Shirley Jump and its entitled ''Take Your Book From Good To Sold.'' I thought that as I seem to have relative success with M&B eds, I needed something to take me over the line. Hopefully Shirley's course will be another step in the right direction. And I'm doing it with my good writing friend Becca J Heath, so at least I'll be in good company!

Anyone else coming to Oz or taken any good courses lately?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Will you or won't you!?

As LOADS of blogs have mentioned the Romance Is Not Dead website is now LIVE!!

This is VERY exciting news for all aspiring M&B writers and I can already feel the buzz on the blogs and across the net, so I'm curious, who's entering!?

I'm still a little undecided. Last M&B contest, the ed I'm working with said NOT to enter because they'd already found me! I was a little sad cos I LOVE the buzz of a good contest. Now this contest has been announced and it sounds like the contest to top all contests, I really wanna enter, but I'm not sure if that would be frowned upon after the advice I got last contest. I've shot off an email to the ed and will leave it up to her. Although if I don't hear back... I'm IN!!

Sorry I've been quiet of late. Life has been getting in the way but I also had a bit of a break after my R and reading lots of the Romance line. I've been playing with my rural-romance ST kinda thing and just having a lot of fun!

I've also been discovering TV again! Haven't watched it in years but my mum FORCED me to watch the first episode of the new series of Packed To The RAfters and now I'm devouring the first series. Then there's Masterchef... thank God it finishes on Sunday :)

Am now counting down the time to RWA Oz conf... cannot wait to catch up with my bestest writing buddies and also finally meet Jackie Ashenden (who's also one of the best!).

Sunday, July 4, 2010

No Man Is An Island...

Which may be the truth but the fact is also that I am off to an island with my real-life hero and our three gorgeous lil heroe's in training this week. Rottnest Island to be precise! See above!

Five days and four nights without Internet access! How will I survive?

I'll tell ya how... I have FIVE M&B Romances to take with me! Of course, I'm sure my boys will make sure reading ALL of them is near impossible but I'll do my damn best to make you proud!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

How To Quit Writing and End Up On The Bestseller Lists!

In my read, read and read some more Romance research program, I'm currently half way through Shirley Jump's Vegas Pregnancy Surprise. Shirley's writing is lovely and so easy and enjoyable to read and I did what I often do when I stumble upon a book I like, I checked out the author's web site.

There I found an article that I just couldn't not read ''HOW TO QUIT WRITING AND END UP ON THE BESTSELLER LIST''.

I couldn't have read this article at a better time. As you all know I got a painful R this week. Like we all do after such an email, I asked myself the usual questions. What am I doing? How long can I keep at this writing gig without making a success of it? Should I give up and take up quilting?

I came to the conclusion after much stewing that I'm not quite ready to throw in the towel. I still LOVE reading Romance and I still really, really, really love writing. I still desperately want to see my name on a published book! But this article by Shirley Jump in which she tells about how she DID give up and then got The Call was really inspiring and really something I needed to read this week!

Just curious? Anyone ever tried to give up writing? How long did you last?

Friday, June 25, 2010

I get around!! And Feel the LOVE!

LOL!!! R's are almost as sweet as The Call when I get invited to all these wonderful places to guest blog!

Today I'm waxing lyrical over at iheartpresents - it's almost the same blog as I did at the gorgeous Seven Sassy Sisters so don't feel you have to visit, but I HAD to mention it!!

Have had the most gorgeous messages from members of the romance community - both published and aspiring - all so encouraging and supportive about my recent R!!

I tell ya... it's all you wonderful people, saying that you can't wait to buy my book, that give me the desire and motivation to continue!


The Romance Community really does ROCK!!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sister's Guest Spot

Two posts in one day you say!? Is it a record?

Anyway just letting you know I'm a guest on the Seven Sassy Sisters Blog today. Awesome blog. Awesome people. I recommend you check it out.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Good-bye Cam and Peppa!

Well... I asked for speed in my last email and I got it. A speedy R delivered to my inbox tonight.

As far as R's go it was nice. The editor said that my full had been passed onto Bryony Green (senior ed for Modern Heat) but that she'd regrettably decided to pass on the mss. There was no mention of underdeveloped conflicts or not enough emotion. I was praised on my 'wonderfully accessible and engaging voice' and told that there was a lovely bond between my characters and the sensuality WAS there just NOT ENOUGH.

Interesting enough the ed suggested I may like to try my voice on for the Romance line and see how it fits. Interesting because over the past few years I've had times where I've really wondered if I'm fitted to Modern Heat. I think my voice is young, sassy and flirty enough but I'm not sure I'm really confident with that push-the-boundaries level of sensuality. Love reading it but always wondered if I actually did it justice in my own writing. Well... apparently not.

I'm not gonna say I'm not disappointed. Of course I'm gutted. But on the bright side, I have passed many landmarks during this sub. I got revisions on the story and I know it got passed up the ladder, so I figure I must be doing something right.

Onwards and upwards hey? Once I work out where the heck that is...

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Have finished writing a new partial for Modern Heat. Am stoked, I really like this story and even the synopsis is shaping up to be not too terrible.

My dilemma is that now I'm impatient to sub it - lol - and I can't because I've already got something under consideration there!!


Anyway Happy Friday to you all.

Hope you're all feeling as happy as me and that this isn't the high before a low!!! Surely they wouldn't send an R on a Friday and ruin my weekend??

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Second Guessing!

SIX WEEKS. That's how long I've been waiting since pushing send on my full mss to M&B.

That's nothing you say. Some people wait two years to hear back on a full. So, logically I know I should sit back, start a new book (which I have) and forget about the old one. But the thing is the editor I've been working at is SUPER SPEEDY! She's getting quite a reputation - lol.

I heard back on a week after sending my partial, ten days after sending her the first 33k and the longest anyone I know has heard back from her on a full is five weeks. This was my benchmark until a friend said they'd heard of someone who heard back after SIX weeks.

But six weeks it now is for me and still nothing. I alternate between a number of best-case and worst-case scenarios.

Perhaps its a definite R but because she's such a lovely ed, she's working out the best way to let me down gently.

Perhaps they're just really, really busy at the moment in Richmond.

Perhaps she's drafting up another revision letter.

Or joy of joys, perhaps she's passed it up the ladder for further approval. (of course I know that even if this is the case, the other eds might not like it).

But it's driving me batty. Email checking is a constant obsession. I can barely eat dinner without getting up to go and check. If a child wakes me up in the night (which is a frequent occurrence in my house), I log on and check my mail. Hubby's so used to it now, he's given up asking me what the hell I'm doing with the laptop in bed at 3am in the morning. It's even affecting my writing cos after every sentence I write, I check my email - NOT good for the word count!

So... I'm guessing I'm not alone? Please tell me there are others out there who second guess what waits mean!?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How much can you get away with in Single Title?

My last full manuscript was rejected and one of the reason cited in the rejection letter was that the heroine was a little unlikeable.

Here's an extract from that letter:

When we first meet Libby she is rummaging around in Matt’s rubbish trying to find something, anything, about him for her article. This is rather desperate behaviour and not really something we would expect of a professional young woman.

Also, her desperation to secure her dream job leads her to terribly devious things; hiring Matt without his knowledge, attempting to record him without his knowledge or consent and then perhaps the worst of all, using Dan’s private investigation results. We were slightly alarmed that Libby even agreed to meet Dan and discover more about Matt and further that she would use the information in her article. It makes no difference that she decides to delete the finished file; she still goes behind Matt’s back in the most deceitful way.

After much huffing and puffing and screaming at the computer that she was fabulous not unlikeable, I finally came to accept their point. (Note accept, not necessarily like). But I did learn one major thing about heroines in category from this rejection.

They have to have enough flaws that we can relate to them but in many ways they have to have the moral high ground and not have certain characteristics that may be realistic in real life but not sympathetic in a fictional character.

Right now I'm distracting myself from the full sub by trying something different - my single title rural romance type thing. Anyway I've just discovered today - cos I'm flying by the seat of my pants here - that the heroine very likely had a one night stand (maybe she was drunk) a couple of month's before she was due to marry the hero.

Of course my first thought was WHAT A COW, SHE CAN'T POSSIBLY HAVE LOVED THE HERO... but she was eighteen and we all make mistakes right? I'm thinking I can probably get away with her having this monumental mistake and secret in her past but would love to hear your opinions.

Can a hero and or heroine get away with more unsympathetic actions/past in ST than they can in category??

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Do you or don't you?

Okay... so my post titles are getting more and more original. NOT!

Basically I'm having a slump week. Don't know if it's because I've got to the stage where I can no longer NTAI my full sub without starting to feel depressed - thinking that its codswallop and there's no way they'll even ask me for revisions never mind buy - or PMT!!! Either way, it's not good for my writing.

There is one other reason - it could be the book I'm reading, which I'm enjoying but is one of those books about women in their mid-thirties looking at their life and not really being happy with what they see. It's not how the heroine imagined her life would be when she was fresh-faced and twenty. I'm pretty happy with my life - I have a loving hubby, three gorgeous sons, a part time job I like, a hobby I adore and the best friends a girl could hope for - but do books put ideas into our heads? Sometimes I wonder.

Anyway what I really wanted to know is do you read in your genre while you are in the writing stages of a book? I'm mostly targeting Mills & Boon Modern Heat and I try to read all the books that come out in this line (I'm very behind but I try). I've always read them at the same time I'm writing my own MH but I'm wondering if this is the right thing to do, or do I get swayed?

Would love to hear your thoughts on reading within your genre while writing!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Just wondering...

While at the dayjob (or one of them) at the library today, I was putting back books on the shelf and it got me thinking about a genre I've always liked, don't read enough of and would love to write but don't think I have the KNOW-HOW!

That's right folks - I'm Rachael Johns, I'm a write-a-holic and one day I'd really love to pen a crime fiction!!! Or a mystery!

So I got wondering... do any of you lovely blog ladies have a genre you'd like to try but haven't had the guts to yet and wonder if you ever will? I'd love to hear :)

Monday, May 31, 2010


Okay... two posts in one day is probably a record for me but I NEED HELP!

My heroine needs a few good reasons why NOT to go stay with an absolute stranger!? Now Ithought that would be easy but the only reason I could come up with is that she doesn't know him and he might be a crazy psycho serial killer!?

Surely there's other reasons!? Please... help!!!

I can offer cyber chocolates for those who come up with fabulous witty reasons and hopefully one day the book will be published and you'll get a kick out of seeing your reason in print! It's a dream!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How do you know?

I figured it's been FAR TOO LONG between posts.

I'd like to say I've been working hard and getting contracts, but I've only been working marginally hard and I haven't heard from the Ed yet - still it's only been 3 and a half weeks, so I really need to learn a touch of patience.

Anyway in good NTAI tradition I started a new MH idea - OROD is its acronym and therefore it shall be referred to as OROD on the blog :)

I have written a partial synopsis, character conflicts and then first chap of OROD (sounds like sci-fi doesn't it?) I really love this first chap and thanks to my lovely CPs I'm hoping it now really, really sparkles. Problem is... usually when I write I have a clear idea of what the BM will be that tears these perfect lovers apart. And right now... I have zilch of an idea.

In essense... the heroine's conflict involves her being divorced and always feeling second best to her actress sister. Her sister is now dead and this leads the heroine to travel to LA for a a week. Here she meets drop-dead-gorgeous hero who just happened to be a VERY good friend of her sister's. His conflict is mainly related to the fact he was brought up in a home frought with arguments and hate and although he's escaped and made a good life for himself, he still feels essentially not good enough. She's only planning on staying in LA a week and ends up staying with him.

I'm hoping to write gorgeous sexual tension between them, which they don't consummate until her last night in LA... they both know the other is going back but I'm not sure what happens next!?

Anyway I'm really just rambling here and making sure you know I'm still alive and trying to work out wip issues. Hopefully I'll get my head around them soon and be able to continue with these characters and story I adore.

But just wondering... how many of you know how the BM and ending will pan out before you put pen to paper or finger to keyboard?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Cure...

They say the cure for NTAI (that's not thinking about my full submission which is currently languishing on a 'metaphorical' desk at M&B) is getting stuck into a new project.

So I thought I'd tell you what I've been doing to try and keep my mind off the book that is now out of my hands:

1) Using Snapfish to begin to get up to date with the kid's photos. I try and do a photobook for each child for each year of their life. It's an aim... I'm WAY behind!

2) Tackling the never-ending pile of washing that constantly threatens to bury my entire household. As its winter down under and most clothes don't seem to be able to survive the dryer anynore, this task is even more daunting than it usually is.

3) Critting work from my lovely and talented CPs.

4) Planning and writing up a proposal/synopsis for my next Modern Heat idea... so that whatever the verdict on my subbed full, I'll have something else to hit them with. I'm finding this planning stage immensely enjoyable. LOVE my two new characters - Poppy and Nate - and think I've actually got their conflicts pretty solid and sorted but just have to work out what happens in the latter part of the book so I can finish the synopsis.

5) And today, I just dove right in and started writing an idea that's been mulling around in my head for quite some time. It's part chick-lit part rural romance I suppose. I'm trying for Single Title with this baby but am also trying to keep the pressure off. I'm writing this one for fun, not with publication in sight!

So... what is your favourite and best thing to do while you're waiting to hear back on a submission?

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Ahh... that got ya didn't it? What woman doesn't love a good gossip sesh?

My goss might not excite you as much as a good scandal though! The news is that last week, Thursday to be precise, I sent off my full mss to the editor I'm working with at M&B. Got a confirmation back that day and immediately began to quake in my fluffy pink slippers!! Trying to NTAI but you know... it's really rather pointless even trying.

In other news... today is Mother's Day down under and hubby has banished me from housework and told me to read all day!! Ahhh... the hardships.

I'm reading one of my auto-buy authors - Lisa Jewell. Her eighth book 'After The Party' is about what happens after the Happy Ever After of her first ever hero and heroine. I'm only a little way in but loving it!!!

So on that note, Happy Mother's Day to all those mummies out there!! I'm off to read.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Romancing The West!

As you know I spent the weekend in Perth attending the Romancing The West writing conference. It went FAR TOO FAST but was absolutely fabulous. Here's a quick run-down!!

I picked up the lovely Janette Radevski from the airport Friday arvo and then went out to dinner that night with Janette, Nikki Logan, Fiona Lowe, Fiona Palmer and Tracey another writing buddy. We chatted writing non-stop throughout dinner and despite them never delivering our hot chocolates, it was a fabulous and inspiring night.

Next day was RTW!! I was the MC for the day and was nervous cos I haven't done any public speaking in a very long time... but I really enjoyed the experience. I went to Fiona Palmer's workshop first up, about First chaps and even First Paras. She made us rewrite the beginning of a famous nursery rhyme in a number of different ways and I found it a much useful exercise.

Next I did Nikki Logan's workshop on Branding. I'm still in the process of working out my romance brand (ie. what I want to offer my readers, so they know what they'll get when they pick up a Rachael Johns book) but Nikki's workshop really helped and I'm getting closer. I've changed the tagline on my website to 'Fun and Quirky Feel-Good Fiction' but I still need to work out a positioning statement!

Finally I did Fiona Lowe's Tension workshop and had light-bulbs going off left, right and centre in what was a very tired brain by that stage of the day. We did a bit of brainstorming about how to create tension in our own work and I worked on my next MH idea, which I'm soon gonna write up a synopsis for. One thing that really stood out was making sure my characters start out as opposites in a lot of things.

Of course... for someone who loves to talk! Especially about ROMANCE... probably the best part of the day was catching up with my romance writing mates and just hanging out chatting with them.

I'll attach some pics of the event to this post (postscript - I can't seem to add pics and position them properly anymore so they are ALL at the top)!!! First pic is of three good writing friends on the Saturday Night- Audrey Barton, Janette Radevski and Leah Ashton. The second photo is the bunch of us who had dinner on Friday night!

More photos are available on the Romancing The West FB page - of which you are ALL more than welcome to join! Click on the RTW link at the top of this post.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bring on the weekend...

Am feeling like a kid counting down the sleeps till Christmas. I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited about this weekend's Romancing The West mini-conference and catching up with many of my writing buddies.

I'm heading to Perth - KID FREE - on Friday morning for some shopping and then I'll pick up my lovely writing friend Janette Radevski who's travelling from Sydney for the day! From there we're off to the hotel, where we'll meet up with Nikki Logan, Fiona Lowe and Fiona Palmer and head out to dinner at a near-by pub. I'm sure the food will be good but I just KNOW the writing talk will be fabulous!

Then Saturday promises to be a jam-packed awesome day of writing workshops!! I'm planning on going to sessions about 'Branding myself' (really looking forward to this one), Writing a fab first para and first chap and Tension - how to avoid that saggy middle!

Saturday night will be another dinner with even MORE writers.

And one of the best bits? TWO NIGHTS with no one waking me up to go to the toilet or because they need a drink - lol!

Promise to take pics (I'm usually hopeless at this) and update you on the day early next week!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Love my Sony eReader!!!

I can't believe it's almost been TWO weeks since I last updated - shocking!!

I had a bit of a reading break between finishing the first draft and reading it over in two sittings (like to do this so I can see if it's working as a whole before being nitpicky and pulling it apart) but didn't read nearly as much as I'd hoped! I read a fabulous Blaze by Sarah Mayberry, some brilliant stuff by my CPs and Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon.

I was really, really, really tempted to look at my mss but forced myself to stay away for at least a week. I NEEDED distance to look at it objectively! Then yesterday morning I downloaded my mss onto my lovely Sony eReader so I could read it like a real, proper book.

Sure I love reading other people's books on my eReader but this is what I love most about it. Reading my own finished product!! I'm lucky to have the Touch edition which means I can annotate as I read.

So thanks to my beautiful eReader, I've now read through my whole mss and am starting on the edit.

Plan is to finish the edits, let it sit another week, then read over one more time to polish before subbing.

I told the editor mid-May - so YAY - looks like I'll make the deadline!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Is it only me who feels like this?

Have just finished the rough draft of my mss. I say 'finish' very loosely cos I still have to go back and revise the sex scenes as requested by the editor but there's a whole book to work with now.

I'm stoked, don't get me wrong, but reading back over the last few chaps I wonder if it's lacking the buzz, the pizazz, the flair of the first half of the book?

I'm definitely a beginning girl. LOVE LOVE LOVE getting to know two new characters and writing the beginning of their love story... but towards the end, I start to doubt EVERY single line I write. Is there enough emotion? Is there too much emotion?


What I want to know is is this a Rach-curse or does everyone get to the end of the book and think they've just written 50k of utter rubbish!?

Onto less heavy pastures. The delightful, supremely wise and ever talented Jackie Ashenden nominated me for the 5-5-5 Blogger Award!

This is: 5 questions, 5 answers, 5 blogs to tag.
So here goes:

Question 1: Where were you five years ago?

1. I was in Kojonup, having only just moved there and having just come back from gorgeous holiday in Queenstown, NZ.
2. I had one hubby, one child, one dog and one cat.
3. I knew I wanted to write but looking back (oh hindsight) knew absolutely nothing about writing.
4. I had just bought my first laptop - unfortunately due to the Rach-computer-curse, I've lost count of how many there's been since then.
5. I had just decided I wanted to write a non-fiction book about breastfeeding.

Question 2: What is (was) on your to do list today?

1. Finish rough draft of novel - check! (if I forget about the sex scenes that still need fixing)
2. Make a shepherd's pie for dinner, which my kids will turn their noses up at - check!
3. Get my legs, lip and brow waxed - fail (my friend the beautician forgot our appointment)
4. Contact the stupid College of Teaching about my registration renewal - fail (who wants to waste a kidfree morning on the phone to them?)
5. Change and wash the bedsheets which I try to do every Friday - fail (but hey it's only lunchtime)

Question 3: What five snacks do you enjoy?

1. Cake- anything but fruit cake! Became a fiend when I was pregnant with High Maintenance.
2. Diet Coke - like Jackie, drinks are snacks to me. I allow myself one can a day, unless its a naughty day - like today.
3. Chocolate -need I say more?
4. Cereal - don't much like it for breakfast but in the evening it's fabulous.
5. Popcorn - especially from the movies or freshly popped!

Question 4: What five places have you lived in?

1. London.
2. Newcastle, England.
3. Sydney.
4. Perth
5. Kojonup

Question 5: What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?

1. Travel more - first stop Hollywood where I want to set my next book.
2. Buy my unromantic hero his own supermarket. If I were a billionaire he could probably retire, but that'd kill him.
3. Fly my best school friends to England to see Amy.
4. Send my boys to fabulous schools.
5. Y'know? I'm finding this question hard... don't know if being filthy rich would suit me?!?!

Oh hang on... thought of a proper five! I'd get a live-in cleaner, cook, gardener, personal fashion consultant and buyer, hair-dresser and beautician!

Nominating 5 blogs: Ooh this is tough... especially cos a lot of my fave blogs have already been nominated. Luckily I lurve LOTS of blog people.

Becca J Heath