Friday, January 27, 2012
This week was my birthday :) And my boys made the most beautiful birthday cake EVER. Okay, maybe it was the type of cake that only a mum could love (they decorated it) but it was truly delicious (Granny helped them with the actual baking). My hubby gave me the most lovely card and told me to enjoy myself in Sydney (aka spend/buy whatever I like) when I go to the ARRA Awards in a couple of weeks. My Mum gave me my Kindle (which I got a few weeks back). All in all, it was a lovely day!
This week I also took a break from JILTED edits (while waiting for next round) to write more of MAN DROUGHT. Am loving this book and just hope I can do the story and characters justice.
In the waiting stakes, I'm three weeks into the wait on my revised full of HOLLYWOOD HEARTBREAK. So pray the eds at Carina love it and you all get to meet the sexy Nate and gorgeous Holly!
And, almost best of all, I managed to finish reading another book this week. I've been so slow with reading lately, focusing on writing and edits, that each time I finish one now I feel like throwing a little party.
So, this is my SECOND review in the Australian Women Writers Challenge.
STELLA MAKES GOOD by Lisa Heidke
I'm a great fan of Lisa's books - Claudia's Big Break was one of my fave reads of 2011 and Stella Makes Good did it for me too. I find it hard to pin point exactly what I like about a book. This one had a fabulously quirky start - cringe-worthy (in a good way) in fact with the famous sex party Lisa has been blogging about. I don't want to give too much away but the events that spiral from this one party make this book into a truly emotional and enjoyable read.
The characters (Stella and her three friends) are very REAL. They could be your own group of girlfriends and their lives are believable. I like that. And some of the writing is just down-right brilliant. There's a conversation between Stella and her mother-in-law June about marriage and how in the good old days, if you were unhappy you either put up with it or died. That cracked me AND my husband up (yes, this was the type of book where I had to read out certain lines to him)!
The story is also somewhat realistic. It is about marriage and how some can be worked on during tough spots and others are over when they're over. It's about knowing whether to fight or concede and it's about women over-coming difficulties and disappointments to become strong and happy again. It's about female friendship and celebrating these precious bonds.
All in all I found STELLA MAKES GOOD a VERY GOOD read and I can't wait to read Lisa's next book.
Also I'd like to announce the winner of Veronica Scott's blog contest earlier this week - Veronica used a random winner generator and the lucky number belonged to Leah Ashton. Congrats Leah. Veronica will be in contact with you shortly regarding your prize!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
I’m so happy to be visiting Rachel’s blog today! She’s one of my best friends in the world of writers, always generously supportive and encouraging!
Veronica is VERY generously giving away a copy of her book AND a $25 Amazon giftcard to one lucky commenter. All you have to do to enter is tell us what the first romance you ever read was!
Blurb - Priestess of the Nile
AND you can buy her fabulous book on Amazon, at Carina Press or other e-book shops.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Today SS, comes from ONE PERFECT NIGHT - which released from Carina Press in December. To set the scene, let me just say, the hero and heroine only met a few hours ago and are currently pretending to be together at his Aunt's place for dinner!
Friday, January 20, 2012
Now, today I'm going to share my thoughts on my first Aussie read as part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012. This week past I read Loretta Hill's The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots and I LOVED it.
Boots (as Loretta calls it) is a bit chick-litty, a bit rural, a bit romance with a whole host of fabulous characters who are real but immensely loveable. At first Lena, the heroine, seems a bit ditsy and shallow (a city girl tossed in the deep end of life on the Pilbara) but she redeems herself and grows and develops as the story continues into a really strong and like-able woman. Even the blokes who work with her (and her gender is very much in the minority up there) grow to admire and respect her.
It was also great to read a book set in the far north WA - a region that doesn't get much limelight in fiction, especially my favourite genre romance. And while Boots is classified as Women's Fiction, it has a VERY strong romance plot line. The heroine has strong reason NOT to fall for the hero but of course she can't resist his strong, silent charm. His reasons for being with her aren't as strong - although he does have a massive conflict in his own life as well and the book isn't less enjoyable because there isn't a strong reason for him not to fall for her. Dan is just my type of hero - strong, guarded, honest and OF COURSE, deadly attractive.
Boots is an easy read but Loretta has some fabulous one-liners that made me extremely jealous I didn't think of them myself!! This is a well-crafted, enjoyable novel and I'll be eagerly awaiting more books from Loretta Hill.
My next AWW12 book is Lisa Heidke's STELLA MAKES GOOD, which I started on Thursday and am loving! In fact, I'm very resentful of all the things that are keeping me from reading it!
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Today though, Helen is talking about something that makes romance writers twitchy - the FORMULA!! Over to you Helen...
Monday, January 16, 2012
Also, I was absolutely STOKED and totally GOBSMACKED to find out yesterday that I'm a finalist in the contemporary romance category of the fabulous Australian Romance Reader Awards 2011 with my debut novel ONE PERFECT NIGHT from Carina Press. I'm up against some HUGE and really TALENTED authors, some of whom happen to be close friends of mine, so I'm not expecting miracles but just to be up there is more than I ever imagined.
So HUGE thanks to those people who nominated me. I'm so grateful and I hope you continue to enjoy my stories.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
1) Copy-edits landed for JILTED - these are not actually that bad and more involve going through the document and accepting or rejecting minor changes my editor as made. I'd say I'm accepting 99% of such changes because let's face it, he's the editor and he knows what he's doing. Every time I read his changes I think - WOW why didn't I think of that. They're mostly minor - deleting a word here and replacing it with something else or even just shifting around the words I already have but its amazing how such small changes can really improve the writing. So, I'm very grateful to have worked with two fantastic editors on my books. For JILTED my editor is a man and this has been particularly useful in making sure the male pov in my book is spot-on!
2) It's school holidays here. Not only is it school holidays, but we are away from home in Perth for two weeks, which equals daily swimming lessons for the boys, social outings to catch up with friends and a whole load of fun school holiday type activities. So far in six days we've been to AQUA (WA Aquarium), a really cool play centre, a park with a massive fake volcano that actually ruptures, San Churros (to eat loads and loads of chocolate), the Zoo, the drive in movies (to see Alvin and The Chipmunks Shipwrecked), I've had a pedicure and my Mum also took the boys to see Happy Feet 2 at the cinemas. THIS is only the first week. My men have been good and have let me have a bit of me time but most of this precious time has been spent on copy-edits.
3) Before the copy-edits landed - I'd been trying to get stuck into my current wip (working title MAN DROUGHT). I love the concept of this story but am at the stage, where I'm just writing myself into the story (anyone else do that?) and hoping like hell it all works out!
So, unfortunately I'm gonna be late with my first installment for the Australian Women Writer's challenge, but I promise there'll be a write up on The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots. Soon!
Friday, January 13, 2012
Huge congrats to Bec (the first one who commented on Jennifer Weiner's book post), winner of Jennifer Weiner's THEN CAME YOU!!
Huge congrats to Eleri Stone, winner of Ruthie Knox's RIDE WITH ME!!
If you could email me at Rachaeljohns at gmail dot com I'll arrange for delivery of your books!
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Louise is going to tell us a bit about her manuscript assessment service, but first, don't forget - if you haven't already done so - to read the two posts below and comment for a chance to win a book by Ruthie Knox and a book by Jennifer Weiner. Only a couple of days left to enter both.
Thanks Louise - sounds really helpful! I'm curious, have any of you tried a manuscript assessor? If so, how did it work for you?
Monday, January 9, 2012
Thursday, January 5, 2012
I have never read a Jennifer Weiner novel but have only heard good things about her. This one sounds fabulous and I can't wait to read it:
With her trademark humour and tender insight Jennifer Weiner brings us the heartfelt story of four women from very different walks of life.
Drawn together – in some cases reluctantly – by one woman’s quest to become a mother, the four women build a bond that will last forever.
Jules is a college student planning to use the $20,000 she will be paid for donating her eggs to save her dad from addiction.
Annie married her high school sweetheart and is a stay-at-home mother with two small boys. After years of surviving on her husband’s small wage, could surrogacy give them the extra cash they need?
India, 38 (really 43) wants to bind her relationship with her older husband Marcus. But when nature fails, she turns to Jules and Annie for help.
Bettina, 23 is India’s reluctant step-daughter who becomes the guardian to India’s unborn child when Marcus dies and India disappears.
This timely tale interweaves themes of class and entitlement, surrogacy and donorship, the rights of a parent and the measure of motherhood.
Through her unforgettable, true-to-life characters, Weiner deftly reflects how the family we build round us – from strangers we meet along life’s path – is often the family we are closest to.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Weiner is the international Number One bestselling author of nine novels, including Fly Away Home, Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and Certain Girls. In Her Shoes is now an internationally acclaimed film starring Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz. A graduate of Princeton University, Jennifer is also the executive producer for the ABC America Family TV show State of Georgia. She lives in Philadelphia with her family.
To win a copy of Jennifer's book, please like me on Facebook , leave a comment on this blog telling me you've done so and also answer this question - Tell me about someone in your life who isn't legally family or blood related but who you cherish as if they were?
One random commenter will go in the draw to win a copy of THEN CAME YOU! The competition closes Friday 13th at midnight Australian EST and the winner will be announced next Saturday.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
But what I'm really excited about is Loretta's topic for Theory on Thursday. So I'll stop rambling now and hand over to Loretta. I do hope after you've read Loretta's post, you'll stick around to discuss!
Mainstream Commercial Women’s Fiction
The story is all in the heroines POV
The story is in the hero and heroine POV
The main plot can be anything but a romance. Ie. suspense, mystery, family saga, coming of age, science fiction, fantasy, historical etc.
Romance is the main plot
Romance is a subplot
Sub plot could be in a secondary genre. Eg. suspense, mystery, family saga, coming of age, science fiction, fantasy, historical etc. But it can also be another romance (between a different couple)
The heroine’s journey is the focus of the story. Her character must achieve growth by the end of the story.
Hero’s journey and Heroine’s journey is given equal importance in the story.
The hero’s journey doesn’t matter, except in how it affects the heroine’s journey. His growth is optional. He can be constant through the book if you like.
Both hero and heroine must have grown and/or achieved change by the end of the book and their love for each other must be the catalyst for that.
Secondary characters are important. Some may be given equal page time as the hero.
Secondary characters are not so important.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Although not raised in the country, I've lived in a small rural community for the past seven years and there's something about being out in the bush that agrees with me, which is probably why I set JILTED - my June 2012 release - in a small country town.
I love the fact that everyone knows everyone (although this is not always a good thing) and that you can pretty much guarantee what you'll find in a small town. These include a big oval or rec centre (country towns love their sport), a post office, a small supermarket or general store, a town hall of some kind, a service station, maybe a bank and almost always at least one pub.
My current manuscript - tentatively titled MAN DROUGHT - is also set in a small rural community. Whereas JILTED centres around the romance AND the revival of the local theatrical society, MAN DROUGHT centres around the romance and the goings-on at the local pub! There's something about country pubs that are begging for stories to be told in them. There's so much potential in these places. So today, while we traveled home, I took photos of pubs in some of the places we drove through.
My vision of the pub in MAN DROUGHT is most like the pub right above. I'm itching to get stuck back into this story and hope to finish it by the end of April but first I must finish my revisions for HOLLYWOOD HEARTBREAK!!