Wednesday, August 30, 2006

New release 'Down Under'.

My next book has hit the shelves in Australia!

FOUND: HIS FAMILY, set in the gorgeous bayside suburb of St. Kilda, is the story of Aimee Payet, a single mum and successful businesswoman who runs a patisserie in Acland Street (home of the most divine cakes and pastries on the planet! And yes, it is a real place!!)
When her adorable son Toby falls victim to leukemia, Aimee is forced to contact Jed Sanderson, sexy TV chef, the last person she wants to see...considering he broke her heart 5 years earlier and he's Toby's dad.

I did a lot of research for this book (which basically means I ate a lot of cakes and drank a lot of lattes but hey, somebody's gotta do it.)

Romantic Times said "Found: His Family has a strong conflict and is highly emotional" which is great, considering that's the type of book both my editor and I were trying to achieve at the time.

I'll be blogging more about St. Kilda and Acland Street (and yes, those yummy cakes, complete with pics) on September 12th over at the Pink Heart Society.

In other writing news, my lovely editor is back from holidays and says I'll be hearing about The Pregnancy Surprise shortly. I loved writing this book and I think it's one of my more emotional books. Will keep you posted.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

COLLAGES with Barbara Hannay

After trialling many different ways to get the interview with Barbara up here, my blogger sidebar still goes crazy so I've posted a link instead.

To get the full interview, including 2 gorgeous pictures of Barbara's collages for her latest 2 books, click here!

I'd love to hear what you think after reading the interview, so please pop back here and leave a comment.
(Here's a sneak peek at one of Barbara's collages. For the lowdown, you'll have to check out the interview!)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Conference wrap-up

As promised, here's my whiz-bang ultra-short post-RWAus conference wrap up!

THURSDAY: arrived on the sunny Gold Coast, headed to Broadbeach where the conference was being held. At 5.30pm, went to Fiona Lowe's room for a party for the launch of her first book! Had a great time eating gigantic strawberries and toasting my talented buddy with champagne, while catching up with many authors I haven't seen since the last conference and meeting other newbies.

FRIDAY: the swish Harlequin Author's Lunch, held at a swank waterside restaurant. More lovely chatter (and yummy food!) I was presented with a "Woman Fuzzy" award, an annual event which started following an Ally Blake radio interview where the interviewer confused her "warm and fuzzy" comment for a "woman fuzzy?".

That night, attended the Cocktail Party, where the theme was "Golden Era of Hollywood." Loads of fab costumes. I went as Aishwarya Rai, the former Miss Universe who starred as the heroine in Bride and Prejudice.

SATURDAY: heard Debbie Macomber speak, attended great workshops, Anne Gracie's fabulous 'emotional punch' speech which was unfortunately cut short.

SUNDAY: more great workshops, Jane Porter's impassioned speech, I hosted an author chat for writers targetting the Romance line. Exhaustion well and truly set in. Shared a final hot chocolate with authors later that evening before looking forward to doing it all over again next year!

There, short and sweet!
Later this week, I'm going to have another guest interview, this time with the lovely Barbara Hannay who presented a workshop at the conference on collages. Barbara will be discussing collages and showing examples of her most recent ones and how they help her write a book.
It's going to be fun. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Two-week Mistress

Moving right away from baby covers to 'under the covers' with my latest ModX sale, TWO-WEEK MISTRESS.

Remember the delightful Bo Bradford? (or more to the point, the gorgeous James Penfold whose pic I couldn't help but put up here quite frequently!)

Well, you can now get the low-down and an excerpt on this book, so check it out (click on the title.)

I'll get my butt into gear this week and post some conference news and pics. Promise!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Here it is!

Still trying to catch up on hundreds of emails while I was away, but I've just scanned the cover for INHERITED: BABY so here it is.

Opinions please?

I started reading the book yesterday and it's such a surreal experience, going from writing the story on a PC screen to reading the words in print. Maya is a single mum doing it tough and Riley is the brother of her dead fiance. I'm a quarter of the way through, where Riley (a citified stockbroker) has taken over Maya's horse strapper duties for a few weeks.

Tom Williams was the inspiration behind Riley. Once I find the pic I used, I'll pop that up here too. Just to entice you a little...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I'm back!

Hey everyone, I'm back! Did you miss me?

The RWAus conference at Broadbeach was fantastic. I caught up with so many people, met loads of new writers and generally had a whoop up time!
I will be posting loads of snippets, pics and general goss over the next week so stay tuned...
Here's a sneak peek at what some of us got up to: moi receiving my 'woman fuzzy' award (explanation later!) and the Romance girls pre-cocktail party in full 'Golden Era of Hollywood' outfits.

I also spent a glorious week post-conference soaking up the glorious Queensland sun, basically sitting around and doing nothing! I didn't type a single word!!

Of course, I've come back to a flurry of writing news.

1) I've sold my 2nd ModX!! The Creative Touch (Tahnee's story) will be out in March 07 as TWO-WEEK MISTRESS.

2) BIG-SHOT BACHELOR will be released in Australia under the Sexy Sensation line in May 07.

3) WIFE AND MOTHER WANTED is nominated for a Cataromance Reviewers Choice award (alongside my buddies Ally Blake, Trish Wylie and Natasha Oakley. How cool is that!)

4) My first Romance cover has arrived. INHERITED: BABY is a Dec 06 release and once I scan it, I'll pop the cover up.
I've adored every one of my covers and though this one is cute, I'll honestly say it's not my fave. I don't like baby covers and that's what this is, a giant gorgeous baby close-up.
Don't get me wrong, I adore babies. I have one of my own (who has far-too-quickly morphed into an active toddler) but for me, babies don't spell romance. I much prefer the sexy couple covers to bubs. And in this book, the baby is such a small part of the story...sigh...
This is my Melbourne Cup book and I was really, really hoping for a couple and bub and horse on the cover but it's not to be...I'll get over it...eventually!

Seriously, the baby is very cute and I've seen far worse covers so I should be happy.
Can you tell I'm overtired and just rambling on endlessly?

Promise to get up to speed over the next week. In the meantime, bear with me...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Surprise! My first guest.

I promised you a surprise to keep you entertained while I'm away so here it is: my first ever guest and it's none other than the lovely Marion Lennox, who just won her 2nd RITA in the Best Traditional category with Princess of Convenience. (Isn't Mitzi a cutie?!)

When were you first published?

1990 with Dare to Love Again

How many books have you had published?


What type of romance do you write?

Tender Romances and Medical Romances. I really enjoy Royal Fantasy Romances - the age old Cinderella story, and royalty without the paparazzi.

Awards, recognition, bestsellers?

Nine times nominated for Rita, awarded Rita in 2004 & 2006, 13 times finalist for Rby, awarded Rby in 2004. finalist for RNA (UK) finalist for Holt,
2006 Cataromance award for Best Medical Romance for 2005

Define romance for you.

A man and a woman and a happy beginning. My fantasy lover and my best friend rolled into one gorgeous hunk of masculinity!

What do you love about Melbourne?

You're kidding right? Um....I love Melbourne because it contains my friends. I love the new Southern Cross station cos it lets me come visit my friends more easily and then it facilitates my trip home. To Ballarat. Which I do love. I'm not a big city girl. You just have to read my books to know that.

The most romantic thing about Melbourne for you?

Close to Melbourne is Ballarat. :-) Sovereign Hill is a retained and restored slice of the gold diggings dating from 1850.
You can stay in their suites at Sovereign Hill Lodge and it's fabulous. Snuggle down on a freezing winter night, wake up to the sound of troops drilling, horses hauling loads through town, diggers going about their business as they did a
hundred and fifty years ago - then take a hot shower or a spa before
going out to investigate :-)

I could've asked Marion a thousand other questions but she was getting ready to leave for the RWAus conference (I'm almost packed too!)
On Monday, I had the pleasure of being there when Stephanie Laurens presented the gleaming RITA to Marion, a truly fabulous moment.
Congratulations once again, Marion. Keep those gorgeous award-winning books coming!

(Late mail just in! My editor says the revisions to The Creative Touch look great so it's all systems go for my second ModX. Will know the title when I get back. You'll all have to hang on till then like I will!!)

Tyler's match

Every great hero needs an equally great heroine and with that in mind, here's Ty's match.

Meet Kate Hayden, a 27 y.o. a senior editor working for Femme magazine in LA. She's an Aussie gal who left Sydney as a naive 20 y.o., fleeing her past. However, by the time this book winds towards the end, I have a feeling she'll be returning to Aussie shores...
(In case you don't recognise them, Ty is none other than Wentworth Miller, he of the killer blue eyes, and Kate is Catherine Zeta Jones.)

I finished another chapter of MALE FOR SALE last night.
Boy, is it interesting re-reading what I wrote 4 years ago. Some of its good, some is like 'ouch, that's painful!'
Of course, I'm obliterating the painful stuff, keeping the good and hopefully adding some more good. Re-writing is slow going but it's fun.

I'm off to the 'SOME LIKE IT HOT' Romance Writers of Australia conference early tomorrow morning, so won't be back here for a few weeks.
But never fear, I'm going to leave you with an interesting surprise before I go.
You'll just have to check back tomorrow to see what it is...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Limbo land

As you all know from my somewhat manic word count and previous posts, I like to always know what I'm working on next and usually take a short break before diving on into the next plot.

Well, I'm currently in this weird limbo land where I know I should take a break, I need to take a break but I can't seem to stay away from the keyboard.
Last night, I intended to fiddle around with research stuff, finish my hubbie's monthly accounts and have an early night.
What actually happened? I started tinkering with the next ModX! Actually, I'm very happy as I think I've finally nailed the hero's motivation in this one. It has taken me ages and several tries so it's a huge relief. Now when I get back from the conference, I can get stuck into it (this one has a Dec 1st deadline.)

It's an old story, the 4th book I ever wrote and originally targetted at the old Temptation line. I then tried to make it fit into a Romance but the tone didn't sit well with me so it's back where it belongs, in Modern Extra. There's still a fair bit of work to be done, as I've made Tyler James and Kate Hayden a married couple who split 6 years earlier rather than just having a fling, so it ups the ante a lot.
Loads of rewriting and slashing to be done but the bare bones are there, so should be easier than starting from scratch? (Note I said should!)

So who's the inspiration behind ex Navy SEAL Tyler James?
Check him out!

Monday, August 07, 2006

With compliments

Caught up with some friends for brunch yesterday.
I love the weekend brunch thing. It's casual, fun and yummy, plus you kill two meals with one stone (and hopefully save putting on a stone or two in the long run?)

Both Lisa and Jen (yeah, I'm naming names, girls!) had never read a Mills and Boon book in their life before I started writing for them and it's so great that they now read them. Even better was the lovely compliment I was paid when Lisa said "I was up till 1am reading WIFE AND MOTHER WANTED, I just had to read it all in one go."

As an author, that is so lovely to hear, that the reader is so absorbed in the story that they want to keep turning pages till the end of the book.

Speaking of page turners, I devoured THE DEALBREAKER almost in one sitting myself over the weekend. I adore Harlan Coben's work and this was his first Myron Bolitar book re-released. (I think Myron has featured in 8 of his novels to date.) I love his snappy voice and the way he keeps you enthralled in the suspense right to the very end. What a great author!
I've got 4 of his books on my keeper shelf currently and planning on getting the lot.
If you like suspense with an edge, go grab yourself a copy. You won't regret it.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Holding out for a hero.

Last night was one of the first in a long, long time where I didn't turn on the computer. Instead, I flipped through old magazines chopping out potential heroines and heroes, settings and interiors. I love doing that sort of stuff but don't usually have the time.
Mind you, my collection is growing but I haven't yet made a collage (the brilliant Barbara Hannay is doing a workshop on collages at next week's RWAust. conference and I know for a fact several other authors including Jennifer Crusie and Susan Wiggs use them too.)
Seeing all those gorgeous, colourful pictures was inspiring and once I get back from the conference, I might have a go at one.

As for heroes, my next Romance has been given the go-ahead by my editor on Friday so I really needed an appropriate hero for this one. It's my first sheikh! And I'm travelling to Dubai to do some first-hand research (or as my lovely editor put it, I'm off on a sheikh hunt!!) so I wanted a strong, powerful man to encapsulate everything I see for Sam (short for Samman.)

Flicking through my hero folder, I found him straight away. He had the look down-pat and I'm thrilled to introduce him (Sam is none other than Rodrigo Santaro and he'll be featured in a Pink Heart Society blog soon too!)

Isn't he amazing?

Friday, August 04, 2006

The grand finale

Last night's final episode of 24 was absolutely brilliant and this series has been by far the best.
I'm an action girl who loves this type of conspiracy show and even if you aren't into it, I recommend you take a look at this series.

As a writer, it fascinated me to look at how the writers for the show layered the conflict, adding plot twists when you least expected and generally upped the emotional tension in a big way. Previous shows have had some emotional stuff in there but this one far exceeded those, which is why I think it worked so well and appealed so much more to me.
I constantly strive to get the emotional tension in my books just right and for the most part, it's hard work.
Looks like the writers of 24 did it with ease!

Now to a finale of a different kind...I finished the read-through of The Creative Touch last night and sent it back to my editor. Overall, I was happy with the changes I'd made. When I was neck-deep in them, it seemed hard to guage whether I was doing it right or not but thankfully, I like the outcome. Let's hope my ed does too!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

4 stars!

I'm a person who doesn't get too wrapped up in reviews.
Many established authors follow the same philosophy, that a review is only one person's subjective opinion and doesn't correlate with sales usually.

In the romance world, most of us like to hear what Romantic Times have rated our book (or not, as the case may be!) With RT, 4 and half stars is a 'top pick' and I'd like one of those one day please...

However, I'm thrilled with my first 4 star review from them, more for the lovely comments than that one little extra star itself (I usually rate a 3.)

A chance meeting with wealthy businessman Darcy Howard could be just the thing to make life coach Fleur Adams' own business take off. But once Darcy hires her, Fleur discovers that motivating his staff will be impossible -- unless she can persuade him to mend his workaholic ways. Surprisingly, Darcy's open to the idea, and as their relationship develops, Fleur has to keep reminding herself that it's strictly business. Darcy has other plans, but Fleur's not interested in settling down. Nicola Marsh's Contract to Marry (4) has a well-developed conflict and plenty of snappy dialogue. More than that, Darcy and Fleur are handled beautifully.

I love my dialogue so to hear it called snappy is a huge compliment to me. And I like hearing I'm handling my characters beautifully too.

A great boost, especially considering the revisions have me plagued with doubts as usual. "Will this book be any good? Have the revisions improved it? Will my ed like it?"

The highs and lows of being an author. Gotta love it!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A load off.

The revisions are done!

Phew! After the earlier slashing and rearranging, the last few chapters didn't need too much done at all, just a bit of rewriting here and there due to earlier changes.

The tough part is finished, now comes the final read-through to see everything makes sense and I haven't changed timelines (which are crucial in this book courtesy of Nate's infamous "2 week rule"-to find out more, you'll have to read the book!!), altered too much or too little and left in any residual stuff from the two secondary characters who have fallen by the wayside. (I love my secondary characters a bit too much so some of them had to go!)

The final two episodes of 24 screen the next two nights, so I'm going to try and get this read by Friday. Then, it's relaxation here I come in the fabulous Queensland sun!