Friday, June 29, 2007

Next week's mystery guest

Okay, by taking one look at this stunning cover, it's no mystery as to who my guest is next week.

It's Margaret Mayo, a fabulously talented author who has written...wait for it...over 70 books for Mills and Boon over 30 years!!! How incredible is that?

I love hearing from readers, it's such a thrill, so imagine my smile when Margaret took the time to contact me a few weeks ago saying she'd read and enjoyed TWO-WEEK MISTRESS, my 2nd Modern Extra.

It's slightly scary writing a book and having it 'out there' for everyone to read, let alone fellow authors, hence the big smile :)

So to get the low-down on what it's like writing for Modern/Presents, what romance means, Margaret's favourite book and what she's currently working on, make sure to pop back early next week.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A fab book!

I adore reading.
And I read a lot. About 100 books a year, 80% of those mainstream fiction so I come across a lot of authors.
I love trying new authors so picked up an Adele Parks book a few years ago and have been well and truly hooked ever since.

Now, as soon as her latest hits the shelves I'm there, so picked up my copy of Young Wives' Tales from Borders a few weeks back and devoured it in 3 days this week.

Adele is one of those gifted authors that can bring her characters to life and make them leap off the page and into your life. You feel like you know her characters intimately and are super frustrated that you have to leave their lives when you finish the book.
This one is truly fabulous and her insights into motherhood are so spot on I guarantee they'll bring a tear to your eye.

This book is a sequel to Playing Away, though you don't need to read it to appreciate this one. Though to find out about Connie and John's affair before this book, go for it!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The collage version of 'plotter vs. pantser'

This is a great question posed by Rachael in the comments to my last post so let's chat about it:

I know others have blogged about this and written articles on the like, but how do you collage. Do you start with a general idea about characters and settings and go hunt for them or do you just pick up a mag and go hell for leather? Just wondering, as I'm hoping to finish my wip soon and I've got three ideas to choose from for the next one and I thought doing some collages may help me clarify, which idea I have the most to give to at the moment. Am I making sense??

You're making perfect sense, Rachael, and in fact, you really made me think about how I go through the whole process.
I'm a plotter, so before I start a book I usually have an idea and work from there. Once I have a vague vision of what type of people my hero and heroine will be like (eg. suave, rugged, conservative, sassy, whatever) I flip through my hero/heroine file or a magazine to find an image to go with my idea.
Similarly, I always know where my book will be set so search for pics to symbolise that place or to give an ambience.
That said, once I get the main pics for hero/heroine sorted, I let my imagination run wild and flick through a magazine, cutting out anything which might suit the story. This is a great way to get the creative juices flowing, as I usually incorporate these strange/quirky/unexpected pics into the story somehow and it leads me in all sorts of new directions.
In the collage above (for PICTURE PERFECT, my 4th Modern Extra) I had a very clear idea of setting so most of the pics show it. That said, I didn't use any 'quirky' pics in this one, and I found I didn't use the collage as much when writing.
With my desert prince collage, pics like the opal, glass tea set and feet washed have all been incorporated into the story as I found myself much more immersed in the collage and thus the story.
So hope this helps, Rachael. My advice to you would be try both methods (hunting for pics to suit the story VS. going hell for leather!) and see which works best for you.
And for more 'how-to' advice, check out my interview on collaging with Barbara Hannay here.
Have fun!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

So who's a yummy mummy?

Okay, so I'm a day behind.
Isn't that normal for frazzled mums?
I blogged about being a 'yummy mummy' over at the Pink Heart Society yesterday, a post I scrambled together this week one night after changing a nappy and before indulging in a bowl of delicious 'cookies'n'cream' icecream.
It really got me thinking...what makes a yummy mummy? (read my post to find out !)
Yesterday, I took my 2 boys out for lunch at a local cafe and as I sat there with the sounds of smooth jazz playing in the background, my 3 year old happily colouring and my new baby lying fast asleep in his pram, I was overcome by one of those intensely happy feelings which pop up at the oddest of moments.
Yes, I'm tired and run off my feet and never have a spare second to myself but having these two little boys makes me the luckiest woman in the world :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

A tale of two princes

So you've met Dante Andretti, the prince of Calida in my current release PRINCESS AUSTRALIA.

No, this isn't him. This is my other prince I'm currently revising, Prince Samman al Wali, desert prince and ruler of Adhara. More about him next week...(until then, try not to drool over yet another sexy pic of Rodrigo Santoro!)

My editor loves the setting in this one. Here's a tiny taste:

Bria’s breath caught at her first glimpse of the royal residence. Nothing could’ve prepared her for the splendour of white-washed domes and spires silhouetted against the golden desert sands stretching to the horizon where the sun, a fiery purple and magenta ball, dipped and slid slowly from view.

Monday, June 11, 2007

More Than Magic

I've just received news that INHERITED: BABY was placed 2nd for Best Traditional Romance 2007 in the 'More Than Magic' contest.
Place getters were:
1st Falling for Dallas by Carolynn Carey
2nd Inherited: Baby by Nicola Marsh
3rd Rescued by Mr. Right by Shirley Jump
I've had a lot of feedback about this book from readers and it's great to find the judges liked the book too!
To celebrate my three Harlequin Romance releases finalling in competitions, I'm giving away all three books in my June Newsletter contest.
This giveaway is exclusive to my newsletter subscribers so if you'd like a chance to win all 3 books (plus a few other goodies!) make sure you sign up for my newsletter by clicking here.
(The contest only runs for a fortnight so get your entry in now!!)

Friday, June 08, 2007

The trifecta!!!!!

Have woken this morning and stumbled to the computer bleary-eyed (can one baby really feed so much?) to discover some wonderful news.
I've finalled in the BOOKSELLERS' BEST AWARD 2007 in the Best Traditional category with WIFE AND MOTHER WANTED!
This is my 3rd contest final this year, with the 3 different releases I had in 2006. And considering I had so many doubts about those 'darker, more emotional' books last year, I couldn't be happier!
I finalled in this award last year too, and it went to the fabulous Lucy Gordon. This year, I'm up against Lucy again, along with Linda Goodnight and Holly Jacobs. It still comes as a huge shock to me to see my books up alongside big names. Is this real?
The Bookseller's Best is a particularly great award to final in, as the books are judges by the people who get our books onto shelves and who recommend our books to readers and I really am thrilled beyond belief to final.

Can't stop grinning :)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Meet the bad-boy prince

Meet Dante Andretti, the Prince of Calida in my current Harlequin Romance release PRINCESS AUSTRALIA.

The idea for this story sprung from one picture, that of a scruffy, unshaven Adrian Grenier (of Entourage fame). I hadn't heard of him nor watched the show but the minute I saw that picture I thought it screamed 'bad-boy'.

Now, bad boys are more suited to the Modern Extra romances I write but I really wanted to use this inspiration to write a Romance so what did I do? I thought of what would be the opposite of a bad-boy...and came up with an uptight prince bound by responsibilities!
Once the idea for my prince gelled, the rest of his profile followed.
Dante is a guy about to be crowned prince of his tiny country off the coast of Italy (my fictitious Calida) His bossy mother, the queen, is pushing for him to take a bride and solidify his position in the monarchy but Dante needs a break and travels to Melbourne, supposedly on business, but in reality wants to visit his sister Gina and 2 year old nephew Paolo.
Dante plans a week of blessed anonymity and to do this, he enlists the help of the concierge at Telford Towers, the hotel where he is staying. (More on the concierge and the Towers later this week!)
For me, Dante is ruffled, sexy and charismatic (and yes, definitely inspired by the pic above!) Romantic Times describes him as a 'dashing hero' and I have to agree :)

Sunday, June 03, 2007


I must be more sleep deprived than I realised.

As Mary kindly pointed out in the comments following my last post, she can't find PRINCESS AUSTRALIA on the shelves in the US yet. And she went to 2 bookstores!!

Of course, silly me forgot that following the merging of the Harlequin Romance and Silhouette Romance lines, the new Romance series only hit the shelves in the US mid-month! (Sorry Mary!)

So if you want to read about the concierge and the bad-boy prince, you'll have to wait till mid-June. Or you can always get it now at eharlequin or on Amazon.

I'll start posting tit-bits from this book over the next few weeks leading up to the release, just to whet your appetites... :)