Monday, January 28, 2008

COVER TO COVER: Out with the old, in with the new

I could title this post Revisions: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, for it's a follow-on to my last revision post.
Which was all good.
This one will be brutally honest.

Remember how I said revisions tighten the story, make it so much better, make the book really sparkle and shine?
Well, all that still stands. But what if the revisions seem so huge you have nowhere to go? What if the story you wrote needs a total revamp and not just the occasional tweak here and there?

With my Modern Heat TOYING WITH THE BILLIONAIRE BOSS I revised all of last week, the revisions were clear. I could see exactly what needed to be done. Here's a brief summary:

The plot device bringing Beth and Aidan into contact wasn't wholly believable. She's standing in for a her cousin as curator at Melbourne Museum. This had to be tweaked. Easy.

Aidan had to struggle more with getting involved with an employee. Done.

Beth needed to tone down her personality. She was coming across as a bit too confident, too flirty. Done.

Plus, as what usually happens, once a few changes are made here and there, I ended up layering in a few more lovely dialogue exchanges, ramping up the sexual tension in one scene in particular.

So that was Beth and Aidan done and dusted.

Now, onto COURTING CUPID, my Harlequin Romance.
These revisions aren't so easy.
My lovely new ed adores the hero Blane. He's delish.
But the heroine Camryn is another matter entirely!

She's cynical. I deliberately wrote her like that. But in trying to create a character so opposite to the hero, I've gone too far. I've made the reader wonder why Blane persists with someone like her. Ouch!

In order to make this story work, it will require some major changes.
Camryn's personality stems from her conflict...which also requires major changes.

So I sat down and posed the 'What if' question.
What if Camryn does A instead of B?
What if Camryn had A happen to her in the past instead of B?

The first scenarios I came up with were close to my original plot...and my ed said they still weren't working. She posed loads of questions of her own which made me realise the plot as I had it wouldn't work.
Or more specifically, the heroine as I had her wouldn't work.

So back to the drawing board.
This time, when I posed the 'what if' questions, I let my imagination really take flight.
And came up with a scenario I wouldn't have contemplated first time around. This plot wouldn't have entered my head but I really didn't want to ditch Blane the way he is so thought around 'what would make this heroine take a chance on a guy like this?'

Now, it's a totally new plot. Blane will remain unchanged. Many of the scenes will stay.
But boy, will they have a major overhaul.
Because now, Camryn has a whole new conflict. She will be softer. More vulnerable. More likeable.
Which will make the story fly. Hopefully :)

I guess the moral of this story is never get too attached to your plot or characters.
If they aren't working, and you want to make your story the best it can be, you may need to do some major slashing.
I'm about to.
Let's hope it works. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New discoveries

Now, this is exactly why I asked that question in the last post and thankfully, Caitlyn posted a response about her favourite new crush.
The guy's name is Sakis Rouvas. I've never heard of him. So I had to do a very quick google image search and whoa...go check it out for yourself!!!
This one's definitely going in my hero folder for future inspiration.

And speaking of heroes...I'm hearing about Richard Armitage all over the place. Everywhere I turn, someone's talking about him.
I'll be honest. My fellow PHS ed Natasha Oakley has raved about this guy many times but I've either been too busy or too tired (bub, you hear that? You should be sleeping through by now!!) or too absorbed in my latest WIP to take much notice.
So with all this talk of crushes, while I was googling Savis, I plugged in Richard.
And I admit it.
He has 'something'. The word enigmatic springs to mind. I'm intrigued enough to want to know more. I've heard rave reviews about North and South so must get my hands on it.
I'm hooked.
I want to be a new recruit.
Where do I sign up for the Armitage Army?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

On my first bestseller list!

Here's the thing.

I was doing revisions last night. Had made it to page 56 with eyes drooping, my bed calling out to me (alternating with bub calling out to me!) when I hear that EXECUTIVE MOTHER-TO-BE is on the Top 10 Bestsellers list for ebooks over at eharlequin.

No way! Scooted over, checked it out and there I was.
Did a little happy dance right on into the nursery before falling into bed.

So thanks to all of you who couldn't wait till this book hits the shelves to snap it up ;)

This list changes every day and I know I'll probably be gone by tomorrow but hey, I'm making the most if it today :)

As for the revisions, they're coming along nicely. Will blog further about them during the week.
For now, off to organise a feast for some friends coming over for brunch.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Reviewers' Choice Award!

Woke to lovely news that one of my Modern Extra releases last year has won a CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award!
TWO-WEEK MISTRESS was so much fun to write.
Bo Bradford was the reclusive children's author, Tahnee Lewis was the breezy heroine, and Wally the Wombat featured on his blog...loads of fun!
Rather timely, as Kristen Lewis, the last of the Lewis sisters, has her own story coming up in EXECUTIVE MOTHER-TO-BE, my Harlequin Romance out in Feb.
So thanks to all the reviewers at CataRomance :)
For a full list of winners, check here.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Margaret wants to know:
Collage, interview with characters. I'd be interested to hear how much preparation you do, Nicola, before you start to write? Do you plot your story out in detail or write into the mist? I know you write very quickly so I guess you must have some idea of how it's going to pan out.

I used to be a confirmed plotter.
Yes, I had an idea of key scenes (though not the whole book.)
Yes, I'd jot down one or two lines per chapter (though this tended to happen more when I got a bit stuck in the 'sagging middle')
And yes, I'd start with a 2 page proposal (with pics of hero and heroine) having some idea where the book was heading.
Then after a mid-07 chat with my last ed, I've changed how I work.
My books were plot driven.
She suggested I go with character, hence the change in my preparation. For my last 2 books, I started with character: did the interviews, knew them inside out before starting.
So how did that work out? Well, I'm waiting to hear back from new ed on both those books so I'll let you know ;)
The collaging is fun and gives me a 'mood' for the book, so I've done a collage for my last 4 books.
The character preparation is way more time consuming than anything I used to do (I spent hours last night, on top of previous hours!) but I now feel confident to tackle THE DATING DILEMMA, knowing Bryce and Eve are going to leap off the page.
I hope!
So do I plot in detail? No.
But rest assured, once I start this one and the thrill of the first few chapters has faded, I'll be jotting down that brief chapter by chapter outline, whether I stick to it or not. :)
So how do you do it? Are you a plotter or a pantser or a little of both?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cover girl

In all the excitement of the New Year, I completely forgot to blog about this.

Late last year, I was interviewed by Harry MacLure, chief editor for AITW, an international magazine for Anglo Indians. When he said I'd be on the front cover of the Christmas issue, as well as being the feature article, I was delighted!
I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive but last night, I had an email from a lovely lady in Montreal. She said she used to read Mills and Boon romance in the 60s when she was a teenager and after reading my interview, she was going to start reading them again and catch up on the romance that got sidelined in her busy life.
Isn't that fabulous?

The magazine is distributed to thousands of people world-wide and it's jam-packed with great articles. If you're interested, check out details here.

I'm off to enjoy my fifteen seconds of fame :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Bonjour! Und auf Wiedersehen

INHERITED: BABY is out in both France and Germany this month.
This was my Melbourne Cup book, with horse-strapper Maya Edison doing it tough as a single mum when along comes the dashing Riley Bourke to lend a helping hand.
I can translate the French cover pretty easily: A Baby for Riley.
I'm not even going to try the German one!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Check this out!

Oooooh....check this out!

Cover flats arrived in the mail yesterday and they're gorgeous.

I've cropped this, but the back cover has more of that lovely deep red embossed with black roses all over it, very striking.

Modern Love only goes direct in the USA but if you'd like your very own cover flat, I'll be giving them away as extras in the Valentine's competition in Feb so stay tuned!

Want to read the book and can't wait till PURCHASED FOR PLEASURE hits the shelves?

Pick up your copy this very minute online!

Now, don't mind me. I'm off to drool a bit more (before coming back down to earth and feeding bub mashed banana with multi-grain cereal!)