Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pleasure in Germany

My sexy Navy SEAL is out now in Germany!
PURCHASED FOR PLEASURE is available online here.
Hot cover, huh?
I love receiving translations of my books in the mail (apparently Princess Australia is out in Manga too, so I'm dying to see that!) and checking out the covers is half the fun.
I've been lucky with PURCHASED FOR PLEASURE. Every cover depicting Ty has been super hot!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Going Dutch

My 'HOT NIGHTS WITH A PLAYBOY' (Modern Heat, June 08) is out now in Holland.

Or you can buy it online here.

(I still think this is one of my hottest covers ever!)

And apologies about my website.
With the new PC, the web program I use is refusing to cooperate so my updates for June won't load.
I'm working on it, hoping to resume normal broadcasting shortly :)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

THE WRITE WHISPER: By hook or by crook

At some stage in the not too distant future, I'm going to do a post about hook themes in category romance.
Today, I'm talking about hooks of a different nature: how to hook your reader and keep them turning the pages. Or not as the case may be in my following example.
I'm a huge fan of the Keifer Sutherland show '24'.
Have watched every series religiously.
And while I don't find Keifer remotely sexy, there's just something about his sheer dogged alpha-ness (with loads of underlying vulnerability) that makes him more attractive with each series.
In the current series, there has been the usual non stop spills and thrills, with every episode ending on a fabulous hook.
It's what I try to do at the end of each chapter: give the reader a reason, a darn good one if you can, to keep turning the pages in the desperate need to discover what happens next.
The writers of 24 are good at doing this and I'm usually left sitting on the edge of my seat at the end of an episode, waiting for the next.
Then we arrive at this week's episode.
Jack, the hero, has been infected with a bioweapon that has no cure, he will die.
Tony, a lifelong friend and co worker for many of the early series, was a baddie at the start of this series, then we discovered he was working undercover with secret organisation of goodies to capture baddies.
We are so entrenched in this belief, as the writers have done a stellar job in showing us through his actions how good he is.
We're hooked on his character, hooked on his motivations.
Which makes the abrupt about-face of this character so unbelievable.
At the end of last night's episode, Tony has stolen a bio weapon canister, tried to blow up and kill loads of FBI agents (after killing with his bare hands one of the main FBI characters the week before) and is standing over Jack, watching him die by depriving him of a treatment.
All this time, because of what the show's writers achieved in entrenching Tony's goodness into me, I keep expecting him to be doing all this to try and get the ultimate baddies.
But having him watch his close friend potentially die isn't a good hook.
If I wasn't such a fan of the show, it would've lost me, because Tony's abrupt change has me questioning the believability of everything he has done in the show.
His motivations are now questionable.
I have doubts, big doubts, as to plausibility.
And the writers have thus lost me.
In our writing, we can't afford to do this.
I guess it all stems back to my initial post in this series about motivation, and making your characters motivation real and believable.
So keeping your readers turning the pages is great.
But in your efforts to use brilliant hooks, be careful not to lose readers along the way.
For we may want to know what happens next, but only if we care enough about the characters and believe in them.

Friday, June 05, 2009


The Harlequin Mills and Boon Romance covers are getting a revamp in the UK, starting August.

And 4 books per month are being released as 2-in-1s.

My 'A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON' is out in September and here's the brand spanking new cover.

I have my opinion but I'd love to hear yours (then I'll share!)

So come on, 'fess up. What do you think? Honestly?

Monday, June 01, 2009

THE WRITE WHISPER: The Colour of Money

Have you ever asked anyone you've just met 'how much do you earn?'

No? Well, I haven't either but you'd be surprised how many people feel it's okay to ask an author how much he/she earns. Crazy, huh?

In society, it's impolite to discuss wages. We just don't do it.

But I'm here to give you a bit of an idea about author wages, for I believe it's a burning question for unpublished writers and newly published trying to work out whether they should give up their day job to pursue their art.

In a nutshell, asking how much an author earns is like asking how long is a piece of string.

The variables are many: author (Joe Bloggs might write 2 books a year, Nic Nac might write 4), publishers, advances, available slots, extra opportunities (eg. anthologies, novellas, short stories), reserves, returns, exchange rates (Joe might get paid in US dollars, Nic in UK), distribution, print runs, countries published, translations...

Getting the general idea?

It's impossible to compare all these variables between any two authors.

So here's my brief rundown of an author who started writing for Harlequin Romance.

You get paid an advance (Brenda Hiatt does a feature on 'Show me the Money' where the average advance for different publishers/series is outlined.)

An advance is exactly that: an advance on money the publisher needs to earn back before you get paid royalties.
So if your advance is $4000 for Book A, you need to sell X number of copies before you start earning money on that book.
Your advance may be paid in increments: on signing the contract, on acceptance, on publication.

Once your advance is earned back and Book A continues to sell, you start earning royalties.

In my first year (2004) I had 3 books on the shelf. The first one in March, the next August, the next Oct.

I didn't see any royalties for the first period (Jan-June 04) and that's normal.
Your publisher will wait to see the number of returns on a book, will hold money in reserve, money you will get in your next royalty statement.

With Harlequin and the extensive translation and distribution into overseas markets, you can receive royalties on books years later. I'm still receiving royalties on my first book, 5 years later.
But remember, every author is different and you can't bank on royalties (no pun intended!)
Royalties are nebulous, can be fabulous, can be downright depressing and being paid twice a year, you need to budget. Well.

So back to the eternal question...should I give up my day job?

Speaking from experience, it took a few years and continually producing 2-3-4 books a year for a steady, regular income to kick in.
I need to work.
I need to pay bills and school fees and mortgage.

Other writers may have the luxury of only needing a part time income, in which case you can give up your day job sooner.
You may have one of those billionaire playboys I write about helping to support your household, in which case, ditto.

Know your budget.
Know your earning potential (eg. how many books a year can you produce realistically, building in holiday/sick/family time?)
Know how much you need to earn to maintain the lifestyle to which you're accustomed.

Then go for it!

I hope this has helped a little.
Feel free to fire off long as it's not 'how much money do you make?' ;)