Saturday, August 29, 2009

When ignorance is bliss

Bad reviews.

We've all read them for other books and cringed.
We've all had them as authors and just ignored them.

Many prolific, fabulous authors have advised me their books that tanked in reviews usually topped sales, some even winning RITAs!

But bad reviews still suck.
Especially when you think it's the best book you've ever written and the book has received rave reviews from everyone else who's read it.

Interesting how one person's POV can be so different from everyone else.

I look for the positive, in everything.
So here's the snippet I'm going to use from a prolific site's review:
"I was interested in some of the sites Tamara and Ethan visited in India, and the descriptions of Indian food made my mouth water. The Palace on Wheels, the luxury train they took through India, fascinated me."

So how do you cope with bad reviews?
Ignore them? Chocolate? Alcohol? Print and tear? Please share :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another Top 10 book!

The last fortnight, A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON made it into eharlequin's list of Top 10 Road Trip books.
This week, TWO WEEKS IN THE MAGNATE'S BED is in the Top 10 Reasons to Believe in Love list. Awww....

Both books are available online now and hitting US shelves shortly!

Last night, I hit the wall.

Apparently, I can't do 5.30am starts and 11pm finishes with running around all day. I felt blah, so went to bed at 9pm.

Need a new working plan...

Friday, August 07, 2009

New look

Author copies of this arrived in the mail yesterday.

It's my first up close and personal look at the new UK M&B covers.

I like the 'mainstream' feel to the books and I like this cover.
But nowhere does the cover give a real 'feel' for the book.

By my constant raves, you all know what A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON is about. Exotic, mystical India. And yes, the Taj Mahal features in several scenes so seeing it on the cover is like a little preview snapshot.

So while this UK pic is lovely, do you think it gives the reader choosing from many books on a shelf in a limited period of time a quick glimpse into the book?

I'm looking forward to hearing reader feedback.
And hope sales show a positive response too!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

THE WRITE WHISPER: Sample synopsis

I haven't written a category romance synopsis for a while, so dug around in my archives and voila!

Here's the synopsis I wrote for PURCHASED FOR PLEASURE, my 3rd Modern Heat novel (released as a Harlequin Presents Extra Feb 08)

An interesting exercise for me to read back over it.
The book stuck to most of my outline but veered in different directions on several points.

Those of you who've read the book will find this particularly interesting!

Kate Hayden, 30, is the feisty senior editor for the thinking woman’s magazine, Bella, based in Los Angeles. She has worked her way up at the magazine, eager to prove that she can make a life for herself, without the help of family money. Her first story, “Military Men”, introduced her to Tyler Jones, a cocky Navy SEAL with attitude. After several enthralling encounters, Kate obtained her story and walked away from the sexy SEAL, berating herself for falling in love with a guy who obviously played the field.

Ten years later, Tyler Jones, 35, re-enters her life. At a charity Man Auction the magazine is sponsoring, Kate sees Tyler standing on the stage and is goaded into bidding by her colleagues, suddenly eager to dispel her stodgy and work-focussed image. What harm could it do, when she wouldn’t be the highest bidder? Unfortunately, she is the one and only bidder. As the gavel falls, she has acquired a male slave for one week and he happens to be the last man on earth she would want to spend time with.

At the conclusion of the auction Kate is handcuffed to Tyler, who later teases her into removing the key from his pocket. She refuses, denying their previous attraction and he reawakens her memory with a scorching kiss. This sets the tone for a dynamic week together.

Tyler has donated one week of his annual leave to raise money for his favourite cause. The Ramirez Orphanage, his home during childhood, is low on funds and may close. He is desperate to raise the orphanage’s profile and this is his main motivation for being sold as a slave. When Kate buys him, he recognises the potential for publicity and wants her to write a series of articles for Bella to highlight the orphanage’s plight and hopefully raise more money.

Kate soon discovers that acquiring Tyler as a slave is set to rock her world all over again. Sparks fly whenever they are within two feet of each other, soon leading to fiery combustion, with Tyler reneging on the deal. However, Kate swallows her pride and convinces him otherwise, as she needs him to secure a promotion. Her boss, set to retire in a month, believes that ‘purchasing’ Tyler was a stroke of genius on her part and the ensuing publicity has been a windfall for the magazine. He wants to capitalise on it in a feature on his senior editor with the SEAL. In return, she will become Bella’s chief editor, a position she has long coveted.

Kate is unaware that Tyler is an orphan and falsely believes his interest in the orphanage revolves around Maria Ramone, the beautiful woman who runs it. Tyler grew up with Maria in the orphanage and sees her as a sister. He is guilt-ridden at not following through on his childhood promise to get her out of the orphanage. If he can raise the profile of the orphanage, Maria may have a chance to leave it behind and make a life for herself, just as he has done.
Kate is jealous and advises him that the orphanage story would be unsuitable for the magazine. However, with the promise of the ultimate promotion, Kate needs Tyler to participate in her feature article, so she runs the articles on the orphanage in exchange for his co-operation, a win-win situation for both. However, she omits to tell him the real reason behind her feature article and ultimately, threatens their future happiness.

Kate and Tyler complicate this simple arrangement with an irresistible sexual attraction that soon develops into a sizzling physical relationship. She revels in their encounters, convincing herself that it’s one week of impulsive pleasure out of her organised, well-planned life. After all, she knows Tyler is a man with similar expectations: independent, living for the moment, able to walk away at the end.

Tyler believes the rich princess from Beverley Hills is slumming it for a while with the orphan from downtown L.A. No harm done, when the mind-blowing sex is everything he imagined... and more.

Neither are prepared for their emerging feelings, the yearning for love and stability which was not present in their respective childhoods.

At the thought of losing Tyler, Kate is prepared to take a chance. However, before she can profess her love for him, he discovers the truth about her promotion and the price he paid to secure it. He feels used, betrayed and abandoned, just like his childhood. The woman he has taken a chance on and grown to love has deceived him. Rather than discussing his possible re-assignment to Puerto Rico with her, he flings it in her face, wanting to hurt her as much as she has hurt him. Kate is convinced that the SEAL she loves will never change and is devastated in the process.

In a hurry to leave the orphanage, where their final confrontation has occurred, she bumps into Maria, who sets the record straight. Kate knows her only chance to convince Tyler of her love is to prove that her job and lifestyle are not the most important things in her life. She arrives on his doorstep with her suitcase, ready to follow him to the ends of the earth if needed.
Tyler is convinced that Kate is the woman for him. He professes his love and their relationship is secured. Though the handcuffs are removed in their initial encounter, they are now bound by the welcoming shackles of love...

Now, comparing the synopsis to the proposal I posted last weekend, you'll see the key differences.

I know which I prefer: the proposal is quick, to the point, an outline of the book at a glance.

There are loads of 'how to' articles on synopsis writing available.
Read a few.
Make notes.
Play around.
Find your niche.

And write the best darn synopsis you can so an editor is begging to see your book .:)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

More good news for my Tycoon

More good news for my favourite, A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON.

Not only did Romantic Times award it 4 1/2 stars, Romance Reader at Heart awarded it a Top Pick!

Here's what Kay James had to say:

Nicola Marsh has another wonderful escapist adventure in A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON. It reads like a breeze and is the ideal romantic tale for any armchair traveler...While I have never read a book by Nicola Marsh that I didn't enjoy, I have to admit that I enjoyed this one more than the others. Why? Because experiencing India on the "Palace on Wheels" with Tamara and Ethan was so vivid and enchanting, I felt as if I was actually along for the ride.
India's sights, sounds, aromas, and foods all come alive on the pages, making this romance an absolute delight. Well done!

And my Tycoon is in Harlequin's Top 10 Road Trip books!

Also, to round off a day of good news, the new UK cover featured in an article for the UK's 'Campaign' here.

I think I'm seriously in love with this book :)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

August already?

Tell me how we're in AUGUST already?
Seems like I just blinked after Christmas and here we are.

August promises to be an exciting month!

I can't wait for my online read, ONE INDIAN SUMMER, to launch at eharlequin on August 24th. I may not be attending the RWAus conference in Brisbane this year (have had loads of people ask me!) but I'll be online daily, chatting with everyone.

And if you can't wait for the release of A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON and TWO WEEKS IN THE MAGNATE'S BED, both are available right now online. Click on the titles, you'll go straight to the respective pages. Both have 'special offer' tags, the price is a steal!

In Spain, I have the release of THE BILLIONAIRE'S BABY.

Before I dash off for the day, a quick adjunct to my weekend post on proposals.

Usually, publishers/agents/editors want to see a synopsis, which encompasses all the details of a proposal but in a free-flowing format.

I wouldn't call what I posted a synopsis. I'll try and scrounge up one of mine and post it here so you can see the difference.

Yes, published authors can get away with stuff like the proposal I use. In fact, I'd love to hear what other authors use to sway their editors to let them write the book they really, really want to write! :)

Saturday, August 01, 2009


In the comments to my last post, Lacey asked a pertinent question: how long are my synopses/proposals?

So to give you an idea how I work, I'm posting the proposal for my recent release, THE BILLIONAIRE'S BABY (Harlequin Romance, May 09.)

HEROINE: Camryn Henderson fled her old life in a small country town to start afresh in Melbourne and is finally living the life she always dreamed of, as a city girl running her own café in Melbourne’s hippest new precinct. Thanks to the love of her life deserting her, she’s a cynic when it comes to romance and Valentine’s Day is the worst day of the year. However, this Valentine's Day promises to give her a shake up she never anticipated.

HERO: Blane Andrews is a wealthy CEO of his own construction company. It has taken him six years to get where he is today and now he’s successful, stable and has something to offer, he’s back in Melbourne…to claim his wife!
Camryn grew up in Rainbow Creek, a small country town. While working in her parents’ coffee shop straight after leaving high school, she dreams of leaving town to run her own café in Melbourne. She’s always craved the excitement of city life.

When the gorgeous Blane breezes into town on a building job, she’s smitten. For the sheltered 19 year old, her life has been sedate, mundane and she’s always done what was expected of her playing the dutiful daughter until the 21 year old nomad rocks into town, she falls for him and the two elope. However, the marriage doesn’t last long when Blane leaves town after 3 months and Cam revamps her life by quitting her job and purchasing a café in Melbourne, something she’s always dreamed of doing.

(Another reason why she leaves town and doesn’t look back: her grandmother died, left her money in a trust fund her parents said wouldn’t mature till she was 21, but she discovers they lied and she was entitled to the money at 18. When she learns she’s legally entitled to the money, she uses it to purchase her café and start a new life in the city.)

She adores Melbourne’s vibe and sets about making her café one of the hippest places to be, throwing herself into work, not caring about her lack of social life. She tries to locate Blane to serve divorce papers but soon tires after a year of not being able to find him.

Through her failed marriage she has become a cynic where romance is concerned and has a particular dislike of Valentine's Day in all its commercial kitsch.

This year, she has worked hard the entire day and is tired of seeing all the lovey-dovey couples, reminding her of what she once had all too briefly. All she wants to do is head home to her apartment and eat chocolate when in walks a builder, a scruffy handsome guy, who happens to be her husband!

Blane is a man on a mission: to win back his wife.

He fell head over heels for Camryn when they first met but believes he was selfish in marrying her (a fact reinforced to him by her parents. They thought she was too young and didn’t want her to leave town, he wanted to take her on the road with him wherever he got building work.) She adored him but he couldn’t help but think he took advantage of her age and naivety, and when she shared her dreams of settling in Melbourne and running her own café, he knew he had to let her go. He didn’t want her giving up her dreams for his.
Also, the more they got to know one another, he wondered if she really loved him or was he her escape route out of Rainbow Creek, a way to rebel against her parents? Sure, they had passion but was it the young, intense love that inevitably changes with time?

Now, Blane is CEO of his own construction company. He has a lot to offer and when he discovers Camryn has pursued her own dream, he knows it’s time to set about winning her back.

When Camryn meets Blane again, she’s thrown by how he’s still the same guy she fell in love with yet so different. He’s mature, responsible and settled, and is relentless in his goal: to reunite.

Camryn doesn’t want to take a risk on Blane again. What if she opens her heart to this wonderful, amazing man second time around and he leaves her again?

Blane wants to woo his wife, to show her how good they could be together given half a chance. He proves he’s committed to their reunion by showing her the house he’s building for them. He has dreams of them being a couple, a family, with kids in their future.

Camryn has had problems with pelvic inflammatory disease over the last few years and is unsure whether she can conceive or not. The docs advised her it would be difficult.

They discuss the ramifications of this, of what it could mean for their future and Blane says it doesn’t matter she’s all the family he needs. But Camryn sees how he is with his nieces and nephews, she sees how much he loves kids and she returns the favour he gave her all those years earlier (he has told her why he left): she will set him free to follow his dream, of kids and a family with someone who can give him that.


Camryn’s greatest fear? Taking a risk on love again.

She loved Blane and he left her. She’s happy in her life now: confident, career-focussed, successful. If losing him the first time left her heartbroken, she’s too scared to contemplate what losing him this time will do to her. He’s so much more charming, addictive and compelling now. He has been honest in why he left first time around and seems genuine now but can she trust him not to leave again? Especially if she can’t give him the kids that are a part of his happily-ever-after scenario?

Blane’s greatest fear? Regret.

While Blane has ridden the pinnacle of success in his business, emotionally his life isn’t complete. While his motives for leaving Camryn six years earlier were genuine, he has regretted it since. When he discovers she has followed her dreams he sets about reuniting with Camryn. He wants a proper marriage. He wants the whole package. He comes from one, big happy family and that’s what he wants for them. When Camryn says she loves him, has never really stopped, he’s the happiest man on the planet. And when she tells him she may not be able to have kids, he’s ready to face that too.
But can he convince her to take another chance on him? He won’t live with regret again. He’s going to give this his best shot.

Camryn is cynical, career-focussed, content yet vulnerable…to Blane.
Blane is confident, laid-back, protective and romantic.

Camryn craves the fulfilment running her café once brought her…until Blane showed up and made her want more.
Blane craves a life with no regrets, a life he’s always dreamed of…with his wife.

Camryn is reluctant to take a chance on marriage again.
Blane wants his wife back.


New Quay, Docklands, Melbourne.

This is a snapshot of what I give my editor for every book: a basic outline of 3-4 pages, based on the heroine, the hero, the storyline, the conflict and the setting.

Every author has a unique way of presenting a proposal, and what I've posted here isn't necessarily 'the' way to do it, it's one way of doing it.

It works for me.
Do what works for you.