Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NINC Blast

I belong to Novelists Inc (Ninc), the only writers organization devoted exclusively to the needs of multi-published novelists.
Ninc members include authors of all genres of popular fiction.

Ninc has a new newsletter, NINC BLAST, which includes information about our authors' new and upcoming releases, as well as a "Did you know?" feature with tantalizing, little-known factoids about some of your favorite authors.
To subscribe to NINC BLAST, please go to our Website.
Then scroll down to the middle of the screen, where it says, "Let NINC BLAST you."
Simply click on the pale blue envelope, then follow the protocols.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Close-knit community

The writing community is close-knit.
Thanks to the Internet, a solitary writer can make friends from all over the world, friends you chat to daily, more often than friends you've had a lifetime.

Recently, the lovely Jessica Hart visited Melbourne on her way to the RWAus conference.
I 'know' Jessica, a fellow Harlequin Romance author, via the Net so when I heard she was coming, I couldn't wait to meet her.

We had a lovely brunch at Southbank: sadly my boys only lasted 90 minutes otherwise we could've happily chatted books all day.

It was really lovely to chat to a RITA winner and author of 55 books, and hear her thoughts on writing and books. Very inspiring.

(An interesting aside: I'm carrying an extra 14 kg at the moment, mainly due to lack of exercise: bone tumour in left foot last year, lymphodema in right leg this year. I weigh the same now as I did after giving birth to my last child a few years ago. I don't like it. And it's not until I see a photo of myself, like this one, that it hits home.
With my leg finally stabilising, I now vow to do something about this situation.
Watch this space because in 4 months, I want to post a much skinnier picture!)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weekend Book Club: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

I picked this book up because the cover grabbed my attention
(yes, despite my previous stance that I couldn't care less what was on a cover, I go for author name or recommendations.)

Then the title captured my attention too. It sounded so intriguing...light and fun yet that 'dark side' added a new dimension.

And scanning the blurb, I was hooked: a mathlete on the verge of turning 18 discovers she's betrothed to Romanian vampire royalty. Intriguing stuff!

Here's what Publishers Weekly had to say:

A romance involving a high school girl and a handsome vampire may sound a little too familiar, yet this first novel quickly bursts ahead of the pack of Twilight-wannabes. Down-to-earth mathlete Jessica Packwood is completely horrified when, a few months shy of her 18th birthday, a Romanian named Lucius Vladescu shows up on her doorstep, claiming that he and she are vampire royalty betrothed to each other since infancy—what's worse, her adoptive parents verify the betrothal story and explain that her birth parents identified themselves as vampires, too. Fantaskey makes this premise work by playing up its absurdities without laughing at them, endowing Jessica with a coolly ironic sensibility and Lucius with old-world snobberies that Jessica's girlfriends find irresistible. Jessica's laidback parents serve as foils for imperious Lucius (Can I ever again be happy in our soaring Gothic castle after walking the halls of Woodrow Wilson High School, a literal ode to linoleum? he asks sarcastically); a scene at a steakhouse where the vegan Packwoods meet the carnivorous Vladescus is first-rate comedy. The romance sizzles, the plot develops ingeniously and suspensefully, and the satire sings.

I absolutely loved this story.
The humour is fabulous, the characters intriguing, Beth Fantaskey's voice is fresh and extremely readable and Lucius...ah, Lucius is one seriously hot vampire!

It's not often I pick up a book knowing absolutely nothing about the story or the author. After this experience, I'll be doing it more often.

What are you reading this week?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mills & Boon goes modern

Mills and Boon have launched new covers across their series in the UK.

They're modern, snappy and eye catching.
Check them out here.

I never get tired of seeing my covers so couldn't wait for my first 'new' one.

Here it is!
WILD NIGHTS WITH HER WICKED BOSS is out in December in the UK.
What do you think?

Seeing as the book is set in Alaska, with a sexy scene in front of an open fire, the cover has got it right!

I just love the boldness of the new covers, the modern edge.

(If you're in the US, the covers will remain unchanged.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Post revision haze

I'm always a little braindead for a few days after finishing revisions so this is all I could manage for today.

Any complaints?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Over to you

I haven't done a book giveaway in a while so let's do it!
I have several writing craft posts in mind for the next instalments of THE WRITE WHISPER, but what do you want to hear?
Anything you'd like me to discuss?
Here's your chance!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weekend Book Club: Catching Fire

After devouring The Hunger Games last week, I sure was happy to have the sequel, CATCHING FIRE, on hand.

And yes, it was every bit as good as The Hunger Games.

Here's the blurb:

After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns to her district, hoping for a peaceful future. But Katniss starts to hear rumours of a deadly rebellion against the Capitol. A rebellion that she and Peeta have helped to create.

As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless Katniss and Peeta can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying...

Loved the deeper characterisation in this book, as we get to know Katniss and Peeta more.

And while I was shocked they had to enter the arena again for another round of games, I found those pages flying by till the surprising end. More please!

MOCKINGJAY, the 3rd and final book in this amazing trilogy, is released in 3 days.
Watch the stampede!

What are you reading this week?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Special needs kids

This is a great cause so why not grab a cookbook today?

Look out for my spicy scrambled eggs recipe! Best comfort/snack/brunch food ever!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cover models

Marriage: For Business or Pleasure? (THE ONE that hit the USA TODAY bestseller list) is out now in Germany.


Pretty spot on considering it's a second time round romance.
And I like how they've got the heroine's hair colour right (on the US cover, Britt had blonde hair when she's definitely a red head.)

But is it just me or does the model on this cover look about 12?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My first

My very first novel, The Tycoon's Dating Deal, has been re-released in France as part of a 'Reader's Choice' anthology.

Seems like forever-ago that I stumbled across an article on speed dating in a magazine at work and the idea for my first book was sparked.

Thankfully, those ideas are still coming.
And hoping they'll come for many years yet!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Flexing my revision muscle

Revisions landed on Saturday morning for the book I recently completed, Learning the Ropes (Harlequin Modern Heat.)

Charli and Luca have plenty of sizzle at the start of the book but when they get it together, some of that fades out, so revisions consist of:

-maintaining & building on the emotional & sensual tension between Charli and Luca.

-digging deeper into their conflicts.

-reworking Luca's conflict/back story to make it 100% relevant

-lose the pregnancy

-build on the rock star angle of the plot

There you have it.
No prizes for guessing what I'll be busy doing over the next week or so...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Weekend Book Club: The Hunger Games

I'm always wary of hyped books.
You know the type, where everyone raves to the point you wonder 'Can it really be that good?'
It's why it took me so long to read the Twilight series and with The Hunger Games, I finally gave in to see what all the fuss was about.

Now I know.

Here's the blurb:

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone fighting against you?

Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives. In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death - televised for all of Panem to see.

Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love. WINNING WILL MAKE YOU FAMOUS. LOSING MEANS CERTAIN DEATH.

Everything about this book is intriguing: the world they live in, the rules, the lifestyle, the developing relationships.

As for the Hunger Games...wow, brutal!

Peeta is a hero you instantly fall in love with though I have to admit, it takes me a while to warm up to Katniss, a long while.
She truly seems to be a product of her world: cool, controlled with a hard external shell.

A real page-turner, make sure you have Catching Fire, the sequel, on hand for when you finish The Hunger Games. I sure do!
And look out for Mockingjay, the 3rd in the series, out this month.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Weekend Book Club: Beautiful Malice

I don't read newspapers or listen to the news, so I missed the hoopla surrounding Rebecca James' sale of Beautiful Malice, a YA novel that sparked an auction frenzy worldwide in many countries.

Then I read the blurb in a recent Borders catalogue and was intrigued.

So. Were you glad, deep down? Were you glad to be rid of her? Your perfect sister? Were you secretly glad when she was killed?

Following a horrific tragedy that leaves her once-perfect family devastated, Katherine Patterson moves to a new city, starts at a new school, and begins a new life of quiet anonymity. But when Katherine meets the gregarious and beautiful Alice Parrie her plan to live a solitary life becomes difficult. Katherine is unable resist the flattering attention that Alice pays her and is so charmed by her contagious enthusiasm that the two girls soon become firm friends. But being friends with Alice is complicated and as Katherine gets to know her better she discovers that although Alice can be charming, she can also be selfish. Sometimes, even, Alice is cruel. And when Katherine starts to wonder if Alice is really the kind of person she wants as a friend, she discovers something else - Alice doesnt like being cast off . . .

I love the fact this is set in Australia, though the setting doesn't play a huge part.

The characters on the other hand...wow, I read this in two days, for the sheer fact I was mesmerised by the relationships in the book.

While Katherine is 17 so technically this is YA, her voice is much older. In fact, the whole book had an older, women's fiction feel to it.

I enjoyed it and Alice makes you wonder about how much you put up with from so called 'friends'...

What are you reading this week?

Friday, August 06, 2010

Words of wisdom

Writers all have times when the going gets tough.

Life intrudes.
The story won't flow.
The ideas are scarce.
The rejections keep flowing in.

This week, Rachelle Gardner had a fabulous post titled 'Good to Great' and it really resonated with me.

What really hit home:

Just because it's hard work, it doesn't mean you're not good. Sometimes it's hardest for those who are the best.

Commitment, dedication, persevering, and working harder in the face of stiff competition - these are the traits of a winner.

Feel like you're working really hard? Good. Don't stop. Have a big setback? Only you can choose whether it will be the end of your dream, or a motivator to press ahead with renewed strength.

Are you weary? Time to decide whether you're passionate enough to keep pursuing your dream.

"Success is measured not in how many times you fall down, but by how many times you get back up."

Go read the full post here.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Prizes you really want to win

Remember I mentioned a contest last week, run by agency sister Julie Cross?

Well, here are the fantastic prizes up for grabs:

Hannah Moskowitz's Break

Lisa Desrocher's Personal Demons (ARC)

A query or first five pages critique from Fine Print Lit's intern, Gemma Cooper

A query or first five pages critique from Janet Reid's assistant, Meredith Barnes

A query or first five pages critique from agent Suzie Townsend

A query or first five pages critique from editor Brendan Deneen.

Entries will be accepted until midnight (central time) Sunday night August 8th. Six winners will be chosen. First place will get their choice of prizes, then second place will choose, and so on.

Go enter!

Monday, August 02, 2010

New Voices writing competition

Ever wanted to write for Harlequin Mills and Boon?
Here's your chance, with a brand-spanking new competition, NEW VOICES.
How the competition will work…

The competition will have its very own website - www.romanceisnotdead.com where the entries will be posted and readers can leave their feedback.

The competition will be divided up into four stages and will run from Monday 6th September. The winner will be announced on Monday 1st November.

1. Stage 1: The Free for All;
- All submitted entries will be read and judged by the Mills & Boon judging panel

2. Stage 2: The Shortlist
- A shortlist of 8-10 authors will be announced, and their first chapters posted on the website.
- All shortlisted entrants will be assigned a Mills & Boon author and editor as a ‘mentor’ as they polish their second chapters and for their remaining time in the competition.
- The public will vote for their favourite!

3. Stage 3: The Shorter-list
- The shortlist will be chopped down to 4 – the next stage to share a ‘pivotal moment’ fromtheir book.
- The public will vote for their favourite!

4. Stage 4: Winner!
- Judged by a panel – names TBC!
- The winner is announced!!
So what are you waiting for?
Start polishing your entry now!