Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weekend Book Club: Christmas Wish List

This week, for the first time all year, I didn't read at least one book.
(YA revisions have taken all my time.)

So this weekend, we're shaking it up a little and discussing books you have on your Christmas wish list.

If you're anything like me, this list could go on forever, but here are the books I really, really want to read over Christmas:

-Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
-Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
-Torment by Lauren Kate
-Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
-Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Over to you.

What books are on your Christmas wish-list?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wendy the Super Librarian

Wendy the Super Librarian has just reviewed my RIVA launch book, DESERTED ISLAND: DREAMY EX!

Wendy (from The Good, The Bad and The Unread fame) is new to the Harlequin Romance series and is suitably hooked.

I love the way she expresses honesty in her reviews without being snarky.

Here's a snippet of what she had to say about my book:

This is the type of story where you spend a good portion of the book wanting to shake some sense into the characters, but between the excellent confrontation scenes (so fabulous!) and the growth they experience to get to the happy ending? It makes those moments where you want to smack them worth it.

I also liked how contemporary this story felt. Kristi has a thing for shoes, so we have some label dropping here. But the characters also live in a fictional world that includes social networking (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) and reality television. I’m not sure how well this book will “hold up” ten years down the line, but for now? It was rather refreshing. Especially since we got to read blog posts and tweets from Jared and Kristi.

This was a nice story, with plenty of tension, and a hard-won happy ending. I have a feeling both of these characters are going to have to continue to work to keep their happy ending on the rails, but that’s as it should be. Whoever said relationships were easy has obviously never been in one. B+

You can read the full review here.
Thanks Wendy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


A friend sent me this email, some made me laugh out loud.

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.
The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavoured mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n), Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that,when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, orchanging one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners:

1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.
8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. ( that one got extra credit)
9. Karmageddon (n): Its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
10. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.
12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
15. Caterpallor (n.): The colour you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:16. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Magic Pills of Storytelling

Yet another gem of a post from Storyfix today, discussing the 6 Core Competencies of storytelling:

1- concept
2- character
3- theme
4- structure
5- scene execution
6- writing voice

Plus other interesting stuff!

Check it out.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekend Book Club: The Perfect Evil

This is the book that started it all for Alex Kava's Maggie O'Dell series.

All I can say is 'wow' for a first book!

I've read her books before and have always loved them and this one was no exception.

A serial killer eludes an FBI profiler and a smalltown Nebraska sheriff in Kava's engaging debut, which manages to remain entertaining despite a fairly conventional plot line. As the story opens, recently appointed Sheriff Nick Morelli is as relieved as the rest of the citizens of Platte City that his predecessor, who also happens to be his father, has captured the child killer who plagued the town. But after the killer is executed, another child is discovered dead, and Morelli realizes that the convicted man was in fact a copycat killer, leaving the original criminal still on the prowl. Morelli gets some much-needed help in the investigation from FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell, but the hunt gets complicated when Morelli's sister, a journalist, leaks info to the media. Things become even stickier when O'Dell unearths a couple of unlikely suspects who've been dismissed by the police, and the search takes on a new level of urgency when Morelli's nephew is abducted and appears to be the next victim. Kava keeps her prose simple, but she does a nice job of setting up the chemistry between O'Dell and Morelli while balancing the various family issues Morelli faces in the investigation. She also makes good use of the smalltown milieu, tightening the tension by establishing that the killer is part of the fabric of the community. The result is a well-crafted page-turner involving the reader in the specter of murder in an intimate and disturbing fashion, with a plausible setup for a sequel. (Publisher's Weekly)

Suitably creepy, the ending makes you want to rush out to read the sequel.

As for the sparks between Maggie and Nick...phew, the sexual tension between these two just burns up the pages!

I love a good thriller with a splash of romance and this book delivered in spades.

What are you reading this week?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Book 26 sold!

I'm thrilled to announce my retro book has sold!
Titled GIRL IN A VINTAGE DRESS in the UK, it'll be a M&B RIVA release in July 11.
These pics are just a few I used to 'get in the mood' for writing this book.
As soon as I have US title and release date, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

S.W.O.T. analysing your story

Another great post by the folks at StoryFix about using Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to evaluate your story.

The questions raised really help you think about the story you've written.

Check it out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nurturing writers

Yesterday, I was an invited guest at the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild 20th anniversary celebrations.

Had a ball catching up with people I hadn't seen in years, some people I 'knew' via Twitter & Facebook, Haylee Kerans from Harlequin office in Sydney, and author buddies like Fiona Lowe, Joan Kilby, Anne Gracie and Ebony McKenna.
(MRWG head honchos Elvina Payet & Serena Tatti, with moi)

I'm a past member of MRWG, the group that nurtured me when I first started writing in 2001. While there are many new faces, the old ones (and I mean that in the nicest possible way!) are still smiling and happy and giving.

Long live writing groups like this.

(Elvina Payet, YA author Ebony McKenna, moi, Emmie Dark, Harlequin Super-Rom author Joan Kilby)

(PS. Serena, if you're reading this, thanks for saying you can see I've lost 3kg!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weekend Book Club: Theodore Boone

Doing things a little differently today.

I'm not reviewing this book, though I did read it last week (if anyone has read it, please feel free to share opinions.)

What I find interesting is the number of well known authors who are hopping on the YA bandwagon.
Yes, YA is hot at the moment.
Yes, YA is selling and selling well.
Yes, it makes sense for the author and publisher alike to make the most of a hot trend and get their big name authors out there in another subgenre. Money talks.

While big name authors are on bestselling lists for a reason, I don't think everyone can write with a convincing YA voice.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lessons learned from Harry Potter

I love finding nuggets of writing gold and here's another from Nathan Bransford (who I can't believe has retired from agenting!) with his post yesterday on writing tips from reading Harry Potter.

He elaborates on these 5 writing tips:

-You can accomplish amazing things with a third person limited perspective

-Don't be afraid to show your characters' flaws

-Making it look easy is really really hard

-"You might try and go easy on the adverbs when the emotion is apparent from the dialogue"

-Have fun with your world

It's a great post. Check it out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

THE WRITE WHISPER: Speed writing with a bullet

As many writers are working their fingers to the bone this month with NaNoWriMo, I thought this link might help speed things up a little.

From the fabulous Storyfix blog, the basic summary is this:

-you've written about 20K words & are finding the going tough
-stop writing narrative
-start writing story exposition bullet points
-keep adding bullet points till you know where your story is going/you're excited to keep writing it/etc...
-with these points already jotted down, you can write with added speed as each bullet defines what happens in a scene.

This method is called beat sheeting (each bullet=story beat=scene) and there's load more links in the article if you want to know more.

Happy writing!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Weekend Book Club: The Sleeping Doll

I only started reading Jeffery Deaver recently, within the last 6 months or so, and boy, am I glad I did.
I love a good thriller. It would be my first choice of genre to read (surprised you, huh?)
And Jeffery Deaver does thrillers very, very well.
Here's a blurb:
Jeffery Deaver is back with a dark and multilayered psychological thriller about a vicious killer's escape from a California super-prison and the mysterious and deadly quest he embarks on once he's free.
Making her first appearance in The Cold Moon (2006), special agent Kathryn Dance—a brilliant interrogator and body language expert—stars in The Sleeping Doll, where she and her partners at the California Bureau of Investigation hunt down escaped killer Daniel Pell, a self-styled Charles Manson.
Deaver's most frightening villain to date, Pell is a master of control, who mesmerizes, seduces, and exploits people for his own murderous ends. To track down Pell before he destroys more lives, Kathryn Dance must enlist the help of people from the killer's past: the three women who lived under his sadistic sway in the cult he once headed, as well as the young girl known as The Sleeping Doll, the only survivor of her family's slaughter at Pell's hand.
Filled with masterful plot twists: Jeffery Deaver creates plots with so many twists and turns they could "hide behind a spiral staircase" (People), and The Sleeping Doll has Deaver's trademark twists in spades. It is guaranteed to keep readers guessing right up to the breathless end.
This story is a ripper!
A page turner from start to finish, with enough twists to keep you riveted.
Thankfully, my mum bought Jeffery Deaver's latest, 'The Edge' last week. I'm hurrying her along to finish it!
What are you reading this week?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Writing in chunks

When I write, I don't follow any 'how-to' instructions.

I sit. I write. The story comes pouring out.

Yet I love, love, love reading about 'how-to' stuff, love reading writing text books, love having them on my shelves even if I only read them once.

In that vein, here's a great post on 'Storytelling in chunks'.
As I read it, I thought 'hey, I actually do most of this stuff unconsciously' and I'm sure many writers out there do too.

If you're like me and enjoy reading the 'how to' stuff, check it out.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Award nominee

I am rapt to announce that MARRIAGE: FOR BUSINESS OR PLEASURE? has been nominated by Romantic Times magazine for Best Harlequin Presents 2010.

Woo hoo!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Masters Award

Had a lovely email from Masters Degrees Online, saying I've been awarded a Masters Award in Romance Writing for informative and helpful content!

Here's the complete list.