Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Savvy Authors

If you're a writer, there is an abundance of resources available these days.

Some stand out more than others and I was lucky enough to stumble across SAVVY AUTHORS a few weeks ago and instantly joined up.

Basic membership is free, premium is US$30/year (AU$28 with current exchange rate, bargain!)

Go check out the website, you won't be disappointed.

The information available is amazing, as are their frequent online courses.

I'm currently doing a course on witchcraft which has been immensely helpful for my upcoming YA revisions.

But the website is worth a visit for the articles alone.

Monday, May 30, 2011

THE WRITE WHISPER: Free writing craft books!

Thanks to the fab folk at WRITER'S DIGEST, I stumbled across 5 free books for writers.

Yes, that's right, free!

A fabulous resource from an experienced novelist.

2. 279 Days to Overnight Success by Chris Guillebeau.

If you dream of being a full-time writer, this is the e-book for you! About 11,000 words of fabulous advice.

3. How to Write a Great Query Letter by literary agent Noah Lukeman.

Lukeman is the author of several fabulous how-to books, including The First Five Pages. This free one on queries will not disappoint.

4. What Publishers Want: An Author's Guide by Greenleaf Book Group.

The good people at Greenleaf have made this brief guide available to beginning writers who are just getting into the writing and publishing game.

This gem just came out this past month. An excellent starting resource.

(Note: I couldn't download the last one because I don't have a Kindle. It's via Amazon.)

Download the books via Writer's Digest here.

You can thank me later :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weekend Book Club: Before I Fall

Warning: this is one of those books that will stay with you long after you've finished.

Lauren Oliver's YA BEFORE I FALL weaves a powerful story around a popular girl you can't help but dislike, yet you empathise with totally.

Here's the blurb:

What if you only had one day to live?
What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot.
Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing

The character development in this story is brilliant.
The characters, particularly Sam, really 'talk' to you.
You won't want to put this down.

(As an aside, Fox 2000 has optioned the rights to this book. It's Oliver's second novel to be optioned for film, after her January 2011 release, Delirium, was picked up in June.)

What are you reading this weekend?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Never give up

Just spotted this in the New York Times: a 74 year old author who never gave up.

He submitted his novel for 25 years and gathered 162 rejections before finally having his book published.

That's persistence!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Encouraging words

If you're a writer, you have to check out the post over at StoryFix today.

These two gems are worth it alone:

'The Help", the novel that spent a year at #1 on NYT bestsellers list and is being released as a movie this August was rejected by 45 agents.

Yep, you read that right. 45!
(Moral of the story: hang in there & don't give up!)

Gem no. 2:
"Write something worth writing."

It'll make sense if you go read the full post here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to avoid over-writing

Here's a brilliant list of 15 steps to avoid overwriting by author/agent Lois Winston over at The Five Scribes.

Well worth reading.

Monday, May 23, 2011


I have a new editor at Mills and Boon.
She rang me last week and we had a lovely chat about expectations and favourite books of mine she's worked on and what's next.

What's next is revisions for the Harlequin Romance I recently handed in, WHO WANTS TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE?
They landed Saturday morning and as usual I printed them out, did a quick scan and left them on my desk while pretending not to mull for the next 24 hours.

Sunday, I re-read and my thoughts clarified and I'm now ready to tackle revisions.

The fact this guy is the inspiration behind my hero Rory should make the process entirely enjoyable.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Weekend Book Club: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

I read this on the recommendation by my agent, who has great taste in books.


So you're a guy; you're at a band show and your ex, the girl who dumped you, walks in with the new guy. Looking for a safe exit, you ask the girl you happen to sitting with to be your girlfriend for five minutes.
You're a girl; you're at a get-together and your least favorite female strolls in. The stranger sitting next to you asks you to be his five-minute date. So what do you? You lock lips.
Nick and Norah's instant connect begins a roller-coaster "first date" that takes them through Manhattan and into themselves.

I found this book edgy, fast-paced and frank , a page-turning YA written by 2 authors.
Loved the concept and the individual voices.
Loved how the story flowed.
Loved how they brought NYC and music alive.

What are you reading this week?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Trends in YA

If you're writing young adult or middle grade, you absolutely must read this post by agent/author Mandy Hubbard.

She just returned from a trip to NYC where she met with editors at major publishing houses and here's her take on what's trending in YA & MG at the moment.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bollywood book has sold!

I'm excited to announce my mainstream Bollywood book has sold!

Entangled Publishing will be releasing it this December: 'Sex and the City' meets 'Eat, Pray, Love.'

How totally cool is that high concept?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nice to hear

It's always nice to hear a good review, especially from a 'new to me' reader.

Here's an excerpt from a review for DESERTED ISLAND, DREAMY EX! via Twitter:

This was a really fun book to read and it had some great elements to it. I really liked the character of Kristi she had real moxy with her snappy dialogue, ambition and style, yet she also had a caring side with a deep desire to love and be loved in return (I didn't like Jared as much). I really loved the inclusion of the characters blog posts and twitter updates while they were on the island. This was interesting as it gave insight into the two characters thoughts and experiences in a more conversational way then the usual internal monologue type narrative allows, it was also very 'now'!
I would have liked to have had more of the actual events on the island included, I was imagining a Lost-meets-The-Apprentice-meets-romcom style story (somebody has to make that show!). I did enjoy the focus on the two characters relationship and their attempt to work through the issues that drove them apart previously and also to work through their own internal issues. Both characters were able to grow and move on, which is something I always like to see in a good romance novel.

What I particularly liked about this review is the reader's balance.
She states what she likes and what she doesn't with honesty and not snark.

You can read the full review here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekend Book Club: The Good Daughter

I met Amra when I first started writing and we were in the same critique group so I was thrilled to read her first YA novel.

Here's the blurb from Text Publishing:

Fifteen-year-old Sabiha has a lot to deal with: her mother’s mental health issues, her interfering aunt, her mother’s new boyfriend, her live-in grandfather and his chess buddy, not to mention her arrogant cousin Adnan. They all want to marry her off, have her become a strict Muslim and speak Bosnian. And Sabiha’s friends are not always friendly. She gets bullied by girlfriends and is anxious about boyfriends, when she just wants to fit in. But two boys, Brian and Jesse, become the allies of this fierce and funny girl.

The Good Daughter is a coming-of-age novel written with sensitivity and humour. It confronts head-on the problems of cultural identity in the day-to-day lives of teenagers. Amra Pajalic has a wonderful ear for idiomatic dialogue and the dramatic moment.

This book isn't flowery. It's refreshingly honest and you can empathise as you see Sammie battle adolesence while handling her mother's bi-polar.

Also loved the twist on a classic love triangle.

And I'm always a sucker for a book set in my home city of Melbourne.

Thoroughly enjoyed.

What are you reading this weekend?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sex, gossip, rock & roll, cupcakes & killer heels!

If you're in OZ & NZ, the Modern Heats/Rivas/Sexy Sensations are now being released in a Sexy duo each month.

And I'm up in June with the delightful Heidi Rice!

Thankfully, the cover can apply to scenes in both our books, how lucky is that?
And aren't the titles fab?
I can't wait to read Heidi's book, have heard rave reviews about it.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Weekend Book Club: Love You More

Lisa Gardner is an autobuy for me.
She's the only author who has given me nightmares (while reading The Perfect Husband.)

Her latest, LOVE YOU MORE, depicts every parents' nightmare.

Here's the official synopsis:


One question, a split-second decision, and Brian Darby lies dead on the kitchen floor. His wife, state police trooper Tessa Leoni, claims to have shot him in self-defense, and bears the bruises to back up her tale. For veteran detective D. D. Warren it should be an open-and-shut case. But where is their six-year-old daughter?


As the homicide investigation ratchets into a frantic statewide search for a missing child, D. D. Warren must partner with former lover Bobby Dodge to break through the blue wall of police brotherhood, seeking to understand the inner workings of a trooper’s mind while also unearthing family secrets. Would a trained police officer truly shoot her own husband? And would a mother harm her own child?

. . . TO SAVE HER?

For Tessa Leoni, the worst has not yet happened. She is walking a tightrope, with nowhere to turn, no one to trust, as the clock ticks down to a terrifying deadline. She has one goal in sight, and she will use every ounce of her training, every trick at her disposal, to do what must be done. No sacrifice is too great, no action unthinkable. A mother knows who she loves. And all others will be made to pay.
Love you more . . .

I couldn't put this book down.
The author's voice, her multi-layered themes and constant plot twists make this a superb page turner.

For a busy mum running around with kids' kinder concerts and cross country events and a birthday and a tight deadline...well, to say I read this in a day, you know how much I could NOT put it down!

What are you reading this week?

(considering I have 2 releases out, hope it's one of mine!)

Friday, May 06, 2011

'How I Write' series

In the lead up to his book release, Nathan Bransford is running a 'How I Write' series on his blog all week.

If you're a writer, you absolutely must check it out.

Gold, I tell you, gold!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

And another...

I don't like shouting 'me, me, me' all the time but I've got 3 releases in May so you'll have to bear with me during release week.

Today, quite possibly the favourite book I've written hits shelves in the UK: SEX, GOSSIP AND ROCK & ROLL.

I love Luca and Charli. I hope you do too.

Once again, free worldwide postage at the BookDepository here.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Release day!

Want to discover how Rhys and Jade steam up in Alaska?
Then buy HER BAD, BAD BOSS, out now in the USA.

Or here, at the Bookdepository, with free worldwide shipping!

*This book has been released in the UK & Aust/NZ under the title WILD NIGHTS WITH HER WICKED BOSS*

And for those lovely readers who read OVERTIME IN THE BOSS'S BED and asked if Rhys would have his own story...this is it!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Popular professions for romance novel heroes

Two neuroscientists have studied 15000 Harlequin novels looking for clues about social expectations.

During their studies, they came up with the top 10 professions for romance novel heroes.

Care to guess what they are?

Before peeking at the list, pop your own list in the comments section here.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Great cause

Brenda Novak's auction to raise funds for childhood diabetes is on again this year and the Harlequin Romance authors have banded together to donate a Kindle packed with our latest releases.

You know you want this!

Go bid here.
It's for a good cause.