Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to the Books

Blog hops are fun and the BACK TO THE BOOKS giveaway hop, hosted by I AM A READER, NOT A WRITER & BURIED IN BOOKS offers a huge range of prizes.

If you love reading, love books, love winning stuff, check out the link here.

So what am I giving away?

A 3 book pack of my latest releases!




To be in the running, here's what you have to do:

-Follow my blog

For optional bonus entries:

+1 'Like' my Facebook author page (Link in the sidebar)

+1 Follow me on Twitter (link in sidebar)

+1 Have a confirmed newsletter subscription (sign up by emailing me, link in sidebar)


(Please leave a comment with your name if you opt for bonus entries. Thanks!)

The contest runs until 7th September.
Good luck!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Changing landscape in publishing

As an interesting follow on from the Joe Konrath blog post yesterday, here's one from my favourite publishing guru, Bob Mayer.

I love his clarity and bluntness.

Well worth reading about the changing landscape of publishing.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Power in publishing

I love hearing the daily developments in publishing at the moment and here's another one.

Joe Konrath and Blake Crouch discussing who has the power in publishing.

Fascinating reading.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I'm on a category romance roll at the moment.

And I'm picking up some beauties to read!

Sorry to say this is my first Mira Lyn Kelly read but won't be my last!

I adore reunion stories, probably because I don't have to suspend disbelief much to understand two people falling in love, something going wrong to drive them apart, yet finding their way back to each other.

This is a passionate reunion story, filled with emotion and poignancy and sizzle.

Loads of sizzle!

Ryan and Claire are finalising their divorce, but through mutual disclosures and building trust they grow closer.

I loved the practicality of this novel. No trite or miracle endings.

Just two people working hard to find their way back to one another.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

What are you reading this week?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Another big book giveaway!

I'm a featured author over at Small Blogs, Big Giveaways today.

Go check out my interview for GIRL IN A VINTAGE DRESS.

And yes, I'm giving away books!
(check out the other books on offer too!)

In addition, I'm giving away 2 signed copies of Girl in a Vintage Dress right here!

To be in the running:

-Follow my blog

-For a bonus entry, 'like' my Facebook author page (link in sidebar.)

Good luck!

Monday, August 22, 2011

THE WRITE WHISPER: Writing processes

I'm fascinated by writing processes.

How other writers bring their stories to life.

At the RWAus conference, I had an enlightening, informal chat at afternoon tea on Sunday with Stephanie Laurens, Anna Campbell, Barbara Hannay and Annie West.

Fabulously talented mainstream and category romance authors whose books I've read and enjoyed.

What intrigued me about our conversation was our different writing processes.

Some are linear (start the book and right straight through), others write snippets of dialogue or separate scenes, then weave it all together at the end.

I'm always a little in awe of this second group. How do you make it all fit together so seamlessly? And make it look like you wrote it in one go? Amazing.

Me? I'm linear all the way. From the moment I write Chapter One on a blank document, I write the rest of the story straight through. No jumping. No editing. Just write.

Luckily, I write a fairly clean first draft so mainly need to tweak and layer a tad as I go through the next time before sending off to my editor.

Interestingly, I've heard from readers who can pick I write the book in one go.

Yet here's the thing. I heard another gem at the conference that piqued my interest and I'm tempted to try.

In Bob Mayer's "POV & VOICE" session, he mentioned this:

"don't worry about the opening scene. Write the book. The climactic scene should mirror the opening scene therefore you can come back and write/rewrite the opening scene."

Fascinating stuff for a linear writer like me.

Have to admit, I tend to do this unconciously, ensuring the climactic scene ties in to the opening scene but actually mirroring it? Not so much.

While I have to nail my opening chapter every time to set up the rest of the book, maybe next time I'll go back and see how closely it mirrors the last.

Now, you know what's coming next...all you writers out there, I'm dying to know your writing processes. Please share!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

WEEKEND BOOK CLUB: Dating & Other Dangers

I've been lucky this year. The few category roms I've read have all been crackers and this one is no exception.

Natalie Anderson's Dating and Other Dangers is a snappy, modern read I didn't want to put down.

Here's the blurb:

Nadia Keenan's first date Dos and Don'ts:
1. Do boost your confidence by looking hot
2. Don't put out until at least date two
3. If the man is trouble (however sexy!) do report all on

After being trashed on Nadia's website, serial dater-and-dumper Ethan Rush is about to put Nadia's rules to the test! He's determined to change her mind about him.
She's determined to prove him for the cad he is.
Let the battle of the dates begin...

The sparks generated between Nadia and Ethan are super hot! Sexual chemistry at its best.

Loved the one-upmanship between them as much as their banter.
Loved the pacing of the novel.
Loved the contemporary website angle.

A thoroughly enjoyable read.

What are you reading this week?

Friday, August 19, 2011

CONFERENCE GOLD: Characterisation

This is a very brief summary of Bob Mayer's session on 'Writing your story in 3 dimensions: Characterisation.'

I stress brief because Bob provided copious helpful notes and I'm picking out a few main points I jotted down too.

-Everyone has a core motivation. Victor Frankl called this the 'One Thing'.
When a character reaches a moment of crisis, we discover their 'one thing'.

-Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs:
-What do you want?
-What do you really want?
-What do you need?

-Don't pitch plot, pitch character.

-Give the character an anomaly.

-In your first scene, what your character is doing sets your character.

-In your last scene, we need to see character doing something emotional they weren't capable of at the start. This demonstrates arc growth.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

CONFERENCE GOLD: Picking up the pace

Here's a brief summary of Kelley Armstrong's 'Picking up the Pace' session:

-AIM: you want the reader to not be able to put the book down

-HOW to do this:

-shorter chapters (between 10-12 pages)

-end chapter at a point where something about to happen naturally (don't need to invent cliffhangers, let the events happen naturally.)

-'go in late, get out early'. (look for the soonest moment to end a scene and stop there.)

-avoid repetition
eg. Action scenes
1) Set up
2) Action
3) Aftermath
Don't labor the point.

-Taking care of business (eg. starting car, climbing stairs, etc...) CUT these to increase pace UNLESS building suspense.

-RUE (Resist the Urge to Explain.)

-Don't write parts that readers skip (eg. scenery, description, backstory, repetition of character, technical info.)
If need to convey, use in small chunks broken up by action, dialogue, etc...

-Dialogue: if conveying info only & nothing revealed, get away with a couple lines of narrative instead.

-Look at the pulse beat of your story (go back through your story after written, analyse each scene for conflict/interest/high stakes. Rate 1-5. 1=low, 5=high. Should have a good mix.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Here is a brief summary of my notes taken at Susan Wiggs fabulous session, PLOTTING FROM THE INSIDE OUT.

The plotting/pre-writing phase.

-Find your 'white' space. (eg. long walk)

-Make a collage (not an avoidance technique, is part of your 'white' space, being the architect of your story.)

-Make a playlist ('white' space again, even if you don't listen to it while writing it can spark ideas.)

-Focus on a powerful emotion you're experiencing (you don't need a big plot if your character has a big issue/problem)

-Couple an image with that emotion (may lead to something you can hang your story on.)

-Sociogram (what I refer to as mind maps-see previous post on this blog.)

After all this pre-writing, you should have an idea of your main character.
For Susan, this pre-writing phase can take up to 2 weeks, less if tight deadline.

For me, hearing her describe how she uses collaging, etc...(may do it then not look at it again while writing) resonated with how I do my pre-writing. Loads of research, may collage, then don't look at it while writing!

-Go through this process with every main character in your book.

-Take your main character to the point of decision in her life.
(Open blank document, start writing in 1st person present tense, fast writing, where character unloads her baggage/burden she's carrying-great internal problems!)
Also encourages the character's natural voice rather than the author's (about 500 words.)

-Start each day's writing with your character DOING THE NEXT INDICATED THING.

-Self help books also a great source for giving arc of growth for real issues.

Tomorrow, a summary of Kelley Armstrong's workshop, Picking up the Pace.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Here are the stand-out quotes from RWAus11 that resonated with me:

-"Park your brain & write from the heart. Write from love, fear, anger. Tap into those emotions." (Susan Wiggs.)

-"We write because we have to write, not because we want to write." (Susan Wiggs)

-"Which channel you choose to publish with isn't important, reaching your readers is." (Stephanie Laurens.)

-"Take a risk, the known quantity is dying." (Bob Mayer)

-"Content is king. Promo is queen." (Bob Mayer)

Tomorrow, a summary of Susan Wiggs' workshop, "Plotting from the Inside Out."

Monday, August 15, 2011


All this week, I'm doing a wrap-up of the RWAUS conference right here.

Snippets of conference gold I heard.
Recap of workshops.
Enlightening moments from plenary sessions.

To start, I have to gush like a fangirl.

Several months ago, I emailed Susan Wiggs for a favour. Her gracious reply blew me away.
Then I met her in person on Saturday, when the conference organisers asked me to intro her session.
She instantly recognized my name, enveloped me in a big hug and insisted someone take a photo of us which she emailed me the next morning with a lovely message.

Her books are amazing and so is she.

Next fangirl moment: Bob Mayer.

Quite possibly the smartest guy in publishing at the moment.
He's informed and savvy and ahead of the game.
If you're not following his blog, do so!

Stay tuned for the conference lowdown.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Julie Cross is my agency sister and I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Tempest via my fab agent, top 10 YA seller on Publisher's Marketplace, Suzie Townsend!

TEMPEST has huge raps. To be released in January 2011, it has already been optioned for film with Summit (makers of Twilight), and has a first print run of over 250K!

Here's the blurb:

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time.

But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.
That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps.
Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future. Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.
But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.
Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

This book made my head spin (in a good way!) with its breakneck pace.

Loved Jackson (and loved a YA from male POV) and his romance with Holly, his feelings for her a major motivator throughout the book for his actions.

I like a book grounded in solid conflict.
I also like interesting, layered secondary characters and Tempest had that in spades.

From an author's perspective, I'm in awe of how Julie Cross kept the plot timeline fluid in this book.
Would've been a huge challenge to write! Kudos.

And it's definitely a 'film' book, one I can see playing out on the big screen.

While I'm away at conference this weekend, what are you reading?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

From Here to Eternity

This is where I'll be today, the beautiful city of Melbourne, for RWAustralia's 20th conference, 'From Here to Eternity.'

I love learning about the craft of writing.
I love networking.
I love catching up with writer buddies from interstate and overseas.
It's going to be a blast!

If you're at the Hilton over the weekend, come up and say hi!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

I'm in the news...

Following an interview I did with uber journalist Neil McMahon recently, his article FEEL THE LOVE is in THE AGE newspaper today.

It's a positive look at romantic fiction.
Well worth a read.

And here's the result of my 90 minute shoot with the photographer.
(Photo: Craig Sillitoe, The Age, 7/8/11)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Deserted island in Germany

I'm flat chat with deadlines so my reading this week has been slow, hence no Weekend Book Club post (am hoping to rectify that next week because I'm reading a cracker YA book!)

Instead, I bring you DESERTED ISLAND, DREAMY EX! out now in Germany.

Aren't the cover colours striking?

Friday, August 05, 2011

3 book giveaway!

If you're on Goodreads, you may want to check out this.

I'm giving away 3 copies of GIRL IN A VINTAGE DRESS.

And all you have to do to enter is click a button!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Entangled Publishing launches!

Happy launch day to the fabulous folk at Entangled Publishing.

They've been labelled as a "boutique publisher bridging the gap between traditional and indie publishing" and from my experience with them, I can't speak highly enough.

Their professionalism, transparency and dedication to producing the best books possible has been amazing.

I've revised my manuscript BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD 3 times with the help of an extremely astute and enthusiastic editor, who has helped me take this book to the next level. And I have a publicist working behind the scenes to ensure my book has the best possible launch.

I'm thrilled to be a part of Entangled!

To join in the launch activities and be in the running to win a Kobo, check out their blog.
(which also has a list of what they're looking to acquire in August.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

New release: Girl in a Vintage Dress

If you're in Australia & NZ, GIRL IN A VINTAGE DRESS is on shelves now!

The reviews for this book have been fab so grab it for yourself and see why :)

Here's the latest review, from the lovely Julie at CATAROMANCE:

"Nicola Marsh specializes in writing classic romances with a modern twist and Girl in a Vintage Dress is the latest fun and fabulous romance by this talented USA Today best-selling author...

A fantastic tale full of sassiness and spirit, Girl in a Vintage Dress is a fast-paced contemporary sprinkled with red-hot repartee, witty one-liners, sizzling chemistry and feel-good romance.

Lola Lombard is a real and believable heroine we can all relate to and Chase is a sexy hero whose vulnerability and generous nature makes him all the more irresistible.

A wonderful summer read sure to make you smile and wipe away a tear or two, Girl in a Vintage Dress is another keeper from Nicola Marsh’s outstanding pen!"

Read the full review here.

The book will also be available at ROMANCE WRITERS OF AUSTRALIA 'From Here to Eternity' conference in 2 weeks and I'll be there to sign copies, yay!
Hope to see you at the Hilton!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Poor prose

Heard of the Bulwer-Lytton annual contest for poor prose?

If not, go check out the results for a good laugh.

Sue Fondrie won with this gem:

“Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.”