Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Big End Of Year Competition

Yes - it's that time again!!!! Time to wave goodbye to one year and say a big HELLO to a new one...

And, keeping in tradition with the big book giveaway I did at the end of last year, we have this years Big End Of Year Competition where one lucky person can take away signed copies of all of my 2006 UK releases...

So, if I can interest you in a copy of The Wedding Surprise:

"A kiss for the camera...
Desperate to save her Father's business, Caitlin Rourke enters a Reality TV Contest with one thing on her mind - The prize money! To win she has to convince her family and friend's that she's marrying a stranger...
As she gets to know her gorgeous fiancé, Aiden Flynn, she gets increasingly torn between helping her family and keeping her feelings for Aiden a secret. As their wedding day looms and the cameras roll there's another surprise in store for Caitlin...

Along with a copy of the almost famous Pineapple O'Reilly's Bride:

"Sean O’Reilly had become so close to his colleague and friend Maggie Sullivan that he was beginning to imagine their friendship could lead to more.
Only now, bizarrely, she’s backed off – and, even more strangely, she’s started looking for love on the internet! Well, if he can’t beat them, he’ll have to join them…
Maggie can’t let herself get close to Sean. Not now.
Not when she’s discovered something that will break all his dreams of happily-ever-after. But she has no idea of how much she has hurt Sean – nor how much she has just fuelled his determination to make her his… by any means necessary!"

With a copy of my first ever Modern Extra White-Hot!:

"It takes just one sexy fireman to set her ablaze...
Circumstance has left Finn McNeill without a place to stay. Which means her only option is the spare room of friend and firefighter Shane Dwyer. Soon Finn's burning question is: what's worse - living with a rugged fireman who's off limits, or having no home and no rugged fireman at all?
Memories from Finn's past refuse to let her act on her present desire. And Shane has promises to keep that mean Finn is forbidden to him. But how long can they resist temptation when the tension's sizzling, the attraction's simmering, and the flames of passion are licking at their heels? Perhaps one secret, white-hot night will be enough to put out the fire?"

And a copy of my first title for the new Romance Line Project: Parenthood:

"She hid from love, but it found her anyway...
Teagan Delaney has made sure she's too busy for love... too busy to get hurt! But when she has to become stand-in Mum to her sister's tiny kids, and enlists the help of her gorgeous neighbour Brendan McNamara, the rules Teagan has lived by begin to crumble...
Brendan has already proved with ease that he's perfect father material, and as his new found family quickly nestles it's way into his heart he has to show Teagan that they can be the perfect family too..."

Then you have until 31st January to E-Mail me through the website and tell me the full name of the heroine in my July Romance release Bride Of The Emerald Isle

And to all of you who have been so supportive and wonderful to me in 2006 a HUGE THANKYOU - you made my year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Looking Backwards and Forwards

I'm stuck in that interesting limbo between Christmas and New Years when there's actually very little to do... except think...

Which, with me, if you know me you'll know, can often be a dangerous thing...

But not this year. Last year at this time I was still worrying about my decision to leave a perfectly good Full Time Job to write full time. Had I made the right decision? Would I crash and burn in a few months? Could I really live the lifestyle of a starving artist???

But by the end of 2005 there was light at the end of the tunnel...
The Bridal Bet was nominated for an award, then early in 2006 I sold to the Modern Extra line and later, after the award was won, I landed my first four book contract... and here I am a year later looking back on what was a reclusive, but productive year. And I'm quietly chuffed with the decision I made to quit a job I loved so much. 2006 felt like a turning point. (And I sincerely hope I'm not jinxing myself for 2007 by saying that!!!)

I have to admit at this point that I did have a plan when I left my job. I had to have in order to justify the decision in my head. And so far so good. I did what I planned to do in 2006 and now I get to look forward to 2007 and the plans I made for it - or 'phase two' as I like to call it. Because if there's one thing I have learnt from all the ladies I am lucky enough to have had befriend me this last couple of years, it's that you need to have an idea of where you're headed, of what you want from your writing career.... But saying what I plan aloud is always a tad worrysome for me. It's that whole jinxing thing, the tempting fate thing... the fall flat on my face in public thing...

But I will tell you that in 2007 I plan to travel to as many conferences as possible. So I hope you'll all journey with me as my new laptop, lovely christmas present digital camera and I travel to the RNA conference, the RWA in Dallas and the RWAus in Sydney this year.... I'll personally believe it when I'm there... Just seems too surreal for me as of yet...

Meantime, while I'm resting my brain a little for Christmas before I start the Romance title I have due end of February, I am tweaking my longer book in the hope that I can finish it, polish it, and find a home for it in 2007.... which is also a part of the great Dream Plan...

Who knows what 2007 may bring my way... But I'm crossing everything that won't need a visit to casualty to uncross that it'll be even half as good as the year I'm leaving behind!!!

And on New Years Eve I'll be launching my end of year Competition...!!!! Looking backwards at 2006's releases... and forwards to what 2007 has to bring release wise...

Monday, December 25, 2006


And a HUGE THANKYOU for all your support and encouragement throughout 2006!!!
From me to you - a special E-Card which you can find here:
And as a special treat for all Modern Extra Readers...
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!!!
H's & K's

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mills & Boon Editor Guest Interview

TODAY AND TOMORROW AT THE PINK HEART SOCIETY they have my lovely Mills And Boon Editor JENNY HUTTON in a guest interview!!!!!To read the full interview and to leave a comment just visit HERE

Monday, December 18, 2006

Empty Brain Syndrome

So, I'm pretty much caught up on all the things that had fallen by the wayside while I was buried in the cave this time...

I have clean laundry, almost a clean house, everything swapped from dying comp onto brand new shiny comp, lots of christmas shopping done (only two pressies to go so yay me!), I have done a small update to the website (see the end of the post) and have been playing horse this last couple of days so almost have them knocked back into shape enough to take them out in public... And all that's great. Then my lovely Editor sent me an email looking for vague outlines for the next Romance line book (which thankfully has been put back to the end of Feb rather than the beginning)...
Now - that's nothing out of the ordinary. And I've known I had another idea to come up with. So I was prepared. Thing is - I would appear to be having a small problem with empty-brain syndrome...
Normally I have at least a couple of ideas bubbling away there under the surface. Well, at least a couple. And thankfully over the years any time I've had an idea while working on something else I have always opened a Word file and knocked something vague out that I can go back to when I need to. But this time, once I knew the last *tough one to write* was done and dusted, when I tried to flick that switch in my head back from Modern Extra to Romance... I found the Romance ideas room completely empty and not a little on the echo-ey side...
I've always known, from day one, that my *voice* was *on the cusp* so to speak. But I think after nine books for the Romance line I've kinda found my way. My first Modern Extra was done blind - cos the line wasn't out for me to read yet - my second was a JOY and my third... well... you all know the story with that one... But somehow every time I've tried to jump start my brain this time the stories have been see-sawing between the lines. I guess that's part of every writer's dilemma when they write for more than one line...
Behave and think of something great I told my brain.
Well I would if I had something to work with was the reply.
Think of something then I demanded (mostly when trying to go to sleep at night)
I might have one with little kids in said my head
We've done loads with kids in said I (somewhat petulantly)
Well that's what we have so tough and then there was silence...
So I was forced to go look at all those little Word files I have opened in the past. MAN did I have some AWFUL ideas in my time. I mean really, truly awful. I guess I should be thankful that I can recognize them for what they are now... but man. Really. Cringe worthy stuff...
There were but two that I could do something with - so I've given you the pics I sent with them. It'll be interesting to see if either of them - or a combination of the two stories will prove any good. If it's one thing I've learnt since I first sold - it's that you need to be flexible. And that having a great Editor who can communicate with you is the next best thing to winning the lottery! I'll let you know what we both come up with shall I?
And as for that bit of a website update. I added new excerpts for Bride Of The Emerald Isle and The Return Of The Rebel - both July releases for next year.... Maybe you'll pop by and let me know what you think...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tagged & New Title

Yup. Donna Alward got me! It's been a while so I guess I was due one...

But before I launch into it, I thought you all might like to know that the book that was *a tough one to write* is now officially named: The Return Of The Rebel - how great is that title! And any of you that read a little about the new casting of Connor Flanaghan will know that it's pretty damn apt too!!!

It's release date as a Modern Extra is set for July 2007 - which means it will be on the shelves at the exact same time as Bride Of The Emerald Isle in the Romance line!!! This is AMAZING! And a first for me in the UK. It means that anyone interested in the different styles we use between lines will get a very clear idea by reading the books side by side... We can even do a bit of a chat about them in June as part of the run up - cos in July I'll be travelling... CAN'T WAIT...

So, here's the tag that Donna caught me with:

Four jobs I've had:

1.Retail Manager
2. Music Tour Co-Ordinator
3. Riding Instructor
4. Professional Show Groom
(and it was tough picking just four!)

Four places I've lived:

1 Lisburn, Co. Antrim
2 Ards Peninsula, Co. Down
3 On A Tour Bus through all 32 Counties of Ireland
4 Augher, Co. Tyrone
(and again - list not long enough)

Four favorite foods:

1 Chicken
2 Salmon
4. Cheesecake
(have I mentioned the length of these lists???)

Four movies I could watch over and over:

1. Serenity
2. While You Were Sleeping
3. The Princess Bride
4. Speed

TV shows I enjoy:

1. Battlestar Galactica
2. Ghost Whisperer
3. Torchwood
4. Supernatural

Four places I've traveled:

1. London
2. Germany
3. Cyprus
4. Every County Of Ireland

Four places I'd like to visit:

1. New York
2. Australia
3. Italy
4. Thailand
(keep an eye on me next year to see how many of these I can manage)

Four websites I go to daily:

1. e-harlequin
2 The Pink Heart Society
3. Myspace
4. various friends' blogs

Four people tagged:

aka: The Pink Heart gang....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Breathless! all over again!

Remember this cover I was so pleased with of late??? Well- I HAVE IT IN MY SWEATY LITTLE HANDS!!!

Yes - Santa brought me an early Christmas box of books! Gotta love it when that happens! So, taking them in order of release we have Breathless! The February Modern Extra release - and as you may know - my fav book to write so far! I LOVE this hero - love the bantering between hero and heroine - love the HEAT... Sigh...

So the Back-Blurb says:

Just one night would take her breath away!
Rory Flanaghan is every girl's dream: tall, toned and so, so sexy. On leave from his dangerous overseas job, he's helping out at the gym he owns. When writer Cara Sheehan starts one-to-one sessions with Rory, exercise takes on a whole new meaning! He leaves her with a sensual awareness she's never let herself feel before...
Rory can't understand why this beautiful, fiesty woman has a problem with her image, and he knows he can teach Cara what she's capable of... As things get really personal, Rory shows Cara that just one kiss, just one touch...just one night... will leave her breathless...!
Now, I'd post the excerpt inside the front cover - but - well - I don't think I can... So I've searched for a *safer* excerpt to whet your appetite...
“You have a very extensive vocabulary for someone who otherwise looks so sweet and innocent you know.”
Rory swallowed back a smile as she glared up at him, her face flushed and damp with exertion. Long tendrils of her deep brown, shoulder length hair escaping from their loose plaits and plastering to her cheeks. And every time he insisted she managed another sit up or another five minutes on an exercise bike she would grit her teeth and swear at him. Like a trooper.
“I’ll bet,” She forced her pelvis upwards as she pressed her heels into the Swiss Ball, “Women call you names,” Held the position for a second before lowering with a flop to the floor, “all the damn time.”
He did his best not to watch the upward and downward movement of her pelvis. That would be unprofessional, wouldn’t it? In fact after twenty minutes of watching her in varying thrusts and bends over the ball he was fairly sure he was past unprofessional and bordering on being a pervert. Just what was it with him and this woman?
Ever since she had walked in through the door and looked up at him with those Pacific-Ocean-blue eyes of hers he had had but one thought in his head. And its name was Cara Sheehan.
She had a way of looking at him that had made him feel like some kind of illicit treat she couldn’t allow herself to have. Which was sexy as all hell.
And she was sharp as a tack mentally, which kept him on his toes; their verbal bantering helping to distract him from, other things.
In theory.
He cleared his throat, “Not with quite so much colour in the terminology, no.”
Her blue eyes narrowed as she looked at him from the corner of her eye, “You look that word up in the dictionary today, did you?”
“It was word of the day in the paper.”
“The one with the naked women on the third page?”
“That’s the one,” His smile escaped, “Again. Come on, you have five of these to do before we move on.”
Five more of this, six more of that, and Rory was fairly sure she was smart enough to realize he was adding a few every time. But she didn’t stop, she just gritted her teeth, called him a ‘sadist’ and kept going.
He liked that about her.
Nearly a week in and she was showing the same kind of gutsy determination he had had to call on in himself since he’d come home. And he could empathize with that. It garnered his respect; helped hold hotter thoughts at bay.
She was a client after all. And if she wasn’t?
Well, suffice to say all prior deals would be off.
I may have mentioned a time or two how much I love this book. So I won't say it again.
I'll just come back and let you know when it's on sale at the M&B site - which should be next month - and when it is we'll have a wee bit of a competition on here to see if you can win a copy... Oh and don't forget to look out for the BIG END OF YEAR COMPETITION we have coming where you can win a copy of each and every one of my 2006 UK Releases!!!!
Now - if I can just wire up the scanner to my new laptop I'll scan in the cover of the other book I got - My April Romance Rescued: Mother-To-Be - the cover of which IS TO DIE FOR!!!! I think the whole world is in agreement that the covers for the new line have been FANTABULOUS so far! Yaaayyyyy!!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Catching Up

Go on - say yes - humor me...

Yes, I did indeed disappear into the cave with revisions... And although there was a fair bit to do, I was given the order to have FUN with it... So FUN I HAD... Oh yes, I had a tonne of fun with it - and then I threw in a little more fun for good measure. And FUN was exactly what was missing!!! I KNOW! From ME!!! Just shows you how much of a struggle I had with this one...

Anyway 48 odd hours after the the fun version went winging through cyberspace to London I got word that the book had SOLD!!! So I'm sure you could all hear me sighing with relief!!!! Because this one was - altogether now - *a tough one to write*....

So, to celebrate, and because I feel I've earned it, and because I've killed my last one due to over-work and therefore have nothing to work on.... I purchased a nice shiny all singing, all dancing laptop!!! WOO-HOO! And I tell ya folks - this thing is so damn fast compared to my last one I'm a bit worried about the amount of time I must have lost this last year... just WAITING. Waiting for downloads, waiting for research searches to complete, waiting for Blog pics to upload... waiting waiting waiting... And I'm also hoping that this vast improvement in speed means I'll lose my temper less... Have to say, I'm less tempted to throw this one out of the window. This one is pretty!

But it was a necessary investment too! So I'm still being good. And I went for a laptop again cos I never sit still. And with planning on doing all of the conferences next year I need something that will travel, right???

So, thanks to all this new technology at my fingertips I am actually having FUN playing catch up. For all of you on my mailing list - and some friends I added - I have sent out the newsletter for December - with all the latest on releases out now and upcoming, some reviews, news on a new competition I have coming up, some Irish Christmas recipes and a little Irish Christmas History... You can subscribe to the Yahoo version of the Newsletter here or you can email me through the website and I'll add you to my mailing list...
I'll post some of it on here next week for you guys here on the Blog and in the meantime, while I send out lots of books to competitions myself and a load to people who have patiently been waiting for books from me... you can have a think about the kinds of things you'd like to see on here this next while. BEFORE I GET BURIED AGAIN.
I thought we could kick off with the rest of the Book With Trish series???
And over at The Pink Heart Society we yesterday announced the exciting news that a Harlequin Mills and Boon Editor will be Guest Blogging this month! We're discussing questions for her interview at the PHS Yahoo loop that you can sign up to here.
So what would you ask her???
  1. Always wondered what it's like to work in the London Offices????
  2. Curious about a typical working day????
  3. Want to know what the layout is like inside the offices???
  4. Where does the slush pile live and how do they decide who reads them???
  5. What is the journey of a book from slush pile to publication????
  6. What day of the week should you shadow the phone for THE CALL????
  7. How do they decide on Mini-Series or the mix of themes???
  8. Is it tough deciding what to put on the cover???
  9. What is the best or worst thing about being an Editor???

You're bound to have things you'd ask!!!! The PHS Editors are compiling a list of questions for the start of the week so if you have something you'd like to try and get on the list then pop over to the Blog or join the Yahoo loop and ask away. There's no guarantee your question might make it but hey! It's worth a try!!! Just remember:

*Obviously due to the limited space we have here at the Blogazine we will be restricted to the number of questions that we can ask... These WILL NOT include any individual queries about manuscripts or any pitches for books... And The Pink Heart Society Editors will reserve the right to choose which questions they feel the Blogazine readers would find most interesting...*

And I'm off now to see what else I can make my new toy do...

Friday, December 1, 2006

A Little Something For Your Stocking

No! It's not pictures of hot hero types wearing Santa Hats... mind you - I may have a little something up my sleeve in that department Christmas week at The Pink Heart Society if you're at all interested... ;)

Nope this is about a rather stunning COMPETITION that the lovely Kate Walker is running!!! In the Christmas competition on her website she has two (YES! TWO!!!) Christmas stockings stuffed full of books to give away - HOW FANTASTIC IS THAT???? Actually - y'know something - I WANT IT. Wonder if thats allowed.... mmmm.... ???

And WHITE-HOT! by a certain Trish Wylie (who is that girl???) is part of the prize package along with a stunning line up of:

Christmas Kids and Kisses - A 3in1 Anthology which includes Kate's very own "The Christmas Baby Gift".

Accepting the Boss's Proposal - by my good buddy Natasha Oakley.

The Italian Doctor's Bride - by Margaret McDonagh.
(The Pink Heart Society Review Blog gave this MAJOR KUDOS).

Blind-Date Wedding by Fiona Harper. (Another one that got MAJOR KUDOS on The Pink Heart Society Review Blog !)

Chosen as the Frenchman's Bride by fellow Irishwoman Abby Green (Abbey get a website! NOW!)

The Italian Billionaire's Virgin by Christina Hollis. (Brand new Modern Romance/Presents author WHO ALSO DOESN'T HAVE A WEBSITE YET - AHEM!).

A Mistress for the Taking by Annie West. (Yes folks another one that did pretty darn well on The Pink Heart Society Review Blog!)

And there may even be more to be added before Kate picks a winner!!!

I'm so very pleased that Kate added me to this list of exciting authors!!! And the one thing they all have in common is that we're all pretty darn new or brand spanking new authors!!!! Which is absolutely TYPICAL of our very lovely Kate Walker!!!

Yes, not only did she go and write the fantastic 12-Point Guide to Writing Romance which works through the topics of:

  1. How to write emotion and create PTQ (page turning quality) in your novels
  2. How to create conflict amidst your characters and why it is a major essential component in your novel.
  3. Why dialogue is the lifeblood of your knowledge
  4. How to make dialogue sound realistic
  5. How to make your characters real
  6. How to create the required sharp focus on your hero and heroine
  7. How to develop supporting characters that work
  8. Why flashbacks are important in some stories and how to create them in your novel.
  9. Why sensuality is important and how you can develop sensuality between your hero and heroine
  10. How to pace the development of the romance that is occurring between your hero and heroine
  11. How to write the love scene between your hero and heroine and the importance of after
  12. The importance of the hero and his essential vital vulnerability
  13. The filter role of the heroine for the reader
  14. The heroines 21 St Century response to conflict
  15. How to answer the question why?

This has to be one of the MOST COMPREHENSIVE and EASY TO FOLLOW guides out there for budding Category Romance authors, which makes it pretty INVALUABLE - and I think the very fact that it's written by a woman who has MORE THAN proven her ability to write heart-stopping, page-turning, BEST-SELLING Category Romance time after time says it all!

In a world that can currently blind the new writer with in-depth, psychological, Post-Graduate standard do's and donts and 'you're a lesser writer if you don't at the very least know this' kind of attitude, that will only serve to make the majority of aspiring Category Romance writers suffer an even more difficult writing process than they have to... (When, lets face it, the majority of people who buy Category Romance want a fun, fulfilling, heart warming, optimistic romp of a read - not nine million hidden layers that detract from the heart of the story - which is me the reader speaking now!)... I think the fact that this book covers everything you need to know clearly, succinctly, with humour and without addling your brain makes it worth every single penny!!! So, if you're going to spend your hard-earned cash on books to help improve your writing and to explore the intricacies of this genre then I say make this one, one of them! Just look at the number of people who are now published who rate his book highly... Nuff said...

Plus Kate is waaaayyyyyy more accessible than many of the people out there who have written books about writing books. She will answer emails, host forums, answer questions on the eharlequin boards, post advice on her blog - she even hosts writing seminars!!!! She is one of the MOST PRO-ACTIVE supporters of new writers that I know of and for that she should be praised from here to high heaven!!! Every time I have met Kate she has had words of advice that I have taken with me. Which I thank her for!!!

I don't think anyone will disagree that the Romance Writing Community is one of the friendliest on the Web .... Gotta love this business!

And on a side-note it's a timely reminder of White-Hot! as it's available on the shelves in Australia and New Zealand RIGHT NOW as my first ever Sexy Sensation release! Woo-Hoo! The fact that it has a companion in the shape of Project: Parenthood on the shelves at the same time just makes it an even more exciting month for me!!!

Now all I gotta do is finish off these revisions (and it's finally feeling like I have a handle on this sucker now!!!) and then I can kick back and think about some holiday celebration thats rumoured to be on this month.... Anyone hear anything about that???

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Change of Hero

So my revisions are in gang - and as ALWAYS my Editor has been able to see light at the end of the tunnel before I have!!!! I LOVE my Editor!!!!!

We had a little phone chat today and during our discussion there was a lightbulb moment....

Yes - I mis-cast my hero - AGAIN....!!!

As you may recall I had this exact same difficulty with the last Modern Extra too and had to call on your guys to help me out. You chose Colin Farrell from the poll and all of a sudden the words FLEW - Rory took on a life of his own and the quick wit, sarcasm and drool-worthy sexiness of the guy made the book an absolute JOY to write and turned Rory into one of my ALL TIME favourite hero's. Remember???

Well, all the problems Rory's brother Connor have given me in this one have come down to the EXACT same thing. But did I have the damn sense to come here and ask you clever folks for help again??? OH-NO. I had to try and go it alone.... SEE WHAT THAT GOT ME???

So, before we had Hugh Jackman cast as Connor and oh-my-yes he was sexy enough. But the problem??? Hugh is a NICE GUY and Connor - well Connor has AN EDGE TO HIM - if you get my drift.... He's now a Millionaire's secret son, remember? And he is VERY angry about that when he finds out. But he still has enough sexuality to dominate most of the story and to persuade my heroine, against her better judgement, to hop in the sack with him again even when he's behaving like a ****head.... And it's not that Hugh doesn't have that edge in my mind but I have studied Hugh intensively, *cough* for the PHS of course *cough*, and I know what an incredibly nice guy Hugh is in real life so I kept feeling the need to have Connor justify his behaviour and prove he's really a nice guy when to be honest, Connor could care less what anyone thinks! They're not in his shoes as far as he's concerned. He can do what the hell he wants. He can walk in a room and pick any woman he wants. He can sell buildings out from underneath eclectic little community groups if it'll make him the money he knows can be made. He can have a blazing argument with my heroine and still end up horizontal at the drop of a hat - cos he just CAN. And as far as he's concerned, my heroine can look for a reason behind that if she wants to - but he is what he is. Learn to live with it.

So I went hero shopping for someone I knew NOTHING about....

He won't get in Connor's way that way - right? The theory being that the crisis in confidence I've had with this one can be dissipated if I can block out ANYTHING that I can use as an *excuse* not to just let loose with this damn book...

So I'm not even gonna say who this guy is for now in case one of you decides to come tell me he's a pussy cat - HA! Not for the next few days he's not. For the next few days he's Connor Flanaghan.

And heaven help my feisty heroine!!!!!!!

It's not just me that has had problems with our darling Hugh either!!!! Have a pop over to Ally Blake's Blog to see just how he grabbed onto her ankles and held her up too!!!! He's sneaky that Hugh....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lessons Learned Pt 1.

So I said I'd come tell you all about some of the writing tips I was given by the wise when I came back today - and here I am...

Yeah - I know - It's gonna take you all a few days to realize I'm back again... But think what a nice surprise it will be if you had given up visiting and then you pop back and see tonnes of stuff!!!

So, when I decided back in 2002 that I was going to give this writing lark another try - and possibly send something away to an actual Publisher - I was lucky enough to make several good friends in the writing community - many of them through eharlequin - and thanks to them I picked up some useful snippets of advice that have never left me and I still believe in today...

1/ Finish the (damn) book - No matter what stage of your career you're at, this will never change. If you can't finish it - you can't sell it. Never, ever send off a proposal or a pitch or a query letter or a synopsis if the book you're trying to convince people to look at does-not-exist. Cos what will happen is this (it's a sod's law thing) - when it doesn't exist - someone will want to see it. And that leaves you two choices - go without sleep for a week while you create the masterpiece you pitched and end up writing short of what you may well have been capable of - or fess up that it doesn't exist to whoever wanted to look at it and watch as their interest suddenly fades, knowing deep in your heart that they will think twice before they look at the *next* pitch that has your name attached. Even in the best case scenario - if they end up waiting weeks for you to deliver what you're trying to sell to them you're still going to drop further down the pile of work they're wading through already...
So, if you're serious about chasing your dream to be a writer don't shorten your chances by being unprofessional. Publishers want professionals - their reputation depends on it, their sales depend on it - and if it comes down to a choice between a great idea and a medium idea that exists on paper and can therefore be worked on to make it great - which one would you choose in their shoes??? (I'll revisit this on the list of things I've learned myself tomorrow)

2/ You can't edit a blank page - Now this is kind of a little bit of the same advice. But it's also very good advice for another reason... We've all been there - you know what I'm talking about; that horrible period of self doubt we like to call writer's block, when the words just won't come and we avoid sitting down to work because we just know we will end up leaving the computer frustrated that we can't think of anything fantabulous to write. The usual signs of procrastination being things like surfing the net, reading other peoples books so we can see how much better than us they are to add to our depression, cleaning house with waayyy more of a high standard than we normally do - you'll know your own method of avoidance - But there's only one way to get through it. And that's to keep writing. Even if it's complete drivel. Even if it's just dialogue. Even if it's two scenes ahead of where you left off. Even if it's just 20 or 100 words as opposed to a couple of thousand. Because at the end you can go back and edit those words - you can delete the worst drivel or add layers to make the drivel work - heck - you may even surprise yourself and discover it's not actually drivel at all. But you can't fix it if it ain't there, can you??? (And yes, I will be revisiting this again tomorrow too...)

3/ Write from the heart - Now you know you've heard that before! But it's true folks. It's also one of the reasons why you should be sure of point 4 on this list - because if you try to write something you don't believe in then there are a million and one readers out there who will sniff you out at fifty paces. If you have no respect for a pathetic heroine then don't try to write a pathetic heroine - if you're throwing a plot point or a conflict in just cos you think it should be there and not because the characters and the story have led you to it then don't put it in - basically if the story is something you would hate reading then why are you writing it? Just because you know a particular style of writing is in the Waldenbooks Best-Sellers list every week it doesn't mean you should go and try and write exactly the same way. Not if it's not the kind of thing you can't feel passionate about. The best characters, the best stories, that magical page-turning quality all comes from people who write something that they enjoy themselves when they read it back to themselves. And you're way more likely to want to tell the story and finish the damn book if you believe in it, right??? I for one don't think that changes much outside of the romance industry either. Remember if you sell the book then the Publisher will look for another from you and another and another. And if you want to be one of those people who still writes twenty years from now then surely to goodness you want to be able to enjoy what you do??? You don't want every book to be forced through your gritted teeth, do you? The people who are successful at this game may complain about a book being difficult - or being chained to the computer - or being constantly stuck in the deadline cave (like moi) - but ask them would they do anything else and the answer will be a resounding NO. That's passion. They write from the heart...

4/ Give yourself the best chance of being published by knowing where you're aiming - This is probably where my constant chant of 'read the line you're pitching at' comes from! If your dream is to be published - turning your hobby into a paying gig - then you'll want to give yourself the best chance of achieving that dream, right? (I used to have this argument with myself all the time before I ever sent anything away - I argued that there was a bigger danger to me of briefly achieving the dream and then losing it as opposed to never having it at all. That reasoning stopped me from trying for years and years. But you know what - that's defeatest talk. I don't think you can live your life never trying to grasp hold of the things you want. Life's too short. But that's probably a philosophy that comes with age...) So once you know what your heart is telling you to write - go research where you can send it. Learn about the company - what do they sell - how do you pitch to them - how good a reputation do they have - how likely are they to take on a new writer - will they take on what we call unsolicited work (not through an agent in other words...) There's no reason these days to not know what way things are done - the internet is a fantastic resource, paricularly when it comes to writing Romance cos the author community is so friendly and welcoming - and if you still can't find what you need to know then an email can answer a lot of questions too! So be brave - get out there and make friends and ask questions! No matter how silly you might think they are!!!

5/ Be true to your voice - Ask any cateory romance author the sweeping popular belief they hate the most and I guarantee you that it will be the issue of following a *formula*! Grrrrr!!!!! And category romance gets it thrown at it at every available opportunity! Saying there is a formula for romance just because every story has a man and a woman who fall in love and live happily ever after is like saying every murder mystery is the same because someone dies and its mysterious or every paranormal is the same because there's a vampire or a werewolf in it or every biography is the same because it's about some persons life! No two people will ever tell the same story the same way - that's a fact. Why? Because each and every one of us has an individual personality, individual opinions, different phraseology - it's all in the voice. So be true to yours! Tell the story the way you might tell it to a friend - without worrying too much as you write about grammar or abbreviations or chapter breaks. Just write it with every little bit of humour, passion, angst, pain, emotion, fantasy and sense of imagination that you have in you to use and then at the editing stage worry about fixing the technical/continuity/grammatical problems. Sometimes a person can get bogged down in every word being perfect before they write another word and that can be terribly stifling to your voice. Tell the story - your way. A fresh voiced approach to an old story will always catch the eye. It doesn't have to be a brand new ground-breaking plotline - it just needs to be characteristically yours...

So there you go - that's the kind of advice I was given at the start and I have handed it on to you with a little more experience behind me. And I still believe in every single one - without question! Yes, you'll probably learn as many other things as I have along the way (some of them we'll go over tomorrow) but a great many of those will probably be individual to you. I know a lot of the things I learnt with this last horrible writing experience were linked to my personality - and all it's varying flaws - but if anything I learnt is useful to you, my good buddies, then at least I won't have suffered in vain.... right???

Let's see if any of the other writers got advice at the start that stayed with them, shall we??? AUTHORS!!!??? If you have five odd pieces of advice you were given that you want to share then Blog them - and come here to let us know you have so we can all go look see.... ok? Lovely.

And next time we'll see what lessons I learnt the hard way this time out....

Monday, November 27, 2006

Inside Project: Parenthood

Well now that I'm out of the cave I have some MAJOR catching up to do...

I thought I'd start with a request from Jopee in the comments section where she asked me about the inspiration behind Brendan in Project: Parenthood and seeing as the book is out all over the place right now and I haven't said a thing about it while I've been buried in the cave I thought I'd do an excerpt and a competition first off my massive list of things to do...

And then I'll come back and tell you all about the trials and tribulations experienced in the cave this time...

So, Project: Parenthood is my first book for the brand new revamped Romance line and it's on sale in the USA & Canada in shops - in the UK and Ireland direct from Mills & Boon or on Amazon and - in Australia and New Zealand online now and retail next month...

The back-blurb says:

She hid from love but it found her anyway...
Teagan Delaney has made sure that she's too busy for love... too busy to get hurt! But when she has to become stand-in mum to her sister's tiny kids, and enlists the help of her gorgeous neighbour Brendan McNamara, the rules Teagan has lived by begin to crumble...
Brendan has already proved with ease that he's perfect father material, and as his new-found family quickly nestles its way into his heart he has to show Teagan that they can be the perfect family too...

The inspiration for Brendan was a tougher one than normal for me to find - because anyone that knows me knows I have a penchant for dark haired hero's - and Brendan is a blonde haired, blue eyed golden boy type... So I had to search long and hard for the right casting. But you know how dedicated I am - and eventually I found the look I wanted in the shape of the yummy Scott Speedman from Felicity and Underworld fame. I think he's perfect. Though I'm sure any of you guys that read the book will have an opinion on how perfect... And you know I love to add to the collection...

So here's an excerpt:

Curious, he fell into step beside her, adjusting his usual long stide to hers. 'You'e quite the mystery Teagan Delaney.'
'Am I?'
'Oh yeah.'
'Just because I didn't make an annual visit to the zoo?'
He smiled, 'Well, there's that. Then there's the fact that you honestly didn't believe that you would enjoy this, did you?'
'I will admit to having my doubts when you talked me into it.'
'And it nearly killed you to pull a sickie, didn't it?'
Another turn of her head in his direction, 'Oh, yes.'
'Mmm,' He nodded his head, gave her a quick glance as he pursed his mouth in thought, then asked, 'So the mystery would be how someone your age has managed to get this far in life without taking the odd sick day to have some fun?'
'I have fun,' she answered with an almost petulant pout of her bottom lip, 'I have loads of fun.'
Brendan quirked a brow in disbelief, 'Doing what?'
'My work is fun. I get to travel to all sorts of great places, all over the world, and meet loads of interesting people. That's fun.'
'That's travel agent fun.'
'Corporate travel consultant fun, if you don't mind. It's still fun, though.'
'It's not the same as taking a day to go play with kids at the zoo though.'
'No, I don't suppose it is,' And she knew he was right about that. Did he ever get tired of being right? Though with the new information she'd gleaned the night before she also had to wonder if being right about so many other things was any consolation for having been so wrong about one very big thing.

The lovely Julie at Cataromance gave the book a four and a half star rating and said:

Warm, witty and tender, this is another wonderful feel-good romance from a writer who always delivers captivating romances which keep the reader turning the pages late into the night. With its splendid cast of amiable characters, hilarious one-liners, heartwarming romance and powerful emotional intensity, Project: Parenthood is another triumph for the hugely talented Trish Wylie, one of the brightest stars of contemporary romance!

Can you see me blushing Julie????? THANK YOU!!! You guys can read the entire review here if you'd like a peek. She's too nice you know... Like all authors I can still read every book in print and see places were I could have made it better. But that's the thing about writing - at some point you have to know when to just leave it be and let it go...

Unlike this last HORRIFIC writing experience - which I couldn't WAIT to see the back of!!! But more about that tomorrow... And I'll tell you what I learnt from this experience - and the tips I was given when I started writing that still stand me in good stead four years after I first sold...

To win a signed copy of Project: Parenthood simply leave me a comment or some news I may have missed while I've been buried and a week from now I shall pick a winner....


Friday, November 24, 2006

Breathless! Cover (very quick visit)

Yes - I AM still in the flipping cave - the damn Pineapple book is OFFICIALLY downgraded to banana level after this one - I SWEAR...

But just HAD to share this cover for Breathless! - am CHUFFED TO BITS with this as this is the one that you guys all helped me out with by voting for a new hero to inspire me and yes - they do spend copius amounts of time seriously playing around in a swimming pool!!! So yaayy!!!

This is the story of Cara (my overweight diet book writer) and Rory (my middle east bodyguard who is home injured and is Cara's Personal Trainer - and he's TO DIE FOR - my absolute FAV hero to date). You may remember that I LOVED every second of this book once we got a new hero inspiration in place. I even blogged about it when it was done and said that I felt I had peaked career-wise on this one... I also have to say that with this one I...erm.. 'came out of my shell' ... ;) AND it has some of the wittiest one-liners I've EVER come up with - can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud even when reading the proofs...I loved it so much that in the *tough one to write* that I'm currently working on I have Rory's younger brother Connor as my hero - (he appeared in Breathless! a couple of times) - but lets just say he has proved a tougher nut to crack than his brother...

Big thanks to Julie Cohen for the heads up that the covers were up - cos I've been waiting on this one like a kid waiting for Christmas. We're shelf buddies for the first time when the books come out in February so GO US!!! And you can pop over to Julie's Blog here to see the cover for her book too... I see February being the month I go out to visit my book in a shop and come home with someone elses... AGAIN.

This darling of a precious manuscript of mine is on the homeward stretch now. THANK GOD. So I will be back in the land of the living on Monday. Expect a LOT of catching up!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then expect me to come tell you about REVISIONS - cos this one is SO gonna have them...

Monday, November 6, 2006

No - I didn't die...

BUT... This book may well be the DEATH of me....

I blame The Pineapple. Just even reliving the experience has apparently put a scut on this one. And I'm tired. Really really tired. And fed up. And computer-technically challenged on a daily basis. So I will moan about it now so that if by some MIRACLE this book sells I will never ever ever - trust me - tell this tale again so as not to take the chance of putting a scut on the one I might hopefully be working on then... After this post it will evermore be professionally referred to as *a tough one to write* and you guys will get my drift...k???

My deadline is a week away. Well, okay, its nine days away. At this point to have half a book done would be the norm for me - you all know I like a bit of a race for the gate, right??? But nuh-uh. Not this time. THIS TIME we aren't even halfway there.... And why you may ask???

Because I've been having an attack of my: mylifesucksbigtimeitis.
And being as and how I am one of those souls who is influenced by mood when writing... I have been having an associated problem with: whaddamidoinwritinabookwhenicantwriteosis
brought on by sporadic doses of: dosno1getaftr3yrs - thatwhenondeadlineineedleftalonecosimgrumpy -
in several degrees of dibilitation....

So THIS picture pretty much sums up how I feel right this second...

Lessons I have learnt from ths book so far:

1/ Do NOT try to be clever and make your internet connection work better while procrastinating during chapter one... you will KILL YOUR CONNECTION and then your computer will have a heart attack and you will have to resort to borrowing computers from family members when they are not using them which means adjusting constantly from keyboard to keyboard and the associated typing dyslexia that goes with that... AND adjusting to different passwords in ALL of them and the fact that NONE of them have all your usual addresses stored for research/browsing/procrastinating... which leads to stress... TRUST ME

2/ Understand that to punish you for your foolish belief that you had ANY technical know-how whatsoever the internet will then sabotage your emails. Which leads to MORE stress. And weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth...

3/ DO NOT volunteer to house sit for friends so that you have two dogs, three cats, a tortoise and 29 HORSES to look after the last two weeks of your deadline AND their computer keyboard needs every single key hammered down with enuff force to make a hole in your normal keyboard - which leads to cramping fingers and thumbs even when you stop typing - which you shouldnt - cos TIME IS RUNNING OUT - Cos if you DO housesit then OF COURSE you should understand that one of the horses will get sick the night before you get there so that you spend three days with sleepless nights checking on it and ringing vets and and and... which leads to exhaustion as you don't sleep properly (catnapping sooooo doesnt work for me) and in turn leads to general grumpiness due to lack of sleep and an inability to remember what you already wrote in the ms last time so you have to constantly re-read it which reminds you that the general levels of perceived suckiness have not improved any whereas leaving it be til you finish the darn thing might give you a better idea how to accept said suckiness might not be as bad as you think it is or you may have a clearer plan of how to fix said suckiness....

4/ Remember if you DONT LIKE your hero in the first four chapters it probably WONT GET BETTER so it serves you right when you have to go back and thump the delete key until your finger DOES cramp up... Listen to the screaming muse in the back of your head darnnit!!!!!

I know theres more but Im depressing myself again so I'll stop...

Let's just say that as far as this one goes.... *it has been a tough one to write* - smirk -.... and ITS STILL NOT OVER....

After this one I SWEAR... I'm taking a break... NO - REALLY I AM....

Meanwhile to amuse you all while I suffer.... Bamabelle is the winner of the one and only Pineapple giveaway I managed to run... CONGRATS - Please email me your addy and cross your fingers it gets to me when you hit send ;)

There is a review for White-Hot! up at Cataromance here - HUGE thanks to the lovely Julie who gave it four and a half stars and said:
"White-Hot is absolutely wonderful! Trish Wylie’s spellbinding tale will tickle your funny bone and tug at your heartstrings. Featuring characters which leap off the pages, realistic dialogue, sweet romance, sizzling sex scenes, electrifying sexual tension and dramatic emotional intensity, White-Hot! is feel-good romance at it’s finest! "
And funnily enough this ties in quite well as I have just had my first peek at the Sexy Sensation cover for White-Hot! which is out in Australia and New Zealand in December (but available online here now!) If you're fascinated by those little moments of coincidence that sometimes happen in life - like I am - then it's worth mentioning that this EXACT same cover pic was on the front of the UK release of Samantha Hunter's Blaze premiere "Virtually Perfect" this year. How do I know this???? Cos I RAVED about this cover to Samantha after I read the book. Cos the guy on the cover is Y-U-M. That hair.....
Sorry... I digress... anyways I just thought it was a Twilight Zone Music spooky moment that having loved and raved about both the cover and the book that I should then end up with that exact same picture... Spooky.... Alright - maybe he doesn't look much like my Shane but even so... YUM... Did I mention the hair???
Anyhoos this is my first ever Sexy Sensation so I hope you all like it... and to keep it company on the shelves in Australia and New Zealand in December we also have Project: Parenthood... available online here now - two books... two lines... in one month...
I'm writing that down in my memory bank myself. It may never happen again...

Project: Parenthood is out NOW in the USA, Canada, the UK and Ireland as my first release for the new Romance Line... But it's worth mentioning to the UK and Ireland readers that it is a DIRECT SALE ONLY in the UK so if you want one then you can get it through the Mills and Boon site or at Amazon (I have a link key on the sidebar at the bottom LHS if it helps)....

Oh and the other small problem I've had while working on this - ahem - *tough* book... was the postal service from Nowheresville (where I live) to Anywhereelseville (aka the rest of the world)... so the reviews for books I posted that took years to get to their destinations are only starting to appear now... First up from The Romance Reader we have a four heart recommendation for The Pineapple:
"Wylie’s style shines through too, with a tad bit of tongue in cheek and a sparkle in the writing that keeps the reader engaged and encouraged that all will work out in the end....
O’Reilly’s Bride is an engaging and entertaining first effort. Wylie will
have a future if she continues to write stories and characters that jump from the pages like these. Keep on eye open for her future tales."
Wasn't that nice of them??? You can read the whole review here and here's hoping that I can actually make it past this - ahem - *tough book to write* -
so that I can make it worth anyones while to keep their eyes open for me...
And the lovely Sue aka MsCreativity wrote a very beautiful review here that said:
"This book is full of emotion from start to finish. I loved both Maggie and Sean from the very first page. IMO the fact that they are two wonderful characters, with nothing to dislike in their personalities, makes it a VERY difficult story to write. "
We LOVE Sue... pop over and show her a bucketload of support as she joins the NaNo crew this month!!!!

Sigh.... Right I spose I better get back to the darn cave then. Not that its my cave. Its someone elses caves. My cave was well settled into... lived in... it had a nice SOFT TOUCH keyboard...If I don't ever come back again then you'll at least now that that this book killed me...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Places to come Wave at Me!

I'm all over the place today, if any of you want to pop around and wave hello at me...

First up I'm blogging today at The Pink Heart Society about my favourite romantic comedy, like, ever...(so far) - While You Were Sleeping. I LOVE this movie!!! And I have waffled lots, quoted bits of dialogue and provided a slew of yummy pics to try and persuade people to feel the same way about it as me...

I've blogged about the chain of events that led to the idea behind O'Reilly's Bride over at The Idea Boutique. This is a great site, where they have different authors popping in to explain how they thought up their stories. And it's fascinating to see how different people approach that. One for you writers out there to read through and see if you think the same way!!! Big thanks to my mate Nicola Marsh for the link to this one!!!

Yes, I'm still blogging at eharlequin too - In the most recent post I've fessed up to the non-writing problems that tortured me even when The Pineapple was finished. Well, before the revisions rounds began 'finished'... I'm at eharlequin all month so please do pop by...

After being tortured by my neices for ages and getting ticked off that I couldn't go see what they were *at* on their own myspace's I finally succumbed to a myspace of my own. Now I'm not too sure about this one just yet... And Ally Blake had a hilarious time when she signed up for it a few weeks back (though I have *no idea* what she did to get *that* response - lol) - But I'll give it a go anyway and we'll see what happens. I'm already a little biased I think, cos I love my Blog here! It's my addiction... And I've made a tonne of fabulous new friends here!!! I'm not sure yet if myspace can have quite the same result, and it's a *much* younger audience... and there are *very few* writers of category romance there... We'll see... I felt brave... And okay, adding a background, searching for people I knew and figuring out how to add some background music was all great fun... So, if you have a myspace, come visit me...

Right, back to the book... and we'll do a workshop over the weekend...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

On with all things Irish for The Pineapple Party

While I try and sort out the large hole I have dug myself with the first three chapters of Fascination I thought I'd keep doing some Irish themed Blogs... We did Sean O'Reilly's name and family motto last time out... and we'll do Maggie Sullivan's next week... and over the weekend we'll do a workshop again...

But as it starts to get chillier here and the leaves change colour on the trees I thought I'd introduce you to one of my favourite local dishes. AND it's one Trish-the-hardly-ever-cooks can make without burning holes in things...

It's what we call a 'stick-to-your-ribs' dish... meaning on cold evenings it fills you up and warms you up... Oh, and it's YUMMY!!!

A recipe for Champ:

8 medium potatos, peeled
small bunch of scallions (spring onions)
1/4 pt/125ml/1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper
knob of butter per person
(serves four)

The best way to prepare the potatoes is to cook them in a steamer and then pass them through a food mill. Alternatively, boil until soft but not mushy, drain and return them to the heat to dry somewhat before mashing. In any case keep hot. Chop the scallions finely, both green and white parts, and cook for 5 minutes in the milk. Beat this mixture into the mashed potatoes until smoooth and fluffy, season to taste and serve a large mound on each plate with a good knob of butter melting into the top. Each forkful is dipped into the melted butter as it is eaten. Very good with a glass of cold milk.
Colcannon is made in much the same way as champ, but with the addition of cabbage. In parts of the country white cabbage is always used. In any case, shred and chop a small cabbage (discard the stump) and cook until tender. Beat into the potato mixture and serve as above.
From the Appletree Press title: A Little Irish Cookbook.

If you have a go at it do let me know how you got on!!! It's one of my abolsute favs from my childhood days. Big plates of buttery champ, big glass of milk... rain pelting down outside...

Remember you have til Saturday to comment in order to go into the draw for a copy of O'Reilly's Bride!!!!