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!!!!

Monday, October 9, 2006

A little behind The Pineapple Info

So I thought I'd give you some behind the scenes stuff from O'Reilly's Bride... And try and add to the great Sean debate... Though I'm loving all the suggestions you've been making on who you'd have seen playing him... ;)

Let's start with Sean O'Reilly's coat of arms... And the family motto of fortitudine et prudential (fortitude and prudence) - which roughly translates as mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger or temptation courageously (fortitude dictionary definition) and caution with regard to practical matters, discretion, regard for ones own interest (prudence dictionary definition) - Now, I WISH I could tell you that I picked that name on purpose to match it with that family motto and its associated qualities... But I didn't. It was a random choice off my list of Irish names, and one I hadn't used before. But having looked it up for this Pineapple Party Blog I got the shivers - cos that motto couldn't have been more perfect for the man who became Sean O'Reilly...

I smiled when I read Jopee's idea of how Sean had looked in her mind (see comments after last post), because to a certain extent I *had* thought of that film when I was writing. But the film had a sad ending. I needed happy. And I was influenced too by the ever helpful Hugh Jackman's role in Someone Like You, which I recently reviewed for The Pink Heart Society. Because, although I'd had the rugged exterior of Tom Berenger in mind as I started, Sean needed to be so much more. He needed to have that fortitudine et prudential as he set out to make Maggie his! Tom gave me the rugged image from Sean's war cameraman days that I needed, Hugh gave me that cheeky sense of humour that was such a big part of Sean as the story progressed... but neither of them were proving to be Sean for my muse as I got further into the story... Sean was becoming a man of his own, so whoever I used as my image of him had to be a little of both the potential heros who had already helped me - and irresistable as bedamned to boot!!! It wasn't until I caught sight of an old favourite TV programme of mine that I found the image that was perfect for the man who became Sean O'Reilly to me...On my Eharlequin Blog this month I have been talking about the agonies involved in writing The Pineapple... Literally as well as figuratively... But somewhere along the way the whole thing wasn't helped by the fact that I couldn't get Sean O'Reilly's image fixed in my mind. And that may have been a small thing as his personality took on wings of its own - but as I was already feeling disjointed and unattached to the book as it was - I needed that image. I needed to have a picture beside my computer - so that when I got stuck I could look at it and he would *tell* me what he would do next, or what he would say or how he was feeling... or he would simply nag at me with those gorgeous dark eyes every time I went past the computer without sitting down to do some work... I needed my Sean!!!!

There had to be integrity in him, so that we understood he would work tirelessly as a News Cameraman to show the rest of the world what was happening in war torn matter what the personal cost along the way.

"You saw some things you'll never forget."
"No matter how hard I try," He took a breath and looked her in the eye again, "And I don't think it's right that I forget. Because if I forget altogether, it's like cheating all those people somehow. I was there to make sure the rest of the world, the people back here knew what was going on. By blocking it out I'm denying all that I tried to show them."

There had to be that irrestibly cheeky, quick-witted sense of humour that Hugh Jackman had in Someone Like You, with a sparkle in those eyes... so that you could understand why Maggie would find herself smiling so often.

He laughed aloud, "You're kidding! You're chatting away to this guy and you don't even know what he looks like? He could have two heads, or be ninety, or some spotty teenager having a few kicks on the net."
"He doesn't come across like that. He's smart, funny, insightful."

"A smart, funny, insightful one eyed old pirate whose picture has a set of numbers along the bottom?"
She tried to tug her arm free, scowling when he held onto her, "You see this is exactly why I don't talk to you about this kind of thing."

And then there had to be that drop dead gorgeous look that would single him out of a crowd so that we could completely understand Maggie not being able to resist him, no matter how she tried!

Choosing to ignore his question she instead focussed on how well he filled out a pair of jeans. She’d always thought she was an ‘eyes’ girl, but wow, she could change her mind. Maybe it was just because, wet as his jeans were, they just moulded in all the right places.
At the doors to their apartments he swung round to look at her and grinned when her eyes shot upwards and she blushed. He studied her face for the briefest of seconds and then asked, “Were you just checking me out?”
“No!” She blushed an even fierier red at the lie.
“Yes you were,” He continued grinning as he leaned a shoulder against the wall and folded his arms across his chest, “So what’s the verdict?”
With a scowl she went searching for her door key, her eyes avoiding his, “I have better things to do that look at your rear.”
“You were looking though.”
“I was not!” And as if she was about to admit she had been. Hell would be a cold place first.

Re-discovering Kyle Chandler in varying different pictures achieved all those goals for me. As finding the right basic mental picture so often does!!! To me, he could have lived up to that O'Reilly family motto...Whether or not you guys still disagree with my choice or not remains to be seen! LOL. But even if you do have someone else in mind as you read the book, either way I'll be happy. Cos it means that he became 'real' to you too. I may have found O'Reilly's Bride my toughest book to write out of all of them so far - but I will say I am pleased with how it turned out. Especially when it came to Sean O'Reilly himself... Sigh...

And remember, you can add a comment to the last post and you could win a signed copy of the book next week!!!

Saturday, October 7, 2006

On With The Pineapple Party

It's onwards and upwards with The Official Pineapple Party as I offer you, my darling Blog readers, the first of four weekly prizes....

But to kick off... Let's have a little bit of an O'Reilly's Bride excerpt:

“Fancy meeting you here.”
He grinned, immediately recognizing her smile for what it was. A front specifically for his benefit.
“Yeah, fancy that.” He took a swig of beer and stood by her side, his feet set slightly apart, claiming the piece of ground he was standing on while he looked at the small crowd and glanced occasionally at Maggie from the corner of his eye, “Don seems to be having a good time.”
Maggie looked over at their neighbour, “Yeah, he does,” With a safe topic to discuss she immediately slipped into the easy role that until a few months ago had been so natural to her, leaning a little closer to Sean and nudging her shoulder against his upper arm, “You see the way he keeps looking at Rachel?”
Sean leaned his head a little closer to hers and dropped his voice conspiratorially, “She keeps looking at him too, when she thinks he can’t see her.”
The subject of the octogenarian love affair was one they frequently talked about. Maggie smiled and tilted her head to look up into dark eyes, her voice low, “You think they’ll ever get it together? Or is that still too much of a stretch for you into the realms of believing good things can happen?”
Sean’s eyes locked with hers and he stared at her for a long moment, “I’m learning to stretch some. So, maybe it might happen yet. They’ve been friends a long time though.”
“Yes they have, but you only have to see the way they are together to know there’s more there.”
He blinked slowly and smiled.
Maggie searched his eyes, looking from one to the other. She tilted her head to the other side and searched again, then an eyebrow quirked and she asked, “What?”
The smile remained, “What?”
She stared back at him, “You have a look.”
“Do I?” He continued smiling his usual self assured smile, his eyes giving nothing away.
It bugged the hell out of Maggie that he had the ability to do that and that he still felt the need to do it around her. He was just so controlled sometimes that she wanted to smack him silly. He held everything inside, guarded from the world so that in the brief instances he did open up it made it all the more of a gift to whoever was allowed in. But he still didn’t completely trust her, did he?
The fact that she’d had to hold back so much from him of late made the realization almost hurtful. She hated that a relationship that had come to mean so much to her had come to this point.

You have until next Saturday to add a comment here to try and win a signed copy of The Pineapple. If I haven't completely put you off the very idea of wanting to actually read it!!!

Friday, October 6, 2006

Book With Trish - Pt 6

Yup – it’s workshop time again in between Pineapple partying…

Remember we talked a little about getting our characters names on the page as soon as possible to get them introduced to the reader? (Pont1 of the last workshop task?) Well, now we’re going to look at the next thing on the list and we’re going to talk a little about describing them…

Writing a romance can sometimes take on a slightly different language from the norm except in the actual dialogue (though not in the terms that so many category romance critics might like to think!) It’s up to the writer to transmit to the reader not only the basics of how they look or what they’re wearing - like some kind of criminal ID that you’d make for the police - but to transmit details in such a way that the readers imagination fills in the gaps… (and that happens when people read a romance – just ask all the Blog visitors who have been disagreeing with my original casting of O’Reilly’s Bride…) In a romance we have to use as many elements as possible to portray how attractive each character is to the other, we have to key into that part of a readers imagination where they have already an idea of what they might find attractive. And that's no easy task!

What we have to do is ‘show’ how these people look through the eyes and the perception of their counterparts and using as many elements of layering as we can to create a three dimensional image… And it’s also worth keeping in mind that beauty and attraction is all in the eye of the beholder and in the extension of the writers imagination into the readers imagination!

Let’s look at a few different examples from the two lines…

First up from Chapter One of White-Hot! We have Shane through Finn’s eyes:

There were times when Shane Dwyer’s way of asking a question accompanied with a mischievous sparkle in his blue eyes just bugged the holy hell out of Finn.

This hints not only how Shane looks, but at a little of his personality… It’s not much – but in one sentence we have told the reader he has a mischievous sparkle in his blue eyes – so let yourself form a mental picture of that – and we have stated that it bugged the holy hell out of Finn – so we have stamped familiarity between the characters in the readers mind too… One line, but effective…because already you are thinking about that mischievous sparkle and translating it in your own imagination. And we can drip lines like this all through the manuscript – subtly reminding the reader time and time again of that mental picture they have formed. Solidifying the image if you like. Cos, like I said, it’s all in the eyes of the beholder – and no two people will ever read a description of someone and form the same mental image. Readers will all have their own ideas of how the hero and heroine look by the end of the story – and I think as a reader myself that that’s just how it should be. So, that if you were to ask them all to do a picture for that ID for the police – the chances are that no two pictures would be the same. Just think of the varying debates on the men who have played Darcy in P&P adaptations and you’ll know what I mean…

So, little details. repeated often can be effective. And your reader will fill in the blanks…

From Chapter One of Breathless! We have Rory through Cara’s eyes:

He had the eyes of a devil. Midnight black, but with sharp sparks of light, like diamonds sprinkled on a coal face. And that voice! A deep baritone grumble that sent tremors through the air, ripples that washed over body and called out to every pheromone she possessed.

Keep in mind that this is a quote from a Modern Extra and we are building a picture of an Alpha male who the heroine is fiercely attracted to from the start – even though she fights him off verbally from the very first page! Rory is supposed to be sexy as hell – and from the way that the heroine reacts to him we know that – and we fill in the gaps in our own minds… What do you see of him from that short description? Have you got a mental picture? This is a slightly different way of approaching the descriptive element of our characters – it uses a very visual image with the diamonds and the coalface. And then adds another sense – sound – to make the image of him more ‘multi-dimensional’. Use of the senses is so important. And something I’m trying more and more to be conscious of using these days. We don’t just have sight through our characters eyes to help form that mental picture – we have sound, scent, touch, taste… And each one of them adds to the overall picture. So when you read back over your work look at where you might add a sense to heighten a characters awareness or to add to that mental picture your reader is forming. Don’t leave the senses out!!!

From Chapter One of Bride Of The Emerald Isle (formerly known as The Love Letters). We have Garrett through Keelin’s eyes:

The mist swirled again in pockets at his feet, the sun came out and caught in a glint off his dark hair. And Keelin stood transfixed as he got closer and looked straight at her.
He was sensational.
Straight out of the pages of some big city magazine trying to sell country-wear to women who dearly hoped those clothes would make their citified men turn into this Adonis.

Now keep in mind that this is a Romance… this is a more classical form of description – with room for a slower build from that initial attraction – and definitely more room for a slightly more ‘flowery’ description if you will… Here we have used outside elements to add to the description. We have the mist swirling at his feet, we have the sunshine glinting off his hair. And this is another method we can use to ‘frame’ the description of the characters – think how long hair on a heroine would look tossed by the wind – or how a chill in the air might bring a rosy tint to her cheeks… How would drops of rain fall off the ends of short curled hair? It’s integrating those outer elements so that your description is embedded into even more information (this time about the weather) that can make the scene seem more real for the reader. Everything you write should have that multi-dimensional element to it. And again – this is something you can think about when you go back through the story. (If you read this blog then you’ll know with this book I had to go backwards and layer in – dogs – for instance. And when I did I used them to high-light how the heroine was becoming a part of the hero’s life. The dogs would shadow her, lie at her feet, would not come when their master called them. Subtly using the ‘man’s best friend’ analogy to echo how she had been immediately accepted by everyone in the hero’s family…even though he was still denying he felt that way himself.)

Then we added the small passage about the country-wear magazine – this is again a way of trying to allow us to form that mental image. I mean, if you’ve ever looked at those pictures of men in outdoor gear then you’re gonna think good looking men, aren’t you? I know I am!!! In fact, I could probably send you a few….

Whatever way you describe your characters, just remember that it is layering, and not a long list that says – He was 6ft 1 with short dark hair, blue eyes, broad shoulders and dimples when he smiled. Yes, that will create a mental image. But it’s a very *flat* description. And when writing a romance, or any book, we don’t want our characters to be flat – do we?

You’ll hear me use the phrase layering again and again and again as we write this book together. Because to me, the layering of all these different things can turn a mediocre story into something amazing. No two writers will layer things the same way. But then no two writers given the same basic plot will come out with the same story. That’s the beauty of the individual voice! But every one of them will use layers – plot is a layer – dialogue is a layer – use of the senses is a layer – POV is a layer – movement is a layer… It’s how you put them all together that draws the overall picture – like an artist laying colors onto a canvas.

So, while I run off to look at the next part of our last exercise and blog about the Pineapple Party – have a read over what you have written and see where you could layer in some of those things to make what you have written stronger…It could be somewhere where you can layer in a scent – the musk of male aftershave – the taste of coffee on their lips. Or sound – the outside noise from a busy street – the soft music from a radio station. Or even the weather - the heat of sun on their faces – the wind in their hair…. The choices are endless…. And by layering them in you don’t need to use paragraphs of your short word count limit to try and describe your characters when you could be layering a little along with everything else – the same for using a paragraph on the weather - or a paragraph on their surroundings…

Yes, paint us that mental picture asap. No, don’t make it one dimensional!!!

So, still following our list from the last workshop, next up we will have how their prior relationship effects the way your characters interact…

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Pineapple Month & Blogging

As you may have guessed from my silence this last few days I've been a busy busy beaver!!!!

I spent the weekend with a host of amazing Harlequin and Silhouette authors at a chat with Joyfully Reviewed - which is a fabulous placed devoted to romance books and lovers of romance books. Authors can post excerpts from upcoming publications and tell readers about competitions and updates to their websites and it's honestly one of the best resources I've come across in a while... even if the amount to read through is astounding and all too distracting when you're supposed to be writing a book... If you want to take a look see the website is here and the Yahoo! loop I was on at the weekend is here. They do regular weekends with authors from different publishing houses so I'm definitely going to be there the next time they invite Harlequin and Silhouette Author's along!!!

So the chat was very very busy and that kept me distracted... it also made me ambitious to try and post a picture of my cover in my posts and in trying to get my computer to get all my email addy's to synchronise I somehow managed to kill my internet connection... hours later and it's still dead... someone came and looked at it... still dead... result?It may need set back to it's original settings! Can I spare it about now??? Can I heck-as-like... So I've had to borrow one that works... Sigh...

And timing being everythng that would, of course, be when I'm swamped with things to do. As well as the workshop here we have two out of four of the Pink Heart Society gang sick and the other two (me included) on deadline... I have all kinds of chats I've been doing for the release of this month's book and I'm blogging elsewhere.... but I'll come to that in a minute...

This month sees the release of O'Reilly's Bride - the book we all know as The Pineapple... It's the book that Romantic Times gave a four and a half rating:

"Trish Wylie's O'Reilly's Bride is lighthearted and witty, with a wealth of emotion beneath."

And Cataromance gave a 5 Star rating:

"O'Reilly's Bride is another novel by Trish Wylie which you will devour in a single sitting! Brimming with passion, emotion, romance and humour and featuring a fantastic heroine and a gorgeous hero, O'Reilly's Bride is sheer perfection!"

And yet it was one of the toughest books I've ever written... Why? Well... I'll be talking about that a little on here and on my EHarlequin Blog this month here... Please come and say HI if you get a chance so I don't end up talking to an empty room...

But on here - in between Book With Trish sessions we'll be spending the month celebrating the book that gave me so much heartache and a crisis of my ability to write anything worth reading ever again!!! We'll be looking behind the scenes at the characters, the ideas behind the book, the setting, the emotional journey and the Irish History behind the characters names... and throwing in some of my favourite Irish Recipes and some competitions along the way for you guys to win some goodies!!!! Its a PINEAPPLE PARTY!!!

So to kick off here are the pictures of my hero and heroine casting... Though in this book, as always, they were a starting point - and as the book progressed Maggie and Sean took on a life of their own..

For Sean I needed someone who had that rugged exterior that hinted at strength an
d capability - even under the most extreme conditions! And Tom Berenger was perfect for that image! Before the book starts Sean O'Reilly was an award winning Cameraman in places like Somalia, Ethiopia and Iraq - he travelled all over the world to war torn countries making films that would show the world what the people there went through. But by the time the book starts he has come home to Ireland... burnt out... haunted... and with a deep seated need to build something for himself in the future...

For Maggie I needed someone who, outwardly, was beautiful, confident and looked like she had the world at her feet. Someone who people would look at and assume she had a char
med existance - cos we tend to do that with someone who looks that good, don't we? Amy Andrews was the perfect image again, though in the book Maggie Sullivan would be a little older. She's a local news reporter - familiar to the people as someone they see on TV every night at six... and she has Sean as her cameraman... But beneath the surface... Maggie is carrying a secret...

The back blurb reads:

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 how much she has hurt Sean - nor how much she has fuelled his determination to make her his... by any means necessary!

Look out for the competitions as they come along this month and as you read this I am already working on our next workshop... In fact I'm working on a couple of weeks worth of Blogs for everywhere... so I can get some more actual writing done...