Monday, February 27, 2006

My inner child

Your Inner Child Is Surprised

You see many things through the eyes of a child.
Meaning, you're rarely cynical or jaded.
You cherish all of the details in life.
Easily fascinated, you enjoy experiencing new things.


And the best thing to keep your inner child alive? Neices and Nephews.... My seven year old nephew has taken to racing me everywhere... So yesterday I was forced to use the 'bad leg limp' con to get a head start... Methinks I may have a competitive nature. But the happy dance when I won balanced it out with a fair amount of childishness I think...

So if you have brothers and sisters... Force them to have kids!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Friends or No friends - The dilemma of secondary Characters - Writing Tips From A Beginner



Ahh the dilemma of secondary characters....

To have them or not to have them, this is the question. Its all too easy to fill in a blank page or two with people. Friends of the main characters, work associates, family. It makes perfect sense that our main characters would have other people in their lives but the simple fact is that in a shorter romance novel - there just ain't always room for them! No matter how much we may love them or how desperately we may need a 'ploy' to advance our story cos we're stuck.

So if there is one rule I have learnt of late it is this - If they don't advance the story then get rid of them!!! They are there as SECONDARIES and nothing else so if your main characters have a conversation with them then that conversation has to move the story along. In the conversation there should be a short lead into something more important or a moment where our main characters work through a thought process with someone who knows them. We all know that women are the great talkers; they rely on friends to talk through their problems to help them think through their dilemmas and to help with a solution. Maybe even to bemoan the fact that they're having a rough time or the best time of their lives! Its what we do. But in a romance, unless that conversation reveals something we didn't know or moves our character onto a revelation or an emotional turning point of some kind then its just a cup of coffee and a gossip!

Short contemporary romances are character driven, at least for the lines I work in and that means that everything is about the journey that the two main characters are on. Secondary characters, although adding an extra element of shading or colour, should be in the background of this main journey. So unless your secondaries do or say something to help the story along... DELETE THEM. If you're determined that the reader meeting them will give a brief insight into the personality or motivation of our main characters or assist in an emotional breakthrough of sorts... THEN KEEP IT BRIEF.

They can be terrific, they may even lead to a second story of their own. But they are SECONDARY. And I'm off to stick that on a post it note to my screen as I start my new book. Five weeks to deadline... lol...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pink Heart Society Links


It's been brought to my attention that people who pop across to visit The Pink Heart Society can't actually find it when they get here 'cos it has moved back a page or two... lol... who knew?
So if you're interested in standing up to be counted as a fan of Catagory/Series Romance and you want to join in the debate or add to the Hall Of Fame please do so here...
The Pink Heart Society

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Brainstorming and Knowing your Characters - Writing Tips From A beginner

Yahoo! Avatars
My yahoo avatar - I like to think if I had liposuction, a gastric band and never ate again for the rest of my life I could actually look more like this. But I do think its representative of my interests and the things that surround me... And I haven't dressed a 'dolly' in two decades....

I've spent the last few days introducing some friends to msn messenger and the fantastic time wasting qualities it holds when mid-book...

But one of the best things I've discovered with it, is despite time differences and distance, when imaginative minds chat online the brainstorming levels grow to insane proportions! As writers we do tend to have a 'live in a cave' quality to our lives. Certainly when we're writing and close to deadline. And yet we need the mental boost that active conversation and outside stimuli can give us in order to come up with new stories.For me messengers are therefore a great great invention. Sometimes you just need someone else to say 'hows it going' or 'why are you stuck' and in turn someone to ask 'do you think thats what they would do?' or 'does this sound plausable'. Which brings me to one subject I've learned this last few months through brainstorming and learning about my craft...

You gotta know your characters.

It sounds so damn simple when I put it that way doesn't it and it should be simple, right? But I don't just mean what they look like, what they do for a living, who their friends are and where they live. I'm not even talking about what has happened in their lives to bring them to a certain point in time. What I'm talking about is really knowing them. Being inside their head. Its no use having them battered and mistrusting from past hurt if you then have them trust the next person they meet. Cos people just don't do that. They are shaped by events and circumstance. And I think it's all too easy to forget that when you're writing unless you really *are* your characters. When people ask the popular question of; 'do you put much of yourself in your books' I guess that by that token, yes I do. Snippets of myself are in each and every one. But they aren't me, because the experiences I give them aren't my own. But I am 'them' for as long as I'm in charge of what they say and do. I don't think any writer can avoid it completely. But in turn it may also mean that for a while I'm them. Because I have to think of what they'd do, how they'd react, what they might think and how they'd interpret something all based on the past experiences I have given them. So maybe when I find myself writing in the middle of the night and I laugh out loud at something they say or cry when they have an emotional breakthrough it doesn't actually mean I'm insane (be quiet in the cheap seats!) It just means I'm on the right track and I'm inside them enough to show their journey the way it should be shown...

So, if you're struggling with character development feel free to join me in the slight case of schizophrenia it would appear I have while writing...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Aaaannnnddd another one!

Gummy Bears

You may be smooshie and taste unnatural, but you're so darn cute.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dragging my heels

So, this flippin ST- tentatively titled 'Fighting Fate' btw...! WHY can't I seem to summon the energy to finish it I ask myself??? I've loved this story for yonks, its characters speak to me, its a fairly original idea which I love (how many dead hero's and dying heroines are there I ask you?) and it's on the homeward stretch which is normally when I pick up speed...

I think what it is is fear. Plain and simple. I've had a pretty good run for a while now and the thought of trying something so completely new just scares the pants off me. What if everyone thinks it sucks? What if a story I love is rejected from place to place to place. And what if I try the whole agents game again and it's as much of a complete disaster as it was last time. Okay, so last time I tried it was a very naive attempt. I learnt from my mistakes and this time round I feel I'm better prepared. And I think the story is pretty original. But the first attempt at finding an agent stung. From a couple in particular. I mean, I know these people are busy and are as out to make money as the rest of the world but where I come from manners cost nothing. And the kind of people who were rude to JK Rowling must be self inflicting themselves with gaping wounds by now. (Not that I'm saying I'm her by any stretch of the imagination....) They can read the proposal and say no thanks and I'm fine with that - no problem - But the ones that took the time to write scathingly rude e-mails in reply just completely put me off the notion of wanting an agent at all...

But if I can't occassionally try my hand at the kind of story that calls me then what kind of writer am I? And I've wanted to write my whole life. But it's still scary...

Maybe I just need a good kick up the ass. Maybe I just need to be less of a hermit than I am at the minute. Heck, I don't know. But I can't seem to stop the heel dragging thing. Darn it.

And now I have proposals to put together for Modern Extra's - so I have to go look at some more pictures... Sigh. I wish the new books I've ordered from the line would get here so I can see how repressed I was/wasn't...

Addicted now

Your Candy Heart Says "First Kiss"

You're a true romantic who brings an innocent hope to each new relationship.
You see the good in every person you date, and you relish each step of falling in love.

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: a romantic dinner your sweetie cooks for you

Your flirting style: friendly and sweet

What turns you off: cynics who don't believe in romance

Why you're hot: you always keep the romance alive

Anyday now I'm gonna stop doing these. I really am. Maybe I have an addictive personality... Maybe while I have no new book to work on (alright, alright, yes there is the ST - I hear ya!) and while my horse is still stood knee deep in mud so I can't ride out - I just have too much time to do silly things. And avoid tidying up... But I did manage some laundry. So yaaay me...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Apples and lemons


So I'm a good girl and have sent off a few outlines for my Ed to choose from for my next Romance and now I'm convinced I've sent her a pile of lemons... I wonder if the sensation of being any good every actually kicks in?? So, she's going to look at them next week which gives me time to stress... and play with a couple of Modx plots... and possibly finish this ST... and I guess I *could* hoover or something... Nah. Maybe not.
Anyhoo - inspiration for my next hero in the form of an old favourite of mine - Kyle Chandler... Get a look at those eyes...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's to me!


I get to pick my favourite on Valentine's Day, right???? Ladies.... a guy for pure glorious sarcasm in the roles he plays (which does it for me!) - Mr. Jensen Ackles... Inspiration for my Jack in Her Real-Life Hero....

Liz's nomination....


Our lovely Liz Fielding's most excellent choice.... Mr. Paul Bettany... anyone for tennis...??

Valentines musings pt1

The PJ's You Are Most Like: Comfortable PJ's

You're a bit conservative, traditional, and tend to follow conventions
You have an understated, easy sexyness that men love
People instantly find comfort in you, and you're a "best friend" to many.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Ally's nomination


First up from the lovely Ally Blake - a woman of profound good taste - obviously...
Mr. James Penfold....

Apple time


Nominations are coming in and a big thank you to you all for that. I'm just having a few problems with the whole uploading them thing... Grrr...
In the meantime - A nice Irish lad for ya - Mr. Cillian Murphy...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Just for a wee change

Your Gemstone is Amber

Creative, happy, and logical.
You shine in any intellectual endeavor

Aaaannnnddd.... another one!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Today's apple for the Teacher....
















I entirely blame the Pride & Prejudice film for this nomination. Though he was equally as cute on the small screen in the very excellent 'Spooks'. Ladies - inductee number two is Matthew McFadyen....

And another one....

You are Sneakers!

You're an active girl, who's all about function
You dress for the occasion - comfort comes first
Your perfect guy? Someone who can keep up with you.
You'll find him - but you might have to slow down to see him!

Bit disturbed by how true some of these are - Though the chances of me telling you which Muppet character I turned out to be are slim to non -existant.....

Addictive Little Fun quizzes...




You Are Chocolate Chip Ice Cream



Popular. Friendly. Fun.


I am getting ridiculously addicted to these things and it's all Donna's fault!!!! So I'm only going to do a couple each time - I'm rationing myself. Though I have to say I used to do quizzes like these in school and they could be disturbing at times.... May have to lie down on a sofa to tell you all that tho....

Thursday, February 9, 2006

An apple a day kinda thing


Wellll... It is the month of romance and it seemed like a good time to start the 'hero material' section of the Pink Heart Hall of Fame...

Nominations now being taken and all e-mail pictures that pass the Trish test will of course be added!

So in honour of the sale of WHITE-HOT we have Mr. Eddie Cibrian - say hello girls... and lets hear your nominations...

Valentines for singles....

Here we are in the world’s official month of romance! Lovely. But it can be a weird holiday for us single folk. It’s almost a month of peer pressure when everywhere you look you are reminded that you should be with someone and if you’re not it can feel almost like there’s something wrong that you’re not. Well, poo to that I say!!!

I think that regardless of whether you're single or spoken for that Valentine’s month should be the month you love yourself first. And I don’t mean anything strange by that. What I mean is be good to yourself! Do something for you! Maybe something as simple as a good book that keeps you in your lovely bubble bath until your feet look like five toed prunes or a night with your favorite film or even something as luxurious as a pampering day with a nice massage or a haircut or a manicure. Why should all the people with partners have all the fun???

Now speaking of favorite films, and adding to the new Pink Heart Hall of Fame I’m putting in two new films; The new version of Pride & Prejudice for its simmering passion and sheer romantic ending (and if you have the DVD do go to the bonus section and look at the alternate US ending – not exactly as Austin wrote it but – oh my!!!) and another new one to me; Must Like Dogs – So much humor and a gorgeous Irish family and John Cusack, nuff said…

On the writing front I have given myself a wee week off while my lovely editor is off ski-ing. I find every now and again it’s an idea to do that and I have been pushing myself quite hard since I took this up full time. Two series romances and three quarters of an ST since the end of September isn’t too bad going I don’t think. And I now have about six weeks until the deadline for my next romance which should be enough time… right, er,. Right??? I mean, all I have to do is think of a story and then write it. Okay. Maybe I’ll just stop blogging now and have a bit of a brainstorm…. Inspirational Cabernet anyone??

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Sold to NEW LINE!





Loving the woo-hoo btw - THANKS NATASHA!

So - It would seem that the revisions didn't entirely suck and I have now officially sold my first book to the Modern Extra Sensual line. It's called WHITE-HOT and will be on sale in September this year. All VERY EXCITING!!! And a great relief, having gone full time at the writing game only four months ago....

Now... I wonder if it's too much to hope that the luck can carry through to my first ST proposal.... GULP...