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....

IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK!!!!

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 -
&willmostlikelycryotherwise
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...