Thursday, December 27, 2007

Yes I'm Back and with NEWS!!!!

And not just news on what might befall Natasha in the near future either.... ;) Matchmaking for me indeed!!!
FIRST UP the review for Her One And Only Valentine Natasha kindly posted to make nice with me:

Inheriting an old country house gives Rhiannon McNally a purpose -- and a place to start over with her daughter, Lizzie. Then Rhiannon finds out Lizzie's father, wealthy businessman Kane Healey, owns the property the house stands on. Rhiannon's hated Kane for a decade, thinking he abandoned her while she was pregnant, but Kane never received the letter she left for him. So they both have negative feelings to overcome, for Lizzie's sake. Rekindling their passion is unexpected -- as is falling in love, again. Trish Wylie's Her One and Only Valentine (4) has excellent characters -- particularly the larger-than-life hero. It also has charm and wit to spare.

AM CHUFFED TO BITS WITH THAT!!! Have to say the fear never leaves you when it comes to reviews of books... never... I jest not... And as this one is kind of an homage to Pride & Prejudice in my own wee way and is my first ever secret baby/child story I've been pooing myself... THANKYOU ROMANTIC TIMES!!!

AND THANK YOU AGAIN cos...

Somewhat MIRACULOUSLY for the THIRD YEAR in a row the very very very very LOVELY RT Reviewers have nominated one of my books for an award!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This year it's Rescued: Mother-To-Be, which was an RT Top Pick back in April of this year... And if you recall the book I needed lots of help with when it came to questions about pregnancy (which I know absolutely NOTHING about barring the shopping you get to do for new arrivals when friends or family have a little one...cos shopping I can DO) The info my friends gave me... welllll.... Natasha wasn't wrong when she said it scared me a tad...

And just to complete my hat-trick of good news we have another nomination and this one is just as exciting for me because it's something VERY NEW for we Harlequin authors.

2007 saw the introduction of all Harlequin books to the ebook market and because of that we are now eligible to enter contests that up until now we couldn't.... so feeling a little brave I entered the EPPIE contest for the first time...

Aaaannnndddd Bride Of The Emerald Isle has finalled in the Contemporary Romance Category!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I should go offline more often really.... You can read a full listing of the RT Reviewers Choice Award Nominees HERE - Big shout out to PHS friends Ally Blake and Natasha Oakley for their Nominations too!!! And you can read a full listing of the EPPIE Award Nominees HERE....
OH MY BUT ITS GREAT TO BE BACK!!!

Trish is back!

Disaster!!!!!!!!! Trish has her cable. So that's me needing police protection then. I had all kinds of things planned, too. Maybe I'll have to post my research suggestions on my blog ...???????? It all depends on what Trish does now, doesn't it!! But in the hope that I may live to write another day, have a look at the Romantic Times Magazine review of 'Her One And Only Valentine' - out this January!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Inheriting an old country house gives Rhiannon McNally a purpose -- and a place to start over with her daughter, Lizzie. Then Rhiannon finds out Lizzie's father, wealthy businessman Kane Healey, owns the property the house stands on. Rhiannon's hated Kane for a decade, thinking he abandoned her while she was pregnant, but Kane never received the letter she left for him. So they both have negative feelings to overcome, for Lizzie's sake. Rekindling their passion is unexpected -- as is falling in love, again. Trish Wylie's Her One and Only Valentine (4) has excellent characters -- particularly the larger-than-life hero. It also has charm and wit to spare.

Nice!

Now you can have your blog back, Trish!!

With love
Natasha

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Matchmaking!

Yes, still me! Not surprisingly, it being Christmas, Trish is still without her cable so I remain in control of her blog. Obviously I don't want to waste the opportunity to cause mischief. :) But if I'm to live I need to conceal it in writerly terms.

This is a bit of a stretch but I want you to work with me. We're going to consider this research.

It occured to me that as Trish is the only single girl among the Pink Heart Society editors I really ought to lend her a hand. She's just so picky! But I reckon if we all pool our resources - friends, cousins, brothers ... we should be able to come up with a shortlist of men who might suit her. 'Hands on' research can only be good for a career romance novelist, wouldn't you say???? And too much time alone in her cabin is going to make her very dull. So ... let's get to work.

I think I've got her 'list' clear in my head.

Rupert Penry-Jones is, unfortunately, taken, but something similar would be fine.

We need tall. She is that shallow It's to do with eye levels. She prefers it if they are making eye contact rather than anywhere lower down.

Somewhere between thirty and forty, I think. Any older and he won't keep up.

She likes a bit of mystery. So someone a little reserved, perhaps.

Accent - actually she's flexible on this. She's writing a run of American heroes so maybe that's an idea worth exploring. As an author she can live anywhere.

He has to like horses. This is non-negotiable.

Nice eyes, by which she means expressive.

And cats. Trish likes cats.

And country. She's not going to be happy unless we settle her somewhere rural with space to breathe. Getting Trish safely about London is a bit like maneouvring a rabbit who's been stunned by headlights.

She's a very good aunt so I think we can give her a man with children already. Not so sure she wants to do pregnancy herself. When she wrote her pregnant heroine I think we may have given her too much information and put her off!!!

(This is Channing Tatum, btw. She thinks he's very sexy. Personally I think he'd be too much work. Just think how many stomach crunches you'd have to do to keep up with him! But we're not thinking about me ...)

I think we ought to go for solvent.

And it would help if he was a smoker. Despite considerable pressure Trish is still smoking far too much, particularly when on a tight deadline.

If he could cook that would be wonderful because she's more of a re-heater.

So, is that enough to be starting with??? Have I missed anything? Anyone immediately spring to mind?

I'll give you a little bit of time to mull that over and then I'll tell you about the research trip I have planned for her.

Much love
Natasha

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Still messing about on Trish's blog

Hi all! This is Natasha Oakley. Again!

It would seem Trish's cable has not arrived - which means you get me. So trying to keep up the 'feel' of Trish's blog I have searched out a cat picture which conveys exactly how I'm feeling today. Anyone else completely shopped out????



And then I thought I'd better give you all an activity. So, here is the YouTube of the day.



If the Irish accent beats you I've put a written version of the 'Twelve Days of Christmas letters' over on my blog.

Lots of love
Natasha

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A brave decision!

Or foolish??????? Actually, yes, foolish. This is Natasha Oakley and very foolishly Trish has given me her password.

The reason she has is that the builders have 'stretched' her internet cable. You know, of course, that Trish lives in a wooden cabin in the middle of rural Ireland??? So picture the internet cable popped out of the window, travelling over the ground, across a hedge, down a trench, up across the roof and back through another window.

Anyone surprised she's without a connection???????????

She has a new 30ft cable on order but it's yet to arrive. So, in the meantime she's suggested I update her blog. Me! Me, who rarely updates her own.

Would you trust me with your blog?

Would you trust me with your blog if you'd written 'Ask Trish Anything Part 1'??????

Remember this? All aimed at me!

"Now Richard Armitage. I have heard that this addiction is increasing in numbers on an almost daily basis. It is somewhat worrying. I think there are several stages of the addiction and I'm just going to walk through them to check what stage you are at so we can decide if you're eligible for therapy or so far gone that you might be best to buy the T-Shirt so that people are warned you're coming... This is best for both stalker and stalkee I feel...


1/ See him in passing on TV and think 'ooohhh he's nice'

2/ Make a point of ordering all dvd's he's in because he's rather yummy and you're interested in his 'body of work'

3/ You have gone through the TV guide with a highlighter pen and have rescheduled your work/family life/socializing in order to make sure you see him in everyth
ing he's in even while you tape it at the same time (taping AND watching at the same time are a very common sign of approaching addiction)

4/ You've done ALL of the above and are now spending at least an hour a day trawling the internet for new pics and details of upcoming work and latest rumours and are IM'ing people who don't actually care to pass on the information you've found because its 'important they know' and they might be single and could marry him for you so he can come round your place for dinner...

5/ You have done ALL OF THE ABOVE, named your friends children with him, know the weather report for where's he's currently filming and have joined what could almost be considered an underground movement of women (who may one day invade the country) just so you can read what they're learned about him while not sharing anything you've found out in case anyone thinks you're being a bit of a fan-girlie.

Really, I think as far as '3' can be considered *research* for a writer, but anything after that is
both procrastination and frankly a little worrying... Maybe you need to look at what it is about Richard you find so fascinating. If you've not *cast* him as one of your heros yet then maybe you should so you can work through this *fantasy life* in a productive way that could get you PAID for the effort. Or perhaps you need to get your husband to dress in either Victorian Gentleman clothes or leather for an evening... And remember too that by focussing your stalking energies on several dozen actors/singers etc you are not only spreading the love, but lessening the addiction for ONE IN PARTICULAR... which is a very good way of putting the police and mental health authorities off the scent... "

I need to think. The scent of blood is in my nostrils ....

For the time being I think I shall content myself with explaining how it comes about Trish knows so much about obsessive love.


Rupert Penry-Jones!

A man she says 'has married the wrong Irish girl'.



So, what is it about him she likes so much?

- Height. This is a huge thing for Trish. She has, and I quote, 'a huge problem with a guy who has a conversation with my breasts'. And, yes, I can see that would be a problem for Trish. She is a woman of ample cleavage.

- His aloofness. Trish maintains, 'If a man is telling you their entire life story over a glass of wine you're going to think 'gay' or 'go home'. I'm not arguing.

- Lovely eyes. Okay.

- Accent. Very English. A male version of my own.

- His talent. Trish reckons he plays 'vulnerability beautifully' in 'Spooks'. That would be a straight level 2, wouldn't it? The 'interested in his body of work'?????

I concede she's not trawling the internet at the moment. But that's only because she can't!!!

How do you suppose I know that:

Rupert was born on 22 September, 1970, in London
He's 6' 2"
He married Dervla Kirwan this year.
The couple have two children together. Forence, born 1st May, 2004 and Peter on 8th April, 2006.
His father is Peter Penry-Jones and his mother Angela Thorne.
He dated Kylie Minogue for a while.
He attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

I could go on .....

The only reason she hasn't joined an 'underground movement' is because there isn't one. (Hello all members of the Armitage Army).

I'd say she was a comfortable level 5!! Don't you think she should take her own advice and write a fair haired, blue eyed hero???????? To date, he's been conspicuous by his absence.

It is a delightful feeling to have been given an unexpected opportunity to redress the balance! And particularly wonderful knowing she can't even look!!!!!

Much love

Natasha

Monday, December 10, 2007

Is There Anyone Out There???


Have I got your attention???

Wanna know who this is???

Have I brightened your Monday???

Can you tell I'm feeling better???
Okay then - if you're remotely interested in who this chap is then you can come find me over at The Pink Heart Society today...

And if my internet connection will let me play I'll be back tomorrow with another answer to Ask Trish Almost Anything...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Must I???


Well I got drawn out of the sick cave (am now convinced I must have Bird Flu btw cos it's the only thing could make me this pathetically weak...) by first a newspaper article and then a kind of *call to arms* this evening.

Yup. Never a dull moment round my way.

First up the very lovely Abby Green aka my mate Daisy Cummins from Dublin had an ikkle bit of a starring role in The Guardian - go read HERE. (our lovely Natasha Oakley blogged beautifully on it here too)

And hot on it's heels I got a phone call from BBC Radio Ulster to go talk on a similar topic on their Arts Programme HERE (though it won't be live for long so scoot if you really wanna hear it)

First thoughts when emailed and phoned were THANK GOD I don't write erotica if I'm reading out an excerpt on LIVE RADIO at TEATIME. As it was I read from His Mistress: His Terms (available for sale at the Mills & Boon site RIGHT NOW one should add!!!) and it was - shall we say a TAD difficult - to find an excerpt to read that didn't involve, erm, well bodyparts quite frankly... Also a tad tough to find a less than thirty second excerpt that might give some idea of the tone of the story - oh and UNLIKE NATASHA I have NO ACTING experience and you'd be amazed how much you find yourself wishing you'd kept up that reading aloud thing they made you do in primary school... oh and the whole teeth thing/speech impediment dilemma from last week didn't help any either...Ho hum...

Actually all in all I thought it was a more evenly balanced piece than pretty much ANY of this years ones I've commented on here. So I was merely left with that cringe factor you get when hearing your own voice somewhere - or one's own polite PHONE VOICE somewhere I should say. And then there's that kick oneself in the leg thing when you think of all the things you COULD have said. That's the thing about real life and live radio - sigh - NO TIME FOR EDITING.

It's my dream that before I die EVERYONE will understand there is more than ONE set of stories published by Mills & Boon. People do love to generalize. It's like *Cadbury's makes chocolate*. Yuh-huh - they make caramels and fruit & nuts and dark chocolates and turkish delights and truffle centres and...they may still be *Cadbury's* BUT...

You can see where I'm going here really can't you??? Romance and chocolate in the same blog. My work here is done I feel. Now back to the bird flu...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Writer's Supporting Writer's


You kinda have to be very very deeply buried in the cave to not know about the Writer's Strike currently bringing Hollywood to a standstill and with a seedling of an idea planted by fans of TV Shows they've come up with a somewhat ingenious plan to literally bring the 'point' home to the big studio moguls...

PENCILS.

Yes, pencils to support the writers. Makes sense huh??? They're asking you to donate these boxes of pencils from sustainable forests and then they're gonna deliver them BY THE PALLOT LOAD to the heads of the major studios to show support for their cause. And if being a writer or wanting to be a writer isn't enough reason to get you to fork out that hefty $1 (50p) for a box of pencils in support of fellow writer's then surely as a fan of the many TV Shows and movies we love the fact you may miss out on major plots and developments and even - GULP - the chance of RENEWAL for another season of those shows you reorganize your life not to miss will encourage you to lend a helping hand????
The shows writers and producers are no fools either and add that to lots of time on their hands and an imagination not currently in use and wellllll.... they came up with an incentive or two...

Like writer/producer pairing Gough and Miles who laid down the gauntlet by offering Smallville fans the chance to go into a raffle to get a phone call from Michael Rosenbaum aka Lex Luthor....

And for Battlestar Galactica fans (YES DONNA ALWARD - H-E-L-L-O) Jamie Bamber aka Lee Adama has offered to sign and donate three worn (as in actually worn, not threadbare) towels - which if you're a PHS Male On Monday follower you'll understand the importance of - and other members of the cast such as Mary McDonnell, Tricia Helfer, Michael Hogan, Jamie Bamber, and Michael Trucco have all agreed to make a personal phone call to fans who win the raffles in their names. ..

Other shows to join in so far are Army Wives, Eureka and the Lost executive producers have offered:

GRAND PRIZE: A personal thank-you call from us (Carlton and Damon) AND Matthew Fox where we shall do our bestest to answer your questions about the show's mysteries AND a Season 3 DVD set.

FIRST PRIZE: A signed finale script by writers Damon and Carlton and a surprise cast member!

SECOND PRIZE: Signed Season 3 DVD Set (standard and blu-ray!) by the entire writing staff!

I've already donated my boxes. And I shall let you guess which show I made the donation in the name of ;) But I have to say I'd donate the same again if there was a chance of even a signed pic of Gabe - erm sorry - Tom... or Justin... or Jensen... I'm not actually that fussy...and a tad easily led by a pretty face let's face facts here...

BUT even without that incentive you've gotta remember we wouldn't even have those shows we all love without the writers. Actors wouldn't have their award winning roles without the lines of dialogue to deliver with such flair. And I happen to think if the studios in Hollywood set the precedent of low payment for writers in the new age of technology then ALL WRITERS should be worried - it's a dominos thing... We should SHOW IT MATTERS.

I LOVE MY TV SHOWS AND I LOVE MOVIES and I LOVE GOOD WRITING in ALL it's forms. THATS why I donated my boxes...

$1 for a box of 12 pencils. They'd like to send 1,000,000 pencils. They currently have 410,000 pencils... C'mon. We can help some with that can't we???

Just click on the link on my sidebar or GO HERE and make your donation of pencils and if you name your fav show you can win goodies too!!!! $1 = roughly 50p sterling right now... go on... you know you wanna...

And it's been proved before that these things WORK. Fans of shows HAVE THE POWER to make a difference. First one I know of was when fans of a little know Sci-Fi show called Firefly who, when it was cancelled, began a world-wide campaign that eventually got them a longed for big screen movie called Serenity....GO BROWNCOATS!!!

Then more recently the fans of a show called Jericho were outraged when their show was cancelled after one season. Their answer came from one of the last lines spoken in the last episode. They sent pallet loads of.... NUTS.... pallet load after pallet load... And now??? The show is filming it's second season... NUFF SAID!!!

So it works gang. It really does.

See what you can find on the internet from your sick bed???? And if any of you technophobes out there want the code to add the box to their sidebar to show your support on your own blog just lemme know in the comments and I'll send you the HTML code for your template...

Writer's Supporting Writer's. It makes sense doesn't it??? Well it did to me...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Another Ikkle Update

You know the way bad things come in threes????

I'm not enjoying this week. Hence the silence and usual lack of usual Trish-wit. Tho knowing me and my uncanny ability of bouncing (it's my shape - I'm like a Weeble...) I am allowing this week to slide on by and normal service will resume next week... when I'll need lots of encouragement from the usual culprits in order to finish this book BEFORE christmas - insert manic laughter at will here...

Sooooo while I was here suffering (somewhat impatiently it should be said) with the cold from hell my Mother was in a car accident. She's grand but it was a bad accident and she's pretty bruised up and has written off the car she was in. We have a lot of car accidents here in Ireland so it was scary - especially when they thought she might have cracked her neck (no airbags) - and the fact that her accident was partly caused because she came over the brow of a hill on a dark and rainy night and drove smack bang into what was left of an earlier accident gives you an idea of how frequently these things happen... NOT GOOD.

But she's home and is being sat on to make her rest (it takes that - trust me) and I was starting to feel a little brighter so there was light at the end of the tunnel I felt... Erm... NOPE TRISH - THREES - and thats only TWO things...

So when my crown fell out and I couldn't get it to go back in I should have known I wasn't escaping with a mere 'glue-it-back-in' session at the dentists this morning, shouldn't I??? Yuh-huh .... I cracked the root in two. So out it came. And I have a mortal fear of needles so we got to have a humilate-oneself-panic-attack in the chair and then we discovered an infection after all the digging so we now have antibiotics. Which is fine - I can rinse and do antibiotics - no prob... Oooohhhh did I mention this was a front crown???? And that cos of the infection I can't have a new one sized up for EIGHT WEEKS??? Uh-huh. And did I also mention that meant I had to have a cast taken of my mouth so I can have a damn plate thing made?????????? So now I feel old cos I have a plate, I know I'm writing at least one book for free to pay for all the crown work I figured I may as well do all at once while we're there (it was that or dig a hole in my jaw I should add... *snort* yeah, I said we'd SKIP THAT ONE) and thanks to the temporary plate I HAVE A SPEECH IMPEDIMENT...

This week DID NOT HAPPEN - Okay????????

On a brighter note - come see me tomorrow at The Pink Heart Society where I'm asking Who Can Resist An Irish Boy... written Pre-Week-From-hell I should add... Sigh...

See you Monday!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ikkle Update

Yes I'm still sick. Yes I am drinking gallons of fluids and attempting to sweat the sucker out and yes, I am a teency ikkle bit brighter today but the timing truly does bite. And I have no patience with being sick. Trust me my darlings...

BUT I thought I'd pop in and let you know and to say thanks for all the 'get better soons' I've gotten and also to say YAY cos my editor sent me a *trigger* this last day or so...

What is a *trigger* you may ask??? Well, it's a bit like a *seed* except a seed is for a story and to me a trigger is something that can send that story off at a new angle or to a whole new thread that can add a new dimension to the story. And if none of that makes sense please keep in mind I'M SICK.

Anyhoos this trigger came from a few back and forth emails wrapping up the Dear Reader and Dedication for the last book and throwing around a few ideas for this new one. And in amongst all that we got round to chatting about Tiffany's - and engagement rings - as one does.... So, being as and how I'M SICK and can only manage short stints UPRIGHT before I have to go lie down and feel sorry for myself I Googled Tiffany's to see what I could come up with. I found the engagement ring I'll use and know lots more about the three c's than I probably needed to, I got a glimpse of the building in Modern Day NYC - cos a gal can't go on 'Breakfast At Tiffany's' alone... and I found what the gift packaging looks like. And THAT was the trigger. Cos from that glimpse of little boxes came a new dimension to Quinn's character and the ability to cause a big bit of a misunderstanding near the end of the book. Not a new story, not really changing what I already know about either character - but a brand new thread - and Tiffany's was the trigger. COOL. Gotta love it when that happens.

And the self confessed daydreamers might like to know that the idea came to me while I was lying in my sick bed bemoaning the fact there's nothing on TV and reading is giving me a headache. And I have slept like a pro for the last 48 hrs so I couldn't get a proper sleep... so in came the daydreaming...

Mind you it also pointed out that I've started the story in the wrong place - sigh - so I need to fix that just as soon as I can stay upright long enough to up my word count some. Hey-ho. Right - back to bed for me again then. Darnnit.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Spain Pics

Why MORE as opposed to the title 'Spain Pics'.... ahhhh.... funny you should ask... that's cos I already blogged some of them over here:

So over HERE we have the MORE and can I just say at this point they very nearly didn't make it at all today cos I'M SICK. Yes, I have a rotten stinker of a cold and am holed up indoors with medicine galore - large amounts of anything with vitamin c in it - blankies on the sofa - and eucalyptus oil in my wee burner so I can BREATHE. It's not nice. And I'm a BAD patient. Just so you know and can all feel sorry for me ;)
Okay, so Spain. Well I've said a fair bit about the trip over at the PHS already so if you haven't been you really should take a skip over there... over here we have some more of the pics and the trials and tribulations - cos this trip was NOT entirely smooth sailing this time out...

First up our flight was delayed. But after a three hour delay coming home from Natasha's in September a mere 40 minutes wasn't really that big a deal to me. What was funny was that for the second time in a row when I got to the top of the gangway there in the door to greet me was my sister-in-law's brother who's the 'in charge' member of the cabin crew if that makes sense. I informed him there are laws about stalking. I also bemoaned the fact I could never, ever have a secret affair could I? Not when the news would get back to my family within miliseconds of the plane touching down ;) It did however mean we had a fun flight and lots of chatter and next time I've threatened to bring score cards like you get in ice skating competitions so I can mark his safety presentation out of 6... And you guys have *met me* so you know I soooooo WILL...

So anyhoos that meant we were late touching down in Barcelona airport only to find no transfer waiting to take us to the hotel... so off to the train station and an hour and a half train ride for us - which was fine actually - but it did mean we were tired by the time we found the bus to our destination and the hotel at 11pm. WHICH WAS CLOSED. Now I don't just mean closed as in it was late and it was closed I mean closed for the SEASON. Now understandably this was a tad confusing for those of us who were BOOKED INTO IT but thankfully me and my friend are two capable women so we wandered off to another hotel and they were able to tell us that all the bookings had been moved. Nice if we'd been told - but there ya go. We did however comment that if we'd been mumbelty mumble years younger we might have felt the need to ring home and cry when we found the hotel closed in the first place... age apparently has it's good points ;)
So suffice to say an early night was had that first night. Well, early-ish considering it was nigh on midnight when we hit out room. So the next day we went for a wee bit of an explore. We discovered we were less than a few minutes walk from the bus station which was GREAT from the pov of our day trip into Barcelona on the Friday and like good ikkle girls we checked the times so we knew what we were at. And then we headed down to the seafront and found a path that wended it's way along the shoreline so off we went for an explore.... that lasted approximately fifteen minutes before the battery in my camera died... so we wended back for batteries and some food and some nice iced coffees...

Which is incidentally the first time I found a glimmer of an understanding of why Spanish heroes can sometimes be so popular with readers cos our waiter had SENSATIONAL eyes and was VERY cute. And yet - SHORT. Well, five eight or nine I guess, but still too short for hero inspiration for little old me I'm rather afraid. Still that's the beauty of the imagination. I made him over 6ft tall in my mind and then when we wended off along the coastal path again I took some pics of places where my new tall hero could live... and started wondering about a story for him... as one does...

Bit spoiled for choice with that really. Naturally in my imagination he'd be in the first cove I found but ooohhhh what kind of house to give him... there was a nice one in a fairly exclusive neighbourhood I quite liked... then there was one on the side of a mountain looking out to sea... and then there was - well, you can see my dilemma really, can't you???

And frankly if I'm placing him in a house and thinking about his height et all then the place I'm visiting is doing it's job, isn't it? After all, yes the breaks may be about winding down after a few books and being buried in the cave, but they're also to amuse my muse and let her think about possibilities *outside the box*. I guess since I've started to broaden my horizons in the real world it kinda makes sense my imaginary characters start to do the same (see PHS Blog about the 'write what you know' theory...) But anyhoo... back to Spain...

We wended all the way to the next resort and had huge big ice cream sundaes at the beach front before catching a bus to a larger resort even further up the coast. And there we wandered along a massive boardwalk that's probably bunged with tourists in the summer but in the winter time is lovely and quiet, with lots of dog walkers and locals strolling along by the sea. I kinda liked that. But by then it was starting to rain a little, so we decided to call it a day and headed back to the bus that took us all the way back to the bus station beside our hotel and then we just nipped in for some dinner and a couple of Bailey's before calling it a proper early night and lazing about our room reading until the wee small hours. Which was perfect, cos it let us recover from all the wending and wandering AND it meant we got a rest before our early start to Barcelona the next day.... more about THAT later on in the week... heee...
Cos in case I hadn't mentioned it - I'M SICK - So I'm off to lie down again...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ask Trish Almost Anything Pt6

Yes - I'm BACK from SPAIN. And yes - I DO have a gazillion and one photos and a tale or two to tell. And oh my yes - I think I do see a Spanish hero in my future...

But as I'm doing a Travelling Trish post at The Pink Heart Society tomorrow I'm gonna answer another Ask Trish Almost Anything for now (cos pre-loading obviously didn't work!)and then I'll post some extra pics here tomorrow at the same time as the PHS one with some goss on what I was reading while I was away before we go back to Q&A again, okay???

Here goes...

Dear Trish,

I found your advice to Natasha extremely helpful. Thanks.I do have a question of my own, though.Why is it that I can lie in bed, or stand in the shower, or make supper, or whatever, and the whole time, I am seeing and hearing my lovely characters interacting with each other, getting on each other's nerves, loving each other, etc., but then when it's time to sit down with pen and paper (or AlphaSmart or laptop), my brain stalls, and trying to get the tiniest drop of all that drama I've dreamed up down onto the paper is torture?

How do I get past that ugly, ornery wall that crashes down with a dusty thud every time I try to write?Help!

Thanks bunches!
Mary

Dear Mary

I'm soooooo glad you asked this one as this is yet another example of what horribly slippery little suckers characters can be!!! It's like trying to juggle jelly sometimes, isn't it?

The very fact that they're talking to you in such detail to begin with is a very good sign. It's when those voices in our heads go silent for a long time without so much as a whisper even when we feed and care for our Muses the way we're sposed to that you should really worry... But what it comes down to in this case is a little case of discipline - both of the mind and of those slippery little so-and-so's...
It's time to put on your teachers hat. Cos this is where that fine line between being a daydreamer and being a writer is about to get tested! And frankly it's where a lot of we writers will struggle - cos no-one ever gets round to telling us that there's a regular battle between the two things required of a writer; imagination and discipline - the ying and yang of writing. Not exactly like being free spirited and disciplined at the same time is an easy thing, is it? And when you become a writer full time oooohhhhh my can this become a test of will power!!!

So what you have to do in this case is re-educate yourself and your characters. A WIP alllll on it's wee ownsome...TRUST ME.

Let's look at the slippery so-and-so's first shall we??? Sometimes they not only blind us with a gazillion and one pieces of information at the same time, they also - bless their little cotton socks - like to jam pack into our heads like sardines in a can with more than the one flipping story at the same time. And I dunno about you - but there's only so much room in my head! Hmmm.... this may be why I struggle so much with working on more than one book at the same time... but for a change I digress...

What we gotta do is TRAIN THEM to only speak to us about ONE SCENE at a time. You gotta stand at the front of the classroom of your brain with your teachers hat on and raise your voice VERY LOUDLY to be heard over the noise of all the chattering. You can still be a pussycat at heart but you gotta make all those German Shepherds (aka your characters) do what YOU TELL THEM TO. (see pic for reference here...) Tell them to be QUIET for a minute and then, once you have their undivided attention ask them to tell you the ONE SCENE over and over until it's clear in your head. Treat it a bit like you're an actress rehearsing for that scene, okay? The shower is perfect for this... or erm... while on the loo... or while driving I spose... cos you can then speak their conversations aloud again and again like a mantra without being carted off to the funny farm - you can rehearse tone and emotion and see if the coversation sounds right... Maybe you could even speak the heroines words aloud and get the guy to speak his into your ear??? Hey - get an empty house and you could act it out with the body movements and everything...Try it. This blog may be titled 'and other sorts of insanity' but this one IS writing related and it all makes PERFECT SENSE to me. In my ikkle world anyhoos. And I've found it works!

Now for YOU. What you gotta remember first is that daydreaming or lying in bed awake before you fall asleep when you're hearing these voices and seeing these scenes inside your mind isn't like dreaming when you're asleep. They won't disappear if you open your eyes... fade a little, yes... get lost behind something else more important, yes... but they're still IN THERE. It's not like those horribly elusive wisps of dreams you get in that period between sleep and waking up - you know the ones I mean - horrible dastardly things that make you spend the whole day wracking your brains to remember them??? Yeah - I knew you'd know...What you gotta do with DAYDREAMS is narrow them down. Oh, and for the record I'm one of those 'meant-to-be' kinda gals - so if the scene does completely disappear then I tell myself it wasn't *meant-to-be* for this particular story. (Hey - if it keeps me sane-ish - alright?!?)

So think of what you're seeing in your head as a movie - think of yourself as the actress in that movie (cos as the writer we want the reader to walk in the heroines shoes, right? So technically you're doing exactly that!!!) - then concentrate on only the one scene until you have it clear - and think of the writing of it as you committing it to film - make sense???

This means when you sit down to write the scene it'll be clearer and the words should flow easier, yes?

Another thing people often complain about is that ideas won't always appear when you're close enough to a keyboard to set them down. This is where you'll hear writers talking about varying different methods. Like keeping pads and pens all over the place to scribble down notes or keeping a dictaphone or post it notes or whatever. That means the idea can never completely slip away or if you have an idea for a new scene before the one you're working on is finished you have the bare bones of a hint to get the voices talking again...

Now I'd suggest a short-hand type method for this so you don't draw your head too much outta the scene you're trying to nail down...just words that are gonna let you remember the idea - like the location; say coffee shop/outside - the gist of the scene; like heroine thinks hero misunderstands something she's done/said - or maybe something as simple as; 'takes hand and kisses' - you know what I mean? Just a very few words so you know what the idea was and that way when you've finished the scene you're working on you have a few reminders of that genius idea when you move on to it and begin the process of rehearsing and rehearsing all over again until you get THAT ONE pinned down. You with me?
This also works if a brand new story idea appears when you're already working on one - cos another problem can be the clamouring of voices in your head wanting to be heard... And again you've gotta discipline yourself to stick to the one story until it's done cos a common mistake is starting one idea then having a *better idea* and starting it and then running into problems and dumping that in favour of another new idea and so on and so on until nothing actually gets finished. Remember a great many unpublished writers have a problem actually finishing a manuscript so again it's about DISCIPLINE . You might never even sub your early work but what you did was teach yourself to write a story with a beginning, a middle and most importantly of all - AN END.

This is one of the chief reasons why you'll hear me talk about the time I need to change over from one story to another. I was talking to a friend about this recently and I likened it to living in a particular city for the duration of the telling of the story; it's like moving house lock, stock and a barrel to a brand new city - you need time to unpack and settle in - then you need to find where the local grocery store is and all the amenities - then you maybe make new friends and start to get to know them and form a social circle - then you start to feel like it's home and you drop into automatic pilot for a while - then just when you're settled in and everythings done you up and move again to a brand new city and start all over again. Only in my case rather than a city I'm moving my *head* from one world into another. Like in my last *world* my head was completely filled with a round the world trip and the problems faced by Ronan and Kerry. Now that they've gone I have to take a few days to *shift my head* out of that world and into one based in New York and the problems faced by Quinn and Clare...

To do this I'll spend several days just thinking and then I'll make up an outline/prop for my lovely editor and once it has the thumbs up I'll spend time making a new collage and adding to back story that won't go in the book and putting together a new soundtrack. And then I'll go into *daydreaming mode* where I'll rehearse key scenes over and over and over in my head - talking the dialogue, sometimes out loud - seeing where they live and thinking about who they are and seeing the way they sit or move (sometimes I'll look at the mannerisms of the actors/actresses I've mentally *cast* so I have a baseline to refer to on DVD's...) and only when I'm firmly in that new world do I sit down and write - by which stage the theory is I'll know them so well it'll all slot together and I can work through any brick walls by going back into the daydreaming stage. NOTHING but NOTHING else exists in my daydreams outside of that new world until it's done and revised and approved and then I'll move on again and start all over. (though this is something I'm gonna have to teach myself to overlap next year I think...)

FOR ME this is a big part of why my word count can go up at a rate of knots from time to time. Cos all the ground work is already done. Mentally I've *seen the movie* of the book in my head. So when I write I'm pretty much just doing a review. Also, FOR ME it means my form of discipline doesn't interfere too much with my muse - she gets to play regularly in daydreaming mode and the WORK part is in the discipline of sitting down and typing it all up... It works for me ;)

Remember we're all different. You just gotta find what works for you...

Hope that helps hun. Feel free to ask any questions!!! And tomorrow we're aiming for Spain pics and then more answers to Ask Trish Almost Anything - which you can still add to if you have a burning question ;)

Oh and I'm not sure of this pic is a sign that my cat Max looooovvveeesss my books or if they're soooooo bad they make him nod off...hmmm... I know which option I'd PREFER...I feel some extra pouches of fishy flavoured pieces coming along as bribary in his very near future just in case...

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Hero & Heroine


Yup, we've almost cleared up the back log of things we have to do and we've run a couple of suggestions past our ever-patient-lovely-editor and now have the go ahead on another new story... quite looking forward to this one actually... ;)

Mind you - this guy might have something to do with it...

So for another Romance line title we have Quinn Cassidy, third generation Irish-American, local bad-boy made good and not only my heroine's boss, but her best friend. He was also a friend of her ex. In fact he was the best man at their wedding - hence the working title. How cheeky does he look in this pic???? I just know I'm gonna have soooooo much fun writing him!!!

And living in the basement apartment of his Brownstone house near Prospect Park in Brooklyn NY is Clare O'Connor - a good old fashioned red-headed Irish girl who fell for the wrong guy and was taken under Quinn's wing when things went wrong. She's now his Girl Friday. And I'm gonna mess with them some. Bwahahahahaha...

This is another adventure outta the box for me so I can only hope it's as much fun as the last one was. Already I love the locations - yes New York and Brooklyn, what can I say - I LOVED my trip this summer. And even the small amount of extra research I've had to do for the set up has been fun. Plus as usual lovely Ed had some gems to suggest that sent my muse into over-drive. I'm really loving letting my Modern Heat contemprary fun loose on the Romance line so here's crossing everything that doesn't need a surgeon to untangle that the readers like it too!!!

And after this we're off to Modern Heat land with another Flanaghan... this time Tess, one of the sisters stuck amongst all those brothers... it's gonna take one heck of a guy to stand up to them really, isn't it???

Am gonna try and leave some Ask Trish Almost Anything answers ready for the rest of the week in the hope they'll automatically load - cos I'm off to Spain on Wednesday for a few days break and a little research for the future before I lock myself back in the cave to try and finish Quinn and Clare's story before christmas...hmmm... well one can but TRY...I promise to bring back pics, okay???