Friday, March 30, 2007

Write the date down...

I got the go ahead on my linked Modx stories today and can I just say I haven't been this excited about a set of stories since Breathless! - so write the date down quick!!! And remind me I said I was this excited the millisecond I run into any diffs - okay?

I told myself I'd start Monday but I can see a few words being sneaked in before that to be honest...

Tentatively I've given them the working titles Letting Loose and Getting Even so first up is Letting Loose which is Alex and Merrow's story... So meet Alex Fitzgerald - HOW HOT IS THIS GUY???? And trust me when I tell you I have plenty more pics where this one came from... I researched this books characters quite thoroughly...

As the emphasis for the line is now on the kind of fun, sexy read I so enjoyed with Breathless! I'm fully planning on having a blast writing this book! And the word-count has dropped a little too so I'm hoping it'll fly through so I can get to the equally as exciting story of Alex's sister Ashling... who has another drop-dead gorgeous hero in the shape of Gabe Burke... But I'll save that for another day...

Next time I'll come back and tell you a little about Merrow and the *interesting* research I've had to do for this book (online I should add - not in person...) And I've still got those reviews to show you... and a cover to scan in... and PHS stuff to do... and... To hell with it. I'm gonna go open a new file and make a start on this instead!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Back At The Coalface?

I had to use this title for today's blog after Natasha Oakley asked me that by MSN Messenger yesterday. Cos it's very apt. It's certainly how it feels...

Yes, I am *still* working my way through the revisions in this book. I can't remember the last time I took so long on a set of revisions. In fact - I don't think I've *ever* spent this long on a set of revisions. Lemme just mentally check that....


Nope - I'm right - I haven't. I'm usually the *turn the revisions round in 48 hrs* gal. I find being paid is a great motivator that way ;) But this one is a different story (no pun intended). And actually I've been noticing lately that I'm not the only one who seems to be working harder and harder on each story - just look at the internet gang! I browse several message boards and blogs before I sit down to work each day and every single one of them is waaaayyyyyy more silent than this time last year. Which, in one way is great, cos it's means I'm not alone in feeling I'm almost constantly at the coalface, but in another way is a tad worrying too - does this mean we're all being *put* under more pressure, or is it simply that we expect more of our writing the longer we do it for??? Answers on a postcard please...

From my point of view it's a mixture of the two... I'm *put* under pressure because I have deadlines, such is the way of the publishing world, and yes, I most definitely *do* expect more of my writing as I go along - because if I don't, then I kinda think to myself - what's the point??? Yes, I could take the attitude of rhyming them off a-la-formulaic-production-line but you know what? I DON'T WANT TO. And there's just no way in hell my readers would LET ME. Already I'm all too aware of phrases and words that I'll use from book to book and I hate that they bug me so much but I've got to the stage where I consider them part of my *voice* - they're Trish-ism's - they're phrases and words you would hear me use if I was speaking to you face to face...

Thing is - I plan on being in this game for the long haul (with a lot of luck and a following wind...) - so if I want that then I've got to work at this every damn day. I've got to push myself, test my limits, take the odd chance, accept criticism when it's due (particularly when it's a point I agree on!!!) and I guess I have to accept that if a particular story and pair of characters mean a lot to me then they're worth taking the time over to do justice to them...

The difficulty with this one is there's a very very very good chance it's gonna go waaaayyyyy over the wordcount limit. And I'm a tad worried about that. With each book I work on I know my editing *is* getting better but what this means is that through the *majority* of the book the scenes run into each other the way I like them to and every scene adds something to the story the way it's supposed to do... so what do I lose to make way for the new additions my ed wants to see??? What goes and what do I put in to make sure that I haven't lost anything important from the original scene and yet have still added the extra parts that are needed to bring the story up to scratch??? Huh? Huh? If that made sense to you and you have a *quick-fix* answer then please feel free to let me know!!! (keeping in mind that my comments link is still useless and will only work if you right click and open it...)

And this is where I think a CP is an excellent addition for any new writer. Working with a CP is similar (though obviously not completely the same) as working with an editor. You get used to taking constructive criticism from someone else, you can take suggestions and throw your own spin on them, you can disagree and stand up for a scene and make it *work* so that your intention is clearer - you basically learn the disciplines you'll need to work through revisions with an editor. And that's a GIFT. And yes, it won't always be an easy thing to do - but what you need to remember is that any good cp - just like any editor - should only be concerned with getting the best possible piece of work out of you!!! Which is a GREAT THING. It just might not feel like it at the time when you're at the actual coal face...

So I'm kinda glad that I'm taking a little more time than usual with this one. Even if I know it's now late and it's eating into my time on my next Modx... :( I just want it to be right - you know? And not just for me - but for the people who will hopefully read it. And I think that's the way it should be, right??? Mind you, if I just wasn't so bloody minded about not falling into too many *cliche traps* it would make my life a lot simpler... Sigh...

I have lot's of nice reviews for Breathless! and Rescued: Mother-To-Be to show you... and I got my hardback copies of Bride Of The Emerald Isle (LOVIN THAT COVER!) so as soon as I break away from the coalface I'll pop back and get caught up...okay??

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St Patrick's Day!!!


Yes folks - it's THAT TIME again!!! Time to celebrate all that is great about being Irish!!! As part of my day of fun I've blogged about St. Pat's over at The Pink Heart Society - with a little bit of history and a rather nice YouTube Clip for you to have a look at...

And here on home ground - I'm taking you step-by-step through the making of Irish Coffee... encouraging you to make something Irish to eat for the big day... and sending you a little bit of an e-card to say thanks for all your friendship and support over the last year!!!

Irish Coffee:
Original Version: 1 C hot coffee - 1 1/2 oz. Irish Mist liqueur - whipped cream for garnish
Modern Version: 1 C hot coffee - 1 oz. Irish Whiskey - 3 sugar cubes - whipped cream for garnish

Recipe Makes 1 Drink
In order to make this recipe properly the whiskey has to be heated to a high temperature. Pour the coffee in a cup with the desired number of sugar cubes. Then use a spoon turned upside down and pour the HOT whiskey over it so it flows down gently. Top it all with the whipped cream.

When served, true Irish Coffee always has three distinct layers. And to be safe, you first use a straw and sip (a very small amount as it is HOT) a little of the Whiskey. Then stir all the ingredients together.

Easy Irish Soda Bread:

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

So there you go! That's you fed and watered... So that just leaves a little bit of a greeting from me... Which you can find HERE. And don't forget to pop by The Pink Heart Society for the low down on the day and the nice scenic video to tempt you all to come visit this island I call home!!!

Whatever you do - HAVE A LOVELY LOVELY DAY!!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Emotion, Emotion, Emotion...

This week over on The Pink Heart Society Yahoo Loop we've had Waldenbooks Best-Selling Presents Author, and I'm priviledged to say - good friend - Kate Walker - as a guest. Kate, who is author of the 12-Point Guide to Writing Romance has been hosting a Q&A as part of the PHS FinDaBoo series and I have to say, it's been one heck of an informative week so far!!!

Currently there's a lively discussion going on on the subject of writing Emotion in Romance. And this can be a tricky one cos it's so easy to fall back on the kind of melodrama that critics of the genre love to slam it for. And all the talk on the loop had got me to thinking about how I approach it....

I have to agree with most of the people joining in the discussion - sometimes it's a good sign if you find yourself weepy at the keyboard... And the times I feel like that can't always be put down to suffering PMT while writing, well, not *all* of them...

I guess, without thinking, I tend to pick up on things that just *feel* emotional to me. Partly because I know my characters so well, so I know what they're going through - how difficult it is for them to express a particular emotion or to change their mind about something that they have *hidden behind* for a long time. But part of it is the fact that I think, as a writer, I have a tendency (again without thinking) to use emotions that I, and hopefully my readers, can understand - like fear, or loss, or the agony of what they perceive to be unrequited love. Those are things we all understand - so when a character experiences them during the story it makes sense to us, we understand, we empathize...

And, for me, thats the key - whatever emotions you try to convey in a book have to garner some sense of empathy with the reader. They have to *get it* - it has to be a *believeable* emotional reaction. That and having the inner thought process of a character make sense - following the action and reaction rule - should hopefully make for a believeable scenario. Well, thats the theory...
To join in the discussion or to ask Kate your questions on writing just hit the link at the top of this post for the Group and sign up - you have another couple of days to join in!!! And this isn't the only guest we have - there's plenty going on there - including an online party with a group of authors who write for BLAZE at the start of April!!! I can't wait for that one myself!!!!

Meanwhile - my revisions are in - so I'm off back to deal with my characters emotions again...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Competition Time 2

So - a little late - but here we are back with the competition winner from February (bear with me gang... I'm playing catch up with my life and writing up a storm on my longer book at same time...)

So informing me that it was Norah Jones' Feelin The Same Way All Over Again that I had playing when I wrote The Return Of The Rebel, and therefore the winner of a signed copy of Breathless! is..... Melissa in Newport, Rhode Island!!!! CONGRATULATIONS MELISSA!!!!

This month, as you may know, has a bit of an Irish Celebration known as St Patrick's Day... so in honour of the day I am offering TWO - yes TWO signed copies of Rescued: Mother-To-Be - the book that's an RT TOP PICK FOR APRIL and ONE lucky person will win a signed copy of the book AND a little book of Irish Recipes AND some Irish goodies!!! So thats THREE WINNERS... YES FOLKS... THREE!!!!

So all you gotta to do to be in it to win it is email me through the Website and tell me... mmmm... let's see, what will I ask you... Okay then, how about you tell me the name of the fictional Stud Farm in Rescued: Mother-To-Be... The answer as always is on the book's page on my Website... but you may have to read a little to find it... Ha!

Entries to me by March 31st to make way for the Writers Competition we're gonna run in April... And I leave you with a Blogthing...

The Movie Of Your Life Is An Indie Flick

You do things your own way - and it's made for colorful times.
Your life hasn't turned out how anyone expected, thank goodness!

Your best movie matches: Clerks, Garden State, Napoleon Dynamite
***Reminder*** If you've been trying to leave a comment of late and it's not been working properly please try right clicking and opening the comments page that way... Flipping thing still not working and I have NO IDEA how to fix it!!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Brief Visit To Outside World

Meet Fluffy. And why, you may wonder, am I introducing you to Fluffy??? Weelllll... you see that face??? That's pretty much been my face of late... Well, until the start of this week when I had a bit of a lightbulb moment and everything in this new book started to make sense.

Kinda gotta wonder why those lightbulbs only come on AT THE LAST POSSIBLE MINUTE!!! (Am doing the Fluffy face again - can you see me???)

My *muse* has been worked very hard this last year or so, I am fully prepared to admit that. And I'm not a winter-good-mood kinda gal, as I may have mentioned on here... I get those things. After all, I know me. But after the joyous writing experiences last summer (s-u-m-m-e-r) with Breathless! and Bride Of The Emerald Isle, I felt like I'd hit my stride somewhat... then came Return Of The Rebel and it was like walking into an invisible wall... at speed... THIS ONE was supposed to help me get over that... erm... *insert Fluffy face*

Problem one - old book that had been started and never finished - which foolishly I thought I could just edit a bit and it would be fine. Nope. Not so much. AND BEING STUBBORN ABOUT IT DIDN'T HELP. So I had to go in about ten days before deadline and rip it to shreds. I dumped LOTS. And then I dumped SOME MORE (*Fluffy face*). I then procrastinated for a while. Then I wrote twaddle for a while to get me through the slump. Alright so some of the twaddle wasn't as twaddle-some as I had assumed it was, but still. It was not a joyous event each day turning the laptop on! And I was always told that if the wind changed the Fluffy face could become permanent. (If you have an Irish family member you can translate that) But on Monday, in the late part of the second third of the story, with some jiggling around of the less twaddle-some parts, it started to come together. Here's hoping my Editor feels the same way...

And to cheer myself up - I did out two proposals for Modern Extra's (cos yes, I do have to jump into a Modern Extra pretty darn fast...) I LOVE THESE STORIES!!! If I don't get the nod on them the Fluffy Face will return I feel...

Okay - Am off to pick a competition winner from last month, do the PHS Blogs that I have due and tackle the mountain of laundry that would appear to have arrived from out of nowhere (how does that *happen* when I've barely left the house???) Sigh.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Website Issues Stress & A Blogthing

I will stand up and admit it - I am currently STRESSED! And this time it's not just the book.. you know... that book thats due this MONDAY???

Nope this time it's my website server!!!! I've been with them for ages and have always been very happy but on Wednesday night my website disappeared! This is now FRIDAY!!! And so far, despite numerous emails from me to them (that they have pretty much IGNORED) they have managed to put up MY OLD WEBSITE ... which is waaayyyyy out of date! So I've complained and been ignored AGAIN. I can't get in to change the pages, I can't get a reply.... and I'm stuck with the poorer version of the site that irritated me for so long!!! After all of Ally and my's hard work to make it a thing of beauty that I was oh-so-proud of!!! I COULD WEEP!!!

WHY-OH-WHY do these things always happen around deadline time???? Mmmm?????

The server was recently taken over by PIPEX - And I sincerely hope this is not an example of things to come!!! Cos if it is... I'm OUTTA THERE! So - if you have any good or bad server stories to tell me or have a server you're more than chuffed with come by and let me know gang... cos if this isn't sorted out today then I'm moving my site!!!!


You Are 56% Open Minded

You are a very open minded person, but you're also well grounded.
Tolerant and flexible, you appreciate most lifestyles and viewpoints.
But you also know where you stand firm, and you can draw that line.
You're open to considering every possibility - but in the end, you stand true to yourself.