Monday, April 30, 2007

It's Amazing...

How one book can be so very different from the last...

Letting Loose was a fun, fast, dream of a write. The heroine lead it a lot I think, and everything flowed very fast (though obviously that still remains to be seen til I hear from my lovely Ed!).

Getting Even is a whole nother story - no pun intended you understand.

And the problem? Sheesh. How long you guys got??? At the start I was worried that the two stories would be too similar. The angst of many a writer I think. So I was very conscious of that going into this. But I don't think it is, it's just that there is that initial overlap with them being linked through that one scene at the big posh party... So I've talked myself outta that one.

I could blame post-book-slump from the first one - and did a bit for a day or so... And I could blame that I've been feeling a bit ikkie as I fight off a cold... But no, it's not really that either.

Nope. The biggest problem so far - is GABE. The man is so - so - soooooo....!?!

Well - you see my dilemma. You still don't? Alright. Then let's look through the keyhole shall we? He's that manly man type - remember the power tools, the heavy duty truck and the rock music? Okay. Then add the fact that he's not got all that much to say in dialogue - he's an actions speak louder man. And then add the fact that he hasn't seen the heroine in eight years so he's CHANGED. 'Grown up' is all he'll say. And he remembers her as the spoilt brat she was before so he doesn't even for a second see that SHE might have changed TOO. Sooooo....

My poor heroine is a bit confounded.

And she's not the only one. It has taken this long for the writer to figure out that Gabe is ANGRY. Not at me, I'm doing the best I can under the circumstances I feel... Nope - he's angry at HER. And until she steps up to the plate to try and find out why, he's probably gonna continue to be a right royal pain in the -

You get the picture....
So I'm gonna don my protective clothing and try and wade in there to move it forwards. Before anyone reading it decides the heroine is a wimp and the hero an ass. Yup. That's a description that'll sell the book, isn't it???

We've done one nice scene with a swing from their childhood days. But that didn't end so well. And now Gabe is being...well...he's being stubborn again. So watch out - cos here comes Ash to sort him out...!!!

Meanwhile, here at ye olde Blog - Tomorrow is Dougal's first birthday, so I'll be back with pictures so you can see how our first ikkle foal has all growed up in a year. And then for the rest of the week I'm winging it. So there. I have a problem hero to deal with!
M-E-N!

Friday, April 27, 2007

RTE & Mills & Boon Writing Contest

Thought I'd let anyone who didn't get a copy of last weeks RTE Guide know that there's a writing contest on the go in conjunction with Harlequin Mills & Boon...

I only tripped over it myself when I went for an outing from the cave - the words FREE ROMANCE NOVEL caught my eye. What can I say?

It said this in case you can't get hold of a copy:

"If you've ever dreamed of becoming a romance writer and think you can write a short story worthy of a Mills & Boon novel - we want to hear from you!
RTE Radio 1's Today With Pat Kenny and the RTE Guide together with Mills & Boon are delighted to announce a romantic short story competition. We are looking for the next new Irish voice in romantic fiction. Tune into Today With Pat Kenny and see your RTE Guide to be in with a chance to win a trip to London to meet a Mills & Boon editor and receive 2 years' worth of Mills & Boon books!

We are looking for a romantic story of between 900 and 1000 words with a beginning, middle and happy ending, an innovative plot and a strong focus on the central characters.

Tune into Today With Pat Kenny on RTE Radio 1, for helpful hints and ideas."

And my very good friend and fellow Irish author Abby Green who writes for Presents had these tips for entrants:

  • Your story might be short in terms of words, but shouldn't be short on romance
  • It should be a feel-good read with a happy ending
  • The Heroine: She's vital to the story and must be today's woman - warm, likeable and convincing. She's the vehicle through which the reader experiences the romance
  • The Hero: He's always strong and charismatic, successful in his own way and aspirational - the man you'd want to be with
  • There should be a strong chemistry between your hero and heroine, but the Romance series is all about pure romance and pure emotion, real-life challenges and emotional issues that are relevant to woman the world over
  • Finally, read the books! Mills & Boon books are the best possible guide to knowing what makes a strong romantic story and what themes and characters work. Mills & Boon also offers further advice and tips for aspiring authors on their website - www.millsandboon.co.uk

(Actually there's some real GEMS in there folks!!! WORTH NOTING DOWN!)

To enter submit a typed, double-spaced romantic story no greater than 1000 words which is suitable for the Mills & Boon Romance series, along with your name, address, daytime phone number/mobile phone number and email address and the statement 'In entering this competition, I have read and will agree to abide by the terms and conditions' (the full rules are printed in the guide so if you can't get a copy of last weeks then email me through the website and I'll get them to you...)

The contest is open to aspiring writers aged 18 and over and they must be residents on the island of Ireland. Entry by email is preferred but they will take postal entries too. And the closing date for entries is 5pm on 9th May so YOU STILL HAVE TIME!

You can read a little about it and the prizes the winners will receive on the RTE Radio site here along with the email and postal addresses for entries...

Interestingly enough years and years and years ago I entered a similar contest, only for an opening chapter for Mills & Boon, with the UTV Ask Anne programme in the North of Ireland - suffice to say I didn't win! And yet - here I am... Another validation for the *you get where you're meant to be in the end* theory... Can't help but wonder what happened to the winner though???

So if you want to take the first steps to joining Abby Green, Lynne Graham and myself in the Irish writers for Harlequin Mills & Boon crew then STEP UP... Make it so we're not three in over three million odd any more....

I for one would love to see more Irish writers join the family!!! GOOD LUCK!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hide And Seek


Yes today I get to hide and you get to come find me... Ready... one... two... three...

Okay, then how about I just direct you over to my very good and special friend Donna Alward's Blog where I'm making a SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE today... I've never been to Canada before...

So if you'd like to see lovely photos of toddler Trish with a big scary horsie, which I'm told I volunteered to hold - or if you'd like to see my special concentrating face when I go One Day Eventing - or if you want to hear about the most important male in my life... or if you just simply want to go find a bit of the humourous background behind Rescued: Mother-To-Be then come find me!

If not, then back here in dear old Ireland I can tell you that Gabe and Ash's reunion is going interestingly... Gabe isn't at all what I'd expected him to be when I first thought up the story. And he most certainly isn't the least little bit like Ash remembers him! Poor girl... I've left her a little shell shocked... Or rather GABE HAS...

And I tell you - that man just has an edge to him that you wouldn't believe!

Not quite sure what I'm gonna do tomorrow... I know I'm due some writerly stuff - any requests??? There's also the first official SLAMMING I've had in a review (had to happen folks!) - I could show you it so you can see a different opinion on the book Romantic Times made a flipping TOP PICK (Just goes to show you how peoples opinions can differ...) ... but then maybe not. I haven't decided.... Apparently my heroine was a horrible human being... But hey-ho... Up til now they've quite liked my books so I really really can't complain. AND they did explain WHY the book sucked, so at least I know... I guess in the long term if it sells it sells, right?

Oh-for-goodness-sake - sorry gang - ALRIGHT GABE!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

All Set To Go...

Well I'm just about ready to Rock and Roll again... and I don't just throw that R&R term in there for no good reason. Turns out when I started to put my soundtrack together Gabe piped up to tell me that there was no way in hell he was listening to some of the *girl* tracks I had playing while Alex told me his story. Might've been alright with the squirt he said. But he wasn't having it.... (That's Alex the 6ft 1 *squirt* mind...)

So it turns out that Gabe is a *rock* kinda guy; Van Halen, Aerosmith, ZZ Top - he doesn't mind the Nickelback so long as there's some of the *bring it on* tracks on there and he'll even stretch to some less-rock-like Snow Patrol, but the closest he's getting to a *girl track* is a Whitesnake ballad. And he had his arms folded when he gave me that list. Mind you, while he's lazing on the sofa like that all across my computer screen he can pretty much have a soundtrack of cats fighting and I'll do whatever he says...

This one is BOSSY.

So I'm gonna see how many song references I can get in there... I tell ya, there's more than enough Modx inspiration in some of the titles... Lemme see... From Van Halen we have - Finish What You Started, Ain't Talkin Bout Love, Right Now and Can't Stop Loving You.... Aerosmith adds - Livin On The Edge, Amazing, Sweet Emotion, Falling In Love (is hard on the knees) - To say nothing of ZZ Top and Got Me Under Pressure.... Hey, you know, Gabe could just be onto something here...
And Gabe is no sissy sportscar/sailing kinda guy either. He's the truck/powertools kinda guy. The *squirt* (apparently - so I'm told) might have time from his drawing pictures of buildings to go play - but Gabe WORKS for a living. If he didn't put in the hours he does then that *squirts* buildings would never get off the pretty paper, would they? Wellll - I'm not about to argue with him...
Mind you, he did look very happy with his cosy little ex-estate workers terraced house beside the Grand Canal in Dublin... seems to me he may be tough on the outside... but inside...
JEEZ - ALRIGHT GABE - I'm going to write!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Imaginary World Anyone?


I'm blogging today over at The Pink Heart Society about Imaginary Worlds if you want to go see into the ramblings of my mind in a slightly different location...

If you guys have been visiting me here a while you'll know I'm very into my fictional Country Estates and Stud Farms and Gyms and Hotels owned by rock stars etc etc etc and you'll know I try to put a lot of research into whatever world my characters will live in - even if I never actually use it all... So the Blog is about the debate I always have on whether to just create entire fictional places or a mix of fantasy and reality or whether I should take every single thing from real life.... Lemme know what you think...
And I'm *Guest Starring* - (BOY HAVE I EVER WANTED TO BE ABLE TO SAY THAT - doesn't it sound like I've hit glamorous writer land???) - in a couple of places this week... So please - come visit - make it look like I HAVE FRIENDS...

Cos apparently the book in three weeks thing hasn't helped any with that...

Hey - if nothing else there are more nice PICTURES like this one on my lovely Pink Heart Society Blog... You could start your comment with *lovely pictures Trish* and I'lll know you came from here... ;)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Goodbye Alex and H-E-L-L-O Gabe

So Letting Loose has gone - altogether say awwwww.... It's now in the hands of my lovely editor, so I get to playing the waiting game until we see whether or not that little bit of magic I felt during the writing translates in the reading. My current record of six weeks to write a book with Her Unexpected Baby is now officially SMASHED as this one took, all told, roughly three...

I've told my lovely Editor not to expect that to ever happen again....Can't go lookin for the fairy dust all the time I'm devastated to say...

So what does one wee Irish Author come up with to cope with the post-book-crash syndrome??? Why she goes to play with the linked book of course!!! Silly me...

And with pictures like these to replace my gorgeous Alex and Merrow, you kinda got say that I'm already a little distracted from the loss. Some. The theory I'm running with is that my head is already *in that world*, right? So while it's there I may as well run with it... I don't have a schedule yet for the rest of this year or set deadlines until I get caught up with admin (a rare, rare thing - trust me!) - and I really want to be a little ahead before I go travelling this summer - so let's just see what I can manage to get done while I'm on a roll. Okay? You with me???

So after a very few hours sleep I've begun to repeat the exact same set up process I used for Letting Loose to see if I can hold onto the magic with the very tips of my fingers for ju-ust a little longer. It's a bit like trying to catch a fairy at the bottom of the garden if you ask the cynic in me. But hey - I'm feeling rejuvenated in my craft so I'm game!

So here we go with Getting Even - the follow up story. If you 've been visiting while Letting Loose was being written (and if you weren't - erm - hello??? WHERE WERE YOU??? You missed a bit of a phenomenon!) - then you'll already have met the lovely Alexander Fitzgerald - this time out we've telling his sister Ashling's story...

So keeping in mind that Alex was the guy from the old money family, the one with the playboy lifestyle and all that... then Ash is also of that ilk - except she was the family rebel...

And then we add to the picture the very yummy Gabriel Burke, who grew up with Alex and Ash. Gabe is the son of the family housekeeper and the estate groundkeeper. And practically from childhood he has been rescuing Ash from all her varying adventures gone wrong - no matter how much she fought with him when she didn't want rescuing! She thinks he's boring and far too sensible - see's him almost as a party pooper. He just thinks she's a spoiled brat. But regardless of that, and the fact they've always fought the bit out since she hit her teens and went on the rebel without a clue path, they've always been friends.

Skip forward to the start of the story, and Ash is home from Europe. She's been gone eight years, due to a scandal I 'm not telling you about - so there! And while she's been gone Gabe has made a career for himself the hard-slog way and is now a Property Developer who often works with Alex's architects firm...(think blue collar sexy okay?) But some old habits die hard. Even if they are both now all grown up...

The theme tune for this one is Far Away by Nickelback and once again has just PERFECT lyrics!!! (A big thanks to the lovely Sharon Cullen for befriending me on Myspace and introducing it to me!) So if you get the chance pop over here to my Myspace Page where I've loaded the song for you to hear. Turn the volume up gang! Listen to the lyrics and see if you think they match the story I've described... And you'll be able to picture me at the keyboard, listening to it as I work on this new story...

I'm gonna bring you more background stuff as I go along and meanwhile I'm gonna take a couple of days to catch up on life and to sort out my emails and Blogs I'm doing this week and Website stuff... ooohh... and to read some of my lovely competition entries... ;)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Putting The Pieces Together

You're all being ever so good and patient! THANK YOU!

I'm hitting the point that I call the *turn around* about now and I'm procrastinating a little by popping in here to chat to you. Not that I'm stuck, cos I'm not. I'm just really loathe to let go of these characters. They've given me such an immense amount of fun on their journey and rejuvenated my love for what I do and the thought of having to say goodbye to them in 10k's time is a bit depressing. Cos this might not happen again, you know? I feel a post-book-crash coming on...so if you find me wandering aimlessly somewhere next week just put me back in my box, okay? Don't forget to tuck me in.

So I thought I'd tell you a little about how all the pieces of the puzzle are now slotting together. It's the best part of writing a story in my humble opinion. And there's something deeply satisfying to it. All the little details I researched and collected are in place, some details even surprising me as they appear, cos I hadn't realized how they were relevant until the words came off the end of my fingertips and appeared on the screen. Like actual lines or *echos* from the theme tune, that only you guys will pick up on if it makes it to print, cos the non-blog-visiting reader won't know what they mean...

Like Alex telling Merrow 'You should come with a warning...' or Merrow telling Alex 'I may be what you want Alex, but I'm not what you need...'

Then of course there are the pictures I've been showing you as I go along. Merrow's little white shorts sexy look that first attracted Alex. Alex's stern unreadable expression in the initial black and white head-shot from the first blogs when I was starting to write and then the picture I'm showing you yet again (lemme alone - I LOVE THIS PIC) where he's just oozing sex appeal in his simple jeans and white shirt combo - doesn't he look like he's been loosened up some?

There are all of Merrow's clothes - one outfit that I didn't show you from the second chapter playing a hugely important part in the ending... But I'm not gonna tell you why... And Alex's playboy like trappings which leads to the 'Playboy Lover' term appearing frequently throughout the story... even though it doesn't begin to scratch the surface. Think not reading a book by it's cover here gang...

And then way near the start Jenna Bayley-Burke did a blog about colours and astrology and when I went for a nosy I found two stars signs for Alex and Merrow. Just not to be outdone you realize (though I still don't *get* what a lot of the other stuff meant so I'm obviously still a little too blonde for it...) Anyway, I read it, and added the page to my favourites and left it alone and I've only just opened it to check when Alex's birthday is for the scene I'm on. And when I read it again it was pretty much EXACTLY the way they are!!! Subliminally pasted onto my brain maybe??? Told ya this book was being channelled...

So keeping in mind that Alex is the Taurus and Merrow the Leo, we got this (and I'm copying and pasting so it's word-for-word, I jest you not):
Leo finds sensuality and passion with Taurus. These two signs will party, play and share a strong friendship. They share similar ideas about sex and that’s a great start. Taurus is instantly attracted to outgoing Leo. Taurus will stick with Leo through good times and not so great times. This is something Leo needs to feel secure. Taurus also finds Leo independence very attractive. This is a highly rewarding combination that has both long and short term potential. Before they know it, they could fall madly in love. Taurus is serious and sensual. Leo considers Taurus a keeper and friendship will always be evident long after the attraction has ended. You will learn more about yourselves in this relationship. It’s worth the insight.

(As a single Leo myself I found this *very* interesting...)

But that's pretty much their characters in a nutshell... As to whether or not I've slotted all those puzzle pieces into a story that works? Well, pretty soon that'll be in the hands of my lovely Editor... And if it makes it past her then you'll get to be the judge...
Expect a farewell ceremony for Alex and Merrow and Letting Loose in the very near future *SNIFFLE* - no really - I'll be fine... Don't worry about me...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bear With Me...

I know I said I'd be here yesterday to tell you about books I've been reading and that today would be a surprise...erm...well... SURPRISE... I'm gonna need you to bear with me.

Because this story WILL NOT LEAVE ME ALONE. I'm blaming this picture entirely, and that's why it's here yet again...

Never in any of the previous 13 of my books have I been so driven to tell a story! I swear. The characters just WILL NOT SHUT UP. I've heard other authors talk about characters giving them sleepless nights, but I always assumed that was because things weren't going well, or that they were stuck somewhere. It never once occurred to me that it was because the characters were constantly shouting at them!

Could have done with the heads up gang... thanks for that.

I am obsessed with this story. I can't even flipping well sleep! Every time I close my eyes ideas come flooding out of nowhere and then I have to go turn on the computer to either do research or to change something earlier on cos I now know I'll need it later. When I do manage to doze off, there they are again, showing me scenes, telling me dialogue... demanding I wake up again to get to it. I leave the house and I'm thinking about whats coming next, I make something to eat and I'm thinking about a line I could have changed. And every time I leave the computer to attempt a break and I foolishly leave the music playing... when it gets to the theme tune I'm hauled back... I swear, even with the volume low, I can hear it clean from the other end of the house.

I even suggested to Natasha that I was being channelled from somewhere. It certainly feels like it. But whatever it is, it means that right now this story has WINGS and I can't stop! So bear with me... Please? I need to get some sleep soon!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Word Count War Update (2)


Is it just me or are the weeks flying in at the minute??? Anyway, here we are again with an update on the Modern Extra Word Count War between me, Ally Blake and Jenna Bayley-Burke... lovely as we all are...

Jenna is of course trying to make me attempt to write my fastest book ever!!! Current record stands at six weeks flat for Her Unexpected Baby btw... while working full time too I should add... But Jenna is currently over 20k! 20K!!!! Though she could be over that already cos I like, you know, blinked... I used to like her you know...

Ally meanwhile skipped off on the train to Melbourne yesterday - a trip I know she takes her Alphie on! So though I may smile briefly at being a few K ahead of her right this second... I just know in my heart of hearts that that sneakie Alphie will throw her up several K on the train without her hardly noticing. Sigh. I'd say the rest of this week will prove a bit of a bum fight myself. But you'll just have to keep your eye on our blogs til next week to see the battle behind the scenes, won't you... ;) Watch those word counters!

Meanwhile, back here in dear old sunny Ireland I'm still having the time of my life with Letting Loose. We've had steamy sex by chapter four which is unlike the norm with me but truly, these two have so many sparks between them that they're hard to rein back! In my next life I'd quite like to be Merrow I think - she's waaayyyy more confident than me. And her wardrobe is much better. But I'll get to that in a minute...

I thought this week along with more yummy pics of Alex and Merrow I'd show you some of the pics from the collages I've made on my computer for them both. Alex remember is delicious and from a very old wealthy family. So he's very much the modern day playboy on the outside - hence the expensive car and the sailing boat (a Flying Fifteen btw for those of you who may want to know... and he races them for fun... which is why he was in Galway when they met before the start of the book...) Yes, I am just that thorough when it comes to back story...

Merrow meanwhile is very much the city girl and has somewhat eclectic tastes to go with her insanely funny personality. One of these tastes being a penchant for vintage clothing, which has been appearing from chapter two onwards. So I've thrown in a couple of examples for you to see of the kind of thing she wears - the plaid 60's mini dress featured heavily in my last chapter and that gorgeous 50's prom dress is for later on... Gotta love her taste in shoes too. And she's become a little like my very own virtual Barbie Doll. I've got to put together entire outfits, including shoes and handbags... I even shopped around for a beautiful leather artists portfolio case for her! Are you starting to understand the amount of fun I'm having with this one??? And if you've been checking out the various pictures I've posted of her so far you'll see how very different she can look from one scene to another, which adds to her lack of predictability... and keeps Alex on his toes... I see what she's wearing in this pic as being the kind of thing she'd have worn that first weekend in Galway. And you can't really blame Alex for noticing her in that get-up, can you???


Meanwhile my Gary Barlow/Take That theme song continues:

I try to stop myself
So many times
But I keep falling over
Ye-ah I keep crossing the line
O-oh the heart of a gypsy
And the soul of a stone
It’s just a matter of time before you leave me alone
O-oh sweet misery!
Fill my heart up and pour it all over me

Yeah


Yup, Alex really does keep crossing the line. And Merrow really does have the soul of some kind of wild, untameable gypsy as far as he can see... the soul of a stone? Well, that's Alex, bogged down with his responsibilities and trying hard to break out from under the shadow cast over him by his father. Hence the title of the book being Letting Loose...Very occasionally there is a method behind my madness...

I'm now very very excited cos I'm hitting the point where we meet Gabe for the first time. Gabe is Alex's best friend from childhood, the contractor whose company is doing the work on the hotel Alex and Merrow are working together on... and he's also the hero from the follow up book Getting Even... But I can't really tell you anything about that just yet. Cos thats a whole nother book... But another yummy hero I feel...

But I will tell you I'm *hoping* to be clever and have one cross-over scene that appears in both books. One in the middle to tail end of Letting Loose that will be the opening chapter of Getting Even when Gabe and Ash's story begins... The *plan* is to have both books as stand-alones, but to have that one scene link them both as an extra special little touch. IF I can pull it off that is...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Coming to Trish's Blog this week...

I've had a lovely weekend you know. I left the house, which was a start I felt... And I spent some of that mythical *quality time* with my neices and nephews who are much better company as they come out of the other side of teenager-hood if you ask me... but then I'm single and I don't have kids so all that annoying brat bit in the middle years kinda makes me wonder why people have them...

Though I wouldn't be without a single one of them so I guess that answers that question.

The eldest ones are doing exams this year. Man do I NOT miss all that. And they both have boyfriend/girlfriend which is too cute for words. And renews my belief in all that happily ever after stuff I write about. Just watch all that silly smiling, blushing and giggling and I dare ya not to go awwww...

Then I found a new theme tune for my next Modx Getting Even - the follow up to Letting Loose... am sooooo tempted to open a file and do a little bit on it. But I never, ever *cheat* on one book with another. Unlike some people I could name and shame. I'm very loyal to my characters that way. So b-a-d T-r-i-s-h!!!

Anyhoos, this week we'll mix it up a little so as not to get boring, shall we???

Tomorrow I'll let you know how I'm getting on with Letting Loose in the Word Count War with Ally Blake and Jenna Bayley-Burke in Modern Extra land....

Wednesday I think I'll chat to you a bit about the books I've been reading myself over the weekend. I read two absolute blinders!!!! One from a well established American name and one from a brand spanking new British Modx author who I might have to fall out with cos her damn book keep me up half the damn night. I couldn't put the flipping thing down!!! They had very different hero's, very different set ups and yet both of them left me searching Amazon for more...

Thursday...hmmm... Thursday. I might ramble a bit about something random on Thursday. I'll see how the mood strikes me, shall I? It'll be a SURPRISE. (As much to me as to you most likely)

And Friday we'll do more writerly stuff... Actually I meant to say, due to a blonde moment I had advertised the dates a bit wrong and will be extending the closing date to near the end of May. I did say a precise date in the comments here somewhere... but roughly the Friday a week before the end of the month. Remind me and I'll write it down somewhere cos I don't have my diary beside me right this minute. The entries are still coming in and I'm having a lot of fun reading them. I tell ya - there's untapped talent out there!!! And a couple of you that really don't need a whole lotta help from lil ole me...

Alrighty. Off to bed for me. I've had another good writing day, but I'm running with the new theory that, if I sleep, I can get even more done tomorrow when I'm fresh. It's a break-through idea for me. I'll let you know how it goes... ;)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Book With Trish - The Emotional Rollercoaster


It’s a phrase you’ll hear used over and over again in the category romance game. But the simple truth is, just like relationships in real life, a romance will have highs and lows and we need to show that in fairly equal measure through the 'first' two thirds of a book (I’ll talk more about ‘thirds’ next time but basically the third ‘third’ is where you have the ‘black moment’ and the ‘resolution’ aka the Happily Ever After or HEA)

Despite the fact that the Romance line is perceived by many as being full of dramatic, deeply emotional ‘weepies’ – this really isn’t the case! In fact there are just as many light hearted or funny moments in the stories as there are times when you might find yourself welling up. Trust me on this. The trick is to strike a balance and not to become either too laugh out loud heavy or too angst heavy.

Let’s look at the taglines of the two lines I write for, shall we?

Romance isExperience the anticipation, the thrill of the chase and the rush of falling in love..

And in the eHarlequin guidelines for the line it says: “Although some books can be "weepies" — stories that may move readers to tears — stories should always be upbeat and entertaining overall. They should not veer into the depressing or tragic. These stories are fundamentally feel-good reads — they just need to deliver on the emotion, as well.”

So what does that mean? Well, to me, it means that there should always be a moment or two in the book where we can see that these two people are just as capable of laughing together as they are of working their way through issues. We’ve all experienced that initial ‘thrill’, haven’t we? The faster heartbeat, the anticipation of seeing them, we’ve smiled long after they hung up the phone or left us at the door… so there needs to be just as much of that in your story as there is of the moments when they’re angry or upset or distant from each other – maybe even a little more. Because we want to believe they’ll stay together beyond the end of the book, right? And if their entire relationship is based on doom and gloom… well… you get my drift.

You ask any woman these days to list the kind of things that attracts them to a man and I guarantee you a sense of humor will be in there! Maybe in a story you don’t have him laugh for ages, so that when he does it let’s the heroine see a new side of him. Maybe you have him use humor in a self-depreciating way to cover a larger hurt or maybe he quite simply likes to tease laughter out of your heroine despite her best efforts not to laugh with him… What it ISN’T is slapstick humor. I’m trying to think of a way of putting this… I guess the most simplistic way of saying it would be that he’s not a practical joker, no whoopee cushions, no stand up comedy… does that make sense? Having said that a heroine who is sometimes clumsy could be funny in a cute way, even though the humor might be considered slapstick because it’s ‘physical humor’… If you’re still confused (cos I’m confusing myself a bit here…) then it might just be easier for you to ask me by using an example of your own…

So basically, even though your story will without doubt have deeply emotional issues there will also be laughter, and a building sense of happiness which will be all the more believable at the end when the conflicts are resolved… If anyone has read any of my books they’ll know I’m a firm believer in that!

Let’s look at a couple of examples from Project: Parenthood, the book that just finalled for the Holt Medallion in the Traditional Category:

Showing Humor:
“He swung their joined hands gently back and forth, ‘Do you want to get them something fun, or something with educational value?’
‘Tough choice,’ She grinned across at him, ‘Though I’ll bet you’ll pull a face if I say educational.’
He pulled a face.
Teagan laughed, ‘I knew it. We’d better get something fun then, because I don’t know if I could live with that face.’
‘There’s nothing wrong with my face.’
‘Most of the time, I’d agree.’
‘You see,’ He leaned the face under scrutiny a little closer to hers, ‘You think I’m adorable already.’
‘Oh yeah, that’s you,’ She stopped in the middle of the bust pedestrian area, ‘Cute as a puppy.’”
And Emotion:

“It was the nights that were the worst.
Because at night she was truly alone. And when she sat in her house as the light faded outside, and she couldn’t gather the energy to get up to pull the curtains or switch on some lamps, she would look across at his house. And she would ache as she’d never ached before.
And the rain would fall in streaks along the windowpane so that there were always tears before her eyes. Even when she didn’t shed them.”


Then let’s look at Modern Extra. It’s tag-lined: “Sizzling, stylish, sensual – the ultimate temptation.

The beauty of this line is it’s still very much in its infancy, so the scope is wide. But it’s still a romance! Let’s look at the things I think are key elements from the Eharlequin guidelines: “These titles promise to deliver to the reader a feel-good experience, focusing on the kind of relationships that women between the ages of 18 and 35 aspire to…

Focusing on the phrases ‘feel-good experience’ and ’18-35 aspire to’ and then let’s add (again from the guideline) “an international city background that vividly conveys the sophistication and buzz of cosmopolitan life, an independent woman who knows what she wants from love and her career and a guy who's confident, easygoing and gorgeously sexy…” and what do we get? Well… from my point of view, we get something much faster paced, flirtier, more obviously sexy and with a good dose of fun and laughter along the way! There’s still room for the emotional conflicts of course, because it’s still character driven, but there’s much more room for a good row followed by hot make up sex or laugh out loud funny one liner’s to avoid a moment going all heavy with angst. What gives them the elements of an emotional ‘roller coaster’ will be the getting closer, then for some reason stepping back, the anger then dissipated by laughter, the ‘almost there’ and then for some reason torn apart again…the sex bringing them closer but then complicating things so that they step back yet again to regroup… Highs and lows… Ups and downs (in more that one way!!!) – but a roller coaster nevertheless…

Let’s use White-Hot! (being released in the US as The Firefighter’s Chosen Bride this August) for a couple of examples:

Showing Humor:
Babe. He kept calling her babe, didn’t he? Somewhere in her addled brain she allowed the endearment to slip through where it rattled around in her skull for a while and then seeped down into her chest. She’d have paid good money to hear him call her in that tone before.

It was an awful shame it had taken her house to burn down for him to use it, on her. He never had trouble using the word on any other female on the island they called home. Finn knew. It was a throwaway word for him, thrown mostly at skinny blondes with skirts so short they probably had permanent kidney infections, as it happened.”

And Emotion:
“Green eyes locked with blue. Finn was angry. So, so angry. He’d just given her all the proof she needed that she was right not to get any more involved with him. But he’d also just shown her that she already cared what happened to him, that, no matter how she tried avoiding him, he was already entangled in her life.
And the fact that the one thing was so conflicted with the other made her mad. Mad at him. Mad that he had made her cry in front of him so that he knew she cared without her even having to say so out loud.”


So Part Nine Of The Workshop is to look where you can inject a little humour into your work, or a smile, an affectionate glance, a bubble of happiness and then balance it with the emotional aspects. It may be that the characters will naturally ‘soften’ as the story progresses, they get to know each other better, have their pre-conceptions of each other challenged – and that will therefore allow more room for them to relax in each others company and a lighter moment to automatically appear. The rollercoaster is that ebb and flow along the path to happily ever after. And it should feel natural. If a hero is stern and intractable, then a light hearted moment that shows a glimmer of humour in his eyes is going to show us that there’s more to this guy than he gives away! If a heroine laughs when she really doesn’t want to then we can see she softening towards this guy a little despite her convictions!

But just when we see these two getting somewhere – we throw something into the mix to still hold them apart… And so the story continues…

Any questions then ask away and next time, unless you specifically request we cover something else… we’ll move onto Part Ten Of The Workshop which covers A Book of Three Parts… My personal theories on pacing…

Links to all the workshop Blogs can be found on the Writing Tips page of my Website.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Her One And Only Valentine


Yes I can confirm it! My 13th sale to the London offices is done and dusted and winging it's way to copy-editing as we speak! Yaayyyy... *unlucky* number thirteen is gone!

Anyone who follows my ramblings on here will know the story as Last Chance Family but it's official release title is Her One And Only Valentine.... anyone wanna hazard a guess what month it's out next year? Anyone??

This is Rhiannon and Kane's story and it's my first 'secret baby' tale. Now don't cringe! If you know me at all you'll know I've done my very bestest to throw a modern day twist on it. Whether or not I've pulled it off I shall leave to my wise readers...


Actually, all told, I think it's an emotional read. There is one scene in particular that made me cry when reading it and it's one of those scenes where knowing the characters well meant they created the dialogue themselves... which in turn led to the emotion... in one line as it happens. It's also the longest romance I've ever written, with one heck of a lot of story packed into the very upper limits of the line's wordcount! And it could quite merrily have gone longer if I'd let it! That's the third one in a row that wanted to do that...

So what did I learn from this one? I learnt first and foremost once again that the delete key can be my friend and not my enemy. Sometimes, even when there is absolutely nothing wrong with a scene and it supplies us with information and leads the story forwards, and basically does all the things it's s'posed to do - it's still gotta go! Cos if it's a choice between a scene that can have the same information filtered in somewhere else or a scene that has real impact or sweetness... well... you get where I'm heading here, right? As writers we can become very emotionally attached to the story. It's that whole 'wood for the trees' thing. And if we're on a deadline and desperately need the wordcount to be going up and not down - then it can be so very hard to bite the bullet and use that delete key! This book taught me to be brave.

And sometimes that bravery has to extend to things like character names. When I got stuck and things just weren't going the way I wanted them to - I made the decision to rename my heroine and her daughter. When I did, it changed them a little in my mind, and that change was enough to move me forward, getting me through my slump so I could get to the good stuff at the end!

But most of all I learnt that with every book I do I'm setting myself a higher and higher standard to attempt to achieve. Which means every one is a little harder than the last. And I think that's the way it *should be* but it's flipping hard work! Thing is, I'd rather suffer now than suffer when it's in print...

To read an excerpt of Her One And Only Valentine just click on the title and you can see the behind the scenes story there too!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bride Of The Emerald Isle Cover


On the Irish Isle of Valentia wisps of cloud hang low in the air, and a rugged figure appears through the hazy mist - the man that Keelin O'Donnell has been searching for without ever realising it.

Garrett Kincaid can help beautiful stranger Keelin unlock the secrets of her past. But he can't give her his heart - he knows Keelin's life lies elsewhere.

Only the essence of the Emerald Isle is capturing Keelin, drawing her in and giving her the courage to claim a future. A future that belongs to this man.

Well I said I'd be back today with the cover of Bride Of The Emerald Isle if I could manage it and here 'tis! How gorgeous is that cover??? And how evocative is that back-blurb???

Any of you that visit regularly will know this one as The Love Letters (its WIP title) and you'll know this one had a touch of magic to it from beginning to end. It's also the one where I had to layer in 'dogs' - literally. Cos on the last read though it occurred to me that they'd been in the first chapter and then disappeared ... And this is the one and only book I have ever written that went through without a single word of revision. Something that I have great confidence will never, ever, ever happen again!

The story was *seeded* - as Kate Walker likes to say - by Natasha Oakley and a 'throwaway' comment she made, actually, I think t'was here on the Blog... She said something about a guy coming to an Irish village with a bunch of old love letters and BANG - just like that a story was born. Only the guy became a girl and the village became an island I had spent time on and loved. Just like that. See? Stories can start from just about anywhere...

There's more of the story behind the story and the real life setting of Valentia Island on the Behind The Story section of the Bride Of The Emerald Isle page on my website... And it's the book that I'll *hopefully* be signing at the RWA National conference in Dallas this summer along with my first Promo Presents The Firefighter's Chosen Bride (White-Hot!) which is released in August... Please... someone come talk to me so I don't look like a lonely pint!!! I'll even let you make fun of my accent...

Bride Of The Emerald Isle is a July release in the UK, Ireland, Canada and the USA... I hope you all like it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Word Count War Update


Well up until yesterday I had the grand total of about 600 words on Letting Loose - go me - NOT SO MUCH... But hey, it was EASTER and the SUN WAS SHINING! Gotta get it when you can in this country I tell ya...

But with Ally on holiday (and hopefully *not* writing) and Jenna writing up a damn storm... I had to try and make some headway, didn't I? Though I have been plotting and researching more that I can honestly say I've ever researched for a single book before... So that was something, right???

So, so far I have researched:

  • Dublin streets and locations

  • Posh hotels including Adult Hotels... (all will become clear - trust me!)

  • Interior design and architecture

  • Tantra (its a Modx - okay!!!)

  • Names of Rock bands from the late seventies/early eighties

  • Vintage clothing
See - hours of fun! And all of it necessary... Cos I then put on my nice theme tune and started writing... and today I have managed to leap the wordcount up close to 5k... ha... ahahahaha!!!

And this story is a BLAST to write. Controlling the characters is proving the only difficulty. They're both smart and funny and equally as strong minded. And I'm LOVING that. I can say without any reservation that Merrow is probably the fiestiest heroine I've ever written...Really she is. And the story is becoming much less about big dramatic emotional conflicts and more about the modern day conflicts of a modern day couple... from very different backgrounds... whose friends and family won't necessarily mix well together...

Oh. And my heroine has goldfish issues...while Alex has a cat...

Doesn't bode well does it?

Meanwhile their song is playing and egging me on thanks to Gary Barlow and Take That who are up to the chorus while poor Alex is still in denial:

Yeah

Cos you’re not the one I need.
You’re just the one that I want
Makes perfect sense to me
Cos you’re not the one I need
But you’re the one that I want
There ain’t no sense in love.
Ain’t no sense in love

See the poor guy honestly thinks that he needs a different kind of woman to compliment his life... Poor, poor misguided hero...

Monday, April 9, 2007

Decisions... Decisions...


Oooh... dunno that I can top last week!!! What on earth shall I blog about this week??? It's a toughie!

I guess I could tell you how I'm doing in the wordcount war tomorrow... IF I get my ACT INTO GEAR!

I SUPPOSE on Wednesday I COULD see about showing you a cover for Bride Of The Emerald Isle... Maybe. If I can get one scanned in that is...

By Thursday I'm hoping to be able to confirm all the details of my new February Romance Her One And Only Valentine - and if I can then I'll put an excerpt onto the website!

And on Friday we'll do some Writers Tips Stuff! I'll have to see where I'm at on the Book With Trish Series to see if we can pick up from there - or I'll take requests - yup, I'm open to a request or two... Bring em on gals...

Let's see what the week brings us, shall we???

Friday, April 6, 2007

I'm A Finalist!!!


I've just received the news that Project: Parenthood is a finalist for the HOLT MEDALLION AWARD from the Virginia branch of the RWA! As the boys above say - WOO-HOO!

Understandably I'm chuffed to bits with the news and had to pop in and tell you all!!! This is especially fantabulous as my very good buddie Natasha Oakley is also a finalist with her Accepting The Boss's Proposal!!! I feel like Natasha and I have already taken such a long journey together and this is our first year entering contests (We shared the trials and tribulations of figuring out how to enter together!) so to be there side by side is wonderful! I could go all mushy about what a great gal she is but she's British and she'd HATE THAT. So I won't.

Project: Parenthood was a lovely book to write and the first I worked on with my lovely Editor Jenny Hutton - so a big shout out to Jenny for all her help!!! YOU ROCK BABE. And remember what I said about never marrying or having kids or even thinking of a career change... We agreed you'd NEVER LEAVE ME, remember???

Am now off to celebrate in TRUE IRISH FASHION!!!!
****UPDATE****
The full list is now up here and I'm even more ecstatic to see that another great gal pal Ally Blake is also on the list with her Meant-To-Be-Mother!!!! What a jolly good showing for the Romance line and what a hellish good showing for the PHS !!! It just keeps getting better... Now if Ally would just come back off her silly holiday we could all party together!

April Writers Contest

Okay so here we go...

I've had a while to think about this one to try and keep it as fair as possible and to judge it on potential rather than some random name-out-of-the-hat plan...

Now remember that I write for Romance and Modern Extra so those are the kinds of stories I'm most likely to be any help with. What I'm offering as the prize is to work with you on ONE manuscript of the 50-55k length in between my own deadlines. I won't attempt to change your voice!!! I'll just look at things like flow, conflicts, character interaction and the development of the romance. And if you hit a major no-no that I know won't work for the lines at present then I'll point them out. It doesn't matter what stage the manuscript is at - whether it's finished or a WIP - BUT I don't want to work on one that is currently under consideration with a Publisher please...

So what I'm gonna do is this - you have until the end of the month (30th April) to email me your synopsis telling me the general gist of your story - the line you're aiming for - and whether or not the work is finished along with the first three chapters so I can get an idea of your storytelling...And I'll pick a winner by the end of the first week of May - okay? That way the winner is being judged on their work and you have a few weeks to polish everything up nice and shiny...

In the meantime I'll do my best to do some more Writing Workshops here on the Blog, though I can't guarantee how frequent they'll be while I continue in the wordcount war (a war I'm currently losing btw!)... But I'll do my best... Any questions you have can be asked here on the comments and you can email me your entries through the website's contact link. If the contest proves popular then we'll try and make it an annual thing, okay???

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Art Of Backwards Casting


What is Backwards Casting I can hear you ask ... Well I'm here to walk you through my theory on it... I'm wild good that way...

Backwards or Reverse Casting is exactly what it says it is...

Anyone who has known me a while or visited this blog on a regular basis will know that I tend to see my books as movies in my head. Particularly at the planning stages I'll *see* key scenes and I almost always have a soundtrack of music these days too. So when I write, I write as if I'm watching a movie on a screen in my head. And I think that helps immensely with the flow of the story and deciding what scenes come next - alright - it doesn't always help me with the pacing until the very end but then that's just like movie making to a certain extent - right? Plenty of scenes have ended up on the floor of a cutting room...

So when you have a movie script completed and sold - you go out and cast the characters you think are best suited to the story, who best depict the characters and can bring a realism to the role. You go shopping for actors and actresses - yes?

Well when I start to think about a new book I do that in reverse... I START with the casting.

And what line I'm writing for can have an influence even at this early stage. (I've put up pics of my last Romance hero and my new Modx hero for you to compare) Sexy as bedamned and a little younger tends to be the look of my Modx heros - you have to be able to look at him and think YUM - he's irresistable - and that's just the way my heroine should see him (he'd be that guy in the street you'd nudge your mates to look at and would then fan your face as you walked past, you get what I'm saying???). Whereas my Romance heros pictures will often have a, well, troubled look to them I guess, or a far off expression or at the very least the photo I work with will be evocative of a scene I'll write - he'll look just as gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but there'll be a very different tone to him than to a Modx hero (think of a Modx hero as Hugh Jackman in Animal Attraction and a Romance hero as Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle) .

Maybe I'll simply have seen the guy in question in a movie or TV role where he just had the *tone* I wanted to him. Quite simply, he's inspiring... (for an example here's a clip to show where the first itsy bitsy teeny seedlings of inspiration came from on this new Modx I'm working on... it doesn't take much with me...)

Then I name him. I get out my little book of names and I flick through it until I find a name I think *fits* the picture - the same with a surname. Immediately he then becomes that person to me and I start to think about what age he is, what he does for a living, what his history is. (Characters sheets - remember? Only I've been doing it for so long now that unless it's a particularly complex story I'll keep most of it my head) I then go back to the start and begin the same process with a heroine. (and this is why I had so much material for the Hero and Heroine Databases - I'm never done collecting pictures, particularly after a film or a TV series where I've spotted one I think would make good characters in a story!)

So once I have them cast and I know who they are I then start thinking how did they meet - what do they say to each other in that first scene - and having seen them in action somewhere I have an idea of body movement and facial expressions... Then I think conflict - what holds them apart - what do they argue about - what kind of things do they say to each other that proves hurtful or reminds them of those conflicts? And I do this ALL in my head.

Yes, for me, the largest part of planning a new story is living with the characters for a while. Playing the movie in my head. Maybe even speaking aloud some of the heroines dialogue while I go for a walk or do dishes or muck out a stable. I like to have them really well grounded in my head. I won't think of every scene one after the other the way it'll appear in the finished manuscript, but I most definately play out key scenes. Call it a work based form of day-dreaming if you like... And it's something I've done for most of my life so I guess I was always headed in the direction of writing...

Only once I've spent this time playing the scenes in my mind and getting to know the kinds of things my characters will do and say do I actually sit down and start to write. So basically what I've done is the exact opposite to the way a movie is cast. Hence the term Backwards or Reverse Casting. Make sense???

And I can honestly say I believe that's the reason the characters and scenes come to life on the page for me the way they do. Because by the time I start to tell the story from one key scene to another I've already played out the *movie* from beginning to end...

So there you go. Feel free to ask any questions you want now that the comments are working again!!! And tomorrow we launch the competition!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Rescued: Mother-To-Be Reviews



Eventually - as promised - some of the reviews for Rescued: Mother-To-Be the book that's out this month is the UK/Ireland/Canada and the USA... And the book that Romantic Times chose as a TOP PICK for April! (Still so chuffed about that you know...)

Anyhoo, if your remember Romantic Times had this to say:

"Trish Wylie's Rescued: Mother-to-Be (4.5) has it all -- great dialogue, a solid plot and excellent characters. This one's a keeper."

Next up we had a review from the very lovely Marilyn Shoemaker over at The Pink Heart Society Reviews:

"Rescued: Mother-To-Be is intense, sensual and full of heart. I personally fell in love with Inisfree and Ireland. This is truly a love story with a happy ending!"

Then over to Coffee Time Romance who said:

"Rescued: Mother-To-Be is a sweet romance that is a pleasure to read. I enjoyed reading about Eamonn coming to terms with his feelings for Inisfree and Colleen. The descriptions of Ireland and Inisfree were well researched, and I savoured reading them. Ms. Wylie has written a romance that anyone's collection would be enhanced by."

And Once Upon A Romance who said:

"Trish Wylie creates characters that are leery and cautious due to past experiences, characters we can relate to on many levels. Their flaws overshadow what their hearts tell them. After all, it's easiest to play it safe in an effort to protect the most delicate part of the body. The heart."

Aren't they all lovely people?! THANKS TO EVERYONE who took the time to read the book! It's much appreciated!!!

And now to the competition winners!! Correctly answering that Inisfree was the name of the fictional Stud farm in Rescued: Mother-To-Be were: Teresa in Toledo, Ohio - Crystal in Williamsberg, Kentucky and winning a signed copy of the book and some Irish goodies is Jackie in the USA too.... (whose actual location I haven't been sent yet LOL)

CONGRATS TO ALL!!!

The next competition to win a book will run in May for copies of Bride of The Emerald Isle...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Let Battle Commence!!!

Three Modern Extra Authors....

Three Brand New Books....

WHO will get there first??????

Jeez but I LOVE a wordcount war!!!! There's nothing quite like it to motivate you to get those words down on paper... yes, a deadline is motivating... yes, being paid an advance is motivating... But keeping up with your pals??? *insert manic laughter* Oh-yes-indeedy - now THAT will keep a gal going! So we should be off to a running start about now.... Jenna Bayley-Burke has a little bit of a head start... Ally Blake has words down - I *know* she does! Cos she *never* works on just the one book - she goes play with a new one when she gets stumped in the one she's on - so there are words... they're just being held very tight to her chest... Grrrrr....

So I'm officially playing catch-up... But I just loooovvvveeeee this story! I may have mentioned that when I introduced you to Alex from Letting Loose the other day... And now I have a theme tune and a soundtrack made for this book and a word doc opened and labelled and my character pics done and my research done... I'm good to go!!!

If you want to look up my theme tune with the oh-so-perfect words then it's from Take That's new album Beautiful World and it's called Ain't No Sense In Love. You can get it from Amazon here if you don't have the ability to download... (from somewhere LEGAL folks!!!)

So keeping in my mind that the lyrics are from Alex's point of view... I'll give you a little background and a snippet of the lyrics to show why the song is so perfect...

You already met the very yummy Alex Fitzgerald. Alex is a second generation Architect running the family firm - think old money - think stretches the rules but doesn't break them type - sexy as get out - confident, cocky... just think delicious, okay? Then add to his life a rebellious rock star with a million dollar hotel project that's making Alex insane. And then have that rock star demand an off-the-wall designer...

Enter Merrow O'Connell - free spirited, as confident as Alex and then some, from a family that runs an *alternative therapies for couples* centre in the middle of nowhere. *cough* And let's just say she's about to make him the teensiest little bit insane on a daily basis... *insert-evil- writer-about-to-torture-characters-laughter*

Now picture me at the keyboard with Take That singing in my ears:

I’m afraid of the morning
I’m afraid of the light
You should come with a warning
Ye-ah, you should be wearing a sign
Oh you’re such a beautiful trouble
So you better beware
One look and I was in right over my head
O-oh this misery!
But there’s no place on earth I’d rather be-e…

And the afraid of the morning afraid of the light part? Well let's just say these days it's not just the guys that can disappear in the middle of the night. I did say she was making him insane, right???

More lyrics from Gary Barlow and more Letting Loose biz as the Battle Commences!!!! (can you tell it's springtime over here and I'm coming out of the light deficiency period of my year???)