Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'm Bowing Down In Homage...


... to all the authors on the planet who can write Alpha-hero's...

HOW-IN-HELL-DO-THEY-DO-IT-FULL-TIME???

No - come on - SERIOUSLY?!? I have NEVER in ALL MY BORN DAYS had a hero who was so bloody DIFFICULT TO WRITE! And I can be honest with you guys cos I love you all so much - I'm not entirely certain I'm pulling this off...

And I really really WANT TO.
Usually I have a fairly even spread of POV from hero to heroine but Gabe was so bloody uncommunicative at the beginning if you recall that I had problems with that. Well now I've spent some time with him and fought with him every step of the way I understand why and I *get* the kind of man he is - but does that make it any easier to write him???? HELL NO.
He's one-step-forwards and then three-steps-back. And now that I'm actually getting a better POV spread I just want to STRANGLE HIM. I mean he's protective as hell of Ash and then says things he has to KNOW she'll find hurtful. He'll - outta nowhere I might add - do something beautifully tender and THEN be a complete ASS! And if any of you have *met* any of my heroine's before then you'll know this one is not exactly backing down....
Which makes me then worry that she comes across as either abrasive or a complete annoying brat or any number of horrible things that I won't name but HAVE WORRIED ABOUT CONSTANTLY for the last few days....
IF this makes it to print - and I stress the word IF - then I honestly think Gabe will be the one hero that will forevermore stick in my mind. BUT HEED MY WORDS - Alpha heros like this one - NOT MY THING....
So to all authors I have as friends who write them.... I have this to say... I'M NOT WORTHY!
And following on from my Mother's letter may I add - Here woofie woofie... hungry???

Monday, June 25, 2007

To Trish's Editor...

Dear Trish's Editor,

This is just a quick note to apologize for the fact that Trish does not have her manuscript with her in class today as the dog ate it.

Trish is very upset about this, particularly as she told me she had just written a very wonderful scene where someone called Gabe was hit by a runaway Monster Bus and apparently squooshed like a big bug. Aren't children's imaginations wonderful no matter what age?

She will re-do the work if it doesn't reappear through the dog in natural due course.

Yours sincerely,
Trish's Mum

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sometimes In Order To Move Forwards...

You gotta take a step back...

And having left Gabe and Ash floating in the breeze in Getting Even for a few weeks and with the help of that Youtube vid and the song for it - I'm ready to wade back in and finish this damn book!!!

That has however meant doing something fairly drastic, though maybe not all that drastic in the greater scheme of things... Gabe is Gabe. There's no changing that man, let's face facts here - but Ash - well Ash just needed to be - more. And watching the vid again persuaded me that I had her right in name et all (just as well seeing it's a linked story!) but the visual image I had in my head was wrong. Yes - I can admit when I goof - so out with how she looked before and in with what should have been the obvious flipping choice before - DUH Trish!!!
I mean - it was where the whole idea was seeded in the first place so why did I feel the need to go messing with it? And muse obviously agreed seeing as and how she went and placed so many flipping obstacles in my way! See what happens when you ignore muse???

So back we go to what Ash should have looked like in the first place - and hopefully now we'll see a change in the word counter thingie and I can get this story sorted out once and for all!!!

Otherwise I may be back here to weep. LOUDLY.

It just goes to show that regardless of deadlines and bloody minded determination when something just ain't working it ain't working and when you're not happy with something as the writer then it's very hard to shift that feeling long enough to get the rest of the story told. Hence the block. Hence the procrastination to avoid going any further. Hence the book now being LATE and me having to wade back in to put it all right... WHY-OH-WHY do we do this to ourselves??? Huh? Huh?? Come on gang - W-H-Y???

And when I even had a pic of the *three of them together*(Gabe, Ash and Alex with fluffy hair - cos remember these three grew up together...) you'd have thought that might have helped me to see what was wrong too... But oh no. Sheesh.

So when you get stuck are you brave enough to change something and rip things apart or do you keep going regardless??? I'm always saying we have to be flexible but it would seem this time round I wasn't prepared to heed my own words... Are we just all masochists at heart???

Following on on this subject I'll try and do the next Book With Trish - which is on editing and polishing - this weekend - IF-THE-WORDS-FLOW... And I'm blogging at The Pink Heart Society tomorrow... about something... what you may ask??? Well - it ain't called Saturday Surprise for nothing... ;)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fame At Last...


This evening I'm chatting on the BBC Radio Ulster's Arts Programme... along with my lovely editor Jenny by telephone and the winner of the RTE Mills & Boon writing contest in the studio avec moi...
Fame at Last.
***UDATE*** Yup - I survived - even the part where some of my excerpts were read aloud by BBC DJ'S!!!!!! You can listen to it here if you wanna hear it (hit the listen again key) - and then please come back and tell me I sound like I had a brain...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Seeding A Plot


So my good friend Kate often talks about the seeding of a book - you know - where that initial seedling of an idea comes from...?

Well, I thought I'd let you in to where the idea for annoying-boy's book came from... actually not just his story either - cos Alex's story came from the same place.

It doesn't take much you see - sometimes a line in a song, sometimes a scene from a movie - and in the case of these two - from Youtube...Which I'm blogging about today at The Pink Heart Society funnily enough.

So just to let you see the kind of thing that got my mind working we first have one of the clips:

Watched it??? Anyone look at all familiar to you??? Yuh-huh. Now having watched it you'll also have noticed the interaction between these two characters - and THIS became my basis for the kind of relationship Gabe and Ash would have had when they were younger - the seed was planted - then I added and changed things round as my muse directed me. I made them childhood friends - I made him the son of the housekeeper and the groundsman and her the rich brat - I had him rescue her (yes - no seed at all from here for that theme either...) from all the trouble she got into during her rebel-without-a-clue teenage years - and even now, years later when they are *all grown up* I still have a tad of a Superhero thread going in varying ways; not least of which is the fact that Gabe is such a big strapping lump now that he can pick her up and carry her round like she weighs about two pounds... YUM...

Although this was my inspiration (along with the one clip I mention on the PHS) for my initial idea, I've digressed some - and this vid is great to look back on for a reminder of their earlier relationship even if I see them as older now in my mind ... Yup. Seeds can get planted from just about anywhere - it's where they go from that initial spark or flashing lightbulb above the head moment that makes the difference - or in my case digs the hole - maybe I should make Ash look more like Lois??? (Oh - and did anyone else spot Alex in there???) So come on then - am I the only one who got an idea from fanvids on Youtube??? Where was your latest idea *seeded* from - huh? huh? huh? Enquiring minds need to know!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Abusing Your Muse?

They did a brilliant article over at Romancing The Blog last month about Messing With The Muse... basically asking the question of whether or not you're one of those people who is diligant in the care and feeding of your muse or whether you fall into that class of people guilty of muse abuse... (go read it - it's important stuff!!!)

I kinda think I'm the latter. Sorry Muse.

And I'm of the opinion that that is a bad thing on many levels - not least of which is the one where the SPCM (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Muses) may well visit my house to hit me and beat me lots (around the ankles obviously due to height restrictions... mind you... if they have wings???) But then there's the masochistic element - cos by abusing and not caring for my muse I'm doing damage to myself in the long run aren't I???

And d'ya know, I think I hadn't realized how dangerous this kind of abuse and neglect could be until this year... particularly after I finished Her One And Only Valentine... when I had that brief haitus between books where my muse was s'posed to magically appear with a brand new book plot like she always had before... and then DIDN'T. I mean nothing, nada, blank board type thing without even a flicker of hope for a new idea. And I kinda PANICKED. I mean OMG what if I'd used up my muse???? What if she looked less like the magical creature in the picture above and more like the one on the left??? Are we allowed another muse if we use up the first one??? Should we be allowed another one having abused and neglected the first???
I feel as writer's we really need to take this kind of thing very seriously!!!
I mean I do feed my muse regular pictures of Hot Guys to cast as hero's... so that's one tick off the list... I let her watch Romantic Movies and RomCom's from time to time and very very occassionally I let her read someone elses books (though this often depresses her!!!) - and there's no doubting I give her plenty of good red wine and coffee to help through the saggy middles of her stories... BUT when it comes to taking her outside of the cave and giving her time off - well - I SUCK.
Any wonder the poor wee soul went on strike!!!
Now thankfully she had given me the plot of His Mistress: His Terms to keep me going and she had definitely given me the bare bones for Getting Even (until Gabe started to cause problems!) but I think until I took her to Lincoln and allowed her a few days off she was quite determined to stand in a corner with her arms folded, tapping her heel while pouting and ignoring my pleading and whining... And really - who could blame her???
A big trip should help her some though, shouldn't it??? Now I just need to think of some other ways to suck up to her... I've wheedled a Romance plot and a Modx plot out of her thanks to Lincoln so she def does reward me when I reward her... But I need at least another Romance plot before the end of the year (AT LEAST) so what shall I do to get her to stop that flipping irritating tapping???
Any suggestions??? And are you a Muse's best friend or guilty of Muse Abuse??? C'mon - fess up... I'll go first...
My name is Trish Wylie - and I abuse my muse.

Friday, June 15, 2007

More About Lincoln & Shoes


Oooh, now where had I got to???

I'd left you at the point Natasha and I were beautifying ourselves for the main event, hadn't I? Well, naturally that took about five minutes...

ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry - had a moment there. Anyway, once we were beautiful we headed downstairs to find everyone arriving and Kate looking truly stunning in all her finery and the most drool-worthy pair of shoes! We then meeted and greeted the likes of Jacqui Baird, Susan Stephens, Kate Hardy, Abby Green (again - swear - that gal is EVERYWHERE), Michelle Reid again, Julie Cohen again, Michelle Styles again, India Grey (who is entirely too beautiful to be let out I feel and along with her handsome husband I'm laying lots of money on their kids being beautiful on a whole new level hitherto unknown to mankind), Linda and Maddie from the London Editorial team (and can I just say to any Diet Clubbers from the PHS out there - Maddie looks AMAZING - if she wasn't so damn nice I'd have to HATE HER for doing so much better with her eating plan that any of us seem to have managed - her secret? Less food and exercise more - dammit!!!! NOT what I wanted to hear Maddie!!) - anyways it was a whose who of M&B-ers and that meant a queue at the bar and MORE TALKING...

After a very scrumptious dinner at tables sprinkled with gold hearts and *numbered* with book covers from a selection of Kate's 50 titles some of us then swapped tables to meet and greet more of the vast mixture of friends and family that Kate had mixed so well with her writing buddies. And this was a stroke of genius on Kate's behalf - cos she managed to choose people to move that she knew would mingle and TALK - especially after a couple of drinks (can't think *why* she thought I should be one of them...) So I was having just the bestest time and that was before Kate *got me and got me good*. That woman is *sneaky*. Lemme explain...

While staying at Kate's house we all lent a hand to get the twiddly bits ready for the big night and Kate appeared with some little pouches... Opening them she informed me that she had got them as presents for some of her RNA *Virgins* and people she had helped along the way and I said I thought they were lovely - because really they WERE! A selection of hearts in varing colours - some with beautiful patterns inside them, some just the glowing colours of the gemstones... and she then asked *in conversation* which one I thought was the nicest and I immediately pointed at the golden one that looked just like amber... And Kate said yes, she'd quite liked that one too... And then we went back to twiddling...

So I knew the gifts were being given out at some point and I got to smile smugly at faces around the room at the big event when all the wonderful poet friends of Kate and the charming BM gave their poetry readings (which were FAB BTW) and Kate stood up to give her speech... It's just so typical of Kate and the kind of person she is that she started her speech at her own flipping party by giving out gifts to OTHER PEOPLE and I'll admit to having a teary eye when Natasha received her heart... but imagine how I was when she then headed MY WAY!!!!! She said some lovely things and YES I DID GO TEARY AGAIN and YES I HAVE WORN IT PRETTY MUCH EVER SINCE... hence the pic of it round my neck!!! Now I'm no *virgin* (stop laughing in the cheap seats!!!!!) as I've never actually been to the RNA at all - but Kate was one of the very first people I ever spoke to on the eharlequin boards before I thought about subbing my partial for what became The Bridal Bet and I've remembered her advice to this day. AND since I became published she has been there every step of the way with sound advice and a pat on the back or a hug - cyber or otherwise - when it was needed. She's an amazing lady and a very very good friend now. So I wear this heart now as a talisman of sorts - or a badge of honour - and I was touched beyond belief (even with the sneakiness...)- you can see a pic of our hug on India Grey's Blog - and can I just point out how much better I look from THE BACK...

I managed to avoid cameras all over the place all weekend - it's a talent I feel - and fortunate for all those cameras really...

So another very very late night ensued and it was an AMAZING PARTY - if it hadn't been for my darn leg I'd have stayed up all night gabbing but by then both feet had swollen and my bad leg looked like a sausage so off to bed to prop I went... (doesn't bode well for the big trip gang!)

Sunday saw us all served breakfast on huge Kate Walker Inc tables as everyone caught up with the people they had missed the night before and then it was off to pack so we could head back to Kate's for more wine and more TALKING and another very very LATE night...

All in all it was one heck of a weekend and the kind of break all writers need to get together and talk books to reinspire the muse. Yes, we do end up talking work, there's no doubt about it - but you could see people's invisible light bulbs going off all over the place and I even had time to complain about Gabe and have Abby and Kate talk me out of the hole a little - so fingers crossed for that one... I think it should be an annual event myself - the Kate Walker friends and family weekend...

Now three weeks til I travel - EEK!!!! - paperwork and admin galore to do and this book to finish asap and the contest winner to do and and and and... three weeks is loads of time - right???

And just cos I knew you'd all be curious I've shown you pics of some of the shoes I bought... LOVE THEM...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Just Cos I Knew You Wanted To See It...

MODERN EXTRA IS COMING TO AMERICA AND CANADA IN AUGUST!!!!
And here's the very first glimpse of my cover for The Firefighter's Chosen Bride - the book formerly known as White-Hot! So what do we think??? It's my first bare chested hero so I have to say I had a moment... ;) But I'll be interested to hear what you guys think...
And just in case you'd forgotten, here's what the reviewers had to say about it:
"Trish Wylie’s spellbinding tale will tickle your funny bone and tug at your heartstrings. Featuring characters which leap off the pages, realistic dialogue, sweet romance, sizzling sex scenes, electrifying sexual tension and dramatic emotional intensity, White-Hot! is feel-good romance at it’s finest!"
Julie Bonello - Cataromance
"From the get-go, Finn is a strong heroine; someone whom the reader will no doubt identify with. And Shane? Even an ice-maiden would melt when faced with this sexy fire-fighter."
Sue - Romance Reviewed
And from fellow authors:
"The banter in this book is hilarious. Since nothing was salvagable from the fire, Finn has to shop for EVERYTHING. Including underwear. Go ahead and read where Shane takes her shopping twice. It's too fun to pass up. Don't let it fool you, this book packs such an emotional punch I wondered how it could possibly work for this couple. But of course, it does, in the most satisfying way possible."
Jenna Bayley-Burke - Modern Extra Author
"White Hot! is a sweet, sexy, sassy romp that will have you laughing and clutching at your heart by measures. Finn and Shane are funny, damaged, and thoroughly contemporary and their romance is soooo believable, and so one you can imagine happening between your best friends"
Ally Blake - Romance & Modern Extra Author
"You owe me for a couple of boxes of Kleenex! I've just bawled my way to the end of White Hot and absolutely loved it. Thank you so much for a great read. "
Margaret McDonagh - Mills & Boon Medicals Author
And maybe if you read the book you can pop by and let us know what you thought as well??? This is a big deal for we Modex authors as this next while the line tests it's toes in the waters of such a big market - so fingers crossed!!!
Meanwhile back here at the ranch I still have more tales from Lincoln and I'm trying my absolute bestest to get Gabe out the damn door before I announce my Writing Contest Winner and do at least another couple of the Book With Series of blogs... And then folks it's PANIC-ABOUT-THE-BIG-TRIP-TIME... *GULP*

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Back From Lincoln


Well I'm home again and can honestly say I had a fantabulous time!
I've never been to Lincoln before and d'ya know - it's probably exactly as people around the world would expect an English town to be - particularly the older section of the town with it's narrow cobbled streets and teeny little shops with doors you have to bend down to make sure you don't hit your head as you go in and crooked windowsills and the varying different styles of building from medievel through to victorian. It's a delight! Even with the steepest hill on the face of the earth - a joy to walk DOWN but not so much flipping fun to walk back UP... particularly if you went shopping with Natasha Oakley and Abby Green on the Saturday and slaughtered the shops; therefore carrying MUCH additional weight on the way back up (most of it in the form of SHOES)

Abby and I both flew from different ends of Ireland to meet Kate Walker and her lovely husband the BM on Thursday and spent a night talking books and writing and heros over several glasses of wine and a nice meal and then on Friday we travelled to historic Lincoln where the view from my hotel room was dominated by the stunning Lincoln Cathedral... (the bells... well... they were lovely - but let's just say I don't think I could live next door to them full time) We took time to settle in and explore a little (traditional ice-cream shoppe facing hotel - YUM) and met Natasha my roomie and settled in some more as the rest of Kate's guests started to arrive. Then we headed off on a guided Ghost-Walk tour of the older parts of the town before taking up a huuugggeeee table in a local Italian Restaurant for dinner - where we all foolishly ordered starters and main courses. The starters were HUGE and it meant no-one could finish the main courses and let's just say we all rolled back tot he hotel... And yes, I wasn't kidding about the talking part - cos then we took over the hotel foyer lounge with the lovely Biddy Coady and her man and we talked and talked and talked some more until I had to go outside to call my cat over my mobile phone (LONG STORY) - and then we talked some more...

Saturday the breakfast room looked like a who's who of the romance world - Julie Cohen took a VERY WELL BEHAVED baby Nate round the tables to meet everyone, we talked Figs with Michelle Reid and her lovely hubby, Kate did the rounds and organized what time everyone should be gorgeous by and then Natasha, Abby and I went shopping... LOADS of second hand book shops on the hill on the way down into the town centre and did I mention the SHOES??? I came back with FOUR PAIRS... and I'm officially hiring those two as my personal shoppers from here on in - they're my very own Trinny and Susanna now. After a delicious lunch in the sunshine by the river and an-it-almost-gave-me-a-heart-attack walk back up the hill we had some time to chat to Michelle Styles and her super daughter (who loves horses) - we saw Linda and Maddie from the Richmond M&B offices checking in and played spot-the-author for a while before heading up so I could rest my puffy bad leg before we beautified ourselves for the big event...

And THAT I'll tell you about tomorrow...

Friday, June 8, 2007

Writer's Talk A LOT



Just so you know I haven't forgotten you all!!! I'm now in sunny-ish England visiting the lovely Kate Walker for her 50th Book Bash and can I just tell you that when writers get together WE TALK...

And talk...

And talk...

And talk...

Yup and then we talk some more. And that's only three of us together!!! Imagine what it'll be like when Natasha and everyone else meets up with Kate, Abbey and I come Saturday!!! I will have NO VOICE left by the time I get home...

And YES - GABE AND ASH ARE BLOOMIN WELL WITH ME!!!!

I'll pop by with an update asap gang...

Monday, June 4, 2007

Just Shoot Me


Does anyone remember me saying at the end of Letting Loose - now known as His Mistress: His Terms - that I felt a post book slump coming and then I decided that the best way to avoid it was to start another one???
*SIGH*

That might not have been a Mensa moment...

Writing Getting Even aka The Pineapple MkII is still proving a tad like wading through week old porridge. I'm now at the can't see the wood for the trees stage I think... so am going to push through the pain barrier and then try and sort through whatever complete and utter tripe I have when I'm done. If this book doesn't KILL ME FIRST.

Consequently it might be next week before I bring you the Writing Contest winner cos I'm away this weekend. If this book doesn't KILL ME FIRST.

And then I'll be announcing a new contest to win some books before I head off round the world at the end of the month. If this book doesn't KILL ME FIRST.

JUST-SHOOT-ME-NOW . (and just look how bloody relaxed Gabe looks!!!!)

Sunday, June 3, 2007

A Special Time For A Special Friend

This month and next is a special time for a very very special friend of mine - Kate Walker.

Kate has reached that milestone of 50 books in print - 50 GANG - Thats five-zer0!!!!!! An AMAZING FEAT I feel as I struggle with number 15!!! I may be an axe murderer by the time I hit 25 and yet Kate is as lovely a person as I'm sure she was at book one...

Ooooh... now do I talk book first or blog party first... book or blog.... b-o-o-k or b-l-o-g...

BOOK DARNNIT!!!! - Cos lemme tell you I picked this up on Friday (when I should have been mashing up pineapple if you get my drift) with the intention of getting Kate to sign it for me when I go see her later this week... And then I made a VERY BIG MISTAKE...

Yes folks - I opened the cover and read a couple of pages..

Wellll.... that was that then. Bye-bye pineapple HELLO VITO!!! This is a gorgeous book - and remember we talked about tapping into the fantasy of the readers? YUM! The book starts out wih a gorgeously romantic premise that you can *see* in the back of your mind and then it just takes you from page to page to page without you even realizing you're turning them... I even went weepy eyed at the end!!! And lemme tella ya - apart from the one week outta every four it's not easy to get me to do that!!! And Kate did it with two simple words in Italian. IT-IS-SO-AS-WELL-I-LIKE-THIS-WOMAN...... Disgustingly good book - and if anyone still thinks that Modern/Presents books can be old fashioned?? Well - this one might just change your mind...

It's a book to be proud of Kate! And here's hoping I can wrestle it outta my mother's fingers long enough to get it signed...

Now BLOG - In order to celebrate the release of the book Kate is having a Blog Party with over a month's worth of special guests and prizes and interesting snippets of info about changing covers and the various hero's in her life (real and fictional) so do pop by and join in the fun - hey - you might even spot the odd Irish lass over there ;)

And as is the tradition I'm posting pics of my cats for my cat loving friend Kate. Meet Daisy and Max - my writing companions. Daisy is the multi-coloured distainful looking one and Max is the one guarding the windowsill... I'm a great believer that people don't choose cats - cat's choose them - cos let's face it - if they don't wanna stay they won't... And both Daisy and Max *chose* to live with me - though Daisy does let me know every single day that that was an honour and I should be fully aware of that fact! Max was a stray who moved in while I was away playing horses just over a year ago - and as soft and as snuggly a pudkin as he may be in the house - outside of it he's a holy terror! And has gained the nickname Maximus Pussimus for his gladiatorial qualities in beating the stuffing out of next doors cat...
They send their congratulations to Sid for his achievement in ensuring the 50th book was written...

And I send my love to Kate - a fabulous writer who has achieved what so many of us can but dream we may achieve ourselves - and a fantabulous friend, mentor and guardian angel of new writers wet round the ears and still learning every day. Can't wait to see you and BM my sweet!!! Now I just need to make sure that Gabe and Ash don't make the trip with me!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Book With Trish - Pt 11 - Indulging The Reader

What the heck does that mean I can hear you all cry...

Well 'Indulge the Reader' is an Editorial phrase I've often found winging it's way to me in revisions notes - usually prefixed with the phrase 'Don't be afraid to...' So what does it mean? Well, here's my take on it...

Any reader will pick up a certain type of book with an expectation of what they'll find inside the cover - certainly in category romance. If you buy an Intrigue you'll go looking for that touch of mystery, if you buy a Modern/Presents you'll look for that element of glamour and sophistication, a Blaze - a sexy hot read... you with me? So when you start to write for a specific line, you should write with that expectation constantly in the back of your mind and then indulge the reader by fulfilling that expectation. Make more sense now?

Lets look at one of the lines I write for again:

Romance is: From the Heart. For the Heart.

Now I dunno if you lot have noticed but there is now a completely updated set of Guidelines for this line on the eharlequin site here - which outlines the changes in the line since it merged with Silhouette Romance back in September. PRINT THESE GUIDELINES OUT AND KEEP THEM CLOSE BY - go now - shoo - do as Auntie Trish says!!!

These notes are straight from 'the horses mouth' so to speak - from the people who have the market research at their fingertips, who talk to readers, who watch sales. THEY KNOW what works for a specific line - they KNOW the expectations of that line. It's up to us as writers to then indulge those expectations.

Let's break it down a little (and I'm fully prepared to come back to this again and again if you have any questions on it - cos it's quite a big topic!) Starting with:

Character driven: These stories must be character driven. We're not looking for standard, tried and tested hook-driven plots. Stories must begin with a set of unique, engaging, appealing characters. Their individual circumstances will drive the emotional conflicts and what happens in the story — and because they're unique, the story will be too. We are looking for fresh, appealing, innovative storylines and delivery.

What does this mean? Well for starters it means the obvious thing that I keep banging on and on and on about almost constantly in this series - The characters drive your story! Without believable characters and understandable reactions and emotions we can have the best gosh-darned plot that ever did grace a page but it's *still* gonna feel f-l-a-t. We have to give a damn about these people living happily ever after and we have to completely *get* what held them apart. And in Romance - in order to do this - the characters have to delve deep into their own actions, reactions and emotions - and they have to justify themselves to themselves and to us.

(Go have a look at the Guildelines to see what they have to say about emotion being Non-Negotiable - and if you have any questions pop on back and we'll chat some more...)

Let's say the heroine is snippy or cool or rude to the hero in the beginning then we need to understand why - and similarly for the hero. I'm not saying give away your entire conflict in the first chapter - but at the very very least you have to hint at there being a reason - maybe simply by showing us through inner thoughts that they know they're being snippy or cool or rude but that they have due cause to be and then later on revealing the deep seated cause for it. Never assume that just because a reader has picked up the book after they enjoyed other books in the line that they will therefore automatically love yours too. Give them what they went looking for - they paid hard earned cash for that book!!! So even when you've finished your manuscript and you're at the editing stage - look to see where there are places that you could indulge us a little more and remember above all things that when it comes to the ending we want all those little loose ends tied up!!! Unless you're planning on writing a sequel (which is a rare rare rare thing in Category Romance - I mean, DoDo bird rare - cos even in a continuity a story will always always have a stand-alone quality to it!) then don't leave your reader wondering 'But what about-?'

Heroine: She drives the story — the reader lives vicariously through her. This doesn't mean there can't be a hero point-of-view — this is important to give the hero depth and credibility. But the heroine is the vehicle through which the reader experiences the romance. The reader wants to be able to identify strongly with her, to like her, to want to be her, or want to be her friend. She must be a strong, convincing woman of the 21st century.

Now, you'll notice I've put some of this in bold lettering... Almost speaks for itself doesn't it? The art in this, though, is elusive - because let's face facts and be completely honest here - what one woman may find a wonderful quality in a friend may not be what the next person would look for. Women are notoriously critical of other women. The only way I can see round this myself is to make sure that the reader understands the reasons why the heroine does, says and feels the things she does. (and no - I'm not perfect - I might not always get this right myself) We might not agree with her, or do the things she does the way she does ourselves, but we need to understand why she does. So - I'm the reader - indulge me on this. I might be yelling at the page when she doesn't get what the hero meant when I can see it as plain as zebra strips on an elephant but if you make me understand why she's being such an idiot then I may forgive her by the time I hit the last page - you know what I mean? And the best writer's will show me - not tell me - she'll weave hints of it into the story that if she's disgustingly good I won't get until the moment all is revealed (when as a fellow writer I shall - naturally - have to hate her for a minute...just because...).

And for me - one of the best ways to indulge me as a reader - is to make sure that I *see* much more of that irresistable edge to the hero through the heroine's eyes than I maybe ever do of the heroine through his. If the reader is living vicariously through the heroine then at some stage they might want to fantasize they *are* the heroine - so I'm not saying make her invisible (cos we need to see her from the hero's POV, right?) but make sure the hero is described as often as possible and is as yummy as yummy can be! Indulge me. Make-me-want-him! Give me how he looks, how he moves, how his eyes sparkle with humor or anger, and so much more cos lets face it I wanna know! - and then give me how that makes her feel - and in a way I can completely get - cos you've shown me already how irresitable he is!

(And read what they had to say about the hero in the Guidelines to see what they have to say about him - then if you have questions we'll go over them - okay?)

Make sense so far???

Romantic fantasies: There are fundamental romantic fantasies that appeal to women worldwide, and stories in this new series can involve these fantasies — such as forced proximity, sheikhs, royalty, babies, cowboys — so long as they are executed in a fresh, original and character-driven way. These all should be firmly grounded in reality. Readers want to believe that this lasting happiness could actually happen — so this isn't the series for paranormal, mythical or fantastical elements.

Now here we get to LOVE-WHAT-WE-DO.

Again I've highlighted in bold some of the things I feel are most pertinent - and you can see where the term indulge the reader would slot neatly into this, can't you? Romantic fantasy is universal - and probably why the books we all love sell in their millions upon millions world-wide (Thank Heavens!!!) So what is it that makes a reader pick up a category romance again and again despite the frequent critique of them 'all being the same'??? Which to a very, very, very small extent is true - in that they all have a couple who fall in love and live happily ever after... Simply - we as readers continue to buy them because we want that happily ever after guarantee. The fact that a story can tap into a fantasy or two along the way - BONUS! So - indulge me - give me the against all odds story - give me a hero I can't resist - force me into close proximity with someone I might not want to be attracted to and then show me why I can't resist him... And yes, I'm afraid this does mean that to a certain extent you may have to subliminally tap into a fantasy or two of your own...

I'll hold up my hand and say that if you read every one of my books (which of course I'm gonna encourage you to do...) you could pretty much form an identikit for the kinda guy who would *float my boat* as the saying goes. All of them are tall, all of them are strong, all of them have a sense of humour, every single one of them is bloody minded enough to keep coming back no matter how many times the heroine tries to push them away. In fact if you could throw all of the personality traits of all my fourteen hero's into one package then it's safe to say I'd be married to him around about now... and blissfully happy. And by telling you that I'm kinda putting something a little personal *out there* but hey - we're all friends here, right??? Does that mean that all writers, deep down, want every single scenario they write about - hell no it doesn't - cos on the page we're talking fantasy and the power of imagination. But we, or the vast majority of us, are women writing for women - so that element of fantasy is a universal trait. What you have to do therefore is tap into it and indulge your reader along the way...

And you do that by not treating your reader as an idiot!!! This is where show not tell comes in again... Gimme all the ingredients I need - the yummy hero - the empathetic heroine - the fantasy element - the intense attraction - the circumstances that jell it all together - and then indulge me enough to let my imagination run free....

Until the end when you hand me the kind of Happily Ever After I want - the all singing all dancing all loose ends tied up version. So that when I close the book I believe those two people are still *out there* somewhere... together... living out the rest of their days... HAPPY. Make me believe guys, make me believe...

Yup - INDULGE ME = Gimme what I bought the book for. It's just that simple...

Now most of these pointers apply to both lines that I write for. But if you'd like to hear my thoughts on how Indulging the Reader applies to Modern Extra then we might have to do a second Blog on this topic... lemme know...

Oh - and again can I just say if you're one of the people who reads all the Blogs through my Writers Tips Page on the website - that I make no excuses for repeating myself from time to time. I like to think it just shows that I really believe in what I'm telling you. And remember also the mantra of IT'S WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU. YOU are special because you are UNIQUE and THAT'S WHAT WILL MAKE YOUR VOICE UNIQUE and THATS what'll make you sell guys! BELIEVE IN THAT.