Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pride In A Friend's Achievement & A Bit Of A Haitus

First up I hope you'll all pop over and see my bestest IM buddy and writing partner Natasha Oakley who is celebrating finalling in the Contemporary Romance category of this years RWA RITA Award!!! I'm INCREDIBLY PROUD of her and having watched her come bravely through a rough time in her life this last year or two I can't tell you how glad I am to see Karma finally swinging back her way! Can I say I told you so my honey???

Meanwhile. Back here at ye olde homestead. I know I mentioned briefly that I was really really struggling with this latest book and I know I said I would come back and talk about it. But frankly? And since you guys have been here on this journey with me for so long - I'm gonna tell you I'm STILL struggling and somethings gotta give. I know all writers get ones like this from time to time but this one has REALLY floored me - it makes the pineapple look like a blip. And it's led me to having to make a few decisions to try and protect my writing a little (cos hopefully I haven't killed my muse with this one) And one of those decisions is that I'm gonna take a bit of an online hiatus for the foreseeable...

I know there are lots of writers who go their entire career without much online interaction but I have LOVED doing this blog and it's been a great source of pride and joy to me since I started it. Heck - even my website ended up designed around it!!! So I'm really really REALLY hoping that how I'm feeling now will pass after a bit of a break and that I'll be back here chatting to you all and sharing in the insanity the way I have for the last few years. A good writing buddy and dare I say mentor of mine?! - talks about how writers will *smile from the wrist down* online, always chatting about the good stuff and never sharing the bad... I'm afraid I SUCK at that. You guys have had this journey pretty much warts and all ;) But in the meantime, unless there's any really exciting news to share I'm gonna pretty much stay silent and try and see if I can drag myself out of this slump I seem to have gotten myself into...

So take care of your wee selves and play nice while I'm gone won't you???

Monday, March 24, 2008

No I'm Not Dead

I have a long, long story to tell you all about the horrors of this book I'm STILL working on the revisions for... but while you wait to share my agony you can find me over at The Pink Heart Society today sharing another potential hero from my private collection ;)

I'm also over at Totes, Bags And Blogs talking about Love & Laughter - why I think it's important to have humour in my books. I mean you guys have met me - you know its as important to me as little things like...erm... breathing...

AND we've launched the official blog for the A Bride For All Seasons mini-series I'm part of which kicks off in April with Liz Fielding's 50TH BOOK The Bride's Baby. So for lots of info on the series, behind the scenes stuff, excerpts, wedding tips and a competition to win signed copies of the entire series you can pop over to the A Bride For All Seasons blog...
Back as soon as I get rid of this horrible book!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Happy St Patrick's - Erm... WEEKEND

Yes it's that time of year again!!!

And in honour of the world-wide party I'm over at The Pink Heart Society today talking about the great debate involving the date this year. And I've also got recipes and drink suggestions and stuff for the kids and Irish toasts and a few funnies...

Basically a kit for St. Patrick's Day.

Have to say. It might have been a shorter blog if I hadn't had the need to procrastinate so badly while doing these flipping revisions. It's The Pineapple MkII or The Return Of The it what you will... I can't print what I've called it these last few days without having to use loads of these: ***&&&$$%%****

I might even need to call the Irish Mental Health Hotline:


Thursday, March 13, 2008

He's BACK And He Has A COVER!

Can you believe this guy is almost ready to come visit YOUR house??? Seems like only yesterday he was here... being...well.... being GABE..

And what a merry dance he led me. Do we remember? Vaguely??? He was the most stubborn, irritating, arrogant... Any of this ringing any bells for you?

Yet here he is ready to go out and tell the rest of the world what he EVENTUALLY after much FIGHTING decided to tell me. And just to add to his ego he's been given the MOST gorgeous cover I've had since...well...


Thing is it's so incredibly RIGHT that I just know he's going to be even more unbearable after this. If that's possible. So coming to a Mills & Boon site near you in APRIL and on the shelves in May we have Gabe's book Claimed By The Billionaire Bad Boy. With this cover:

Need I say more?!

Meanwhile I'm fighting the good fight with revisions and had a BLAST at the Dublin workshop. Big shout out to all the lovely ladies who reminded me why I do this even when I'm struggling!!!

Oh and I got some FABULOUS news that I can't share til April. What IS IT with me and flipping SECRETS this year???

Friday, March 7, 2008

Back To The Usual Stuff

Yup, it's back from the land of amazing happenings and when I get back from the workshop this weekend it's revisions time and then NEW BOOK TIME. Back to the real world ;) I have everything good to go for the latter - hero and heroine all sorted out (we had an ikkle change of casting with the heroine but for the better I feel - and as for mister yum - well... the pics just keep a comin!) Really REALLY looking forward to this one... here's hoping we can pull another fast one outta the bag...

New heroine was discovered thanks to the search for soundtrack music. I have a lovely friend (waves to Sharon) who has been bringing me random CD's to load onto my laptop collection and there have been some absolute GEMS in there. And it was one of those new gems that brought me to the Carrie Underwood track 'That's Where It Is' - the lyrics were PERFECT! So of course we then went to find a youtube vid for you guys and when we found one with lyrics we also found pics of perfect heroine material! Hence a rapid recasting. And thanks to the pics I found a whole new slant to who Tess is. You gotta love it when that happens!!! And it's amazing the difference a change of pics can make to the bigger picture. So now I have just as many pics of her as I have of him.

For now you get how she is at the start of the story...

Just have to wade my way through revisions of last book first. All doable. All make perfect sense. And all IRRITATINGLY threads I took OUT before I sent it. Lesson from this? Stop second guessing oneself. The paranoia just never goes away you know. Sorry. But it doesn't. Darnnit!!!

I leave you with the theme tune for the new Modern Heat - lyrics say it all as usual. You know me by now ;) And when I come back from the workshop I might show you GABE'S COVER so we can have a little chat about it. Yuh huh. Available online in a MONTH!!! Can you BELIEVE THAT? Seems only yesterday he was here in the cave being...well... GABE...

Have a great weekend gang!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Sun Trish Wylie Exclusive!!!!!


And I'd have had this up yesterday if I'd have
known it was gonna be in the Monday edition...darn it! apologies if you're in the UK & Ireland and you missed it but some copies might still be floating around...tho not in my local vicinity cos my Mom bought them all ;)

You may remember these pics I posted recently of characters I named Lauren and Jake (how I saw them anyhoos...) and you may remember I told you it was a super secret thingie I couldn't talk about.... welllll....I couldn't talk about it cos it was AN EXCLUSIVE. How INSANE is that??!! I've never had an exclusive anything before so I may have to admit that I've finally arrived in glamorous author land mightn't I?

I got the call way back before the party in London that national newspaper The Sun was going to run a short story as part of the centenary celebrations so you can imagine how thrilled and
NERVOUS I was about the writer being me. It's never been done before with this paper and I've never done a short story before so a challenge? Yes indeedy!!!
Spec I was given? No more than 1500 words and Modern Heat voice and a link to The Sun. Hmmm...
I had a think about it for a couple of days. Found these lovely pics from my collection. Named them. Did all the usual things I do when I'm thinking up a new story. And then - in a momentarily flash of inspiration decided to make the link to The Sun their daily Mystic Meg horoscope. It all came together after that. Thank heavens!!! Mind you - can't tell you how much I want to write the book to go with it now...
I have to say one of the biggest parts of the challenge to me was the length as I'm used to considerably more words to play with. Short story writers everywhere have renewed respect from me now! It's an art unto itself. And it taught me just how much time I normally spend setting up my characters on the page. But it was FUN to do and thanks to the help of my lovely editor, who wouldn't let me waste a SINGLE WORD, it's something I'm really very proud of...

AND I got to meet some of the gals from The Sun at the Centenary party in London and we all had a gossip about writing and Mills & Boon type heroes over champagne. They loved the story and apparently it not only made its way around the entire office in a matter of minutes, it also helped them make the final decision to run a WEEKS WORTH of features on the company - so I can't WAIT to see what else is coming up!!! And I was relieved beyond words that they'd all enjoyed what I'd done for them. I mean - as they kindly pointed out to me - it's 3 MILLION readers. 3 MILLION. 3... nope STILL doesn't compute. Scary.

If you read the story in The Sun and would like to leave a comment then I'd love to hear from you - whether you're a Mills & Boon reader or not! Though hopefully if you're not and you've made it this far you'll see that a lot of the criticisms about Mills & Boon being old fashioned are nonsense. They're a fun read, they're pure escapism and they have that guaranteed smile that comes with a bar of chocolate or a nice warm bubble bath. Trust me ;)
Oh and just so you can see it here's the mock up cover that was made to go with it. It didn't get used in the end but I'm not complaining - the very fact I had the centre pages of the newspaper with that large a circulation was THRILL ENOUGH!!! I've had one HELLUVA year so far!

A HUGE HUGE THANKS to the gals at The Sun and my lovely editor Jenny and Alex at Midas who made this such a fascinating and challenging project for me to do and to the gang in the offices who believed in me. Oh and to Mystic Meg of The Sun for giving me the spark of inspiration to tie it all together ;)

So there ya go - Super Secret Thingie Revealed! And on a day when I really, REALLY needed something nice as we had to lose another of our beloved equine friends. Biscuit, we'll miss you wee darlin.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Spooky Coincidences, Dublin - Oh And Colin Farrell...

This is gonna be one of those blogs where you get to delve into my psyche a little. Be afraid. Be very afraid...

Now I'm not an overly superstitious person but, and this is probably an occupational hazard; I am a tad of a romantic when it comes to certain things. And one of the things I live my life by the most is that everything happens for a reason. For me they're like little markers in time that tell me I'm where I'm sposed to be - you know? It's helped me understand why good things come along when you least expect them and it's got me through some rough times too. I think we women have a tendency to blame ourselves for a lot, n'est pas? And if you've visited here then you know I'm also a great believer and eternally grateful for a little thing called fairy dust. (am also coming round to the theory of six degrees of seperation but we'll get to that in a minute)

But fate and destiny? Welllll I've always kinda thought that was something we had choices in along the way. HOWEVER. After this recent trip to Dublin I'm beginning to wonder about that...

The dictionary says that fate is - wait for it - the universal principle or ultimate agency by which the order of things is presumably prescribed; the decreed cause of events, that which is inevitably predetermined; destiny.

Soooo now we have that clear. Lemme tell you what happened in Dublin to freak me out a little and then make me shake my head and then laugh and then smile at random moments on the way home. And since we've already mentioned the fairy dust YES it IS linked to my January Modern Heat/March Sexy Sensation His Mistress: His Terms - the book that NEVER CEASES to AMAZE ME.

Remember now this was the three week miracle. The book that wanted written no matter how little sleep it cost me. The book that had little magic touches come outta nowhere!Like Merrow O'Connell on the O'Connell Street bridge (which led to an important plot point later on...) NOT PLANNED but there. And trust me when I tell you little coincidences like that are what we writer's love the mostest!!! Mind you it's also one of the most difficult things to quantify when you're attempting to TEACH writing. Cos they just can't be taught when you don't know how they got there in the first place...
So, after the interview on the Dave Fanning Show (fantabulous fun btw so BIG THANKS to Dave and Jack and the team!!!) Abby and I chatted til the wee small hours (WITH chocolate!!!) and the following day we took a wandery woos around Dublin - still chatting. And PLOTTING. (Cos the Italian's story needed some research) And then it occurred to me we were crossing the O'Connell Street bridge, just like Merrow had in the book on her way to meet Alex Fitzgerald outside my imaginary hotel on Ashton Quay over-looking the River Liffey. So the camera came out to take some pics while we chatted. And in my mind I'd always had the hotel as a couple doors down from the end of the bridge (lovely thing artistic licence) so outta curiosity I had a look to see what was REALLY there. At this point I will admit I stopped on the bridge, my jaw dropped and I said something along the lines of NO WAY. Only with a tad more colour ;)

So not only did Merrow O'Connell walk over the O'Connell Street Bridge... she met Alexander Fitzgerald outside a fictional place that in real life is called... FITZGERALD'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So do we put it down to the fairy dust, say its just a spooky coincidence, think maybe I saw it before and forgot (though it might be worth mentioning I got the location from a Google map), suggest I might have a little psychic ability (my mother said that when I told her - I doubt it personally cos otherwise I'd be much better with things like the lotto numbers and the location of my keys) or was I fated/destined to write this book so I had yet another sign I'm where I'm sposed to be in my life doing what I'm sposed to be doing??? You tell me... I was too busy being STUNNED - still am.

We then went on what amounted to a walking tour of the book; round past Trinity, onto Grafton Street where Alex carries Merrow all the way to Merrion Square - we talked spooky coincidences and new books and Italians and Millionaires and Dublin Fashion Week (which is the back-drop for this new book).. And THEN cos I'd managed to miss it by a week the very lovely Abby phoned the PR Company who had run it and I got to talk to a super guy who answered lots of my questions and has been REALLY helpful. So not only did I get a really fun visit to Abby's and Dublin, I also got my plot all sorted out... SCORE.

Oh yeah. And remember this pic?

Waaayyyyy back when I was writing what would become my Modern Heat book Breathless! I had a crisis with my hero casting pic. It just wasn't doing it for me. So I had a poll on this very blog and you guys all voted for Colin Farrell's pic to become the one I worked with. Hence Rory came to life. And OH MY DID HE!!!

Well when I was in the UTV studios for my interview on Valentine's Day a nice lady reporter came into the make up room and said she was off to Dublin to interview him. Nice job thought I. And I mentioned this very tale about him becoming my hero inspiration and thought about that six degrees of seperation theory...


While in Dublin this time I had a copy of the US version of Breathless! to show Abby. Titled Her Bedroom Surrender for over there my copies had arrived the day before I went and as it's the first of mine in the main Presents release schedule I took a copy with me to show Abby. And thought no more of it.

THEN I discovered a friend of a friends was going to see him THAT DAY cos she's working in the costuming department of his new film!!! OH-COME-ON I thought. What IS IT with me and the spooky coincidences thing??? So naturally I sent the copy I'd brought with me to him. With a little note to say thanks for the initial spark of inspiration ;) If nothing else he should find it amusing I thought. But the way I see it if these signs keep popping up along the way then to heck with it - I'm gonna follow them...Friend has said friend of friend will place it straight into his hands...LOL!!!

So am I the ONLY ONE these things happen to?????

Back to work today now I have all my research done and enough signs to tell me I'm where I should be in life doing what I should be doing. And while I remember the piece in the Irish Sunday Tribune is up online HERE if you want to read it. Turned out well we thought.

Oooohhhh and I'm reliably informed the super secret thingie is THIS WEEK. SO-WATCH-THIS-SPACE. I'll give you a likkle hint - anyone for three million new readers?????????