Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lisdoonvarna & Six Sentence Sunday - Catch Me A Catch

My first book, Catch Me A Catch is about a West of Ireland matchmaking festival, where the matchmaker is ill, and his daughter has to stand in as matchmaker during the festival.

My inspiration for Catch Me, was the Lisdoonvarna Festival, which is run in Lisdoonvarna, in County Clare during September every year. So in honour of the fact that it is September again, and love is in the Irish air (amongst the raindrops!) I thought it was only fitting to share an interview that Willie Daly, the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaker, gave to Sky News last year.

More info on the festival - here! http://matchmakerireland.com/


And if you want to read a romance set in Ireland about a fictional festival, do check out Catch Me A Catch.

For Six Sentence Sunday here are six sentences from Catch Me A Catch, where my heroine, Annie, catches first sight of Jack...

A dark shadow, cast by a tall figure in the pub’s doorway, blocked the murky sunlight. Annie’s gaze locked on the stranger, his darkened features in shadow though sunlight outlined his tall, rangy frame. He walked straight up to Niall.

“I’m looking for Devine.” His deep voice was husky, like he hadn’t used it for a while.
Her skin prickled, the hairs on her arms standing to attention.

If you don't know about Six Sentence Sunday, click this link.
To read more of Catch Me A Catch, you can read a sample or look inside at the links below:

Catch Me A Catch - Amazon UK
Catch Me A Catch - Amazon.com

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award - Woo!

I'm doing the happy dance here today! Les Edgerton, talented writer and awesome writing teacher nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. This means a huge amount to me as I'm not only in awe of Les's talent, but a regular follower of his blog. I've mentioned in a past blog post how useful I found his book 'Hooked' to developing my writing craft, and his blog is full of really insightful information on the mechanics of writing well-an absolute must read!
My new book, Marrying Cade, was given a Best Read by Annie Acorn last week. Thank you, Annie!  Amongst other nice things she said: The authors amongst you should read this tale, if for no other reason than to study a textbook example of how to draw your reader into your story. Sally Clements hooks you the minute you start reading, and she doesn’t let you go until you reach the very last word of her latest book. Which to me is just testament to how useful the advice in Les' Book Hooked (the full title of which is : Hooked: Write fiction that grabs readers at page one and never lets them go) has been to me! (It works, Les!)

 
And I'm very grateful to be included in his list because there are some other fabulous blogs there - many of which I read regularly already, but some new ones I'm going to be checking out pronto. Thank you for the nomination, Les!
 
Anyway: On to the Award. Apparently, there are four simple rules for The Versatile Blogger Award:

1. Post a link to the person who gave you the award.
2. Tell your readers seven random things about yourself.
3. Award 15 newly discovered blogs.
4. Send them a note letting them know you nominated them.

So, here are 7 random things about me:
1. I went to see Dolly Parton last night - she was great!
2. I'm writing a factual book based on a collection of recipes and household hints written in the early 1800's.
3. I also love writing mysteries - with lots of unexplained deaths....
4. I fall in love with my romantic heroes, and have trouble letting them go at the end of a book.
5. I'm a chocoholic.
6. I went to seven schools, growing up.
7. Even though I've lived in Ireland most of my life, I have no Irish blood - at all!

So now I have to award 15 newly discovered blogs...this is a real head melter, so I'm only doing ten!
1. A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. Joe Konrath's blog is an absolute must read for every author. I have to limit my time on this one, because it sucks you right in, but every minute spent reading on it is time well spent.
2. Catherine Caffeinated is Catherine Ryan Howard's blog, and is full of really interesting statistics and advice for self-publishing. And she's got a new book out!
3. Romance, Rumours and Rogues is romance author Nicola Marsh's blog. I love popping in here to see what Nic is up to...and she often posts really interesting links...
4. Lacey Devlin - romance author, and fellow Minx of Romance, gets a nomination from me for her great blog that once again is keeping all authors and readers abreast of things in the Mills and Boon, New Voices contest...
5. Romance Book Paradise is Nas Dean's blog, which is full of interesting interviews from Romance Authors and news of upcoming releases.
6. WG2E  The Writer's Guide to E-Publishing. A really informative blog that I found via D.D. Scott on Kindleboards. Another 'suck you in, and keep you readin' blog like number one, packed full of stuff!
7. Kindle Nation Daily. Great advice, and lots of kindle stuff - a must read for every kindle owner!
8. Moviepitch is Bob Kosberg's one sentence pitch site...I dream of subbing the perfect one sentence to this one....
9. Help! I Need a Publisher! is Nicola Morgan's blog, (aka The Crabbit Old Bat). It's really stuffed full of interest, and updated really regularly - it's a must read.
10. Queryshark. If you want to see what works and what doesn't in creating a query that an agent or a publisher is going to find completely compelling, you need to know about Queryshark, Janet Reid's feedback site. You'll learn a huge amount just by seeing what other people have been doing, and reading Janet's pithy analyses.

Phew! Now I have to go and tell them all I mentioned them...think I might do that tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fab editing on-line course on next week!

After completing Don McNair's excellent online class on editing, I sold my first book - Catch Me A Catch. I'm sure that the skills I learned with Don helped me to crack the final hurdle to publication, and gave me the tools to polish further manuscripts.

So, for those who are interested, I wanted to give a shout out. Don is running the class next week, and still has some places available. Here's the info:

Editor Proof that manuscript - By Don McNair - starts 12 September 2011 and runs for ten lessons plus an introduction, to be taught three times a week until finished. It costs $40 to enroll. Contact Don at don@mcnairedits.com to sign up. If you click on Don's link above, you'll can read more about him, and see examples of before and afters too.

Why did that editor reject your novel?

The sad truth? Editors reject most manuscripts after only glancing at their first chapter - often only the first page - and seeing mistakes seemingly lit with neon. This course, based on my forty years of writing and editing, will help you spot and fix those mistakes before you send the manuscript out.
You'll learn many things, including: How to use strong hooks... use the correct POV… turn info dumps into sparkling, vital prose... strengthen your work by eliminating backstories… make your scenes work harder... use character-specific words... develop conflict... increase sexual tension… and much, much more.
You'll use your manuscript's first chapter as your practice field for identifying and resolving your personal craft mistakes. After the class you'll apply your new editing knowledge to the total manuscript, to make it much more compelling and, hopefully, published!
The class starts Monday, September 12. To enroll, send your $40 enrollment fee by Paypal, and
I’ll invite you to join a Yahoo Group for the sessions.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Some of my favourite strong female characters in movies

I've just finished (I hope!) edits on my new book - and am working on something new. And with each new romance I write, I find it more and more obvious that all my heroines have one thing in common.

They're strong women.
They may not wield power in the world.
They may not be rich.
But may be scared.
But they're strong, because they will fight what they believe in. And they know, deep down, their self worth.

I've blogged before about some of my favourite tv female characters, and my favourite female characters in books - so here's a follow up shout out to my favourite women playing strong female characters in movies.
I'm limiting each to 2 film roles - I know they've all done many more I could have used, but these are the ones I liked best.

Sigourney WeaverAlien (of course). Her character Ripley is powerful and strong. But she rises above 'cardboard cutout' by showing her feminine compassion in her defense and relationship with the little girl in the movie. She cares, she isn't afraid to show it. Win! The other movie I love with her in is Copycat. Her character suffers from crippling agoraphobia - numbs herself against terrible memories with regular shots of whiskey - but when she's needed, she bravely tries to overcome it, to stop a killer. It's not easy, but she tries. Her spirit rises to the challenge. That makes her a strong woman for me.

Katherine Hepburn - Two favourites for me would have to be Rose, in The African Queen, playing against Humphrey Bogart, and Tracey Lord, playing against Cary Grant in The Philadelphia Story. Once again, the characters learn and change when they have to. They show courage.

Jodie Foster - Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs, is one of my favourite characters. And the scared but determined mother in Panic Room was another unforgettable film role.

Susan Sarandon - I love Susan on film. She was great in both Thelma and Louise & Bull Durham.

Lauren Bacall - Her appearance as Slim in To Have and Have Not in 1944, established Lauren as the actress in the noir films of the period. She joined a huge group of strong female leads of the time, including Barbara Stanwyck.

Barbra Streisand - The Way We Were with totally lovely Robert Redford, and What's up, Doc? (who isn't really so much a strong woman, as a quirky one...but she gets what she wants in the end!)

But my favourite of the current crop of  'strong women'  actresses, playing true and appealing characters, has got to be Sandra Bullock.  So she gets three: Speed, Miss Congeniality, and The Lake House.

And I know I haven't mentioned loads of actresses & films here that I should have, but I ran out of room.
You can berate me through the comments box!