Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Getting to grips with internal conflict

For me, as all the minxes are painfully aware at this point, internal conflict is the most difficult element of creating a story. Maybe because I'm a private person, who tries to avoid looking at her own internal conflicts, maybe because it takes a lot out of me, or maybe because I know that its the heart of any romance, and I'm fearful of not getting it right.

I'm not very keen on therapy. My characters on the whole, tend not to be either. But I need to analyse them, empathise with them, and feel their inner pain in order to infuse my story with it. Its a struggle. But when I get it right nothing tops that feeling of achievement. Then a story has fulfilled its potential, and truly come to life.

So - in my eternal search to crack this most difficult of story elements, I read and constantly re-read the work of writers who HAVE got a handle on it. And one of the books I go back to again and again, is Hooked by Les Edgerton. I've blogged about this book before, and lauded Les's excellent writing blog. He somehow manages to elicit 'aha' moments from me every single pass that I take of Hooked. And his take on the 'story worthy problem' is both clear and concise. And a guaranteed aha.

On my most recent read, this is the kernel of truth that resonated. The difference between melodrama and drama. Now, I'm pretty good on melodrama. Mostly because I like plotting, and I like writing big, dramatic scenes. But the big dramatic scene can often be melodrama. The emotions it involkes are the true drama.
Take for example, the movie, Terminator.
The protagonist in Terminator is young Sarah Connor. She's 19, in college and working in a burger place in the evenings. She shares a flat with a girl called Ginger, and at the beginning we see her going out on a date with a guy she doesn't like very much. She's young, innocent, and we get the impression that not much has happened in her life, thus far.

As everyone knows, the two other main characters in Terminator are Terminator (played by Arnie) and Kyle Reese, sent from the future to save Sarah Connor, no matter what, because of the important role she will play in her future.

When her life is under threat, she can't believe her eyes as the Terminator relentlessly tracks her. Kyle explains that the Terminator is a Cyborg. Here's the section from James Cameron's treatment:

"I don't believe any of this," Sarah says. Frantic. She seems about to scream.
"Yeah, well that's OK. But that doesn't mean it isn't happening. You've got to accept and understand what this thing is. It can't be reasoned with, it can't be bargained with, it doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear...and it absolutely will not stop, ever, once it has been targeted. Unless it's destroyed."

Sarah is relentlessly pursued through the movie. She learns more about her future, and the importance of her as yet unconceived son, John Connor. She falls for Kyle. But she still doesn't fully comprehend the awful persistence of the Terminator.  Until the where the relentless cyborg is caught in the flames of an exploding oil tanker. I could certainly write that with bells on. All licking flame and twisted metal. But the truth behind the scene isn't the explosion, but rather the response of the protagonist, Sarah Connor.

Here's James's treatment again:

An unbelievable fireball erupts skyward. The dumpster is enveloped by flames and is hurled, rolling on its casters, down the alley. Sarah falls before the blast as the forward trailer explodes and an ocean of fire rolls forward, almost reaching her. The dumpster tips over and Kyle rolls out.
In the center of the inferno Terminator struggles violently. His flesh fries and sizzles. He tears loose from the twisted wreckage and collapses to the ground. He sinks into a charred mass and stops moving.

Sarah crawls away from the intense heat and lies watching the motionless figure in the blaze. She staggers to her feet and circles around the building to find Kyle. She finds him lying near the dumpster, sheltered from the heat by its mass, and drags him away.
His head lolls. He opens his eyes. "Sarah."
"We got it, Kyle."
They embrace, silhouetted by the fire.

At this point Sarah feels a whole bunch of emotions, and they reflect in her eyes. Joy, that the man she loves is alive. Relief, that the terminator is finally dead. Elation, in triumphing against all odds. Fatigue, at the end (she thinks) of this horrible nightmare. The audience knows this, feels it with her. The struggles have changed Sarah, given her depth.
And the Terminator staggers out of the blaze behind them.

Sarah's emotions morph into terror.
In the struggle that follows, the Terminator and Kyle are both destroyed forever.

Sarah closes her eyes, letting the cool water bathe her, washing away blood and the fear.
Now that it's finally over, she can't believe it. The destruction of the cyborg and the loss of Kyle
neutralize each other, leaving a vacuum.

Sarah has survived. And her internal wounds now define her. She will live, because she is the mother of John Connor. The final image we have of her is of a woman, no longer a girl. The melodrama that she's been through give way to the drama that is uniquely hers. She now battles with a new confict, whether or not to reveal to her son that Kyle is his father:

"I'll always wonder," she continues, "Whether you should know about your father... whether that will change your decision to send him. Did you already know when you sent Kyle that you were his son... that you were sending him to his death? What an awful burden that was, or rather will be. Kyle was right... you can go crazy thinking about this stuff. Well, I'll do more later. I'm a bit tired... think I'll take a nap."

Sarah shuts off the cassette recorder and crosses her hands peacefully on her belly. Over her loose dress she wears a leather shoulder holster. The butt of a .38 revolver presses against her breast.

She is strong. Determined. We see this in the final image of her:

A serious, dark-complected woman brings her some tea. On the beach below a boy runs by and yells something to the woman in Spanish.
"What did he say, Maria?"
"There's a storm coming in."
Sarah gazes at the thunderheads way out there, rolling in. Heat lightning pulses in their depths. She sips her tea.
"Yes, I guess there is."

So despite the huge budget, impressive animatronics, and great special effects, the core of the story is Sarah Connor's internal transformation from innocent student to battle-weary veteran. She's known love, known death, and these experiences and her response to them are the truths that the audience takes with them. Things will be different for her in the future, because of the emotional scars that she'll bear from her past. These are the seeds of her deeply felt internal conflicts.

So what does this mean to me, writing romance?
That whatever has happened to my character in their past has formed a scar within their inner being. One they don't want to pick at. One they've most likely suppressed, and one they keep hidden. At the story beginning, they're managing fine without navel gazing on their inner scar, but when the story bursts into life, they find their scar start to itch. They're challenged to look closer at themselves, confront their inner demons, and battle with them. They can't avoid it, any more than they can ignore the Terminator. Not if they want to reach their happy ever after. They have to climb the ladder of change, and its going to be damn painful. What they want is within reach, if they can only realise that they have to face their fears and cut away the scar tissue. Internal conflict is the heart of romance. It's hard. For everyone. But here's hoping its worth it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Snowed in!

Well, very close to it. We had 8 inches of snowfall yesterday, and its still snowing....
These are pictures taken by my daughter yesterday - before today's snowfall. We're almost a mile from the road, so are relying on our 4x4 to get out. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Blog post bling winner!

Well the Wild Rose Blog Tour is now over, and I'd like to thank my guest bloggers for getting me into the Christmas mood with their festive posts.

As promised, one lucky commenter has won a prize. The winner is.....(drumroll) rbooth43!

Please leave me a message using my contact link, and let me know which colour necklace and earring set you'd like, red or green, and I'll put it in the post pronto!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Roses Blog Tour - My final guest - Nana Malone

So it's the last post of the Roses Blog Tour, and I'd like to thank Nana Malone for joining me today to share her Christmas tradition, while I'm off visiting Rachel Brimble's site. For the last chance to claim my prize, make sure you are following me, then leave a comment on Rachel's site under my blog post.

Caroling, Christmas Eve presents and Deep Frying Turkeys

Every family has their holiday traditions. My family always let us open one present on Christmas Eve. In Ghana before any talk of presents comes in, we do the tour of grandparents and uncles and aunties. And we eat ourselves into a stupor. Presents come after that. And of course there’s the partying and dancing. Ghanaians love a good party

One of my favorite traditions is actually an inherited one from my husband’s family. For every present, a note is written to accompany it. And you have to guess what the present is before you can open it. As you can imagine, this makes for a long present opening ceremony. You also have to start with the smallest present first. It’s nerve wracking, but actually a lot of fun.

It was a hard one to get used to, but it makes sure everyone puts thought into every present. I stepped up the tradition a couple of years ago and started folding my notes into Origami shapes. You should see my husband and I trying to outdo each other now.

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

Now here's some info on Nana's book, Game, Set, Match.

Off the court, tennis star Jason Cartwright’s playboy image is taking a public beating. On the court, he’s down forty-love. A knee injury is shutting down his game, and the paparazzi are splashing his love life on every magazine. A comeback is in order, but the makeover he needs to save his faltering career is in the hands of the woman he loved and left fifteen years ago.

While single-mom, Izzy Connors, sees people for who they really are through the lens of her camera, even without it, she knows Jason isn’t the star he appears to be. Although his charm and good looks haven’t dimmed since he broke her heart, all she sees is his wasted talent and playboy lifestyle.

Can Izzy put the past behind her and help Jason get his game, and his image, back on track? Or will the click of her camera shatter his world as well as his heart?

Game, Set, Match is available from The Wild Rose Press

From Amazon.com here

Nana's prize is TWRP gift vouchers so you can stock up on our books for the holiday season!

And you can read more about Nana and what she's got going on at her Blog:

Thanks so much for joining me here today, Nana, and have a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Belated Talli Roland blogsplash (secondary ripple) & a pic of bling prize!

I missed Talli Roland's blogsplash on Wednesday, as I was hosting Caroline Clemmons and her wonderful chilli recipe, but here's the skinny...
Talli took on Amazon - and got to number 25 on Amazon.co.uk! Well done, Talli!
Her novel, The Hating Game can be found on Amazon.co.uk:

and Amazon.com:
When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £200,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?
I'm still on blog tour for the next couple of Wednesdays, and am offering a prize to a lucky commenter who also follows my blog - and here's a picture of my prize Swarovski crystal necklace with silver plated clasp, and matching earrings ... you pick, red or green!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wild Rose Blog Tour - Today's Guest - Caroline Clemmons!

It's the second day of the Wild Rose Blog Tour, and today the writers taking part are sharing their favourite Christmas Recipes. I'm sharing my seasonal recipe for Spiced Beef over on Amy Corwin's blog, so to claim my prize of swarovski necklace and matching earrings in red or green, please join my blog and leave me a comment on my blogpost on Amy's site.

I'm delighted to welcome Caroline Clemmons to Love and Chocolate, to share her Christmas Eve recipe!

Do leave Caroline a comment, as she's offering a prize of a $15 gift certificate for the Wild Rose Press. Take it away, Caroline!

My favorite time of year is the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Anticipation builds, preparations become hectic, the air cools, and I’m in the grip of nostalgia. Believe me, I am the world’s greatest sucker for decorations everywhere and tons of presents under the tree! Receiving cards and letters also thrill me, even the annoying bragging letters stuck in with a card. As you can tell by my, ahem, well-rounded figure, special foods are also a big part of tradition at our house. On Christmas Eve, we dine on TexMex foods—tamales, guacamole, tostitos, queso and chili con carne prior to my husband reading the Christmas story from the Book of Luke before we open our presents.
Perhaps anglos eating TexMex food on Christmas Eve sounds odd to anyone who doesn’t live in the Southwest, but this menu is a nice contrast to the sweets and dishes served on Christmas Day. Shhhh! If you promise to keep it to yourself, I’ll share my secret recipe for chili con carne with you. The hero of my latest release, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, prepares this chili for the fandango he hosts for family, friends and neighbors. Isn’t it funny that his recipe is the same as mine?

Dallas McClintock’s Fandango Chili con Carne

By Caroline Clemmons

5 lbs. Chili meat or ground beef, or a combination of 4lbs. Beef or Venison and 1 lb. Pork sausage (I use all beef)
1 15 0z. Tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can Stewed tomatoes
3 Tspn Chili powder [adjust to taste]
1 tspn. Ground comino [cumin]
1 tspn. Cayenne
1 tspn. Salt
1 tspn. Pepper
1 tspn. Paprika
I medium Onion, chopped
3-5 Garlic cloves, minced [or garlic salt].
¼ cup Brown sugar (my secret ingredient)

Sear meat in a large skillet, pouring off the excess grease as the meat cooks. As meat nears browning, add onions and garlic to let them brown also. Mix the remainder of the ingredients except brown sugar with the meat in a large heavy kettle or dutch oven. Bring to a boil and then quickly reduce the heat to simmer. Stir frequently. As the chili simmers slowly, more fat will reduce out and float to the surface. Skim off this fat each time before you stir the chili. Discard the fat. About fifteen or twenty minutes before serving, add brown sugar. This chili can be cooked in an hour, but the flavor is best if simmered very slowly for two or three hours.
Serve with cornbread or tortillas and pinto beans. Texans do not add beans to the chili con carne while it’s cooking. Chili is a favorite for entertaining at our house, and a special Christmas Eve dish accompanied by tortilla chips, grated cheese, minced spring onions, pinto beans, tamales, cornbread muffins, butter, and honey as well as sometimes serving potato salad and other chilled salads. Chili is one of the first dishes I learned to cook on my own, but this is a much better recipe than my original effort.
In my opinion, Chili Con Carne [usually shortened to Chili] is a traditional Southwest food that has gained popularity throughout the United States. Oh, my, now I am so hungry for a big bowl of chili!

And here's more about Caroline...
As long as I can remember, I've made up adventures. Okay, I admit the early creative stories featured me riding the range with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and saving the West. What a disappointment to learn that Roy was exclusively committed to Dale! Eventually, my best friend from across the street and I decided to become better detectives than Nancy Drew. We drove our parents and neighbors crazy sticking our pert little noses where they didn't belong. About that time I started writing down my adventures, but mostly I was a reader. Not until I read Nora Roberts' early novels did I decide to create my own romance manuscripts. My road to publishing was a lot slower than Nora's was. No surprise there! I still read Nora's books—as well as those of countless other authors—but now I write full time. Unless life interferes, that is.

My Hero and I live on a small acreage in the ranching and horse country of North Central Texas. Hero and our two grown daughters are supportive of my writing. Living with Hero and me now are Webster, our sweet black Shih Tzu, and our two shorthaired cats: Sebastian, a large black and white tuxedo who thinks he's our watchcat; and Bailey Erin, a shy apricot tabby. When I'm not writing, I love spending time with family, reading, traveling with Hero, browsing antique malls, and digging into family history and genealogy. Writing about strong heroes and heroines who overcome amazing obstacles to forge a meaningful life together is my passion.

Readers may check my website at http://www.carolineclemmons.com/ for additional recipes, reviews, and excerpts of my books. Please check my blog at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/ and sign up on the sidebar for my Mostly Monthly Newsletter that includes an exclusive free read each month, recipes, and news. I love hearing from readers and other writers at caroline@carolineclemmons.com.

THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, a western historical romance set in 1885:

Cenora Rose O’Neill knows her father somehow arranged the trap for Dallas McClintock, but she agrees to wed handsome stranger. She’d do anything to protect her family, and she wants to save herself from the bully Tom Williams. A fine settled man like Dallas will rid himself of her soon enough, but at least she and her family will be safely away from Tom Williams.
Texas rancher Dallas McClintock has no plans to wed for several years. Right now, he’s trying to establish himself as a successful horse breeder. Severely wounded rescuing Cenora from kidnappers, Dallas is taken to her family’s wagon to be tended. He is trapped into marrying Cenora, but he is not a man who goes back on his word. His wife has a silly superstition for everything, but passion-filled nights with her make up for everything. Ah, but what is he to do with a wife and her wild Irish family?

Excerpt: G rated from THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE:

Dallas raised his gaze where Aoife directed. Four girls danced, but only one drew his attention. Shoulders straight and feet flying, Cenora met his glance, then broke away from the other dancers to perform only a few yards from him.
Catcalls sounded nearby. She ignored them but gave a toss of her head. Her hair had come unbound, and her act sent her fiery hair awhirl. Light from the blazing campfire cast an aura-like radiance around her. Lantern glow overhead reflected her eyes sparked with merriment, challenge, and something mysterious he couldn’t name.
No longer the delicate china doll, her wild beauty called to him, mesmerized him. He visualized her brilliant tresses spread across a pillow, her milky skin bared only for him. His body responded, and savage desire shot through him. Surprised at the depth of his reaction, he wondered if her performance in bed would parallel the unbridled nature of her dance.
Good Lord, could this glorious woman truly be his wife? And if so, heaven help him, what on earth was he to do with her?

The Texan's Irish Bride is available now from The Wild Rose Press Click on the link to purchase.

Sounds like a great book, Caroline, and what a lovely cover! Thank you very much for being my guest today, Caroline, Dying to try your recipe!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The core of the matter

I've been distracted by Nanowrimo - and didn't make my wordcount.
I've been distracted by my cover.
And the fact that the Irish economy is imploding.
And book sales, and blogging, and twittering.

I almost forgot the most important thing. The core of the matter.

Just in time, my priorities reasserted themselves, and I'm happy to announce that I'm back on track.

All that matters is the writing.
Not if an editor loves it enough to want to read more.
Or people I don't know love reading it.

All that matters is the writing.
Writing from the heart.
Writing words that wring emotion out of me.
Scenes that resonate with truth, depth and emotion.
Writing deeper, better, stronger and more beautifully.
Writing my very best, then pushing it to write even better.

It's not about the volume, but rather about the quality.

Tomorrow my guest Caroline Clemmons will be here to give us her Christmas eve recipe.

And with that, dear reader, I'm back to the wip.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wild Rose Blog Tour - Today's Guest - Maya Blake!

Today is the first day of the Wild Rose Blog Tour - and I'm totally delighted to welcome author Maya Blake to my blog. 

Hi, I’m Maya Blake, I’m a thirty-something romance writer whose life-long dream of writing finally came to true last year when my debut novel was published by The Wild Rose Press. I’m the fourth of five siblings and I live in Kent, England with my husband and two (sometimes, lol) adorable kids.

So, Maya, what's on your 'to be read' pile for the holidays?

What’s on my Christmas TBR Pile?

First off, the words Christmas and read always evoke such a warm, wonderful feeling. Christmas at my house (like most, I expect) involves too much eating, drinking mulled wine and flurry of present opening (no, I don’t wait until Boxing Day, lol).

But all through the merriment, I savour the thought of sneaking upstairs back to bed, diving under the covers and reaching for a book (my TBR pile is handily next to my bed). And since I read more than one book at a time, my bedside table always holds a treasure trove of brand spanking new novels waiting to be devoured.

So what’s on my Christmas TBR Pile? The one book I’ve been meaning to read is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Ironically, this was a Christmas present from my sister-in-law two years ago. I’ve deliberately not seen the movie because I want to read the book first but friends tell me it’s a brilliant book so I’m looking forward to it.

If family and friends and the general madness that comes with Christmas lets off a little, I also plan to read Clive Cussler’s Skeleton Coast. Clive has been an autobuy for me since I read my father’s copy of Atlantis Found years ago. Dirk Pitt, one of the main recurring characters in the Cussler novels is engaging and funny, even in the face of extreme danger so I know when I pick up a Cussler novel I won’t be disappointed.

Next on the list (and I’m straying into wish list TBR here) are a couple of Harlequin Presents novels – Bought For His Convenience of Pleasure? by Maggie Cox and Memoirs of a Millionaire’s Mistress by Anne Oliver. I say wish list here because four books in two weeks on top of personal writing deadlines is ambitious, but who knows, the phone might not ring with friends and relatives demanding attention, the kids may wash, cook, feed and entertain themselves, DH will decide not to pop in for a chat every few minutes or invite me to watch a move with him…yes, I can see ten lovely pigs flying past my window now.
Oh well, the mince pies and mulled wine will help things along splendidly, I’m sure.

What about you? What do you plan to read this holiday season?

Let me know and you’ll be in with a chance to win one of my prizes. You can win by commenting on this post and subscribing/following my blog, Tweeting about this post on my Twitter page or by becoming a fan on Facebook. For a full list of prizes to be won on this blog tour, click on this link.

Good luck and Happy Christmas!

Hostage to Love is available from The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.com as both e-book and paperback.

Crushed by betrayal, Belle Winkworth-Jones flees the shambles of her short-lived marriage, only to be kidnapped by a vicious rebel soldier determined to keep her for himself. Nick Andreakos mounts a ruthless rescue to save the wife who walked away from him, even though he's resentful Belle could dismiss their marriage so easily.

On Althea, their private Greek island where Belle recuperates, passion ignites, taking hold with relentless force. But in the shadows, danger lurks. The rebel soldier is determined to recapture Belle.

Can Belle and Nick set aside their differences in time to fight this threat and save their love, or will it be too late…?
Thank you so much for visiting today, Maya. I'm appearing today on Rae Summers blog, and will be offering a prize throughout the blog tour of some lovely sparkly bling (pictures coming soon -made by me!) in either festive red, or holly green, a necklace and matching earrings, so to be in for a chance to win, follow my blog, and comment after any of my blogposts at the sites I'm visiting over the next month.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I have a cover!

Bound to Love my launch title for Embrace Books now has a cover! So here it is.
Bound to Love will be released on 14th Feb, available as ebook and print.... but for now, enjoy the cover!

I'm going on tour this week!

Clicking on the new icon on the left will tell you all about the upcoming blog tour that I'm on over the next 4 Wednesdays.

While I'm off visiting, I'll be hosting other wonderful Wild Rose Authors - my guests will be Maya Blake, Caroline Clemmons, PL Parker, and Nana Malone.

All of the gals are offering great giveaways, click on the picture to find out more, and I'm offering a prize of a lovely sparkly swarovski bling necklace and matching earrings - made by me - in either red or dark green, to give the winner something to wear over Christmas.
To win my prize, just comment after any of my blog entries where I've been a visitor, I'm starting off visiting Rae Summers, then Amy Corwin, Amber Leigh Williams and Rachel Brimble. I'll introduce my visitors and put in a link to where I am, so follow the link and comment to claim the prize.

Also, I'm asking that commenters wishing to claim the prize follow me, so if you're not doing so already, remember to click the follow button on the sidebar and join in!

x Sally

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Catch Me A Catch Giveaway!

Read it for free!

If you'd like to read my book, Catch Me a Catch and haven't already done so, you'll be interested in this!
Just leave me a comment on this post, follow the blog (if you aren't already!) and tomorrow (Friday) at 5pm I'll put all the commenters in a hat and draw out three lucky posters and send them a Wild Rose Press gift certificate so they can own their own copy!

The only thing I'd like in return when you've read it, is a review on either Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or the Wild Rose Press site, I'll send details to the lucky winners.

Also, they'll be an opportunity to win some lovely swarovski bling later in the month - more on that later! It's only open to people who follow my blog though, so please follow!

Okay, and the competition is now closed. Joanna, Elissa and Leah, you've all won, so please read the comment below, and thank you so much for taking part!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Modern Heat - Why are they together?

Well, there’s Mills and Boon Modern (aka Harlequin Presents) and Mills and Boon Modern Heat (aka Modern Extra).

The guidelines state that the difference between these two lines is that the Modern Heat hero is younger, maybe not so rich, but definitely powerful and charismatic. The heroines are feisty and modern. Guidelines are good, but there’s nothing like reading to see the differences – and to make it easier I’ve taken 24 modern heats, put them into a spreadsheet, and crunched em to see if there are any themes that repeat.

And guess what? There are!

She’s working for him                                       7

Help distract the paparazzi                               4

Wild affair required (by her or him)                    6

Ex’s                                                               5

Forced into business together                          2

Hero jobs? Tycoons, a title or two, millionaires and a couple of comfortably off, but not off the scale heroes too. Some of the millionaires aren’t obviously so.

So, if you’re putting a couple together in a modern heat environment, have a think. How could they be forced together? Any new ideas?

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Story Love

It's the first of November, so don't expect to see much of me this month. For the ninth year in a row, I'm immersing myself in Nanowrimo, striving for 50,000 words in 30 days.
My approach is different to many others, I suspect. I love writing 'pantster style' which is writing by the seat of my pants, and November is the month when I toss out any ideas of writing to a plan, and just go for it.
I love what comes out of the ether - and this year is no exception. So last night, before nano started, all I had was a vague idea of a woman who pays attention to her daily horoscope, and acts on it.
An hour in, and she's told me her name (Portia Blake), and introduced me to the inciting incident, and all of her five sisters - all with lovely Shakespearean names.
I've got a working title of 'Written in the stars' (but I'm pretty sure that will change, it's not quite right).
And a tough, macho hero is stirring - Aidan Devlin (sorry Lacey, he says he's no relation).
It's a modern heat. And so far, I'm loving it.
Wish me luck in finding out Portia and Aidan's story by the month end!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tales of the unexpected...

I wrote a short vignette for wonderful photographer Benjamin Kanarek recently to illustrate one of his photographs taken for Harper's BAZAAR Hong-Kong.

The surreal photographs of Katie Fogarty for the piece titled 'Tales of the Unexpected' called out for stories, and Ben put a call out to authors to write them. I'm very happy to say that he liked my story illustrating the photograph above enough to print it - thank you, Ben!

To read the stories and the editorial, and see the rest of Ben's otherworldly pictures, please click here.

(Ben's picture used with permission.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

The RNA New Writer's Scheme

Most romantic novelists know about the RNA, the Romantic Novelists Association - but new writers may not be aware of one of it's most useful schemes, the New Writer's Scheme, so I'm blogging here today about it to let you all know!

This year the RNA is celebrating it's first 50 years. You can become either a full or an associate member of the RNA if you are a published author, an agent, an editor or a publisher.

If you are unpublished, you can join under the New Writer's Scheme for £93 (£100.50 for non EU members), and for this fee you get a host of goodies, including the opportunity to take part in all RNA activities and also to submit a full-length manuscript for appraisal. This final option is what, for me, made the New Writer's Scheme so attractive. The chance to have my manuscript read and commented on by a reader who was familiar with my genre, and a publishing professional is solid gold to find out how I was getting on, and what areas needed work. In most cases, the reader also scribbles notes in your manuscript, showing areas that could do with tightening, and providing vital feedback that the newbie writer can use to improve their book.

The reason I'm blogging about the New Writer's Scheme now is twofold. The first is that there are only 250 places available, and if you're interested in joining for 2011, you need to be ready on the first of January to sign up, because these places go very very fast, and if you're not aware of it until February you might miss out - so check out the NWS link at the beginning of January!

And the second reason I'm blogging is to tell you that if you manage to achieve publication at a later date of a story submitted to the New Writer's Scheme, your first published work can be entered into the highly prestigious Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers at the RNA. 

I've been a participant in the New Writer's Scheme twice. My first published romance, Catch Me A Catch  (if you have a Kindle it's available here from Amazon.co.uk or here from Amazon.com) went through the NWS in 2009, and my second, Bound to Love (to be published in January 2011 as a launch title for Embrace Books) went through the NWS in 2008.

Catch Me A Catch has been entered for the Joan Hessayon Award, 2011, and I'll be going to the RNA Summer Party next summer where they announce the winner!

So if you haven't heard of the NWS scheme, and you write romance and haven't been published, check it out in 2011 - you don't have to have your entry in until mid-year, and it's a great resource for romance writers.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Writing Help

Not from me, btw, I need it, not give it!
But from a professional, the wonderful Alexandra Sokoloff who is running a series on her blog at the moment to get everyone's brains sparking in preparation for NaNoWriMo. Even if you're not planning on putting yourself under crazy pressure this November, Alexandra's blog is a wonderful place to visit, full of great advice and in depth analyses of the writing process.
Just click here to go to her blog.... Enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Something for nothing

I've got a new page on my blog today titled October free read.

Just click on the tab to read a wintery short story!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Learning from movies - Pretty Woman - Its a wrap!

It's the last segment on my learning from Pretty Woman posts, and I'm cramming a whole lot of action in!

Okay, we left Vivienne and Edward after the 3rd turning point. In the next few scenes, they go to the opera, play chess, and Vivienne persuades Edward to take the day off. They eat hot dogs, go to the park, go horseriding, and Edward walks in the grass in his bare feet. On the way  home they call in to The Blue Banana Club where Vivienne is hoping to find her friend, Kit, and have trouble with a local gang. Edward gets them out of there and they go back to the hotel. Their relationship is changing again, he's enjoying showing her his world, and she's showing him what he's missing by being focused on work all the time. Edward is becoming a better person, a happier person, and so is Vivienne.

~Here comes the 4th turning point ~
Vivienne comes into the bedroom. Edward is asleep. She kisses him on the mouth - the one thing she'd always say she wouldn't do. There is a passionate love scene, with lots of kissing. Lying safe and secure in his arms, Vivienne murmurs "I love you." She thinks Edward is asleep. He isn't, but he doesn't answer, and lets her think so.

The next morning, Edward, who's obviously been thinking about it, has organised a solution to his feelings for Vivienne. He offers to put her up in an apartment in New York, and tells her he's organised a car for her as well.

But Vivienne has changed. Being a mistress is not enough for her. She goes out onto the balcony (Edward hates heights, and doesn't follow - he's only in the penthouse because 'it's the best', not because of the view.)
She tries to explain to him how she dreamed of a knight climbing up the tower to rescue her. And concludes that the knight when he got there didn't say "C'mon, baby. I'll put you up in a great condo." She wants the fairytale, and won't take less. Edward tries to talk her around. He's changed too - just not enough. He says "This is all I'm capable of right now. It's a really big step for me."

There's then a change of scene. Edward is going to clinch the deal to buy a company to break up. He is different. He notices and smiles at a father and son. In the meeting, the company owner, Mr Morris, is ready to hand over everything, but Edward talks to him privately and says he wants to keep the company going instead of breaking it up, and will invest. Morris is delighted, and tells Edward he's proud of him. Edward's lawyer, Phil is furious. He's been sidelined, and is fit to be tied.

Edward goes for a walk, without his shoes, in the park. It's obvious he's feeling better about himself.
When he gets back to the hotel, it's to find Vivienne being attacked by Phil. Edward hits him and throws him out. He tends carefully to Vivienne's bruised cheek, as they talk about the deal he's done, and he admits that it felt good. He asks her again to stay, but she says "I want more, I want the fairytale."

~Here comes the black moment ~
Edward gives her the money and his business card. As a last ditch effort to have Vivienne on his terms, he asks: "Stay. Stay the night with me. Not because I'm paying you, because you want to."
Vivienne softly answers, "I can't."
~And Edward lets her go.~

Okay, so now at this late stage in the movie - Edward is leaving to go back to New York, alone.
Vivienne feels there is no future for her with Edward, they are from different worlds, and it will never work. She has made the decision to go to San Francisco, get a job, and go back to school.
They've both changed radically from the beginning of the movie.

Edward leaves the hotel, after a brief discussion with Barney Thompson, the manager. He asks Barney to return a necklace and earrings on loan, and Barney offers Daryl the limo driver to take Edward to the airport. Barney looks at the jewels, and says: "It must be difficult to let go of something so beautiful."
We know, and Edward does too, that he ain't talking about the bling.
Barney says: "You know, Daryl also drove Miss Vivienne home yesterday."
Edward pauses, then replies "Thank you, Mr Thompson."
It's the first time he's acknowledged that he even knows the manager's name. And he strides away with purpose.

Vivienne is leaving. She hears opera from outside, and looks out of the window to see Edward clutching roses standing up with his body through the sunroof of the limo. She climbs out onto the balcony.
Edward realises that he must face his fear of heights and of commitment, and in order to win Vivienne, he must give her the fairytale.
He climbs up the fire escape - and Vivenne lets go of the feeling that they are too different to ever be together, and climbs down to meet him halfway.

Edward says: "So, what happened after he climbed up the tower and rescued her?" as he's holding her in his arms.
Vivienne replies: "She rescues him right back."

And there it is - Pretty Woman - Great movie!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hot off the presses...

When Marcy Fairweather decided to pick roses in her new, hot pink barely there jammies, the last thing she expected was to find herself locked out - and at the mercy of the elements.

She's a girl in need of rescue!

My latest short story, 'The Rescue' is in the October issue of New York magazine, New Love Stories Magazine, on newsstands now!

New Love Stories Magazine is published in New York, and available by subscription through the link above.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Congratulations and Commiserations

Chocolates, champagne, and congratulations to the 10 winners of the New Voices Competition - well done all on catching the editors eye and progressing through to the next round!

And chocolates, champagne and hugs to the 800 odd who didn't manage to get through to the next round. There were some fantastic entries, and great writing, and I know you must all be feeling truly gutted not to have been in the lucky top 10.  In the days and weeks to come, there's time to gird your loins and let determination and true grit take over and launch back into the pond again. But for now, take care of yourselves - it's natural to feel down and deflated. I always feel cr*p after suffering a knock, everyone does. Rant, grieve and have a cry if you feel like it.

And when you're ready, remember old Clark Gable,

Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Go Minxes!

As you know I'm a Minx of Romance, and in the spirit of minx support, here are the entries that my fellow minxes have in the New Voices Competition over at M&B. The first round is almost over, so if you're so inclined, pop over and have a read and a vote if you like, before the finalists go into chapter 2....

Lorraine Wilson
Title: In Too Deep
Ex-army officer Hal Wright has recovered from his battle wounds but not from his survivor guilt. Asked to look out for Evie Richards as a 
favour he agrees. But she's proven she can save herself. Trusting again? That's another matter entirely...

Joanne Pibworth
Title: Sequins and Secrets
Take one burlesque star with a huge glittering genie lamp. Add one Aussie hot-shot with three sinful wishes. What do you get? The perfect recipe for a very grown up fairy tale.

Suzanne Jones
Title: Manhunt
Nicole Adams is convinced Angelo Russo is a hero. He's not so sure about that - experience has made him cautious. Can Nicole summon the courage to tell Angelo who she really is? And, if she does, will it ruin their relationship?

Romy Sommer
Title: Valentino's Angel
Sylvie and Valentino are like oil and water, but the spark between them is undeniable. When fate throws them together, they discover that the person who seems completely wrong for you might actually be completely right.

And I'm just waiting for one or two more minxes to enter, and when I do, I'll update here, so check tomorrow!

~Here's a new minx just entered~

Sri Pammi
Title: Claiming Her Italian Magnate
Alessandro Moretti has never coveted something that wasn't his. Until he meets Rachel. After a lifetime of running away from relationships, Rachel Taylor has met the man worth stopping for. Will Alessandro unlock his heart before Rachel runs again?

~And last, but by no means least~

Joanne Cleary
Title: Taming the Lion
Trent Cooper's rugby playing days are over and he needs a diversion from endless physio--enter nurse Rachel Simpson who has secrets she's not sharing ..

So that's 6 minxes out of 8. Maya and I are no shows because we can't enter under the rules.

Also, minx pal Jackie is still storming the entries with her excellent entry, Talking Dirty with the CEO - Well done, Jackie!

Best of luck all!

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Look - New Voices - And knickers

1. New Look.

A quickie post - I'm experimenting with new looks for Love and Chocolate, so I started with this one. Flying birds in the corner seems sort of Autumnal, and it sure is Autumnal in Ireland here today (or even downright wintery!). I've added a followers button to the screen, so if anyone would like to click it, go ahead!

2. New Voices.

Lots of interesting reads over on New Voices, the Mills & Boon writing contest, I'm giving a shout out to the Minxes who have entered: That's Lorraine Wilson and Joanne Pibworth, Click on their names to go to their entries if you haven't already. And if you're finding it impossible to keep it all straight, head on over to Lovely Lacey Devlin's site, and check out her wall of fame.  just click on Lacey's name to have a look!

3. Knickers.

Into the warm autumn ones. With long johns to follow in a couple of months. Ah, the changing of the seasons, eh? You may be wondering why I'm mentioning knickers in this blog post? Well, it's a Talli Roland inspired experiment - more later!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Learning from movies - Pretty Woman - the third turning point

Okay, so we have the story well underway. Edward is doing his business thing, being kowtowed to be all and sundry (he doesn't even remember the hotel manager's name). Vivienne is having a different experience. She tries to go shopping to buy a wardrobe for the week, and is sneered at by a horrible woman in a shop, who tells her 'you're obviously in the wrong place, please leave.' Everyone on the street casts her hooker outfit shocked glances, and to top it off, the hotel manager questions her, he doesn't want a hooker in his hotel.

Living in Edward's world is more difficult than she expected.

But the hotel manager has a heart of gold. He organises a shopper to help her buy the perfect outfit for that evening's meeting. Teaches her how to use the cutlery, and helps her out. So when Edward arrives that evening to take her to dinner, she looks perfect. Later Edward goes down alone to play the piano, Vivienne goes to find him - the story deepens, he is closed off, solitary. they make love.

Lots of story building goes on after this, the feel good scene where Edward takes her shopping, the polo match, where she informs a bunch of stuck up ladies that 'she's just using Edward for sex. ' Edward has changed too, wearing a tie that Vivienne bought him. They seem perfectly suited until the moment when Edward notices her talking to a business rival. He makes a critical mistake, revealing to his lawyer that Vivienne is a hooker.

The bubble bursts.

The lawyer sidles up and suggests they spend time together after Edward leaves.
Vivienne is upset. Back at the hotel, she and Edward fight.
She says,  'I've never had anyone make me feel as cheap as you did today.' Vivienne asks to be paid, Edward throws a pile of money on the bed.
When his back is turned, Vivienne leaves, leaving the money untouched.
The dynamic has changed, its no longer all about money.

Edward sees she's left the money. He follows her to the lift.

~If he wants to keep her he'll have to do more than the scant apology he offered before, he'll have to be honest. Here comes the third turning point~

He says, 'I'm sorry. I wasn't prepared to answer questions about us. I was stupid and cruel, I didn't mean it. I don't want you to go. Please stay the week.'
'Why?' Vivienne asks/
'I saw you talking to David Morris. I didn't like it.' Edward replies.
'We were just talking.'
'I didn't like it.'

There's a humourous break, while the lift arrives, complete with attendant. Vivienne doesn't want to go - so the lift doors close again.

Then Vivienne is honest with Edward. She has been staring straight ahead, but now she gazes at him.
'You hurt me.'
'Don't do it again.'

After this scene, we see Edward and Vivienne in bed. She's talking about her previous boyfriends. She explains how she became a prostitute. She was too ashamed to go home when she found herself poor and alone. Edward says 'I think you are a very bright, very special woman.' Vivienne replies 'The bad stuff is easier to believe. Ever notice that?'

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Saluting the Brave

Today I'm saluting all the brave authors who have decided to submit a chapter to the New Voices competition over in Mills&Boonland.
Many of my friends and a clutch of minxes are entering, and I wish them all well, and I'm sure Mills and Boon will find a large amount of talented writers from this competition. I'm exempt due to having sold a full length novel, and will be reading and cheering from the sidelines.
If, like me, you're reading and commenting on everyone's stories, I'd just like to remind everyone how incredibly BRAVE these authors are being. Opening up and displaying your work for criticism is a very frightening thing, and every story is someone's baby. So be honest, but be kind too. Everyone is at a different stage with their writing, and I know how I'd be quaking in my boots if it were me, to be honest.
But they've taken the first step - and publicly too - so for all you New Voices writers - CONGRATULATIONS!  You're displaying courage and determination by entering, and you're a winner in my eyes, no matter how you place!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Learning from movies - The Second Turning Point

Turning points in Romance (with a capital R) are often the first kiss, the first lovemaking scene etc, but in Pretty Woman, these are not the turning point scenes, as Vivienne is a hooker, and lovemaking is her job.  Edward is completely different from her 'regular clients' . He is shy about sex, and orders champagne and strawberries to get her in the mood. He's focused on work, and is in no hurry to take her to bed, but eventually does.
At this point we learn that Vivienne will do anything, except kiss him on the mouth. Kissing on the mouth means something to her.
The next morning he's on the brick again, organising a business meeting. We learn that he's slept on the couch, but he's considerate. When Vivienne says she's leaving, he urges her to stay for breakfast, he's ordered everything on the menu from room service, because he doesn't know what she'd like.
~ And here comes the second turning point ~  When his lawyer urges him to take a date to a business dinner, he decides to make Vivienne an offer. She will be his companion for the week, for a total sum of $3,000.
Vivienne agrees. She tenderly ties Edward's tie for him, obviously falling for him. As he leaves, she follows him to the door (and at this point, I'm amazed that she's managed to dunk herself underwater in the bath, and still have perfect makeup). She's confident.
She says: "Baby, I'm gonna treat you so nice, you're never gonna want to let me go."
Edward smiles. "Three thousand, six days," he pauses for a beat, "and Vivienne, I will let you go."
Edward leaves, as Vivienne's face reveals her disappointment.
Then she grins. "But I'm here now."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Review just in for Catch Me A Catch

I've just received my second review for Catch Me A Catch from Seriously Reviewed, and would like to thank them for it! They gave the story 8.5 (their scoring scale states that a 9 – Lifetime Keeper to be read and reread. And an 8 – Excellent, solid storytelling. A book you can’t put down, so somewhere between these two!)
And the presentation scored a 9. That element covered the quality of the publisher. On their scale a 9-10 is for : Cover, editing and overall book is spectacular.

Here's the text of the review, or do visit Seriously Reviewed to see it in situ!

Review: What a cute story :)

Ms Clements really painted The Emerald Isle for me. I got a great taste of the flavor and an eye-full of the mystical view. The characters were real-to-life and popped off the pages. The plot was believable and interesting. Without a doubt an adorable read that was very hard for me to put down.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Learning from movies - the first turning point

This is my second lesson from Pretty Woman, and concerns the first turning point. Before this point we've learned a bit about Julia Roberts' character, Vivienne. She dresses in her 'hooker outfit' (well, okay, I know its not her, but her body double, but lets suspend disbelief for a moment). She sneaks out of the apartment that she shares with another, more seasoned prostitute, Kit, avoiding the landlord who they owe rent to, then goes back into the apartment to discover that Kit has raided the rent money. In the sequence that follows, we discover that she's new at the game, is responsible (she berates Kit for spending the rent money on drugs), and doesn't want to be a prostitute long term. We also get a hint here that Vivienne is a caring, nurturing personality (I reckon she's an enneagram type 2) in the way that she cares for her friend, Kit.

She has her inciting incident on her way to the club to find Kit when she discovers a prostitute has been murdered and dumped.

When Edward's Lotus Esprit pulls up she shashays forth to earn money. But Edward doesn't want a hooker, he wants directions, so she climbs in and offers to direct him to his hotel.

At the hotel, Edward thanks her for the ride. It's over. She says she's going for a cab, then sits at the bus stop. And here is the point where the story takes a different turn. The first turning point.

Note the difference also in the way that the characters speak. Edward is worldly, sophisticated, rich and well educated. His choice of words reflects that. Vivienne is uneducated, but with a natural wittiness that charms Edward. Her vocabulary is much simpler.

Edward thinks for a moment. Then walks over.
"I was thinking," he starts. "Did you really say $100 an hour?"
"Yeah," Vivienne replies.
"Well, if you don't have any prior engagements, I'd be very pleased if you would accompany me into the hotel."
"You got it." Vivienne drawls. She asks him his name, and discovering that it is Edward, says that its her favourite name in the whole world. "I'll tell you what, this is fate, Edward, that's what this is."
(We, the audience know it's fate, but the screenwriter cleverly rams it home at this point, making sure that we understand it.)
~And there it is, in a nutshell. The first turning point.~

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Learning from movies - Personality & Internal Conflict

I've decided to do a series on posts on writing. I'm taking one movie (Pretty Woman) and using it to illustrate story structure and elements, and how they're portrayed through the medium of film, because I think its interesting, and hope some of you do to!

Now Pretty Woman has a lot of issues, but I'm not going into those. I'm just using it as an example. So forget about the body double, Vivienne being a prostitute with perfect teeth and no health problems, and Edward holding a brick to his ear throughout the movie, while we concentrate on the story elements.
~ Today I'm looking at the incredibly quick way that the screenwriter builds a detailed picture of the personality and internal conflict of Richard Gere's character, Edward.~

The very first line in the movie is: "You know what they say, it's all about money."
Given by a magician at a party, this could easily be the movie's tagline.
(Although it wasn't. The actual movie tagline was: "Who knew it was so much fun to be a hooker?")

It begins with Edward's odious lawyer at a party talking about Edward. Setting the scene for how powerful and rich Edward is. People refer to Edward as 'the guest of honour'. They ask 'Where's Edward anyway?' Then Edward arrives. He talks on the phone to his girlfriend. He's angry because she hasn't flown to meet him to act as his escort during a round of important meetings.
"I told my secretary to make the arrangements, didn't she call you?"
His girlfriend complains he never gives her any notice, just expects her to be at his beck and call. She feels used, and tells him she speaks to his secretary more than she speaks to him. When she tries to call his bluff by suggesting she should move out of his apartment, Edward calmly agrees. The sooner the better. It's all about him. Edward is uncompromising, always spoken to with respect, and emotionally unavailable.
As he leaves the party early, he bumps into an old girlfriend now married to someone else.
Now here's a hint that he's aware of his own shortcomings. He asks her "Susan, tell me something. When you and I were dating, did you speak to my secretary more than you spoke to me?"
Susan replies, "She was one of my bridesmaids."

So, in the very first scene of the movie, in less than 3 minutes of screen time, we have learned that Edward is rich, powerful and emotionally unavailable (and aware of it). He is at the party for scant minutes before leaving in his lawyer's new car, which he doesn't know how to drive. He doesn't care that he's expected to be at the party, he does what he wants. He considers it to be his right to borrow a car, and doesn't ask but demands the keys.

Edward drives off before the opening credits.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

But it's not all roses....

I've been shouting about the silver linings happening in the past couple of weeks, but neglected to mention the 'dark side'.

In the same time period, I also had:

A brief but pleasant standard R from Carina (on another story).
A brief but pleasant standard R from Woman's Weekly on a short story...
And, most sadly of all, a very nice R from the New York Agent who's been considering my first crime book since last November.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'm driving 'em wilde!

The 'good week' continues! I've just discovered that I'm one of three finalists in my category in the Drive ‘Em Wilde contest sponsored by Savvy Authors.

I sent in the first 10 pages of 'Marrying Cade' my current book, the partial of which is being looked at by Mills and Boon, so I'm really hoping they love it as much as the judges do.

There were 87 total entrants and 3 finalists.  I also received detailed crit sheets from 3 judges, who gave individual scores which were averaged to provide my total score. One lovely judge (an editor) gave me 99 out of 100, thank you so much, Ms Bas! The other scores of 89 and 95 were averaged to give me a total score of 94.

The next round is judged by the final judge in my category, Angela James with Carina Press who will pick the overall category winner, announcing over the next couple of weeks.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Sale!

I'm delighted to announce that I've sold my second book, Bound to Love, to Embrace Books, and they've just announced it on the Embrace site.
More about it later, because I've got to go to the shops to buy lunch (ah, the romance of it, Tescos!) but couldn't resist letting everyone know asap!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A review of Catch Me A Catch!

I'm delighted to thank The Romance Studio for their fantastic review of Catch Me A Catch, and for their highest rating, 5 stars.

They say lots of lovely things about the story, including:

Sally Clements pens a unique romance with all the flavors of Ireland. It's almost like the wee people have their hands in the lives of the people in Durna. This is the kind of small town many of might wish we could live in. Excellent characters inhabit the pages with Anne's parents and the townspeople. Dialogue and situations are often funny and based in a kind of reality easy to relate to.


This tale moves quickly with a lot of smiles on the pages. I found myself relating more to the individuals than I sometimes do in novels. Most readers have probably experiences similar situations as the match-seekers or the couple. I truly enjoyed this author's way of building a story and hope to read more in the future.

You can read the rest of the review here or by clicking on the books link at the top of the blog.

Thank you very much, The Romance Studio, you've made my day!

D'oh I missed my own birthday!

Yup, it's true. Love and Chocolate was ONE on 16th July, and I missed it. No cake, no champers, no pressies. To make it up to my blog, I'm reprising one of my favorite blog posts from the last year, The Romantic Hero Top 10 Don'ts. Enjoy!

Well, in the romance writing world, there are plenty of 'Alpha Hero' info blogs, and this is my collection of Don'ts, the things that Romantic Alphas should never be caught in print doing.

1. Go to the toilet. Or even think about going to the toilet. Ever.
2. Use anything other than foreign expletives or Damn It! (unless in Bridget Jones books, in which case go ahead).
3. Run out of money.
4. Dodgy disco dancing - they can dance a wicked tango though, especially in Abbey Green books.
5. Fall over - leave that to the heroine, and make sure always to catch her, preferably in strong, manly way.
6. Get any foodstuffs stuck in teeth (especially lettuce).
7. Wonder if they look good - they always do.
8. Look at another woman once they've met 'the one'.
9. Fall into a lake, and not be able to swim. (breaks two rules, see 5).
10. Snort with laughter while drinking coffee, causing unfortunate coffee through nose spray effect. Not a good look.

What have you had to edit out of your WIP's as showing your hero in a bad light? Comments?

(This is also a shameless opportunity to print pictures of heros...)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm visiting!

I'm guest blogging today at Hell or High Water about epublishing......

Do pop in and say hello!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Launch Day!

I'm very pleased to announce that Catch Me A Catch is now available!

I've blogged about it here, and over on the minxes site, and don't want to bore everyone to death about it, so if you'd like to read more about it, or read an excerpt or even, (gasp) order it, please pop up to The Wild Rose Press here and have a look!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Doctor Doctor...

I just received the following email from Marilyn Shoemaker, and thought any Medical Romance Writers would want to know, ASAP, so here's the news:

Direct quote from I(Heart)Presents:

by Sheila Hodgson, Mills & Boon editor

Are you an aspiring romance writer who also:

Loves medical heroes and can't get enough of Hugh Laurie’s brilliant but guarded hearted doctor, Gregory House; the irresistible charm of Grey’s Anatomy McDreamy (also known as Dr Derek Shepherd), or George Clooney’s warm-hearted but maverick paediatrician Dr Doug Ross in ER?

Has longed for an opportunity to write contemporary romances set amidst the excitement, warmth and passion of today’s medical world?

Is a fan of the Medical Romance series and would love to be published in this unique, globally distributed series?

If your answer to any of the above is YES, then here is a great opportunity to get your fabulous work in front of a Medical Romance editor “ fast!

Harlequin/Mills & Boon Medical Romance is looking for new authors “ and if you send us a first chapter, three chapters, or even a full manuscript of a romance in a medical setting, then we will give it a fast-track read and get you a fast-tracked response this summer!

Here’s what to do to get fast-tracked:

Send us a covering letter with a synopsis of your story and characters (no more than two pages) along with anything from the first chapter of the story to the complete manuscript.

In order to be eligible for fast-tracking, submissions must be received between 1st and 24th August (12.00 Midnight BST, British Summer Time) 2010. Don’t miss out!

You must email your submission (as a Word document attachment) to medicalfasttrack@hmb.co.uk and make sure you include your current email address in you covering letter as you will receive your response by email.

Otherwise our normal submissions and format criteria apply (visit ‘Submit manuscript’ section at www.millsandboon.co.uk)

Of course, we are open to unsolicited submissions at any time, but if you send us your Medical Romance submission in August then we’ll send you a response in August from one of our London-based editors.

Want to learn more about this unique series? Then see our writing guidelines or buy Medical Romance titles in print or ebook format “ available at www.eHarlequin.com (where you’ll also find a Medical Romance podcast with Harlequin/Mills & Boon editors) and www.millsandboon.co.uk

Happy writing! And remember, this is your chance to get your Medical heroes in front of a Harlequin/Mills & Boon editor’s eyes so make them so gorgeous we can’t possibly resist!!

Thanks for the heads up, Marilyn, and the opportunity to post a totally gratuitous picture of some medical heros!