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 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

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 (where you’ll also find a Medical Romance podcast with Harlequin/Mills & Boon editors) and

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!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A new minx!

Well it's all very exciting in Minxland at the moment, because we have a new Minx. Joanne Pibworth has joined the Minxes and we're all very happy to have her.

Find out all about it on the Minxes blog.

And here's Jo P's blog, for anyone who hasn't found it yet...

Joanne will be doing a Minx post to introduce herself early August!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Carried away by action!

Well it's no secret that I LOVE plot. I just can't help it, when I start writing, the plot races out, twisting and turning as it goes. But plot does not a book make, so I have to get out my big stick, force it back into the barn, and be tough.
Internal conflict has to come first, and especially when writing romance, internal conflict is what the reader is longing for. So I'm always gravitating towards things that will help me keep that front and centre. Here's what I've found, for any plotty romance writers out there!

Plot via motivation - I've done this course by Laurie Schnebly Campbell twice - with different books. At this stage, I'm beginning to think of it as my secret weapon. (No longer secret, as I'm blogging about it!). The online course forces me to think about my characters, their wounds, their background and how, when I write the story, they will respond. It also helps me to see how each character's internal blueprint will clash with anothers, and to make sure that they'll have lots of problems growing from internal conflict (mwaaahaahaa!).

Enneagrams - I use enneagrams to investigate my character types more fully. There's loads of stuff on the web about this, and I find them really useful, especially when investigating how a character will respond under pressure.

Scene by scene analysis - I break down my book into a scene by scene analysis, charting the character arcs of the hero and heroine. I've just done a great course with BJ Daniels on 6 different ways to start a story, and am incorporating what I've learned there into each scene, to make sure every scene has a purpose and moves things along. The recent workshop I did with Shirley Jump also focused on this element, and was incredibly insightful!

Internal synopsis - And the newest tool in my toolbelt was one kindly supplied by Minx Lorraine. That of the 'internal only' synopsis. First I write my synopsis (snappy, plotty, great!). Then I write it again, this time only focusing on the internal conflict, the character arc, and the elements that have to do with emotional change.

Back to snappy synopsis, a brutal cull on all the overly plotty stuff, and a weave in of the internal, a quick check to the Minxes for review (I know they'll tell me if there's an unequal balance) and if I'm happy, its done. If not, I go through it with highlighters. Pink for internal and internal conflict, blue for plot, yellow for 'flavour'. If its all blue and yellow, its back to the drawing board until I have the mix right.

Seems to me that for those who are great at internals, and struggle with plot, you could do the opposite, and write a 'plot only' synopsis!

Lastly, if I'm struggling, I have a moan. A moan always helps. I had a great twitter moan last week at Jackie Ashenden, she was lovely and suggested I sleep on it. I did. It helped. Thanks, Jackie!

Does anyone else out there have the same 'plotty' problem? If so, have you any other suggestions that you use to whip that story into shape?

Friday, July 16, 2010

So, what's new?

Due to insufficient numbers of Erotic and Historicals, The Drive em Wilde contest over on Savvy Authors  is extending the deadline for a few days, till the 20th July. So if anyone out there is interested, you've got 4 days.....

The lovely Julie Cohen is guest blogging today over at the Minxes of Romance about the RNA conference. (And showing off her lovely conference shoes!)

There's a new romance ebook publisher launching soon, check out Embrace Books for the writers guidelines (they're looking for submissions)

Lovely Minx Romy (Aka Rae Summers) with her first release Let's Misbehave, received a whopping four and a half stars from RT book reviews! Congratulations, Romy! Read it here.

I took my girls to Eclipse yesterday - and all 3 of us loved's the trailer

And most excitingly of all... drumroll....

In precisely 12 days Catch Me A Catch will be available to purchase from The Wild Rose Press. Squeeee!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A New Contest!

Today I'm blogging about a hot new contest, over on Savvy Authors. The submission date for this one is very soon, next week in fact, 15 July 2010, so if you're interested, check it out quick!
Here's the skinny...

Lori Wilde's Drive 'Em Wilde Contest for Emerging Authors

Does your query make editors and agents pant, moan and beg for more? Have you written a story that will keep editors up at night, thinking of you and your prose? If you think you have what it takes to drive editors and agents wild with anticipation, Lori Wilde’s Drive 'Em Wilde Contest is your chance to prove it.

Our first-round is judged by published authors who will act like slush pile readers, pulling only the best three in each genre to pass along to the final round editors who will select the winners. But it doesn’t end there!

Lori Wilde, USA Today bestselling author, will choose an Overall Grand Prize Winner from each genre's first place winner to receive free tuition for her year-long mentoring track at Savvy University with Lori Wilde—a value of $1800! This individual will be mentored by Lori to improve his or her writing and edit a market-ready manuscript that really will drive an agent or editor wild!

**NEW: Enter contest today to reserve your spot, but you can upload your file any time until contest deadline!

2010 Categories and Final Judges:

Historical: Deb Werksman, Editor, Sourcebooks

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy/Fantasy:, Chris Keeslar, Dorchester Publishing

Science Fiction/Futuristic: TBA

Contemporary: Angela James, Editor, Carina Press

Suspense: Kristin Sevick, Editor, Tor/Forge Books.

Young Adult: Danielle Rose Poiesz, Editor, Gallery/Pocket Books Editorial

Erotic Romance or Erotica: Lindsey Faber, Managing Editor, Samhain Publishing

**NOTE: Each entrant will have an opportunity to further designate whether their entry is most like commercial fiction, commercial fiction with romantic elements, literary fiction or romantic fiction for the sole purpose of managing judges’ expectations.

Contest Details:

Sponsor: Savvy Authors

Fee: $20 Premium Savvy members / $25 Basic & non-members

Deadline: July 15, 2010

Judging: Each entry will be judged by three published authors and scored using the contest’s scoresheet. Judges will provide comments and feedback for each score given. All scores will be combined and averaged. Three highest scoring manuscripts for each genre will advance to the final round. All judged copies will be returned via email to non-finalist entrants following finalist announcement. Finalist entries will be returned after winners are announced. Final Judges will rank finalists one through three, with the First place winners sent to Lori Wilde who will choose the Overall Grand Prize Winner.

Finalists Announced: August 1, 2010

Eligibility: Must not have been published in the last 2 years or contracted on the date of contest entry by any of the major publishers (or its imprints) listed by Agent Query here:

Enter: Query letter AND first 10 double-spaced pages of unpublished manuscript (See Official Rules)

First Place Winners: All first place winners for each category will receive $25 credit towards a workshop of their choice at Savvy Authors.

Overall Grand Prize Winner: Lori Wilde will read each of the first place winners and rank them 1 thru 7, with the first place winner receiving a free year’s tuition in her upcoming Mentoring course at Savvy University This prize is non-transferrable.


Its a great prize, but what is also so great is the chance to get your first ten pages read by 3 published authors, and receive their critiques. Also, in my own particular catagory, should I make it to the next round, is the chance to get my work before the final judge Angela James of Carina Press. Manuscripts do not have to be finished, and as long as you meet the criteria of not having been published or contracted by any of the major publishers or their imprints (and The Wild Rose is not in the list).

So head on over to Savvy Authors and check it out. Feedback from 3 published authors for $25 - and the possibility of much more, got to be worth a try, right?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I was lost, in France...

I've been quiet for a while, because I was away in Provence. I know, lucky me! School finished up, and we were on the first plane out the following morning, landing in Marseilles airport under a blazing sky, so different from the grey, wet Irish weather that I couldn't remove the stupid grin from my face for days.

No computer. No internet. No twitter. No TV.
Instead, bagettes, pate, fromage, petit suisse and lovely wine.

I took my notebook, and did no writing. None. Not even a little bit. But I thought about my story, and did some mental working things out, while lounging around a swimming pool.

Now I'm back. My chickens laid a load of eggs so I've just made homemade pasta for dinner and a large pavlova with the excess. I'm pink (I don't do brown, just pink then creamy white again), covered in mozzie bites (apparently I'm the most delicious one in my family), and itching to write.

I got news yesterday that Catch Me A Catch has a release date of 28 July on Wild Rose, so I'll be blogging about that nearer the date, and of course, this weekend is the RNA conference Minxes Romy, Jo, Lorraine and Maya are going and will be blogging all about it when they get back, so for all of us not attending the conference this year, check in to the Minxes of Romance blog tomorrow for our 'Not at Conference? post.