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If you are unpublished, you can join under the New Writer's Scheme for £93 (£100.50 for non EU members), and for this fee you get a host of goodies, including the opportunity to take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 or here from 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!