Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bits and pieces...

Not a lot to report from me. I'm revising... digging deeper into my characters... and when I'm not doing that I'm planning for a gathering of NQ romance writers at Tarzali next week.

Elliot, however has been adventuring out west with a couple of mates, and I thought I'd show you a few shots.

They went into what we call the Gulf Country, the Savannah grasslands that lie around the Gulf of Carpentaria (that big scoop out of the top of Australia), and they spent most of their time on Escott station.

This is some of the most sparsely populated country on the planet. In other words, this is the REAL Outback.
This is the Nicholson River on Escott station. No swimming here. It's full of crocs.
This swimming hole above the falls is the only place you can swim on the Leichhardt River. (The crocs can't climb up the falls.) It's on a four hundred kilometre stretch of road, and there's nowhere on the road to get petrol. (gas)
Th is a famous cloud phenomenon called Morning Glory. It rolls in from the gulf across the flat land.
And this, of course, has nothing to do with the Outback. It's a photo of my mum with her arms full with bouncing, wriggling twin great-granddaughters.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Writers anonymous...

My name is Barbara and I'm a writerholic. I've tried, really tried this week to take a break from writing, especially from starting a new book. I was sure my brain, my muse and my weak left wrist would all benefit if I gave writing a miss.

So... I've read half a dozen books, I've watched countless movies, I've spring cleaned the apartment, I've written blogs for other sites and answered two sets of interview questions. I've even gone for long walks and had long phone conversations. I've tried everything!!! After all, I know it's important to hold off as long as I can. A book is never as good as it is when it's just an idea in my head.

But today, I confess I caved.

I thought I'd just make a couple of notes for a new idea.

The notes grew to seven pages.

The book's started.

I have no willpower.

If you're an aspiring writer be warned. It's addictive.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A blog for lovers of Harlequin Romance

Did you know that Harlequin Romance authors are now blogging on eHarlequin?

If you visit there, you'll meet lots of Romance fans and you'll read Liz Fielding's description of a typical writer's day, or Barbara McMahon's thoughts on happy endings. Michelle Douglas is inviting tips on how to avoid a writer's spreading backside. Claire Baxter is asking what makes a reader. Every couple of days there's a new post. All interesting and romance relevant. I've spilled the beans about how I met my children's father and readers have been sharing their "cute meet" stories too. It's fascinating and just goes to show that there's ample material out there. No wonder the hundreds of romance stories that are published each month are so different and individual -- despite the sameness of covers and titles. I'm also giving away signed copies of my upcoming duet Baby Steps to Marriage with Expecting Miracle Twins and The Bridesmaid's Baby.

But I'd also like to give copies of these books to my faithful blog followers whose company I enjoy so much, so if you'd care to email me via my website with your postal address, I'll be happy to send copies your way. You know who you are!!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Movies R Us...I mean Me...

I've been on my own over the weekend, and I've taken advantage of the situation and indulged in my own private movie marathon (romantic movies, of course). I wanted to see what I can learn from romantic movies. I'm not sure if the things I noticed are of help to anyone here -- I wasn't strictly taking notes, but I thought I'd record impressions here anyway.

"The Last Word" -- new out and v clever. A really good example of a new twist on an old theme. Quirky characters and great examples of "show don't tell". For example, the hero's really unhappy at first when the heroine finds his phone number... but gradually we see the change in him though his actions -- he's checking his phone messages all the time, replaying her message just to hear her voice.

'Down with Love" Renee Zellweger and Ewan MacGregor, funny, set in the 60s, OTT, but really good examples of conflict development. I was madly jotting down thoughts for my work in progress.

'Sabrina ' The old Audrey Hepburn classic. I was actually disappointed with this movie. The development of romance between Sabrina and Humphrey Bogart was so thin. They tried to tell us he loved her instead of showing how and why he'd fallen in love. Now I want to track down the new version with Harrison Ford to see if it's better.

'The Next Best Thing' with Rupert Everett and Madonna. Not actually a romance, but about two friends (he's gay) raising a child together. I cried buckets. Again, a great example of "showing" , in this case showing how close Rupert is to the boy, through wonderful scenes of them together, so that we totally believe and understand his pain when things fall apart.

Now I'm going to try to track down Renee Zellweger's New in Town because it looks like a great fish out of water scenario, which is one of my core themes.

Any other suggestions for must see romance movies? I have a few days left on my own. have to take advantage.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Too cute...

Have had my head down ever since I got back from the conference, so nothing my to report, but thought you might like to see this pic of our two little lovelies. What a Gemini shot!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Very hurried news from the Brisbane conference…

It might not be quite the news you’d expect… because for many of the published authors, going to conference is mainly social – or to give a workshop in the spirit of passing on the gems of wisdom about writing that we think are worth passing on.
I’m not giving any workshops this year, but this afternoon I’ll be involved in a Sweet Author chat (Yes, I know … I dislike the “Sweet” label, too) so I’ll be chatting with writers aspiring to write for the “sweeter” lines.
The conference started for authors on Thursday night with a Harlequin dinner hosted by the staff of the Sydney office. We all gathered in the hotel foyer in our glad rags and walked to the restaurant. (I was reminded of those “crocodiles” walking to church in boarding school books. It’s all very exciting, greeting people you haven’t seen since last year – or in my case, because I didn’t go to conference last year, for several years.
I was thrilled to catch up with Lynsey Stevens and Robyn Donald, two authors I hadn’t seen for yonks – and to meet two new Harlequin Romance authors, Michelle Douglas and Nikki Logan. (Nikki’a first book, Lights, Camera, Kiss the Boss… is coming out early next year.)
One of the nice things that happens at this dinner is a tradition begun by gorgeous authors, Marion Lennox and Anne Gracie. Firstly all new Harlequin authors are presented with “new chicks” badges – yes proper fluffy chickens.
Then, the womanfuzzy awards are presented. This award started several years ago when Ally Blake was doing a radio interview. She was asked why she loves romance and she said: ‘They make me feel so warm and fuzzy.’
‘Womanfuzzy?’ said the interviewer. ‘What’s womanfuzzy.’
Hence the awards.
This year I was given a Bah-Humbug Womanfuzzy, because I had to cancel my plans for last Christmas and stay home and fix the book. So it was very sweet of people to remember and this is what I got…

Yesterday, I went with a group of friends to the Art Gallery to see the American Impressionism and Realism exhibition that’s been brought out from The Met in NYC. So many fabulous, inspiring paintings with stories to tell.

Last night we had an amazing cocktail party with fancy dress on an Arabian Nights theme.

Wow – those writerly imaginations can come up with fabulous costumes.
Alison Brideson and her husband were a pair of English Egyptologists, complete with pith helmets and archaeological tools.
Anne Gracie was the River Nile, dressed in floating blue robes draped with water lilies and crocodiles.
I wore a rather embarrassing headdress made from a World Vision Shop mobile. The little ladies on the mobile were originally Pakistani, but I gave them Arabian veils.
Alison Roberts looked utterly divine as a belly dancer
Paula Roe came in a Saddam Hussein mask
And this morning the conference started with a fabulous keynote address from highly accomplished and acclaimed author Mary Jo Putney. She totally summed up what it means to be a writer, but she had some great things to say about readers, too. I’ll share just a few.

The ability to love a story is a great gift.

It takes imagination to be a good reader. It requires involvement and a well furnished mind (don’t you love that phrase?)

Most good readers, have the necessary imagination and the spark of talent to be a writer.

Monday, August 10, 2009

coming up for air...

Very briefly.
Put my mum on the plane yesterday after a lovely visit that included lots of cups of tea and games of Scrabble, walks in the rainforest, cuddling of twins, and visits to the Australian Festival of Chamber Music.
In the midst of it all - of course - my revisions arrived, and I had to snatch moments to work. Have head down now as I'm leaving on Thursday for the Australian Romance Writers Conference in Brisbane. Will almost certainly take my laptop and keep working in my room while I'm down there, so will also try to blog and keep you posted. Hope all is well with you all, my friends in blog land.