Friday, February 26, 2010

Another rainy Saturday...

If you're a fan of Harlequin romance, you're bound to love Liz Fielding's books. There a free read of Liz's The Cinderella Valentine. Check it out here.

At our place we're having a posh dinner party tonight, so I've been busy ironing napkins and polishing silver and trying out dessert recipes. (Dessert is my responsibility). As the first two courses are rich, I'm going for something light -- a jelly made with dessert wine, plus melon balls and watermelon granita. I'll let you know if it's a success. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I'm having a very quiet few days -- with the the flu -- so am writing in bed which is not nearly as comfortable as it sounds. Now, at least I have medication so my nose is not continually dripping onto the keyboard. Isn't that a lovely image for a romance writer?
Meanwhile, in our second bathroom, we have a delivery ward. One little chick burst out of his shell yesterday -- very strong and noisy and demanding. Another little peeper is taking things more slowly, one gentle peck at a time. Dr. E is in seventh heaven.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What I've been watching...

Elliot's away for the weekend and last night I took myself off to watch Valentine's Day, which I found very entertaining -- although of course I'm always analysing plots and thinking about my current work when I watch those kinds of films.

Also this week, I've borrowed a set of DVDs from the library -- Before Sunrise and Before Sunset -- (starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) and these films I absolutely loved. They were about a young couple who meet on a train and spend a night exploring Vienna together, sharing hopes, fears, dreams.

The second movie is set in Paris nine years later, (and the actors were actually nine years older) when they meet again and have only a very short time to catch up and... make choices.

Anyone familiar with my books will know how much I love reunion stories, and you can imagine how these movies -- dialogue rich, with minimalist plots and fabulous acting -- had me enthralled. Keep an eye out for them if you haven't seen them.

Also on a different note, if you're wondering about the whole to have or not to have an agent issue, you might find this Novelists' Inc blog post very informative.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

These made me laugh out loud...

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.The winners are:
1. *Coffee* (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. *Flabbergasted* (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. *Abdicate* (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. *Esplanade* (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. *Willy-nilly* (adj.), impotent.
6. *Negligent* (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. *Lymph* (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. *Gargoyle* (n), olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. *Flatulence* (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. *Balderdash* (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. *Testicle* (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. *Rectitude* (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. *Pokemon* (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. *Oyster* (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. *Frisbeetarianism* (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. *Circumvent* (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

in town again...

We're back in town with a box of incubating eggs and a baby chick taking up residence under lamplight in our spare bedroom. (Don't tell our caretaker.)
All the time we were away I was feeling smug about not using any air conditioning and mentally giving us ticks for all the electricity we were saving...
Until we stepped inside the apartment and saw the place covered in grey mould. It's been a BIG wet season. (Remember, I was boasting about loving the rain a few weeks back?)

I wasn't quite so chirpy about dampness when I was whipping out the Domestos and getting to work, after tidying up at Tarzali earlier that day and a four hour car journey.

But now the apartment is lovely and clean (probably cleaner than it's been for a while) and I have vanilla scented candles. And air conditioning! And last night we had our three little granddaughters and their parents over for dinner. I cooked my son's childhood favourite, chicken stuffed with brown rice and drizzled with honey and we had pancakes for dessert as it was Shrove Tuesday. Lilly told us about the boy at kindy who kissed her and spat on her, while Milla and Sophie had a fine time banging saucepan lids on the floor tiles. Pity the poor people in the flat below us. But they were so good, really.

So this back and forth lifestyle means there's always a constant adjustment to be made, but at least life isn't dull.

It takes me a couple of days to pick up the thread in my writing again. Let's hope it happens today.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Some good advice...

An Australian romance writer has recently sold her first book to Carina Press the new e-publishing arm of Harlequin. This is a great opportunity for aspiring writers and the Carina editors have posted some very helpful info on their blog listing the top reasons a manuscript is rejected.

Whether you're targeting e-publishing or paper print, check it out. Even if you've heard it all before, it's always helpful to be reminded about what mistakes editors dislike and what to avoid.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

about to lose power.....

Our power is off today from 9 am till 2 pm. This happens just a little too regularly -- one of the untold joys of country life. As our tanks are primed by an electric pump it means we don't even have water. We're off to Atherton to shop. It's E's birthday and we're having a little dinner party on Friday night, so we may as well get out of the house and buy things now. (Just as well I got up 5 am to start writing this morning.!)

I'm going to lose battery power any sec, but before I dash off -- I want to show you a couple of pics. First, this gorgeous bird house which was our daughter Vicki's Christmas present (It's so fab to have grownup children who buy you cool things).

And also here's our guinea chick -- now ten days old and growing wing feathers. Too cute.

Monday, February 08, 2010

there's one in every holiday snap...

My sister sent me this and I had to giggle. Hope you had a happy birthday, Marg.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Thought for the day...

To understand something you have to love it, because understanding is never a completely disengaged stance but springs from inspiration. (Mark Vernon, English philosopher)

OK, that's a bit deep for a Monday morning -- but it's also very true, especially in regard to writing romance. A lot of people scoff at romance, but they still try to write it because it sells and it's got to be easy, hasn't it?

But unless they love the genre, unless they truly get what it is about romance that so many people love, unless reading it fires up their imaginations, they are not going to be able to reproduce it. So... too often they go back to knocking it.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Great writing advice...

I stumbled across this bit of writing advice last year and it's one that I loved immediately and it's also one piece of advice from the many I've read that's stayed with me.

So I thought I'd pass it on...

One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. ...Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.

-- Annie Dillard from The Writing Life

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

around the world in February

The Bridesmaid's Baby is in Italy. (Lucy McKenty and Will Carruthers' story.)

The Blind Date Surprise is in Spain. That's the second book in my Southern Cross trilogy, and the characters are Annie McKinnon and Theo Grainger.

And Blind Date with the Boss with Sally Finch and Logan Black is in the Scandanavian countries Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.

Happy travels, my old friends!!