Thursday, March 31, 2011

Final night...

What better way to celebrate our final night at Coogee than to toast waitress Jess whose first book will be published later this year? Watch this space in Melbourne Cup week!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two happy RITA finalists...

At Coogee this year, we're celebrating with Kelly Hunter and Marion Lennox                                      -- two RITA finalists for best short contemporary romance. It's hard work, but someone's got to help drink the bubbly.
Meanwhile, seriously, we're sharing some great craft discussions, and yes, writing is getting done.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Don't miss this...

Kelly Hunter, 2011 RITA finalist & NQ Roadshow presenter, shares her thoughts about writing dialogue with Anne Gracie, Helene Young and me in a fab Q&A blog at Romance Writers of Australia.

Friday, March 25, 2011

RITA excitement!

Very exciting news. We have two Australians as RITA finalists -- Kelly Hunter and Marion Lennox. Woohoo! These gorgeous writers are two of my favourite people, too. And it's exciting that there are many finalists from the M&B office in London.

2011 RITA Finalists for Contemporary Series Romance

Breaking the Sheikh's Rules in the Summer Sheikhs anthology by Abby Green (Mills & Boon; Meg Lewis, editor)

Christmas Magic on the Mountain by Melissa McClone (Harlequin Romance; Joanne Grant, editor)

Christmas with Her Boss by Marion Lennox (Harlequin Romance; Sheila Hodgson, editor)

Dare She Date the Dreamy Doc? by Sarah Morgan (Mills & Boon Medical Romance; Kimberley Young, editor)

Red-Hot Renegade by Kelly Hunter (Mills & Boon Modern Heat; Joanne Grant, editor)

An Unexpected Father by Lisa Ruff (Harlequin American Romance; Johanna Raisanen, editor)

Welcome Home, Cowboy by Karen Templeton (Silhouette Special Edition; Gail Chasan, editor)

Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon by Kate Hewitt (Harlequin Presents; Meg Lewis, editor)

To see more results in other categories, check here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Black moments...

I'm closing in another deadline. Don't these things seem to come with alarming regularity?
Right now, I'm also getting excited, because I'll soon be leaving for Sydney for my annual writing retreat. Combining a deadline and a retreat is kinda smart and kinda not, but anyway, it's happening.
My main hitch has been that my characters' romance is starting to go too smoothly. What we want in real life is always the kiss of death in a story, where we want page turning emotional tension. I've been wondering what I need to do, and you'd think after writing nearly forty books, I'd have a clue...
Then yesterday, one of my friends' emails  mentioned the black moment she was planning for her book.
Which is precisely when it hit me. Eek !!! I hadn't planned a black moment. How could I have forgotten a black moment?
In case you're wondering, this is that moment in all good romances where everything that seems to be working out OK suddenly falls apart. The lovers can't go forward. They can't commit. One of them (or both of them) has a problem that holds them back from winning the prize of true love.
In Michael Hague's terms, the character has been living in his "identity" which is a disguise or a suit of armour he dons, a facade he presents to the world to cover up. Usually he's covering up an old wound from the past and often he doesn't even realise that's what he's doing.
During the course of the story, however, he has glimpsed his "essence", and he has, for a time, lived in his essence -- That is, he's seen how his life could be if he was brave enough to step out from behind his identity.
I thought I knew what my character's wound was -- but I'd already dealt with it fairly early in the story. No wonder I had a problem.
Yesterday, getting near the end, but having no black moment, I suddenly realised what my guy's true wound was. Neither he nor I had understood this until then. But wow -- I could feel his pain and I could suddenly see how it would impact on him and the heroine.
Oh, I also worked out their happy ending. 
Now I just have to write it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Little things...

I have found this full moon stressful for a number of reasons, but little things can cheer me up... this native orchid growing naturally in our little patch of rainforest. When it flowers it's not spectacular, but a pretty white and brown... two of my favourite wardrobe colours.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Have basil... will pesto...

A friend brought me this beautiful bouquet of herbs and I can't wait to make homemade pesto. Today I could almost turn  vegetarian.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


We've had birthdays recently and decided we'd better take photos of each other before we get too old. :)

OK, some people will be rolling on the floor with laughter at that. I know we're already - ahem - senior. But it's all relative, isn't it?

On another note... I don't know if it's thanks to the Big Wet, but all over North Queensland, the pendas are magnificent this year. This is a honeyeater feasting in our garden. In fact the birds are loving all the flowering trees aound here just now. The misty pic below shows cockatoos feeding down in the Ithaca valley at the bottom of our place.

Now back to finishing this book. Those of you who know my books will know I don't write very sexy sex scenes, but I spent twelve hours on one yetserday and only produced a little over a thousand words. They're tricky things to write. Am so looking forward to Kelly Hunter's workshop at the Roadshow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Of course there's more than three good reasons...

Check out the Romance Writers of Australia blog for my three top reasons to attend the NQ Romance Writers Roadshow.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Roadshow program...

Here's the program for our fabulous North Queensland Roadshow. This is going to be one power packed day!!! Don't forget, early bird registrations close at the end of March! find out how to register here!

  9:00am - Greetings and introductions

 9.15 -10.15 The bones of your book – Anne Gracie

A good strong premise and a convincing source of conflict are the foundations for a strong plot. Without them, many people run out of steam about a third of the way into a book. Find the premise for your story, identify the central spine of conflict and learn how to structure scenes and build a strong plot.

 10:15 - Morning Tea

 10:30 – 11.45 World-building is crucial, no matter the genre — Kelly Hunter & Anne Gracie

Whether you're a writer of paranormals, fantasy, historicals, contemporaries, or crime, the world you create in your books can make or break you as a writer. The more convincing that world, the easier it is for readers to plunge right in. But world building is more than just evoking a time and place and characters interacting in that world: it's also about reader expectations. This interactive workshop aims to offer writers some of the tools to build realistic, unforgettable imaginary worlds.

 11.50 – 12.30 Emotional Punch and tension of every page – Barbara Hannay
Your primary objective as a romance novelist is to create an emotional experience for your readers. The lack of emotional punch is one of the main reasons editors reject manuscripts. Find out how to make your reader care deeply about your characters, and how to give your manuscript that all important page-turning tension.

 12.30 – 1.00 Lunch

 1. 10 – 1.45 -- Layering conflict –Helene Young
If you’ve watched the movie, Avatar, you may have been wowed by the special effects, the interesting cinematography techniques or even the storyline. When Helene watched it the multiple layers of conflict in the story blew her away.

Join her for a short sharp look at why those layers are so effective. Watch the movie before the Roadshow and see how many conflicts you can identify and be prepared to look even deeper and find some more.

 1. 45 – 3.15 Not Another Sex Scene – Kelly Hunter & Anne Gracie
Like any other scene, a sex scene must serve the story, contain elements of conflict and enhance our understanding of character. This workshop will offer a range of approaches to help make it easier to write fabulous sex scenes and expand your repertoire of writing skills.

 3.15 –3.30 afternoon tea

 -- 4.15 Dialogue and Subtext – Kelly Hunter
'He said what?'
If you can't write good dialogue, you can't write a good romance. Bring work pad and pens and be prepared to work through a series of exercises designed to help bring your dialogue to life.

 4.15 – 500 Panel and Finish

Thursday, March 10, 2011

why not fly north?

A quick word to anyone from the south who might be thinking about coming to our North Queensland Romance Writers Roadshow in Cairns on May 28th at the beautiful Cairns Colonial club (pictured above... )Jetstar have some amazing sales at the mo. Check them out here !

Isn't the venue gorgeous? And who could resist with speakers like Anne Gracie (truly one of the most talented teachers of the writing craft in the country) and Kelly Hunter (her fab analysis of a sex scene is incredibly clever) and Helene Young -- who has nutted out all the intricate layers of conflict in Avatar? Oh, and moi -- talking about my favourite topic -- emotional punch.

Early bird registrations are closing soon...

Just think... while honing your romance writing skills, you'll be having a fab holiday and helping to boost the cyclone ravaged tourist industry.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Buried Treasures of 2010 « All About Romance’s News & Commentary Blog

Buried Treasures of 2010 « All About Romance’s News & Commentary Blog: "Reviewer LinnieGayl Kimmel chose two series romances as her Buried Treasures of 2010."

And as I was going through all the emails I missed while I was offline, I discovered that A Miracle For His Secret Son was one of these two books. How nice!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

not your average arrival...

Had rather special luncheon guests today who arrived in this!

Friday, March 04, 2011

I'm b-a-a-a-a-c-k!!!!

I finally have internet again --
It's been so frustrating having to log on to E's computer and use mail2web which keeps timing out. Even more frustrating were my phone conversations with Telstra, but that's all a thing of the past now. Hope you've all been having fun while I was away. We've been very busy cleaning up after Yasi and of course, I still had to get on with my next book.

Since the cyclone, the guineas have not gone back in their pen, but they seem happy to roam around on our block and not to wander off to bother neighnours, so we love having them. (That funny looking thing in the foreground is E's special Argentian barbecue and smoker).

They've even had friends over to play...
And they roost in one of our trees.
Our monthly trip back to Townsville was sobering as we had to drive through all the country devastated by Yasi. I think it's no exaggeration to say that from Innisfail to Ingham (takes about three and a half hours to drive) there's not a tree untouched.
This is typical of beautiful country that used to be famously, lush and green. We know it will recover. It recovered after Larry -- but it took five years -- and then this happened again. Still, I think I prefer cyclones to floods and earthquakes. What a terrible start to 2011.
Hope things are better in your part of the world.