Sunday, December 27, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Which causes a lot of problems and i tend to stare at the computer screen trying to figure out what they are going to say now and why they aren't reacting the way i want them to. I'm trying to make my characters act out of character to fit my story.
There seems to be a need to get to know your characters before you start writing your story. I just don't have the patience for this, i have to leap in and start writing the darn thing! But i can see the benefit of it, it would make the process so much easier.
There are some interesting discussions on Maisey Yates's blog and Jackie Ashenden's Blog on Characterisation with links that fellow writers use to understand and get to know their characters either while they write or before they start their writing process.
Which do you? What works best for you?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
“Please, please, please. Oh dear God, please.”
Billie wasn’t certain what she was praying for exactly. Perhaps to wake and find it was just a horrible nightmare.
Staring at the blue stick and watching the cross appear in the window, she wrapped her arms around her waist and fought the sudden nausea and churning from the pit of her stomach.
Pregnant. Oh God. How is that possible? It’s impossible. It’s a mistake. I can’t be pregnant.
Racing from the bathroom to the bedroom, still clutching the offending test, Billie tore open her handbag, dumping the contents on the bed. She sorted through the receipts, a lipstick, lid-less pen, colourful paper umbrella…the churning in her belly dropped as suddenly and heavily as a bowling ball when she found the thirty day pill packet and two white tablets glaring starkly at her.
How had she missed two? She was so careful about taking the damn things, every morning, before stepping into the shower…except for those two days when she didn’t get out of bed. Numb with shock she hadn’t even known two days had passed; until her sister had shown up and urged her out of bed
Billie sank to the carpeted floor, positive test in one hand, pills in the other, with her forehead on her knees she finally let the tears fall. She’d simply packed the new packet and taken them religiously while on holiday.
Cooper had used protection. Though she remembered with a shiver of alarm there had been one time the passion had taken them too suddenly for thought.
The third morning of their affair, Cooper returned to her private bungalow after his customary run along the waters edge and found her doing yoga, her bottom high in the air. A short two hours earlier she’d demonstrated her flexibility and had only now just gotten her heart rate and wondering mind back under control. With only a burning look as warning of intent Cooper hauled her up by her hips and crushed her between the wall and his sweaty body. With a wicked mouth and skilled hands he’d soon had her calm heartbeat racing in time with her blood, matching the pace of his own. His hands raced down her body, roughly cupped her bottom and with a speed that made her gasp with excitement, drove them both insane with desire.
All from the sight of her bottom in the air. The one part of herself she wasn’t entirely happy with, Cooper had found irresistible. After when he’d realised how out of control he’d been she’d assured him she was protected.
It wasn’t entirely not possible to be pregnant.
Billie stood wiping angrily at her wet cheeks, pushed her clinging hair out of her eyes. No use for tears. They’re not going to solve your problem, Billie Martin.
With a decided shake of her head she marched back to the bathroom and stared at her puffy, slightly pale, face in the mirror. Saw with disinterest her brown hair sticking everywhere in spiky tufts. Billie combed a hand through it trying without success to tame the wild tangles.
Right. First thing’s first. After tidying myself up, go to the doctor. Need to find out what harm the pills have done to the baby.
Suddenly a warm glow spread heating her entire body. Billie spread her hands over her flat stomach in wonder at the little life beginning to form, trying to picture what it would look like. Ten tiny fingers and toes. Button nose, big round eyes, tiny ears. It was a miracle all of that was forming and growing inside her.
Another realisation struck her. She had no idea about babies. What did they need? Did they have classes for such things? How did she change a nappy? What did babies eat? At some stage they had more than milk, she knew that much, but how was she supposed to know what to feed one?
What was she allowed to eat? God, what if the egg and cheese sandwich she’d had on the way from the gym to the supermarket today was bad for the baby?
“Definitely need a book.” They had them for random things like the shape of rain drops for goodness sake; surely there was one about pregnancy. And parenting. Her mind tumbled over all the stages she knew she’d have to go through. Toilet training, school, ‘the talk’. Shutting her eyes to stop the onslaught all the images did to her already fragile emotional state she forced the hard lump from her throat and took a deep breath. She was resourceful. She’d figure it out.
Of course it would be easier if they were a family.
Billie stared into her wide, slightly gold, brown eyes now rimmed red from tears. A family was more than a mother and baby. Even if the father was across the ocean, they could still visit, still be a family… if she could find him. If he wanted to know.
Slowly she washed her tears away with a warm flannel as the tumult of shock, then the warm joyful glow of discovery clashed with the sudden fear and melted into a deep sadness that Cooper wouldn’t be there to share it. To love them.
He was marrying someone else.
Just because she had been the bigger person and had walked away from a bad situation, didn’t mean she couldn’t handle this one. She would love the child enough for two parents, hopefully.
There wasn’t much she regretted in her twenty five years. Now her regret was for the man who had shown her nine nights of blistering, fantastic passion. That he’d made her the other woman. That he wasn’t here to share the joy of the baby.
Of course he had a right to know he was going to be a father-
Billie raced up the stairs to the door when the bell rang and stared blankly at her sister, glanced at her watch.
“Oh blast.” She had to go to work. She’d have to go to the doctor tomorrow. Whirling she pulled up short at the base of the stairs and stared flabbergasted at the chaos she’d created in her normally ordered apartment. Clothes were on the lounge floor, a shirt on the lime green couch. Mail tossed on the floor, not the coffee table.
Wandering mutely down to the lowest level she saw she hadn’t even put the groceries away. When she’d walked down the feminine hygiene aisle at the supermarket the blue and white box had shone at her from the shelf claiming to show a result in one minute, and she knew. Just knew it.
Now looking at the mess she realised a baby, a child, would undoubtedly make worse mess. And her one bedroom three storied inner-city
A weight of sudden magnitude settled on her shoulders. She was so totally out of her depth. Unprepared for a baby. She longed to call her mum but wanted to let it all settle in her head first. Besides she should probably try to contact Cooper first.
This was not what she’d been looking for when she’d embarked on her aborted honeymoon alone, agreeing to an affair to shake herself out of comfortable.
Now she was pregnant. And single-
“Are you okay?”
“What?” She was snapped from her musings by her sister’s voice and the sound of footsteps on the stairs. She’d forgotten Camryn was even there. She supposed her rapid emotional changes were due to the pregnancy. Another thing she’d have to find out about.
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine. Just a busy day.” Very busy past hour. Mentally. Emotionally.
From amongst the packets and tins she gathered up the milk and yoghurt – probably can’t eat them anyway - and shoved them into the fridge before heading for the bathroom.
She swiped up the test with discarded clothes from her bed on the way and hoped Camryn hadn’t seen it. Last thing she needed was to explain something she was still getting her own head around. She sped through her makeup application and reached for a shirt.
“Is it Ryan?” Camryn perched on the corner of her bed as Billie walked out of the bathroom.
Billie paused in the act of smoothing down her fitted cream work shirt - really should have ironed it.
Ryan was the farthest person from her mind. In fact she hadn’t thought of him at all apart from the slight annoyance when she’d packed the rest of his things into the large box and shoved it in the corner, the day after she’d arrived back from holiday.
So strange to feel so little after having spent five years with him.
But she felt so much after only nine nights with another man. Tall, tanned, handsome. Sexy as sin and in bed…
“You came straight back to work and haven’t even taken the time to get rid of his stuff. What are you going to do with it all?”
“I haven’t decided.” Billie shook her head from the past and watched as Camryn bent down to the box and flipped through a book. It was hard to believe that box contained all that was left of the man she’d been on the verge of marrying.
“You should’ve taken time off.” Camryn insisted, dropping the book and nudging the bulging box with a booted foot. “You do so much for that place, they owe you.”
“It’s my job,
Camryn snorted. “It was supposed to be your wedding and honeymoon-”
“I’m fine. Drop it okay?”
When her sister crossed her arms and raised a carefully plucked eyebrow, Billie flushed at the inspection of her face. Obviously she didn’t look fine. She never could hide much from her baby sister.
Except the current situation.
“What happened in
Billie paused from shoving her things back into her handbag. Even to her ears it sounded dull and unconvincing. Nothing at all compared to the passion and excitement she’d felt.
“There was a guy, wasn’t there?”
Blinking back the wave of shock and dizziness the whirl of memories that flew through her head that was caused by Camryn’s rapt tone, she had no idea how she got them both out of the apartment and led the way down The Terrace, nor what her response had been.
There was only so long before Camryn would find out. Billie wanted more time to sort it all out first.
How long before she started to show? Oh God. A cold wash of horror filled her so suddenly she gasped and fought for breath, feeling almost dizzy. She’s gonna get fat. Every woman complained of baby fat after they’d had a baby, didn’t they? Her mind whirled instantly to her own mother. She was slim at fifty, after two children. Billie forced her mind to believe if her mother could do it, so could she. Where did she even go for pregnancy clothes? There had to be a shop that specialised in those things.
A wave of nausea hit her at the mental image of herself in a size twenty t-shirt stretched taut over an enormous belly and massive breasts. She really needed to get that book, search the net. She forced these thoughts to the back of her head.
Billie left her sister at the bottom of Plimmer Steps on a busy Lambton Quay and walked briskly towards the Harbour View Hotel,
She had to meet the new boss this afternoon. Had to make sure she kept her job. She may not know all she needed to about babies but she did know she’d need the money. She’d heard all about the other employees being fired after meeting with Mr Wilde. She was pretty certain her record would vouch for her.
Despite the beautiful spring day, she shivered and pulled her thigh length red Paddington coat tighter at her throat, when the southerly wind slipped its fingers down the back of her neck after having wound its way around the various sized steel and glass buildings on the busy waterfront city.
All things going to plan, he would be impressed with her initiative and the changes she’d installed. He could be really nice and not at all like the big overpowering mountain of a man she had imagined when management had told them the hotel had been bought by a company called Wilde Enterprises.
No one had even known the hotel had been on the market.
Probably a corporate take-over. They did happen all the time.
Luckily her department had already been under way on the revamping project she’d started after returning from
Tall, generously built, American. She’d drooled over him on the beach, he’d shown her all the passion and excitement she’d wanted and then broke her heart.
Not that she’d fallen in love with him or anything.
It hadn’t been part of the deal. Caring, even a small bit, had been an express no-no. It was her problem.
But now they both had a problem.
Not that she thought the baby was a problem. The problem was how to tell Cooper’s fiancée he was going to be a father with the woman he had an affair. Though it shouldn’t be her concern, Billie could only imagine how the poor woman would feel. A lot worse than when she’d found Ryan in bed with someone else the day before their wedding, that’s for sure.
She really should find out where Cooper was. He should at least know about the baby. A baby deserved to be acknowledged and loved by both parents, even if they didn’t love each other. Her own parents had taught her that at least.
As she strode down the wide, slightly smelly alley-way behind the hotel to the staff entrance, she glanced again at her watch. She’d have time to call the hotel in Vanuatu to see if he was still there, or at least find out where he’d gone.
Surely she could persuade them to tell her.
Billie scowled at the scribbles on her page. After twenty minutes on her cell to the hotel, not only would they not tell her where he was, she’d realised she didn’t even know his surname.
They’d shared nine nights of hot, blistering passion, it had been a wonder the sheets hadn’t caught aflame, but hadn’t shared important details such as last names or where they lived.
Well he hadn’t anyway. He definitely knew she was from
All she’d been able to tell the snippy male on the other end as she’d bitten back her frustration was that Cooper had been in management and had stayed in a suite there. He refused to tell her anything.
He wouldn’t even confirm if they had a Cooper on staff when she knew very well they did. She had a moment of fear that he’d lied about his name. After pleading with the man that it was a matter of a precious life did he finally concede to tell her a Cooper left three weeks ago, but wouldn’t say where.
Billie ran her fingers through her hair, wincing at the snag. How on earth was she supposed to find him now?
Ten nights of passion. No future. And according to her fantastic lover, anything outside of their holiday had been a no go for conversation.
“Tough day, Billie?”
Billie looked up sharply at Sally, Mr Wilde’s temporary Executive Assistant standing in the doorway.
“A bit. Oh God am I late?” Her gaze flew to the clock on the wall then to her watch realising it was already.
“No, no. I was on my break and swung by on the way up.”
“Thanks, Sally.” Shrugging into her dark brown uniform blazer she gathered up her report and followed Sally down the white corridor lined with stacked chairs and large oval tables, trolleys holding clean glassware stacked in crates, and into the glaringly white, chipped and stained, large staff lift.
On the ground floor they quickly walked through the small walkway behind the guest toilets and staff kitchen through another door, and into the guest hallway with décor of warm chocolate and cream shot through with burgundy swirls. The only sound was their muffled footsteps in the plush carpet. Billie broke the silence.
“Do you know anything about him?”
Sally turned her pale blue eyes towards Billie and shifted her long ash blonde plait over her right shoulder.
“No. He’s been here two days and hasn’t said if he’s bringing his own assistant or anything. I don’t know if I’ll still have a job when he leaves.”
“You know how long he’s staying?”
The plait flapped back on the left shoulder. “Nope. He keeps talking to someone on the phone about hoping it won’t take too long, but so far I haven’t been able to figure out what it is he’s referring to.” Sally let Billie past her out of the elevator.
“Maybe he’ll be gone by the end of the week and have appointed a new manager.” Billie said with a quick smile.
“I’m sure I don’t know. So far he’s only fired people, not hired them.”
As the sound of their heels clicked a staccato loudly on the foyer tiles of dark brown with gold flecks, Billie’s palms suddenly grew clammy and she blinked in alarm. The new owner’s dark brown office door loomed ahead when they turned right, passed concierge and the inviting couches at check in, and she was suddenly overcome with dread.
“You don’t think he’ll fire me do you?”
God she needed this job. Now more than ever. What if he didn’t approve of the changes she’d made, that they were still undergoing.
“Of course he won’t. You’ve worked so hard. Made the ballroom so beautiful. All those lights.” Sally stepped behind her desk with a sigh and a dreamy roll of her eyes and gave Billie an encouraging smile. “Oh. Brace yourself. He’s hot.”
“Hot?” She wiped her still damp hands on her dark skirt, tucked a stray hair behind her left ear, regretting she hadn’t freshened up before coming down. A quick pat confirmed her hair was a mess, not the carefully controlled array she’d managed before her phone call to
“Incredibly. And built.” With a wink Sally pushed the intercom on her phone and announced Billie was there.
Great. Hot and built. That was all she needed. She’d just spent the last twenty minutes trying to track down the father of her baby who was hot and built but totally clueless about love and relationships.
This one was bent on firing people. And she looked a mess. She regretted her wrinkled shirt too and hoped he wouldn’t notice it under her dark chocolate blazer.
If Sally was right, he probably had an ego the size of the Pacific to go with his looks. No way she wanted another run in with an egotistical male. Too many secrets.
Of course, Sally tended to think any man in a suit was hot.
Opening the door and with a suggestive wiggle of the eyebrows Sally mouthed ‘Hot’ before Billie walked in.
And came to an abrupt halt, her heart slamming to lodge in her throat.
‘Hot’ burst through her suddenly foggy brain, as did the image from her memory of a built body practically naked in transparent white boardies. The indecent swim shorts showing every inch of maleness and the rivulets of salt water licking a gorgeously sculpted frame, causing tremors of desire through parts of her body she’d thought long asleep. Built was an understatement.
What on earth was he doing here? She was very mindful of her body’s reaction to his magnificent body covered in a crisp white shirt and black pleated pants. Just as her body had reacted with the same intensity when he had been practically naked. Like a flash fire she was suddenly too warm. The sight of his firm lips, the memory of them bruising her own in a possessive kiss. The intense blue eyes.
From a distance she heard the door pulled carefully shut and suddenly she was made aware of her unschooled reaction.
“I thought you preferred bold suggestions to gaping like a fish when you meet a man.”
Her face flamed in mortification from her recollection of how they’d met. “I want to lick those nipples and trace the sexy line of hair over that incredible body where it disappears into those clinging, shamelessly white boardies.” She hadn’t been aware she’d spoken out loud when she’d watched the water caress his body.
She hadn’t meant to say her thoughts out loud two months ago. It seemed her brain wasn’t functioning well now either, but at least she had control this time of what came out of her mouth.
“Cooper. What’re you doing here? I just tried to contact you.”
“After your sudden departure, I can’t imagine why.” His derisive tone was completely lost on her as his deep American accent rumbled through her very core, sparking any un-alerted nerve endings into sudden overdrive. The memory of his voice she’d had in her head every night since leaving the beautiful island was nothing to the reality.
Of course she’d never expected to see him standing before her in
Another memory, hard and sharp burst through the passion-filled haze.
The voluptuous blonde perfectly dressed, perfectly pretty with her perfect pout making cow eyes at Cooper. “But Cooper, honey, you will be back in time for our wedding? It’s in three months. I don’t want to put it off again.”
She sternly reminded herself why she’d left in the first place. He wasn’t capable of things such as love, commitment. Fidelity.
The very things she’d realised she wanted. Not just the passion and excitement from their love making. So they’d had a blistering affair. Now she had a baby to think about. It would not do to give in to her desire again.
“How do you know Clarissa?” That was the last thing Cooper expected her to say. He’d been waiting for her to say something bold and outrageous like she had on the beach. The memory of her words and her exotic eyes making their bold journey over his body was making it hard to focus, to remember why he was here.
To end it.
“Don’t you have a wedding to attend next month?”
“It’s not for five weeks.” He waved the question away. “I’ve got plenty of time.”
When he’d bought the hotel hoping to find Billie and finish what she’d abruptly cancelled by her departure, he’d planned on treating their meeting like he did all his meetings. In control. Sure of the outcome.
Wanting to strip her out of her ugly blazer and see her delectable body as he’d seen it everyday for nine days, boldly outlined in flirty dresses or the skimpy alluring red bikini. His desire flared dangerously at the memory of her strong supple body on display for his caress. Eager and always ready for him.
He hadn’t planned on the instant desire the sight of her caused to his system. After nine nights of passion, throat clutching intensity and such searing heat he thought he’d be able to see her and not feel a quickening to his pulse, the out-of-control hum in his blood.
Obviously she wasn’t out of his system.
It was just as he suspected. He needed that one last night to finish it. Then she’d be out of his head and he could concentrate on business. Be back in total control of his body as well as his mind.
Cooper watched her carefully try to smooth her wayward hair behind her left ear, her blazer gaping at the front, her shirt pulling tantalisingly across her breasts. The action, so small caused no small ripple through his body. It amazed him the effect she still had on him.
Hardening his resolve he willed his body under control. He could not allow his body to control his mind. Never again.
“What’re you doing here, Cooper?” She gulped and took a small step back as he purposefully strode from around his desk, her strange, beautiful accent doing its damnedest to dent his resolve.
Cooper found her retreat curious. She wasn’t the bold and confident woman he knew. Why was her reaction almost timid now?
“I own this hotel. And we have business to settle. It’s not finished between us, Billie. We had an agreement. Ten nights. I’m here to finish it.”
“You think I’m a business deal? You waltz in here and expect me to jump at your command?” Her eyes blazed like molten gold, nostrils flaring slightly, her timidity replaced with sudden heat.
Cooper felt relieved as indignant colour bloomed in her cheeks. He preferred her passionate response to the uncertain one.
“I always claim what’s mine, Billie.” He stalked her across the room, now amused at her retreat, noticing her gold eyes were wide, and her breathing suddenly laboured. Was it from desire? He was dying to find out.
Her breathy reply was the answer he sought. It was most definitely desire. He hadn’t even touched her. Yet.
“I still have one more night with you.” He let himself touch her face, trailed a feather-light path from her hairline at her temple around her delicate ear to the tantalising jumping pulse in her neck. He smiled when she swallowed convulsively.
She seemed to have lost her ability to think when he touched her. Interesting. It occurred to him he’d never taken the time to explore her every reaction to him. They’d never done much talking during their passionate affair. The desire to learn it all burned deep inside the pit of his stomach.
He forced the desire down. He had to stay in control.
“We agreed to ten.” If he had her one more time, perhaps it would be enough to drive her taste, her intoxicating scent, the sound of her moans, her from his mind once and for all. “I want that night, Billie.”
Hauling her close he smoothed his hands up her slim body to cup the sides of her breasts, pausing as he imagined an added fullness that hadn’t been there before. He cast the thought aside; reality was better than memory. Holding her still with one hand spanning her ribs, he slid his other to trail down his favoured path of her long sexy spine, thrilled at her impossibly soft skin. Her shiver and gasp of passion made him smile.
“What about Clarissa?”
“Forget Clarissa. I want that night Billie. I want you.”
Capturing her mouth with his, he plundered, spanning his hands under her shirt to cup her through her lacy bra, feeling her nipples strain and pearl beneath his thumb. Holding on to a tiny sliver of hard won control so as not to lose himself in the feel of her, lose himself completely as he’d allowed himself to do that last time they’d been together. He could not afford to go there again. He had to get her out of his mind, not lose himself in her.
Billie pulled her mouth away and he feasted on her exposed collar, thrilled that the exotic floral scent was still there. Uniquely blended with an unnameable scent. All Billie. He could feel his control falling millimetre by slippery millimetre as the scent of her filled him, branded him.
“I – I can’t.”
Lifting his head Cooper was grateful for the break in contact with her bare skin; he was able to haul his wavering control back again and locked them behind iron will.
He saw the desire on her face, felt it racing through her body where his hands possessed her. He was sure of the outcome now. He was in control.
Cooper felt triumph mix with the heat of his desire.
Drawing her parted lips to his, he thrust his tongue inside, glorifying at her shudder, the small hitch in her breath then the bold mating of her tongue with his. He didn’t know how he did it, the iron bars wobbled slightly at her boldness when she found his skin under his shirt with her seeking fingers, tangled her fingers in the short hairs on his chest, but he remained in control.
Satisfied with her response he pulled back so only their breaths mingled.
“Can’t or won’t?”
copyright Kerrin Hearfield 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Thank you for submitting your first chapter to The Harlequin Presents Writing Competition 2009. The winners have now been notified and we’re sorry to say that your entry was not successful.
You may be wondering if you should revise your story? On the whole, we'd advise against this, but instead recommend that you start afresh with something completely new. Of course, we understand that you’ll want to know the reasons why your chapter didn’t make it into our shortlist, but unfortunately we can’t give individual feedback to every entrant. However you may want to take a look at the most common mistakes we saw in this year’s competition entries, which you can find here: http://www.iheartpresents.com/2009/11/contest-update-feedback-from-the-editors/
We appreciate your interest in Harlequin Mills & Boon and wish you all success with your future writing.
Editorial DepartmentThe editorial Department may advise against revising my chapter, but Billie and Cooper still want their story to be written so it will be. It will be my learning piece. I can and will finish their story. I owe it to them, to myself and to those who have read that first chapter and have begged for more!
But you know what? I really don't think the Presents line was for me anyway. It is really fun to read and has been fun to create. I am going to finish this story and Logan's Angel which i started as the first idea for the competition, mostly because i hate to leave anything unfinished.
And because i may find that i do like writing it, after all you can trick yourself into enjoying things when you don't want to do it.
I think my true passion lies in the longer novel but we shall see. I will keep writing and see where 2010 takes me, who knows, Logan's Angel may be a hidden gem that i submit and am successful with? Or it could be my baby, Secrets and Lies.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Really looking forward to the feedback - i hope - that is coming by the 18th December.
I really hope i didn't commit the seven sins detailed on the ihearts site:
not enough dialogue - this may have been a problem as i do love internal dialogue!
dire dialogue - stilted and unrealistic? I hope not - i do struggle with it but i did try to make it 'real'
well-worn plots and characters - could very possibly be a sin (sheepishly duck head)
random meetings and meandering action - Billie and Cooper didn't meet at random in chapter one as they already knew each other so i definately didn't commit this one!
inappropriate first kisses sexual premises - mine did not lack emotional underpining so i don't think i committed this one!
unattractive heroes - I think Cooper is hot and he definately isn't nasty or too aggressive, but i'm not a judge.
If no detailed feedback then i will still finish Billie's and Cooper's story. And i will by no means stop writing. It is my first competition and i have many many ideas still milling around in my head (maybe that's why i have all the headaches? you could be right Karina!)
In fact i am going to put out there right now my writing goals for 2010. So they are written in stone for all to see so i can't change them.
Ten Nights Only will be finished by March 31. and submitted through normal lines.
Logan's Angel will be finished by June 30. and submitted through normal lines
Secrets and Lies will be reworked and edited and finished by December 31st.
Of course any other ideas will be drafted and filed and if they simply must be written then they will be, but the others will not be pushed aside in favour, they will have to wait patiently. yeah right.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
After watching New Moon last night and seeing the contrast between Edward and Jacob, (and I’m not talking about the physicality’s though they are startling!) it brought to mind the thought of what makes the ideal hero.
Looks aside, what is it that draws the heroine in?
In Edwards case I think it is raw magnetism. Here he has the girl he wants, loves, craves, but knows that if he gives in it will be fatal so he always maintains a facet of control. He has that whole aura of sophistication and polish, wealth and distance. Most is from his experience and amount of time he has been ‘alive’. Control comes from his want of not wanting to hurt his love.
Is this the kind of hero you like? The one who so obviously loves his heroine and will do anything for her, even leave her to keep her safe, knowing he can’t truly have her or he may hurt her?
In Jacob's case, he loves Bella, pure and simple. But she loves Edward. And he knows it. But he is persistent. Constant and strong. He is willing to wait for her. For give her time to adjust to her pain and his constant presence, his love, protection. Even though he must know she will never love him as much in return.
Is this the kind of hero you love? The one who will try against all odds, even when the odds are stacked totally against him and you are just wanting him to win, even as you are know he won’t?
I know I was torn during the movie, and it sure would have been a hard story to write. Two very strong male’s vying for the heroine’s heart, but really there was no competition was there.
But, if you had to choose, who would it be?
Many author's talk about Alpha Males. Maisy Yates has an interesting quote on her blog today about it so check it out.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
It was an amazing feeling. It's not really my first afternoon away. It was my first planned one. No kids, just me for about two hours at the library to do what i want: reading or writing.
I chose to write.
This was mostly prompted by learning that Harlequin have read all the competition entries, which means they have read mine! And partly because i really should finish Billie and Cooper's story, titled Agreed: Ten Nights Only, so that they get their HEA. They deserve it and they are still clamouring in my head for that ending. Even though we all know they will get it :)
It was rather strange though. Writing in a public place.
I started at chapter 2 (not going to touch chapter 1 just yet, though i know it needs tweaking but we will waiting for the results of the competition and work on the rest for now) which happens to be quite intense. Cooper is trying to convince Billie to one more night with him, and how does he do this? Confuse her with passion of course ;)
Scenes must arise that of course cause me to hunch slightly over the keyboard and hope those people browsing the shelves for a book to take home to read are not happening to glance at the screen of the laptop and see what i am writing! Mortification.
I know i want to be in the public eye, not me - my writing - but not until it is edited and polished to it's very finest and what i have is the very, very dirty draft.
Being my first foray into the public arena, i felt very exposed and a little preoccupied with those around me and found it a little hard to concentrate on the purpose of my activity. Amazingly i actually got a few words written. I broke the thousand mark which is pleasing.
I wonder if other writers feel self conscious and a bit exposed writing in other places other than their home? Or is that part of the thrill, the drive that keeps and tension, the conflict going in their stories? Or do they just stay in the comfort of their home computer/laptop and create their scenes in peace?
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
That is the number of entries in the Harlequin competition this year!
544! Talk about competition. This would be the biggest competition i have ever entered.
By far the most nerve racking competition i've ever entered and i'm not even in my togs standing on the diving board exposed in front of a crowd ;).
I only hope i have made some impression and get even a small feedback. Over on the i heart presents website they have said they won't be able to give feedback to all entrants and i don't blame them, but how i wish to make a small impression and be one to get a gem of recognition.
I guess that is any writer's dream.
Also. My friend has sent me an email with her critique feedback of my competition submission and i am really hesitant to open it. I do and don't want to read it. I desperately want to know where i need to better my writing and want to know what i have done well. Just opening it though is the hard part. I will wait a few days. Wait for it to shout at me and break down my wall of nerves. My first real direct feedback. Scary.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I've worked really hard the past three months on the idea and then polishing and editing the best chapter i possibly could write for the Harlequin competition and what have i done since hitting the send button?
No writing at all.
I've read a few books. Totally immersed myself preparations for my son's birthday party this weekend and gearing myself up for christmas and myriad crafts and projects i want to finish before December 31st.
But no writing.
And i feel guilty.
If i want to be a writer, a real writer, i should be writing every day.
But i think i owe it to myself, my health and my family to give the rest of the year to them and other things. I will start the new year with writing. Most probably going back to my baby anf first novel Secrets and Lies and doing the major re-work it needs.
Obviously if things come out of the competition then i will work on that.
Really i shouldn't feel guilty. I have other things to do, that must be done.
Do other writers feel this way, or do they just keep writing. Do they ever take a little sabbatical, a mini break to re-charge?
Saturday, October 31, 2009
These are just some of the questions i have asked myself since writing.
Critique partners are everywhere. They are your friends and family - even the ones who don't say anything more than "i like it can i read more?".
The most valuable ones are those who question your writing and come up with points of view on how to make it better or discuss possible slants that you hadn't thought of.
For example, in my competition entry my heroine discovers she is pregnant, and she doesn't know anything about babies. Yet i have her wondering about things like breastfeeding, discipline, sleepless nights etc and my friend pointed out that if she doesnt know anything about babies would she know about things like that? wouldn't she be more concerned about things like her figure? future sex life?
Then i had a thought, as this friend was giving me such great feedback how was i to give it back. She is a budding author herself, but i am not as good as she at giving feedback. I'm more looking at rearranging sentences and finding better words to describe things, rather than asking probing questions to get to the heart of the matter. But i guess that will come with time and experience. We can grow together and so will our writing.
Being honest and open with each other is the key. Our heart and soul is in our writing but our writing is not set in stone and it is always able to be improved. Another point of view and set of eyes can help.
Critique partners make us better writers. Possibly even better readers.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I hit the send button on my competition entry. Then the shakes started. Then they abated and then i received a confirmation email that they received it and the shakes started again - oh god, now they are reading it!
But, this is good, because this is why i've entered. Any feedback is good feedback.
Now all i have to do is wait until December 1 (or even a call :) ) and do a bit of writing between now and then and all the craft things i want to do for christmas, not to mention my son's 4th birthday.
Big sigh of relief that i have entered it and it's in the hands of the gods, so to speak.
Good luck to you other entrants :)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
It is moments like this that make it glaringly obvious why he is the love of my life. Other than the fact that he takes the time to find my delicates bag for my new bras or does small every day things that make such a huge uplifting feeling to the day.
This is my idea of a true hero.
I can quite happily go the rest of my life without being rescued from a kidnapping or runaway car or whisked off my feet by a hotel billionaire because quite frankly, my heart has already been captured and continues to be so by the humblest, honest, handsome, gentle, loving man i have ever met. The man of my dreams: (i already married him!)
What is your idea of the perfect hero??
In the interest of the synopsis, my husbands version actually helped me cut mine down from 2.5 pages to 2 pages and 2 lines. Even more hero worthy in my eyes.
Okay, better go and make it up to him ;)
It seems to be harder to give it to my husband to read than a friend. Surely it would be easier as he in theory already knows me better than anyone else should. Perhaps it is the reality of having something so personal written down on paper - it's no about me but it's from me - that has made me hesistant.
I needn't have worried.
He took one look and decided he couldn't help. It's not his thing. It starts in the middle and not the beginning.
I tried to explain that with only 50,000 words M&B starts in the middle of the action and uses flash backs and dialogue to catch the reader up but he decided that was it.
So now i'll just have to muddle through it on my own. Or perhaps i can get my invaluable friend to help yet again. I hope one day soon i will be able to repay the favour.
Only 1 week until deadline. Or as the other romance bloggers call it Dreadline!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Double spacing, as Harlequin want it, makes it just a little over 2 pages, so i hope they don't mind that i have made it 1.5 spacing to fit on 2 pages. I couldn't cut anything else out of the story!
Now i just have to work on a flash back and polishing the first chapter and hopefully on October 29 i can hit the save and send button.
Then the real fun will begin. Thankfully i'll have a few distractions and projects to keep me sane while i await the results of the competition.
Well back to it before the kids wake up!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
It's three pages long and they require too pages. I've tried to cut out lots but what i've got is essential, so obviously i need another opinion on it, someone else will see what i've missed; make sure i've only focused on conflict driven by the characters and not plot.
I've read all i have found on synopsis's and still it's really hard to write. I just have to have all i have written in it, sigh.
Maybe i should just change the margin sizes to make sure it all fits :)
I don't think that will be right so i'll just have to keep tackling it. Maybe i just need to have a bag of marshmellows or chocolate on hand.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
However i did discover a few bags of Sexy mills and boon (the Modern equivalent in NZ) and did a bit of reading. Now i have a few more examples of what HM&B are looking for.
I think my conflict for my hero (above modelled by Jensen Ackles) is not as deep or as developed as it should be. Luckily i can hint at conflict in the first chapter and i can work on the conflict deeper for the rest of the book, after i have submitted that chapter for the competition.
It is really hard to layer the conflict. From what i have read there seems to be three phases of conflict in the books, and i think so far i only have two and hot that strong.
I will definately be working on this deeper and who knows - i may even get feedback from the editors which would help me!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I've felt quite antsy all week and now that i have life back to normal (ie just hectic kindy runs and playgroup, washing, dishes....etc) i've let my fingers fly on my WIP for the competition and felt the antsy feeling dissipate. Phew!
Now i have the hard job of tightening the chapter, then tackling the synopsis all with an interrupted weekend for my grandfather's funeral.
I've not a nifty little pen drive though, so hopefully i'll be able to use a computer while away to keep writing. I've really felt the lack of it this week. So don't relish having a week without writing again!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
To get through this confusing little thought i am just going to have to write this new beginning and then compare their individual merits and see which has the better hook to draw the reader - and the judges! - into wanting more and to find out why.
I'm sure writers have this problem all the time, and once this is done and depending if the second thought is going to be the better option - which i think it must be - i'll then have to use all my energy into weaving the backstory in through the conversation of the H&h and hopefully it won't sound too boring or awkward.
Well, nothing like a new challenge, on top of an existing challenge that it!
Friday, September 4, 2009
So why am i busy hitting the keyboard with scenes further in the story? I can't seem to stay focused on one area. I wonder if many - or secretly all - writers have this happen to them or are they just more disciplined than me and make themselves work in sequential order faster to get to that scene?
I find i have to write the scene down when i've thought of it, or it's sprung on me while doing mundane things like folding washing, washing the dishes, and yes even changing a nappy! It's even more infuriating when i get scene flashes and conversations from my characters just as my head has hit the pillow. My husband has the knack of falling asleep practically as soon as he is horizontal whereas my mind starts to fire in all directions and i find myself scrabbling for a pen.
No matter how hard i try to get my story written in sequential order, i find myself having to fill in the gaps once i've written the big scenes. I think this may have to do with being a bit of a procrastinator and instead of focusing on the beginning i'm firing in all directions avoiding the place i have to be. I work well to deadlines so i know it will be done before the cut off for the competition but still i know i will put myself through the stress of having to perfect and rewrite a week before it's due!
Honestly, i'm seriously going to have to smack my own hand and focus really hard on the first chapter. Maybe if i set myself my own deadline, say 30 September? What if i have it written and reworked until it stuns the eyes and actually send it then? That just could work, then i can get back to the other WIP's i have going. Mmmm, bears serious thought...now on to that scene at the ballet...
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Giving advice and insider tips and just generally fantastic words of encouragement, they are so awesome!
I just wanted to thank all those writers out there who do the above and have helped me in my writing through your blogs! Cheers.
It is great knowing other writers in New Zealand who are willing to help. Maybe one day i will be able to meet some of you fantastic people, perhaps when i join Romance Writers of New Zealand.
I so want to go to the conference! What a thrill that would be, surrounded by other writers, a weekend away, totally dedicated to writing!
anyway, must get back to my submission. :)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Giving it to a few friends to read has been great. They have all asked for more - which is making me get stuck in and continue with the story.
One really switched on friend - thanks Karina! - has been the best help with telling me what works for her and what doesn't. It has helped me pin-point areas that need pruning and plumping! oh, and 'trunks' have gone!
It seems that writing without a detailed outline has really worked with this one.
I have written the synopsis - very rough draft but this is so different to what i was previously doing. It hasn't mapped out the story point by point just followed the conflict and it is really going.
I'm so pleased i'm not fizzling out on this one - mayhap we have a winner??
Friday, August 14, 2009
I've realised that once i write it down in full what the story is about and what happens, my mind wanders and starts firing on another idea. Does that make me a writer with lots of ideas or just a person with ideas and no writing?
So in total, the ideas and stories i have are:
the novel i have written but still have to edit, and two possible sequels (partially plotted),
a princess tale,
a thought on a story involving the Macleods of Dunvegan Castle and the Fairy Flag,
my first idea for submission to the Harlequin Competition
and now tonight the one i think i am going to end up using as my entry.
I can tell it will be this one because my fingers are fairly flying over the keyboard with this one and i'm not having to think too hard about what is happening. And if it is coming this fast i am not going to ruin it by paring it down to it's bare bones and writing a plot outline which i suspect will fizzle the flame.
With this one, i am going to continue to just let the story write itself and i think it will be the best of the lot if this is the case. It would seem my subconscious has truely taken over with this one as what is coming out is something i would never have thought of, i don't think!
So wish me luck with this current thread, i feel sorry for all the other stories i'm not going to be able to tell while this one drains out of me, but hopefully i will get back to the other wonderful ideas i have and despite already knowing what is going to happen in them, will eventually tell their stories in full!
Monday, July 27, 2009
In particular my characters are going to go somewhere for a weekend. The somewhere i have chosen i have never been so don't really know about it. Do you think it would matter that i haven't experienced it but do tonnes of research?
I guess as long as it comes across as new and exciting and beleivable in the story it shouldn't matter. It would make it easier if i had been there though, i wonder if all writers have this problem, surely we can't all have gone everywhere we want our characters to go?
So researching is my new vein, and working on a great plot. Hopefully this will all come together and next week (should have my glasses by then and can get into some serious computer work!) i can get stuck into writing my first draft of my first chapter.
My aim is to have the chapter and synopsis ready by end of August so then i can just polish polish polish and then send it all in for November 2.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
After reading the guidelines i am sure i can come up with a story, just fingers crossed they like mine and i win an editor for a year!
If you are interested too, the deadline is November 2 2009 go here:
Good luck and i hope you get inspired before the deadline!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
It polishes our writing until it is perfect for the market we are writing, or even just perfect for you.
You can't be afraid to delete what doesn't work, what takes too long to say even if you think it is your best work. This is ego. Many writing gurus have used the phrase "murder your darlings". These are the bits you are particularly proud of. It may be hard but it is worth it in the long run.
Guaranteed these "darlings" don't fit the writing and it will save time (and pain) when you are asked or requested to delete it from an editor or publisher, or even a reader may not get it.
By doing this we grow as writers. Editing helps to polish and give us the best our readers can get.
Rob Parnell just wrote an excellent article called How Does your Writing Grow? i would recommend you read it. But pertinent for editing is the part:
You have to make writing 'work'. And if you're reworking material, don't just fix things, rethink the whole piece. Take onboard the suggestions, yes, but also be mindful of the entire package. Do the suggestions change the way the writing works? Do you have to approach the manuscript again - and make it work, again?
If so, don't be afraid to do that.
My novel is currently undergoing a re-write. I am taking on board my readers advice and the advice i have received from Rob, and where sometimes it is hard to "murder my darlings" i can see how it works to make my writing work and make it better.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Based on what readers have commented and the advice from Rob Parnell - which is invaluable by the way! - i am re-writing my novel.
I thought i would hate this part, but it is actually really nice to re-visit my hero and heroine and tighten their story. Other characters are popping out for possible sequels as well as demanding to have more of a part to play in Gabrielle and Wayne's story.
I have decided to change the ending as well. After contemplating the impact of the original ending i have decided it would be more dramatic and fulfilling to make a change. Sorry can't divulge how i'm changing it, you will have to buy it once i have it finished!
Editing can be boring but if you think of it as a re-visit and polish you find yourself enjoying it, especially if you do it in small amounts, like a chapter a day.
Already i am finding i am enjoying the story more with the changes and hopefully it will be more successful when i submit to agents and/or publishers.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
For me, i have always envisioned a book on the shelf (of a bookstore) with my name on it, so the use of a pseudonym has never been a serious issue with me.
But if i was to use a pseudonym how would i go about choosing the best name to grab a potential readers interest? It would be much like the creation of the character's name i think. And to me this opens up a whole space of confusion and stress that is not needed.
My friend made the point that the use of a pseudonym is appealing for the fact that if your story was to fail - after being successfully published it gets bad reviews etc - the name shields you from anyone knowing it was YOU.
But then if it was very successful it also retains your anonymity if you are shy and don't want to be stopped by people you know who have heard of your book.
Personally i would want to be recognised for my hardwork. Otherwise what would be the point of all the hours at the computer, all the deleted and agonised words, all the successful paragraphs and chapters?
But then comes the other issue.
What part of your name do you use? Would you use just the initials and then your surname like J.K Rowling? Or perhaps your first name followed by your middle initial and then your last name? What about the whole shebang? Or do you perhaps just use part of your name to make it shorter, like if your name was Stevenson would you shorten it to Stevens?
So not only does a writer have the dilemma of finding the perfect name for the characters of a work and the title (which i have heard the publisher may not use anyway), they also have to figure out what name is going to be showcased on the work for the public eye.
Name vs Pseudonym.
What do you think?
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I've found - because i'm awake due to headaches urgh! - that that time is the best for creativity.
But be warned. Such creativity is not conducive for a good sleep afterwards - it wakes up the brain!
It must have something to do with the brain waves theory Rob Parnell discussed on his website easywaytowrite.com. It all makes so much sense.
But why can't i have these inspiring thoughts when i want them to happen, that is when i'm at the computer with about an hour up my sleeve while the kids are asleep or at kindy? It would make things so much simpler, but i guess that is Murphy's Law isn't it!
My advice though, if you ever do, or possibly may someday, wake up VERY early in the morning: have a notebook and pen handy because the creativity at that half awake half asleep hour is brilliant.
Hope this helps
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I lie here in the dark, the only salvation from the harsh light
that pierces my eyes and burns my head.
Do they realise how horrible it is to lie here
and hear them laughing, having fun?
I miss that time, am missing out on so much
all because of these headaches.
For three weeks i've been in the dark
i can't wait for it to end, to be able to last the day.
How did this happen to me? Why me?
I hope some day soon i wake up to a bright day.
I don't like being alone with this pain
sitting or lying in the dark so get some relief.
I'm alone in this pain, i'm not faking it
Why would i fake it when i'm missing out on so much?
Pain, go away and let me see the light.
Friday, March 27, 2009
The water is calm, the wind still.
I let myself mirror these and sink into the beauty of it all.
I am pulled abruptly out of this sanctuary by a familiar scent.
Your name whispers through my head
I turn around expecting to see you, hoping. It is someone else.
My head fills with your image and i remember everything about you
I guess i was more attached than i thought.
Do you still think of me? Am i alone in this memory?
The water is calm, the wind still.
No matter what is to come, i will be myself
I lose myself again in this sanctuary, your scent lingering.
Kerrin Hearfield - written 15 March 2002.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
The letter was very polite and nice:
Thank you for writing to us regarding you manuscript entitled Secrets & Lies. While an interesting idea, i am afraid that this is not suitable for our list, and we would be unable to make an offer of publication.
I am sorry to have to disappoint you, but i wish you every future success with your writing.
Thank you for offering HarperCollinsPublishers the opportunity to assess you proposal.
It took seven weeks from the date i posted my document, so very timely and i was impressed with how sincere they sound.
Better luck next time!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
I drove, sticking to the speed limit wishing it was faster. It seemed like forever before I got there. I slowed at the end of the street, glanced in the mirror. The tired face was overshadowed by the excitement in my brown eyes. It wasn’t so bad being a wife, a mother. I’m still
I walked up the front steps and after a deep breath knocked, my bag at my feet. Michael opened the door and I was swamped with the love I’d felt on our wedding day, on the births of our children.
“I love you. I’m sorry.”
Michael kissed me and pulled me into the house. “None of that now. Later.” He beamed through his tears and I saw a man I’d never seen before. He loved me enough to welcome me back unquestioned, certain of my responding love and fidelity.
I know now that I am