Here i will share my journey of hopefully one day recognising my dream of becoming published writing what i love to read; Romance!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Busted...

My goodness i have been very remiss on the blog the past few weeks. Crazy with final stuff for kids' school and kindy things, knitting (i've taught myself and am now addicted!), and getting ready for the drive to Wellington for the Christmas period!

On Dec 6 Nicola Marsh's new contemporary romance hit the shelves!
Busted in Bollywood is an eclectic mix of contemporary romance/romantic comedy/chicklit/women's fiction. Think 'Sex and the City' meets 'Eat, Pray, Love.'
This story is written entirely in first person narrative by the leading lady Shari Jones.

This fantastic book is available from Book Depository (free worldwide postage!), Barnes and Nobles, Amazon and Kindle.

For those you love a humorous romance with a good dollop of culture and heaps of food, this is the novel for you!

Here is the blurb:

Shari Jones needs to get a life. Preferably someone else's.
Single, homeless and jobless, Indo-American Shari agrees to her best friend's whacky scheme: travel to Mumbai, pose as Amrita, and ditch the fiancé her traditional Indian parents have chosen. Simple. Until she's mistaken for a famous Bollywood actress, stalked by a Lone Ranger wannabe, courted by an English lord, and busted by the blackmailing fiancé.
Life is less complicated in New York.
Or so she thinks, until the entourage of crazies follows her to the Big Apple and that's when the fun really begins. Shari deals with a blossoming romance, an addiction to Indian food and her first movie role, while secretly craving another trip to the mystical land responsible for sparking her new lease on life. Returning to her Indian birthplace, she has an epiphany. Maybe the happily-ever-after of her dreams isn't so far away?

Go on, get yourself a copy today!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Conflict or GMC

GMC?
I've heard this acronym a few times during my blog hopping.
Briefly it means Goal Motivation Conflict.

All our characters come to the story with their own backgrounds, battle scars and inner conflict.
Well, they should do anyway, to make your story and characters believable to your readers.

Kate Walker in her 12 point guide to Writing Romance (excellent book!) tells us that the most important element of conflict is internal, the stuff that goes on in the character's head, the stuff that gives reason to their thoughts and actions. As a writer we must use this internal conflict so show character growth, how they change in order to achieve their HEA.
Kate explains (p 43) that the emotions involved in the characters internal conflict, affect the character's thinking, but they are unaware of them.
The internal conflict comes out when the Hero and Heroine meet and clash, this forces them to each face their own fears or inner demons.

I realised after writing a good 5k of my Status Quo story that i didn't really have a good handle on my characters conflicts.
So using what i've picked up during my blog hopping i tried to break them down.

Goal: What the hero/ine wants
Motivation: Why they want it
Conflict: If the hero/ine wins the other loses.

For me (and i could be very, very wrong!), on examining my characters and some of the books i love, i've found two sets of GMC for each character. (I think this was brought about by the character questionnaire on Nicola Marsh's website!)
The first set is the clear goal and reason that we are given right at the beginning of the story - should be within the first few pages of meeting each of them.
Then as we read, we discover a deeper Goal and motivation - which to me is stemmed from the conflict of the first, but at a deeper layer.
Have i lost you?

Okay, a bit of behind the scenes look to hopefully help explain this!

So in my story Emma wants Matt. They have been best friends for ever and she has been in love with him for just about the same amount of time. But when they kissed on New Years, it was made plain to her that they were made for each other. He stirred her blood in a way no other man had come close to. And that's what she wants.
So Emma's initial GMC is
G: To have Matt,
M: She loves him and he stirs a passion in her she wants for life.
C: they are best friends and she could lose him by insisting on this.

Then as the story develops we learn that deep down Emma's goal is to love and be loved with a passion and foreverness otherwise missing in her life. Her motivation is from  how she felt in Matt's arms, how they are together doing mundane things. Her conflict, is that she may just not be good enough for the type of love and passion she desperately craves, after all her parents seemed to forget about her once they started their separate lives.

So, tell me. Do you think i've completely missed the point, or overcomplicated it?
How do you work out your characters conflict and motivations?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bolly-Bites

Nicola Marsh is stopping by to give us a tasty recipe from her new novel Busted in Bollywood out on December 6th!



Thanks to Kerrin for inviting me to pop in as part of my BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD blog tour.  I was thrilled she enjoyed the book and gave it a glowing review!
BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD is a contemporary romance/romantic comedy/chicklit/women’s fiction novel. Think ‘Sex and the City’ meets ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ With food. Loads of food!
For anyone following this tour, you’ll know I’m sharing my love of food, posting Indian recipes for dishes taken from the book in my BOLLY-BITES.
I’m hoping you’ll stock up on spices and cook up a storm alongside me!
Today’s BOLLY-BITE is a drink Shari becomes hooked on in Mumbai.
(This is my dad’s version.)
MASALA CHAI
Ingredients (makes 2 cups)
1 cup water
1 cup milk
3 tspns black tea leaves
4 cardamoms
2 cm cinnamon stick
4 peppercorns
2cm-thick slice ginger
Sugar to taste
Method:
Peel the cardamoms.  Pound (in mortar and pestle) or grind (electronic gizmo) cardamom pods, cinnamon and peppercorns to a powder.
Place water and milk in a small saucepan. Add the ground spices and ginger. Bring to boil.
Add tea leaves when starts to boil.
Boil 1 minute.
Strain liquid into cups.
Add sugar to taste.
Hope you’ll join me for more tasty Indian BOLLY-BITES coming up.  For details of recipe stops on the tour, check out my blog.
There are so many different teas on the market these days. 
To be in the running to win an E-book of BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD, leave a comment about your favourite type/brand of tea. More exotic the better!
Thanks so much for the tasty recipe Nicola, and thanks for stopping by :)

USA TODAY bestseller Nicola Marsh has published 30 books with Harlequin Romance and Presents series, and BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD is her first mainstream contemporary romance with Entangled Publishing.
She loves chatting with readers and you can find her:
Website: http://www.nicolamarsh.com
Blog: http://nicolamarsh.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/NicolaMarshAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/NicolaMarsh

Friday, December 2, 2011

RFW: Snowed in!

Another great theme from the Romantic Friday Writers group. Click here to check out other participants stories :)



It was cold. So not what it should be at Christmas.
What the bloody hell are we doing in this frozen land at this time of year. Stupid business trip making us leave the heat of the Southern Hemisphere summer.
"Gerry? Honey, here's a nice hot chocolate."
I couldn't help the scowl, but i did offer thanks as Mike handed the steaming mug to me with his usual smirk. Kills me every time.
He wrapped an arm around me as he snuggled under the soft blanket. "Don't sulk love." He simultaneously squeezed my thigh and kissed my cheek, a move that caused waves of heat to bloom inside me, warming me before i'd taken a sip.
"Just think of it as the perfect opportunity to warm each other up."
His devilish grin, slightly lopsided caused an answering tug to my own lips.
I love this man to distraction. And he knew how to push all the right buttons. Even the ones his snaking hand was already making a start on under the blanket.
Spluttering in shock as his frigid fingers touched the skin just below my bra i did my best to save us from being scalded by the contents of my mug. "You are incorrigible!"
His lips, warm and oh so soft trailed a path from my ear to my collarbone in excruciating slowness. "You love it."
I did. I loved the way he could get me out of a grump. How he bought me steaming hot liquids. How he put up with my moods. How he knew just how to touch me.
"Can you please wait a minute." I didn't even try to mask the giggle that escaped as his lips followed a path of their own design and his evening stubble tickled the tops of my breasts.
"Why wait when you're all warm and ready to melt just as the marshmellows did." The blanket was now tangled between our bodies, wedged under his thigh pressed solidly between mine. I was no longer cold and no longer needed the hot cocoa to warm me. Just him.
My man.
"You're sweeter than marshmellows." His mouth closed over my breast, soaking the thin satin and thrilling me. Taunting me, leaving me humming for more.
I moaned in protest when he lifted his head and looked at me, his blue eyes nearly eclipsed by the passion in his irises. "Sorry we ended up stuck here. In a week we'll be back home."
"It doesn't matter." I pulled him to my lips and feasted on all the goodness, the love that was on offer. It didn't matter. Not when he was here with me. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Show, don't Tell. Not so easy is it?!

Well i learnt something during my blog hopping last week, largely propelled by Rach Writes post on physical telling, which then linked to another great post detailing it further.

Did you know there is something called Physical Telling? No?
It's where you add a physical reaction to your story when, usually what the character says should indicate what their possible, or even probable!, reaction is.

eg, "Did you know Jill's pregnant?" Sarah smirked.
My mouth could have hit the floor. "No! To who?"
(the mouth reference is the telling, where the dialogue following it is doing the showing.) 
I think what this has shown me (and it's probably not the best example!) is that it is often okay and acceptable to leave some things to the readers imagination.

It is also a good idea to balance your telling and showing through dialogue and interiority (didn't even know that was a word!) - or, internal dialogue. With the interiority you can't show, it's unnecessary as you are in the character's head anyway, so it's the perfect time for the telling!

I get confused with this showing and telling stuff, and i'm sure i'm not the only one. Do you have any showing/telling rules or lessons that you have come across and want to share? Please!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Music that Inspires

I am absolutely in love with a song at the moment. When i saw the video clip it cemented that love.
Okay, so it features snips from Breaking Dawn part 1 but that is not the only reason i love it.

To me it inspires the best romantic feelings. Of having waited and finally possessing the one you love.
Of eternal love.
Of being afraid to give yourself to someone so completely, but then knowing, just knowing that this is the person who is meant for you.

Yep, it's  A Thousand Years by Christina Perry.
Enjoy!


There are lots of writers out there who create musical playlists the represent the mood or feelings of their WIP, have this playing as they write them.

For The Price of Passion i had Closer by Ne-Yo which represented my heroes feelings perfectly, and for Billie it was Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis.

A Thousand Years has so much scope for me at the moment - it is representing Emma and her motivation in Saying No.

What song has inspired you recently?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fancy an Indian feast?

Nicola Marsh is going a Bolly-Bites blog tour, where she will give out fantastic recipes for the Indian dishes featuring in her new book Busted in Bollywood!
She's given her first recipe on her blog today, a Lentil Soup and man i can just smell the aroma....



Nicola will be dropping by here early December for give us another recipe, but check out her blog to find all the Bolly-Bites (recipes!) as she does her blog tour!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A taste of India

I've just finished devouring Nicola Marsh's ARC for Busted in Bollywood.
As the title suggests it has all the flavours of a Bollywood movie: the sights, the sounds, colours, the food, and drama.


I loved following Shari's journey of re-discovery, both of herself and her heritage. I especially loved the flavour of all things Indian that Nicola Marsh weaved though this story.

So much so that i have an urge to find recipes and create the fabulous dishes Shari experiences. I think i'll even be renting a Bollywood movie to try to catch the same excitement.
This is a story not to be missed!

If you like Nicola's flirty style, mixed with exposure to another culture, you are in for a real treat. And luckily you don't have to waited too long! December 6 is the release date, go here to order!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Get-to-know-Me!

I'm part of the Romantic Suspense group from the Campaign. To tell you the truth i haven't really done much about it, except join in on the challenges (though i somehow missed one!).
I plan to do much more and actually talk with and share writing with these people.
Click here or the picture in the sidebar to find and get to know some of the wonderful people in the writing community!

Well, here is getting to know me!


1. Name two [romantic suspense] authors who inspire you
Hmm, that's a tricky one because i have many favourites, and they probably aren't categorised as Romantic Suspense, though they have elements in their writing! The main two with the suspense element in their writing would be Julie Garwood (historical romance) and Karen Marie Moning (paranormal romance). It's funny because i don't write either of those genres!


2. How did you start writing in your genre?
My daughter was 6 weeks old when i began writing my first full length novel, Secrets and Lies (see the page titled Work in Progress or WIPs). It took me a year but i did it. I've always liked stories that have the suspense/intrigue factor, coupled with romance and it's a winner for me! So that's what i wrote. It's a good story, but it needs a LOT of work to make it great!




3. You've landed a meeting with your dream agent. Write a one paragraph pitch to sell your novel to him/her. (No more than four sentences)
Gabrielle Devine left the man of her dreams on the brink of their wedding. 2 years later she comes back with information about the raids and killings that have plagued the country for the past year; information that Wayne is not interested in listening to, especially when it comes from the woman who broke his heart, the woman who betrayed him. Gabrielle is determined to prove she is right, even if it means revealing the truth of why she'd left him. But will Wayne listen and believe before the ultimate deception tears everyone apart?


4. Sabotage or accident- which would put your female lead through and why?
Either works for me, it would depend on the heroine. But instinctively i want to say accident. You can tell so much about a person from how they react to/deal with what's happened. 


5. Plotter or Pantser? Who are you?
Oh, that is the question! The story i described above was done entirely in plotter mode. When i'd finished it, i was bored, 'cos i knew everything that was happening.
So all my subsequent stories are a bit of a mix. I have key plot points that the characters have to reach, but their path to them is completely pantser!


Hope you've enjoyed learning a bit about me. Make sure you check out some of the other suspense writers out there!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Research or not to research...

A writing tip; kind of!

Now, i'm not a huge fan of deep involved research.
I'm too impatient and just want to write the damn story and fix details later. But i will look up stuff if i know it's going to be quick and won't detract from my writing time.

Seriously, my drafts are littered with notes saying "research how to make bath salts", or "find out the history of...".

It's funny though, because i'm a stickler for detail, and perfection. It's taken a long time to let go and just write the first dirty draft without agonising over the correct word to describe. Yeah i have notes for those too :)

Because when i sit down to write, that's what i want to do. I don't want to get bogged down with trawling the internet for the exact right stuff. No, that would be called Research Time.

Recently i have spent the last two of my writing sessions in research mode. I sat down and told myself that if i want to get any further with my writing, i actually need to know a bit more information. So it was research time.
Guess what? I love it!
I got so involved that i've ended up with pages and pages of history relevant to my fictitious Principality, trade routes, flight paths, politics, pictures of villages, castles, roses... lots of stuff.

I have a friend who loves to research and we have always joked that she can do the research and i'll do the writing - for the both of us! But we both sat there on Friday and researched together. It was great bouncing off ideas (which of course sparked more research!), and i really think our writing is going to be the better for it.
Readers are sticklers for details too. I take that from my own personal experience as a reader ;)

Don't get me wrong, if i come across something that needs more research whilst during 'writing time', there is a note/comment in the ms. I'll go back to it during 'research time'.

My plan is that will help flesh out the story, without detracting from my creative flow. Because that's what the first draft is for, right? Getting the story down so you have something to work with later.

What are your thoughts on research? Do you find it encroaches on your writing time, how do you work around it? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, October 31, 2011

What's your brand?

Some of you may be asking, "A brand? Huh? I'm a writer!"
And i say, yes exactly!
Your writing is your brand, not your tag line.

Rachelle Gardiner, Literary Agent has an excellent post on Branding.
Simply;
1. Your brand is your genre
2. your book is more important than your platform.

Her advice, spend more time on your writing and your target audience, not your brand.

Check out her great post here for more details!

Friday, October 28, 2011

NV: The Top Four!

The Top Four has been announced!

My favourite didn't make it but i'm going to have a read and vote for the best - i find it very interesting that none in the Contemporary category made it through!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Busted in Bollywood

I've just read a snippet from Nicola Marsh's upcoming book Busted in Bollywood, out on Dec 6.

I love her writing, fresh, funny and very good i am so envious of her way with words!
Click here to read the snippet, but i've also put a handy link on the right sidebar :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Beta Hero

This is the hero that doesn't start out as the hero of the story. Or the writer indicates that he is, but the heroine doesn't see it!
Perhaps a best friend of the hero or heroine.
Someone who is always there, maybe as shoulder for the heroine to cry on, the man to offer support as she goes through her disastrous relationships.
The guy who loves her just as she is, but she doesn't know it!

Raquel Byrnes has an excellent post, using Sweet Home Alabama as an example and goes into much deeper explanations. It's awesome. She calls this guy the Bad Boy with Potential.
I see him as the Beta Hero. Not as dominating or successful as the Alpha Male, but with many alpha qualities that quietly come to the fore. Qualities that have us truly rooting for him. The galant knight who doesn't stand in the spotlight - that's not his thing.

Nicola Marsh has an awesome article on her site giving explanations about the differences between the Alpha and the Beta hero. Things like, Beta heroes are more laid back, but the Alpha is driven; Beta's seem to be able to express themselves better than the Alpha - (possibly to do with that laid back attitude!).

To tell the truth, i've always preferred the Beta hero in the movies! Maybe that's because we are made to realise very early in the story that he is the true hero? Hmm.

My hero for my story with Matt and Emma, he has been the beta hero for most of Emma's life, before the story starts. The difference is that she has always loved him. (Maybe she has been the beta heroine? Hmm, that bears some thought!)

What do you think? Have any good examples either from your own writing or fav books or movies?
What the qualities you like best in a hero - Beta or Alpha!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

RFW: Whispers


From my Princess story (still in early draft form!)


“Why are those people staring at us?”
Max felt a jolt of awareness shoot up his arm as her fingers threaded through his. He glanced at the various townspeople who were indeed staring at them.
What to tell her?
He shrugged, trailing a glance over her figure before turning his best grin on her. “Probably just admiring what a great pair we make.”
Tori smiled and small spots of colour flamed her neck and cheeks, but she looked at the starers. “As nice as that is, I don’t think you’re right.” 
Max watched her line of sight and noted she squeezed his hand a tad tighter when one lady pointed and leaned close to her elderly companion.
Perhaps it hadn’t been the best idea to bring her here yet. Someone could say something and completely blow their plans.
“The lady at the shop stared at me like she’d seen a ghost. I had to ask her twice.” He’d seen that too.
He tried to brush it off, shrugging. “Maybe you look like someone she knows.”
“Maybe she knew my parents.” His step faltered and he spun Tori in a circle to cover it.
“I doubt it. They are just astonished to see me with such an enchanting woman.”
She laughed throatily. “You make it sound like such a rare occurance.” Tori paused then smiled crookedly at him. “Just enchanting? Not beautiful?”
Relief mixed with the heady shot of desire through his veins at her barefaced question. “So enchanting just looking at you makes me wish we’d stayed at the castle.” Grinning when she shyly tucked a stray curl behind her ear he bent close and felt her shiver as he brought her body into contact with his. “How can I think of anything else when you look at me like that?”
He obliged her upturned mouth and allowed himself to indulge briefly, running his hands possessively up her sides and moulding her to his body. As much as it had been so wrong to accept her proposition, he wasn’t going to regret it. He’d never felt this happy since the tragedy that had uprooted this wonderful country. She was his anchor, his purpose even as she was the puppet.
Breaking away before he forgot himself and where they were, he placed a kiss on her pert nose and lead the way, pleased he’d diverted her from any possible complication.

400 words exactly: MCA (Minor critique only)
Check out the other entries here!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

25% off!

I'm not one to let go of a deal - especially when it means the books are cheaper than in the store and i can chose a nicer cover!

Nicola Marsh has two new books coming out early 2012. With 25% off at book depository it's the perfect chance to try her if you haven't already. As her tag line says, her writing is flirty fiction with flare and believe me, you won't be disappointed!

Go pre-order them now!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Show not Tell : Campaign Challenge

Third Challenge for the Campaign. (i think i missed the second one!)
Check out the full details here

Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post shouldshow:
  • that it’s morning, 
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.
Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses. AND include these random words: "synbatec," "wastopaneer," and "tacise."   (NB. these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them). .


Here's my stab at it!

Through amber tinted sunglasses, Jodie watched the determined surfers tackling the rowdy waves. Stupid wastopaneers. The rising sun seeped into her skin making her all droopy and blah. Wasn’t supposed to be so hot this early. 

Shifting uncomfortably to a shady spot on the hot sand she blew out a breath, ignoring the synbatec buzzing close by. Not even the slight breeze could dispel the feeling that she could be doing something so much better than soaking in the sun, being bitten by the tiny, hungry bloodsuckers hidden in the sand. Anything. 

Why did I come here? Hate the beach. Can’t swim so no point in taking a dip. Can’t be bothered doing anything else.

Inhaling the salty air and ending on a sigh, the sharp tang of something tacise hit her nostrils. Geez, what died?

Wind rustled through the tall palm leaves above, dappling the sand around her, ruffling her limp, damp hair. Worse. It propelled the stink from behind the tree right into her face.

Bleark! Covering her mouth and nose with a sweaty palm she lifted her sunnies and peered through the leaves. Breathing through her teeth and willing the lumpy, salty taste at the back of her throat away, her toes searched the hot sand for her jandals. 

The shiver caught her unaware, her skin pebbling painfully.  Bending low and lifting the surprisingly cool leaves with one hand, she toed the brown clump. Hissing, the hairy flesh shifted as the flies covered the hole her toe created. 

Jodie jumped back retching, all thought of breathing carefully gone.

Stomach pitching wildly she turned away focusing on the crashing waves and the unaware surfers.

How the hell am I going to tell Michelle?

word count: 282
Did i show? Tell me where i've told and let me know where i need work!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Feedback Sandwich, Critiquing

I was going to blog about something else today - a writing tip about conflict probably, but came across a disturbing post from a fellow Romantic Friday Writer.
She had been given rather bad, negative feedback on her Friday piece.

So, i'm going to talk about critiquing.

My husband is a newly appointed manager and has been doing lots of reading about how to be a good manager. He told me about a 'feedback sandwich', something that i have since read from Nathan Bransford's blog and also from my fellow RFW.

Our writing is rather personal. We spend a lot of time working at it, getting the feelings right, the characters, the conflict, the descriptions, and if you're like me, work painstakingly hard on perfecting dialogue!
We value feedback from fellow writers and readers. This helps us grow as a writer. IF the feedback doesn't completely destroy our confidence and make us feel like we obviously shouldn't be writing!

So the sandwich.
We all want to hear about the things we haven't done right, but isn't it wonderful to be acknowledged for something we have done well at?!
So, start with a positive. It could be something simple like, i really enjoyed the imagery you have evoked through the heroine's tears. Or, your writing voice makes me smile!

Then some POSITIVE advice. An example from one of the comments from my New Voices piece:
i think your writing is strong, and there's lots of potential in this story. but i wanted a little more context (about where they are/why they are there, besides a weekly date). i wanted a little more backstory, but just enough to prick my attention. you also change POV from him to her in the middle, which can be done successfully (yours is pretty close), but it demands more from the reader. nora roberts does it, but new writers (me included) don't have as much leeway with editors. keep writing. you obviously have skill, and your characters are passionate. i'd read more!


Then end with another positive.


As the above example shows (and i am aware that it may not be the best example!), they have started with something positive: my writing is strong. Then some advice: my POV change may have been a bit jarring but i'm close! And final positive: my characters are passionate.
I am left feeling good about my writing, what one person things i have achieved but may need to work on something else, followed by another positive. It's not as bad as it could have been! 
(And it is always important to remember that you can never please everyone. What one person likes another dislikes, so too for publishers. It is for your consideration only.)


How do you critique other writers? Do you have advice to add?

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Voices round one results!

The results are in!
With not 20, but 21 finalists.
Good luck to the winners, i hope you get heaps of experience out of the consultation with mentors.

For those who didn't get through - don't give up! If you wake up every morning needing to write, have to stop the car to write down that flash of inspiration and go to bed with a notebook and pen beside the bed, well. You are a writer and if you keep writing, you will get where you want to go!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pitching your story: a contest!

Ever written a 1 or 2 sentence description of your completed story? No?
Well get started!
Entangled Publishing are seeking submissions and Nicola Marsh has a competition.

Pop over to her blog and follow her (if you haven't already), then pop a comment under the post with your pitch, the title, your name and the story word count to be in the draw!

Up for grabs is a first 5 pages critique from Entangled Publishing editor AND from Nicola Marsh herself!

If my story was completed, i'd be entering, so don't miss this opportunity!
Nicola has also included links to some great blogs for advice on how to write a successful pitch.
Do it!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Writing Tip: Children in Romance

Do you have a favourite book that features an adorable child as a secondary character? Or maybe it's a precocious pre-schooler?
A man totally undone by a little baby is just so sexy - and i have heaps of photos of my own hero with our children to prove how much i love that :)

Loveliness aside - the children in your romance story should not be the focus of the story. They are only secondary characters and should not detract from the main story - the romance!
How about using them to further the romance? Having the H and h co-parent, or fight over one?

What do you think of children in a romance story?

My favourite one is from a historical romance by Julie Garwood, The Secret. This story is my all-time favourite and in this story, it starts with two little girls and how they meet. Both connect over a bee and one of the girls attempt to save the other from the bee. The language is so wonderful and totally childlike!
I really recommend you read it!
But aside from the children at the beginning, one of them is the heroine of the story - obviously older! So in this case, children as the main character really works.

In another, yes another Julie Garwood fav, Ransom, the main character Gillian saves a little boy. This further's her character. The child is the secondary character and his role is to show the main characters strengths, and quite possibly their weaknesses.

Mills and Boon have a great post on children in romance. Check it out, but don't forget to let me know what you think of children in romance novels and the roles they play.
Do you have children in your own story?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Romantic Friday Writers - Rock Candy

After reading through the description given as a prompt for this weeks theme, and doing some research, i've decided to go with my own interpretation of Rock Candy!




"Geez, look at the size of that rock!"
"Tor, that is amazing."
As her friends exclaimed over the shiny bit of rock candy on her ring finger Tori couldn't help the fearful gulp that rose in her throat.
Whenever she'd dreamed of an engagement ring, it has been a small thing. Small, elegant and inconspicuous. Not at all like the heavy, huge rock Max had slipped on her finger that morning.
Monique seemed to catch on to her mood and twined an arm around Tori's and covered the hand with her own. Tori gripped her friend's hand and plastered a smile on her face.
"It's nice. It is. It's just-"
"Not you." 
Tori's sigh wavered and she caught herself before letting the barrier drop. It was wonderful at times to have friends who knew you so well.
Monique rubbed Tori's back and she leant her head on her friend's shoulder, unable to take her gaze from their joined hands, which covered the symbol of something that should have been the best thing in her life. She was engaged.
Monique released her grip and turned the giant diamond until it glinted in the sun. "At least, you'd never lose it." She laughed, "You'd know right away if it was gone. The glare from the sun would be the first warning."
Tori shook her head, "No, it would be the loss of the weight." This time she couldn't stop her laugh from turning into the choking sob.
"It's okay, Tor." Lizzie put her arm around Tori and her friends hugged her from two sides.
"How can it be okay?" She stared at the symbol of love and forever and felt instead the weight of duty and entrapment.
Tori felt, rather than saw her friends look at each other behind her head. 
"I'm sure if you told him-"
"No." Interrupting her friend before she could continue, she shut off her own wishes. Again. "It's part of who i am. Who i will be." If only it wasn't all about duty, and about the love and passion they'd shared instead. "It's tradition."

348 words. MCA

Monday, October 3, 2011

Writing Tip: Sex scenes!

Yes i said SEX.
If you read romance, and i assume that you do, you know what you like to read and what you don't like to read - and again i'm assuming you don't like the porn version of sex scenes filled with all the dirty details.

You love Romance, which means sensuality in the sex scenes. You need to write more about the emotions and what is going on inside the characters head.

Here is a great post from the Mills and Boon website by Flo Nicoll last year for the New Voices comp, but no less relevant today! So, Let's Talk about Sex and remember the emotion, not the gritty details ;)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fab Comment

Over at the New Voices competition, i've just read an awesome comment about Emma and Matt's first chapter:



Congratulations on posting such an amazing first chapter! This is definitely in my top ten and I'll be shocked if you don't make it to the top 20.
I'm a serial POV changer and yours didn't distract me in the slightest. I like the hints at conflict you are giving and love the way you started. I don't think I've ever read a book where the first line is a proposal of marriage, great hook!
There really isn't anything I can say I disliked about the chapter. My only gripe is that chapter 2 isn't available to read yet :)
I agree with a lot of the comments that have been made on my chapter, but isn't it nice to have someone like your writing, just the way it is!
Thanks Aimee Duffy :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Busted in Bollywood - cover reveal!

Wow, look at this new fabulous book from Nicola Marsh! Releasing soon, December 6! so be sure to check out her website then to buy a copy! - just click on the street team icon on the right and it will take you straight there!

BUSTED IN BOLLYWOOD


Doesn't it just look awesome!
Here is a blurb:


Shari Jones needs to get a life. Preferably someone else’s.

Single, homeless and jobless, Indo-American Shari agrees to her best friend’s whacky scheme: travel to Mumbai, pose as Amrita, and ditch the fiancé her traditional Indian parents have chosen. Simple. Until she’s mistaken for a famous Bollywood actress, stalked by a Lone Ranger wannabe, courted by an English lord, and busted by the blackmailing fiancé.

Life is less complicated in New York.

Or so she thinks, until the entourage of crazies follows her to the Big Apple and that’s when the fun really begins. Shari deals with a blossoming romance, an addiction to Indian food and her first movie role, while secretly craving another trip to the mystical land responsible for sparking her new lease on life. Returning to her Indian birthplace, she has an epiphany. Maybe the happily-ever-after of her dreams isn’t so far away?


And, a sneak six sentence look at the book that Nicola posted on her blog on the weekend!

Between Anjali’s sniping at the family and Rita’s dossier, I gathered the Ramas were rich, very rich. And by the size of their newly white-washed two-story house, they were loaded. In a country where real estate was at a premium, these guys had a monopoly on space, their house taking up a quarter of the block.

“Nice place,” I said, smoothing the chiffon of my kameez and hoping all the drama training at high school would count for something in the hours ahead.
“All pomp and show.” Anjali’s glare at the house would’ve exploded bricks if she’d had superhuman powers. “A fat cow needs a big barn.”


I love Nicola's voice so i'll be sure to grab a copy! Will you?


(edited: Oops, this isn't a YA! My bad, sorry Nicola!!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Introspection vs Dialogue

So, over the past few years i have come to realise what my writing style is, which is an essential part of your writing career, in my opinion.
I've also come to realisation that my style is not what i like to read in other books!
Weird huh?!

So, i really enjoy writing the characters internal thoughts and feelings and struggle quite a bit with dialogue.
When i read, i usually skim through this part and get right to the dialogue!

So, slowly i have been trying to write more dialogue and less introspection - which for me is very tricky!
However, i write the introspection first, as this comes naturally for me, then i take a step back and try to write the same stuff through dialogue, through both POV's until i feel it clicks.

Another way, is to write the entire scene using only dialogue - this way you need to try and get emotion and thoughts across through the characters voice first, then you can layer in a bit of introspection and what the character is doing, eg hand gestures, frowning etc.

All the writing advice out there has told me that more action through dialogue is more readable and more liked than the thoughts stuff - which i tend to agree with when i'm reading! It's something like 60% dialogue, 40% introspection.

Do you have difficulty writing dialogue? How do you combat it?

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Entry is up!

Just in case you've missed it - i have a link to the left which will take you straight to my chapter 1! Have a read and please let me know what you think - comments and feedback will make us all better writers ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I've entered, have you?

I've just hit submit on my entry to this year's New Voices competition! I just have to wait for them to load it, then i'll put a link to my chapter 1 in the side bar.

This year my entry is a best friends to lovers theme, starring Emma McCarthy and Matthew Jackson Dean.

Emma is inspired by Blake Lively and Matt by Jeff Dean Morgan.

Emma is sick of the status quo - denying her deep passion and love for her best friend, so she proposes! Matt, on the other hand, doesn't want to lose the only solid thing in his life. The only thing that keeps him from going over the edge and succumbing to his tortured past. By demanding he acknowledge the passion between them, brought on by one fatal kiss, will Emma lose her best friend?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Writing Competition is open!

Those of you who entered New Voices last year will be hyped up and already know about the competition that started on the 13th.



For those of you who don't: Mills & Boon have a competition to find new voices. There are mentors, judges and readers even have the chance to comment and vote for their favourites! With 3 rounds to find the winner, and some fantastic prizes, it's a great way to get feedback on your writing and maybe, just maybe get published!

I entered last year with my story about Billie and Cooper.
This year? I'm trying to polish the first chapter of Matt and Emma's story. But this will have to wait until next week. I have an assignment due on Monday and my daughter is having her 4th birthday party this Saturday!

Go here for more info and to enter!

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Campaign Challenge

Firstly, welcome to all my new followers! I hope i get to visit your blogs/sites in return soon, if i haven't already :)

On to the first challenge:


Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)


The door swung open and Tori held her breath. Heart in her throat she slowly let her breath out and watched it ruffle the lone spider web in the otherwise clean interior cavity.
Obviously this passage was well used. Or at least kept in an inhabitable condition.
Her footsteps echoed on the flagstones under foot as she carefully started through. At a junction she stopped and chewed her lip while she considered. Straight ahead got darker, and to the left there were little lights recessed into the wall close to the floor. Decision made, Tori head for the lights.
Passing ten lights she came to another door, wider than the one leading from the portrait hall. Placing her hand on the door she had a sudden shiver as the damp air in the tunnel blew towards her. Voices behind the door bolstered her courage. The housekeeper must be here.
The door opened with only a slight effort, without a groan of hinges as she’d expected. Stepping onto the plush carpet and facing the full window drenched in morning sun, she glanced to the right.
“Welcome, child. I’ve been expecting you.”
With a distant thud she heard the door shut behind her.

201 words! A snippet from my Princess story, this part hasn't been written yet, but has got the juices flowing :) My entry is 334 Go here and like it!