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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review - a double!

Well, i've read two fantastic books this month and i just couldn't choose which one to tell you about - so i'm doing both!

Walk on the Wild Side by Natalie Anderson (NZ author!!!) writing for Mills & Boon Riva.
This is HOT! I love how the heroine Kelsi is so unconventional. And I mean in looks! Jack is of course to die for, but this doesn't detract from the specialness of this story. Instead of giving anything away, here is the blurb from the back cover. And. GO and READ it!!

A fling with sinfully hot champion snowboarder Jack Greene isn't Kelsi Reid's normal behavior.but one glimpse of his wicked eyes has Kelsi throwing caution to the deep blue sea (along with her clothes!). After all, who better to go crazy with than a man who deserves a gold medal for his prowess on the slopes and in the bedroom.? Then Kelsi crashes down with a terrifying bump - of the baby kind. They couldn't be worse matched - Jack is Mr. Right-Now, while Kelsi craves stability. But it's hard to keep your feet on the ground once you've met the man who turns your world upside down..

And the second book is:

Surf, Sea and a Sexy Stranger by Heidi Rice writing for Mills & Boon Modern Heat (Sexy Sensation in Oz and NZ)

This story had me on the edge of my seat! I have never read a story where the man pleasures a woman just for that - her pleasure! And i mean without him culminating the act!
Then the story that built from it, WOW! I love the fact that SHE saves HIM at the beginning. A nice simple twist that leads to so much more.
The blurb:

Honed, handsome, and needing the kiss of life...
Millionaire entrepreneur Ryan King is mortified: he's just been pulled from the ocean by a pretty female lifeguard! Why, after months recovering from a horrific motorbike accident, did he get back on his surfboard? For the same reason he wants a hot, wild woman back in his bed - to prove he's the same man he was before...
Maddy Westmore is shocked to find that this half-drowned, totally gorgeous surfer has her body humming! She always ends up getting used - maybe this time it's her turn to do the using? It's the short, sizzling affair they both need - until their dangerously addictive liaison careers out of control...

Now, i just LOVE the covers of these books - new modern covers. But they aren't available on the shelves here in NZ so i had to order them from the 'net. You can order them from either authors website (click on their names above as i've linked it to their website!) or the book depository or your fav online store - just search through the titles and choose the cover you MUST have!

These are both awesome authors, both have joined my auto-buy list!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Invaluable friends

Having organised a playdate yesterday for my kids turned out to be very fruitful for my muse.
This playdate was with a friend, who also happens to be a budding writing. We discussed our current WIPS and she detected a weakness of motivation or reason in my story about friends with benefits.
Discussing deeper reasons for why my heroine does what she does, and my heroes refusal has cemented their conflict, their past and hopefully their HEA.

Don't you love friends who you can discuss your writing with, and they 'get' it?!
I only hope i'm as much of a help to her as she is to me!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Show not Tell - Final Crusader Challenge

Show Not Tell Crusader Challenge: In 300 words or less, write a passage (it can be an excerpt from your WIP, flash fiction, a poem, or any other writing) that shows (rather than tells) the following:

  • you're scared and hungry
  • it's dusk
  • you think someone is following you
  • and just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: shimmer, saccadic, substance, and salt.
Click the link above to read other entries!

Stumbling like a drunk against the cold stone walls, tripping over things without substance, I fought to  control myself.
She was coming. Had to keep moving, the light shimmered ahead in the doorway like a beacon from Heaven. Heaven before me, hell behind.
The fear clutched at me, tightening my lungs, constricting my heart. Hardly any breath, unsteady legs, stinging salt of tears and sweat trickling into my mouth. Not good enough. The energy was sapping rapidly now, my stomach a gnawing knot of emptiness.
The dimming light, warmth from the sun dying, proof the third day was ending.
Keep going, must keep going.
Resting against the freezing stone wall for a nanosecond, my eyes doing a saccadic dance between the beacon of salvation and the echoing footsteps in the dark. The damp seeps into my pores, fills my nostrils with the stench of my own fear. Not like this, please. I don't want to die.
The echoing steps come closer, a rapid staccato on the concrete ground.
With a strangled cry my legs move of their own accord, pulled by the invisible cord of instinct to safety. Nearly there. If only my legs weren't so wobbly. Damn it, run!

200 words! What do you think?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Searching the inbox

About 8 weeks ago i submitted The Price of Passion to Embrace books, an epublisher.
At the end of the allotted 6 weeks they informed me it would take to get back to me, i hummed and hahhed, bit my nails and sent a nice email asking about the status of my sub.
Got a very nice reply apologising for taking so long and to expect a reply by the end of the following week.

Last night i checked my email and there it was.... . I spent a good ten seconds considering not opening it until morning but then curiosity got the better of me.
With one part fear (If it was an acceptance i knew i'd have a whole lot of work ahead of me! If an R, what if there was no feedback for why?), and one part excitement (If it was accepted, my dream would be partially coming true - would still prefer to be published in book form), i opened it.

I got a very nice R.
It was full of constructive feedback such as that i didn't use enough dialogue (something i struggle with!); i had resorted to a cliche with my heroines actions; i have good punchy writing but at the wrong times - i need to slow the pace down at crucial moments, not gloss over the important stuff!
But, the editor said i am readable have a good voice, i just used the wrong conventions.

Now i can take this two ways (there are probably more but i'm trying to keep it simple :D):

  1. Use the feedback and re-write Billie and Cooper's story, or
  2. Use the feedback and apply it to a different set of characters
I think i'm tending towards the second as i have done all i could (at the moment) for Billie and Cooper, and i have other stories on the go. So i'll plod on with those, with the feedback in mind and submit something else when i'm done!

What do you do with your feedback?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Writing Tip: Writing to a method

I started my first novel Secrets and Lies by plotting it out. By the end of it i found that it was difficult to write because i was bored - i already knew how it was going to end and what happened next! So my subsequent novel, The Price of Passion i wrote follower the pantser method - writing by the seat of my pants and letting my characters lead me!
But, i think if you have a careful mix of the two, a general brief outline and maybe a few key scenes mapped out, this can help directionise your story whilst still giving you the chance to let your characters lead!
So, i'm testing this theory with the below method but being brief for my new single title - Suddenly Royal!. But i think it's well worth having a look at other methods and using them to your own writing style.

TEN STEPS TO THE SNOWFLAKE METHOD (courtesy of Nicole MacDonald at Damsel in a Dirty Dress)

Step One – Write a one-sentence summary of your novel.  The best summary sentence is one that includes a reference to the character who has the most to lose and the thing he or she wants most to win. 

Step Two – Expand your sentence into a full paragraph.  In this paragraph, you should include the story set-up, each disaster, and the ending.  You can decide the cause of each disaster, whether it is internally caused or brought on by external circumstances, and include those details as well.

Step Three – Next, your characters.  For each of your major characters, write a one page summary sheet that includes the following:
The character’s name
A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline
The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)
The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?)
The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)
The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?)
A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline

Step Four – Expand each sentence of your summary paragraph from step two into a full paragraph. All but the last paragraph should end in a disaster. The final paragraph should tell how the book ends.
At the completion of step four, you should have a fairly concise one-page skeleton of your novel.  (Don’t sweat it if it’s longer or shorter than one page.   The point is that you are taking your seed of a story from step one and growing and expanding it.)

Step Five – Write a one-page synopsis of the story from the point of view of each major character.  (For more minor characters, you may want to write a half a page.)  This step may seem tedious (and it can be time-consuming if you have a lot of major characters,) but it will really get you into the heads of the people who will give your story life.  You will begin to see where they agree and where they clash.  While plot is always important, honestly drawn characters are what make us lose ourselves in a novel.

Step Six – Take a fresh look at your one-page plot synopsis from step four and expand it into a four-page synopsis.  One way to approach this would be to expand each paragraph from step four into its own page.  This step gives you the chance to find the complexity in your story, discover new plot ideas that may have been inspired by your character explorations in step five, and weave in subplots.  By keeping it to four pages, you can also easily identify plot holes or problems with the story’s logic.

Step Seven – Expand your character summaries from step three into full-blown character charts.  Make sure that you not only know each character’s motivations and goals, but also the smaller details, such as the one thing they would grab before running from a burning house, or the person who has been the greatest influence on them.  This is the step where you make sure your characters are fully alive in your mind.

Step Eight – Take the expanded synopsis you created in step six and make a list of every scene that needs to be written to tell your story.  If you’re adept with spreadsheets, creating one for this task will allow you to use the columns for details such as setting and POV character.  For those of you who like to hold your writing in your hands, index cards will work just as well.

Step Nine – Using the scene list, write several pages of narrative for each scene.  If you choose to add in dialogue, that’s fine.  By the end of this step, you’ll have a miniature rough draft of your book.

Step Ten – Write your first draft!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Writing Tip: Writing Time

In this busy time of study, kids homework, sports, housework etc, one writing tip i'd picked up during blog hopping has been glaring at me.

It is essential for the development of your craft, and indeed your sanity if you're anything like me and have to write!, to block out days or mornings or what ever time you can get on your calendar, and STICK TO IT!

Let people know that your writing time is not a negotiable hobby, but is important to you.
At the moment i've found it hard to do this as unfortunately everything else has been more important.
But, a friend and i are now getting together one whole day a week, the kids play together and we sit at the table with our laptops and immerse ourselves in our writing. It's not enough time really, but it is better than none.

How do you carve out precious writing time during your busy lives??

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Describe This

As he slanted his talented mouth over hers, she saw the flash then heard the loud crack of the fireworks bursting in the sky, matching the rhythm and boom of her heart. Being held by him, kissed by him was like a fireworks display all on it's own. She was certain when she closed her eyes, the burst of gold shaped like a dandelion was the passion she felt welling inside her, and not in the sky as the crack and boom suggested.

Your turn!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Patience and a Writing tip

Um, okay. So i submitted The Price of Passion to embrace books and have patiently (read checked emails every day!) for the allotted 4-6 weeks for a reply. Yesterday was the end of 6 weeks....
Do i send an email and ask how they are going, will this garner an instant R? And if i do send an email WHAT DO I SAY?
I've always heard back within time frames so have never had this happen before! I'd love some advice.

Writing tip: Keep detailed notes.
Have you ever come across a story you are really enjoying and halfway through the hero has different coloured eyes?

I find it hard to keep track of small details like that, though not usually for the MC's!
On my christmas present laptop my husband installed microsoft office which has onenote. It has awesome pages and tabs great for organising my study notes, so i thought....why not use it for writing?
And it is fantastic! A new page for characters, plot etc, each with tabs within the page for different characters, key scenes....
It is making it so much easier to find things at a quick glance, rather than having to read through an entire word document for the bit I want!

So the tip this week, is to keep detailed notes that are quick to find!
Have a great day :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Describe this

Sorry i'm late! I'm bogged down with an assignment due midnight tonight, and i'm going to need most of the day!

Okay, we have a balloons over waikato festival every year and this is a photo my husband took of the dawn parade.
Have a shot at describing it, stretch those writing muscles ;D

As the dawn crept through the lightening sky, giving the landscape dark shape, a lone balloon drifted just above the trees. It's soft glow from the burners, it's shape thrown into contrast against the blueing bakdrop. Silent, still, lovely.

okay, now it's your turn!