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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

To critique or not critique...

I've sent Billie and Cooper's story to my writing friend for feedback and she has been picking it apart. Line by line she is telling me where, as a reader she is lost, confused or if something just doesn't work.
Is it helping? Um, yes!

The way she has done it, with constructive feedback and even with examples of rewording, she is showing me where my weaknesses are and how i need to strengthen my story.
Mostly, it has to do with my characters. At the end of chapter 3 she has said there is nothing to make her love either character. Like, yes, but love with the driving need to keeping reading. No.

And that is the point. Every story needs to have compelling characters, something about them that makes you the reader relate or want to root for them.

So, after a bit of a sulk, i've gone back to the beginning and picked apart my characters and the story to make them stronger.

The best part? By helping me she has told me it has made her more aware of her own writing. She is learning from helping.
I found that critiquing Nicole's story that it made me think more about mine, the structure, characters, conflict, even the choice of words about my own writing.
Critiquing teaches you so much about yourself, both as a reader and a writer.

The challenge for the writer is to take the feedback, either made by someone else or by themselves while giving feedback on other writers work, and make their writing better for it!

So, this post could really be a writing tip. Take the time to critique someone else's writing - preferrably in the same genre that you write, but that isn't essential. It will help you become a better writer.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nicola Marsh giveaway!

My absolutely fav Mills and Boon author, Nicola Marsh, is doing a massive giveaway! 7 of her fabulous books!!
Visit her blog for entry details to get her awesome "fun flirty fiction with flare!"

I have a few reviews of her books on my blog, so have a browse to find out why i like her stories!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Introducing Raquel Byrnes and her novel, Purple Knot!

Raquel Byrnes lives in Southern, California with her husband of sixteen years and their six children. She considers inspirational fiction a wonderful way to minister to others. She writes romantic suspense with an edge-your-seat pace. Her first book the Shades of Hope Series, Purple Knot, releases on June 3rd from White Rose Publishing. You can visit her at her website: and her writing blog, Edge of Your Seat Romance.

As part of her blog tour to promote her book and writing, Raquel stopped by here. Sit back and have a visit with Raquel!

What would you be doing if you couldn’t write?
I apprenticed for a pastry chef when I was first married and I think I’d go back to that if for some reason I couldn’t write. European pastries are my favorite!
If you could trade places with anyone who would it be?
With my son, Noah, just for a day. He has autism. He’s high-functioning and doing great, but I’d love to see the world as he does. 
Many writers think of writing a novel long before they actually do it. Was there something that pushed you to finally get it started?
I had a bunch of notes in a journal from an experience with a friend of mine. All the worry and hope from those days called to me for a story. I found a way to convey those feelings through a novel idea I’d been playing with for some time.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I do like a good romance, but I’m also a huge fan of the police procedural. Cop dramas really get my imagination going.
Are you a procrastinator or self-motivated? 
Maybe too self-motivated. My husband has to remind me to take a break when I’m really on a roll. He helps me with balance in my life.
Would you consider your writing style more of a designer or a builder? Meaning do you give your stories plenty of room to unfold their own way naturally, or do you build them one step at a time? 
Both really. I have a solid structure of what and where and when. Then use the framework to let the who push the story. I outline to the hilt and then often deviate from that outline in a big way. It’s kind of my security blanket.
Describe for us your perfect hero/heroine.
I think someone I would spend time with in real life. Would I have coffee with this person? I spend months with characters that are flawed but ultimately redeemed and I like how they think. A perfect heroine is someone who has a heart for God and trusts Him no matter what.
Do you use setting as another character or simply as backdrop?
More and more so setting and weather have become like characters in my novels. Especially when the setting is new or very different from where the character is used to it can be very effective as a sort of antagonist.
What do you find hardest to write, beginning, middle or end?
The beginning is hard for me because I don’t have that intimate knowledge of how a character will react or what they will say yet. Once I’ve been with them through some conflicts, it gets easier and then the story just rolls.
What story element is usually first to come into focus for you? Plot, characters, theme?
I like to think of a plot first. Then I figure out the worst possible personality to face that conflict. It makes for very interesting situations.
What draws you into a story?
The love aspect. It’s tough to weather conflict as a couple. I find it fascinating to see how two people manage to not only survive, but thrive in a situation that would blow others apart. It’s the push and pull of indecision and insecurity or past experiences that may be affecting the relationship that ultimately hook me.
Have you bought a book based solely on the back cover blurb?
Yes. That is how I usually buy books. Do I feel compelled to answer the questions on the back cover? Did I get hooked on the premise?
What do you love to hear from your readers?
I like to hear them talk about the characters as if they go on after the novel. I love being asked if I plan to bring them back. If a reader misses a character, got so involved that seeing them in another book is exciting, then I’ve earned my keep.

Thanks so much for stopping by Raquel! Good luck with your future writing and sales for your current book, Purple Knot. (available on Amazon now!)

Purple Knot Blurb:
A killer strikes. A love rekindled. A life-altering choice. Reyna, returns to the life she fled to solve her best friend's murder. Forced to join with her ex-fiance, James, as their romance relights, so do the memories of the tragedy that tore them apart. Can they stop a killer before it’s too late for a second chance at love?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Forgiven - Romantic Friday Writers

click to read other entries!

This is a snippet from my story The Price of Passion:

“What do you want?”
“I only want to say that I love you.”
To say she was floored is an understatement. It was the last thing she expected and it felt like a punch in the face.
“You’ve got to be joking,” she knew her laugh sounded shrill and desperate, didn’t care. “An hour ago you didn’t want to see me again. You kicked me out of my home, want to take my baby and now you say you love me?” She’d been wrong. Pain slashed at her chest so hard she hugged herself to stop it from bleeding outside her skin. 
Warm, rough but gentle hands framed her face and she couldn’t, just couldn’t move away as Cooper sought her eyes with his own.
“I’m not joking.”
She couldn’t get a read on the truth. His eyes were wide and shimmering with things she’d only dreamed she’d see, desperately wanted to see. Didn’t want to believe, in case he was playing with her.
“I don’t believe you.” She hated how out of breath and pained she sounded. If he kept this up she was going to have another panic attack, and she’d believed she had them under control. Ha! Nothing was in control when it came to Cooper.
“I’m sorry, Billie. Sorry for not trusting you, for not believing in you. You’re the most honest woman I’ve met in a long time, and I wasn’t ready to trust, to risk.”
Did she dare believe it? “But?”
“Now I am.” He drew her towards him, one hand on her shoulder and other splayed on her neck, his face close enough to see the white tips at the end of his long eyelashes.
“I shouldn’t have kept the baby from you-”
Cooper kissed her finger. “I understand why you did, and I admire you for taking the chance to tell me of your love, even in the face of my rejection. Even now for forgiving me.” He hoped that was what was happening. Everything, the past two weeks of his anger and feeling betrayed, her admission of love today and his harsh negation of it, the realisation of his love for this bold, honest, striking woman, left him in a confusion of feeling that impossibly boiled down to doubt. Had he blown it? 
“I forgive you, Cooper. I love you.

Mills & Boon = bad. WHAT?

This morning on the way to playgroup, i heard something astonishing on the radio.
The presenter read that a study has shown that Mills & Boon gives readers a rose-tinted look at love and relationships, and that it is bad!
All the M&B's i've read have realistic heroes and heroines struggling with real-life problems and facing real-life and often painful consequences, and demanding the best from the person they love.

I found it interesting that Kate Walker and Donna Alward both had posts about an article in the Telegrath. Both are writers for Mills and Boon.
Check out their sites (click their names) to read what they have to say!

I am in agreement with Donna and would love to know what books the reseachers or the journalist has read to base their facts on. Personally i think that readers are well aware of fiction and real-life, no matter how life-like the romance novels they read are!

p.s - still looking for critiquers/readers for my story. The help will be much appreciated!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Critiquers/ Editors wanted!

I have decided to post my story - The Price of Passion (see WIP's page) - on Amazon.
But, i need to get a few critiques and/or edits to make it sharper and less generic.
Is there anyone out there willing to do this for me?

It's 50,000 originally aimed at mills and boon. So it's a very internal conflict driven story, with hardly any plot. I like it, but it does need some work.

Let me know and once it's up on Amazon i will give critiquers/editors a free copy of the final work!

Send me an email and i'll wing the WIP your way for your much needed help!

Monday, July 4, 2011

POV: First or third person? Or, both!

I write in third person. For me it's just easier, gives me the way to hint at what the other character is thinking by describing their reactions from the main characters POV.
I have tried writing in first person, and it just doesn't sit with me.

My friend Nicole, has written her book the Arrival in an interesting mix of first person and third person. She has had many comments on how confusing it is, so you shouldn't do it.
Here is an article about how to do it, and that you can do it.

Nicole's way is not to change POV per scene but rather most of the characters have their POV in the same scene to give the reader and interesting and new way of broadening each scene.
I will admit that at first it was a tad confusing. I had told her the same, not to do it! But she was firm in her choice and i applaud her for that. I am by no means a professional, and after a few chapters it actually all came together.
That and the interesting story!

What do you think of switching from third person to first person in a single work?
If you've read Nicole's book, The Arrival (It's free on Amazon, so there's no excuse!) how did you take her interesting style?
What is your POV preference - both writing and reading!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Book Review

This month i read a fantastic book by Kathleen Givens (who sadly passed away!). I love historical romance. My favourite historical author is Julie Garwood, but i was spellbound by this story.
A strong woman who i aware of another destiny, she marries a man who betrays her, but is in love with an Irishman who will stop at nothing to have her by his side.
Powerful, evocative and so passionate - i was lost in this story. It's too bad i won't (and other readers!) get the next installment and find out what happens to Margaret's sister and if they find her brother.
I compel you to read this book - it's beautiful!

From RITA Award winner Kathleen Givens comes a magnificently conceived, intricately detailed novel that brings to vivid life the tumult, adventure, and passion of thirteenth-century Scotland, when Norse invaders laid claim to the land and its people-and an explosive clash of cultures, politics and personal pride changed the world forever.
1263: On Scotland’s western shore, the village of Somerstrath prepares for the joyous wedding of Margaret MacDonald, the laird’s daughter. But a dark storm of bloodshed and betrayal is closing in, as a merciless band of Vikings roams the seas. Margaret is determined to hold her clan together and to locate her abducted younger brother. Can she trust the noblemen from King Alexander’s court, who insist that only by adhering to a betrothal conceived for political gain will she find safety? Or should she trust an imposing half-Irish, half-Norse warrior? Gannon MacMagnus alone offers her hope of reuniting her family and vanquishing the barbarous Norsemen. In whom should Margaret entrust the fate of the rugged, magnificent land she calls home?