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

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.
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 ;)