Monday, 22 November 2010

Seduced by Single Title...

It's just coming on for six weeks since I sent in my first chapter of the burlesque book to be looked at by the lovely editor at M&B, and no news yet. Early days yet though so am trying no to obsess about it.
Tried Nano and have ducked out early,but it was not my fault. (I can actually hear the laughter from here.)

But seriously, it wasn't, because, Oolala, I've been seduced! I have, I have!

Well, kind of.

It all started with the fabulous 'So You Think You Can Write' event over on eharlequin.

I really wanted to enter a chapter into their '1st chapter & synopsis' with guaranteed feedback, what a golden opportunity.
BUT - you had to have a completed manuscript to sub from, or else be working madly on something to finish it in time, and sadly I fell into neither of those camps.

Not to be deterred, I thought i'd start something brand spanking new, and sat down to brainstorm - I actually had a pencil and paper and everything, lol! My plan was to try to use Nano to write something that would hopefully be up to scratch to sub.
Am glad I did too, as it resulted in a new idea I thought I could work on.

And then came the big old but...

BUT. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that it prob wouldn't work for Harlequin / M&B afterall as it needed to involve some secondary characters quite heavily. I prodded and poked it, but it was no good. It refused to fit.

But I love this story!!! I wailed into my vino & and to the lovely minxy girls, and after gnashing my teeth and moaning for a bit I made the decision to have my first ever bash at writing something different. It's still a romance of course - I love it way too much to leave it. :o)

Have to say it's all quite scary so far. Am enjoying it hugely, but on the flip side am pretty sure it's probably a big pile of crap, and at times I feel a bit rudderless without the parameters of series romance to work within.

So that's me for now.

It's just me and my single title big idea, flapping around together to see if we like each other. Or kill each other. Will report back...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

A minxy scoop!

Head on over to the minxes today for a treat - the lovely Ally Blake has dropped by to talk about romance, writing inspirations and muffins.

Come chat!

Friday, 15 October 2010


Am a happy / terrified girl today as have just pressed send on a first chapter and synopsis sub to M&B.

It's a heavily revised version of my NV entry, which only makes me double nervous and means I will just have to drink more wine to cope with the jitters, lol!

Am really enjoying working on this story, so am just going to crack on with it and cross my fingers hard that i've hit somewhere near the mark.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Chilean miners

Hopefully, by the time I get up and flick on the news in the morning the chilean miners rescue will be well under way - I can't wait to see the images of those men coming out. Crossing everything for a safe recovery.

As a romance writer, hasn't it been creative juices gold? It's the stuff that movies are made of - and they don't even need to embroider the truth. It's been a truly miraculous story of human strength and endurance, with some truly epic moments of high drama along the way. The moment that they read aloud that note from the miners confirming that they were all alive and safe... wow. Just wow.

All of those wives and girlfriends camping on the surface to be close to their men.
Their novel ways to keep the channels of romantic communication open, even under such dire circumstances.
The amazing  bonds of solidarity that have formed between those families waiting around camp fires for their loved ones, and the sometimes explosive and unexpected stories that have dribbled out over the weeks.

I read that at least four of the miners plan to propose when they make it above ground.

A tiny baby girl born with her daddy trapped below.

I also heard about a violent row that erupted on the surface between one of the miners wives and his mistress. Straight away I find myself wondering if they knew of each others existence before the accident happened. How will his time below ground impact on these two women over the next couple of days?

And tonight I saw one of the wife on the news say that hopefully it will have made her husband a more humble man. I hadn't given any thought to the idea of any of the relationships being less than perfect before hearing her speak, but of course they weren't. These are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

How on earth will their relationships fare under the burden of normality?

 Completely fascinating, and a deep, deep well of romantic inspiration.

Friday, 8 October 2010

KOKO cocktail anyone?

So, the news is out over on New Voices, and I didn't make bootcamp.

Am disappointed of course that my entry didn't make the cut, but the numbers were huge and the standard was high.
Huge good luck to everyone going onto round two, and a special fingers crossed for my blog buddy Leah Ashton. Fingers crossed for you! x

Am also sad that alot of other entries I loved didn't make it through either. There were so many outstanding chapters on there, I don't envy the job of the M&B ed's at all.

My personal plan is to revise my chapter before sending it in, but I will confess that i'm feeling Shaky Mcflaky about it.  On the plus side, I was lucky enough to get some terrific advice from Heidi Rice  - thank you Heidi, you rock and it's been a big help. :o)

Anyhoo, the point to this post is to invite you to join me in a highly alcoholic KOKO cocktail (pink, obviously - what other colour for romance writers?) , and then head over to the minxes site to join the after show party...

                                Keep On Keepin' On my friends, 
                                         Keep On Keepin' On.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The wall of fame: Lacey Devlin!

First of all, a huge big blogland THANKYOU to Lacey for being a terrific cheerleader for everyone as we have nervously entered the NV competition. Your badges have prettied up all of our blogs and your blog has helped drive traffic towards our entries - you are officially fabulous.

Is that all there is to say?


Lacey Devlin's entry

If you haven't already, head on over to NV and read lacey's own entry into the competition - it's only an absolute cracker of a chapter.
I totally  love it - it's funny and clever, and sparkles with uniqueness. Totally Lacey, in other words.

Go Girl! Lots of Luck. x

Monday, 13 September 2010

Pass the sick bag...

Because I've just pressed send on my entry into this years Mills & Boon New Voices competition.
And I feel as sick as a dog! No breakfast in this house this morning, that's for sure.
It's called Sequins and Secrets, and it's under the contemporary romance catergory.

I've loved reading as many of the chapters that I can as they've gone on over the last week, it's impossible to try to keep up with them all isn't it? I'm tending to read most of the entries under contemporary romance first, as they are more my bag than paranormals or historicals.
Have to say though, I take my hat off to every single person who has entered because it's no mean feat to put your work out there like this.

I must confess to a few personal faves on there so far. Lorraine Wilson, Rachael Blair & Jackie Coates entries all stand out for me, and not just because I know them from blogland, but because I think they shine.

I'm totally convinced that Simon Cowell is going to pop up and laugh my entry off the stage at any moment!

Might mosey on over to Lacey's place to try and work out how to get myself a shiny New Voices entrant badge. Thank you Lacey, you rock!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Well, that's 24 hrs I can't get back.

My name is Joanne & I'm officially addicted to reading the Mills & Boon New Voices competition entries.

Glaringly obvious note to self: Stop reading, start writing.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Grab your magic wand...

and head over to the minxes of romance for a chin wag about witchcraft.

And possibly other craft related stuff too.....

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Fortune favours the brave

 I'm not an especially brave person, so the idea of entering another Mills & Boon writing competition was always going to make me shudder like the cowardly lion. And if i'm totally honest, I'd sort of decided against it until I got my big old R last week - I guess I was more hopeful than I had grounds to be.

I've been thinking about the New Voices Comp quite a lot since that email hit my in-box. I've mulled it over, chatted about it with clever blog friends and family, and I *think* i've pep talked myself into entering again this year.

First and foremost for me, it's about being part of the experience.
I was extraordinarily fortunate to place last year, and since then i've worked my way through that manuscript to it's eventual end last week. It's been a consuming year of learning by my own mistakes, of discovering a huge passion for writing, and of trying (in vain) to cultivate some much needed patience.

 I have no expectation of any success in this years comp, in fact if anything it's more a case of the opposite.
I am frightened that everyone will hate my sub and wonder how I ever placed previously.
But then that's that pesky lion speaking again isn't it?  I'm trying to push him to the back of my mind and lock him away in a huge metal cage.

The fact is, I want to write for Mills & Boon just about more than I want anything else in the world.

And the other fact is that achieving that dream is damn hard, but then do the things you want in life ever come easy?

 This competition is a truly fabulous way to get your work directly under the nose of the people who can actually make that happen.
It's a chance to develop and grow as a writer, and to get some valuable feedback from both the public and hopefully from an editor too.
How cool is that really?

As a result of last weeks R I'm in the process of preparing a new sub to send in to M&B, so entering the competition offers the otherwise impossible opportunity to have two subs in at the same time.
And that, my friends, is gold dust isn't it?

Someone smart advised me to treat the time as an aspiring romance writer like the worlds longest job interview, and to be successful you have to show commitment & tenacity.
Approach it with a business like attitude.
Give it your absolute best.
In other words - don't make like the lion.
This isn't the time to let nerves or fear of injured pride get in the way.

It's an amazing opportunity, one to grab with both hands.
So slay your lion, gather your courage, and grab, people.

Friday, 6 August 2010

A BIG Thank you

A BIG HUGE MASSIVE Thank you all so much for your lovely words of support and encouragement on my last post. You're all really fabulous buddies, and I know you understand how truly crappy R's feel better than anyone in my rl possibly could.

I've decided that the only way is up, and to that effect I've joined up with the Shirley Jump August workshop rather than sitting on my laurels and letting myself dwell. *Waves to Rach & Susan*

I can't lie, getting that R was pretty horrible. But I've read and re-read the email many times over, and every time it makes a little more sense. In truth, my ms just wasn't up to it.
There's alot more to writing for M&B than having a bit of a flair with words, and I have a heck of alot to learn about the craft before I'm going to be able to hit the mark.
But I'm gonna try to have some faith in myself - I can do this, I'm going to work harder and one day it won't be a rejection.

Cupcakes and champagne are on me, because it would certainly be a much lonelier road without the fantastic shoulders of my blog buddies to lean on. xxx

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Down but not out...

Heard back today on my full ms.
Big old R.
I can't lie, it hurt like... well, like only a rejection can, I guess.

I think i'd worked myself up into hoping for revisions, so to realise I was too far wide of the mark to warrant them was a good old wake up call.

Am feelin' really, really blue.

BUT - it was a really nice email, lots of detail and kind encouragement, and I know that after a couple of days sticking my bottom lip out and feeling sorry for myself, i'll pick myself up and keep on keeping on.

They have said I can send in something new, which is a relief of course and I'm very glad to not have had the door closed, but just for tonight I'm going to drink wine and throw myself a pity party.

Big thank you to the minxy girls for being fabulous shoulders.

Business as usual tomorrow though. When the going gets tough, and all that.


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Not too proud to beg...

I'm doing my intro over on the minxes of romance today, and would love it if you would come and say Hi to stop me from looking like billy no mates.... please? Pretty please with a sparkly cherry on the top? You'll find other much more interesting stuff going on over there too if you stick around...


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The stalker strikes again, and a snippet of news...

Following on from my slightly stalkerish behaviour of looking up M&B HQ on streetmap, I was further thrilled to discover fab pics OF THE INSIDE of the building WITH REAL LIVE PEOPLE in the shots! lol! I am sure it's OK to link for anyone equally eager, it's on the fabuloso Michelle Willinghams facebookfan page.
S'OK... you don't have to admit to being as nerdy/needy as me though. Just swizz down the page a while and you'll find pics...

And the snippet of news - I am now into week 8 since subbing my full manuscript into M&B, and the ed has kindly let me know that it's being read by the Senior Ed and they'll hopefully let me know their thoughts soon.

It was SO good to hear an update, it's really broken up the waiting time to get an idea of what's happening with it. Thank you lovely editor.
I am crossing everything I have to cross and hoping that they think it's worth revisions.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Feeling Minxy!

Exciting news for me!

Thanks to the minx's, I think i'm going to love being part of your merry band!

Too many exclamation marks going on in this post, but I make no apology!!!!!

Friday, 16 July 2010

A book recommendation...

Oh my.

*Fan girl alert*

I generally love all of the releases in the Modern Heat line, but I have just finished one that really was just too gorgeous for words.
It was so beautifully written that it made me sigh with envy, and in return it has inspired me to work harder, to push on and dig deeper into my own characters.  It also perfectly demonstrated to me how you can make familiar plot lines completely fresh and utterly believable if you really think hard enough. Did I say I love it already?
It's a reunion story, so it allows for all of that deep emotion right from the get go, and boy do you get it by the bucket load.

The book in question?

Red-Hot Renegade by Kelly Hunter.
I mean, I always enjoy Kelly's books anyway, but this one... well, I love it best of all.
She's painted the characters so vividly - I fell in love with Jacob and I wanted to be Jianne's best friend, so I think you can safely say that it ticked all the boxes of a perfect romance for me.

Five stars and then some from me, it's a keeper on my book shelf.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Cyber Shinies Anyone?

I know a few of us have chatted about this on the Mills & Boon forum, and it's way too much fun not to share it around... with many thanks to Michelle Styles for letting us in on the system...

All Hail the Silver Bucket!!!

Clutch it in case you're sick on those days when the nerves get too much, or chill your champagne in it if you're feeling super positive.

Free gifts for anyone who's NTAI, and here's the deal - the longer you wait, the more bling you get.
OK - it's not going to make waiting suddenly simple, but it sure will make it shinier.

I'm currently sporting a sterling silver bucket with a shiny red garnet, and have to say i'm really rather taken with it.

Come help yourselves to your own bling...

These are the cyber charms you can collect and put on your own personal cyber bucket...
For sending off a partial: you get a silver plated bucket
For sending off a full: you get a sterling silver bucket
For sending off revisions of a full: you a solid silver bucket with your name engraved.
Get a request for revisions, you get:
1 carat pair of diamond studs in your choice of cut
Each completed month you wait for a response earns you the following book charms with gems to add to your bucket in them:
1 month = Garnet.        7 months = Ruby.
2 months =Amethyst.      8 months = Peridot
3 months = Aquamarine   9 months = Sapphire
4 months = Diamond         10 months= Opal
5 months = Emerald     11 months= Topaz
6 months = Pearl        1 year = Zircon
For every year you add behind a month, you add a carat.
For every Rejection:
Rejection of Partial—Gold Mourning Ring
Rejection of Full------Platnium Mourning Ring
For Lost Articles :
Lost query: pearl earrings
Lost manuscript: ruby earrings and matching ring

Shinies make the world go round. :o)


Thursday, 1 July 2010

New hero love

I have been unfaithful.
Get your coat Jack, i've moved on and fallen in love with my new hero. *swoon*.

I'm glad actually, as I wasn't sure how to detach myself from my first couple, but in actual fact it isn't that hard once you get teeth into two brand new characters is it?
I took a week or two writing break after pressing send on my full submission, and am now getting back in the saddle again with two completely different characters.We are still very much at the getting to know each other stage, and i'm looking forward to putting them through their paces over the next few weeks.
Brace yourselves Connor & Annie, i'm coming to get you!

I've just hit the one month mark since subbing my full, and I have to confess to finding the wait, totally agonising.
I know a month is nothing in relative terms.
I know a month is a drop in the ocean.
I know I have to just keep on keeping on.
No news is good news I guess, and on the bright side, at least I haven't had bad news.

Self indulgent grumble over. :o)

Friday, 25 June 2010

Five years ago today...

was my wedding day. *wistful sigh*

So i'm going to have an unashamed swoon over my very own handsome hero, who makes me every bit as happy as the lucky heroines between the pages of a Mills & Boon romance.
He's been in Austria for a few days and I have been ridiculously bereft and lonely - but he gets home tonight so all is well with the world.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Obsessive? Me? never...

Not much anyway. :o)

I was looking up an address on google maps earlier, and found myself then checking out where the Mills and Boon HQ is in Richmond, and then, oh the joy - it's been streetmapped! You can actually move the little yellow man thingy and see the building!!
I spent a few happy minutes twizzling the camera up and down the street and looking at the building from one side and then the other - I am easily amused, obviously.
Have to admit to being a smidge (unreasonably) disappointed at the lack of glamour though, think I expected more razzmatazz and roses-around-the-door romance to exude from it.
I did get a little thrill when I read the door plate though. It exists! And my manuscript is in there, albeit virtually...

Have painted my nails bright blue today to stop myself from biting them. Thank you Michelle. x

Friday, 11 June 2010

It's away!

I only went and blummin' finished it!!

My full manuscript is now in the hands of the gods, or the editor as she is otherwise known.

I have NO idea what she's going to make of it, and at just one week into the wait I of course already have no nails left at all, have convinced myself that it was utter rubbish, and think she's just trying to decide how to say that tactfully.

This is my first manuscript, and the thrill of typing THE END was... well, it was a total champagne moment. Just knowing that I can write something of the required length has been a big thing to me, I had no idea if I could, and now I KNOW I can. Regardless of the fact it might be terrible, I can still write a full manuscript. And if I can do one, then hopefully I can do it again, right?

I haven't dared read it again since sending it, because I know i'll find errors straight away and think of other ways I should have done things. So it will remain closed until I hear back, and I'm going to crack on with a new story in the mean time to stop myself from going slowly crazy. Who am I kidding? Please tell me it's normal to think of nothing else once you've pressed send?

Sad admission coming up. I miss my hero. *sigh*
I love love loved writing the HEA, again my first chance to have a go at it, and isn't it just the loveliest thing ever? It gave me a proper afterglow of rosy contentment, I was mooning over Jack and sighing with happiness. I was good for nothing!

Better go, I haven't chewed my nails in at least five minutes...

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Mad with myself.

My deadline is two days away and i'm not going to make it.

I know it was a self imposed deadline and no one is depending on me, but I am just so narked with myself. I'm going to drop the Ed a line this morning and explain, but I desperately wanted to turn it in on time - kind of show them that I could do it, you know?

Why has this happened? Well, life just got in the way. A couple of completely unexpected things took up alot of my time and head space last week, resulting in my writing time disintegrating before my very eyes.

I have one chapter left to write and then the edits to do, which hopefully shouldn't be too arduous as I tend to edit alot as I go along anyway, so I'm planning to ask if next Friday would be OK rather than this one.
I've been beating myself up about this since the weekend, and have been debating between writing like the clappers and rushing it in on time, or taking the extra week to polish it until it's the best I can make it.
Ultimately though, I know in my heart that I wouldn't feel happy pressing send unless it was my best attempt - that has to be the most important think doesn't it?

I just hope that it doesn't make me look flaky. :o(

On the positive side, I am pretty pleased with the way it's shaped up, despite the fact that I think it may be a little heavy on the, erm, sauce.
Am feeling a bit wrung out right now as have just written the most emotional scenes, I actually ended up crying with them at about midnight last night. That's normal too though.. right? I tell ya something - I'm really looking forward to finally giving these two their HEA, because they sure have worked hard for it.

Lastly, a question. This is my first full manuscript, and my head seems to have been stuck in Jack & Nancy's world permanently for months... and *nervous cough*... I sort of really like it there.
Is it easy to detach yourself at the end? I imagine i'll find myself wondering what happened to them after I leave them to it.

I don't suppose I get visitation rights do I? lol!

Monday, 17 May 2010

How much is too much?

I'm having serious trouble keeping Jack & Nancy out of the bedroom. Or the kitchen, or the bathroom for that matter - they just can't keep their hands off each other and it's got me thinking about how much sex should be included for a MH submission. Is there an unofficial guideline?

(I mean... come on! These two were getting steamy in a lift within ten minutes of first clapping eyes on each other, so what hope have I got of controlling them?)

I understand a bit better know what people mean when they talk about the characters taking over and leading the way, because these two are pretty dominant over me right now.
However, I'm pretty sure that it might be having a detrimental effect on the conflict aspect of the story, and that's obviously a big concern. I've tried to weave in their individual inner conflict within the story so each characters motivations are clear to the reader, but as far as Jack and Nancy go, well, they haven't actually revealed much of this stuff to each other until at least 40,000 words in.
My fear is that in not doing so, they have a bit of a 2d holiday romance going on, and not enough obvious conflict between them on the page. Have I made a soggy middle? Do I have to make them battle more?
I think this comes down to learning more about the craft of romance writing, I am really in at the deep end here and floundering a bit. Please don't let me drown!

Anyway, going back to the original question... is there such a thing as too much sex?

I currently have five sex scenes in my wip, ranging from a skipped over half page descriptions to quite lengthy episodes. The thing is though, I've considered them within the story and they all feel necessary. But if they take up too much of my word count, am I not leaving enough room to really develop the emotional side of the story too?


Monday, 10 May 2010

One step forward, two steps back...

I'm currently working on the requested full for Shoes, Lies & Videotape, and I'm really frustrating myself, but on the good side I'm learning alot as I go along. My word count currently stands at just over 30,000, which leaves me 18 days to complete it, edit it, and submit it. *gulp*

I have spent time worrying about the fact that I seem to be someone who writes slowly, but then I tend to edit quite heavily as I go along, rather than being able to get a rough draft down quickly and then go to work on it. I suspect I'm probably doing that wrong way around, but I don't think I could do it the other way so I'm going with it.

I also fret that people will think I should have written the whole thing before subbing an entry into the competition, or at least have written it in the interim. But then I'd never written any romance at all before entering the competition, so had no clue ( and still have very little!). I wanted to wait to chat with the editors once i'd placed to see how they wanted me to progress, and actually I'm glad I did in retrospect, because such alot changed from my original premise as a result of that call.
Then it was onto resubbing a revised synopsis and waiting, resubbing the partial and waiting, resubbing the revised partial and waiting again...and being kind of paralysed with fear in each interim waiting period in case i'd got it horribly wrong and not writing anymore until I had confirmation from them that I should. I've been incredibly lucky that my waiting times so far have been tiny, but still I should probably have written more during them. It's a learning curve I guess, I've kind of needed my hand holding throughout because this is all very new to me.

Anyway - the one step forward and two steps back thing. Over the last couple of days I've written myself into a corner, and have really struggled with a particular scene. I've written it from one pov, then tried it from the other, but still it just wasn't clicking into place for me. I sat down with it this afternoon thoroughly disheartened, and finally realised exactly what I needed to do with it.
D.E.L.E.T.E the damn thing!
If I was finding it such an uphill struggle to write, I'm pretty sure other people would find it an uphill struggle to read. And then go and do something less boring instead. ( see what I did there? Anyone of a certain age in the UK will be singing the theme tune to a certain kids TV show from the 70's...)
Deleting it was liberating, and I love it so much better the new way. I am back to enjoying writing it again, which has to be good, right? I've kind of concluded from this episode that I'll listen to my gut instinct earlier - if it's just not going right, then there is a reason for that.

18 days isn't very long is it? I shouldn't be here!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Happy days!

Hooray Hooray Hooray!

Email in my inbox today from HM&B. Cue HUGE churn of stomach and a few deep breaths before letting myself click on it. For some reason I had to clear the room before I could read it, had to send the kids into the garden and flap around for a second before opening it.

Anyway, the lovely editor gave me positive feedback on my partial, and a request for the full manuscript. :o)

Feeling ridiculously happy - top of the world in fact!

I need to email back a rough completion date, and then get my head well and truly down.

Might just have a little glass of celebratory vino tonight first though... :o)


Thursday, 8 April 2010

Erm... Maisey? HELP!

My send finger is twitching!

How do you all do it? I seriously need to cultivate some patience, I am compulsively checking my inbox for a response about my partial, or else I am wondering if it's too soon to check again after the last time!

It's only been a laughable 8 days!!!! And four of those were frickin holiday days!!

Note to self:- GET A GRIP.

Cyber slaps required please, & distraction suggestions too. I am thinking chocolate & vodka? And write, write, write. Even that is loads harder with the kids at home though, and they are off for another eleven days.

It's too early for wine here, so am going to eat my own weight in chocolate over the course of the afternoon - and that would be no mean feat, let me tell ya!!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Back to biting my nails...

I've just pressed send on my revised partial, and feel a bit giddy already!

Email pinged back right back in to say thanks and they'll get back to me after the Easter break - please let me cultivate some patience this time around? Someone stop me if I cave in and think about emailing them in a week or so?
I *think* it's much stronger for the revisions, I just desperately hope that they feel the same over in Richmond.
I'm looking forward to the Easter hols - what's not to love about a house full of chocolate? I Especially love the part when the kids are in bed and I can launch a stealth attack on their egg supply. :o)

Monday, 15 March 2010

I am officially the most impatient person in the world.

After a truly pathetic nine day wait, I caved and emailed to double check when I might hear back about my partial.
I know, I know.
I regretted sending it as soon as I'd pressed the button, but it's too late then isn't it?

Thankfully though, they kindly humoured me and sent me some feedback without passing go - although given my email,they probably thought I was about to shove my head in the gas oven and didn't want my over dramatic death laid at their door! :o)

Anyhoo, I have work to do. They said really nice things about the newly revised chapter 1, it's much stronger for losing the child from the plot. Chapters 2 & 3 need work to make them more pacey, and ensure that the tension & sizzle stays as apparent as it is in the opening chapter.
All of the comments make perfect sense, and I can see just what they mean and want me to do to strengthen and tighten it up... am feeling nervous about it though as I've made a start and seem to be stumbling around a bit.
They suggested that I try and relax and have fun with it, so I'm consciously trying to do exactly that, and in doing so I've discovered a neat new trick.
Brace yourselves!
I'm generally barefoot when I'm at home, and usually curl my legs underneath me when I'm writing. But not anymore, ooooh no. In an effort to channel my inner sex kitten (!), I now put on my best high heels especially to write. And even more bizarrely, I think it's having a positive effect!
( Note to self: don't even THINK about getting a feather boa.. )

So, the next week or two will mostly find me editing in my stilettos, and then re-subbing and praying for more patience next time around.

Monday, 8 March 2010

The waiting is the worst bit isn't it?

My partial for Shoes, Lies & Video Tape went in last week - hooray!

I'm already obsessing about it of course, and even though I know I'm being unreasonable I want a reply RIGHT NOW!!!! :o)

I enjoyed writing it for the most part,especially the sexy dinner scene I mentioned in my last post. Who knew figs were so outrageously erotic?!
It's very hard not knowing what they think over at Mills & Boon, I'm dying to know if I am going in the right direction or if I need to back up and try again.
I'm just kind of plugging my fingers in my ears and carrying on with the rest of it in the mean time, it's the only thing to do really isn't it?

My birthday came and went in a happy fizz of vino, flowers and pretty notebooks. Also a thesaurus - much appreciated as my current wip involves far too much 'murmuring' and 'amusement'.
There's more words! Note to self: USE THEM!

Also rec'd the last of the Twilight' series of books, which is proving very distracting. I think I ended up on Team Jacob at the end of book 3, but am erring towards Team Edward as I go into this one.
I am all about vampire love at the moment... Mitchell from Being Human (sexiest man on the box)... Edward Cullen... Bill from True Blood... Bite me! Please!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Sexy food!


I'm planning a menu at the moment for my wip, and I need it to to be sexy with a capital S!

My H&H are currently in reluctant agreement not to act on their clear and present sexual chemistry, and are road testing the meal at the request of the chef. I'm going to use it to ramp up the already raging sexual tension between them, so every course needs to be sensual to look at and to eat ( but also believable as a meal you might be served in a swanky restaurant, so no, eating strawberries out of navels is not an option, lol!)

So... what would you serve? I'm thinking of oysters and champagne as a starter, but the main course is stressing me out. Dessert I'm thinking maybe something with fresh figs drizzled with honey.
Help? Any ideas for dishes that are sensual to watch someone else eat?

The partial is ticking along well I think, I've pretty much written the draught apart from this scene. Then obviously it'll need heavy editing before sending in, but should be good to go before the deadline of the end of the month.

It's tricker this week to find writing time though as it's half term and I have the tiny terrors under my feet all day, plus the weather's rubbish so we're all going slightly stir crazy. I've got a three year old drama king who's all about the temper tantrums at the moment, and a six year old professional wind up merchant who delights in riling him. Not a good combination, they've yet to agree on anything today. Bolt or Ice age 3? Dinosaurs or train tracks? Spaghetti or penne pasta for dinner? One wants one, one wants the other, and it ALWAYS ends up with shouting from the tiny but mighty one. It's about three hours until I can pour a glass of wine, not that I'm watching the clock or anything... I love them, but roll on Monday!

Valentines day was unexpectedly nice chez moi - heart shaped toast and jam in bed with a copy of the OK magazine. We know how to live in our house, haha!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Full steam ahead

I've had word back from M & B - it's a green light for the revised plot, with some cautionary notes to think about as I go along. Phew! I'm really glad, as I didn't actually have a plan C!
One of the things i'm mulling over at the mo is time scales. How long a period is realistic for two love-allergic people to do a complete about turn and reach their HEA? My original synopsis kind of tied it all up within six weeks, but would that actually happen in real life? I'm not so sure.
The shiny new plot removes Jack's late wife & child completely, & allows more scope for sizzle & playfulness, which is good. What isn't so good is that I still want Jack to be wearing a wedding ring in the opening scene, so he's needs to have / had a wife. I'm currently going with recently divorced rather than killing her off, although I may change my mind and lop off her head with helicopter blades if I get desperate! One to try and avoid I think.
The Ed's asked for the first three chapters, and we've settled on a deadline of 28th Feb, the day before my birthday. :o) Although in actual fact it's not my birthday, as my real birthday is the 29th Feb, but it's as good as it gets for me most years.
That's not long away is it? I am full of nerves about it, the reality of what an extraordinary opportunity this is is setting in and I so don't want to blow it.
T - 25 days and counting...

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


My chapters up on iheartpresents
(if anyone can tell me how to replace that ridiculously long link with a word i'd be very glad - i'm SO bad with computers it's embarrassing.)
It feels really odd to see my words on there! It's completely nerve wracking wondering what people will make of it.

No word back yet on my revisions, but it's only been a couple of days so that's no shocker is it? I'm too impatient.
I've decided to just carry on writing as if they've said yes and hope for the best.
What's the worst that can happen? They could say no of course, but no writing's a waste is it? ( I think I may have read that over on Jackie Ashenden's blog this morning, it's sooooo right!).

Am off now to chew my nails....

Monday, 25 January 2010


Well, i've sent in my plot revision plan for Jack & Nancy, so i'm playing the waiting game now to hear if they like what they see. I have my fingers and toes crossed, I actually prefer it the new way - it has more potential for  sizzle. :0)

I also got notified that my chapter & feedback should be on iheartpresents one of the days this week. Nervous? me? You betcha!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Back to the casting couch...

Oh the drama.
Having cast Jack & Nancy, i'm now going to throw a hollywood strop and sack Jack.
He is indeed one gorgeous specimen, but his youthful good looks are causing me angst!
He may be mid 30's in real life, but  he doesn't look it does he? And his role as clean living farm boy turned rookie reporter as Clark Kent keeps rearing it's ugly head - he's just not grubby enough to say the lines I need him to say. :o)
Sorry Smallville,  get your coat.

I'm therefore handing over the role of Jack into a more authoritative pair of hands - not to mention all together more wicked...

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Jack & Nancy

One of the perks of writing romance is definitely getting to play casting director isn't it?

It's like making your own movie, but taking all of the associated jobs on yourself - writer, producer, editor, director, head of casting - everything but starring in it and bagging the hero yourself in actual fact! There's something not quite right there surely?

My wip at the moment stars Jack & Nancy, and i've finally settled on my castings for the main roles. ;O)

Actually Nancy has been pretty much sorted since day one, she's fiesty & modern, and in my minds eye she is very similar in looks and personality to the character of Lois Lane in Smallville, as played by Erica Durance.
Finding Jack was trickier. I knew he was dark haired and sexy, with a glint of humour. I have trawled through loads of men ( tough job, one best done without my husband and children to distract me) and although many were goooood, none were pefect for Nancy.

It then struck me why I was struggling - because he was right under my nose all of the time!

I'm a smallville fan of epic proportions anyway, and honestly, who can out alpha a bone fide superhero? No one, or  at least not for me in the case of Jack & Nancy. I'm going more with the image than the actual character in his case though, as as Clark Kent he's not nearly alpha enough.
I've tried to nail in my head who my perfect alpha male character would be, and the closest I can get is a divine cross between Sawyer from Lost ( too hot to actually live), David Duchovny in Californication, and Gene hunt in Ashes to Ashes... although I realise i'm probably alone on that last one.

Having now settled on Jack & Nancy, the gorgeous thing is I can easily find images of them together, and today I found I can even watch little montages of their romance set to music on youtube... is that taking things too far? I am thinking probably.....erm, yes?

Another good thing about going with these two is that i've watched their frustrated would-be romance blossom and can really feel the tension & chemistry sizzling between them, so it's easy for me to transfer that emotion over to my own characters.

I have no idea if this is a bad move or not - is it usual to choose characters you've seen work as a couple on screen in the past, or is there a danger it might have an influence on your writing? I'm hoping not?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

So...the call

I'm happy to report that 'the call' happened as planned today, and they were lovely & chatty, not anywhere near as scary as I'd imagined . :o)

There was a lot of positives to draw on, they said they feel that my chapter hit the sassy tone of MH well, and that my voice is contemporary & sparkled with a unique & sexy style.
I reckon I could actually  die a happy girl after that!

There are necessary revisions though, and loads of things to think about going forward. The main concern is that my story includes a child, which they feel is an incredibly tricky thing to pull off.
I have to say that I can totally see what they mean - i've been finding exactly that as I've progressed on from where chapter one left off. It's an accomplished skill to be able to write in a child without allowing them to take up very much of the word count or get in the way of spontaneous action - def something to leave for later down the line in hind sight.
We discussed options to move the story forward, and i'm going to think on it to see if there's a way I can make the premise work without the child in it. It's quite tricky as lots of the emotional conflict hinges around the fact that my hero is a widower, and without that in the mix a lot of the fundamental elements of the plot have to go too. It's not impossible, but the fear is that in changing the scenario too much I might end up losing the spark that's there now, and I don't want to force the characters to fit the plot.  The alternative option is to shelve it for now and do something completely different, which thankfully they've said they'd happily read. As I said, loads to mull over.
I'm hopeful that I'll  find a way to make it work for Jack & Nancy though, as I'm fond of them and would love to finish writing their story.
On the phone today they encouraged me to really push the boundaries, so that's the plan i'm gonna go with... stand well back! :o)

Thursday, 7 January 2010

D-Day...or should that be C Day?

Today was call day, 1.30pm, perfectly planned for kids at school and nursery, husband at work, TV off...I was good to go.  

I sat there, nice cuppa on the table, all ready with hard copy of my chapter and synopsis, brand new christmas note pad cracked open in honour of the occasion, pen lid off, phone next to me on the sofa.  
Picked up the laptop and put it down in case I couldn't put it down fast enough when the phone rang. Drank some tea. 
Double & triple checked the telephone to make sure it was actually working. Drank more tea. 
Picked up the laptop again and checked i'd sent the right tel number in with my comp entry, put the laptop back down again. 
Sat in silence chewing my lip. Doodled in new pad. Finished tea. 
Picked up laptop and emailed husband in a faff - should I email Kim? Desperate for a wee but didn't want to go in case phone went.  
Couldn't wait (pelvic floor not what it was, have given birth to two children!) so dashed upstairs and of course the bloody phone rang - bit head off cold caller - GET OFF MY RUDDY LINE!!!! 
3pm, gave up and sent friendly email to advise I was going out to get the boys from school.
And so far, no reply. 

I am guessing that Kim's most probably struggling with weather related complications, as only yesterday she confirmed that we were still good for this afternoon. We've had power cuts here intermittently this evening, so I'd not be at all surprised if it's been as bad and probably far worse down there. I'm completely sure that if she could have been in touch then she would have been, even if only to re arrange.
So I'll be having a fortifying brandy in a minute, and hoping all's well down in Surrey. It'll happen soon enough i'm sure, and strangely I feel less nervous about it after the anti climax of today.
I think I've peaked in the panic stakes!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

And then he kissed her...

Whilst sorting out in the bedroom yesterday, I came across this (very dusty!) cassette from Mills & Boon. Good old amazon have it listed, although well out of stock and never to return - I should think it was long out of production before the internet was even dreamt up.  The issue date on the back of it is 1986, when I would have been the grand old age of 14. I can still remember sending off for it with a stamped addressed envelope, and the excitement of receiving it, along with the long since lost booklet of hints and tips. I don't know quite what I expected to write about back then, as thinking back i'd barely kissed my first boyfriend at that age! I guess I knew a bit about unrequited love though...
It's fair to say the cassette is quite (very) outdated now, but it reminded me of just how long i've dreamt of trying to write for Mills & Boon, and makes me wonder why it's taken me around 23 years to feel able to properly try. I am guessing that it's similar for everyone who wants to write romance, it's been in our blood ever since reading our very first M&B.
Maybe I just didn't know enough about having my heart broken back then - gawd knows I do now.
Or maybe I needed to meet my own real life hero to know how life changing that can be, and thankfully  I can tick that box too now.
Am I older and wiser? Older for sure! The mirror tells me that every day - where did all of these sodding wrinkles come from? I need a soft focus mirror. (Do they even exist? I am going to apply to Dragons Den, this could be the BIG one!) At least being plumper means that my face is filled out a bit though, I hate to think what would happen if any of my attempts at dieting actually worked.
Not that that's likely at the moment, seeing as we are awash with tins of Roses & other christmas chocolates.
I went to bed just after midnight last night, and do you know what I took with me? 6 After Eights, and the last glass of fizzy wine from the bottle we'd just sunk whilst watching Harry Potter and the half blood prince on DVD. I propped myself up on the pillows and happily started the 3rd book in the No.1 ladies detective agency series which Santa thoughtfully provided, sipping vino and nibbling chocolate. It must be the holidays!
We're wringing the last drops of festivities out of today before getting back to the business of normal life tomorrow. We were saying last night that it's been one of the best Christmases we can remember, not that we have been anywhere special or out of the ordinary. It's just felt kind of like being on vacation in our own home, all of our worries were officially suspended whilst we ate, drank and played with the kids.
Plenty of time for reality next week, along with ALOT of clearing up, and the small (huge!) matter of a chat with Kim from Mills & Boon.... just 23 years later than originally planned.