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.