Latest news from Australian romance author Ally Blake, writer of fun, fresh flirty romance novels.
Wednesday, 28 June 2006
In celebration of receiving my next book in my hot little hands, my website and blog have been given a facelift! New design, new colours, tonnes of new author links, as well as the crowd favourites including excerpts from all of my books, monthly news updates, and links to old blog posts. for writers
My website has some new pages too. I have added a couple of writing articles, including one about the Changing Face of Romance which I gave at a literary festival earlier this year. In the article I talk about the influence of popular culture, and changes in society on contemporary romance trends.
I also have new pages all about the two faces of Australia; the city, which is all about my beautiful home town of Melbourne, and the country, which is all about the many faces of the Australian outback, both of which feature highly in all of my books. WANTED: OUTBACK WIFE, is a mix of the two, with a little bit of London thrown in for good measure. To find out how this book came to be, check out the story notes page.
Here's a little teaser about the book:
Londoner Jodie Simpson needs to land a Melbourne husband - and quick. But can she and her friends pull this off with only six weeks until her working visa runs out?
Can they ever! Suddenly this shy British girl finds herself with a plethora of males willing to be the other half of her two year marriage deal including her neighbour Scott who has a penchant for mesh shirts, Barnaby the visual merchandiser whose favourite gay bar is just around the corner from her apartment, or the funeral director with the gravity defying Adam's apple.
Of course, even though he lives in the Outback, miles from her adopted city, has more brothers and sisters than she has family in the whole world, and he makes her feel like this project could last more than the allotted two years, there is always Heath Jameson...
My lovely little worm on the right hand side of my blog will sadly remain unfed for the new few days while I tackle revisions on my tenth book, working title: "Sunsets Over Sorrento".
I love revisions. Adore them. As an author without a critique partner, or a reader, or a husband who I let near my books unless it's to name the hero's pet, the first reading by my editor is always the first time anyone other than me has seen a single word of my new book. It's thrilling and terrifying both, waiting to hear what she thinks. Especially since having been immersed deeply in a book for the better part of three months, I often wonder how the thing can make any sense to anyone but me at all!
For an author knows soooo much more about the book than what's on the page. The author may know things like the heroine's nickname in school, her favourite song, the colour of her bedroom walls, whether of not she gets PMT, what her laughter sounds like, and what her tears taste like and though none of these things may make it into the end product, the flavour permeates. Does it permeate enough? Are there references made to such intricacies which then make no sense because noone else knows the background, and the backstory?
To me this is the wonder and the magic of writing a book. I don't have one clue how someone is able to grapple 55,000 words into some semblance of a tale that when read feels like it was written in one long stream of consciousness. About heroines readers want to gab with and heroes they fall in love with. Characters who resonate and grab a reader so hard they think about them long after a book has been closed for the final time. It amazes me. And thrills me. And makes me have to pinch myself that again and again I am being given the chance to try to do all of the above.
So off I head, into the mist once more to meet with a guarded soul-weary artist named Maggie, and Tom, the most gorgeous handyman I've ever come to know. Over the next week I will tug the leash a little tighter on my character's forward motion, be a tad more ruthless with their bevy of conflicts, cruelly not allow them to fall for one another not quite as quickly as I fell for the both of them and immerse myself in the sights, sounds and scents of Sorrento, a quaint wealthy little beachside community at the tip of the Mornington Peninsula...
Okay, so I am officially exhausted. My eyes are like lumps of ash and I feel ever so slightly sick to the stomach.
But that's what comes from getting up at four in the morning to watch Australia come from behind, twice, to draw 2 all with Croatia and land ourselves a place in the round of sixteen in the Soccer World Cup!!!
For those of you not living and breathing every second of it as some of us are, this is Australia's second only appearance in Soccer's greatest tournament, the last being in 1974 when we lost all three games in the groups round and didn't score a goal.
And next we play Italy! It couldn't be a better choice of team. Melbourne has a huuuge Italian base, my husband's family are Italian, and I have heaps of Italia soccer gear that I wear around the house. Federation Square in the middle of town will be packed come Tuesday at 12:30, and yes that's a half hour after midnight. Lygon Street, a strip of restuarants in the inner city suburb of Carlton which has a large Italian population will be insane. Think blue streamers, flares, yobbos in their hoon cars trawling the strip and making a lot of noise!
But come Tuesday this household will be up barracking loudly for the Socceroos in their green and gold!
The 30th of June looms. It's scary how fast the months are flying by. And faster they fly every year as well! So what does the mid-year mean to you?
For me the end of June means tax time. Grey's Anatomy is back on TV which gives me a weekly dose of McDreamy, but the repeat of Cracker is finished and that can only mean the class level of television has on average dropped. I have sold one book, finished writing another and am halfway through a third. My nephew Lachlan turns one. It's so cold it's harder to get out of bed everyday. Our grocery bags are filled with mandarins rather than stonefruit, and echinacea rather than sunscreen.
It also means the mid-season break in the AFL competition. I have been spoilt rotten yet again, being asked to write a mid-season review for my fave team, the Collingwood Magpies. If you want a look see, head on over to their website.
One more reason why the middle of the year is on my mind is that in a few short days I will be turning a year older. Though it will make me an even age which always feels better, brigher, more hopeful. The odd years seem to disappear for me into some kind of void, but the even years just shine. So the last six months of this year I will in an even year and an eve age which makes me so excited.
Firstly we travelled to beautiful Townsville. I had such a ball catching up with my gorgeous sister Suze and her fabulous boyfriend Luke. Hi guys! (See Luke, I mentioned you too!)
We drove the length and breadth of Townsville, a wide flat city surrounded by hills and bordered by beach and overlooking the lovely Magnetic Island. Located in North Queensland, the lowest temperature there at the moment is hotter than the highs in Melbourne! Think mid-20 degrees and sunny every day. Hmmm...
We had lunch and Coronas in the sunshine at the C Bar on The Strand. Dinner at Mo-Mos on a fantastic restaurant strip in town. Coffee at inumerable cafes throughout town. Watched the North Queensland Cowboys lose on a hot night at the football. Headed up to the lookout at Castle Hill to overlook the surrounding region. Walked the landscaped beauty of Ross River with their crazy dog Eddie. And chatted up a storm.
Not a bad way to spend a weekend!
Then we headed to Brissy to catch up with our families. My hubby and I got to play with our nephew and godson Lachlan, a big healthy happy boy who turns one in a week. I had a girly shopping day with my mum, and spent an entire day watching The West Wing on DVD. We also had to watch my footy team lose on a big screen TV and try our best not to blame ourselves for not being back in Melbourne to cheer them on ;).
"The Break Up" - bawled, laughed, cringed at the scenes which sounded like they'd come straight out of my life! "Must Love Dogs" - funny, sweet, and with Diane Lane and John Cusack you can't go wrong "The Upside of Anger" - hated it, enuff said!! "Eurotrip" - funny! silly! crazy! good value!
Add to that many hours of The West Wing with Mum and Coupling which Suze and Luke bought for me as a pressie! What a gorgeous show. Have any of you watched it before? Brit. Sassy. Hilarious.
BOOKS READ: "Wife and Mother Wanted" by Nicola Marsh and "Millionaire Dad: Wife Needed" by Natasha Oakley. Both lovely books with such strong voices by two fabulous authors. I wanted more the minute I put them both down. Next girls, please!
Now I'm back, I have a book to finish, an article for the Collingwood website to string together, and a website to update. Busy busy! I have the feeling by the end of the weekend I'll be planning my next break!
I've managed to cut it back down to a much more manageable 56500, which is still too long, but my kindly editor was half expecting an epic anyway! Now I can only hope that I will stop dreaming about Tom and Maggie.
Now I'll be sitting on my laptop all morning trying to buy Robbie Williams tickets, before heading off to morning tea with a couple of friends! Then home to sleep for the next year I think.
Fiona Lowe, newbie author about to be published through Harlequin Medicals had a wonderful experience recently of which I will be eternally jealous!
Fiona was able to watch the actual printing of her very first book PREGNANT ON ARRIVAL. How cool is that???
If you'd like to see how it's done, head on over to Fiona's website where she has written a fantastic blurb about how it all works with a heap of fabulous pictures to show off the process. Wonderful stuff!