Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

Latest news from Australian romance author Ally Blake, writer of fun, fresh flirty romance novels.

Monday 31 July 2006

winners and grinners

Halrequin Romance has taken out two of the most coveted awards for romance writing in the world - at the RITAs!

Marion Lennox won the Best Traditional category with Princess of Convenience, and Liz Fielding won the Best Short Contemporary category for The Marriage Miracle.

Congrats ladies. I am pleased as punch for you both. And go Harlequin Romance!!!

Friday 28 July 2006

only 14 sleeps to conference

Eek! In between all of those sleeps, I have many many things to do. So many I ought to write a list so I can tick them off once done.

Firstly I must finish a book.

    Today I hit 52,500 words on a proposed 60,000 worder. So this isn’t a big ask. Though I am playing fill in the gaps at the moment which is never and quick and flowy a process as writing straight, fresh, new, who knows where this all will lead prose. Either way, I hereby announce, I will have finished said book by...checking calendar... Saturday the 5th of August.

      Then I must get cracking on another book.

        For it is due six weeks after I get back from conference. I have written about 11,000 words so far on this next Romance, which is about 21%. The percentage sounds higher I reckon, so I might stick with following my progress that way!

        This book is a really tricky friends to lovers story which feels really different from anything I’ve written before which is always a bit nerve-wracking. Especially when my heroine needs knocking down a peg or two, and seems to grow an extra child every time I write more of the book. Argh! But the fact that I am a fair way to in love with the yummy gorgeous sweet and adorable hero here is a good sign that all will be well in the end ;).

          I also have to finalise my tutorial.

            This is close to done, it just needs a final polish. And much of the doneness is thanks to the help of two fabulous women, Modex author Trish Wylie and Presents author Trish Morey who both have given me lots of ideas about what they think make the lines they write for wonderful and unique.

              I have to barrack for my footy team!

                Who won tonight. Yay! I braved the cold and ventured out for the first time in a week to watch Collingwood play - because this is perhaps the second last game I will see them live before the finals. So if my team decided not to win I wouldn't have been at all happy. But they won, and beautifully, for their captain's 250th game for the club, so my remaining cough and sniffles were barely noticed.

                And I also plan to eat, sleep and watch telly as much as humanly possible.

                  Final Desperate Housewives - I can't stand that show but I just have to watch! Grrr.... And now that I finally have joined the rest of human kind and have Broadband!!! who knows if you'll ever be able to pry me off here ;). (So Mum now you can call and I will answer because the phone line will forevermore be free!)

                    Did I mention eek?

                    Wednesday 26 July 2006

                    a must read!

                    While sooking and spluttering all all things horrid the last few days as I have suffered in elegant silence through a rotten flu virus, I at least was able to experience one ray of light.

                    I was spoilt rotten to be one of the first to read a fabulous new book by one of the new Modex authors. WHITE HOT by Harlequin Romance's own Trish Wylie!

                    Trish kindly sent me the book - rather than waiting for me to buy it like I normally would insist upon! - because I am giving a tutorial at next month's Romance Writers of Australia conference, entitled "Sexy vs Sweet - The Ultimate Showdown" in which I will be highlighting the main differences between the Modern/Presents line, the Tender Romance line, and the new Modex line. And I now have a fabulous Modex which beautifully showcases these very differenecs.

                    For readers, WHITE HOT is a sweet, sexy, sassy romp that will have you laughing and clutching at your heart by measures. Finn and Shane are funny, damaged, and thoroughly contemporary and their romance is soooo believable, and so one you can imagine happening between your best friends.

                    And for hopeful writers, it is a brilliant example of writing from the male and female viewpoint while in deep third person POV. Being in Finn's head is such a different place from being in Shane's which is fantastic.

                    And I mean, just look at that cover. But be careful, the more you look, the more you can't stop looking...

                    Saturday 22 July 2006

                    a title by any other name

                    I received confirmation today that my tenth book - the one where Trish Wylie and I fought long and hard over hero rights ;) - will be a June 2007 release and will be entitled BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP. I love the title. Can't you just imagine opening your front door, and oila!

                    Surely it happens. Especially in beautiful Sorrento on the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria where the book is set. Think high brush fences behind which hide vast homes with ornamental tennis courts and architecturally designed swimming pools, all perched atop cliffs with the most beautiful views across the wide flat blue Port Phillip Bay. I mean, if anyone's going to find a billionaire on their doorstep, that'd be the place!

                    Now I am going to hide for a while and nurse my poor aching joints and my cough and my general sookiness as I ride out a cold. :( Shovel down the echinacaea while you can people!

                    Thursday 20 July 2006

                    a piece of cake

                    I can't believe someone has asked me for a recipe!!! Me - who cannot cook to save my life. Well apart from chicken salad and steak burgers and a truly fabulous cheese omelette.

                    Well here it is - Chocolate Cake a la Ally, the cake I make for my own birthday each year:

                      One cup of sugar (I always use a tea cup as I have never owned a measuring cup)

                      One cup of self-raising flour (thought I am too lazy to sift)

                      Two tablespoons of cocoa (again no tablespoon or sifting is involved in my kitchen)

                      Three tablespoons of melted butter

                      Three eggs (try not to get any shell into the mix as you don’t want a crunchy cake)

                      A teaspoon of vanilla essence (but I would make it three capfuls at least!)

                      3/4 cup of milk

                        Whisk using fabulous whisk master which gathers lots of mixture on the spokes to be licked off later. Pour into round cake tin sprayed with non-stick spray AND with a layer of grease paper at bottom so that you don't leave a crumb on the pan at the end. Make sure NOT to scrape all of the mix into the tin so that you can sit in front of the TV watching 'Grey's Anatomy' licking the bowl and the wooden spoon. Cook for 35 minutes in 180 degree oven (not fan bake) or until when you stick a safety pin in it it doesn't come out wet. Take out and turn onto a plate. When cool, lather in whipped cream. And eat.

                        It should turn out looking something like this, though of course this picture was pulled from some fabulous gourmet magazine so I am cheating a fair bit.

                          I'd love to know if it turns out as heavenly for you as it does for me!

                          Book in a week tally for day four: 2400 words

                          Wednesday 19 July 2006

                          book in a week diary: day three

                          Today has been a good writing day.

                          I had a few ideas while pretending to sleep last night ;), so this morning I left the edits behind and ran with the new stuff. New scenes, new conflicts, and I have even written what might be the end scene of the book! So with that almost in the bag, everything in between now has a more clear direction.

                          I am a big one for writing secondary characters, it is often a request from my editor to expand my use of them and I am happy to do so! In this current book my hero and heroine each have a best friend, a foil if you like, characters so different from themselves who show up both their good points and their bad. And I adore these twoso much, especially since they have run away to have an unexpected little romance of their own mid-book! But how could sweet clueless George not fall for a sassy minx like Becky here?

                          So now I am off to see what these two minor characters have been up to while my hero and heroine weren't paying enough attention to them!

                          Word count for day three: 5000 words

                          Monday 17 July 2006

                          book in a week diary: day two

                          A day at home today listening to Stevie Wonder in the background.

                          As usual I gave myself until midday to do as I pleased! Slept in. Answered emails. Played on internet. Gossiping with the fabulous Trish Wylie and Natasha Oakley over the Internet kept me busy for a good half an hour. Then at midday on the dot, or maybe fifteen minutes passed I opened up the word file for my WIP, a sexy romp entitled Alpha, and set to writing up a storm.

                          One thing I adore about my new huge flat screen monitor is being able to open several files at once. I have set it up so that my Word file opens using 2/3 of the screen on the left with my hero and heroine pictures taking up the remainder of the screen on the right. I loooove it! It means I don't have to have a piece of A4 paper sticky-taped to my office wall!

                          Nothing on TV tonight to drag me away, though I am trying very hard not to refill my tub of M&Ms with the 500 gram packet in the cupboard, while my dog sits at my feet lovingly looking desk as even she knows the sound of M&Ms hitting wood. Do you think I can hold out for the night?

                          I am in the midst of reading through what I have already written to up the sexual tension (those two words are even written on a piece of red A4 paper next to my cpmputer), therefore the word count isn't zooming as it would be if I was writing entirely new stuff. So am thrilled with my progress today. Coming up soon is a scene set walking along Southbank so I will get to use all those lovely evocative feelings I had yesterday when lunching in the city. But until then I will continue weaving through hightened tension, and minimising backstory, so that by the time I get to write the "first date" scene these two will be so ready to...kisss, I don't know that even I will be able to stop them!

                          Word count tally day two: 2000 words

                          book in a week diary: day one

                          Today I caught the train into the city.

                          A train trip is a rarity for me. I do it perhaps ten times a year when I meet a gang of authors lovingly known as the Melbourne Mobsters - not to be mistaken for those involved in the recent spate of Gangland killings that have kept this city in a grip of gory anticipation - for a glamorous buffet lunch at the Crown Casino.

                            Walking from beneath the bowels of Flinders Street train station and out into the crisp winter air is always a joy. A moment I relish. A revelation. The slap of the cold air. The feel of the disjointed wood beneath my boots. Passing women in gorgeous Melbourne winter fashion and men in business suits. And best of all the view from the city side of the river to South bank with its slate grey pathways and chunky dark balustrades, and sharp gothic architecture. It reminds me of Gotham.

                            Walking along the foot bridge across the Yarrra always makes me feel like Bridget Jones. With my coat and scarf flapping, walking by myself, head held high somewhere important to go, a great city pulsing beneath my feet...

                              It was so cold today fog shrouded the city. The top of the Rialto Tower had disappeared into the clouds. All the trees have lost their leaves, creating beautiful frames for any view back across the river.

                                So back to the Book In a Week. I took my Alphie on the train. 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back with a train full of noisy school kids. And when I loaded it into my computer? 1800 words! I love Alphie. As does Nicola Marsh who blogged lyrical about him the other day. Nic also let me know that I have a book out in Sweden this month!

                                  Tonight I had to finish setting up my new office, and in between times I watched the Kylie interview on TV as well. What a darling girl she is. So strong yet fragile. Can’t help but love our Kyles... though she did keep me from my word count!

                                    So total for day one came to: 1800 words

                                    a lick of paint

                                    So much for looming deadlines!

                                    When I could have been sitting back on my nice comfy chair, writing about two people falling in love, I spent the whole weekend lugging stuff around instead. (Don't you just love this picture? I adore it! So romantic. They look so like my Alpha hero and heroine at the end of my WIP, though you wouldn't know it the way they are circling one another at the moment;))

                                    Anyhoo, the end point for all the lugging was all good. The lugging was done in order to paint my office (it once was duck egg blue and now is a beautiful pale coffee colour) and set-up - read build from scratch - my new superdesk. (Okay, so I read out the instructions while hubby did the muscle work. And seriously, if he didn't have a degree in Cams and Cam Pins, I don't know that we could have done it!)

                                    I have never before had a superdesk, always relying on my lap in front of the TV, a cheap pretend pine thing in the corner of the loungeroom, or in a spare room of our new house but surrounded by mess and boxes and those horrid duck egg blue walls that were so bright I don't know how I got a single thing done!

                                    But now, as I sit here and chat to you, I have a flat screen monitor, a pullout keyboard thingy, acres of desk space onto which to put my constant mess of very important paper, walls so smooth and clean and soothing I just might cry, and a box marked 'ASDL Internet' which my hubby will set up when he gets home from work. (I can program the DVD recorder with my eyes closed, but computer hardware makes me nervous :))

                                    So this week, as I take part in the Romance Writers of Australia's Book in a Week project, I can only hope that my elegant new surrounds will be conducive to writing the 10000 words I promised myself, and a whole email loop full of people, that I would be able to achieve.


                                    Monday 10 July 2006

                                    two timing

                                    I have just now been given my deadlines for the next few months - first week of August and mid-October. Yes, you're spot on - that's 2 books in 3 months. And for a girl who has been spoilt rotten in being given around 4 months per book to date, this is going to be some ride!

                                    But remember, I am also a girl who loves nothing more than writing two books at the one time. If one is giving me trouble, I simply drop it like a hot potato and move over to the other. In the meantime the first book will continue to stew in the back of my mind.

                                    I am at that happy stage right now with one book at almost 40,000 words and I have a pretty good idea of where it is heading from here on in. And in the last couple of hours I have had an idea for a new book which has taken me by the throat and made me deperate to leave behind all thought of sleep and TV and food - besides M&Ms of course - and just dive right in.
                                    I mean, who wouldn't want to with this guy whispering sweet nothings to them?

                                    Now what the heck am I doing here talking with you good people??? I should be writing!

                                    Saturday 8 July 2006

                                    ten is my new favourite number

                                    I've just received word that my tenth book has sold! My lovely editor said it is her favourite so far, which is such a thrill, especially since I had such a nice feeling all the way along the writing of this one.

                                    First came the day I wrote the opening chapter on the train going to meet a bunch of writing friends for lunch (remember how excited I was, Nic?) with no more to go on than the image of a sexy handyman with a toolbelt slung low on his hips as he slammed the door of his old Ute, not bothering to look it...

                                    Next came a weekend trip to Sorrento, a beautiful beachside town on the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula with my husband, and Maggie's lakehouse morphed into a house on the cliff overlooking Port Phillip Bay.

                                    Then the whole thing came to a grinding halt over the infamous fight over who my Tom would be. I had played with the idea of Jason Bateman (being as I am a total Arrested Development addict), and also Australia's own Tom Williams (winner of the second series of Dancing With the Stars and a hottie to boot) when Trish Wylie showed me a trillion pictures of one Nathan Fillion. It soon became obvious to me that this was my Tom. Trish was not amused, and a public exhange of words ensued, followed by a very tight vote as to whether or not he should be my hero inspiration. In the end, Trish, sweet girl that she is, gave in an allowed me to use several of Nathan's bits. Thanks Trish!

                                    And this was also a book that ballooned out to nearly 65,000 words - copmputer word count. In the end, after revisions, I managed to get it down to 51,300. And now reading it, I have no idea where those extra 13,700 words could have been!

                                    All in all this was a book that surrounded me with a real mood as I wrote it. It is gentle and lilting and deeply lit by the sounds, colours and feel of Sorrento. Think cream sandy beaches, pale blue water, swathes of golden clouds, and stately homes discreetly hidden behind brushwood fences.

                                    Here's a taste test:

                                    A magnificent ten-foot-high wood-carved double front door loomed amidst a shower of hanging ferns that Tom had to slink through as though in a rainforest. The right door was ajar, but guarded by a sizeable old red-brown hound with a great big smiley-face charm with the word ‘Smiley’ written upon it hanging off his thick collar.

                                    ‘Hey, buddy,’ Tom said.

                                    The dog lifted its weary head and blinked at him, its floppy ears and sad expression not changing a lick to show that he felt any pleasure at the unexpected company. This dog suited the name Smiley as much as Robin Hood’s mate Little John suited his.

                                    Tom reached down and gave the poor old soul a rub on the head. ‘Is the lady of the house about?’

                                    Tom smiled to himself. Lady Bryce. That’s what the Barclay sisters, the doyennes of Portsea who ran the local haberdashery, had labelled her because she hadn’t yet felt inclined to frequent their fine establishment.

                                    A sudden crashing noise followed by a seriously unladylike spray of words told Tom that the lady of the house certainly was about.

                                    Not finding any evidence of a doorbell, he stepped over the melancholic guard dog, pushed open the door, and entered.

                                    ‘Hello,’ he called out, but he was met with silence as sudden as the previous verbal spray had been.

                                    He walked further inside the entrance to find himself face to face with a square stain on the wall, evidence that once upon a time a mirror or a picture hung there. Beneath that, a garden bench, which had a mildewed look about as though it had been relegated from outside, was piled high with half opened mail, another fern – this one living its sad bedraggled life in an old ceramic pot - and a bowl filled with small change.

                                    Another curse word, this time softer than the last, caught his hearing and he followed it like a beacon to find himself in a huge main room with sweeping furniture-free wooden floors that could do with a good polish, lit bright by a series of uncurtained ceiling to floor French doors through which he had a thicket-shrouded view of the sun glinting off glorious Port Phillip Bay.

                                    His first thought was that such a great room ought to have been filled with couches, rugs, bookshelves all the way to the ceiling, round side tables and antique lamps. He could see it clearly in his mind’s eye.

                                    First he’d knock out the wall leading into what must have been the kitchen, then polish up the floorboards, and peel back the flaking white paint on the ceiling to find the original colour scheme...

                                    He gave his head one violent shake, and only then realised that the room was not completely empty. The long cream line of a telephone cord snaked across the middle of the room to a large grey drop cloth, buckets of paint, several flat square structures draped in fabric, a rickety old table which held numerous jars of coloured water and different sized paintbrushes, and an easel with one three feet by four feet of tight canvas slathered in various shades of blue.

                                    And in front of it all, wearing no shoes, oft-washed, paint-spattered jeans, a t-shirt that he guessed had at one time been white, and a navy bandana covering most of her biscuit blonde hair was the lady herself.

                                    Tom cleared his throat and called out, ‘Ms Bryce?’

                                    She spun on her heel with such speed paint from her brush splattered across the all-blue canvas.

                                    Tom winced. It was red paint.

                                    ‘Holy heck!’ she blurted in a toned down version of the language he’d heard when he’d first entered the house. Her voice was husky, her high cheekbones pink, and her pale grey eyes accusing, and spectacular as all get out. Well, what do you know, Lady Bryce was a knockout.

                                    Tom wished his cousin Alex was there with him now so he could blow the guy a raspberry and tell him, this is why you never say no to a damsel in distress. In the hopes that one day said damsel would look like Lady Bryce.

                                    ‘Who the hell are you?’ the lady asked, moving her paintbrush free hand to her hip, obviously not nearly as impressed with him as he had been with her. ‘And what are you doing in my house?’

                                    Sigh... I'll miss writing about these two. :( Anyhoo, this makes for a fabulous weekend! Now off I go to write some more of what will hopefully be book number eleven!

                                    Friday 7 July 2006

                                    birthday wishes

                                    Yesterday was my birthday! And boy oh boy did I have a lovely day.

                                    I slept in - good start. Then went to see Superman Returns - which was really lovely. Lovely odes to the original movies and a great sense of pathos a la Bryan Singer who is a fab director. Had lunch out, yummo. Came home to open pressies - including two goooorgeous piccies my hubby bought for me all on his own, without asking my advice, and did he get it exactly spot on or what??? Then made myself a birthday cake -

                                    Okay, now that's not as bad as it seems! For I make the best chocolate cake this side of Jamie Oliver. It's my mum's recipe, and the only recipe, apart from omelette and toast, that I know off by heart. And I must have made it for my birthday more times than not.

                                    Then we spent much of the evening setting up my brand new computer! It has a huge monitor which terrified me at first. I thought I'd go cross-eyed! But within five minutes it made my laptop screen look simply puny.

                                    So here I am happy happy happy, a year - gulp! - older, and sitting at my new computer ready to see what ideas are lokced within it's cords and chips and electronnic bits.

                                    Wednesday 5 July 2006

                                    craft: the dreaded synopsis

                                    Trish Wylie has been blogging about writing synopses, and how they can be your toe in the door to being published.

                                      I for one believe it should be forever more called the dreaded synopsis as I find them soooo hard to do! The very idea brings me out in a cold sweat. Especially since I am a writer who flies into the mist. I usually have the hero's and heroine's names, a couple of pictures of people who I think look a bit like them, and nothing else. I often don't know their occupation, their character type, anything about their families or backgrounds until I start to write. And then that first line from each of their mouths can so often set the tone. So when I am asked to provide an outline of a book in progress, where can I possibly begin?

                                      Well, I had to find a way that works for me. Using the small threads and tiny ideas about what might happen next, and using my strengths - character and setting - I build a world in two pages which hopefully will give my editor enough to go on when deciding if it might be the kind of story she would want to read.

                                      So, I have below the layout that I always use when sending through an outline to my editor. It is for my December Silhouette Romance release A MOTHER FOR HIS DAUGHTER.

                                      You can see it isn't a classic two page stream of consciousness, and I couldn't even make myself call it a synopsis for fear my fingers would simply freeze on the keyboard. And so far I've never been told to do any different!

                                      I have highlighted important notes to hit such as goal, motivation and conflict in colour.

                                        So here goes...

                                          LOVE, ITALIAN STYLE: outline (released as A MOTHER FOR HIS DAUGHTER)


                                            Rome & Tuscany in April/May


                                              With her glossy dark hair and porcelain skin Gracie Lane looks like Snow White; until she opens her mouth! A fabulous flirt who tells it like it is, Gracie spends more time fending off marriage proposals from oil barons than dealing cards in her job as a croupier in Crown Casino's high rollers room.

                                              Luca Siracusa is a gorgeous widower raising a four-year-old girl, Mila, alone in his huge Tuscan villa since his wife’s tragic death a year before.


                                              Gracie’s mother had a brief affair when in Rome years before and Gracie was the end result. Her mum left Italy, remarried and had two blonde Aussie kids and never looked back. After her mother dies in a car crash, Gracie flees to Rome to search out the father she never knew.

                                              On her last dollar and last shred of hope, she stumbles upon a lost little girl, Mila, at the Trevi Fountain. Luca takes her to lunch to thank her for returning his daughter to his arms. Seeing how happy Mila is in her company, how quickly Mila has taken to her, he invites her to his Villa to be his daughter’s English tutor and offers to help her find her father.


                                              Never having felt that she belonged to her family Gracie is looking for a connection, for someone to love her unconditionally as she never felt she was loved by her mother, and she feels like her last hope of finding this is by finding her father. But when she moves into Luca's beautiful home, and is treated with such respect and kindness by his whole family, she finds herself settling into life there all too comfortably. Her search for her father takes a back seat to her growing feelings for Luca. This gives her a wake up call as the last thing she wants is to repeat the same mistake her mother made.

                                              Luca wants only what is best for Mila. He adores his little girl, but his relationship with her mother had never been built on trust and he still carries those scars. Yet everything Gracie does effortlessly earns this trust. She is fun, fresh, feisty and treats Mila firmly yet fairly, where he hasn't been able to stop from simply spoiling her rotten. Can he fall for a woman who is has every intention of leaving as soon as her father is found? When it will only break his daughter’s heart to have another mother figure leave?

                                              Or would it solve all their problems if he made her an offer she can’t refuse, a way for her to stay and a way for him to give Mila the continutiy she needs? A marriage proposal...

                                              KEY SCENES:...

                                              • Gracie leaps into the river to save Mila's toy horse from drowning before meeting the rest of Luca's family wet and bedraggled
                                              • Luca finds Gracie and Mila asleep together in Mila's bed and his heart doubles in size
                                              • Luca's brother Dominic returns home, flirts like mad with Gracie which sends Luca into a grump and drops a bombshell which draws Gracie closer to Luca than she ever meant to be
                                              • Luca overhears Gracie talking to Mila about losing her own mother
                                              • While Gracie seems to almost forget her original goal of finding her father, Luca can tell she is sad, so he pulls in every favour under the sun to find him for her
                                              • Scared that she will leave now that her goal has come true, Luca offers Gracie marriage
                                              • Gracie calls her best friends Kelly (from MARRIAGE MAKE-OVER and Cara from HOW TO MARRY A BILLIONAIRE) to ask their advice and they kid her about being in lurve - but the last thing she ever wanted was to fall for an Italian as her mother did
                                              • Luca wakes up the next morning to hear that Gracie has gone to the airport...

                                              I listed way more key scenes that occur in the book. (I won't write what I had here or it will give away the whole book - lots of twists and turns in this book that I hope you won't see coming!) But the chosen moments I highlighted were moments of transition, or changes in awareness, romantic scenes, moving scenes, funny scenes, and scenes that I think will be memorable ones. And I showed what happens in the end, the hard choices they made to be together.

                                              So my final advice when writing a synopsis:

                                                1) Play to your strengths

                                                2) Give the synopsis the same emphasis on drama or fun as your book has, make sure the voice in the book and the voice in the synopsis are one and the same

                                                3) Don't be too cheeky - let the editor know how the book ends and how the conflicts are resolved
                                                4) Don't be too flowery - you only have two pages! So be concise and clear.

                                                5) Don't hold your punches! This is your one big chance to show an editor the kind of story you can write

                                                  For more about how the inspiration behind this book, check out my article Inspiration Is All Around.

                                                    And for more about writing the dreaded synopsis, Trish Wylie and Natasha Oakley have blogged about their process as well! As will Nicola Marsh when she gets over her cold!

                                                    Tuesday 4 July 2006

                                                    looking up

                                                    I have just completed a round of revisions on what I hope will be my tenth book.

                                                    I think I may have mentioned once or twice that I adore revisions. I love having another go at a book once I've had a few weeks to forget about it. I love hearing what my editor loves about it and what she thinks I need to fix. I love opening up the word file and going at it with the highlighter. And then the hard work begins...

                                                    At the revision stage I become ridiculously particular, fussing over each and every word, each and every turn of phrase, each and every comma. It's exhausting. Hours, days even spent locked to the keyboard. My right wrist is in agony from too much use of the mouse. My neck is aching. My eyes are dry. And I feel such a sense of accomplishment and relief now that the automatic email has come back to say that my manuscript has arrived in my editor's in-box.

                                                    So what next? Always at this time I feel like I should be allowed to bask in the satisfaction. But somehow life starts to tap on my shoulder. I should really do my taxes. And my new desk and computer arrive next week so I could strip my office. And the rest of house could do with a good once over.

                                                    And then again there is the next book, niggling at the back of my head, the characters whispering sweet nothings in my ear. And the next, and the next...

                                                    Who wants to lay a bet as to what I will do first?

                                                    Saturday 1 July 2006

                                                    love is all we need: part two

                                                    I was asked to write a short paragraph on the subject: Is love all we need? This was my response:
                                                    "Just as I would like to think that I can live on M&Ms alone, it would be nice to really believe it when saying something ardently romantic like “love is all we need”. But it just ain’t so.

                                                    People need oxygen. People need air. People need to keep their internal organs above a particular temperature. So far need doesn’t really sound like a whole lot of fun does it? Nuh-uh. The fun stuff is in what people want. And people want validation, affection, companionship, they want to be heard, and they want those fabulous anomalous tummy tingles one feels every time one makes eye contact with the one they love.

                                                    The stuff we want is what sustains us emotionally, and that’s the reason why we continue drawing upon the stuff we need so that we have as many years on this planet as we possibly can to take pleasure in the things we want.

                                                    Love isn’t all we need, but for this lifetime of ours to be any good we do all need love. And M&Ms."

                                                    I also ran a contest to see who out there could give me the bestest response to the question. I had so many great ones. Funny, moving, clever, sad, hopeful...

                                                    The winner of the prize, an advance copy of my November Silhouette Romance release, HOW TO MARRY A BILLIONAIRE, is Dominic Gagliardi. The book and some other goodies will be winging his way!