Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

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

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

sexy vs sweet - where do you fit?

Do you want to be a romance writer? But you are not quite sure where your voice fits? Do you have the funny feeling you are a sweet writer but you love writing sex scenes and sexy heroes? Are your heroes always Alpha but your books don't lend themselves to sex scenes? Do you love reding chick lit but you have only ever tried to aim your books towards the Presents line? If so you wouldn't be the first!

A couple of my closest writing friends almost fell into that exact hole before they sold their first books to Harlequin. And it made me wonder how many authors fall through the cracks by trying to write to please one market, or believing that's where their book should go, when in fact their voice suits another to a T.

Well, I have now posted my notes for the workshop I took at this year's Romance Writers of Australia conference entitled "Sexy vs Sweet - The Ultimate Showdown". In this workshop I did comparisons on everything from hero types, to voice, to settings, to blurbs, to covers, to editorial gudelines trying to highlight how you can find out where your natural voice best fits.

If the looks of relief on my workshop participants' faces was anything to go by, I really think this might help a lot of people understand the difference between Harlequin Romance, Harlequin Presents and Mills and Boon Modern Extra.
Here is a taste test:

Pay close attention to the language used in the blurb. These words are not chosen randomly. Compare the cover poses, colours, costumes, settings. Every picture tells an important story which also helps place each book into a certain line. Could you imagine either of these covers or blurbs being found on a book in the opposite line? Why not? What are the key markers? Which sort of story would you be more likely to write? Which sort of feeling do your books engender?

SEXY - Harlequin Presents/Mills and Boon Modern Romance:

The Italian Boss's Secret Child by Trish Morey

He wants her…

On the night of his company’s masked ball, Damien DeLuca is swept away by the veiled beauty in the corner. He entices her into the boardroom – and their evening culminates in an explosive encounter! But just who is Damien’s mystery lover?

She wants him…

Philly Summers can’t believe she’s just shared a night of passion with her gorgeous Italian boss! She recognised him instantly – he’s been invading her dreams for weeks. But Philly’s determined to keep her real identity a secret

But what about a baby?

…until she discovers she’s carrying Damien’s child…

SWEET - Harlequin Romance/Mills and Boon romance


She wasn’t looking for love, but then it found her...

When Jodie Simpson met her long-lost sister Louise Valentine, she didn’t realise the biggest adventure of her life was about to begin. With her visa about to expire, and desperate to stay in Australia, Jodie has a plan...she’ll marry for convenience.!

Jodie is offering a one-year marriage, with no strings attached. So why does sexy cattle rancher Heath Jameson, who is almost certainly looking for a long-term wife, want to marry her? Heath seems so sure – and so handsome! – that Jodie takes the plunge. Only to fall for a convenient husband who seems to be running from his own past...

Hmmm... food for thought?

So head on over to my website and check out my new article! And don't forget to check out the supplemental compartive notes with the covers and blurbs as I think they show the difference in such a concrete easy on the eye way.

And a big thanks to
Trish Morey and Trish Wylie
who gave me their fantastic insiders view take on what makes a Harlequin Presents and a Modex respectively.

Anyhoo, I hope it helps!