Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

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

Wednesday 27 December 2006

holiday adventures: cupboard love

After watching several episodes of the first series of Grey's Anatomy which my sister and her boyfriend bought for me for Chrissy, I went to bed rather late last night. I should have slid into my jammies, pushed aside the top sheet and crashed into bed. But for some silly reason, the ceiling high piles of junk squashed onto the top shelves of my childhood cupboard called to me. The corner of a photograph poking out from under an old diary. Hints of pink fur, and multi-coloured curtain tassles. Unknown items wrapped in bubble wrap.

Like a house of cards, once I pulled out just one item to have a closer look, over the next few hours, everything on the shelf ended up on my bedroom floor. Old velvet boxes which once contained jewelry. Rugby League football programs. Every Birthday and Xmas card I ever received. A half dozen magazines from when JFK Jr died. Two lone records I saved from a flood in my parents house that turned all their old albums to glue: Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits and Chopin's Polonaises. And even a towel Harry Connick Jr used during a concert that a bouncer later gave to me. Like the bookmarks of my life.

Within a pile of envelopes were a whole slew of letters back and forth to Kenneth Branagh's assistant, asking what he was working on and the like. I had a great giggle with those. Having kept copies of all the letters I sent out, it seemed I was trying to sound sooooo professional - at the time I wanted to be a filmmaker, heck I wanted to be Kenneth Branagh - yet it was quite obvious I was at best a sixteen year old fan. I am ever more thankful his assistant really took the time to answer EVERY letter. And sent me a gorgeous autographed picture which I found framed, by moi, atop the cupboard as well. Tamar Thomas, wherever you now are, my hat goes off to you!

The cupboard shelves are now far lighter than they were which made my mother happy, and I have poured over a thousand memories which made me happy. It made me realise what a full life I have had thus far. My jobs, my friendships, my goals, my dreams, my achievements, my disappointments, my victories.

Needless to say I slept in late this morning.


Sunday 24 December 2006

happy holidays!

For the next week I'm taking time off from everything work related to read, watch telly, hang with hubby, read, play with chicklets, read some more and all that fun stuff, so I'll catch y'all again in the new year.

Hope between now and then Santa treats you well, the weather is glorious, you all get to catch up with your families, and all that jazz.

Merry Christmas too all,
and to all a fantabulous New Year!!!

Wednesday 20 December 2006

they who have been named

We have spent the last couple of days getting to know our girls, and their names finally came to us by way of magical meant-to-be flashes of inspiration or from somewhere deep inside of our collective misguided subconciouses, I'm not sure which.

First up, from left to right we have Speckled Jim, the first born, the biggest and the smartest. Next up is Vinnie Barbarino, a scruffy grey who's the goofiest of the lot. Then Stewie Griffin who is the smallest, and, like his namesake, a bit of an evil genius. Today she managed to find a cockroach and tried to hide it from her sisters so she could eat it all herself. Not surprisingly Jim managed to out-muscle her for most of it.

The three golden girls on Laverne's right are Captain Janeway (hiding, eating), Vera de Milo (who tries to jump onto Laverne's back all the time) and Rollergirl.

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Tuesday 19 December 2006

oh what a night

Last night three friends and I went to see Robbie Williams in the very last concert of his massive world tour. Well, three friends, me and 66,500 others!

(At the bottom right corner of the stage that's him sitting ;))

This has been a looooong time coming. If you haven't read about my adventures in trying to get us tickets, check it out here.

The concert was AMAZING! I have never danced so much while sitting on my butt ever! He sang a fab mix of songs both slow and romantic and loud and obnoxious. It was one of those concerts where at times you couldn't eve hear his voice for the voices of the crowd drowning him out.

Let Me Entertain You was insane. So much noise and power and energy I thoguht we might all rush the stage. And Angels was just beeeeeeeuatiful. If anyone in the audience didn't shed a tear at the emotion pouring through the stadium the I just don't know what!

He was funny, and I mean hilarious hold your sides funny, cheeky, self-deprecating, lovable, gorgeous, sexy, fabulous, energy personified, giving, emotional, and the most unbelievable singer live!!! My ears are still ringing, my voice is half gone, and my hands are still swollen from clapping so much. And I wish it had never ended.

And when he looked down the barrel of a camera and his image shot out of the massive screens to the side of the stage, those moments he was singing just to me.

I'm utterly convinced.


Monday 18 December 2006

icky picture as requested

Meet Stewie Griffin.

The last of the six to be born. She still has egg and membrane attached. I know it's icky, but it's also kinda wonderful. She was cheeping the whole time this picture was taken. Amazing.
Laverne later ate the rest of the egg. All part of the great circle of life.

This next picture is Stewie Griffin this morning, only ~ 16 hours later. What a difference a good night's sleep makes!
Snuggled up with Laverne and their sisters is Speckled Jim front and centre - she's the show off of the group. They are little balls of fluff. Sooooo cute! And chirpy. So far all I can see are three stunning gold ones and another speckled like Jim. Number six must be in hiding. They haven't yet ventured out of their hutch, though we have them set up with water and hay and feed and a little ramp leading to and from their cave for when they are ready.

And yes they are all girls. As yet only in our minds. Despite their names, we need them to be girls so they can stay. Not sure how one figures such things out, but I'm sure that'll be part of the learning process...

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Sunday 17 December 2006

they're here!!!

The chicklets have arrived. All six!

Hubby rang me while I was out this morning to say that he'd seen a head and a foot sticking out from under Laverne's general boofiness. By the time I got home, there was so much adorable cheeping coming from her hutch it was irresistible.
So far we have met Speckled Jim - here to the left (named after a character from Black Adder Goes Forth) and Stewie Griffin (named after the baby from Family Guy). I tell ya, no thought has gone into the naming of this lot at all. It's all been so exciting we are running on pure instinct and it's gonna get ugly!

I even have a picture of the very last one coming out of its shell. It's a bit icky but I can post it here if you wanna see. Do you wanna???

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Friday 15 December 2006

any day now...

This is what our chicklets looked like as they grew inside the eggs. Now at day 17, with only ~ 3-4 days to go.

My hubby swears he could hear peeping from inside the eggs while moving Young Miss Laverne's cage to a new spot yesterday.

It's so exciting!

Out of 6 eggs there is an 80% chance of hatching if Laverne did everything right. And since it is her first time and she was a little lapse at the beginning, we're not sure what our chances are.

Everything's crossed, and we'll soon find out!


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Tuesday 12 December 2006

a taste of italy

Two and a half years ago I took a trip to


I had always wanted to visit. To throw a coin or three into the Trevi Fountain like they did in the movie. To see the Leaning Tower of Pisa before it either fell over or they propped it up so much it became the

Tower of Pisa. And to see Michelangelo’s David. Need I say more.

I also had a book in my head. A character from my previous novel, a naughty snow white type called Gracie, lost her mother at the end of HOW TO MARRY A BILLIONAIRE. I decided to send her off to

Rome in search of the father she never knew. I had one image in my head of her sitting on the steps of the Trevi Fountain, a coin held tight in her hot palm as she made a wish. The rest of the story was up for grabs...

So hubby and I took a Contiki tour. They are more famous for twenty-four hour beer fests than research tours, but our trip was absolutely perfect. We had a great tour guide, a fabulous bus load of people, including several other couples and a few fab Aussies. And boy did we see Italy!

Limoncello and bubbling cheese pizzas on Capri. Lukewarm cappuccinos and the world’s most beautiful pink glass in Venice. Carabinieri – the world’s sexiest police, in outfits designed by Armani! – and even a funky nightclub in Rome. A Kennedy holiday home and the most beautiful scenery I have ever laid eyes on in Lake Como (and no I don't mean George Clooney).

I also found much inspiration for my book. Tuscan hills. Mountaintop towns. Chianti wineries.

This month A MOTHER FOR HIS DAUGHTER is on shelves across North America. I am so excited as the guys who took our tour with us can now see lots of hints and sliver views of the places we visited. (Waving to Contiki family!)

For more behind the scenes fun stuff check out my article, Inspiration is All Around, and I am also blogging today about the search for my Italian hero at the Pink Heart Society.


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Monday 11 December 2006

the beatles

The goldfish have now officially been named. I hereby introduce you all to John Paul, George and Ringo.

It suits us. My original goldfish when I was a kid were Gary and Michael named after my fave footy players. And I can't wait to ask my hubby if he's fed the the Beatles rather than the geraniums ;). Much more fun. Thanks for all your inspiration!

Though as of this morning John is looking worse for wear. We have put him in a tnak on his own and are trying our best to give him the space to get better. And yes, it is John. It must be. I stupidly chose their names on December 8th, the anniversary of his namesake's shooting. Silly silly Ally...



Sunday 10 December 2006

let it snow

I'm currently writing my first book with scenes set at the snow. It all feels a little odd as outside right in Aussie land it is hot, hot, hot. So hot, and dry, with a great big brown sky as we are in the middle of bush fires right now. And right about whre snow fell about two weeks ago. Crazy old world...

Anyhoo, for the last few days on writing THE SWEETEST THING, I'm having to do lots of imagining.

I don't even have all that much experience with snow actually. I saw a bit behind a rock for the first time maybe five years ago while doing an autumn "changing of the seasons" trip through the mountains. The next time I saw snow was about two years back while at the Grand Canyon. Yep, in the middle of the desert. Las Vegas was boiling, but four hours away the Canyon was freezing, and just at the enhd of our beautiful day, snow began to fall. My oh my was it beautiful.

My one and only trip to a proper snowfield was meant to be a romantic weekend with the hubby on our first wedding anniversary. We drove up to Mt Buller. I was so excited! Until we got there. In my black Russion hat, my fancy black coat, my tight jeans and knee high black boots, I fit in just fine back in Melbourne, but surrounded by snow people in their multi-coloured parkas, mis-matched thermal pants, odd beanies, fat goggles, and flat sensible shoes I stood out like a sore thumb. It was like they were all in some kind of colour-blind cult.

It was lovely. We watched other people ski. I stood on snow. We drank hot chocolate looking over the speldinferous view of the Alpine Village, and then we went home. I know, I know. I caved. But we realised we might actually need to go with people who know what they were doing next time. People who know the secret password and can tell us where to buy thermal underwear.

I couldn't help but put my heroine, Morgan in my shoes when she and Saxon turn up at Mt Buller. Okay, my boots were black and hers are electric blue but that's artistic license right?


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Saturday 9 December 2006

guest mills and boon editor at the pink heart society

This month at the The Pink Heart Society, the blogazine for lovers of category romance, we are bringing you a live in the flesh Harlequin Mills and Boon editor! Direct from London! If you've ever had any questions you always wanted to ask, now's the time.

Always wondered what it's like to work in the London Offices?

Is it tough deciding what to put on the cover?

What does it feel like to tell a brand new author you want to buy their first book?

I for one would love to know what the 'slush pile' really looks like. I've always had a vision of my first book being plucked from within a teetering tower of manuscripts after an editor popped on a blindfold, spun around three times, and pointed... Not true, I'm sure, but I'll be asking said ed anyhoo!

So if you have something to add, join our Yahoo Group on which there is always much lively discussion, or email us at with your question!

For more info, check out the
The Pink Heart Society blogazine for more info and keep an eye out for the looming day!!!

*Obviously due to the limited space we have here at the Blogazine we will be restricted to the number of questions that we can ask... These WILL NOT include any individual queries about manuscripts or any pitches for books... And The Pink Heart Society Editors will reserve the right to choose which questions they feel the Blogazine readers would find most interesting...*


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Friday 8 December 2006

too much of a good thing?

I have been watching soooooo much Sex and the City over the last month. From episode one season one onwards. 2-3 episodes every day. Without fail. It's my treat. When I stop for lunch, afternoon tea, or if I'm putting on make-up before heading out, I sit in front of the telly and put aside half an hour to watch the next episode in line.

But it's hard to watch just one. Seriously hard. Especially when you see the menu and think "ooh, the next one is the one where she first meets Aidan" or "the one where Miranda and Steve get back together" or "where Carrie hooks up with the new Yankee".

I've just hit Charlotte's wedding to Trey. Carrie has confessed to Aidan about her affair with Big. And there have been tears all around. I'm a little distressed actually so have turned off the telly and moved back to my deadline book feeling jittery. But I won't watch another yet. I won't!

Especially considering twice today when I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror I actually got a fright that I didn't look like Carrie. Seriously. I flinched, wondering for a second what had happened to my blonde curls.

Maybe time to move onto another treat for a little while.


Wednesday 6 December 2006

what's in a name?

Meet another four members of the suburban menagerie in which I live. Four goldfish (one must be hinding ;)). Who are currently nameless.

My family has a history of bad luck with goldfish, which all ended the day my mother realised that calling them goldfish was the big mistake. From that day on they became known as the geraniums. Have you fed the geraniums? Can you clean out the geranium tank this arvo? Worked a treat.

When hubby and I bought our first "goldfish" a few years back our last two "goldfish" we therefore named them Gerry and Ray Nium. They lived a good long life, but alas are no more.

Now we have four new ones and I need some help naming them. So I thought I'd throw it out to you guys.

What should I name my four goldfish???

Some names that are already taken are: Laverne & Shirley, our chooks, Mork and Mindy, their first eggs, Princess Mary and Prince Frederik our black headed pythons, and Squiffy the miniture fox terrier. Now over to you!!!


Monday 4 December 2006

deadline, schmeadline

Four days until deadline. Yet I feel no chest pains!

This book has been a very confortable write. With only two months in which to write it, from conception to birth, it has been a breeze. With a gorgeous hero, and a challenging heroine, and settings so evocative I couldn't go wrong, the journey through my hopefully second Modern Extra, currently entitled The Sweetest Thing has been, well, the sweetest thing! It likely helps that I get to look at pictures of this guy all day ;).

Of course now I am about to print all 60,000 words of her out in order to do a final red pen edit, so who knows what evil gremlins I will find lurking within. What details I have missed. What threads and througlines I have begun and then left to dangle off into space with no rhyme or reason or conclusion.

But for me this is the fun part. I should have been born with a red pen in my hand I love the editing process so much. But since I always edit in my dining room, which is very close to the loungeroom, which has a new big screen TV within, and the box set of Sex and the City begging me to watch more than one episode during lunch per day, I will have to be very self-controlled.

Wish me luck!



Saturday 2 December 2006

pressies to self

I like to buy myself a little present whenever I sell a book. Nothing huge, just something for me. For example when I sold my first book THE WEDDING WISH I bought myself a new dictionery and thesaurus. Woohoo, the last of the big spenders!

This time I bought myself a few things from
Amazon: the third season of Arrested Development on DVD (funniest show of the past three years bar none!), the Sword of the Spirits trilogy by John Christopher (new versions of my fave books from when I was a kid as the copies I have have completely fallen apart), and Adventures in the Screen Trade by the fantabulous William Goldman.

And today I also made one very exciting payment that felt utterly fabulous. I paid off my university debt. Way back when, some 15 odd years ago when I started at university, I thoguth I would always be a struggling artist, and that my HECS debt would forever more be a box I would tick on tax forms for the rest of my life. But now, with the click of a button it's gone. Whoosh! Oila! Adios!

I feel like a grown up.

(BTW check out my appearances on
Nailini Singh's fabulous Xmas Come Early party blog for the chance to win a book,
and at The Tote bag where I wax lyrical about pre-Christmas panic!)