Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

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

Tuesday 30 January 2007

between the sheets: collaging

Character development doesn’t all happen in the week leading up to the beginning of writing a book. Not for me anyway. When I begin they are barely a skeleton. Not much more than a pretty face, a job, and a glimmer of a background story that means they’ll find it hard to fall in love. For example so far, Hud is dark, needs a shave a a haircut, and has run the gamut from nature-documentary film producer to adventure junkie photographer already. Kendall has long red hair, wears Doc Martens and long skirts, even in summer, and that's about all I knew at the beginning.

At any stage in the writing of a book, I give you permission to take a step back and re-look at your characters. And today I did just that. I spent time pouring through old In Style magazines hoping for snippets and ideas that might add to what I know and my guys. Looking for nuances, and shade and colour. Inspiration for future scenes. And I found them. And I put these scene ideas into a collage. Much of this may not end up in the book, but already I have thought of future scenes taking note of the girl with arms outstretched on the left, and the bicycle ride. The car on the long stretch of country road, Waterhouse's mermaid painting and Hud's camera were already there in my mind. I love the colour flow, the green overtones, the balance of nature. It all has resonance to Hud and Kendall's story.

Now, remember back a coupla days ago I talked about "split focus" and the possibility that I might soon begin work on my next story as well? I'm there! My next Modern Extra is taking form inside my head. So while I was ripping out magazine pages and googling, I did a collage for AT YOUR SERVICE too. Do you think the two collages have a different feel? I think the top one is more romantic, whimsical, and moody. While the bottom one is hopefully sassier, sexier, naughtier, citified, and fun. Glancing at them on my office wall I get a definite feel for both. hope it helps!!!

today's progress:

Morning tea with some lovely girlfriends Sheree and MJ (who is just pregnant!!!) Lots of rubbing of tummies and baby name talk.

New groovy but very easy care hairstyle discovered accidentally ;). This is exciting for me as I'm heading up to Brisbane for a long weekend and my mum says its hot, hot, hot. My usual Melbourne dos just won't hold and I'm in danger of teenage frizzed hair flashbacks. But no longer. Groovy new up do ought to serve me well!

New Modern Extra begun. AT YOUR SERVICE: Bridget Moynahan (best known as "the idiot stick-figure with no soul" from Sex and the City, though I'll be giving her a slightly different role of gorgeous, fabulous heroine ;)) and McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey from Grey's Anatomy for anyone without a TV) chosen as hero and heroine inspiration. Important note they will be nothing like any chyaracters I have seen them play. My characters are solely on these pics. First meeting worked out. In Melbourne cafe - though based on Le Procope which is in, believe it or not, Paris!

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end', check out the whole Between the Sheets series

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Monday 29 January 2007

game playing

Did you ever play "MASH: Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House" when you were kids? My friend Sheree and I stumbled upon the game a couple of days ago and neither of us could remember how to play until Sheree found it online. Too much fun!!!

I will live in Shack.
I will drive a Pink Mini CooperS.
I will marry Christian Bale and have 2 kids.
I will be a Writer in New York.
Not bad for two minutes work ;).


Sunday 28 January 2007

between the sheets: on the seventh day

I rest. I take Sunday's off. Usually because I am too busy to write. Going to Bunnings. Doing the washing I haven't done all week. Sitting on the couch catching up on a week's worth of taped TV shows ;). But also because if I don't take time off I'd likley burn out. Everyone needs a weekend. Even if you work from home.

And Sunday is So You Think You Can Dance night. Boy oh boy do I love that show. Two full hours of incredible dancing, with just a hint of 'oh god what if they completely screw this up!' (And just so you know we here in Aus are in the second series with ~ 8 dancers left so please no spoilers!!!! I can't even give you a link as I am terrifed if I look it up I'll see who won!!!) I tape it. Watch it once. Then go back and watch the best dances again. Fabulous, fabulous stuff!!!

Last night there was the Australian Open Men's tennis final as well. I had high hopes Roger Federer would be ousted by the fabulous, gorgeous, on fire Chilean Fernando Gonzales. No such luck :(. And then my favourite girl was voted off So You Think You Can Dance. I cried. I am a big, wet, sooky, girly mush. I don't knopw how I'll handle the next three weeks of this show without dissolving into a puddle!!!

ROMANCE word count: no different!

MODERN EXTRA word count: no different either!

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end',
check out the whole
Between the Sheets series


Saturday 27 January 2007

between the sheets: a writer’s instruments

First and foremost, as writers, we need to nourish our minds. Right? Wrong. First and foremost we need to be healthy. Free of aches and pains. Able to sit at the computer for most of a working day. Yet it’s something I don’t pay attention to nearly enough.

I had three websites to update over the past couple of days. Nothing for weeks and then in one day...three! Life is like that, dontcha find? When it rains it pours and all that. Anyhoo, I love doing it so I no complain. I jump right in with both hands, both feet and a kaleidoscope of colours swimming before my eyes. Hours of writing and cutting and pasting and prettifying. What fun!

The lovely Liz Fielding’s, getting ready for the launch of the last book in the Brides of Bella Lucia series in February.

Trish Wylie’s new website, meant to be launched in February for the release of her second MX Breathless! (which is a top seller on the Mills and Boon UK website!!!) but the girl has no patience and it's mostly up and ready for a gander now!!!

And the one for my hubby’s fabulous TV show, Hot Dog With the Lot.

After such marathons, my right wrist gets sore. My fingers tingly. My neck hurts. My bum goes numb. And it reminds me that sitting in front of the computer for hours at a time ain't smart ;). As a writer you must look after your primary instrument which is your body. The number of authors I know who’ve been forced to pull back on their workload through stiff necks, eye problems, carpal tunnel, back aches…

So if you are going on this book writing journey with me, get up. Now! (Or preferably after you’ve finished reading my rant ;)) Go for a walk around the room. Eat brain food. Fruit, veges, water. Stretch. And when you sit down again make sure your desk is set up into the best condition for your body. All right angles and ergonomics. Don’t cross your legs. Sit up straight. And at the slightest twinge, get up and walk around and stretch some more. Go outside. Look at things in the distance. Give your eyes a break. Your hands. Your posture.

Okay? Promise? Good!

today’s progress

Remember the whole “writing two books at once” conversation from a couple of days back? Well my next Modern Extra has sprung into my mind. And what a fun idea it is!!! So fun I have to be very careful not to become too enamoured and leave Hud and Kendall out in the cold ;). Today is there day. A bit of collaging and a bit of writing – the second meeting is just around the corner!

For more about my website designs, check out my portfolio.

ROMANCE word count: 5,643 / 50,000

MODERN EXTRA word count: 1,719 / 60,000

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end',

check out the whole Between the Sheets series


Thursday 25 January 2007

la vie on rose

I really have no idea where this Paris kick began.

Sure my last MX heroine lived in Paris. My current hero in Kissing a Fool lives in a house reminiscent of the Hotel Brion in Paris ;). But
now it's just getting out of hand!

Yesterday my hubby's aunt came over with a book she had bought out of the blue. It is called La Vie on Rose and has the most beautiful pictures of houses and apartments throughout France. The decorating ideas alone are enough to make you weep they are soooo beautiful.

And there is even a small picture of a window with a sideways, half-hidden behind winter trees iew of the Sacre Coeur, which is a vision from my MX!

...her cosy Montmartre apartment with its wrought iron balcony big enough to fit only one smallish person, but positioned just so that she was afforded a sliver view of the exquisite splendour of Sacre Coeur, a building her father had promised would make her heart ache it was so beautiful...

Do you think the world is giving me a sign or three?

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Tuesday 23 January 2007

between the sheets: split focus, a frustration or a skiill?

A few days back on the Pink Heart Society group, a couple of authors got to talking about the “Ally Blake method” of writing, referring to the way I always write two books at once – my current book, and the one which will be my next. Writing this way is unusual. Really unusual. As of all the authors I have ever spoken with about craft, I am the only one I’ve met who consistently works this way. (Any others do raise your hands!!!)

Most authors say that when they are deep into a story, they can’t be anywhere but there. Some even refuse to read romance during this time in case it messes with their vision. I, on the other hand, am a sponge. I take my storytelling energy anywhere I can get it. And one place I have always found it is in allowing myself to wallow in the excitement of a new story as I write the current one .

This is especially helpful when the one I am working on hits a brick wall. (the one pictured here I think would go nicely outside my hero's house ;)) When the words are flowing like cooling treacle, and I just can’t stand sitting still and focusing on the same paragraph any longer, I close it, open the other. There the voices are different, the characters fresh, the locations elsewhere, the conflicts immediate, and the next scene intriguing. And off I go!

It also means that when I have handed a book in, done the requested revisions, and sold, I am often looking at 6-8 weeks until my next book is due. To have a book three chapters along at that point is a huuuuge relief. To know the characters, to be inside their heads, to be comfortable with their voices and qualms and contradictions, is such a nice place to be.

When you sell a book, you are expected to hopefully be able to write more. As such, you end up on a merry go round of writing a book, doing revisions, doing proof edits. And these always overlap. As luck would have it, I have in fact spent the past couple of days doing the proof edits of my last Romance. So head-hopping, and book-hopping is part of the game.

And really, when you come to think of it, it’s not that different from writing poetry, or lyrics, or a diary, or blogging to get your fingers and your mind warmed up. And if you can use that time to get a few thousand words of your next book under your belt, then why the heck not!

Anyhoo, I’ve had a couple of ideas for my next Modern Extra, due June 25th. And the moment one of them grabs me through the middle and starts dragging me to put fingers to keyboard, I will be playing around with these as I write this book. So there!

today’s progress

I completed proof edits on Millionaire to the Rescue, my previous romance. This was the hardest book I EVER found to write. The hero didn't want to play (see my Between the Sheets post about characters!), it ended up 65,000 words too long, and the original ending was just wrong. Now reading it for the first time in a few months, I found I really enjoyed it. It made me laugh. And it made me cry. Twice!!! And I barely had to change a thing. I think in the end the hard work forged something lovely. Hope y'all like it too!

I also went furniture shopping, and found a new bedroom suite that I have to have. A gift to myself for selling my last bok methinks. And the kind of thing Hud's Aunt Fay, an important character, though no longer with us, woudl have in her house. The style? You’d never guess… French provincial ;).

word count: same as yesterday...

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end', check out the whole Between the Sheets series

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Monday 22 January 2007

between the sheets: catering

I once heard that it is wise to study in the manner in which you plan to sit your exam. For example, if you eat buttered toast and drink scads of tropical juice while studying, do the same thing before going into your exam. It’s helps you tap into that part of you brain you used while studying - like some kind of sense memory.

And being of the mind that one ought to do whatever gets them through, I stick by the same eating habits when writing. Every day as I sit at my computer I do so with a cup of coffee – white no sugar, big glass of iced water, and a tub of M&Ms at the ready. And this book is no different.

Since I have started the PHS Diet Club as well, I have added exercise to my list of daily habits. (I'm not even going to pretend that I can or will change my diet - that would be just setting myself up to fail) And there's nothing like getting the blood flowing to get ideas flowing too. I keep telling myself it will feed my mind oxygen while hopefully stopping writers’ spread as well ;).

today’s progress

All this talk of Paris has me itching to go. Added to that I finally succumbed and watched the final four episodes of Sex and the City last night after waiting a month between the rest of the series and the last disc. Not wanting it to end. When Carrie goes out onto the balcony of the Plaza and sees the Eiffel tower and jumps up and down and claps her hands in glee - that was me the first time I saw Paris. Though I wasn't at the Plaza, and the view from my tiny window was of the tips of the Notre Dame spires over the tops of a dozen Parisienne rooves... Sigh...

Enough that I've even ben onto website slooking at airfares, and dreaming of those crepes they make on street corners. Bad, bad Ally!

word count: 5,643 / 50,000

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end',

check out the whole Between the Sheets series

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Sunday 21 January 2007

harlequin romance: meant-to-be mother

I am taking a day off, and so is my Between the Sheets series. As today I'd like to tell you all about my current release...

"MEANT TO BE MOTHER", Harlequin Romance,

January UK and North America

about the book...

Siena Capuletti is a flight attendant. She has the wind at her heels and the world at her feet. Well, 30,000 feet below her feet, to be precise, and that's the way she likes it.

When she is called back to
Cairns in tropical North Queesland, for what amounts to a fabulous job opportunity, it feels more like the winds of change have knocked her off course.

Or will she find that her flight path has finally taken her home?

about the setting...

Far North Queensland. Beautiful one day. Perfect the next. That's the ad line they use to encourage people from all over the world to come visit the tropical north of Australia. And they ain't kidding. Mid-winter? 26 degrees and sunny. Every day. Think Coronas with so much condensation they all but slip through your palms. Crocodile steaks for lunch and seafood buffets for dinner.

I took these piccies on a holiday with my hubby last year, and that's whaen I got the idea for this book. All a bit gorgeous don't you think?

want more?

excerpt here ~ buy it here!

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Saturday 20 January 2007

between the sheets: soundtracks

Something I learnt back in the olden days when I wanted to be a film-maker was that even if a film goer blinks, looks away to check out a cute guy in the next row, or spends half the movie with their nose buried in their popcorn, their ears never turn off.

For some writers this is the case. They need perfect silence. To hole themselves away in a small enclosed room. I’m the opposite. I need noise. Ambient noise. White noise. And I need music. Sweet sweet music.

I watched Elizabethtown today, a film by Cameron Crowe. It was funny, moving, sexy, sad, strange, unstructured, surprising and I loved it. (Check out the collage on the movie poster - is this a sign or what???) And this is guy who knows music. Almost Famous was based on his experiences as the youngest Rolling Stone reporter ever. Elizabethtown had nothing to do with music. It was a film about a young guy trying to bury his father, with enough romance thrown in along the way to keep me happy ;). Nevertheless music played a huge part in bolstering the narrative. Not just preetty songs to sell records at the end. But it’s as though characters in his movies have a soundtrack to their lives. A mixed tape, if you like, of songs that bookmark the memorable moments in their journey. I love that. I get that. And I use that.

For each book I write I tend to have a CD that get splayed over and over and over. In a normal world this would drive me crazy, but in the world of writing a book it can be really helpful in getting you in the right mood.

My CD of choice for Kissing a Fool is Jeff Buckley’s Grace. I am a mjle behind the times on this one having only bought it before Christmas. But it’s beautiful. And evocative. And very very moody which is just what I need for this book.

yesterday's questions...

Do you fix as you go or rewrite later?

I do a bit of both. And I'll talk more about rewriting down the track. But to answer Rach's questions, when I get bogged down in language or plot, I do move on. Absolutely. I highlight anything I'm not happy with in yellow. Nice and bright so that when I'm skimming later I won't miss it. I highlight words, passages, things I need to research, plot twists I'm not sure will work, and then I just keep writing. Because how easy is it to go back anytime you want? Viva la computer!

If they are character problems, its worth fixing now. Characters are everything in a romance. You must love them or how can you expect your readers to love them! Unless you are happy that your characters are acting in character, you can be setting yourself up for a world of hurt. In my last Romance, my hero didn't play nice for me for the whole first half of the book. Once I got brave and realised I had to change him, his voice, his reactions completely, it made ALL the difference. I rewrote him from the beginning, and the end of the book flew.

Just remember, a book is a living thing. Some authors say writing IS rewriting. That's half the fun! No words are set in stone at this stage, you may even end up deleting whole chapters later on if they don't move the plot where it needs to go (again with my last Romance I had to do this!!!), but you can't know that now. All you need to know is that you don't have to make them perfect first go.

The most important thing, especially for new writers, is finishing the book. Unless you've done it, you don't really know that you can. So just keep writing...

today’s progress

word count: 3,969 / 50,000

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end',

check out the whole Between the Sheets series

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Friday 19 January 2007

fab news and back on the farm...

Oh and by the way I sold my thirteenth book yesterday! My second Modern Extra Sensual, title to be affirmed, will be a September 2007 UK release.

The book - working title THE SWEETEST THING - stars a photographic set designer for a Parisienne fashion mag who has an addiction to good coffee and free designer stuff, & a seriously sexy entrepreneur who loves his mother and extinct British rock bands, a midnight blue 1968 MK II Jag named Bessie, an Italian gelataria called Bacio Bacio, a green Versace dress, many an Italian guy with roving hands, a chalet in the snow, and the best of Melbourne in winter and Paris in summer...

Je suis très excite!

Now, on the home front, the chicklets are growing at a rate of knots!!! They are a month old. Can you believe it? Stewie Griffin - one of the four golden ones - is most definitely a boy. He is at the back of this pic, and can you see the orange crest atop his head? Suspicious no?

Their feet feathers are just insanely cute. And when we go out to feed them, they eat from my hubby's hand!!! Anyone who hasn't seen the popcorn chicklet video, check it out here on YouTube...

We've also started growing Roma tomatoes. And by we I mean my hubby. Australia is in the middle of a drought right now, so we have to conserve water. But I tell ya, these tomatotes get more TLC than I do!

But see why... We pick them green, and within a few days they ripen to look like the one below!!! Our first actual real live home grown tomato!!! Do you think if I name it my husband will finally crack?

Watch out for more Between the Sheets behind the scenes of writing a book tomorow...

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Thursday 18 January 2007

between the sheets: location

To me settings are as important as characters. I think of them as a character themselves if that makes any kind of sense ;). As they are a product of it as much as of the people and circumstances that have shaped their lives. My editor calls this "context". The greater world in which the characters live.

I can never build characters without building their world at the exact same time. I don't create their whole world or I'd never get a thing written, but at least two or three primary settings are detailed, researched, imagined, googled...

Kissing a Fool is set in a fictional township on the edge of Melbourne. I couldn't set it in Melbourne proper as I usually do as I needed to make the physical world open and spacious with lots of places a person could hide. But their social world to be claustrophobic. People in this township, name as yet as yet undecided ;), have to know Hud and Kendall’s names. Their business. Their pasts. Their ghosts. So in the end there is nowhere left to hide.

The slightly rural setting also gives me lots of scope for the natural beauty I can see inside my head. I see a town with tree lined main street. I see a cool, shadowy pine forest. I see an overgrown garden around a stunning old neglected mansion. The colour palette overriding everything is green, like a veil over the images in my head. Or like I am lying beneath a mossy lake, looking up through reeds and water lilies to the hazy sunlight above.

Yesterday I wrote the first scene in which my hero walks through a garden feeling much the same way. I can only hope I got the mood down pat.

yesterday's questions...

Do you use character interviews or studies?

Never interviews. I know this works beautifully for some writers - asking their characters questions and having them answer them as an exercise to find out more about them - but it’s just never been my thing.

I have always used a really basic character template - one page for each character - to keep track of certain characteristics of my characters such as: eye colour, hair colour, family names & history, job, car, basic psychological and personality traits. I started this years ago when I used to have so many ideas on the go at once I wanted to make sure I kept track and now it’s more of a habit than any kind of real study.

At times when I have become stuck, I have dived into more detailed character studies, several pages of questions asking things like: hero’s worst fear, heroine’s favourite pet, what hero’s feet look like, how heroine dances. Far more information than could ever be needed in a 50,000 word book, but sometimes I have stumbled upon some really nice details which were used as a springboard for later scenes. Right now I written down that my heroine loves Keats poetry, loves spending hours walking aimlessly through the forest between the town and the hero's house, and my hero's Aunt owned an Irish wolfhound when he was a kid. These details may never appear, but even so they can colour the character from the inside out.

But I much prefer to find out about my characters as I tell their story. I like the surprises that come from nowhere in the middle of a scene. In my recent Silhouette Romance, A MOTHER FOR HIS DAUGHTER, I had no idea that the hero’s daughter was not in fact his child until the hero’s brother laid claim to her in the middle of diner one night. I sat back with my hand clasped over my mouth in shock! I’ll never forget it! I do wonder if I knew in advance whether I would have unknowingly sprinkled in clues leading up to the big reveal which then would have made the moment less powerful.

So basically, I like to find out about my hero and heroine at the same pace as the reader, then hopefully my surprises will surprise them too ;).

today’s progress

setting: I found some beautiful pictures around the Hotel Biron, Paris (the home of the Musee Rodin, where that sculptors greatest works reside both inside the beautiful old home, and outside in a beautiful garden - my hubby and I visited Paris a couple of year's ago and it was a highlight). I googled pictures of overgrown gardens as well.

character: I know my heroine lives with someone, I’m just not yet sure who it is. I’m hoping when she gets back home and walks through the front door, she’ll introduce me ;).

word count: 2,972 / 50,000 = 6%

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end',

check out the whole Between the Sheets series

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Wednesday 17 January 2007

between the sheets: character

I am a visual writer. I can see this new story unfolding in my head, like a movie. A muddy, hazy moody, scene plays itself out over and over again. While I'm awake, while I'm sleeping, as I ought to be concentrating on other things. But even with this head start, I find it near impossible to keep the exact mood, colour, and emotion spot on as I turn it from pictures into words. But that's the beauty. The challenge. The excitement when I - hopefully - get it right.

I like a lot of visual stimulation as I write. Some authors like to “collage”, cutting and pasting myriad images from magazines onto a backing sheet to produce a quick glance feel of the book they are about to write. (Check out
Barbara Hannay and Nicola Marsh’s recent blogs for examples)

I tried it once at a conference tutorial run by Barbara. I always covered my diaries and notebooks at the beginning of the school year in much the same way, with words and images and pics of my favourite movie stars. So I wasn’t surprised that I loooved making the collage for what turned out to be MILLIONAIRE TO THE RESCUE. I loooved the finished product. I even had lots of other authors at a conference see it and tell me they just knew at first glance it was meant for it was for a Harlequin Romance novel. But it invoked the wrong mood for the exact story I was trying to write, and it hindered me big time.

In the same way the right visual stimulation can make my job so much easier. It's the reason why I do take time to get my hero and heroine inspiration and why I always do a smaller version of the collage technique – just a picture of the hero, the heroine and the title to use as the background of my computer, so as soon as I sit down each day I see them, and the mood I am trying to create.

This is Hud and Kendall as I see them at this moment. (The gorgeous guy is tennis player Marat Safin. Dreamy no?) This is them today, anyway. They could very well evolve.

This visual imperative is also why I place so much importance on settings in my books which I’ll touch on tomorrow...

today’s progress

hero inspiration chosen: Marat Safin - thanks to the Australian Open tennis playing day in day out on the telly right now!

word count: 1,300 / 50,000

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end',

check out the whole Between the Sheets series

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Monday 15 January 2007

between the sheets: one writer's journey from chapter one to the end

A fresh blank white page. A blinking cursor.

This means I am about to start a new book, my forteenth, and a Romance novel for Harlequin. And as I do I will be blogging about my experience. My process and my progress. My habits bad and good. The days where the words (hopefully) flow like honey from my fingertsips, and the days (hopefully few and far between) where I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall as the story refuses to be found within the mush that is my brain.

my first steps in starting a new book...

Step One: The idea:

The specifics of which I will not be blogging about - I find if I tell anyone my story, it kind of disspiates. It bleeds out of my head making the excitement and the pressure dissolve until it all feels watered-down. But it's there. Soft, out of focus images running through a scene. Like the memory of a dream.

I can tell you that the initial idea came about after watching Cocoon. You know the 80s movie about the aliens starring the guy from the Police Academy movies? And that my husband, who usually is allowed to contribute no more than the name of a secondary character's pet per book, actually helped me come up with the intial meeting idea! I never thought I'd see the day.

Step Two: Heroine inspiration:

A brunette Rachel McAdams. I love her to bits and I've not yet used her. Easy as pie choice. My heroine Kendall is a spitfire. Stubborn. And hard work. Rachel McAdams is all that and more. I even rented Mean Girls last night to get a fix.

Step Three: Hero:

Once again he is being illusive. J. Hudson Bennington III. Better known as Hud.

I had ideas of using Josh Hartnett but he's too young. Too pretty. Colin Farrell may have the glint in the eye but he feels too short. Is he short? I have no idea, but I think of him in that way so he's a no. James Purefoy? Lovely, but too slim. Liev Schreiber. So smart. And that voice. But perhaps not rough enough. Eric Dane - otherwise known as Grey's Anatomy's McSteamy? Perhaps.

Though I'm leaning a little ways towards Joachin Phoenix. I know so little about him and he has the requisite sadness and strength I'm looking for. And the love that shines off the screen in Quills. Phew! Or maybe I should just give in and use Christian Bale as my inspiration for every book. It would save me a heck of a lot of angst!

Step Four: Working Title

Kissing a Fool - a beautiful George Michael song. Check it out on Amazon. Click
here, scroll down and you can listen! I love the imagery that comes from those words. Which is the fool? Him or her? Or both.

Step Five: Begin at the beginning.

Through the book I may jump around, or I may write in sequence. But I always start at chapter one. The initial meeting is the first thing that always comes to me.

So now, after having done a half hour of yoga (as per my new year exercise kick), having drunk half a cup of coffee from my favourite inspirational mug (as per my new year realisation that if I add "stop eating and rinking the things you love" to my kick it will NEVER last), I now sit here, fingers hovering over the keyboard, with the filaments of an idea wafting through my mind. And not much else.

This book is due mid-March and has a current word total of nil. Wish me luck!!!

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