Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

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

Sunday 29 April 2007

between the sheets: revisions

I'm currently having a blissful time working through some minor revisions on Hud and Kendall's tale. Remember them from KISSING A FOOL? The romance I was working on in my Between the Sheets series.

It's been about 6 weeks since I sent them away to play with my editor and at that time I was well rid of them ;). And nervous as I always am that this one will be a disaster and I just don't yet know it. But my editor loved the story. The revisions merely entail filling in gaps of information that I know intimately in my head but didn't get onto paper clearly enough, or in some cases left out all together. Hmmm...

And now, re-reading, layering in said bits and bobs, I am thoroughly enjoying this tale. My heroine is damaged but determined and completely discombobulated by the tall dark stranger in her mist. And the split second my hero lays eyes on her, his heart is hers and his fate is sealed. It's all kind of a bit magical if I do say so myself.

Throw in copious quotes from Byron and Shakespeare, a rampant summer garden that I can smell the minute it hits the page, a deaf schnauzer, a fairytale mansion, a cool shadowy pine forest, a tattoo of a woman's name, Jeff Buckley's Grace playing in the background as I write, and the slow opening of two people's eyes and minds and hearts, I'm finding it hard to sleep at night without thinking about this story.

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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Saturday 28 April 2007

for all Dirty Dancing fans

As a follow up to my very first ever Pink Heart Society Friday Film-Night post from a couple of months back, about the truly spendiferous Dirty Dancing, a friend of mine sent me this gooooorgeous clip from YouTube.

Give over five minutes of your day for a look see, it is the most delightful thing I have seen in an age...


Thursday 26 April 2007

goodnight sweet west wing

The West Wing is now over. They played the final episode on Australian TV on Saturday night.

Needless to say I've been getting very emotional as the end has been coming nearer, as relationships long since on the boil have finally been coming to fruition, and as favourite characters have been cast aside and left out in the cold. But the ending, and the lead up was simply perfect. Even the untimely death of actor John Spencer, who played Leo McGarry was woven into the storyline with respect and much love.

Characters who hadn't been in the show for years appeared in cameos to tie up loose ends - which I think shows what respect they had for the work they'd been involved in. Even Aaron Sorkin, the creator and heart and soul of the show who was ousted by the TV station a couple of years back made a blink-and-you'd-miss-it cameo at the Presidential inauguration. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

I cried from the moment the title of the last episode hit the screen. I cried at President Bartlett's final act of governing. And the final scene had me blubbing like a seven year old. This show has meant so much to me over the year. It was smart, sharp, fast, romantic, magical, funny, impressive, educational, challenging, and lathered with layer upon layer of fairy dust.

I'm sure I've mentioned here before that whenever my mum and I can get together for a few days we will spend hours watching West Wing on DVD. We start at the very beginning and work our way through, keeping a bookmark of the last episode watched so months later we can take up where we left off. We've decided this will never stop. When I'm 80 and she's 110 we'll sit back and pick up a West Wing DVD and it will be fabulous as by that stage we won't remember having seen it at all so the whole thing will be new to us over and over again ;).

Love you lots, big kisses, and adieu...

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Monday 23 April 2007

snapshots ~ footy

We went to the football on Saturday. My darling team lost, which is never fun, but there were a couple of highlights, life moments, snapshots that stuck with me.

First was the sight of rubbish bins leading to the stadium. I've never before noticed how many bis there were, until every single one of them was overflowing with almost full packets of chips. All we could deduct was that somewhere down by Richmond train station, poor girls in short shorts were standing in the spitting rain handing out bags of free chips. Some new brand they were hoping to imprint upon the heavy flow of chip-buying public streaming past. Chips that must have tasted sooooo bad, that after eating one or two, big burly footy fans were actually throwing them away. In droves. The closer we came to the ground, the more bins were to be found with chip packets spilling from their mouths. A large man sat in front of us during the game, a guy who looked like he'd down a few meals in his life, and he had an open packet of chips in his pocket, barely touched. God I wish I knew that they tasted like!

And it rained. We are a country in drought. Hard, harsh, dusty, dry lasting drought. Sitting behind the goals, high within the Great Southern stand, surrounded by like minded supporters, our collective body warmth keeping us all feeling cosy, and watching a sheet of glorious silver rain cloud our view of the game was something special. Surely not for the poor boys on the field... but snuggled together in the bleachers it was a moment.

Come Wednesday we'll be there again for the biggest game of the season bar the Grand Final. Collingwood vs Essendon Anzac Day clash. My blood is already pumping in anticipation... For more check out my contibutions to the Collingwood website.

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Thursday 19 April 2007

the problem with the alphie

Alphie is wonderful, a way to simply write within letting your internal editor to take over.

One problem with it can be, when you started a book a couple of months back, and then moved over to your Alphie, you'd forgotten you had already begun writing some scenes, so you go about your merry way and write whatever comes to you leading to the fallout of having written some scenes twice. All the way through. Top to bottom. Thus leading to my day yesterday piecing together the best bits, and losing about 1000 words in the process.

But I'm a quarter of the way through, with 2 months until deadline. Feeling pretty good! Especially when I ignore Trish Wylie and Jenna Bayley-Burke's fast mounting word counts!


Tuesday 17 April 2007

blogging about

The lovely Tessa Radley is having a huge blog party this week to celebrate the launch of her first Desire, BLACK WIDOW BRIDE!

Her book has a goooorgeous man on the cover, in fact the same man as on the cover of my third book, MARRIAGE-MAKE-OVER. Seems he gets around ;).

A whole bunch of us are making appearances chatting about changes and new beginnings. There are lots of lovely posts and heaps of books to be won, so head on over. I'll be there Wednesday afternoon, New Zealand time, nattering about why I LOVE autumn. So do head on over and tell me all about your favourite time of year!!!

You could even win a signed copy of my HOLT nominated book, MEANT-TO-BE MOTHER you lucky ducks!

Romance Reviewed had lovely things to say about this book: Ally Blake has written an emotional, tender romance that will have the reader reaching for the tissues at some points, and letting out a satisfying sigh at others. Perfect!

Visit Tessa's blog here.

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Sunday 15 April 2007

mounting words, so to speak

Another 2000 words in front of the Essendon Carlton footy game on TV last night. Alphie on cushion on lap. Feet on coffee table. I think I've found my new office!!!

Now I'm off to a glamorous lunch with all my Melbourne writing friends tomorrow. I love writing on the train on the way in. It's the only time I ever catch a train anywhere, but the trip is beautiful, and I get sooo much writing done! Clacking away while everyone on the train glances over wondering what on earth I am doing ;).

I'm thinking of heading into the glorious city early, finding a spot in a cafe and planting myself with a cuppa and my Alphie and seeing what comes of it.

Though the idea of writing a sex scene in such a public place may feel a bit strange!


Friday 13 April 2007

word count war

With ~ 10,400 words so far I'm losing the word count war against Jenna and am only a breath ahead of Trish, but I'm having a darned good time doing it! My characters are playing well, they are gorgeous and loveable and challenging, and dressed so beautifully I just want to be them ;). La di dah!

This book is also turning out to be set in autumn, which is my absolute very favourite time of year. I could tell you why, but I'll save that for my upcoming appearance on the lovely Tessa Radley's blog to coincide with the release of her first Desire! Watch this space for more...

Here are some more details to get you in the mood for Monica and Damien's tale. To the left we have Monica's apartment building. Tucked neatly into the side of Flinders Lane in the middle of Melbourne. Bustling cafes, cobblestone paths, music and noise below with elegance and privacy above. I want to live there!

To the right we have Damien's best friend Caleb. Nice huh? If you thought Damien looked dangerous this guy is even cheekier! Such bad news in his eyes...

And to keep Trish happy, I have found a song. Rewatching Much Ado About Nothing yesterday I was was gobsmacked to find the poem and song which are layered throughout the film could have been taken from my heroine's mouth. Beautiful beautiful stuff from the pen of my friend Will Shakespeare:

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more;
Men were deceivers ever;
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never;
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into. Hey nonny, nonny.


Thursday 12 April 2007

truffles, elegant bunnies, and icing sugar highs

Now, before I came hom to the lovely news about my HOLT MEDALLION nomination as Best Traditional romance for 2006... now take a breath ;) ... I had a lovely Easter weekend.

Hubby, our puppy Squiffy and I spent time on the property on which I set my 2006 book A FATHER IN THE MAKING. This is the view from the fence at the front of the house. It's sooooo beautiful. Now imagine the last of the winter sun beating down on the back of your neck, cattle braying in the distance, and the soft swoosh of a light wind playing through the grass. Ahhhhh...

As well as the gorgeous location, we can't forget the food. Hubby's clever Auntie Mel had found the recipe on the internet for an amazing dessert we had all eaten together at the iconic Cafe du Monde in New Orleans years ago (one of the business survivors of the French Quarter). Beignets. Donut type creations cut into rectangles and lathered in icing sugar. And they were magnificent! Messy, hot, smooth, light, sweet and reminiscent of a gorgeous holiday our two families spent togehter back when we first got married.

Knowing there was so much chocolate in the house we began Friday with a bag of mixed Cadbury flavours. Saturday morning, before a day spent at local markets, we opened a box of assorted Lindt balls. Saturday night saw my very favourite, Belgian truffles by Duc d'O, and hubby's faves dark chocolate cherry liqueurs. And finally the Easter Bunny arrived on Sunday morning with classic Red Tulip elegant bunnies. Can you imagine I feel I am now as big as the side of a house!

So I will now eat my vert last truffle, settle my extra wide bottom into my office chair and get back to the real life business of writing a book. Especially considering Trish and Jenna are zooming ahead!!!

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Tuesday 10 April 2007


Okay, so this past weekend hubby and I went away for a few days up to his Auntie Mel's farm. Little did I know I had a lovely woman from the Virginia Romance Writers trying to call me, to tell me I had finalled in the Traditional section of the HOLT Medallion!

I literally had no idea until the lovely Trish Wylie shouted loudly on my MSN messenger thingie all the way from Ireland this morning! Picture me franctically checking my email which had been collecting dust all weekend - which naturally took forever to load! And yes, it's true!

MEANT-TO-BE MOTHER was a pure joy to write, the first under my lovely interim editor Jenny who looked after me and held my hand when my usual lovely editor was on maternity leave. And between us we have figured out that four of the five books nominated in the traditional section were editied by that one fantabulous editor! How clever is she???

I am all teary right now!!! And wishing I'd been home to get that phone call!!! Though sitting atop a hill looking out over rolling pastures while face up, basking in the last of the sunshine for the season was a truly lovely way in which to eat lots of chocolate ;).

Check out the other lucky nominees here! Winners are to be announced on June 9th.

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Wednesday 4 April 2007

the story of a book

Oh, yeah, and by the way I have a book out this month ;).

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS was my first ever attempt at a sexier book. I had some time up my sleeves mid-last year and a story that just flew from my fingertips - famously the first half of which was written in a week! 25 k. In one week. I can hardly believe it even now!

Having no idea if it was silly, fabulous or even the kind of thing Harlequin might in fact publish, I sent the first half to my lovely then editor Jenny who came back with the greatest priase on a partial I've ever had! "ALPHA is fantastic! Great characters, good pace, fab story, glamorous setting, and of course an extremely sexy hero! It really feels as if you have tapped into the fun, flirty voice that Modern Extra is looking to provide."

So, having about a month in which to finish it before the Australian Romance Writers conference on the Gold Coast, and the time to start a new book for a line for which I knew I could write, I put my head down and wrote as fast as my fingers could type. Which was pretty easy considering the inducements. Jeremy Northam was my hero inspiration and he was perfect. I had a half dozen great pictures which set off scenes in my head. (Check out my Male on Monday at the Pink Heart Society on the 16th of this month for more...) And my one pic of Reese Witherspoo was sooooo perfect for Abbey. Oh happy days!

Alpha came in at 66,000 words. Too long. But I sent it off anyway, again having no idea if it would sell. If they liked it I could cut it, but until then the week it would take me to trim it down to size was spent getting my outfits together for the conference. Highly important stuff!!!

The word came back. It was a go! Shorter it had to be. A tad sexier at the begining too. But that was it. And henceforth from that time forward, I joined the likes of my good friends Trish Wylie, Nicola Marsh and Jenna Bayley-Burke as a fully fledged sexy writer. Do you reckon I should put that on my business card? Or demand every interview or library talk start that way? "And here is sexy author Ally Blake." Mmmm....

And now the four of us are all starting our next Modern Extra books this week! To keep track of how we are all getting on, check on our blogs!

Check out an excerpt of GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS here...
Or just buy the thing here!

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Tuesday 3 April 2007

fab heroines

Meet Monica Grant.

Another heroine who went through several incarnations in the begining of her journey only to land sqaurely and solidly on the broad, glamorous shoulders of one Ms Bridget Moynahan - better 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 ;))

Monica is a frantic small business owner who runs Raw Designs which is all about animal print and natural fabrics. Her Blackberry is her whole world.

Damien (see the last post for a goooorgeous piccie) is a suit. A man with a water tight brain for figures - of the number and the female kind - but who couldn't program a VCR if his life depended on it.

One busy lunch hour their worlds entangle, inexorably...

Check out how Trish and Jenna are getting on!!!

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