Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

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

Friday 29 April 2011

I'm reading... Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

Here in Aus we don’t get Chelsea Handler’s show on regular telly, but I’ve seen her interviewed a handful of times and found her refreshingly blunt. And stark. And surprising. And funny. And rude. So, when I saw her NYT Bestselling book at the library I snapped it up.

It’s a page-turner that’ll make you blush at the very least! But she’s a great writer. Quick, snappy, smart, fresh, fun. Real.

Buy the book

Chelsea Handler's website


Wednesday 27 April 2011


I'm starting to dress like my current heroine!

Mind you she's several inches shorter than me, half my size, ten years my junior and has lived in Europe the past few years, yet there I was, sitting at the simple little café at my local shops in a fur-collared jacket, a frilled top, cropped herringbone pants, and knee high boots as I tapped away on my laptop. Me, a girl who ususally spends her days in ugh boots and track pants and is lucky to see the right end of a hairbrush.

You know what? It helped the writing. All that jazz made me walk taller – literally! (My boots had killer heels) Made me feel like I was walking in her shoes – literally! (She designs high heels ;)) And put me deeper inside of her head.

But what if my next heroine is a clown? Or a Liza Minnelli impersonator? Or a fire fighter...? Hmm, not sure if this new working method should become a habit ;).

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Monday 25 April 2011

pillow talk ~ pacing

As the next in my series of PILLOW TALK posts, reader Jill has asked about pacing. She says:
I'm always trying to find that balance of weaving in back story and setting the scene w/out dragging the story down. I tend to write really lean first drafts, but then my next draft comes out overstuffed! Your stories are always nicely paced. Emotional and w/a definite "feel" w/out being slow. How do you know when you've got it right? Gut instinct? Practice? Do you think it's better to err on one side or the other? Sorry for the long question!
Long question? You're a girl after my own heart!

Though I tend to write long from the outset. My 50,000 words books are always sent to my poor editor at closer to 65,000 then have to be pared back. (THE WEDDING DATE - out in North America next month as THE ROGUE WEDDING GUEST - clocked in at 66,254 first draft!) Boy do I wish I was one of those authors who always writes short!!! The overwriting and massive amount of editing makes for A LOT of extra work. But you know what? For me I believe writing long helps create layered and lucious stories. And once I have the story as rich and juicy as I can, all that slashing and burning can only make for the leanest cleanest way for the story to be told which - hopefully! - makes for a faster read.

Some PACING TIPS: (many of which I struggle to follow!)

1. Start in the middle of the action

2. Keep backstory to a minimum, and tease the reader with it through the story rather than giving into "info dumps" which always bring stories to a grinding halt

3. Use conversation rather than exposition whenever you can as it's far meatier for the reader, and with all that white space on the page reads faster!

4. Keep scenes short - watch how movies do it

5. Read large blocks out loud to see where you can simplify sentences (not something I'm known for!)

6. Don't say something three times if you can say it once

7. Try writing without editing - the scenes I write without stopping to find the right word, are often the ones I edit the least

8. And yes, gut instinct and practice sure help! I hope that gives you a little taste of how I do it, Jill!

And if anyone else out there in Blogland has any other craft questions, behind the book questions, questions about how to type with one hand while shovelling down M&Ms with the other please comment hereupon or send me a note to with "PILLOW TALK" in the header.

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Saturday 23 April 2011

I'm reading... "The Tickle Monster Laughter Kit"

Okay, so this one's not just for me! It was a present for the girls from my mum and it's just heaven! The most delightful story about a tickle monster and all the places he tickles kids. If you get the Tickle Moster Laughter Kit it comes complete with a pair of furry tickles gloves, with holes for your fingers for optimum tickling ability. Gorgeous!

And just to add a bit of grown up fun, when I Googled the author I discovered it's the Josie Bissett of Melrose Place fame! Clever girl.

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Thursday 21 April 2011

name that hero

I'm playing with a new idea at the moment, one that has me totally jazzed!

I adore my heroine Caitlyn, am enamored of my hero, the working title - ADDICTED TO LOVE - is spot on the story is taking such great shape in my head, but I can't pin down a name for my guy!!! He was originally Liam when I had the initial idea a few months back, and while Liam is a perfectly lovely name, it's just not him.

Here he is. Dark, sexy, serious. But what on earth's his name??????

Anyone care to offer ideas?

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Tuesday 19 April 2011

people watching

I love writing at my local café, ostensibly as it gets me out of the house and away from the clambering of my three gorgeous kids. But also for the people watching. I don't think it ever occurs to me how much I give away about how I'm feeling, or what I'm thinking just walking along. But watching shoppers idle by you can tell so much with just a single glance.

I especially love, love, love watching couples. Seeing how they interact. Seeing how similar so many of them are in look, dress, mannerism, facial expression.

There's the buff dark guy with the tattoo sleeves tossing his little fair toddler son in the air makes my heart clench its such a cute image. But his curvy bombshell of a wife taps her high heel shod toes impatiently, waiting for him to get a hurry on.

The tall lithe Scandinavian-looking pair with their curly blonde daughter, so casually elegant without even trying to be. They seem easy-going, relaxed, and really content.

Then there's tanned surfer dude with the freckles and sun-drenched auburn hair, thongs slip-slapping on the tiles. He's holding hands with a fit blonde, the same height, the same build, the same stern expression. She slip slaps right alongside him as though they're both walking in time to the same tune.

Somehow, they all match perfectly. I couldn't imagine the red-headed bloke with the bombshell in any lifetime, or any other mix of these couples for that matter. They've all clearly recognized something of themselves in one another.

And it gets me to wondering. Have my hero and heroine done the same? And if so, what? How would they appear wandering the aisles of my local shops hand in hand? It's kind of a nice image. Some place beyond the scope of my happily ever after. But that's what I hope for them all the same.

This means my iced coffee and brownie were consumed in the name of research right?


Sunday 17 April 2011

pillow talk ~ story preparation

The lovely Danielle (who so kindly let me know she'd bought my book THE WEDDING DATE last week!) has asked:

How do you plan each novel? Do you go straight in and write beginning to end or do you chop and change or have a specific chapter plan?

Well here goes...

1. I start each book with an idea. For me that means some kind of "cute meet", or situation that throws the hero and heroine together that engages me long enough to write it down! ...

2. From there I open up a new word file in which to hopefully one day write the book, and another in which to keep notes about the story as they spring up, because often times it can be months or even years before the book becomes a reality - if at all. (The idea for THE WEDDING DATE - out now in Australia & New Zealand - came to me in Feburary 2006!)

3. I settle on a working title that sums up the book to me, even if I know it'll never fly with the publisher. (For me, THE WEDDING DATE was called THE LONG WEEKEND)

4. I then"cast" the characters - again because of the length of time it can take from idea to "the end" - so I want to find images that give me that same feeling I had when the idea first resonated. (Hannah in THE WEDDING DATE looked a bit like Amanda Peet, Bradley like the delicious Gerard Butler)

5. I start writing. That's about as organised as I get!!!

My preparation - which certainly won't suit everyone! - isn't about plots or scenes or nay kind of grand plan. It's about harnessing the feeling each idea originally gave me and creating a space in which to tap into that feeling every time I sit down to write. My stories flow organically from there. I know how my stories are going to end - well! So for me the beauty of writing is not the destination but the exploration. Hope helps Danielle! .

And if anyone else out there in Blogland has any other craft questions, behind the book questions, questions about how type with one hand while shovelling down M&Ms with the other please comment hereupon or send me a note to with "PILLOW TALK" in the header.

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Friday 15 April 2011

I'm reading.. "Tomorrow, When the War Began"

Knowing how much I adored post-apocalyptic young adult novels as a kid (like The Chrysalids, or anything written by John Christopher), my mum bought me the Tomorrow, When the War began series by John Marsden years ago. They've remained on the bookshelf in my old bedroom at Mum's for years, left there with plans to read the books when I came to town to visit and stayed over.

Finally, l after having moved back to my home town after ten eyars away, I picked up the first book a few weeks back. And promptly adored it.

Written from the point of view of a teenaged girl who's outback Australian farming town home has come under attack by an unknown foreign army it looks back at what she and her gang went through in order to not get caught. I'm 3/4 of the way through book one, and am completely hooked. The story is really natural, the heroics of the kids believable yet admirable. This is the kind of story young boys could really get into which makes it even more magical to me.

Last year it was made into a film. not sure I want to see it. The world of Tomorrow's too clear in my head. CAn't wait to see how he draws the story out voer several books!

(the Book Depository has free delivery worldwide!)

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Tuesday 12 April 2011

author of the month

I'm "Author of the Month" at the Mills and Boon Australia website!

I chat about my favourite romance films (and why Aliens is one) and which song I'm using as my inspiration for my current work in progress. Check it out here.

And no, I haven't lost a crazy amount of weight, the picture has come out cazy skinny :0.

My THE WEDDING DATE is out in Australia and New Zealand now!


Sunday 10 April 2011

go to films

Some writers need silence. Other like to write to music. Me? I like noise. whatever kind of noise. Music. Café chatter. Neighbourhood lawn mowers. Kids’ laughter.

At home writing today on my laptop in the lounge, so as not to wake the Little Man who was asleep in a portacot in my office, I put on a movie in the background just so as to not be distracted by too much silence. The movie? THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. It’s one of my go to films. The ones I can watch a thousand times and love more every time. The ones I would happily have playing as the soundtrack to my life. It has such a bright shiny energy, from the opening strains of Suddenly I See onward through all that gorgeous fashion, I feel myself breathing deeper, smiling to myself. Add MARLEY AND ME and NOTTING HILL to that list and I'm a happy little writer.

Today I wrote. Well. With vim and vigour. Thanks goodness for go to films.

Do you have any go to films? Ones you know will brighten your day? Provide inspiration to walk taller?

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Friday 8 April 2011

I'm reading... "Vampire Academy"

Needing something different to sink my teeth into (ha!) I recently turned to Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy. I looove teen romance in my books and movies. And I love a hot vampire. Surely I'd enjoy this book. Did I? Did I ever! I loved it so much I've read the first 4 in less than a month, and for a girl with a newborn at home, 3 kids under 3, a new house we're fixing up and a writing career that's saying something! Now I've discovered there's only two more books in the series I'm taking a break. Letting it stretch out. 'Cause apart from being slightly scared about what author Richelle Mead might inflict on her characters (the girl's not afraid to do great and shocking harm to her leads!) I'm gonna miss them to bits when it's all over!!!
Buy the book (free delivery worldwide with the Book Depository!)

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Wednesday 6 April 2011

sweet valley high

Boy did I love the Sweet Valley High books growing up! True I was a bit more of a Sweet Dreams fan, but I devoured them, borrowing by the truckload from my cousin's entire bookshelf of those wonderful young adult romance tales. It seems Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield have grown up. Their creator, Francine Pascal has written a new book set ten yers later with the girls older, and wiser but still talking gossip and boys!
Check out more about SWEET VALLEY CONFIDENTIAL here.

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Monday 4 April 2011

"the wedding date" hits Aus/NZ

The Wedding Date is out now in Australia & New Zealand!

Grab a copy from your local bookstore or online from Mills and Boon. They have paperbacks and eBooks available now!

In fact you can grab a handful of my most recent books as eBooks now, from Mills and Boon Australia, Mills and Boon UK, and eHarlequin. Cool huh?

It also includes a bonus novella by Day Leclaire entitled The Royal Affair. Click on the The Wedding Date link at the bottom of this post to see all sorts of fun behind the book stuff.

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Sunday 3 April 2011


So my 20 month old is a comedienne. Big time. So far that side of her personality has presented itself in the form of funny faces, silly walks, and general silliness that she knows will crack us up.

Her current schtick? Impressions. Here’s her latest of me:

Grabbing Daddy by both sides of the face and looking him dead in the eye, she then waggles her finger purposefully as she says, “Listen! Listen! Don’t touch TV. Don’t stand couch. Listen! Listen! Don’t touch mirror. Don’t sit table.”

Little terror.


Friday 1 April 2011

I'm reading... "Shopaholic Takes Manhattan"

I love Sophie Kinsella. Adore her books to bits. Confessions of a Shopaholic made me laugh out loud a good doezent imes, and that's hard to do to this reader. My clever godmother bought me Twenties girl for Christmas a year ago. Loved that too. And now I've finally gotten around to picking up the second Shopaholic tome, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan.

I was laughing out loud on the first page.

If you've ever hidden all of the clothes you bought from a plethora of different stores in one shopping bag so that your boyfriend/husband/room-mate/mother/boss didn't guess how much you'd actually spent that day, or if you've said "what, this old thing" when your boyfriend/husband/room-mate/mother/boss asked if your dress was new so that they remained clueless as to the fact that you were shopping that day rather than working/working out/volunteering as you'd said you were, then you'll love Rebecca Bloomwood.

(The Book Depository has free delivery worldwide!)

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