Saturday, 15 December 2007


Life has been hectic. I'm eagerly awaiting the final sign-off for The Diamond Virgin which releases from Wings ePress in January 2008. This was the first book I had contracted and so it's very special to me.

I've also just finished galleys for my forthcoming release with The Wild Rose Press. Now all I'm waiting on is the release date for A Temporary Arrangement - very exciting.

But just in case you think I'm getting some slack-off time ... I've already received first edits on the May 2008 release with Samhain, so now I'll need to get cracking on Satin Lies.

Strange woman that I am, I just love the editing process. Revisiting the story is always fun, but it's the strenthening of the work, the tightening, the stripping down to the basics that really lights me up. There's always so much to learn. Plus, I've been incredibly lucky to work with such awesome editors who really know their stuff, and yet are patient, kind and understanding. I hope they're all planning on taking a long and relaxing break over the holidays. They deserve it.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Beside the sea ...

I'm guest blogging about settings at The Romance Studio today. Here's the link:

Friday, 26 October 2007

Book-a-Day Giveaway

I'm donating a copy of His Convenient Affair over at The Romance Studio today. Why not enter? All you have to do is fill in a form and press send :))

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Review for His Convenient Affair

His Convenient Affair gets 4.5 Ribbons from Romance Junkies!

Reviewer, JennL, said it was: "... an emotional rollercoaster that will have you at times laughing and then crying ... powerful and beautifully written ... a story with depth and emotion that will leave you anxious and breathless."

To read the full review, please click HERE.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007


Anne McAllister is blogging over at Love is an Exploding Cigar about the appeal of Men in Suits. I've got a real soft-spot for the tycoon hero and Anne's latest Harlequin Presents, The Boss's Wife for a Week, sounds like it will certainly feed my addiction to those oh-so-controlling, but wildly sexy, alpha males.

Psst ... if you look closely, you'll see a quote in there by yours truly ...

Friday, 21 September 2007

Switching genres

I write mainly contemporary, although I'm having a little sojourn into the world of the paranormal at the moment - it didn't start out that way, but something went bump in the night right in the middle of chapter two and things just went from there.

As a reader, and writer, I'll try anything ... except historical. For some reason it worries me, probably because I'm a bit daunted by all that research the author has to do and get right. I'm in awe of those people who write historical. So, it was with more than a little trepidation I approached the covers of Anna Campbell's Claiming the Courtesan following a friend's recommendation. All I can say is, Wow! It was fantastic. But what's even more amazing is that it's inspired me to have a go at an historical myself, or at least think about it.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007


Do you know that a cheese, handmade down on a farm in Somerset by one of a small group of artisan cheesemakers, actually has it's own website where you can watch it mature via webcam? "Wedginald" also has its own MySpace and Facebook pages ...


Sunday, 16 September 2007

The wood for the trees

Today I'm blogging at the HEA Cafe about challenges with my latest WIP. Pop on over if you get the chance and let me know about any challenges you've faced with yours.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

This Old House

Today sees the release of This Old House by Lavada Dee. I met Lavada through an online course almost two years' ago now and we've been friends ever since, encouraging each other through the ups and downs of getting published.

This Old House is a lovely story with great characters. You'll laugh and cry with Katherine and Ross as they battle their way towards their HEA.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Blogging at Samhain

I'm blogging about theory -v- practice over at the Samhain blog today. Pop over and visit if you get the chance.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Happy Birthday

The Pink Heart Society is one year old today! If you love category romance then why not pop on over to their blog and join in the fun? Throughout September there are loads of things planned, including a Birthday Treasure Hunt and a Hugh Jackman tour ... mmmm....

There's even a Yahoo loop where you can chat with fellow category romance readers and writers.

See you there!

Friday, 31 August 2007

Notes from a train

Doesn't anyone just read on trains any more? On a recent journey through Italy, Switzerland and France, I thought I'd stretch my legs and walk the length of the train researching what people actually did during long train journeys. Okay, if I'm honest I wanted to see if people were reading ebooks, but that's beside the point.

What did I discover? Well, most people were asleep (including my husband, who can sleep anywhere, anytime, bless him), the majority of the others were on laptops, either watching movies or playing games. Next came mobile phones - and here I'm going to stop myself from going into rant mode about why people have to shout while they're talking, or about why most of their conversations are so ridiculously ... no, I said I wasn't going to rant. I eavesdropped on some of those conversations (well, it's hard no to, because people speak so darn loud when ... no, I'm not going to rant).

Among the topics that hit my delicate ears ... a party at Anabelle's that Rick was going to be attending and if he didn't have the hottest rear end, then I don't know who has; a deal that had gone south and could have easily been saved if only that idiot had gotten his act together; a lady who had spent so much money on shoes she was going to have to hide them from her husband (well, that particular conversation was in French and mine's limited, but I got the gist of it); a book that was likely to be bigger than Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and if it wasn't he was going to spit and spit some more; a call to Barbara to say thank you for booking the best room in the most expensive hotel in Milan and as a thank you he was going to ... (unfortunately the call cut off when we went through a tunnel, so I don't know what Barbara actually got).

By the time I returned to my seat (and my still snoozing hubby)I felt pretty exhausted, I can tell you, but the walk and the eavesdropping prompted me to get out my notepad and jot down some ideas for scenes, characters and even a potential plot.
Who said no good ever came of listening to private conversations? Although, of course, these weren't exactly private because the callers talked so loudly that the whole darn carriage was forced to listen ... but I'm not going to rant.

Maybe in the future we can have carriages designated as mobile free zones, then at least those of us who actually want to relax with a good book can do so. Just a thought ...

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Marketing -v- Writing

I've really been throwing myself into marketing following the release of my first book, and now it's gotten to the stage where I've had to stand back and say, no more!

Working full-time at the day job (which I love) leaves me little enough time for writing as it is, and this past couple of weeks I've abandoned that writing time in favour of promoting myself and my book. Neither comes easily to me - I much prefer banging away at the keyboard, getting lost in new worlds, discovering interesting characters - yet I suppose the promo side is all part of the process if, like me, you want to be successful. And it's a fairly addictive process, especially when it's so much fun to connect with readers and fellow authors. But where do you draw the line? How much promo is enough? When does it turn from becoming a necessary, if enjoyable, evil and turn into a thief of your writing time?

If there's anyone out there who knows the answer I'd love to hear from you. This newbie needs all the help she can get before she turns into a promo queen with nothing left to sell!

When I don't write I feel like there's something missing, a big part of me that is unfulfilled. I feel better when I write, I feel happier, more content. So, today I'm going to abandon the promo stuff and I'm going to write - I'm going to write, write, write .......... but first I just need to finish that marketing plan ...

Wednesday, 15 August 2007


A bunch of us Samhain authors are chatting at Novelspotters today ... come on over and join in the conversation.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Release day

His Convenient Affair is released today! It seems like I've been waiting forever, but in reality it's been about nine months. Nine months ... wow, I've just given birth! I'm a mama!

Here's a short blurb:

Is Chloe willing to make a deal—for her land, and her heart?

Nathan Fitzgerald is willing to do whatever it takes to restore his company’s reputation. At the top of his to-do list is to acquire the site earmarked for a luxury marina hotel—a site currently owned by the beautiful, stubborn Chloe Greenwood. He’s sure that with a few pretty words and seductive look or two, the property will be his.

Oh, yeah?

I really love seeing those arrogant alpha males brought to their knees by equally strong women, then watching as they twist themselves in knots trying to get what they think they want.

To read an excerpt from His Convenient Affair or to purchase a copy click HERE


Monday, 6 August 2007

Fun at the Cafe

Melissa Schroeder is hosting Mel's Mama list day at Samhain Publishing today. There'll be prizes, excerpts and all kinds of fun from a whole host of authors. Pop over and join us at the Samhain Cafe.

Friday, 3 August 2007

For all you special women ...

A few years ago I lost a beloved cousin to breast cancer. She was in her early thirties and by the time the disease was detected it was too far advanced for any treatment to help.

I'm at the age where I get to have a mammogram every three years and I take advantage of it. I know women who don't. Okay, so it feels like having your breasts shut in the refrigerator door for a couple of seconds, but please, if you're reading this and thinking of foregoing the test - DON'T! You're too important not to have it. I always think of my cousin when I have the test, and in some way I feel it honours her memory.

Anne, I'm thinking of you today, kid. This one's for you.


Monday, 30 July 2007

One week to go ...

Next week sees the release of His Convenient Affair. It's been a long time coming and I still have to pinch myself that it's actually going to happen.

Writing fiction is the hardest thing I've ever done. In comparative terms, I sailed through a master's degree and various post-graduate stuff and even had some non-fiction work published. I love writing, any writing, but fiction provides me with the greatest challenge. I'll happily sit at the computer until my muscles ache and my head spins. Sometimes hubby has stumbled into my study in the early hours and groaned, "Enough! Switch off the computer and come and get some sleep" (or words to that effect:))

I love every minute spent creating characters and plotting storylines - not that I sit here grinning like a satisfied idiot all the time. I've been known to curse, thump, cry, yell and gesticulate my way through a manuscript, when even the neighbourhood cats give me a wide berth. I love the frustrations, the excitement, the creativity, the joy and the heartache.

His Convenient Affair is a special book for me and one I've dedicated to my late father. He was the person who encouraged me to dream, to go for the things I want in life and not to stop until I achieved them. He taught me to believe in myself. I feel him at my shoulder as I write through the tough bits, encouraging me to keep on keeping on during those times when I question myself and my dreams.

It's exciting to think that this time next week I'll be nudging my first release, but it also feels a bit scary. I suppose coming face to face with your dreams always feels that way. Here goes ........

If you'd like to read an excerpt from His Convenient Affair please click HERE.


Friday, 13 July 2007

A Friday funny...

This was posted on one of my author loops ...


Harry is getting along in years and finds that he is
unable to perform sexually.

He finally goes to his doctor, who tries a few things
but nothing seems to work.

So the doctor refers him to an American Indian
medicine man.

The medicine man says, "I can cure this."

That said, he throws a white powder in a flame, and
there is a flash with billowing blue smoke.

Then he says, "This is powerful medicine. You can
only use it once a year. All you have to do is say '123' and it shall rise for as long as you wish!"

Harry then asks, "What happens when it's over, and I
don't want to continue?"

The medicine man replies: "All you or your partner
has to say is 1234, and it will go down. But be warned -- it will not work again for another year!"

Harry rushes home, eager to try out his new powers
and prowess. That night he is ready to surprise Joyce. He showers, shaves, and puts on his most exotic shaving lotion. He gets into bed, and lying next to her says, "123."

He suddenly becomes more aroused than anytime in his
life ... just as the medicine man had promised.

Joyce, who had been facing away, turns over and asks,
"What did you say 123 for?"

And that, my friends, is why you shouldn't end a
sentence with a preposition.


Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Wish you were there?

If, like me, you're feeling a bit left out because you can't attend the RWA Conference, why not hop on over to Romance Divas and join in the forum discussions/workshops at their Cyber Conference?

See you there ...


Friday, 22 June 2007

The Secret

Found a nice little procrastination tool while playing around on The Secret website. Check it out here and don't forget to have a look at the quote that matches your score.


Monday, 18 June 2007

You Tube

See Paul Potts sing Nessun Dorma here. It's worth watching if just for the look on Simon Cowell's face!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Father's Day Memories

I miss my dad every day of the year, but never quite as much as on Father's Day. Since I don't have a digital photo of him to put up, I've chosen one of Frank Sinatra (his favourite singer) as it somehow reminds me of him.

Dad loved life and lived it to the full. He was an armchair philosopher and always able to make me feel better when things didn't turn out too well. He looked for the good, for the positive and had a knack of exploring issues from all angles. He made me believe I could do anything I set my mind to.

Music was a passion we shared - Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones (he loved Mick Jagger)and he had every one of Jim Reeves' albums.

Mostly he loved his family. I know he adored me and was very proud of everything I achieved. He would love that I'm (almost) a published writer - I can see him now, propping up the bar at his local on a Sunday lunchtime, chest puffed with pride and getting the round in, while he told everyone who'd listen about his amazing author daughter.

He was my very first hero.

I love you, dad, and I miss you. God Bless.


Monday, 11 June 2007

Edits and a Cover

My first ever cover has been approved! Pop on over to the Samhain Publishing site and take a look at my gorgeous cover for His Convenient Affair. Click HERE to see what a great job Scott Carpenter has done.

Just sent first edits back to my editor. Phew! I've heard about "edit cave" and now I've spent some time there I understand why authors love and hate the place in seemingly equal measure. During the past few days I reckon I've gone through pretty much every emotion going - or at least it felt like it. I hated my work, then I thought it was okay. I wanted to ditch the whole manuscript and start over, then I went and fell in love with my hero all over again. I laughed through it and I cried through it - but, boy, have I learned a whole lot of stuff. My totally awesome editor has really made me think about the way I write - I reckon I must be in line for the title of "ellipses queen". I really enjoyed the process, and I know my writing is, and will continue to be, stronger for the experience. Here's to the second round!


Friday, 1 June 2007

Plot Idol

Just heard there's to be a new TV reality show based on Pop Idol/the X Factor/Dragons Den. Aspiring authors will pitch their ideas for a novel to a panel of judges to include Jackie Collins and Jeffrey Archer. Now, I'm not a fan of reality TV shows as I can't bear to see people's dreams smashed under the guise of entertainment. But on the rare occasions I do catch one, watching the demise of budding singers and entrepreneurs was somehow distanced from me, although I feel for them as they are routinely demoralised and rejected. But watching writers pitch their ideas and seeing them brutally rejected will be far too close to home and doubly hard to swallow because, although the makers of this show are promoting it as giving writers a chance to shine through in the increasingly difficult arena of getting published, I can't help but feel it's just another cheap shot to improve ratings at the expense of belittling those courageous and vulnerable souls who put themselves out there in the hope of achieving their dreams.


Friday, 25 May 2007

Rant, rant and more rant ...

If there's one thing guaranteed to shoot my blood pressure into orbit mode (and not in a good way) it's shopping.

Today I venture out into the High Street for some goodie fun. In the first shop, a popular chemist, I spend about £35. The assistant hands me my goods with a receipt. "Can I have a bag, please?" I ask pleasantly. "Yeah... if you really want one," she snarls, and shoves a bag at my chest.

Further along I hit a health food shop and spend in the region of £30 on about eight items. "Do you want a bag?" asks the assistant, who obviously can't be arsed if I want one or not, or indeed if I plan on balancing said items on my head as I go about my business.

Then I treat myself to a pair of earrings for the grand sum of £4. Well, okay, the shop's not exactly going to see a surge in their profit with that little sale, but anyway. The earrings are secured on a little piece of card and the assistant hands them to me with the receipt. "You don't want a bag for those, do you?" she asks. In such a way that I daren't disagree for fear of tuts of disapproval, and perhaps being marched from the shop in disgrace.

Why all this angst about bags, you may ask. Well, because it irks the life out of me, that's why. The shops would probably say they're trying to cut down on waste, yeah right. They get away with that excuse, of course, because in the UK we have recycling shoved down our throats every which way. Now I recycle as well as the next person and I understand how important it is to cut down on waste (despite the constant reminders from the powers that be who treat us all like idiots who can't be trusted to think for ourselves). But the bag thing has nothing to do with recycling ... it's about service, or the lack of it.

In France I frequent a lovely cosmetic chainstore where I buy little gifts to take home for friends. Often I'll buy one or two tiny items costing about £3/£5, but no matter how much I spend I get a bag! Even without asking! Shock. Horror. I'm even asked if it's a gift, and if so the pressie gets wrapped in tissue paper with a little bit of matching ribbon ... and then put into a bag! The result? I feel like a valued customer and am inclined to make a return visit. Frankly, I'd never set foot again in any of the shops I visited today if I didn't have to.

So come on Britain's shops, get your act together. Make us feel like valued customers ... and give us a bloody bag!!


Sunday, 20 May 2007

And the truth will set you free...

Okay, my recent bout of procrastination is over! And I mean over! This morning I haven't stopped writing ... and it feels GREAT!

What, you may ask, has brought about this sudden change of behaviour? Did I have a flash of inspiration? Not really. Idea for a new story? Always got one of those. Did something hit me on the head? Well, sort of. I checked that little toolbar history button that lets you see what websites you've visited. Shock and horror! I won't embarrass myself by admitting to the number over the past couple of weeks. Just let's say it jerked me out of procrastville. Fast.

I've also been pondering on the importance of attitude and how it can make or break how we approach things. See, I'd convinced myself that I didn't know where my plot was going (or plots, considering I've currently got four WIPs in various stages of completion. Each time I opened the document, or even thought about opening the document, I'd get the eebie-jeebies. This has never happened to me before and it was scary. I'd just sit staring at the screen allowing that stuck feeling to strengthen. It was becoming far too familiar and had to change pretty darn fast.

So I've got this little mantra going - I am a creative and prolific writer ... I am a creative and prolific writer... over and over until I want to shout "enough already!" But it's working, and so am I. In fact I'm flying, or at least typing - the two are pretty much the same thing to me.

Henry Ford said: "Whether you believe you can do a thing or whether you believe you can't, you're right." Right now I'm choosing to believe I can.

Anyway, gotta go ... I've left my H/h in a compromising situation and you can't trust those two for more than a few minutes if there's a lockable door in the vicinity (or any sort of door if the H has anything to do with it).


Friday, 18 May 2007

Courage, dear writer, courage!

"Come to the edge," he said.
They said: "We are afraid."
"Come to the edge,"he said.
They came -- He pushed them --
and they flew.

My little doves have gone, and so have the parents. I miss them, and can only hope they're safe.

For a short time they enriched my life, made me appreciative of the things I take for granted like my safe, warm home and plentiful supplies of food and drink. But more than that it made me think about the concept of courage - not entirely sure why, but maybe it had something to do with how tiny and vulnerable they were. Anyway, how often do we play it safe? How often do we say we'd like to do or try something but we don't. Oh, we might reach out a little, play around with how life would be if we did take a chance to do, or be, something different. But all too soon we slip back into our safety zone, secure in the protective netting we place around our shoulders.

Today, and for a little while if I'm honest, I find the very act of writing quite terrifying. I have plenty of ideas, never short of those, and I know my characters, I know the plot (mostly). But opening my WIP and getting some work done actually makes my stomach flip. What the hell is going on? I ask myself. Why is doing the very thing I love and adore so darn petrifying?

I pondered on those questions this morning as I worked in my garden. Didn't get any flashes of illumination but I did get a deep down nudge that writing is terrifying to me because I love and adore it. And nothing worth having, or doing, comes at little cost. We have to dig for our jewels, we have to get our hands dirty, have to accept the cuts and bruises that comes from excavating our dreams. Nothing I've ever done in my life comes close to the joy I get from writing, so it makes sense that the downside of that is on occasions it's going to hurt a little. I think it was Vicki Hinze who said something like "why would we waste our time doing something that didn't have the potential to breaks our hearts a little?"

Why indeed?


Sunday, 13 May 2007

Happy (US) Mother's Day!

We have two collared doves who come into the garden each day. They sit on top of our pergola for hours, rain or shine. Early last evening I spotted movement and saw a baby dove lower down on the pergola, about a foot off the ground. Of course, we kept watching him and he seemed fine. But it started getting dark and he was barely moving. We managed to get really close to see if he was okay, but all he did was blink. We called the RSPCA for advice and they said to get him in a box with a little water,and take him inside for the night. After much cooing and coaxing (our neighbours already know we're mad) we managed it.

I braced myself this morning, quite prepared that he'd died during the night. But he was okay, very alert and testing his wings a little. Out of the box, he headed straight for the spot we'd found him and soon mum and dad were on the scene feeding him! I was close to tears I can tell you. But that wasn't the end to the enchantment. Later, we saw him by the bird water bowl with his sister (you can just see her behind the leaf). After about an hour, Oscar (that's what we named him - I know it's sad, but there you are) flew into some nearby bushes and we haven't seen him since. But Nellie is still there by the bowl. Mum is feeding her at regular intervals and we're hoping she's strong enough to fly out soon.

So, on this US Mother's Day I feel a little like a proud, but anxious, surrogate mum myself. My little charge has left the nest and flown off someplace. I don't know where he is, but I haven't stopped thinking about him and hoping he's okay.

Happy Mother's Day!


** Update ... it's Sunday evening and the two little ones are back together. Mum and dad have been around all day feeding them and watching over things. The RSPCA said to leave them and let nature take its course, but as it gets darker I'm getting anxious again. We're going to put some foliage around them so they're a little more protected from predators. I haven't done a thing all day except keep checking on them, and something tells me I won't be getting much sleep tonight. I just wish they'd fly off somewhere safe. My hat goes off to all you mums out there - how on earth do you cope?

Friday, 4 May 2007

Just chillin...

Been burning that proverbial candle a bit too enthusiastically lately and it's left me feeling a little jaded. But even though I knew I was pushing too hard, I just kept right on doing it - probably because I (mostly) love everything I do, which makes it even harder to stop and slow down.

It took a lovely day out with special girlfriends to make me realise things had to change. We visited Dyrham Park, near Bath, with its house, gardens and park. The house is a fantastic example of 17th century architecture and has some wonderful paintings and Dutch Delftware. It also has one of the oldest deer parks in England - the name Dyrham derives from the Saxon "deor-hamm" - and the deer were out in full force basking in the lovely spring sunshine. Even when we walked a few feet away from them, admiring and cooing, they merely took a long leisurely look at us and went on with their busy "doing nothing" routine.

Well, there are lessons in all situations and I took mine from those deer. So, as we approach a Bank Holiday weekend I've made sure I've got nothing much planned. Hubby is studiously occupied, but I've given myself permission to just chill. I can read if I want to, garden if I want to, write if I want to and treat myself to an extra long yoga session to replenish the well.

Whatever you're doing, have a great weekend.


Saturday, 28 April 2007

On a clear day ...

Myspace Layouts
I've been battling with a plot point for the last couple of days, just couldn't seem to move forward with it. Then, this morning, I read an article on Feng Shui which suggests that clearing clutter can help when you feel stuck in life for any reason. Would it work on my plot point, I wondered? Well, I read further. Cleaning windows and any mirrors in your home can also help if you want to "see" things clearer. Couldn't hurt ... and my windows were in urgent need of medical attention. As was anyone who opened my wardrobe doors, attacked as they were by missiles masquerading as overstuffed hangers, shoes and handbags, which came tumbling out at the speed of light. So I set to work ...

A few hours later my clothes are colour-coordinated, the charity bag is filled to the brim, and my windows sparkle and gleam. So, here I am at the keyboard ready to type my way out of that plot point which, strangely enough, seems clearer now.

Problem is ... I feel so knackered after all that housework, I'm going to have to lie down for a while! Hmm, wonder if that article has any tips on how to persuade someone else to do the housework for you ..?


Thursday, 12 April 2007

Thirteen Reasons I eat Chocolate

1. It tastes sooooooo good!

2. The dark variety has iron in it, and that's good for me.

3. If I buy Fair Trade, that's good for other people too.

4. Eating chocolate triggers the release of endorphins, which makes me have happy feelings (can't have too many of those).

5. It contains phenylethylamine, which has aphrodisiac properties ...

6. It's cheaper than buying shoes (see 4 above)

7. The caffeine in chocolate gives my brainpower a little boost - just what this writer needs.

8. It tastes sooooo good!

9. Some scientists have found that eating a little chocolate may help thin the blood, helping to prevent clotting. Gotta look after my heart ...

10. It's cheaper than buying handbags (see 4 above)

11. I can drink it. Well, makes a change from herbal tea and decaffeinated coffee.

12. It's easily accessible. I get my daily aerobic activity on my walk to the local shop.

13. It tastes sooooooooooooooo good!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory ...

A writer's mantra! I've read countless how-to books about writing; plot, character, structure, adding description, writing sensually ... and I've learned from each one. I've also devoured writing articles in magazines and on the web. In fact, when I first decided to write with the aim of getting published, I printed out what seemed like hundreds of these articles and popped them in lever arch files - my bookshelves groan under the weight.

But there comes a times when you have to put the books and articles away and just write. Not as easy as it sounds. Because with the acquisition of new knowledge we want to apply it, and if you're like me that means questioning yourself as you write - the "editor on your shoulder" syndrome. This can stifle production and cause a sort of block, so that you convince yourself that everything you get down is pure and utter tripe. I don't want to write this way. I want to enjoy myself, I want to whisk myself away and explore new worlds. To get that heady feeling that comes with the pure joy of just creating. Of course, it's vital we know about structure, plot points and other writerly stuff, but why not just allow ourselves to fly with the first draft? Why not just let our characters take us where they want to go, watch them overcome their obstacles as they fall in love, sigh and cry with them as they battle toward their HEA. Then, with their story told, we can worry about structure and form. But let's just get the words on paper first, get out of our own way and just write.

That's my Easter present to myself ... to go with the flow and allow myself the sheer pleasure of just writing.

What about you? Are you a practitioner or a theorist?


Monday, 2 April 2007

In sleep she came to me ...

I'm constantly amazed at the power of the mind. Last night I was pondering my current heroine's backstory and it just didn't gel. So I slept on it, and just before I slipped into dreamland I put the question to my subconscious. Woke about 5am from a really strange dream (which I put down to watching A Nightmare on Elm Street before going to bed) and promptly went back to sleep. Then about 7am I woke with that dream still very vivid. As I lay contemplating what it meant, I realised it was my heroine's backstory - all there in glorious technicolour. Of course, I had to unscramble it, sort out the detail, but it was there.

Oh, yes. The mind is one amazing and powerful tool.


Sunday, 1 April 2007

April's here!

I love April, it has such a feeling of growth, of renewal, of hope. Yesterday, I spent the day in Glastonbury with my best girlfriend and we wandered the Chalice Well Gardens, a beautiful place which left me feeling relaxed and revitalised. I always come home inspired to write something mystical and magical, and feel inclined to research more about the Arthurian Legends.

But I'm not going to do either right now, as I have to get my priorities right this week. I have to clear away all those niggling jobs, tidy my desk and clear my computer space, because my editor said to expect first edits for my August release this week. And, strange person that I am, I'm actually looking forward to it!


Friday, 30 March 2007

Happy Friday!

Pop over to Alison Kent's blog if you have a minute - I'm guest blogger today!


Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Daily Success Habits

Heading over to Creation Thoughts for my daily dose of inspiration, I came across a neat idea that challenges people to list 5 to 10 things you do on a daily basis to help you become successful. So, here's mine, in no particular order:

1. Make lists. I can't survive without my lists, and if I write things down it frees up my mind for other things.

2. Think positive. Sometimes I slip (well, many times I slip) but this is something that's important to me, so I work on it. I'm constantly amazed at the power of the mind, and how easily we can change the course of the day by simply changing the flow of our thoughts.

3. Be grateful. Sometimes I'm so focused on my goals and what I want to achieve, that I forget the fantastic things that are already in my life. So, every night before I slip into sleep, I offer a silent 'thank you' for the gifts I've been given.

4. Schedule things that are important to me. It's so easy to get swept up in the day, especially when you have a day job you love (as I do) and an evening and weekend job (writing) you love even more. But I have other things that are important to me, too. Like spending time with my hubby, with my friends, pottering in the garden, having a facial, seeing a good movie. Most days I try and aim for a balance.

5. Spend time with my hubby. Essential! After 30 years of marriage we're obviously doing something right! And he's still the person I most want to be with :-)

6. Dream and just be. Spending time with my thoughts, letting my imagination run wild, dreaming up plots and characters ... so essential to my well being. I couldn't live without my "dream" time.

7. Read. Nothing like a good book to make me feel that all's well in the world. I need my daily reading fix. Stephen King says if you're not a reader, you can't be a writer ... and that's good enough for me.

8. Write. Every day, without fail. If I don't, it feels like something's missing.

9. Surf the Internet. I mean, what a wonderful tool. I use it to research, to contact other writers, to find out what's happening in the world, to get inspiration for heroes (especially pleasurable) and just for the pleasure of blog-hopping.

10. Keep healthy. I try and eat well and to get some exercise every day. Yoga is my exercise of choice, and has been for over thirty years. It gives me everything I need, mentally and physically. Like writing, a day without yoga makes me feel a little off balance.

So, there are my daily success habits, the things that help me feel good about my world. What are yours?

Whatever else you do, enjoy your day!


Friday, 23 March 2007

Dream Away

As a writer I've never had any problem finding ideas for stories, in fact, I have too many floating around at any one time, so that I have to really focus on my WIP otherwise I'm not sure I'd ever get anything finished. For a while now I've been playing around with a romantic suspense, always stalled by the hero who, while giving the outward impression that he's cool, relaxed and flirtatious, hides a darker side that he just won't let me see.

For some reason I was thinking about him last night, wondering about his past, and what made those barriers of his so impenetrable. What was his story? As usual he remained tight-lipped, cockily assuring me that he was fine and it was all in my overworked imagination. But I can be relentless when I want to be and got so annoyed with him that I told him to leave me the hell alone, and not bother me again until he was ready to spill.

About half four this morning I woke up, and running through my head was an old Frank Sinatra song ...

For the last time we have tasted
love's sweet tears by the fire's glow.
If our hearts are strong there'll be
no long good-byes when it's time to go.
But the strongest torch is sometimes broken
As the deepest vows aren't always spoken,
And the greatest wounds, we hide inside ourselves
Where they never show.*

Saul's image floated in front of me, with his cocky smile and easy charm, but I noticed the glint in his eye was gone and in its place a poignancy that set my pulse racing. With a jolt, I realised he'd given me a little signpost to his past and, while cryptic and cautious as ever, had allowed me a peek through the barrier and into his heart.

Well, it's something ... and I only hope his heroine can manage to pierce through his secrets faster than I can, otherwise it'll be a long, long book ...


*Dream Away
(J.Williams, P.Williams)

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Funny how just one line from a song can set the creative juices flowing, and before long those lyrics have inspired a new story idea. Then off goes the imagination, on goes the computer, and before you know it you have the bones of a plot.



Something to think about ...

This morning, while waiting for my new refrigerator to be delivered - the old one finally conked out last week - I watched from the kitchen window as a bird painstakingly hopped around the garden gathering twigs and such for a nest. The little thing was obviously a perfectionist as not just any old twig would do. No. It hopped and discarded, gathered and hopped some more, discarded and gathered and hopped some more. It was lovely to watch. But got me thinking how much I take my lovely warm and comfortable home for granted. I didn't have to build it twig by twig, or spend energy gathering raw materials to make it fit for habitation (shopping doesn't count ;-)) But that little nest is being built with love and care, and it made me take a fresh look around mine.

So, I put some extra food and water out for the birds today, and a silent thank you to that little messenger from nature for making me stop and think and be grateful.


Saturday, 10 March 2007

The cop rules, true?

Wow ... and double wow! J R Ward's latest Black Dagger Brotherhood novel has been worth the wait. While my heart will always belong to Wrath (Dark Lover), Butch is proving to be a 'male of worth' and then some. I'm about half way through (trying desperately to slow down, as we have another six months to wait for V's story) but I already know this is going to be a favourite of the series.

Mucho kudos to the WARDen!


Thursday, 8 March 2007

Sex on the Page ...

There. That got your attention ...

Last year I made a decision to really improve my craft as a romance writer by taking a series of online workshops. One of them really stands out as a) being a whole lot of fun and b) offering so much information I'm still working through it six months' later! But if you want to write the sort of romance I want to write, sexual tension is a vital element (if not THE vital element) you need to master.

Sex on the Page: Understanding and Writing Sexual Tension is offered again this April by awesome workshop leader, Mary Buckham. If you are interested in improving your skills as a romance writer I can thoroughly recommend this class. Mary goes through the 12 stages of intimacy and, well ... here's a summary of the class from the WritersOnlineClasses website:

How do you write great sexual tension? That’s the question Mary Buckham posed to Linda Howard, Stella Cameron, Susan Andersen, Nancy Warren and more Romance writers who write great sexual tension from sweet to spicy hot. In her workshop, Mary combines these lessons from real-writers with the practical understanding of the 12 stages of Intimacy, based on Desmond Morris' works, and more recent findings by scientists on the amazing role biology plays in mate attraction and selection. Findings that can be directly incorporated in our creation of powerful sexual tension. So if you want to learn how to increase the sexual tension in your work, don’t miss this opportunity.

For further details click HERE

Don't delay, give yourself a treat and register for Mary's class right now.

Have Fun!


Tuesday, 6 March 2007

It's Butch day!

If you're a fan of J R Ward's wonderful Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire series, you'll know what today is ... it's Butch day! Brian O'Neal is the sexiest cop on the planet and today his story is released. Course it's released in the US so I have to wait until Amazon delivers my copy, but at least it has despatched. Yippee! Come on postie, do your stuff!

Oh, and if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, hot foot to your nearest book store and get yourself a copy of Dark Lover, Lover Eternal and Lover Awakened. You're in for a treat!


Friday, 2 March 2007

A little bit of 'crastination does you good

Okay ... so I have a day off work, my chores are pretty much up together, important phone calls have been made, and I have all day to write. So what have I done? I've surfed the net, I've had my morning coffee break ... I surfed the net some more, then had lunch ... I surfed the net a little bit more 'cause there was this one site I just had to check out. Then I popped downstairs and made myself a fortifying cup of tea and brought it up here ready to start on the wip. Now, I really need to loosen up my fingers to get them moving adeptly over the keyboard (clicking the mouse with the index finger doesn't really count) so I'm updating my blog. Well, it's writing isn't it? Oh, and I really should check my Google ranking ... and my emails ...

Then, I'll have another cup of tea and maybe a couple of biccies, after which I'll be ready to get back to (I mean, start) work towards my daily writing goal.

But hang on, there's the postman. He's late today ... Ooh, look what I've got here - my latest Amazon delivery. Think I'll just go and put the kettle on ...

TJ ;-)

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Closing the bedroom door ...

Just been catching up with posts over at Romancing the Blog and was very interested in yesterday's post about 'sexy' and 'sweet' romance. While I know I am most definitely not an erotica writer, I do like to include the consummated love scene(s) in my books. I started to wonder why.

Like most romance authors I know, I fall in love with my heroes. I fall in love with their strength, with their tenderness, with their arrogance, their vulnerability, their very male-ness. And because I fall in love with all that, and so does my heroine, I want to know what he's like in the sack. Is he selfish, is he generous, is he giving, is he rough, is he tender? I want to know all that. And that's why I follow my characters into the bedroom.

I've read wonderful romances where the author has kept the reader firmly out of the action, and I haven't felt cheated in the least. But, for my own writing, I want to go there.

Then I can fall in love with my hero all over again ... sigh ... and know that whatever happens in my characters' lives after I write THE END, they'll still be happily heating up the sheets for long years to come.

TJ ;-)

Monday, 26 February 2007

The Two P's

Whew ... just spent the best part of the weekend writing a blurb for my August release with Samhain. You know, I probably could have written a couple of chapters in the time spent on this blurb, but I wanted to get it right as it's such an important selling tool. It's gone off to my editor now, but still not sure I'm happy with it. You see, I suffer from the two P's ... procrastination and perfectionism and I've got this theory that the two are really part of the same whole. Usually when I procrastinate it's because I'm not feeling in the best mindset and deep down scared I'm going to get whatever I'm procrastinating on wrong somehow. This 'P' usually relates to writing and it's all tied up with perfectionism - if I can't do a thing to the best of my ability I'm going to procrastinate until I can at least think I'll do whatever I'm working on justice.

Well, that kind of thinking can be an absolute bitch, especially when it stops me putting finger to keyboard for longer than a day. It's at these times I have to get out my arsenal of writer mantras ... the oft quoted Nora Roberts dictum about being able to improve a page of bad writing, but not being able to fix a blank one. Then there's 'an ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory' (from yogic philosophy) and when I get really desperate and have to pull out the big guns ... 'God never gifts you with a dream without also giving you the ability to make it come true' (from an unknown genius).

Wow ... I feel better already ... now where's that work in progress? ;-)


Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Mystical meanderings ...

Met a friend for lunch today in Glastonbury. I love going there as I have a weakness for all things King Arthur, Camelot, Merlin, Lancelot ... I think it's a very special place and the atmosphere is always quite magical. We visited the Chalice Well Gardens which were very beautiful, uplifting and spiritual. There are little resting places to sit and enjoy the gardens, quiet spaces to meditate and just be. Daffodils and snowdrops were in abundance, and we drank from the healing waters of the well. Scattered throughout the gardens is the Vesica Piscis symbol - a sacred geometrical figure which shows two interlinked circles representing the masculine and the feminine. Researching the Vesica Piscis is a fascinating (and time-consuming) process, as evidenced by time spent on the Internet when I arrived home, when I really should be writing! But then I feel another story idea formulating ...


Friday, 16 February 2007

Things are happening ...

Well, going with the flow seems to have worked, as the energy is definitely shifting around all those invisible barriers I've been facing. Of course, it could be down to the fact I've been working really hard this past week - both at the day job and the dream job (writing)- and as a wise man once said ... "chance favours the prepared mind" (Louis Pasteur) - so I reckon that as long as I keep working and focusing on what I want to achieve, I'm doing okay.

Heard about a fascinating theory this week, courtesy of Dee Carey's blog. The Secret is based on the hidden laws and principles of the universe known by many of the world's great thinkers, scientists, artists and philosophers. Perhaps a bit 'Da Vinci Code' but then I absolutely devour stuff like that. I was one of the people who read the book and saw the film with my mouth dropping open in complete and utter fascination, absorbed and enchanted by the incredible.


Thursday, 8 February 2007

Patience is a virtue?

I'm not great on patience ... like the hurry up and wait syndrome that besets all writers who want their work published. Nor am I great with things that shoot me out of control. Take this morning, we woke up to inches of snow and if there's one thing to send the fear of God into me it's driving on snow (and ice ... yuck). It's because I'm not in control ... the car can skid at any time and there's not much I can do about it except go with the flow. I know, I know, steer into the skid and all that, but my instincts say do the opposite and try and regain control. But if I believe, which I do, that every challenging situation is there to teach us something, what is my lesson here? I think it's learning to just let go. To allow myself to let things that I can't do anything about take care of themselves. Virtually impossible for a control freak like me, but I'll give it a shot.

Loads of things I'm involved in at the moment seem to have invisible barriers between what I want to happen and when and if those things are going to happen at all, and there's not a whole load I can do to influence them.

So, my theme for the week? Go with the flow, baby. And stay positive!


Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Inaugural post ...

Well, I've been flaffing around for long enough, so here it is ... my first blog. It's been a red letter week as I received a contract from an epublisher for my contemporary romance, started to set up a website, fiddled around with word meters ... oh, and I managed to do some writing when I wasn't too exhausted with the day job.

That's it! Short and sweet to start, but then little acorns .... I hope I turn out to be a proficient blogger!