Thursday, 27 December 2007

Four Star Review

I’m celebrating my first ever four star review from the Romantic Times:

Restoring his family's ancestral home is a huge undertaking for developer Will Roberts, but it comes with the title he's just inherited. As does Josie Harrington-Jones, who manages the tearoom on the premises. A single mother and reformed party girl, Josie has a real knack for the business end of things -- but she also has a few issues, and a secret. Her professional partnership with Will turns personal eventually, but Josie's not sure he's in love with the real her -- and it's a deal-breaker.

Fiona Harper's English Lord, Ordinary Lady (4) has a credible plot and conflict, as well as great characters. More than that, it's warm and funny.

What a lovely late Christmas present!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007


I’ve finished! And what a marathon it was.

The word limit for Romance is 50,000–55,000 words. This one weighs in just short of 59,000. That means I’ve written about 33,000 words in 14 days! That’s 6000 words today alone and more than 10,000 in the last two days. You may picture me slumped on my desk, whimpering.
And now, within an hour of finishing, the cold that has been tickling my nose for a few days has decided to arrive properly. I may just give up and go to bed. But not for long – I expect revisions will be back on Friday and I have the next two weeks to tidy it up!

The upside is that the title for this book looks as if it's going to be "Christmas Wishes, Mistletoe Kisses". How adorable is that?

Monday, 17 December 2007

A perfect place?

I just had to post this. This is a location from my current book - a boathouse on the heroine's estate. It's the perfect little hideaway. Who wouldn't want to be snuggled up inside in front of a roaring fire with my yummy hero, Ben?

Much cosier than Louise's big old mansion on top of the hill, I think.

But where would you rather spend Christmas? In luxury in the mansion, or cosy and basic in the cabin-like boathouse?

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Oh, heck

Right. I need to get a first draft done before Christmas! I thought I had a couple more weeks, but schedules change and suddenly I'm up against the deadline. I may go a bit quiet for a while...

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Story Structure: Turning Point 2 - Change of Plans

The second turning point in Michael Hauge’s story structure is the end of the first act. By now, the characters have been introduced, the situation has been set up and the adventure is about to start in earnest. Vogler calls this point in the story the Threshold. I like this image. It speaks of the protagonist crossing into unfamiliar territory, going on a journey.

This is the point when the hero commits to the adventure completely. Things are going to get uncomfortable for your characters now they have been shoved out of their comfort zones. Why are your characters going to do this? Why haven’t they just refused the call to adventure and stayed home with their feet up? Because to achieve their goals they are going to have to act. They want what they want more than they want a comfortable life. Motivation at this point is key. Make it strong. Make it believable. Make the stakes high.

At the ‘Change of Plans’ your protagonist(s) is going to make a decision that pushes the story in another direction.

Pretty Woman:
Instead of sending Vivian back to Hollywood Boulevard, Edward offers her $3000 to spend the week with him. Why? He has business to do and he needs a companion, but he doesn’t want to get emotionally entangled with anyone, and this causes him to make an unusual decision. Vivian accepts because she needs the money – her goal is to get out of her business and do something more with her life.

You’ve Got Mail:
Fox Books opens. Up until now, Kathleen has been coasting along in her life and living in the past. (Have you noticed that this is what her boyfriend represents – someone who is so fixated on living in the past he sees modern technology as some kind of evil?) Now Kathleen is going to have to look forward and act if she wants to save her shop. She’s not exactly a willing adventurer, but she has no choice; the battle has begun.

Notting Hill:
I think the turning point here is when Anna finally stops shilly-shallying and asks William if he would like to have dinner with her. Up until this point she’s been sending very mixed signals and, finally, she makes her mind up one way or the other. Her desire to find that special someone has overridden her desire for self-protection and she's willing to take a chance on trying something new - dating an 'ordinary' guy.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Five minutes of fame

I visited my local QS store (they are running a promotion with M&B and one of my books is involved – see here for details) on Thursday just to see my lovely gift-wrapped cover for Blind-Date Marriage in the flesh, so to speak. And while I was there, I bought some clothes for the kids and - hey presto – got asked which free book I would like. I replied that I would like the pink one because I wrote it and the sales assistant got all over-excited, called the manageress and, before I knew it, I was speaking to the area manager on the phone and having my photo taken!

Unfortunately, I was having a bad hair day and had scraped all my curls into a ponytail and I looked like a squirrel in the picture. Eek! Still, it wasn’t as bad as the one on the RNA website of me accepting the NWS trophy! How many chins? And, no, I’m not providing a link to that!