Sunday, 30 September 2007

Extreme Fantasy

I was going to blog about something sensible, but I saw this on Melissa McClone's blog and had to have a go myself!

Your home is a

Philanthropic Muse's Mansion

Your kitchen is someplace you never go, because you "have people for that." There's a Chocolatessen, which is rapidly becoming your favorite room of the house. Having one is also becoming a trend among your wealthy neighbors. Your master bedroom is the size of a small barn, with carpet thick enough to reach your ankles. Your study has hardback editions of every classic ever written, plus a special edition of Rich Dad, Poor Dad with the parts you ghost-authored highlighted. One of your garages holds your collection of ferraris, and is measured in acreage.

Your home also includes a guest wing and private quarters for your servants. Outside is your hedge maze and gardens, meticulously tended by a team of world-class botanists.

And, you have a pet -- a doberman pincer named "Warren".

Below is a snippet of the blueprints:

Find YOUR Dream Home!

I love the idea of having my own ballroom with a sulking corner for those that have been scorned - probably because they have acted inappropriately after having been dazzled by my wild and uncomprmising beauty (Fiona falls about laughing). and how about having my and my own romance library and a maze! I'm currently fascinated by mazes and I'm considering using one somehow in an upcoming book. Not sure about the doberman, though. Can't I have a cat instead?

The on-site choclatier is very tempting, but I'm not sure my waistline could take the damage! I hope there's a state of the art gym in there somewhere...

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Good food, good wine, good company!

As a writer, I spend most of my time in a tracksuit, no make-up, slumped infront of my computer. Friday was one of the days I get to dress up, talk to other people who do the same thing and have a good time.

First event of the day was the AMBA (Association of Mills & Boon Authors) Lunch. It's an annual event where we get a chance to meet, catch up on news and find out a little bit more about what's going on at HM&B. This year we had guests from the marketing department and I came away from the Q&A session realising that I need to get over some of my technophobia and do a few more things online. My absolute favourite bit of the lunch was meeting Donna Alward, my fellow M&B Romance author from Canada! I cyber-met Donna on the eHarlequin messageboards back in 2004 before either of us were published, so it was great to finally see her in person. (Here's a picture of Trish Wylie, me and Donna at the lunch.)

Afterwards a group of us headed off to Selfridges for tea. As if there wasn't enough drama to be had that day, we passed the Hitlon and found one of the side roads blocked off with police tape. A little more observation revealed a broken window up on the 17th floor and a whole host of firemen climbing onto the flat roof. Let's just say someone hadn't had such a happy day as the rest of us. A local man spotted us staring upwards and informed us that the firemen had put a net out to catch the guy that had jumped. I'm glad to say that I didn't find out until I read a news report about it the next day that he hadn't survived. Even so, we walked the rest of the way to Selfridges in a more sombre mood.

We had a resorative cup of tea in the basement cafe and Abby Green swore she saw one of the Gallagher brothers from Oasis on the escalator. From there it was only a short hop to the Oriental Club, tucked away just off of Oxford Street, for a toast by HM&B to its authors. The champagne flowed! Dangerous stuff. Especially when you only have to take a few sips and someone is filling up your glass! Thankfully, I was gassing so much I didn't ever seem to empty mine out too much!

Here are a few pics:Top left: Julie Cohen & Sandra Kendrick; Top right: Donna Alward and Fiona Harper; Left: Annie Burrows & Emily Bascom; Centre: India Grey, Abby Green & editor Jenny Hutton; Right: editor Jo Carr and Donna Alward; Bottom: editor Maddie Rowe, Emily Bascom and Julie's back!

It's lovely to celebrate each other's achievements and both Kate Hardy and Mary Nicholls received their pins for producing 25 books, and Kate Walker celebrated her 50th title! I would have posted photos of that too, but I was waayyyy at the back of the room (eating canapes) and I couldn't see a thing!

Too soon it was all over, but we were destined for more chat and good food. A group of us all went out to Brown's for dinner and had a whale of a time. Kate Walker has managed to come up with a collective noun for a group of romance writers. She even has the photographic evidence to prove it (although I'm told she's saving it for blackmailing purposes). A gaggle? A quill? Nope. If you want the answer you'll just have to head on over to her blog and read it for yourself!

I'm not doing labels for this one. The culprits know who they are!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Getting a laugh

Since I’ve broken my blog-silence, I may as well get back in the habit!

I ordered the RWA conference CDs and they arrived in the post a couple of weeks ago. I decided not to pick and choose, but just to listen to each disc all the way through. You can now find me hooked up to my MP3 player when I’m driving, walking to work and even in the gym. I’m learning loads. I only managed to attend about four workshops during the week, so there is tons of good stuff I missed.

Anyway, I was on the train the other day and I was listening to Jo Beverley’s workshop on “Getting Started: Books and Beginnings”. She was analysing good opening passages (first two hundred words) and seeing why they worked and, as she was nearing the end of the workshop, I got a bit of a shock. I heard “Blind-Date Marriage” and “Fiona Harper” and then she started reading the first page out! I stared at my MP3 player in such shock that the girl opposite me on the train started giving me funny looks.

Not only was it cool to have a bit of one of my books used for the workshop, but I got a laugh too! Just at the bit about Serena having “too many teeth” (see my website for an excerpt). Us writers hardly ever get to experience that immediate kind of reaction to our work, so I was doubly chuffed that one of the humorous lines actually made some attendees crack up. God bless those ladies!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

I bet you all thought I'd fallen off the face of the earth. Well, I did. Kinda. Almost. Okay, okay, I managed to hang on by my finger nails and claw my way back to the land of the living. Just in time to help celebrate the Pink Heart Society's first birthday!

As part of the celebrations they are having a treasure hunt and today it's my turn to give that cute little dancing heart guy a present, so I'm handing over a huge box of Thornton's cappuccino truffles (only a few are missing, honest!). It's an entirely selfish present. I'm hoping he's gonna get too stuffed to eat them all and I'm just gonna have to help...