Ebook or Paper? You Decide!

Every now and again, the ‘battle’ between ebooks and paper books rears its head again, in the columns of media outlets with slow news days on their hands.  I think, as I have always thought, that it’s kind of silly, so I wrote a silly thing in response.  If silly is your jam, I think you’ll enjoy it.  🙂

Ladieeees and Gentledudes!  It’s here!  What you’ve all been waiting for!

The stoush of the century, the showdown to beat all showdowns, the take-no-prisoners death match of all time!

In the red corner, we have the champion, the old faithful, the never-beaten, bastion of taste and quality, the protector of all that is good in storytelling, the… PRINT BOOK!

And in the blue corner, the upstart challenger, the take-on-all-comers, cheap and cheerful bringer of the apocalypse the… E-BOOK!

It’s going to be an epic battle, one for the ages, so settle in and…

“Excuse me…”

The man with the microphone halted abruptly, startled into silence by a tug on his sleeve.  He wouldn’t normally have been put off his stride by a trifle, but this was no normal tug.  The hand on his sleeve was made of words.  Or, more accurately, one word.  The word ‘hand’, swelled in some places and twisted in others to make a workable finger and opposable thumb.  It was supported by the word ‘arm’, elongated to cover the distance between him and the screen of the e-reader in the blue corner.

He rubbed his eyes, but the hand didn’t go away.  Then he heard the voice again.

“I think you might be misrepresenting our relationship.”

There could be no mistake.  The voice was coming from the e-reader.

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Book vs Movie vs TV: My Rocky Romance with Austen’s Emma

I have at least five half-baked posts up my sleeve, but the real world has intruded and prevented me from getting any of them actually onto the screen! So to keep you going, enjoy this charming post about one of my favourite authors by one of my favourite author friends! The event erv doom will be over by the end of the weekend, so I hope I’ll be back bright and early next week!

Read Watch Play

When I was a teenager, I devoured all of Jane Austen’s books, including Emma. I loved Emma and Mr Knightley, I loved their little town of Highbury, I loved the secondary characters (especially John Knightley), I loved the wit and the honest emotion. I just adored the whole book.

Emma

But then something unfortunate happened.

In 1996, two adaptations were released: one was a movie with Gwyneth Paltrow, and the other a made-for-TV movie with Kate Beckinsale. The movies were quite different in tone—the Paltrow version had a dusting of Hollywood sparkle, and the Beckinsale version felt a bit more down to Earth—but they had one thing in common. An unpleasant Emma. Actually, make that two things: Mr Knightley was more of a father figure in both.

When I’d been in love with the book, I’d not once seen Emma as unpleasant. Flawed, definitely, but I still wanted to be her…

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I’ve been tagged…

Fortunately, not with anything permanent!

No, this kind of tagging is for a blog hop.  Which is a lot like Chinese whispers as I remember it in primary school.  You come up with something to say, whisper it in the next person’s ear and end with ‘pass it on!’  Except, I suppose, one hopes that this version of passing it on results in something a little more coherent than the primary school version!

My friend Gabrielle was the one who tapped me on the shoulder.  She is a writer (which probably comes as no great surprise) but she is also a film maker who makes trailers for books, which hits me right two of my favourite things, books and films.  I like her a lot and I’m really looking forward to reading her novels, when they eventuate! (Hint, Gab. 😉 ) If you would like to catch up with her, you can find her writing blog at http://gabbawrites.blogspot.com.au/ (on which she answers the same questions as I’m about to below) and her fabulous trailers for books are at http://www.trailermadeproduction.com/.  I suspect I might be in the market for one of them one day soon! (And just because I love a video link, here’s her promo video for the trailers.)

So, onto the questions:  There are only four, but some are doozies!

1 What am I working on?

What am I NOT working on might be a shorter answer!  I have decided that this is the year of productivity, and I have decided that one way to achieve that is to make a start on several things at once.  That way, if I get stuck on one, I can at least do something useful on one of the others.  Currently I am planning and/or working on one full-length romance and one novella (although knowing me, it might not stay a novella), two young-adult books and one book which, for want of a better term, I’ll call women’s fiction, with a splash of danger, a dash of romance and a lot of friends getting each other out of trouble.  I figure that should keep me busy for a few months!  I’d also like to finish the short story I started last year for the Scarlet Stiletto, Malice Domestic division.  It appeals to a gruesome side of me that I haven’t explored in fiction before…

2 How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Ooh, tough one.  I think I’d have to say first, in the humour.  I like to have a laugh where possible, even when dealing with serious subjects – in fact, especially then.  I know I can improve at combining the serious and the silly but I hope my books are always fun to read.  Of course, there are plenty of other writers who use humour too, but I can’t seem to help myself.  If there’s a laugh, I’m going after it.  Also, my romances vary from some in that I like to write about people I can imagine knowing.  I’m not especially interested in the super-rich and glamorous and bossy alpha heroes give me a pain.  I like male characters I can imagine actually having a drink with, without wanting to strangle them.  The most exciting one isn’t really about me, but I’m the only writer I know of who has had works of art made, inspired by the books.  You can find them here and here and they are a source of constant joy and encouragement to me. (Hi Resa!)

3 Whey do I write what I do?

The short answer is because I have stories to tell.  I am interested in people.  I want to know why we do the things we do and especially why we are so often sad, lonely and broken.  Writing stories helps me answer those questions, at least for those characters!  (It also makes me realise that I will never get to a definitive answer, but that just means I need to write more stories, to explore more angles.)  I have said before that I write romance because its values appeal to me and that is true.  But I think part of it is wanting to give everyone a happy ending – or at least the hope of one.  My little romances probably won’t change anyone’s life, but they might bring some light into it for a few hours and that seems a worthwhile goal to me.  The other things I write come from a similar urge to entertain and to share the way I see the world.

4 How does my writing process work?

It’s still a work in progress!  I started out a complete panster (as in, start at the beginning and write by the seat of your pants until you get to the end) but I’m moving towards more prior planning, as I get less scared of it and more interested in getting the job done a bit faster.  I like to do my ‘thinking’ with a pen and paper.  That includes character and setting notes, plot ideas and even snippets of scenes, but when I start writing the story in earnest, I move to the computer, because I can type faster than I write.  I’m trying to be more disciplined about getting work done every day, which means starting early in the morning whenever I can, so that if the day gets complicated (as they often do) I haven’t lost my writing time.  And that’s about as much process as I have!

And those are my answers!  I hope they’ve been a bit interesting.

a-basic-renovation_finalAnd now I would like to tag another friend.  Sandra Antonelli is a pocket rocket who I met at a Romance Writers of Australia conference and immediately fell in love with.  She writes, by her own description, ‘quirky romance novels for grown-ups… and smart asses’.  She is whip-smart (she has a PhD!) she’s got a smart mouth (and pen) and her stories of lovers who are no longer in the first flush of youth but still have plenty of living and loving to do are a delight.  You can find her at her website and blog and I highly recommend that you do and that you check out her books while you’re there.  She’ll be answering the questions next Monday, so if she takes your fancy, bookmark the page!

Now I must away, as I’m only just going to get this in technically still on Monday as it is!  Hope your week is treating you well!

La Vie en Rosé

I was all ready to put up a post, but then I got news that this wonderful thing was up and I can’t possibly compete. A frock: A work of art: inspired by my work? I can die happy now, thank you Resa!

Art Gowns

Were you ever inspired to embellish an Art Gown with 300  wine corks?

Tip #1 – Do not attempt to drink 300 bottles of wine all in one night. Spread them out over a few days.

OR

Tip #2 – Share them with friends.

OR

Tip #3 – Read a romance novel byImelda Evans while you sip luxuriously

La Vie en Rosé is inspired by and dedicated to Imelda and her latest novel “Playing By The Rules”

 

Imelda2- k

OF course I would have to attach all the corks somehow so I bought 110 meters of old gold soutache. It was easy getting else wise creative with that soutache.

Imelda2- fImelda2- gI wanted more creative fuel for  so I asked Imelda,

“If you could put 1 color to Kate & 1 color to Josh what are those 2 colors? Not that I will use them, but what would they be?”

Imelda’s…

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Things I Learned in 2013: The one about reading

You may be wondering what a woman of my age (viz, no longer in the first flush of youth) can have to learn about reading.  The answer is, apparently, plenty.

You see, last year, I discovered, about half-way through the year, that I wasn’t reading much. Books, that is.  I was reading things on the internet – and no, not just status updates and captions on cat pictures.  In the course of a couple of quasi-scientific studies I conducted on myself during the year, I found that most of the time I spent on the internet was reading proper article-type things – serious newsy ones and amusing ones and a lot to do with the craft and business of writing.

The internet has, in effect, become my newspaper, my professional journal and my very own comedy channel.

And that’s all well and good (although, as I said in the previous post, the time spent on that needs to be controlled).

But I wasn’t reading many novels.

This, I hardly need to say, is not good.  I am a novelist.  For a novelist not to read stories is like an artist eschewing galleries, or a musician deciding to wear earplugs 24/7.  It’s as necessary for a writer to read as it is for some who likes living to breathe.  And it has never been a problem before.

But I wasn’t doing it.

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Blog Hoppin’ with Lily Malone, golf and giveaways…

One of the joys of being a writer is meeting other writers – partly because it introduces me to new books and partly because many of them are just lovely.

LilyM_lowresToday I would like to introduce you to one of the lovely ones, who also happens to write great, fun romances.  Her name is Lily Malone, she has a new book out, called Fairway to Heaven and to celebrate, she is having a blog hop, with piles of giveaways.  There’s more about the giveaways (and the book) at the bottom of this post, but for now, here’s a picture of the main prize, just to keep you going:

PrizesSee, you like her already, don’t you?  (To be clear, the prizes are on the right.  That’s Lily on the left.  Just in case…)

But before we get to the giveaways, I have to live up to my part of the blog hop.  I have to write a post about golf.

You see, as the title would suggest, the book has a fair bit (see what I did there?) of golf in it.  So there’s a bit of a golfy theme to this here hop.

The problem is that, while I can just about tell one end of a golf club from the other, that’s about as close an acquaintance as I have with the game.  I am very willing to believe that it makes a wonderful backdrop for romance (surely those bunkers must be good for SOMETHING other than testing the swearing ability of hapless golfers?) but beyond that, sadly, I have nothing.

fairway to heavenHowever, never one to back down from a challenge, I decided that, in the grand tradition of high-school history students, I would tell you about something tangentially related to the subject at hand and hope you will be so blinded by my prose that you won’t notice. Especially since my tangentially related subject is alcohol. Continue reading

Where I’ve been and where I’m going (NaNoWriMo may be involved)

Heavens to Murgatroyd, it’s happened again.  Shameless, hopeless, blog neglect.  You would be forgiven for thinking I was dead.

Well, I’m not.  But I have been  in a funk.

The Cambridge dictionary defines ‘being in a funk’ as ‘being very unhappy and without hope.’

Yep.  Little bit.

You see, I got some bad news about my book.  Not the ones you see on the side of this page.  They’re out in the world (digitally anyway) and people are being mostly kind about them (although I could do with some more sales, so if you feel like a light-hearted romantic romp, do buy one!).

No, the one I’m talking about is the one I thought was the next big thing.  Which WAS the next big thing, for me.  A longer, more involved story, dealing with themes that are important to me, that I researched to death and worked very hard on for a very long time.  I finished it.  Finally.  I neglected the blog and quite a lot of other things to do it, but it was finally DONE and I was happy with it.  I thought my big resolution scene was strong.  All of that.  My beta readers loved it.

But my agent, not so much.

Now, I could have ignored her opinion and of course, I was tempted.  But her comments were industry related and knowledge of the industry is why I have her, so that would have been foolish.  Tempting, but dumb, and I try not to be dumb.  So I was forced to take the comments seriously.

Hence, funk.

I am not going to go into the details of the crying and throwing things.  They didn’t last that long.  (It is possible that I am finally growing up.) But the fear that maybe I should chuck the whole thing and become a plumber lasted a little longer.

However, I am pleased to say that, thanks to my friends in the Romance Writers of Australia, my friends in real life, my wonderful husband and child and my own bloody-mindedness, I think I am out the other side of the funk.  Now, I have an idea, I think I know what I did wrong and I am all fired up to write something new which will put my agent’s objections to rest and, oddly enough, make it easier to rework the existing story.

I am also beginning to believe that anything worth doing will break you and that only wanting it really, really badly will get you through the pain.  I kind of knew that before, but with each step further along the path, the breaking gets worse.  However, I am not giving up yet.

So, I have cast off (mostly) the funk and I am throwing myself into the insanity that is NaNoWriMo – at least in a manner of speaking.  For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a writerly piece of lunacy where writers attempt to write 50,000 words in the month of November.  The idea is to get a novel written in a month.  Or a draft of one, or half of one.

Now, I have never been good at word counts as a measure.  I write in chunks – a legacy of my copywriting background – so although I may write thousands of words in thrashing out that scene, chapter or whatever, I only count the ‘finished’ words.  So word counting tends to give me hives and is not, for me, terribly productive.  Also, for this new project, I want to have a stab at doing a much more detailed plan – which means that first cab off the rank is not word count, but index cards and brainstorming.

There is also the fact that November is a completely crazy month for me in my non-writing life.

But the discipline of committing to a much larger than usual output is, I think, useful.  I can certainly use a boost to my productivity and since I am starting something new and need a kick to get out of my funk, I am going to commit to productivity measures this month.

So, here’s what I’m planning:  During November, I will commit to working a solid three hours on my novel five days a week (given the aforementioned craziness of November, 7 days is unrealistic).  That’s three hours of actual, worked time.  I will stop the clock for tea making or any other kind of break and during my three hours there will be no internet whatsoever.  Nor will there be research or other time-sucks.  Just story work.  I will work as fast as I can and once my plan is done, I will commit to producing a minimum of five pages in my allotted time.

And I will (deep breath here) report on my progress, every day that I do my three hours.  Gulp.  I will try to make those posts useful, for the writers among you looking for NaNo inspiration (or procrastination) but there may also be some inarticulate wailing, should the day go badly.  There may also be pictures of flowers and puppies, for purposes of sanity. It remains to be seen.

For those doing NaNo, best of luck – if you get a moment to breathe, wish me the same!

PS: If you are doing NaNo and are scared witless, you might want to check out Alexandra Sokoloff’s fabulous blog for writers, and the indefatigable Chuck Wendig at Terribleminds. Just sayin’… 😉

It’s school holidays…

And post submission, which means I am up to my neck in holiday shenanigans and trying to sort out the almighty backlog of home things that built up while I was finishing said submission.

Which translates to: one, three-day Karate seminar (I trained! A bit, anyway. I didn’t die!), one birthday sleepover party (with obligatory breakfast pancakes) one visiting nephew, a lot of thinking about/researching new stories, a lot of wrestling with a dodgy email system and a bit of washing of sheets and rearranging of rooms.  The tax and the filing have yet to be tackled (can’t imagine why).

Which all results in terrible blog neglect.  And any minute now, I have to take said nephew out to see the sights of Melbourne (the bits that haven’t been washed or blown away, that is – it was a bit wild overnight!).  So I thought I’d share a post from the vault.  It was one of a series about what makes a man sexy.  In this case, it was about clothes.  Specifically coats here, but other clothes can do it too.

In my recent release, Playing by the Rules, my heroine, Kate comes over all unnecessary when she claps eyes on the hero, Josh, wearing a dinner suit.  It was the first scene I ever wrote that made my beta readers fan themselves with a manuscript.  And it’s just a bloke in a suit.  Fellas, take note!

So without further ado, I introduce you (or remind you, if you were around the first time) to the wonders of the coat.  Enjoy!

Playing By the Rules by Imelda Evans

Forgive this blatant promo, but Sam liked my story! And she let me reblog it…

Sam Still Reading

In brief: Kate has a school reunion to attend – only problem is she’s just been dumped. Enter her best friend’s brother, Josh, who kindly agrees to be her pretend fiancé…

The good: Kate is easy to relate to (she’s an OTT planner) and Josh is just delicious.

The not-so-good: Need more Josh! He’s a great hero – kind, sexy and balances Kate just perfectly.

Why I chose it: eARC from Net Galley and Destiny Romance – thank you!

Year: 2013

Pages: 208

Publisher: Destiny Romance

Setting: Australia, USA, France

My rating: 8.5 out of 10

Imelda Evans first appeared on my radar unknowingly when I heard ‘The Trouble With Men’, a submission at the Romance Writers of Australia conference this year. I was really impressed with the story – it was fun, feisty and funny. So when Imelda let me know that the submission was hers, I knew I…

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