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!

The Next Big Thing comes to Wine Women and Wordplay

CSIRO Radio Telescope at Parkes, Australia

Please note this is A Big Thing, not actually MY Big Thing… (It’s the CSIRO Radio Telescope at Parkes, Australia. A favourite Big Thing)

I’m delighted to be part of The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. I’ve been asked to answer ten questions about what I’m working on and then tag other authors to do the same.

Some of these questions were easy and some were trickier, but it was fun to do! I’m quite excited to talk about this novel as it’s a rewrite of the first novel I ever wrote and I’m really looking forward to see how the transformation works out.  I can’t wait to give it to my stalwart beta reader, who has read every word I have ever written, and see how she likes it!

To continue the ‘hop’ you can follow the links at the bottom of this post.  I hope you like reading about MY next big thing (even if it’s not the world’s).  If you have questions, please ask, happy to answer.  If you are a reviewer and interested in receiving an ARC when it comes out I’d be very happy to hear from you. Just drop me a note in the comments or on the contact form.

1: What is the working title of your book?

Playing by the Rules

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

A scene popped into my head one day; two best friends discussing the best way to get over a dumping.  I wrote that scene many years ago now and it sat in a drawer (literally, a filing cabinet drawer) for many years until I dragged it out and started thinking about how these two friends had got to this scene and where they would go from there.

3: What genre does your book come under?

Fun, flirty, contemporary romance.

Continue reading

OH. MY. GIDDY. AUNT!

Okay, I had a post organised for today.  It was all about how I’ve determined that I’m going to finish long-standing crafty projects and post more of my quick and easy recipes and all that good stuff.  But then, I saw THIS.

The Australian Romance Readers Association has published the finalists for their 2012 awards and I AM ON THE LIST!

Or rather, this is:

Rules are for breaking

My little Romance is flying the flag for my publisher, Destiny Romance.  Whatever happens now I’ll always be the first Destiny title nominated and I am THRILLED.  THRILLED, I tell you!

If you are looking at the list, I’m in Favourite Contemporary Romance (man, I loved typing that!).

For those not familiar with the Australian Romance scene, there are some very experienced and deservedly successful authors on that list.  I am honoured – and frankly a little staggered – to be included among them.

I discovered my listing last night while I was casually checking on Facebook before going to bed.  I was cruising down the list, smiling at all the friends and familiar names I saw, including several who are nominated multiple times, when BAM! – there I was.

I read it at least three times just to check I wasn’t hallucinating.  Then I checked with a night-owl friend on FB that she could see it too.

But it seems it is real.

I am so grateful to the members of ARRA who voted for me to get me to this stage.  I was feeling a little down and discouraged last night, then this landed like a message from the universe.  I’ve been too stunned to really feel it up to now, but as I type this I’m starting to tear up.  To everyone who has supported my little book, my first dip into the waters of publishing, thank you!  You rock!

Thank you too, to Carol and Sarah from Destiny for believing in me, for Arwen who helped edit and Alex who designed the cover, to Clare and Annabel from Curtis Brown and to everyone who helped make this happen.

And for any Australians who haven’t bought it yet – or who might like to buy an award nominee [squee!] as a gift – it’s still on sale for a few more days through all the outlets: Destiny, Kobo, Google Play, iTunes and Amazon.

Get in quick and grab some of the other Destiny titles as well while you’re at it!

I’m off to drink champagne for brunch!

Squee!

It’s 2013: So, what now?

I’m back.  Holiday officially over, blogging and other writing firmly back on my daily menu.

It’s traditional at this time of year to make resolutions and in the past, I would have been front and centre ready to resolve to be better, stronger, faster (read, thinner) and so on, with the best of them.

But I am older and wiser now.

I know a resolution is usually as insubstantial as the breath it is uttered with.  And goals that are really dreams – that is, with no plan behind them – are about as useful as resolutions.  A resolution by any other name will stink the same by January 5…

So I have waited until after the feast of the Epiphany (it seemed appropriate) to stake my claim on the goal-field of 2013, in the hope that time to consider will keep me sensible.  This time next year, we’ll find out, I guess!

So, what do I want to achieve this year?  Monday on this blog is about writing, so I’ll start with the writing goals:

This year I aim to:

Finish and sell my ‘girly thriller’ which has taken a long time to craft, but is so close to done I can taste it.

Rewrite the companion novel to Rules are for Breaking for Destiny Romance (They’ve save me a slot for the second half of the year – would you look at that, a real live deadline!)

Write a short story – a first for me! – to enter in the Sisters in Crime Scarlet Stiletto awards.  I had an idea over the holidays which I think might work and I’m excited about writing it.

Write the second in the ‘girly thriller’ series (which will require it to go much faster than the first, but I hope I can do that!)

Have all of that done in time to clear the decks for NaNoWriMo.  Having broken my NaNo reluctance last year, I’d like to have a stab at writing something completely new in that month.  Don’t know yet what it will be. A new short romance? A novella?

I could add things to this list, but this is supposed to be about things I am actually able and going to do, not just would like to.  I dearly love a list but I have learned the hard way that it’s best to take into account one’s capacity before signing off on a list…

Which brings me to another writing goal for this year: the care and improvement of this blog.

I started blogging in March last year with a plan and I’ve mostly stuck to it.  But now I’d like to improve.  Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be overhauling my categories and tags, to make things easier to find and tweaking the blog schedule so I can include more of the things readers seem to like more often.  I’ll talk about the other day improvements when I get to them, but here’s what I have in mind for Mondays:

I will be starting a new series called ‘So you want to be a writer?’  I don’t claim to be an expert, but, like most of us treading this path, I’ve learnt a lot as I’ve gone and I continue to learn.  This column invites you to come on the journey with me and I’ll try to show you the ways I’ve found around the boulders, slippery shale and crevasses on the way.

I would also like to introduce a semi-regular feature of interviews with people I go to for research.  I haven’t quite worked out what to call this or how often I’ll be able to manage it, but I know I’m fascinated by people who KNOW things and I figure other writers are too.  (Friends with skills, if you’re reading this, be afraid, I WILL be coming for you!)

One feature that I didn’t manage as well as I wanted to last year was the First Friday Wordfest (mostly because I kept forgetting it was the first Friday).  So this year I will be moving the Wordfest posts to Monday and doing them whenever I think of wonderful words that I want to share!

Finally, one of my most popular series of posts last year was the ‘what makes a man sexy?‘ set.  So I might try a few more along those lines, in the context of characters.

And I think that’s enough to be going on with for now!  I have plans for Wednesdays and Fridays too, but they can wait.  With any luck you’ll come back to find out what they are! 😉

So, what about you? What are YOUR plans for this year?  If you’re a writer, what are you going to do with your year? (NB: There are some great tips for focusing on Valerie Parv’s Monday mentoring blog today.)  Tell me your plans. (Imagine seductive, impossible-to-resist voice. Go on! You’re a writer after all! 😉 )