Thursday, 22 November 2012

Titting & Tatting

Shehanne Moore tagged me back.  Tit for Tat!—a tempting subject for a future posting with which I could have a lot of fun given  I’ve met a good number of tits (idiots for those unfamiliar with the insult) and encountered a lot of tat (hookey rubbish)…but that’s for another time.   

Post a snippet from your current WIP exampling the word ‘look’, Ms Moore challenged in retaliation for me tapping her with an interview a couple of weeks ago.

 A word I use rarely, I dismissed with a mad muttering about not having time for such shennanigans.  Boy, was I wrong.  58 uses of the word per the ‘Find & Replace’ function and I’m only on Chapter 8. Damn.

 And I was wrong about how deeply buried the word ‘look’ would be too.  Tripped over it a bare six lines into my current work in progress…hmm.

Him? Set a honey trap? Not bloody likely! He’d give his life for the Service—damn near had on the last occasion, taking a bullet to the gut and one to the chest—but he drew the line at pimping his body.

 “…It’s imperative we locate her brother. They’re close. Twins. She must to know where he is. Take her to bed, gain her trust. Consider it an assignment with fringe benefits. Dr Treherne isn’t bad looking after all.”

She wasn’t, if you liked your women uptight and severe—which he didn’t—and you were prepared to get your bollocks frozen off—which he wasn’t.

So there you have it, challenge met (if a little ungraciously, but Ms Moore knows where I’m coming from).  And to share the pain, I now tag: Andrea Walpole, Joanne Stewart and Jane Linfoot.)

Friday, 9 November 2012

Aw hell, I am so screwed…

To date I have studiously ignored all attempts to ‘tag’ me, not because I mind participating but because the guilt of inflicting the same sense of panic on those whom I must ‘tag’ in return, twists me into knots tighter than tangled dental floss. On this occasion however, I decided to test whether curiosity did indeed kill the cat by accepting the baton from Aurelia B Rowl, in the ‘Next Big Thing’ Blog Tour.

I should probably confess that I’ve yet to master the art of tagging others so the chain might well stop right here.

Apologies in advance to Shehanne Moore, Aimee Duffy and Andrea Walpole – y’all have been tagged – maybe. Ladies you are on your own from this point forward….you now have to answer and post the questions below before tagging three others to do the same.  Good luck!

What is the title of my current work in progress?

‘Compromised’ – which sums up in a single word, about the only thing Will and Angel have in common.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

From a strange and violent world far, far away, known as Planet Incy.

What genre does your book fall under?

Romantic thriller with a hint of chilli heat.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

They would have to be new, undiscovered and able to make the characters their very own.  In terms of physical attributes, Damon from TVD might serve as Will but for Angel, I’m not sure that female has yet been born.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A sexy commitment-phobe with his eye firmly on the top job, falls for an ice queen set on sabotaging his career by keeping secrets that could get them both killed.

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither.  My WIPs languish happily in no man’s land until completed. Only then do I start searching for the most appropriate home for them.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Hey, it’s not finished yet!!!  But I edit and re-edit as I go along (must be the Virgo in me) so I don’t think in terms of drafts (probably because I can’t count that high). As to timescales, much depends on the number of interruptions life throws at me.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

How about James Bond tangles with The Snow Queen only to find out she’s really Suzy Wong playing fast and loose with both their lives in a game of Russian Roulette. (Hey, don’t pigeon hole me.)

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The hero, Will Berwick, himself.  Having played a supporting role in two previous books and given the punishment he took in both, I felt he deserved his own story by way of compensation. Aside from which he would probably have hunted me down and shot me had I not given him his chance in the spotlight.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Hmmm…it’s fun watching two complicated characters push each other’s buttons to see who will be the first to surrender. Oh, and that’s without the conspiracy, murder and mayhem and a very ill-conceived honey-trap.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Belly Button Fluff - Poor you if you've got none.

We are who we are. Statement of fact.  But as individuals, do we really know who we are? Are we aware of the traits that irritate the hell out of some and compel others towards us? I’d suggest not. Thank God!

If you think you truly know yourself, then I’d venture you’ve spend too much time naval gazing and whilst you might have the cleanest, fluff-freest belly button on earth, I won’t want to know you. Not only are you unnatural (not a sin in itself) but you are most likely the most boring, pointless person alive. That’s the real crime.

Faults shape us, like the facets on a gem, they reveal the flame within. Without faults to distort perfection and refract light you’re about as interesting as a pane of glass without a view—of any kind.
This relates to writing, how?  Well, nothing is more deadly than reading about the piously angelic, Ms or Mr Perfect, that’s point one. Point two is if your heroine/hero has faults and flaws, then they are unlikely to be aware of them.  Keep your story real. Make sure your characters flow with blood not ink. Too much introspection on the path to self-knowledge is just not authentic. It’s also filthy boring for the reader.

A lack of self-awareness sparks friction, you should be able to feel the rub of sand against sand in the interaction between characters as they blindly bumble through life, trying their best, but largely getting it wrong.
 Not that people can’t change, they do, they grow (not necessarily towards sainthood) but only in response to some trauma or challenge. Something they don’t like, something that disrupts their peace of mind and prevents them from getting what they want, now!  Even then, it’s more a compromise than an outright change of who we once were.  If you have a stinging temper and your current love interest reacts adversely, then the chances are you’ll try and dull the sting. That’s not self-awareness, that’s compromising to get what you want, but the temper that is a part of you will still hold strong and there are times, even in the happiest of ever afters that it will out.

If you’ve written a bitch or a bastard, chances are they are going to stay a bitch or a bastard. But in romantic fiction the reader expects someone to fall for the lead characters regardless.  And  if, as a writer,  you’ve done your job properly, the reader will love them too, flaws and all. 

If I’ve got this right, then a story spins more on convincing reaction than long term changes in personality.  Maybe that’s why series are popular. Readers go back to see how their old friends are faring handicapped as they by flaws, within a new dynamic.

Got a view? Then come on, rub some sand.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


                            HARLEQUIN MILLS & BOON
...that’s right, the organisers of this global writing competition.

Now given I entered, it might seem the height of bad manners to fork through what’s on the plate rather than consume gratefully but this post is less criticism and more a reality check .

Key Point:  The way the voting works, SYTYCW is less a test of writing ability and more a test of social media use and ownership of devices (you can vote more than once as long as you do so from a different device).

It’s a popularity contest in other words.  Got enough family, got enough friends, got enough followers, got BIG ENOUGH BALLS to tout shamelessly your entry across the e-universe and you should go through to the last 25 regardless. (In addition, the organisers choose 3 ‘wild card’ entries which, they believe, merit attention.) Lucky 28 contestants.  Well done! That upward streak is your profile on the rise.

To the remaining entrants, don’t worry about not placing. It is not a reflection on your talent but do learn to e-network (even if only with other writers).  There are some superb opening chapters buried deep in e-silence, if yours is one of those, don’t give up.  Cream rises.

Actually, no-one should give up.  Your ability to write, your skill at engaging a reader from the get-set-go, your future potential, has not been tested. Not in a meaningful way. Not under this voting system.

And why is HM&B the overall winner?  Free publicity.  $$£££$$$ worth of it. They have gifted nothing they would not otherwise have given, albeit by another means and under different circumstances (the slush pile).

Is this wrong? Nah, it’s marketing-smart and integrity often takes a hike when protecting/growing market-share takes to highway. 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Not As Bad As You Think (I bloody hope)

Amid the debris littering my desk (scraps of paper, half-drunk cups of coffee, pens so old and mashed they vomit red, blue and green and lie in the little lakes of their own making, war-torn Lego men courtesy of my son…and yes, I do believe that is a regurgitated fur-ball - eewwww) I am determined to find a prominent place for the notice ‘It’s not as bad as you think’.

Why? Because trust me, over-writing can suck the very life blood from your work, leaving it in much need of a laxative.
Try and remember your reader is reading your story for the first time.  Their eyes and minds will be fresh and eager rather than bleeding.  Chances are they won’t give a flying-f about the correct use of the Oxford comma, or occasional lapse in the sequence of MRUs, not if your story flies, not if your characters rip free from the page and not if you have succeeded in transporting them into a world they never want to leave.

If you have done a half decent job on your story (getting the GMC up front and central helps), they will not be bored stiff  to the point of applying leeches to their eyelids and throbbing temples. Chances are they will be too engrossed and therefore forgiving of little tics and errors.  (Best to avoid sloppy typos and spelling though, they’ll skin you for that or worse, abandon your book).
So, don’t hate your manuscript. Recall the verve that rushed through your veins as you punched out the first draft. Because that is what it means to write from the soul and that’s what will give your book its unique personality.  All over-writing ever achieves is frustration on your part as the writer, and a Mogadon-effect in the reader.
Hence my new mantra:  It’s not as bad as it looks…maybe?
Caveat: This mantra does not excuse crap writing! 
Second Caveat:  Those elipsey things (brackets) are all mine, and I'm on trend.  My own trend.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Bloody Afflictions!

Of all the afflictions a writer might hope to avoid, ‘memory like a sieve’ must rank near the top.  I have a tough job with names (even have to run through the register when addressing one of my own kids), and book titles too.  This makes it hard to share/recommend/enthuse about a good read.

And it’s no bloody fun when you’re trying to track your own work.

I do a lot of my writing in my head. Driving to work and home again. Zoning out in meetings so tedious I want to open a vein. Even sitting here blogging right now. One part of my mind is always preoccupied with the story I’m working on.  Problem is, the minute I hit the computer, it all seeps away, can’t even find the thread to tie a knot in it, half the time.

Carry a notebook, you might advise.  Ah, no thanks. I already have three points on my licence (for doing 34mph—yup, still pissed off cos I forgot to send off the fine and got hit for £230 rather than the original £60), and have you ever noticed how in a meeting, your closest neighbours are always checking out what notes you’re taking. Besides, I’ve tried scraps of paper and lose them every time only to come across them months later, to wonder WTF.

Yet I plod on, always back-reading what I’ve already written (which takes hours) in the hope that something will stick for good or better still trigger some random thoughts from earlier on.  Why? Cos that’s another affliction of mine, a cussed stubbornness not to yield any ground.

Yes this all makes me a difficult person to live with but I do have one saving grace, I value my friends, and damn straight, I never forget them.

Got any afflictions you want to share?

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Weird Shit...

Exploring your earliest memories can produce some weird shit. Here’s one of mine:

When I was three, four at the most, I would climb a tree at the bottom of the garden (more a wasteland really, as I was born in Zimbabwe), straddle a branch and argue the merits of flinging myself into the prickly shrubbery below. Why? Because the fairies had promised to reward my bravery with a little red suitcase if I did.
I didn’t have any particular need for a suitcase, red or otherwise. I’m not sure I even wanted one. But every day, I’d climb that damn tree and the argument would commence.
‘Wow, a red suitcase. From the fairies. Just gotta jump.’
‘Hmmm. It’s a long way down. It’s gonna hurt.”
“No pain, no gain.”
“I don’t want to die.”
“The fairies won’t let you die.”
“They might if they find out, I’d much rather have a pair of red shoes than a stupid suitcase.”
“Careful. They can probably read your mind. Quick jump before they reach up and drag you down.”

I never did make that jump and to this day, I  wonder regularly what would have happened if I had.  Would the existence of fairies have been irrefutably proven? Was I demented even at that tender age? Would the fairies have been offended if I’d asked for twinkly red heels instead? Did I fail some kind of divine test by not jumping? What the hell was it about a bloody red suitcase?
Being me, I’ve got plenty of other little memories like this that tease and torment but this remains the strongest and I revisit it a couple of times a year in search of some answers.  To date without much luck.
So what’s your earliest memory, does it haunt you still? Feel free to share, I just have.  
Hark, is that knocking I hear? Men in white coats you say? Okay I’m outta here. You lot be brave.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Triumph of the Vagina

I’m not known for my subtlety hence I ‘try’ to steer clear of contentious issues. So when:

US citizen, Todd Akin, the plonker, committed political suicide by claiming women’s bodies have a natural defense system against the possibility of pregnancy in cases of ‘legitimate rape’, I bit my tongue and stayed out of the fray in the belief he'd get what was coming to him.

Enter George Galloway, the UK version of the plonker, who appears to view rape as ‘really bad manners’ and ‘bad sexual etiquette’. By now my tongue was a shredded mess and entering the fray looked like a long glass of chilled water after ten days in the desert.

Then in rode Lani Diane Rich, NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author, with quite the most erudite piece of writing I have read in many a year, and my tongue is now recovering and I still have a job.
Here’s what she wrote:

Psst. Politicians.

My vagina didn't bankrupt this country or send all the jobs off to other countries. My vagina doesn't work 17% less than a penis, yet it gets paid 17% less. My vagina doesn't call anyone who disagrees with it a socialist and expect that to end the discussion. My vagina also considers the entering of said vagina without express permission as rape. PERIOD. (BTW, that includes transvaginal ultrasounds.) My vagina reserves the right to defend its borders, so to speak, and if you're gonna complain about all the babies on welfare and wax indignant about abortion, perhaps you could shut the hell up about birth control, which prevents everything you seem to have a problem with, except the fact that my vagina has sex, which is none of your damn business anyway.

Please remember that no matter what stupid ass legislation you try to pass to prevent it, my vagina will be voting this November.

Bloody brilliant!  On behalf of my tongue (and women everywhere), I thank you Lani Diane Rich.

Check out Lani's work at

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Cocking the Halo

You know you are not a bad person :-
·         When you can drive for an hour along unfamiliar, too-narrow. traffic logged roads, up hill and down dale, with a squalling baby (make that screaming) and still comfort the mother with a ‘don’t worry, all babies do this’.  A big fat lie, most babies sleep. My teeth are 5mm shorter from the gritting and grinding.
·         When you want to throw your arms round all those young people receiving exam results (and failing) and tell them to stuff the system, to go out and define themselves.  I hate the fortnight during which A Level and GCSE Level results are released.

·         When you keep your weak platitudes to yourself and just listen when a distraught man of 87 years tell you his wife of 50 years is unlikely to live beyond the weekend and you miss an important meeting.
·         When you really, really want to write so bad, blood is oozing from your pores and you forbid yourself to go near your ms for at least a week because your family come first. (Hmm, wonder if working between 2-4 in the morning would be excusable?)

·         When you smile sagely instead of picking up a knife and slicing the people dancing on your last nerve ‘because it’s not their fault’ – my ass.
·         When you agree to a birthday party you really don’t want (in fact, the very idea of it channels thoughts of self-harm) because it means so much to those throwing it.

This list could continue but frankly, reading it back, it’s a little bit too navel gazey.  Think I’ll take my tarnished halo, twirl it round my forefinger as a stripper might a g-string, release and leave it where it wherever it falls (hopefully close to a pub or for a laugh, on a bald bishop’s head.

So what act of contrition have you performed today (ok, this week)?

Friday, 10 August 2012

Knock me on my ass – I beg you

We are told that to throw a reader out of the story, to have them pause, lose their thread and need to re-read a passage is a massive author fail.  Hmm…I’m sure I can think of worse sins, not least boring a reader to death but that would take this post in a different direction when, for a change, I’d like to celebrate. Celebrate the exquisite moment of being tossed out of a story and knocked flat on your ass.

For me all it takes is a certain turn of phrase. It might be that the choice of words is shockingly original, or humorous, or beautifully cadentic* but more often than not it will be down to the image painted.

 she watched as black cinders showered, like so many dead moths…  ­

This snippet stopped me dead in my tracks and haunted me for months.  It still does. It’s so damn powerful.  The piece from which it is lifted was crafted by recently contracted, Shehanne Moore, writer of romantic historicals, and I thank her for that very special moment when, as a self-confessed speed-reader, I skidded to a halt, re-read the line (many times) and thought…bugger me, I want to be able to write like that.

I’ve taken the liberty (with Shehanne’s permission) of including a fuller extract here, but for me, it all comes down to that single sublime image.  Fury (the heroine) has a contract for Flint (the hero) to sign.

  “After all, I wouldn’t like to make it difficult for you, or suffer more in your embrace than necessary. No.” She smiled and tilted her jaw.  “Now, why don’t you just make your mark on the paper?  So we was it you put it again...get to it?” she said, tossing him the pen.
    He caught it and stared, for a long brittle moment. Then with an abrupt movement he tossed it on the floor, where it clattered and rolled, blobbing ink across the tiles.  Wordlessly he walked to the end of the dressing table and held the paper in the candle flame.  Flames came from it and she watched as black cinders showered, like so many dead moths, onto the marble surface of the table.
    “What....what do you think you’re doing?” she gasped,
    “What you said, Fury. Making my mark. Now, that’s your terms. Here’s mine.”

*Cadentic is one of those words loathed by Spellcheck because I’ve made it up.  Basically on my planet, it means the beat of a pulse or rhythm.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Kaboom – Unashamedly Dropping the F-Bomb.

My instinctive reaction to the smug who dismiss foul language as lazy and symptomatic of a restricted vocabulary is an elegant, Fuck Off!  

Elegant because it’s uncluttered, immediate and leaves no room for misunderstanding, surely the Holy Grail for writers.

There aren’t many reactions that can be captured in two short words and fuck used on its own can convey myriad emotions – physical pain, surprise, shock, anger, despair, amusement, pleasure – so why use a string of unnecessary words when one will do? To avoid causing offence?  Nowadays?(Please refer to my reaction in the opening sentence.)

Few words work harder than fuck. I haven’t been able to think of one, so maybe the dissenters are right, I’m vocabulary challenged. But used in the right context fuck reigns supreme. Four letters of the alphabet combined into a single word that can world-build, reveal character/personality, carry emotion like no other. I am in awe. Somehow other epithets lack the same class.

However, please note the caveat ‘used in the right context’.

And there are certain words over which I do hesitate, ‘God’, ‘Christ’, or ‘Jesus’, because I don’t wish to offend or disrespect an individual’s sensitivities – but fuck isn’t and never will be one of them.

Which word works hardest for you?

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

You Heard It Here First!

Very short, to the point post:

NAME TO WATCH: Shehanne Moore

Writer (no, Wordsmith) of historical romance who is quite simply terrifyingly good.  You'll know more when I do, but in the meantime, you heard it here first and I am smiling all over my face!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Scout (hearts) Dill

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird made me a Romance Junkie

There, I've admitted it, I was a weird child and possessed by To Kill a Mocking Bird.

I faded the ink of that book, reading it over and over again.  I’d read to the end, flick back to the beginning and start all over again. I was caught in a time loop without end, so convinced was I that if I just read the story hard and often enough, I could make it happen: Scout would get off with Dill.
I was aged 11, maybe younger. My concept of what it meant to be adult was zero. In my mind Scout and Dill weren’t bound by age, I didn’t care that Scout was a child, she and Dill belonged together, forever, damn it! And to this day, the lack of closure, the absence of a HEA torments me.
I didn’t picked up on the racism, I did on the injustice. And Boo Radley scared the shit out of me. Atticus Finch was the father I wanted as my own and Jem would have been okay for a brother, I suppose. But I wanted Scout and Dill to fall in love and marry. They never did.
……and that’s how my affair with the romance genre started. I was scarred by disappointment, felt cheated, and I distinctly remember making the vow that if I were ever to become a writer, damn straight my books would have a happy-ever-after.
By the way, I also believed passionately that Peter Pan fell for the wrong woman—Wendy was such a prissy-priss—and Tinkerbell got a bum deal!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Arrogant Bastards! - not a great first impression.

                                  …or, more diplomatically: Tone Can Kill.

Subbing for the first time can be a scary process and I wonder how many publishing houses/agents have missed the opportunity to sign the next rising star (not me, not yet, maybe never) because they are unaware the tone of their Submission Guidelines is off?

I’ve certainly passed by certain houses and taken against certain agents where the tone has been intimidating, blatantly hostile even.  Frankly, if submissions aren’t welcome, don’t ask for them. Close your doors. Lower your shutters. Flick ‘Open’ to ‘Closed’ - Sorry to have disturbed you.

Stipulating format, specifying genres of interest and codifying dos and don’ts, admittedly makes for dry copy. But the funny thing about words is link enough of them together and personality will out.

Submission Guidelines are an important part of Corporate Image. They spark a first impression and often, an immediate judgement.  Get the tone wrong and the next big opportunity might just walk straight on passed you and worse, they are likely to share their first impression, however mistaken, with others they meet.

Why do I care? Because words are supposed to matter in this industry, a sensitivity to tone is supposed to have currency. I know that SGs are probably so far down a frantically busy agent’s/publisher’s/editor’s priority list as to have fallen off the bottom, but making a good impression is a two way process. Writer to publisher - Publisher to writer.

So don't just proof read your words, feel them.
(That sound you hear is me falling a few rungs further down the ladder on the climb to secure a contract)

Monday, 16 July 2012

‘Mummy’ Porn? – Great Genre, Lousy Label!

Why, when a woman choses to treat herself to a bit of erotica, does it merit a nervous giggle? (And yes, the giggles are definitely nervous). If I was a man caught indulging in a bit of porn, the very least I’d earn is a ribald guffaw, knowing slap on the back or a censorious look of distain, maybe even disgust.

And as a woman that is what I want; a bit of laughter from the gut or envious congratulation or even quiet appal. What I don’t want is to be patronised, ‘Mummy Porn’ indeed. The popularity of ’50 Shades of Grey’ certainly has a lot more to answer for than a few newly slapped and bruised arses.

As a woman, if I want to read about the ‘dark and dirty’ then show me some respect, pray for my soul if you must, but show me some respect. It’s porn, soft porn, (some of it is even hard core) but what it is not, is ‘mummy’ porn.

 (I’m new to the genre, not yet an expert but working on it. I’m not even sure what qualifies as erotica, porn or outright filth, but I’m certainly not ashamed to say I enjoy it.  Have you stumbled upon Taylor Lee’s, Grandmaster series? If not, and you’re interested, go search it out. It’s hot. )

Oh, and I welcome return recommendations.

No giggling or tittering allowed!

Monday, 2 July 2012

PAPER CUTS - Minor but Sting like a SOB

I don’t care what people say or how brave a face they put on it, receiving a rejection is akin to a full body flay of tiny nicks from an exploding paper mill.  Paper cuts hurt, so do rejections and all the sage advice in the world—don’t give up, sub to another house, start a new ms, take solace from the many thousands who have suffered likewise—isn’t worth a damn whilst the cut is still smarting.

I know, I received one and I very much pretended to be brave, whilst privately wishing I’d booked a bed at the local A&E department. God, did it hurt—for days!

Only thing that made me feel better was receiving a request for a full at the end of the same week…so maybe the sage advice isn’t totally wasted, sub far and wide, because publishing is subjective, and if the force be with you—luck by any other name—you will get a break…eventually.

My moment of sagacity:

Rejection = pain

Pain = Heart (you need a heart because without one, you’re a sociopath)

Painkillers (balls + bloody mindedness) = Relief (maybe)

Relief = Bad Hangover!

Bad Hangover = Hair of the Dog (get back to writing)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

To Pan or not to Pan?

The writing community is huge…and it’s also very small, so when reviewing a book do you go with honesty or cover your ass to avoid causing offence?

I dither over this issue and swing from self-loathing for being a mercenary coward to self-congratulation for being ‘nice’.

But being ‘nice’ doesn’t cut it for me, not at the expense of honesty and frankly the self-flagellation wasn’t much fun either.

So I’ve struck a deal with myself.  I’m backing honesty all the way—I’ve read too much crap recently to do otherwise.   But I’m going to stress that my view is but a ripple in a heaving sea, a single voice in a massed choir, a solitary grain of sand in a vast desert…and bloody well hope that gets me off the hook.

So what is your preferred approach? Want to join me on the dark side?

Monday, 11 June 2012

A Round of Applause, Please…

To date, I’ve heard nothing but good things about Entangled Publishing, which is always encouraging for a writer on the look out for a break. Not least because let’s face it, there seems to be little beyond a whole world of woe out there, written about traditional publishing, e-publishing and the changing relationships between author/agent/publishing house. Scary stuff and the industry does not come with a road map, at least not one that makes any sense to me.

Hence, imagine my excitement when I read that Entangled planned to launch their ‘Dead Sexy’ line showcasing romantic suspense/thrillers/action adventures of quality, (my preferred romantic genre).  Not only does this present as a great opportunity for writers but as an avid reader of the genre, I’m delighted that there will be another source of great titles in the market place.

Love a win-win, never fails to put a smile on my face!

Check out the opportunity on:

Thursday, 7 June 2012

There’s Pride to be found in getting it Wrong

First off, I’m an appalling blogger, haven’t posted in ages.  Why not? Well, because I’ve really had nothing to share, nothing half meaningful anyway, and most of the time, Silence is Golden and there is too little of it about.  Time too. (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it)

What has struck me, though, is the level of insecurity expressed across the forums by unpublished writers who are terrified of getting something wrong.  (I include myself in this crowd.)  Questions that keep me awake at night include: Did I screw up the submission guidelines? (Probably) Am I using Social Media enough? (Much more and I won’t have time left to write)  Is what I’ve subbed complete crap? (Ouch, this could be excruciating).

My point is that we need to take solace in having subbed in the first place. It takes BALLS. Huge, shiny ones. Hanging down to the knee, ones.  And like testicles, they are vulnerable to a kicking and, boy, it is going to hurt!

But at least we are all putting ourselves out there. That takes courage. So help yourself to a medal—I’m  taking two.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

I no longer have a bottom lip – I’ve chewed it off

That's right, I no longer have a bottom lip - I've chewed it off, shared it with the dog, grappled to get it back, re-affixed it, chomped down on it again...and so it goes on.
You may well be suffering the same disfigurement if you’ve been following the heated debate around Traditional Publishing v  Self-publishing or Legacy contracts v Agency contracts (personally, I’d settle for a contract whatever its name).
Hell, from what I recently read, those established ‘mid-listers’ (I’d give my upper lip to be one of them) could be under threat too. Some blame Amazon, a lot blame the ‘Big 6’ (a scary bunch who you really do not want to piss off).
Frankly I blame GMC and those MRUs played their part too. (Premise, Concept and Theme stayed on the side lines, Scenes arrived late and High-Concept was kept back in English class and so missed the Conflict).
Lost yet? That’s my point. Writing introduces you not just to a whole new vocabulary but a whole new world of war and you’ve got to flog the blogs to make sure you stay on top of things.
Or is it a ruse to keep upstart Newbies out? Who knows? Who cares?
Best advice I can give – don’t take sides, smile at absolutely everyone and never confess to not knowing what the hell is going on (because you are in fine company).
Want to know how to recognise a newbie writer? No bottom lip, that’s the dead giveaway…oh, and the overuse of brackets as demonstrated in this post.
And to think I just wanted to write…

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Have Her Eat a Soulful-Eyed Abandoned Puppy

Sweet heroine, modestly decked out in frilly doilies with a Pollyanna smile and nought but pure thoughts – hate them, they make me want to barf!

Altruistic acts of kindness are great (and more convincing) if random. I am never going to believe in a heroine (its usually a heroine and sadly there are a good few about in romantic fiction) who spends every night cooking apple pie for the elderly whilst abandoned three-legged puppies, shaved kittens and adoring orphans play at her sensibly shoed feet, and the homeless make free in her neat studio apartment.  
Saccharine only works for me if used as a weapon, more usually against fat, but acceptable when combined with sarcasm to score a point against an opponent.  In fact, ‘nice and sugary’ offends me. It’s a cheap and lazy way to attempt character ‘likeability’ – sorry but I’m not that gullible.
If the heroine must work for/help out at a charity, at least show her fighting for a cause or deep rooted belief. If she is one of the sainted, how about ramping it up a notch by having her eat one of those puppies or at the very least accidentally food poisoning the hungry (no one has to die) or getting rat-arsed on the communion wine. I don’t mind paragons of virtue if they are being set up for a fall of monumental proportions but please, please protect me from the asininely good.
Have a pet hate specific to the romantic genre? – do share…I’m going too when one next hits me over the head or has me reaching for the bucket.

Friday, 2 March 2012

I once fired a Musket

I once fired a musket and 25 years later my ears are still ringing. Hence I hate guns (and anything else that bangs out of tune) and know very little about them.  Which brings me to the point of this post – Research using the internet and who is watching who.
Over the past few months I’ve typed in:
Assault rifles, automatic pistols, the Taliban, terrorist organisations, oh, and AID (artificial insemination by donor). Luxury yachts were in there too and ‘who wrote the hit ‘Cold as Ice’, (Foreigner if you’re interested).  Each search has led me to some fairly interesting websites but my question is: Have I been ‘red-flagged’ and if so by whom?
No doubt I’ll get an answer one day when I get a knock on the door.
Have you ever researched anything that has caused you considerable disquiet (because we are all paranoid to a degree)?

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The What and the Warnings

I flit around in cyber space prospecting for hints, tips, comments and advice on all things pertinent to one day landing a publishing contract.  Should you decide to follow or occasionally just drop by this blog, you should know what you are getting into, hence:
My Aims
1.       To share what I find helpful
2.       To share what I find amusing (you don’t have to laugh)
3.       To share what I find provocative (you don’t have to care)
4.       I try not to sweat the little things (too much) like spelling, grammar, punctuation, split infinitives etc.  because sometimes I will get it wrong.
5.       I’m not going to open a vein every time I inadvertently cause offence. It’s not deliberate and I apologise in advance.
6.       I’m not good on the defence (see 4 and 5 above). I will try harder.
7.       I will avoid ranting (except when compelled to do so)
8.       I will try  not to get sued!!!