Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Love Letters, part 20

There are some times in my life I wish I'd written a letter like this one (though in a more timely fashion). And then there are times in my life when I did, and I never regretted it.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Love Letters, part 19

We're back after the madness of End-of-Year school stuff and the Holiday season.

Someone else named Mackenzie has been involved in a bit of EoY school stuff and has been giving some thought to her future:

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

the Holidays

I'm off to my Mom's in the morning to spend a few days over Christmas. I'm really looking forward to it, even though the weather is dreadful and the driving will be nerve-wracking.

This year's holiday is bitter sweet. It's the first without my Dad, and I'll miss him. But I have such wonderful memories of last Christmas. Dad, Mom and I spent Christmas Day on our own (my brother's family had gone away for the holiday) We got out old family pictures and spent the day going through them. Dad would identify the people and I recorded the information. He had such great stories to tell, and I could see that this trip down memory lane brought him a lot of pleasure. We lost him a short three months later and I'm so glad to have these pictorial archives in place, and a wealth of stories to reflect upon.

May you all have a joyful and happy Christmas. And may the New Year bring you peace and joy and deep fulfillment.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Love Letters part 18

Today's love letter brought to you by Feath's Bookcase and the Genre-less Random Idea Generator.

Your Main Character is a(n): female
Your MC's main character trait is their: obsession
The Main Symbol in the story is a(n): rock
Theme point is: Lust
Your story will start at/on/in: a tree top

Exhibit C
Item(s): Leaves (four), found under the deceased.
Text reads:
Leaf 1: "I love you! Pls look up"
Leaf 2: "up here is a marvelous place. Join me?"
Leaf 3: "I want u at my side. come up!"
Leaf 4: "Pls look up I'm waiting 4 u"

Exhibit B
Item(s): Rock (one), found next to the deceased.
Text reads: "Look up!!"

Exhibit A
Item(s): Leave (one), found on top of the deceased.
Text reads: "Sorry..."

Friday, 12 December 2008

love letters 17

Today's Love Letter brought to you by Seventh Sanctum's Romance Story Generator.

This story takes place in a small nation on a war-scarred planet. In it, a nurse whose culture has collapsed ends up on the run with a stressed CEO. What starts as obligation quickly becomes infatuation. Yet, how can someone discovering a report about themselves tear them apart?

What he found tucked in his pocket the next morning after the patrols found them:

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

love letters 16

A writing tool generator is a little deely-bobber applet that comes up with random ideas to inspire writers. I find them great fun.

Today's love letter brought to you by They Fight Crime! a writing tool generator based on film noir and the comic book genre. Sometimes the ideas are completely off the wall, other times they are spot-on.

Yes, people have written stories spawned by ideas from this generator and have had them published.

Today's writing tool generator result:

He's a benighted hunchbacked boxer who dotes on his loving old ma. She's a manipulative wisecracking archaeologist in the witness protection scheme. They fight crime!

Saturday, 6 December 2008


Alas, both Their Ladyships have caught the dreaded Chicken Pox.

Essentially, this means a week of cancelled life while I tend to two cabin-fevered daughters.

While I haven't been taking them to school, going to work, dragging them to extra-curriculars or everything else that comprises our busy lives, I've been thinking about doing a brief series of love letters based on some writing tool generators I came across.

Come back tomorrow (or the next day) to see what I've come up with.

Meanwhile, y'all enjoying The Enchanted Faerie?

Saturday, 29 November 2008

The Anti-Love Letter

This was too funny to not share:

fail owned pwned pictures

From Fail Blog.

Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and have survived Black Friday with your wallets and wits intact. In Australia, many Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the Saturday, as Thursday is just another day Down Under.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Love Letters 13

The story she told the grandkids:

"So he took me out for this lovely dinner and then we went on a romantic drive. After that, he gave me a book."

Today I declare "Pride & Prejudice" Day. For your delight and edification, we present the following offerings:

YouTube: Mister Darcy Goes For a Dive.

BooksShouldBeFree: Free mp3 Audio book of "Pride & Prejudice" (zipped into one file for your convenience).

Project Gutenberg: Pride & Prejudice in html, txt, PDF and Plucker. (Other Project Gutenberg goodies for Jane Austen including several audiobook versions of P&P.)

Also freely available at your local library and bookshop (both new and used).

Which version of "Pride & Prejudice" is your favourite?

Most people agree that Colin Firth is the best Mister Darcy to date. This may be true only because they have not yet cast Richard Armitage.

There are those who believe that Our Richard might do better than Our Colin as Mister Darcy: "Some are even claiming that Richard Armitage (as Mr. Thornton) has "de-throned" Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy as the ultimate brooding romantic hero."[1]

So, who would make the better Mister Darcy? Colin Firth or Richard Armitage?

Meanwhile, here is a lovely conversation between Fitzwilliam Darcy and John Thornton from the excellent web site Foolish Passion.

[1] BBC Masterpiece Reviews: North & South.

Sunday, 23 November 2008


One day out and already The Enchanted Faerie has reached #3 Bestseller in Paranormal and #1 Bestseller in anthologies on The Wild Rose Press site.

Woo Hoo!

Now, with your help, maybe we can get The Enchanted Faerie to #1 in Paranormal this week.

Plus, don't forget our free companion ebook full of recipes, excerpts, bios and loads more.

love letters part 11

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Happy Release Day!

You're invited to the party.

Today I and my fellow Romance Spinners celebrate the eBook Release Day for
"The Enchanted Faerie", out today from The Wild Rose Press.

To celebrate, we have brought some cake:

And a cheese platter:

Because you are a very special guest at our party, we would like to give you a gift. Please have, with our compliments, this lovely free eBook of Scottish recipes, faerie lore and excerpts from each story of "The Enchanted Faerie".

Have a beautiful day and happy reading!

Love Letters part 10

Today's the day, and our hearts are brimming over with love!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Woo Hoo

One day to go!
It's very exciting to think our book will be out tomorrow - or perhaps a bit more than tomorrow considering I am in Australia and the book release is in the USA. What with the whole round globey thing and time zones and all.

So while the world markets are crashing around us, and there seems to be quite a fair bit of gloom about, perhaps you might like to escape into a wonderful world of romance.

Go on, you know you want to.

Love Ebs
A spot of Romance for us all. You cannot go wrong with the beautiful Richard Armitage and his chocolate voice.

I think we shall write a love letter to him.

Love Letters part 9

our first release

I'm so excited by the prospect of The Enchanted Faerie finally being released. We're here! The ebook comes out tomorrow!! Whoo hoo!

And for all our readers, we have put together a little special gift for you that I expect will be handed out tomorrow as well. Stay tuned here for more on that.

Way to go Spinners! We made it.

As for my NaNo-ing...um...not going so well. Only at 15,000 words. Dismal. But I haven't given up yet. A few intense, non-interrupted days and I could still nail this word count on time. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Love Letters part 7

(today, a sound file!)

From an answering machine:

Yes, sometimes there is such a thing as "too late".

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Love Letters part 4


...or forgetfulness, until one reached the office. Still, it's sweet.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Love Letters part 3

Sometimes some people must learn the hard way.

Poor Morty

Remember, you can click on the image for a larger version.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Love Letters part 2

Some love letters are written in haste, using whatever comes to hand:

If an image is too small to read, click on it for a larger version.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Love Letters part 1

Who doesn't know about the pending release of The Enchanted Faerie?

Leading up to this exciting event, the Romance Spinners will be posting at least one love letter per day. Enjoy!

Monday, 10 November 2008


It's been a while since I last blogged...anywhere! Yes, I've been busy. Life gets like that sometimes. I have an elderly mother who needs a lot of help right now, for instance. But mostly I get very one-track-minded. I've always had a problem with multi-tasking...balancing multiple jobs at one time. I prefer finishing one thing before beginning another. What happens when I do multi-task is that I start dropping the ball...a LOT! And so, I forget to blog...and update my website...and meet deadlines...and finish stories I've begun...It can get very frustrating. (You'd think I'd be used to it after over fifty years of living like this...lol) Anyway, I'm blogging today. Yay, me.

This month I'm trying to participate in NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) It's been over two years since I submitted a new novel and thought it was high time I wrote one. But as of yesterday, I'm only at 7000 words. That's pitiful! I should be at twice that at the very least. And as I write this blog entry, I'm feeling guilty that I'm not working on my NaNo story. Round and round and round it goes...LOL...

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Just one of those days...

Today started much like any other. Until I sat down at the computer and started a quest.

I haven't had one for ages and it feels good. Feels healthy like a good diet makes you feel healthier. A diet for what constitutes good writing is good for one as well. Things like POV, and goal/conflict. What is good dialogue and what is bad?

And as always when this happens or when I google, I think...


We humans can make something as wondrous as this. Of course there are those who have turned it into a tool of depravity. But it can also be a wondrous bowl of knowledge. Where anything and everything that is spinning in the universe can be found.

Every so often I get philosophical. It's a mood directly opposed to other moods I get - especially the one that tells me if I don't get to a shop and find a sale soon I'm a goner.

What are you doing at the moment?

(Okay, smartypants, apart from reading this blog.)

Sunday, 26 October 2008


Other people's books come out so fast. Ours takes a long time. Why is this so? Asks Professor Knowitall.

Well, when you put x with y it makes xy then you add < is greater than but > minus ab which was a combination of the compound a and b but that is = g force in minor...

Yes I was a genius in algebra.

But then the same goes for queues. I'm always the last. And street lights are always red for me.

And just when I thought it was safe to set myself up in the garden to write. Comes a dark cloud and oops - back inside (false alarm).

But there's a simple answer. A watched pot never boils. You see? I told you I was a genius in algebra.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Run with the big dogs

I love writing fiction, but if I want to make money writing, I write non-fiction.

Pitching non-fiction involves searching out possible magazines, reading a few articles, then querying the editor with ideas.

I've spent the morning browsing through markets, looking for my next sale. Some magazines I'll glance through and decide whether or not I'll pitch.

Some magazines I'll start reading and I can't stop. They have my interest. I should pitch to them.

But I get nervous. How could I possibly write anything that good?

Really, I should stop procrastinating (aka blogging) and just pitch an idea already! THe worst thing they can do is never get back to me. A distant second is for them to say no. And if they do, that doesn't hurt. I just pitch the idea elsewhere...

...as soon as I can find a market for it.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Fangirl Silliness

Since it's been a while since we've had a Richard Armitage post, I thought I'd share the following silly fangirl song:

Look Back At Me mp3 (3.3M download) (MM:SS - 3:38)

Music: HWK (me)
Lyrics: BW ("The Poetess") & HWK
Vocals: Angry Little Babies


Sunday, 28 September 2008

Spin-off news

Trumpet at the ready ... BLOW!

Thanks to the hard work of my agent Suzy Jenvey at PFD, I've just signed a two-book deal with a UK publisher.
I truly believe this has come about as a result of the experience and confidence I've gained from being involved with the Romance Spinners.

It's a bit of chicken and egg. Editor Cheryl Wright read some of my Young Adult novel about the girl and the ferret, and liked my style. She invited me to contribute to The Enchanted Faerie anthology. That gave me the boost to start seriously looking for an agent for my novel. One thing fed into the other.

I am about to get into serious edits with my UK editor, and I also need to deliver a second novel. I've never been so busy and I couldn't be happier.


Saturday, 30 August 2008

New Romance... or is it?

Over on LiveJournal, AlleyPat discusses Colleen Gleason's article “The New Romance?” and whether or not the HEA (Happily Ever After ending) is necessary to call a romance tale a Romance.

Now, is an HEA necessary, and I mean ABSOLUTELY necessary to make a romance a Romance? For the most part, pretty everyone would say yes.

But there is a trend in some of the crossgenre works to have a strong romance plot and yet not feature an HEA. Some are calling this the New Romance.

Me, I don't know if I want to give it such a label. Genres evolve. They change, they adapt. I think the overwhelming oppression of HEA requirement may stifle some of the strength of storytelling. From the very beginning, you know Our Hero and Our Heroine are going to get together and everything will turn out all right. This knowledge can take the tension and delicious suspense out of a story. It becomes not so much a question of will they get together, but how it'll happen.

I'm starting to think this is weakening stories.

Compare two TV shows I've loved in their time--Star Trek and BBC's Spooks (aka MI5).

In Star Trek, you know no matter what, the main crew will survive whatever comes their way. You know they're going to outsmart them, what you don't know is how. (But woe the Red Shirts. This is a series of disposable extras.)

Then there's Spooks. They get into all sorts of scrapes, and there is some serious tension. Not only do you wonder how they're going to get out of the scrape, but you have some serious angst about whether or not they will. Forget Red Shirts. Spooks features disposable regulars. Main characters die all the time, and it puts some serious tension into the show.

Now, back to Romance. Most of the Romance published in the past thirty years has mandated each story have an HEA.

Perhaps readers are no longer requiring an HEA, because they prefer deeper tension in their stories.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

But there is also nothing new about it.

Georgette Heyer (if you read romance and you haven't heard of her, go google her) has written stories that don't feature obvious HEAs. I recently read her "Cotillion". For pretty much most of the book, I wonder if Our Heroine is going to end up with the guy she's in a sham engagement, or the fancy lord she had a young crush on as a child.

Now, this story isn't exactly "new". It was published before most of today's authors were even born.

Want another romance story that features Not-an-HEA? Romeo and Juliet.

If anything, the mandatory requirement that all Romance stories feature an HEA is the New Romance, and hopefully a genre straitjacket that will be loosened and we can discover the true tearjerk of a bittersweet ending.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

New Date for Print Copy Release

For those of you who wish to read a copy of The Enchanted Faerie in the tub without risking electric shock by dropping your eBook Reader in the water...

The release date for the print version of The Enchanted Faerie has moved up to February 27, 2009. (The sticker price is tentatively set at a very reasonable $12.99.)

Happy Birthday, Richard!

From all of us silly, hearts-on-our-sleeves Romance Spinners, we would like to wish one of our favouritest British actors Richard Armitage a very happy 7th Birthday for 22 August.

Hope you get the chocolate cake of your dreams, preferably with a file baked into it.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Oh Mama! What a long carpet ride.

The dream begins.
First time, as Heidi says, and carrying on slightly in that flavor of new beginnings, is that which you write. The manuscript. Things happen maybe for a reason, and our adventure here started with a failure. Fortunately not for us, but for the publisher who went bust, just as each of us was beginning.

But as sure as Mother Luck would have it, this fork in the road was just a fork so Cheryl Write, our lovely editor and mentor, tucked her little band of chicklets under her arms, and...

Off went we to market.

A writer/author must have as part of their inbuilt structure, a huge dose of optimism. A self-belief not only to dream but to pursue the dream and make it happen. That is scary. You bear the loads of whatever good times and bad times as you pursue the dream, the pain, the agony, the doubt, the fear, the inferiority, bouts of blockage, we went with hope to seek and find and found and...

This our first anthology in what will hopefully ensue, one of many.

We are in the process our next anthology, talking about the third already. Publishing is like that. Release date November 21/22. Ebook and May 2009! What a long wait and the galleys were finished a few months ago. But that's what this game is like.

The dream starts with the first chapter of your new novel. The characters form and you live and love them as you write. It's a long journey and editing is literally a pain in your rear, but you go through the process of the approach to the editor, the acceptance which according to your experience and your reputation, a process you approach as an 'if', or an 'not if but when'.

Once it's gone, your love affair is starting again. You get excited about the next project. Your old love affair comes back, first as editorial changes which you can either love, respect, loathe, dread, consider as interruptions, but must face. Then come galleys (proofs). All of them reminders of this old love affair as your novel goes through it's incubation. Your head is so into your next manuscript and gradually the release of your novel sits somewhere in the back of your mind as something exciting to anticipate.

And then the actual release date, like a birth, this dream is now out with wings and off to catch it's own worms soon. Out of that nest and your nest is full of the new batch of eggs to hatch.

I now have the release date to be excited about and I hope I never never take it for granted. That slight childish feeling - remember? Like when you are getting close to Christmas and the tree goes up with it's decorations and that smell of pine needles in the house. The shiny shapes that appear beneath it waiting for you like mysteries.

Waiting for you, my reader to share that vision and that love affair I started so long ago.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Writerly Firsts

A writer has a lot of firsts that make up the milestones of one's career. Some are wonderful, some are not.

How many have you had?

First story completed.
First submission.
First rejection letter.
First acceptance.
First paycheck.
First publication.
First fanmail.
First incidence of plagiarism.
First repeat assignment.
First agent.
First contract.
First galley.
First booksigning.
First good review.
First bad review.
First hate mail.
First advance.
First reprint.
First missed deadline.
First fired agent.
First mistake to get past copyeditor, galleys and typesetters.
First manuscript auction.
First Guest-of-Honour appearance at a convention.
First stalker.
First three-book contract.
First best-seller.
First "retirement from day job".
First personal secretary to handle everything else while you write.
First posthumous publication.

Any other firsts to go on this list?

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Go study what you want.

If you want to be a physicist, you go to college and study physics. If you want to be a psychologist (and why on earth would you want to?) you go to college and study psychology. If you want to become an historian, a musician, a geneticist, that's what you study at school.

So what if you want to be a writer? Does this mean you should study Creative Writing at university?

Australian author Justine Larbalestier says no.

For the most part, I agree with her.

Of all the useless classes I ever took at university, the Creative Writing ones were the second most useless ones ever. (Archaeology takes top billing in my book.) My CW classes were full of pretentious snobs who, if you didn't write true Lit-ra-choor, you were not worthy to muddy their boots. They were cliquish, stuck-up and narrow-minded.

Not good if you wrote genre stuff (like, say, fantasy or romance).

So I spent two hours a week of every quarter (for a year and a half) suffering the toffee-nosed abuse of people who thought they were beyond elite.

If I hadn't already been published, if I didn't already have a writing mentor, and if I wasn't so in love with storytelling, those classes would have turned me off writing for good. I can't think of a single one that didn't make me cry.

I describe my CW classes as the second most useless, because despite the abuse, I did learn one useful thing: the Milford Method. Hallelujah.

So, should a bright-eyed young aspiring author major in CW?

No. Really, there is no need.

In fact, it is better if they don't. Instead, I say to them, go study something--anything--else. It'll benefit you in the long run. First, it'll give you something to write about. Second, it'll give you a broad interest base. Third, you'll probably gain marketable skills; after all, all writers have a Day Job to support themselves while they write. Fourth, you probably won't suffer the abuse many poor genre writers do in CW courses. Fifth, we won't lose you to the Dark Side.

Really, unless you're getting a specialised job, nobody cares what you got your degree in. So go be a history or an economics major.

So you've earned a BA or BS in Underwater Basket Weaving. Cool. Still wanna study CW? Well, that's what Master's Degrees are for.

Okay, you don't need a MA to write and be published. There's only two purposes behind pursuing an MA: one, getting to add more letters after your name and two, being able to indulge yourself in writing for a few years. That alone makes it worth getting.

Another (side) benefit of an MA, it looks good on your application for grant money to sit home and indulge yourself in writing.

Other than that, it's unnecessary.

What? You still wanna be a writer? Yeah, okay. But why do so many young people have the mistaken impression that one must go to college? That's not how a writing career works.

It's an old-fashioned apprenticeship. You simply sit down and do. If you're lucky, you can study under the guidance of a master (aka writing mentor, like I did), and belong to various writing groups, both face-to-face and online. But for the most part, it's up to you to seek out the knowledge and the feedback.

And like an old-fashioned apprenticship, you spend some time as an apprentice (developing your craft, finding your voice, collecting rejection slips) then you become a journeyman (developing your craft, honing your voice, occasionally getting published) and then you can become a master (developing your craft, indulging your voice, regularly getting published).

You don't need a formal college education to do that. In fact, most writers I know didn't study CW at university.

If you want to get a CW degree, I can't stop you. But please realise there's a big, wonderful world out there. Go study what you want.

In the end, you'll still be a writer.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The Next Big Thing

Many not-yet-published writers think that one of the things that will improve their chances of getting a novel published is a practice known as "jumping on the bandwagon". This is where they try to get in on whatever the hottest publishing trend is at the moment.

Several years ago it was wizard boys and religious conspiracies. Currently it's vampire romance.

However, jumping on the bandwagon is not a benefit to getting published. Quite the opposite--it is much, much harder to be published in a market glutted by vampires falling in love with wizard boys despite the warnings in St Mark 57:12.

Why? Because by the time a book hits the shelves, the "fresh and new" ship has long sailed.

For readers, sure, the trends are happening right now, and you can easily pick up a book on the current hot topic in the bookstore. But for writers, agents/editors and publishers, the trend readers see on the shelves this week happened two, three or even four years ago.

How does this happen?

An agent or editor has a novel come through that's well-written, hooky and has a fresh idea. "Cool," they say. "I think this might be a winner." Their professional instincts are right. The publisher picks this up in a nice deal and the book sells wonderfully on its first print run.

Now, sometime during this process another editor will come across a novel, also well-written and hooky, that deals with similar themes to the first novel. "Hmmm," they think. "I wonder if we have another winner?" It too, goes to press in a nice deal and does well on the first print run.

Perhaps it happens a third time, this time in a very nice deal, possibly brought on by the excellent sales records of the first two novels and the next thing you know, we have a trend!

Now, editors and publishers don't sit around and say, "I think we need a trend on fae-folk-in-captivity." The trends are arbitrary. They happen at random and nobody can really predict what will be the next big trend.

But if you wanna have a shot at it, Nostradamus, don't look at what's hot right now, but have a look and see what's not being published, and hasn't been published for the past twenty (thirty?) years. These are the areas that have the best chances at becoming the next hot trends because in the marketplace they will be seen as fresh and new.

Now, that's an awful lot of topics, and choosing the one that will be the next big trend may be a shot in the dark, but at least you'll be shooting forward instead of shooting backward at the dead rabbit that's already been skinned, hassenpfeffered and consumed.

However, hopping on the bandwagon is not what secures these nice deals or even very nice deals. It's writing well and being hooky. Books are published because of this, and only then do the trends follow.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Being a "Real" Writer

A friend of mine had a good cry on my shoulder the other day. Being a writer, she works hard on her craft, and has gained a pretty good mastery over it for her needs.

Her source of misery? A non-traditional reader's comments disparaging her chosen field.

See, she writes fan-fiction. She's really good at it, having several novel-length works under her belt, and a bit of a fandom of her own.

I love fan-fiction. Used to write fan-fiction as a way of developing my own mastery of the craft. (Alas, I don't have the time now.)

Fan-fiction is a good tool for working on one's craft.

1. The love is already there. To write really good stuff, one must love what one is writing: the characters, the world, etc.

2. Instant fan base. You wanna write Snape slash? There's someone out there that wants to read it.

3. Quick feedback. Readers of fan-fic will respond to your posted works, with everything from "I loved this!" to detailed critiques. Snag a few good beta readers, and your mastery of the craft grows in leaps and bounds.

So why does fan-fiction have a bad rap? Its biggest critics claim it's "derivative and unoriginal".

Okay, granted, fan-fiction writers are borrowing characters created by other writers. Unless the fan-ficcers plan on passing off these characters as their own, I don't see anything wrong with this.

But the rest of the story? Pure originality. Fan-fiction writers take characters and develop them. They delve into areas that the original writers didn't cover (for whatever reason) They come up with new plots. They explore the unexplored territories.

Sounds like being a television writer. They're given characters and a situation and even settings and told to come up with a new plot each week.

Only difference is that television writers get paid.

Another argument some people use against fan-fiction: "If you didn't get paid for it, it's not real writing."

You know, I've heard this one a dozen times from lots of people who aren't being paid to write. I have yet to hear it from a paid writer. I'm not sure why that is.

So it's a law that fan-fiction writers cannot earn a profit from their fan-fiction. After all, the rights to the characters belongs to their creators, and if any money is to be made, it must go to those who hold the rights.

One could argue that fan-fiction itself is illegal. But authors tend to turn a blind eye for the most part. Fan-fiction is one of the most sincerest forms of flattery.

Enough about the legalities; more about the craft.

Writing is writing. Every writer wants to become a better writer--that much they have in common. Why they write, that diverges. Some write for themselves, some write for small audiences, and some want to write for bigger audiences. Some love writing fan-fiction for an audience that pays in whuffie and adoration. Others prefer writing fiction with commercial potential (and comes with ca$h).

To say that fan-fiction isn't "real writing" because it borrows established characters or doesn't turn a profit shows true ignorance of the writing craft.

A writer writes because they want to. The real payday of writing is not whether or not you get paid, but if you entertain your audience--whomever they may be.

So my friend knows this. Intellectually, logically, she knows this. But her heart wanted approval.

For the most part, she gets approval from her traditional audience, and well she should. But when someone who isn't of her traditional audience asks her if she's a writer, she told them she was. That seemed to impress tem and when they wanted to see something of what she'd written, she gave them a sample of her work, and, well...

One can't please the whole world. Be happy with the few one can please, and above all, please oneself first.

Best Screen Kiss Ever.

Before I get around to posting a serious post about writing, I had to share a YouTube link to a snippet from the BBC miniseries "North & South" (starring Daniela Denby-Ashe and Our Hero Richard Armitage).

Four words: Best Screen Kiss Ever.


I think it's more how he looks at her and listens to her that wins me over.

The romance of Romance happens in the moments, the hours, the days or even the years, leading up to the moment that tells us there will be an HEA. Romance works because our savvy readers can see the hopes and dreams and desires of Our Hero/Heroine and we want them to be fulfilled.

So when the kiss (or the wedding) comes, we know all will be well with the world, and that makes us feel better.

Monday, 30 June 2008


They galleys are done! I am doing a happy dance in my head because if I get up and dance for real, I'll probably fall over.

Galleys come long after the editing process of making your story the best it can be. Changing plots, fixing confusing scenes, changing a point of view etc. That's the fun stuff, when it's all fresh and lovely and a writer is feeling creative.

It all changes when the galleys come in. At this point, a creative writer must s.l.o.w. d.o.w.n and check everything again, and again, and perhaps again.

At last, we have done our final checks. The next thing to happen is we get a release date. I'm crossing my fingers it's before Christmas - that will make buying everyone a Christmas present so much easier!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Gee, it's drafty in here...

So we Spinners have been working hard on our drafts for the next anthology For Richer, For Poorer, and we're bantering around our word count totals, hoping to fall somewhere in the realm of, say, a book (as opposed to a pamphlet or a Fantasy Brick).

So, I'm seeing totals like, 8K, 13K, and so on, for the contributions of the other Spinners.

And then they ask me: "So, Heidi, what have you got?"

"Um, I'm sitting about 27K about now."

*BOINK!* "You wha-?"

I hastily calm my fellow Spinners. "It's just the draft at the moment. I plan on cutting out several thousand words."

"Oh...kay... So, what do you estimate your final count to be?"

"Um... 23K?" Wince.

Mmm... yeah. All right. We'll see. I think I've accidentally written a novel.

If I could get this story down to 20K, I'll be happy. But I don't know if I'll be able to do that, unless I trim down a few conversations, take out a bit of snark between some of the characters and tighten up a few things. I could cut out some of the world-building, but don't know what or where.
A tighter story would be good. And I might be able to do without a dinner scene. We'll see.


How well do you know British actor Richard Armitage? I scored 10/10 on this little quizzie. (Not quite the same as scoring with Richard, but I'll take what I can get.)

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Judging a book by its cover

I'm extremely proud of our book cover for The Enchanted Faerie.
We are very lucky Romance Spinners, because we had a say in what we wanted the cover to look like.

Most writers are not so lucky. Science fiction writers seem to be particularly unlucky.

So for a good chuckle, and a fair amount of shaedenf.. schaedenfroo... snark, check out the goodness at Judge a Book by its Cover.

Monday, 5 May 2008

I hate galleys

Really, I do.

Galleys are that penultimate step (on the author's side of things) to publication. The story's done, the layout's finished, the book is pretty much ready to publish. Not much left to do except go through the galleys page after page, line after line, word after tedious word.

This is soo not the time to be making changes to your story, or even the sentences. All you really do with a galley is make sure everything's spelled correctly and there aren't any stupid grammar mistakes.

This is not the correction of your work, for by now you will have long turned in a clean copy of your ms and your copyeditor will have made it cleaner. No, this is the time for the correction of any slips-of-the-wrist that may have happened during layout--not the author's fault (in theory).

Nobody's perfect, not even the book designers. (Really, we love our book designers.) But once in a while something will happen: a reversal of two letters, a missing or present apostrophe, a dropped word.

These are what we try to catch in the final galley proofs.

Now, the problem with the human brain is that it's got this auto-correct feature. It can see part of a pattern and fill in what's missing, often without you realising it.

You know your story, you know your words. Is something missing? That's okay. Your brain will fill it in for you.

And thus you might miss a tpyo in the galleys.

To keep this from happening, one must slow down their reading speed. And then one must read backwards. One must get a ruler or a piece of paper and go line by line. Only by making the brain work hard, can one find these little errors. (Now that I think about it, I can't think of many galleys I've gone through that didn't result in an errata sheet.)

Because of this reduced reading speed, the going through of galleys becomes a painfully slow and tedious job.

And that's why I hate galleys.

That said, I would not do away with this very important step of going through galleys. Just think how much more I'd hate it if I never got the chance to catch some stupid little mistake.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Ya know? Da Muse. Da Star. Da Movie. Da Imagination.

Somebody in my critique group, Romance Writers Unlimited (see link to my blog - and then follow the link to critique group blog)...

posted the whimsy side of the author.

Who is going to star in the movie. And I thought it might be an idea to introduce you to mine. He goes further back into the production of this grand piece of Zara Penney imagination. Has worked harder and longer, so he deserves the kudos he gets.

His name is Estienne Devereaux - he is the star of my next WIP for the next anthology which all the Romance Spinners have been working on.

The paparazzi were hanging around his dressing room where he was resting between scenes. There's been a lot of down time lately, because she has been in editing mode, which is the workingman's side of the fun of writing - but still very important.

Meet da muse. Da Star. Da movie. And da imagination.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Book Promotion and Brand Establishment

The Enchanted Faerie is coming out soon. Real soon. So soon we can taste it.

We're terribly excited about it and want to make the world excited too. So our thoughts have turned to book promotion.

See, book promotion is more than just handing out flyers and cleverly-wrapped candies. Book promotion is more than just letting you know we've got a book out. (since you're reading this blog, there's a good chance you already know about The Enchanted Faerie.)

We want more.

We want our book to stand out from among all the others you might come across this year. We want not just for you to know about The Enchanted Faerie, but we want you to be interested in it.

We love the premise of The Enchanted Faerie. Love always comes at a cost. Gypsy Alishandra Orona has set the price at 100 gold pieces. That's a lot of money by today's standards and certainly not a small fortune in the Sixteenth Century.

Is love--true love--worth it? (Is Greggie MacDonald worth a hunnert?) Perhaps the price of a faerie is too high. Just because one acquires a faerie doesn't mean that one is guaranteed to find love. After all, one's heart can only stand so much stress before it breaks.

And yet, for some, the thought of dwindling and dying in lonely spinsterhood is the worst fate of all.

Oh, decisions, decisions. Can't anything ever be easy? Not every tale ends in the HEA every heroine dreams about. Who finds true love? Whose heart gets broken? And what is it about Lachlan the Blacksmith?

Now, before we started really promoting the book, we were establishing our brand.

We're the Romance Spinners and we spin tales of love, of sorrow and of the indomitable human spirit.

The Enchanted Faerie is only the beginning. Our next project is For Richer, For Poorer. Ah, the poor Deveraux family and their curse.

Meanwhile, we Spinners would like to show you the cool stuff we've discovered from research, our experience in the writing craft, the fun things we've encountered on the Internet and our obsession with actor Richard Armitage.

So pick a Spinner and ask three questions. They don't have to be serious (either the Spinners or the questions).

Meanwhile, I find the following very interesting:

I Can Has Cheezburger?, proving the third largest purpose of the Internet is to post pictures of cats.
Miss Snark, who'll lay the writing craft out in a brutally honest yet useful form.
Fourmilab, for all those really cool astronomical-ish stuff.
Google Earth. Dude, everyone's gotta check out Google Earth, even if only to find their house.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Well, well, well...

The year is running fast, deadline is almost upon the Romance Spinners spinning their second anthology.

March 31st.

It seemed like lightyears away at the time. We could fly around the moon a dozen times and still be in time to write THE END

Where have all the eons gone.

Are you ready for us?

I'm glad I'm writing the story, I can't imagine what sort of cover will be designed for us.

Which brings me to a point. If you are there and have the time, what sort of covers do you like? Personally I tend to like subtle covers. Not the bodice ripper kind. I like my imagination to dictate the hero to me. If I want George Clooney in my imagination then let me have him rather than be dictated to. Same goes for my heroine.

Covers are very important. They are the marketing tool. Probably the one chance on a shelf of hundreds of little pieces of competition so they are so important. Style, color, and a good blurb on the back to entice the reader to give it a bit of time to really consider putting in an investment.

Back to editing Zara Penney. Deadline is nigh.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

World Horror Convention

Yep, you heard me. I'm going to the World Horror Convention next weekend in Salt Lake City.

"But," I hear you say, "You're a Romance writer."

And so I am, mostly. But some of my published stories are a bit dark. Especially that one where Our Heroine attempts to scoop her eyeballs out with a spoon.

Now, there has been a trend for genre-bending the past decade or so. Anyone here read Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series? If so, would you call it romance or horror? Or perhaps both?

I love this new trend for genre-bending. In the 80's and 90's I thought many genre books were starting to get stale with the same old tropes, structures and memes. I mean, there are only so many fantasy quest novels one can read before it all starts looking alike. After all, a McGuffin is a McGuffin.

Then some smart cookies started reading outside their usual genre (which, really, is something every writer should be doing) and started applying the earmarks of one genre to another.

And so we got Fantasy Romance. And Science Fiction Mysteries. And Romantic Horror.

At first, some purists thought this invasion from other genres would dilute or corrupt the genre they knew and loved, but the rest of us realised the trend for what it was--a breath of fresh air.

So now today fans of Romance can stand on a hilltop and say, "all this is ours, and that bit over there," and Horror writers can stand on another hilltop and say, "all this is ours, and that bit over there." And "that bit over there" is a timeshare Victorian home that various genres can enjoy on occasion. (Ne'er you mind the flux capacitor in the basement. It's stable.)

And that's one of the reasons why I'm going to the World Horror Convention. Y'all are welcome to come join me.

P.S. for Holly: I think Richard Armitage would play an excellent Mr Darcy.

Thursday, 20 March 2008


I wish all my fellow Spinners, their families an friends, and those that will be reading our forthcoming anthology the happiest of Easters. And here's a bit of fun:

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too. Cna yuo raed
tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a
rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghi t pclae. The rset can be a
taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is
bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the
wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was
ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.

Hope the Bunny Rabbit brings you a nice big chocolate egg.

Zara Penney

Friday, 7 March 2008

The Faerie Most Enchanting

Look what I found. Not in the bottom of my garden in a cauliflower as tradition would have it, but in my inbox at my email. And her arrival there bodes well for the launch of our anthology, very soon.

Her name is Phoebe and her mother's a Lizzard.

Both are good luck omens.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

What is it about romance novels?

Romance novels are devoured by woman around the world. Even those who hate them, secretly read them. They have been called trashy, forbidden, inappropriate and not true literary works. But we all know the truth is that romance is one of the biggest selling genres around.

To be honest, I don't think their are many out there with the close minded attitude that romance novels are the gateway to sin anymore. (at least they have quieted down some) Sure, we run across the occasional naysayer, but what that naysayer doesn't realize is that she is missing out on a wonderful, heart enlightening journey of love to rival the ages. And what these protesters are really against is the sex. But if they read the book they would see that the sex is an escalation of love. A meeting of souls, right?

Why do I read romance novels? It's not for the happily ever after or the awkward meeting of two destined souls, but for the middle of the novel. Where attraction is intensely strong and undeniably there. The hero and heroine fight it, deny it, and try to avoid it. Yet, circumstances keep forcing them together. I love the pull and tug of hearts. The yearning for what (they believe) they cannot have or deserve to experience. It is the ultimate kick start to the heart.

Some of my favorite novels? Karen Marie Monings entire Highlander series. Why? KMM creates a world unlike any I've ever read and within this world one man and one woman defy the fates, traverse time and conquer the impossible just to savor one more minute with each other. He is the missing the piece of her and she is the reparation for his damaged soul. I think my favorite is Immortal Highlander where the bad guy (who really isn't so bad) turns good. He is a faery who feels the way humans feel. He is fighting to return to his position beside the queen, all the while he has already found his rightful place in this world, the human realm.

Other novels?
Pride and Prejudice is a classic. I love... love Mr. Darcy.
Kinley MacGregor's Macallister Series- these four brothers are the men of men. They are stubborn, arrogant and tortured souls who need the very thing they don't want. The love of a good woman.
Jude Deveraux's The Duchess- a book I could read over and over again. The heroine is to wed the fair-hared brother, a titled duke, but falls in love with his dark, exotic older brother (the true duke) who had been her childhood hero under another name. Obviously, the older brother has some issues and wants nothing to do with society or his title. She must make a choice, he must come back from the dead and learn to accept her choice. -- Love it!

I read romance for the same reason I write it. It's captivating and refreshing. When I first started writing I never even gave a thought to what genre I would write. I just wrote what I loved. Just when I picked up my first romance novel. I didn't think about what genre I wanted to read, I was just gravitated toward it.

So why do you read romance novels? And if you haven't read one yet, why? What are your favorites or what can't you stand? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Sitting on the other side of the fence...

My style of writing is to gallop to the finishing post. Then like a sniffer dog I start to follow me with the editor head and the weaver's head. Weaving, changing, looping, detailing, and this style I think I got from the canvas at my art teacher's knee:

"From ze general to ze particular! She'd say in her Hungarian accent waving her arms like Zsa Zsa Gabor - easy for her since her name was Olga and she was 110% Hungarian.

Well, how does it feel to be on this side of the fence, where the ending of my story was reached in the Bare Bone Stakes? Wonderfully comfortable. No panic. No block. Luxurious. Its like the hot bath to which now I add the bubble bath.

Since dabbling in the historical I am finding my interest in dabbling in it very nice. Or as Estienne would say: "I like it very well indeed!" I've always been a history buff, and have loads of books on just about every subject - meaning lots of reference points. As with the Securement of Greggie Donald from our upcoming anthology set in the Highlands of Scotland, I am finding happy 'accidents' in my research which can steer the plot quite significantly once I find them. There is joy in discovery, a quickening of the heart and oh... spooky but this gives me an idea... kind of joy.

Regency. It has loads of taradiddles and 'diamond of the first water' and nabobs. Very flavorable language.
And we are so Austenised these days with a rich tapestry of things from the BBC on DVD, one can almost imagine ourselves there, in amongst our cast of characters.

Expect to meet Estienne Devereaux, Duke of Blamain. Blamain is a real place you know. As a matter of fact I'm sitting in it right now. Living there. I'm the housekeeper, the cook and the footman and the Duchesse of it. The supermarket is there. And isn't life grand when you have the luxury of authorship to use it as freely as have I.

Of course as per usual, I am currently in love with my darling Estienne, despite his obvious arrogance - and taunted as he is by the frustrating boy poaching on his parklands. But sshhhh. I don't want to say too much.

Except to protest "This is such hard work!"

and to whisper "Ah but it is so much fun."

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Looking all official-like

Woo hoo, the galleys are here. These are the final proof pages of the book before it becomes available to the public.

So my fellow Spinners and I are all reading over the pages with eagle eyes and fine tooth combs and any other finicky cliches, so that we can spot any tyops. Typos.

Now is not the time to save the trees. The only way I can proof read properly is to print out my story and hold it in my hands, pencil at the ready. Somebody's probably done a study to explain why, but all I know is that I can spot things much easier in printed form than on a screen.

In the mean time, The Enchanted Faerie is officially listed as coming soon on The Wild Rose Press website, which is very exciting. I am really looking forward to seeing this book out in the wider world.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Romance isn't just for the past...

Of all the Romance Spinners, I must be the luckiest. In our next project, I get to write a futuristic romance.

You got it baby, I getta write Sci-Fi!

Now, depending on your point of view, my job is either easier or harder than Judy's or Zara's.

Easy: I don't have to do a lot of research. I don't have to make sure my historical facts, fashion, language, and more are historically accurate. I don't have to worry that "contemporary-isms" that don't exist yet are gonna slip in.

Hard: I have to compile, from nigh-scratch, an entire world. I have to invent (well, speculate) future technology (and its foibles). I don't just come up with gadgets and Google's grandchildren but I've got to postulate how that technology will affect the lives of my characters. I've got to come up with future events that would change the world as we know it.

Fortunately, something exists in the Speculative Fiction universe that means I won't have to re-invent the videophone, nor will I have to waste precious wordspace explaining how it works.

It's called the supertext.

Some criticise Science Fiction (and Fantasy too, to some extent) as being self-referential. I guess, in a way, it has to be. How else are we going to define the complexities of future technology, society, races and characteristics?

The supertext works something like this:

I mention I have a vampire in one of my stories. Our Heroine sees the vampire and she reacts with fear. I don't need to go on and explain that vampires are scary un-human monsters who will lure you in with seduction then suck your blood with fangs, because the information is available in the supertext and thus available as "general knowledge".

Now, everyone doesn't have access to all of the supertext. Sometimes bits of it are limited to certain readers of some fiction.

Take, for example, the Three Laws of Robotics. Read something of Issac Asimov's, (or click on the above link) and you'll have a good idea what the laws are and how they work. But if you haven't read any Asimov (nor seen Star Trek, nor anything else that has made, at some point, reference to the Three Laws), then you might not understand why Our Heroine, when faced with a really big nasty robot armed with laser cannons, would not be afraid of him, especially if I established earlier in the story that RoboMonstro With Dual Laser ActionTM was "governed by the Three Laws".

(Counts) I have summoned the supertext with a spell, sentence, fragment of five words.

Pretty powerful stuff.

So now I am faced with a different challenge: I'm not writing for the Skiffy audience. I'm writing for the Romance audience, especially one that prefers historical romance.

Yet I think I'll be okay. The Historical Romance audience has a skill that will enable them to read something from 1016 or 1586 or 1831 or 1923 or 1945 and that will also enable them to understand something from 2172. They are able to look to the past (or the future) and see a world that is different from their own. They are able to understand that Our Heroine won't be carrying around a mobile phone. She'll have other ways to communicate. Her clothes will be different, her language use will be different, her role in society will be different, her goals will be different.

Historical Romance readers will grok this. They may not fully understand the technology that surrounds Miss 2172, but they will realise she is a human with a heart yearning for love. They'll figure her out and come to love her, the way they love the Regency Debutante, the Gibson Girl, the Flapper, the WAVE.

So yeah. I'm looking forward to having Our Heroine's implant misfunction when she moves out of signal range.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

the launch of my free e-serial

Tomorrow (Valentine's Day), I am launching my first ever free e-serial. Entitled Desperate Hearts, it follows the lives of the residents of the fictional town of Rollin's Landing, set in the scenic Muskoka region of Ontario, Canada.

I am holding a virtual launch party from noon to midnight at http://indigochick.conforums3.com/index.cgi?board=judyb and hope you can all join me as I send this story out into the world. There will be contests with prizes, virtual refreshments, and I hope some lively chat. See you there! www.desperatehearts.homestead.com

Sunday, 3 February 2008

many irons in the fire

I am feeling a bit daunted as I read posts on how far some of the Spinners have gone in writing their new anthology stories. Other than some research and a first paragraph (and a lot of mulling over in my mind), I've done so little on mine. Part of the problem is that I have so many irons in the fire at the moment. I've been working on polishing short stories to send to a new romance magazine, and raced like mad on the last day of submissions to get a novella into a publisher. I am launching my first ever free e-serial on my website on Valentine's Day, so have been working like mad on that. (www.desperatehearts.homestead.com if you want a little preview) And that's just the major stuff. There's the promoting of my existing work, and the editing and revising of things I want to submit before summer... Sigh....But I suppose, in the end, all will get done.

I've set my Spinner's story just at the end of WW II. I'm in the process of figuring out how to get my American Devereux decendant, to Devon where the bulk of the story will take place. It's an interesting time in which to set a story. So much change has occurred. In fact, I get lost sometimes surfing around researching that I don't get much writing done (another reason why I'm so far behind my sister writers...lol)

BTW, I went to the tarot card site to find out which card I was. It came out as The Lover, but I couldn't figure out how to post it here on the blog. I'm a tad technologically challenged. :o)

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

On this day Mea Culpa

I've undertaken the next anthology project from Romance Spinners from this humble person called me... REGENCY.

And since I heard lovers of Regency are a tough mob, I quickly got my butt into some serious research. And you know what?

It might seem fascinating to us. Romantic and all that.

But really. It's as boring as bat's teeth in reality. If you consider you live in a constant electricity blackout that's how much fun it is.
Spontaneous? Hell no. Only the fire ever did that.

The only fun thing you had was not knowing what a joy was in store for you with hoop skirts.

The grass is always greener on the other side.

Zara pondering on Regency during a Regency swat.

Friday, 25 January 2008

fabbo waste of time

I should know better, but I can't help myself.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

I love these guys.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Thursday, 24 January 2008

I took the test.

And I'm The Star

You are The Star

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised

The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

An explanation for loff.

I sometimes have people ask me why I'm so devoted to Richard Armitage.

"What is it about that obscure British actor?" they wonder. "Why don't you lust after Brad Pitt instead?"

Good question. Apparently he's one of the sexiest men alive. But I don't like him.

Sure, he's easy on the eyes (if you like blondes), but a man, a really appealing man, must be more than just a face.

I confess I don't like Brad Pitt because of his dubious behaviour concerning his past and present relationships. We don't know the details of why he and wife Jennifer Aniston divorced, but there are enough unanswered questions and boundless rumours going about that makes me believe it was not a clean split. Then there were the questions about exactly when Angelina Jolie came into the picture. Again, we don't know all the facts, but there's enough shady areas that fuel doubts.

One thing we know for sure: he and Angelina are living in sin. The rest of the world may be okay with that, but I'm not.

"Okay then," people say to me, "What about George Clooney? He's Hot-onna-Stick and dipped in chocolate besides."

Yes, Miss Snark, he is another pretty face. But again, it's the man behind the mask that really matters to me.

George's a player. Having been married once, he's vowed to never get married again, nor to have children. For this little black swan who was raised on a steady diet of HEA romances, that's a bit of a turn-off. George also admits, "I've slept with too many women, I've done too many drugs, and I've been to too many parties." Too bad, George. What will things be like in your dotage? How will you spend your twilight years? Not everyone can be Hugh Hefner. Not even you.

Remind me again how we like our Our Heroes? Yes, we like them handsome. We like them rogueish, dashing, passionate, intelligent and alpha male.

And then we like them to fall in love, and their love and devotion to Our Heroine surpasses all. Nothing is more valuable than the woman they love. Nothing, not life, not darkness, nor the bad guy or even death, will shake his devotion.

Sorry, Brad and George. It's a shame you've fallen short of the mark. I guess we can't have everything.

So back to Richard.

He may not be as famous as Brad or George, but that's all right by me. He's smart and he's funny. He's gracious to his fans (collectively known as either the Armitage Army, or the RAF--Richard Armitage's Fans), and always has a kind word for them whenever he runs into them. He writes thank-you notes and keeps in regular touch (well, regular for a guy). You never hear a bad thing about him.

No, he's not married. Never has been (oh, menace to society!). Some may see this as a failing, but we'll give him a few more years before we call him on it. After all, scores of Romantic Heroes in historical romances make it to their thirties before losing their bachelorhood.

On the other hand, one must also take into account that he does not have a bitter ex-wife, nor a bevy of ex-girlfriends. He doesn't play around and get caught up in the gossip mills. He wants to have children (awww...) and dotes on his nephew.

And he is good to his mother.

He's got the goods and the potential to be a great Romantic Hero. We're just hoping Our Heroine comes along real soon now and sweeps him off his feet.

If she doesn't, the first thing I'll do in my widowhood (may that be a long way off) is to sneak up on him in his sleep and screw a ring on his third finger, left hand.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Which Tarot Card Are you?

These are my results. Interesting to say the least. :-)
Follow the link below to find out your card!

You are The Hierophant

Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching.

All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors.The Hierophant is often considered to be a Guardian Angel.

The Hierophant's purpose is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Where the High Priestess between her two pillars deals with realms beyond this Earth, the Hierophant (or High Priest) deals with worldly problems. He is well suited to do this because he strives to create harmony and peace in the midst of a crisis. The Hierophant's only problem is that he can be stubborn and hidebound. At his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

All right, I'll bite...
EJ McKenna is...

You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.

Her Grace, Lady Heidi is...

You are The Moon

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

On my high horse...

Which happens to be in the Regency times. And when reading Heidi's blog, nodding all the way through.

I've decided that my next in our anthology adventures is to be set in Regency times. As a writer of modern contemporary comedy, choosing the Regency is a kind of take on the mantle of challenge versus the already pretty much there.

If you say Pride and Prejudice to me I'd say, Jane Austen's, the BBC Colin Firth version or the movie? I have them all and sit with them on an ad nauseum basis. I can watch them like my kids used to watch Annie video when they were little. The dialogue flavor is important to me and can make or break my enjoyment of a period piece. Last night I watched the movie version (again) of Pride and Prejudice. And Colin Firth did the Darcy thing so differently, but I have to add that both versions are brilliantly executed and so differently.

I am loving the historical aspects of this work and that of the enchanted faeries set in the Highlands in the late 16oo's. I'm enjoying the research and the application of such knowledge. I am also learning that through the research, ideas and plots do get to shift on a continuing basis. If anyone reading this could take advice, do google.

So my hero is on his high horse on Rotten Row even as we discuss this... which returns me back to Heidi's blog on the hero...

Who wants:
1. Somebody who'd rather watch sport.
2. Couch potato
3. Never moves more than to change buttons on the remote control.
4. Only puts his top on when he goes out to buy a new carton of beer.
and the list goes on so:

I guess that no matter what period we put our characters into, it boils down to the ideal man. The man who we'd love to exist but probably even does if one doesn't apply all the rules.

For my part this translates into my husband, my best friend, and the one who supports the ups and downs of my muse. He's not perfect. His temper sometimes can be a short fuse. I'm not allowed to tell him where to park. He brings me flowers on fridays. He tells me I say 'actually' too much. He handles my excessive book collection with building a larger wall of shelves. He's a wonderful father. Loves the dog. And swishes soap all over the glass shower which stays in glubes, but which will get cleaned by the lady he pays for to clean our house so I can write. He's my version of my alpha male.

But he'd translate most terribly into the kind of hero we want in a romance I guess.

Actually, would he?

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Historic Heroes, Contemporary Readers, Part III

Historic Heroes--Contemporary Woman's Wishlist

Poor Historical Romance author! You just don't have it easy, do you? On one hand, you want your story to be as historically accurate as possible, from historical facts to setting, to characterisations, the lot.

But on the other hand, you must realise that your contemporary readers are very much products of their time and generation. The social mores of the Nineteenth, the Seventeenth, the Fourteenth centuries are very different. With the exception of a bunch of Uppity Mormon Women and a few other raving Bluestockings and Bloomer Girls, women were pretty much considered the Weaker Sex.

So where do all these spit-fire redheaded bodice-splitting heroines you keep writing about come from?

They are the offspring of the marriage of history wearing idealism's ballgown and a modern marketing dork.

I don't envy you, Historical Romance author. You must come up with characters that your contemporary readers can identify with, without creating a time paradox.

It's a shame your contemporary readers don't understand the hard work you've put into your dialogue, to make sure that your vocabularial and grammatical choices are historically accurate. Sixteenth Century Bronwyn is not going to utter the phrases, "Okay," "Hey guys," or "What's up?" And they don't understand the hours of research you've delved into to make sure that manners, mantles and mores are correct yet invisible.

Instead, they analyse every detail of clothing, places, names, addresses, Almack's layout, and heaven forbid you make the mistake of letting a woman enter the clubs on St James.

But they will not forgive you for writing a heroine who sits meekly by, waiting for the man to come to her, even though that's often what happened.

And they absolutely will never forgive you for writing a hero who would be interested in such a milksop.

And thus, I present to you, dear Historical Romance author, the Contemporary Woman's Wishlist.

1. Our Hero must be strong and sensitive at the same time. Historically, men were supposed to be strong and stoic, yet we want our Historical Romance heroes sensitive as well. He's got to be strong to the world, yet sensitive to the Heroine.

2. Our Hero must be one smart cookie. Literacy is a must, even though there were lots and lots of men throughout history who couldn't even read, much less read well. We want Our Hero literate! (Don't believe me? How many Historical Romance heroes have you come across who couldn't read?) He'll be top of his class, the cleverest of the lot, and never gets the wool pulled over his eyes (unless it's required for the plot, or is pulled by the heroine). The Renaissance Man is alive and well, if only in fiction.

3. Ambition. Yes, indeed, we want Our Hero to be going somewhere. Pirate captains as the very least, thenkyewverramuch, and if he must be midshipman, he must be an upwardly mobile midshipman. (Right, Mister Hornblower?) None of this "contented with his lot", no farmers (unless they're gentleman farmers) and certainly no lower class. We've all read Catherine Cookson and have no interest in some poor, drunken wife-beating factory worker. Give us something that resembles our 21st Century meritocratic values, even though such values would surely be out of place in historical contexts. (Your contemporary readers just don't understand why"aping one's betters" and "getting above one's stations" were such bad ideas.)

4. Our Hero must be dashingly, no, devestatingly handsome! He must be all that is noble and worthy and rich and titled and good and wonderful and for some unfathomable reason, manages to remain a bachelor until his thirties. After all, Contemporary Woman is in her thirties and has no desire to lust after a Hero who's in serious need of therapy, has some nasty hangups or psychotic ex-girlfriends, and for some unfathomable reason, Jailbait just isn't that appealing. Also, Our Hero being heavily in debt is no good.

Now, is that too much to ask? Well, too bad, because that's what we want.

You know all those good qualties we like about C21, and all the wonderful escapist romantistic idealism we like about "The Good Old Days?" We want it all.

Thank you, Historical Romance author. I expect you to deliver soon.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

The Wild Rose Press.

I must say I am impressed. Since I've signed on they have been so active on behalf of writers. I've never seen this happen with any of my other publishers. All I can say of them is WOW!

Friday, 4 January 2008


New Years eve was spent on Sydney Harbor in a boat watching the fireworks from the very front row seat. No, I did not spend the evil profits of publication. Did I say that? It's more like the mystical profits of publication.

One does it outof love, until one becomes JK Rowling. Then it becomes business.


When I am rich and famous I'm going to live in Manhattan, have a house in Malibu (on the water side and risk Tzunamis rather than the brush fires) and of course I might also add a house in either Switzerland or England and use my chopper to hop across the moat.

But then my imagination, which helps me write might be a little too high octane.


Thursday, 3 January 2008

The polls are open

All in the name of science, of course...
The polls are open for you to vote for the sexy Brit who gets you all hot and bothered.
If there is someone whose name isn't there, then leave a comment :-)

You can vote for more than one person as well!