Nice Work If You Can Get it

I have to confess, I love Gershwin’s music so I snapped up tickets to see “Nice Work If You Can Get It” on in Melbourne.

What a wonderful show, I just loved the singing and dancing, there was such a strong cast with amazing talent.

But from a romance writer’s perspective, it ticked all the boxes for a perfect romance –

* Hero – rich, playboy, good looking, can’t find the right woman to settle down with

* Heroine – likeable, street smart, not looking for a man

* Lots of conflict as so why they couldn’t be together

* Them having realisations to make it work

* Happily ever after

So if you love a musical, go and see “Nice Work If You Can Get It”,  you’ll be glad you did 🙂

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Confessions of a romance writer – Write What You Love

Life has been crazy busy with the launch of my first book, Falling for Mr Wrong. It’s been a joy to see it available in digital stores, but most important has been the positive reader feedback I have received.

Reading the positive reviews has been a highlight of my publishing journey especially as I’m self published and on my own. Unlike being published traditionally/with a major publisher, I have to do everything!!!

 

My “confessions” blog posts will go through the ins and outs of being a newbie self published, romance author, and this is my first post 🙂

One of the benefits of being self published means I can write what I like, but it’s also a downside.

With my next book, the hero is devastatingly handsome, can dance like Adam Garcia and sing/perform like Michael Bublé.

Image from http://deadline.com/2012/06/pilot-castings-wendell-vinnie-finds-lead-mockingbird-lane-gets-guest-star-287430/

My clean, cut, crooner hero! (pic from http://deadline.com)

Sure he’s hot but currently, the trend is for heroes who are bad-boy rockers with tattoos, not clean cut crooners.

The gorgeous, Mills and Boon author, extraordinaire, Melanie Milburne advised me not to write such a hero and …..she was right. But I still wrote him any way. Why? Because I wrote what I love.

My preference is for the hunk above rather than the bad-boy with a sleeve of tatts. If I pretended to like something, it would come across in my writing and I would disappoint my readers. I made the hard decision to go with my heart rather than what’s commercially popular and hope my readers love my hero as much as I do.

My advice to new writers, if you force yourself to write something because you think it will sell better, think again. If you don’t love what you write, why would your readers?

PS – Want to see how my hero dances? Check out the talented Adam Garcia 🙂 you can forward up to the 1 min 50 sec mark if you want to skip the back up dancers dancing. Happy watching and …..you’re welcome 😛

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Adam Garcia (pic taken from here – http://danceworks.net/inspiration/dancers/adam-garcia/)

I’m now a published author

I’m bursting with excitement to share my fantastic news that after years of honing my craft, writing and more writing, my first novel, Falling for Mr Wrong, has now been published and is available through a number of channels.

This is a dream come true. I love writing romances and to see my work commercially available is just wonderful.

Amazon (US)   Amazon (Australia)    iTunes     Kobo     Barnes and Noble

Thanks to everyone who has sent me a congratulatory message and/or bought my book, I have loved reading and receiving every one of them 🙂

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PS – many thanks to the lovely Leah Ashton who read my book and provided a cover quote for me xx

 

Oh dear!!!

oh deer

Oh dear, I’ve neglected my blog!!!!

I’ve been super busy and will have some exciting news to share soon!!!!!

With the chilly weather here in Melbourne, what could be better than a slice of banana bread? Yum! Check out this amazing recipe that only uses THREE ingredients, yes only three!!!

http://www.slowcookercentral.com/recipe/choc-chip-banana-cake/

Okay, I lied, there are four ingredients but the choc-chips are optional 😉  I added a teaspoon of ground cinnamon instead and it was truly delicious.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic before it was all gobbled up. However, here’s the muesli/granola I also made in the slow cooker and if you’re interested in the recipe, check it out here – http://www.slowcookercentral.com/recipe/quinoa-granola1/

I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds instead of nuts.

muesli

 

My new BFF

rolls

As a member of the romance writing community, I’m surrounded by amazing writers who are so talented and giving in their knowledge and friendship.

And without the support of my family, I’d struggle to write.

So who is this new best friend of mine?

Why, it’s my slow cooker (crock pot) 🙂

I’ve heard how good they are but until I started using it, I didn’t realise what a gem this contraption is. Dinner cooks while I write….brilliant!

There are a ton of amazing recipes on Facebook and mummy blogs and I thank all the women (and men!) who post pics and recipes. I have a ton to try and can’t wait 🙂

Check out these delish cheese and tomato scrolls I made on the weekend! And yes, they tasted as good as they look 🙂

So, what have you been cooking lately? 🙂

Fifty Shades of Grey

 

fifty shades

Last night I went to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Here is my take on it, from a romance writer’s point of view.

Over the past couple of weeks, there’s been heaps of discussion around this movie which I think is healthy. It’s always interesting to read people’s comments however, I personally think you should see the movie before publicly airing your views.

I have to be honest, I didn’t read the entire book because I’m not a fan of fan-fiction. This is where the author writes the book chapter by chapter. I believe the publisher should’ve given the book a good edit and clean up before publishing it. That’s just my two cents.

I had no expectations about the movie and went for some escapism.

Did I like it? Yes!

The movie is reminiscent of Mills and Boon’s successful line, Presents, with the all-too popular trope, virginal heroine, billionaire hero. It worked well on screen and I thought the actors were well chosen for their roles.

Focussing on the hero, Christian Grey. He’s brooding, handsome and rich. Yes, he figuratively sweeps Anna off her feet but he displays the characteristics we want to see in a hero. He listens to her, is great in bed and finds her beautiful. Not once did I feel she was pressured into doing anything she didn’t want to do. In fact, I really enjoyed the “contract scene” in the boardroom. Anna stands up for herself, never caving into his demands because he’s handsome, rich, showers her with gifts etc….

In a romance the hero and heroine’s character arc changes because of each other. That’s not to say they make each other do something, but because of their journey to a Happily Ever After, they each change. We see this with Christian. Anna is so naive and she asks a ton of questions. At the beginning he’s more evasive but towards the end, he opens up to her.

With Anna, she’s initially horrified and perhaps a little disgusted at his BDSM play room. But after spending time with him, she’s starts/learns to trust him. This is huge. In every sex scene we know that if she says stop, he will stop. Even at the end, when she leaves and he follows her, she says stop and he listens.

We know Christian has different tastes in the bedroom. The backstory is hinted and even though we don’t know what it is, there is enough insight for us to know he is complex and not some sort of sadist. Apparently the book gives more insight.

If you’re offended by sex or nudity then this movie is not for you.

Have you seen Fifty Shades? And if so, did you like it? I’m interested to know 🙂

Researching and a Happy New Year wish :)

When I first started writing I was advised to write about what I knew. This was wise advice and I would definitely recommend this to newbie writers.

Now that I’ve written a number of books, I’ve branched out and writing about professions and places that I don’t have expert knowledge on.

In my current book, there are some things where the answers are not on Google. I am so thankful to Patrick and Romy for their help so far. Thanks guys, I reckon my book will be so much better because of your help 🙂

Thanks to everyone who reads my blog posts, wishing you a very happy and healthy New Year, I hope 2015 brings all your dreams true.

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I’m not surprised!!!

A funny thing happened…..this is not a joke, I’m serious 🙂

Last night my husband and I attended a fabulous function and I ran into a guy I hadn’t seen for many years. Suffice to say I was a 16 when we last met.

We had a catch up and then I told him about my romance writing. His reaction was priceless saying that he was not surprised and that I was a good writer back in the days when I used to write long letters to him.

What a compliment, it made my day. So it was meant to be! I was destined to become a romance writer, even when back then when I was reading teen romances 🙂

 

Dancer and I

Check out me and one of fab dancers at the event 🙂

Receiving my first reader feedback

writing and sleeping

My manuscript has been finalised, edited and polished and the final hurdle was having a couple of betas read it. I asked two friends who are avid romance readers who I could trust and rely on to provide honest feedback.

After a nervous wait of a few days, I was delighted they both loved it.  One friend wrote, “I loved it, it’s so well written you should be proud. Thank you for letting me read your baby.”

I love writing the stories in my head and am thrilled a reader liked it. For me, one of the best rewards of being a writer is someone liking what I write. So thanks to my lovely betas who read and enjoyed my books, you’ve both made this romance writer very, very happy 🙂

 

Celebrating Rachael Thomas’ success!!!

with Rachael Thomas' book

One of the best things about being part of the romance community is meeting wonderful writers.

I met Rachael Thomas a few years back through the RWA Crit Partner program and we ‘clicked’. I love her Modern/Sexy stories and knew it was only a matter of time before she was published. I was delighted when she won a HMB contract and even more excited to receive a copy of her first book (sent to me from Wales!!!!).

Congrats Rachael, I know this is the first of many published books and I can’t wait to read your first,”A Deal Before the Alter”.

I’m back

I’ve been away from my blog and my writing but I’m happy to say I’m back.

Why? Good question! I was lucky to travel overseas and before I had time to recover from my jet-lag I was in Sydney for the annual Romance Writers’ of Australia conference.

These two events have inspired my creative side and I’m itching to write as much as I can.

The conference was brilliant and many of my fellow writers have written wonderful blogs about it. My highlights were –

  • Having an outfit to wear at the Leather and Lace conference. I forgot my dress in Melbourne and my wonderful hubby couriered it to Sydney 🙂
  • Meeting and hearing James Scott Bell talk. He happily signed my craft book on Conflict and Suspense.
  • Listening to the gorgeous Cherry Adair talk about plotting and characterisation as well as imparting lots of helpful advice.
  • Meeting Miranda Lee and Emma Darcy was not just a highlight of the conference but of my career, since they inspired me to write romance. I’m very privileged to have not only met them but had time to chat.
  • As always, the conferences are a bonus to meet fellow writers and also catch up with my CPs and friends.
  • All dressed up for the Leather and Lace party

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    Wow – with the amazing Miranda Lee and Emma Darcy!

    With my talented CP and friend, Michelle Somers

    With my talented CP and friend, Michelle Somers

    With the lovely Cherry Adair

    With the lovely Cherry Adair

One bowl Apple Cake

It’s a cold, rainy day today in Melbourne. This morning we cheered the boys on at their soccer and footy games whilst this afternoon we’ve played board games, a perfect day to be inside.

For afternoon tea, we made the one bowl apple cake – see Recipes for the recipe. The boys couldn’t wait for the cake to cool down and had to have a piece!!

cake cake1 cake2

 

What do you like doing on lazy, Sunday afternoons?

The stories behind the stories

I love reading! I also love finding out the inspiration that led to the story. It could be a snippet, a newspaper article or an over-heard conversation.

For book club this month we read two wonderful books – Outback Blaze by Rachael Johns and The Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey.

I really enjoyed both books but especially liked learning the tid-bits on why the authors wrote about what they did.

Rachael’s inspiration for Outback Blaze was watching, in horror, as the local supermarket, her husband managed, burnt to the ground due to an electrical fault.
Ella’s inspiration for The Paris Time Capsule was this amazing discovery.

So, are you interested in the story behind the story?

High Tea with Melanie Milburne

I’ve found the romance community to be incredibly supportive and helpful.

I was delighted to meet Melanie Milburne at the RWA Tassie roadshow a couple of years ago. To say I was star struck would’ve been an understatement. I love her HMB Presents. Not only is she a talented writer but she is incredibly giving and kind. Over the past couple of years she has offered advice and I’m indebted to her.

I was delighted to catch up with Melanie in Melbourne recently and talk about writing over high tea. How lush! The champagne was delish as were the sweet and savoury treats on offer.

Thanks Melanie for a delightful catch up 🙂

with Melanie Milburne_1

Had to share!

One of the upsides of being a romance writer is being part of the writing sisterhood. Over the years, I have been so lucky to receive amazing advice, support, words of wisdom and critiques.

Thank you to my gorgeous crit partners and writing friends who have helped me with my writing so far. And a massive thanks to the wonderful writers of Romance Writers of Australia, you are an amazing bunch of women ….and men!!!!

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Catching up with Michael Bublé…shame about the other 10000 fans

My family and friends know I’m huge fan of Michael Bublé, so there was little doubt I’d be seeing him again on his Australian tour 2014.  He is a consummate performer and makes the concert so entertaining! Is it any wonder I based one of my heroes on Michael???

My friend and I had a fabulous time and we came out feeling so happy 🙂

He sang “All you need is Love” by the Beatles and the back drop lighting created a truly magical effect. Then thousands of red and white paper hearts were blasted into the audience creating such beauty. My friend turned to me and said it was perfect, for me since, I was a romance writer. So true, Sue, so true!

paper hearts pic for blog

 

Happy Passover/Easter

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Source and Source

It’s that time of year when we’re all indulging in wonderful foods. What’s not to like about chocolate, coloured eggs and cakes? Yum!

Whether you celebrate Passover, Easter or Orthodox/Greek Easter, I wish you a wonderful festival. And if you’re non-religious, then I wish you a happy break (and eating too!)

So, do you have a favourite food that you eat at this time?

My Writing Process

Thank you to Rachael Thomas for inviting me to join The Blog Tour. Her debut book, A Deal Before the Altar, will be available later this year. More information can be found on her website: www.rachaelthomas.co.uk

I had the pleasure of meeting Rachael via the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) Critique Partner scheme, which I now manage with my “partner-in-crime” Beck Nicholas.

I’ve enjoyed working with Rachael over the years and am delighted to see her do so well with her writing and be accepted as a published writer with Mills and Boon. I’m looking forward to seeing her the cover of her debut 🙂

What am I working on?

I am currently half way through a book which is the third in a series. Books 1 & 2 are linked, and books 1 & 3 are linked, although they can be read as standalone books.

Book #1 finaled recently in a US competition which was very exciting. It was a thrill to have such positive feedback from the judges.

How does my story differ from others of its genre?

Over the years, whilst I’ve learnt my craft and written, I’ve kept true to my voice. In competition and writer feedback, I’ve always had positive interest in my “voice”.

I’d like to add that this doesn’t always come naturally to new writers and can take time to recognise and nurture.

Why do I write?

Mainly because I can’t stop the stories and voices in my head. But more importably, because I love it 🙂

How does my writing process work?

As a busy, working mum with two young heroes-in-training, I don’t have much time to write. I usually make time at nights and on weekends.

Bursting with excitement

NTRWA_GreatExpectations_Finalist

I recently submitted two entries to North Texas Romance Writers of America Great Expectations competition and was delighted to be advised I was a  finalist with Violet’s story. My entry will now be assessed by an editor with a major publishing company and I am thrilled. What an opportunity!!

The feedback I received on both entries was positive, insightful and very helpful. As an Australian writer I am concerned about “Australian-isms” so entering a US competition was a great way to get a different view-point of my writing.

The judges spent time reading and proving good feedback. My favourite line was…”Hope you get a great cover, because I’m sure this one will sell!”

Congrats to the other finalists and also a well done to the non-finalists. Submitting your work in a competition can be scary but very rewarding.

Talking about characterisation

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Image copied from here

I just love talking about writing and was delighted to be invited to talk to Grade 2A on their writing. The children have been working hard on their stories and their teacher thought it would be good for me to talk to them about their characters.

We started chatting about The Wizard of Oz – perfect for eight year olds when looking at interesting characters. A lion who’s scared. A Tin man who doesn’t have a heart. A Scarecrow who wants a brain. Perfect!

We then talked about their stories which were all fantastic. With a bit of brainstorming the class came up with some ideas on creating engaging characters – a dog who is a scientist in disguise, a princess who doesn’t like pink and rides skateboards, a dog who talks – brilliant!

I loved their ideas and enthusiasm. This is a class with budding writers. 

Thanks 2A for inviting me to your classroom to talk 🙂