I must apologise (again). I’ve been very rude in not updating this blog. No excuse, really, except I’ve found it hard to blog and cope with edit and book deadlines at the same time. But the end is nigh! The editing process is complete for my August (non-erotica) release, and I have only two or three chapters to write before the follow up book is done. Can’t wait. I feel like I’ve been editing and writing flat out since September last year.
In the meantime, you can catch me on Twitter and occasionally Facebook.
Wowee, the last three months have been busy. Each time I think I’ve tackled everything on my to-do list something else comes along. Not only have I been editing and proof-reading like mad, I’ve been writing as well. My main focus has been my contracted mainstream romance and its approaching deadline, but I’m still working on my fantasy erotic romance when I have the chance. It’s too much fun to let drop and sometimes it’s nice to venture into a completely different world for a while.
Now, I need to do something about my ‘what I read’ widgets because the Amazon ones just aren’t cutting the mustard. I read a lot of Australian titles and half the time they’re not to be found on Amazon, which means I then can’t include them on the ‘what I read’ Amazon associates widget. Not the end of the world, but it is annoying and I would like to keep a track. So what do I use? Shelfari? Goodreads?
If any of you use these (or another book tracker site or widget) I’d love to know the advantages/disadvantages of them. I don’t want to star grade the books, just maybe leave a small comment on how much I loved it (or not).
Speaking of loving books, I’m reading the most gobsmacking thriller at the moment. Beyond Fear is the debut novel of local author Jaye Ford and it’s completely un-put-down-able. Best of all, it’s the sort of book that makes my heart race and my breathing turn shallow. God, I love books like that. They’re like watching a really exciting game of football, except in this case, scary (although when I think of some of the mini-heart attack inducing games my beloved Swans have played over the years, I’ve had my fair share of frights from them too). I can’t wait for the next one. Though, given Beyond Fear was only released this week I might have a bit of a wait.
In other news, last weekend I received the loveliest letter from a reader thanking me for Three Over Par. It kept the grin on my face all weekend. Reader letters are the most wonderful things because you know they’ve taken that special step to write. So if you’re reading this, dear reader, thanks again. You made my day bigtime.
Carina editor Deborah Nemeth was interviewed on the Not Your Usual Suspect's blog. Some good info on writing mystery and suspense. Worth checking out.
The fabulous Romance, She Wrote site has an excellent post asking whether your creativity being stuffed by your perfectionism. Er...in my case, the answer’s definitely yes. Although I am learning to keep Miss Anal Fussy Britches under control more.
A few weeks back, there was an article in the Weekend Australian called The Font of Future Knowledge discussing what e-readers and computer screens are doing to our minds. Scary.
Now, all you e-book reading people....do you love your Kindle/Nook/Kobo/Sony but miss that lovely booky smell? Never fear, help is at hand with the Smell of Books aerosol e-book enhancer. Just what you needed.
And last but not least, a little toy for writers – a Visual Thesaurus. Handy thing.
GOLF NEWS (although not for much longer. Footy season approacheth. Yay! Gooooooo Swannnnieeeeees!)
Well, since my last post I’ve lost two strokes off my handicap and won the ladies competition twice. Yes, folks, I’ve been playing blinders and what fun it’s been too! This level of consistency isn’t normal for me. Usually I have one good round followed by a couple of crap ones, followed by a blitz, followed by an ‘I should have stayed in bed and kept thinking about my book there instead of out on the bloody course’ round. But the Great Golfing God is smiling brightly on me and while he’s feeling so benevolent, I’m going to bask in his sunshine.
If this keeps up, I might have to shout myself a new set of clubs!
My apologies for being such an intermittent blogger, but I’ve been working flat out on finishing my mainstream romance edits and have hardly had time to read emails, let alone blog. But it’s over now. Yesterday I sent the edited manuscript back to my editor, so now I’m free! Well, I hope I am. There’s always a chance she might come back with extra tweaks.
So now that’s done my plan is to take a few days off and catch up on all the things I’ve missed this month. Then it’ll be back into writing. I’m contracted for another mainstream romance, but I also plan to work on my fantasy erotica at the same time. I’ve already written a good slab of it and it’s been such a hoot I’m reluctant to let it drop.
I had an amazing experience over Christmas. My parents recently moved house, which is no big deal really, except they were downsizing and Mum, bless her, is a great keeper of ‘stuff’. To cut a long story short, during packing, it was discovered that Mum had kept damn near everything from my school days – notes, letters, diaries, birthday cards, certificates, you name it - all packed in boxes and hidden in the cupboard. As I wasn’t there to go through it, all this stuff was put into storage for me to sort over Christmas. Which I did. And I found the most extraordinary things!
But best of all, I discovered stories. Heaps of them, and whose existence I’d completely forgotten because they were written when I was still a kid. Some were short stories, only a few pages long, while others were the opening chapters of novels, some with plot outlines. One I picked up and began to read and became instantly engrossed, which I’m still astounded by because looking at the handwriting, I must have been in my mid teens when I wrote it.
Unfortunately, we were on a tight schedule so I couldn’t sit and read through everything but I’ve packed them all into a box and when I get the chance I’m going to give them a thorough going through. It’ll be like opening up a treasure box. I can’t wait!
Now for a blatant promo. If you’d like to win yourself a copy of my erotic romance, Three Over Par, then high-tail it over to Book Lovers Inc where they’re celebrating their one year blogoversary. All you need to do it post a comment and you could win! Closes 4th February, so be quick.
And last of all, check out what my darling beloved bought me. Yes, it’s a Sydney Swans garden gnome. How cute is that!!!
And last of all, a groovy searchy thing called Booko that lets you plug in the book you’re after and then trawls around looking for prices from all the online retailers and then presents them in a nice cheapest to dearest list. Very handy (Australia only).
GOLF NEWS (because I’m ever hopeful that one day I’ll be a lady golfing legend like Annika Sorenstam....aww, come on, a girl’s allowed to dream!)
Not good news on the Great Summer Golfing Challenge front, I’m afraid. DB beat me by one miserable stroke. I came so close but the bugger nailed me again. Hmph. One of these days I’m going to whup his butt so hard....
Anyway, on a positive note, I’m still playing well and have managed to knock another stroke of my handicap. With luck and concentration, I hope to continue that trend. This week I tested out a new putting stroke and seemed to putt a bit better, so if I can get that in order I should keep dropping my handicap.
Sigh. How many times have I said that before? But I can do it. Oh, yes I CAN! I’m determined and a total sucker for punishment.
And what a fantabulous year I’m sure it’ll turn out to be, although it’ll have to be pretty damn good to beat 2010. Last year was an absolute cracker for me, not only on the book front but for life in general. Fingers crossed the fun continues.
As for what I’m up to, I’m still editing my mainstream romance with one half-panicked eye on the calendar watching the days pass and my deadline approach, which is why I’ve been such a terrible blogger of late. But at least now I have a lot of the really hard stuff sorted and some of the stress has lifted. I CANNOT wait to finish. Not only will I then be able to return to my two new projects, DB and I might finally be able to sneak off for a proper holiday. After such a full-on year, we’re both in dire need of one, plus I want to get to Sydney to see The First Emperor: China’s Entombed Warriors exhibition at the Art Gallery of N.S.W.
Last year I did a post called The Best of 2009 and I kinda like the idea of a having a permanent reminder of what I thought was good in a particular year, so I’m going to continue the tradition.
Best Novel I Read
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson.
An absolutely gorgeous book. Although I’ll have to give an honourable mention to Harlequin’s Vintage Collection. They were a hoot!
Best Non-Fiction Book I Bought
Bit of a toss-up this year but I’ll have to award the gong to Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Italy: Food and Stories. Fantastic recipes.
Best Album I Bought
I thought this would be easy to choose but it wasn’t because I listened to some really great music this year. However, being the Eurovision tragic that I am, I’m going to have to announce the winner as The Very Best of the Eurovision Song Contest because, honestly, who can resist such hits Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu, better known as Volare? Or ABBA’s Waterloo, Mocedades’ Eres Tu, and Sandie Shaw’s Puppet on a String. Or even Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah, for that matter.
Oh, don’t laugh. You don’t know what you’re missing.
Best DVD I Watched
No award here because I can’t remember the last new DVD I watched. In fact, I can’t remember the last memorable movie I watched that I hadn’t already seen before. Really must remedy this. Tis not good for my creative brain!
Best TV Program
What else could it be but Glee!
ODDS & SODS
Firstly, two writing contests worth looking at. The Romance Writers of New Zealand’s Clendon Award is a full manuscript contest and my absolute favourite. Your manuscript is read and judged not by writers, but by romance readers and the scoresheets are very comprehensive. I can’t recommend the Clendon enough. Entries close February 25th. And keep your eye out for the Chase the Dream Contest. It’s not open yet, but details will be coming to the site soon.
GOLF NEWS (because it gives me an excuse to brag and post wildlife pictures)
Well, the Great Summer Golfing Challenge between DB and me is currently in full swing and though we haven’t been able to get out on course as much as we’d like, it’s still proving a strong contest. DB took an early lead, but I’ve been slowly pegging him back and am now within two shots of overtaking him. I hope he’s feeling very nervous at the moment because the good form I’m in it’s only a matter of time.
Yesterday we snuck out to Pacific Dunes for a hit and came across this fellow, a five foot long red-bellied black snake. It’s not the greatest of photos but I didn’t feel inclined to walk much closer. Red bellied black snakes mightn’t rank that high on the dangerous Australian snake scale as some, but I still wouldn’t like to be bitten by one!
So my Christmas present this year is a whopping great pile of edits and a tight deadline, which means all slaving over works in progress has ceased. A pity, because I was having a lot of fun with them. Oh, well, never mind. I’ll get back to them once these edits are sorted.
There was an article in the New York Times today about the thriving popularity of romance ebooks which I found quite interesting. Not for the article itself but for the disparaging comments about the genre left by some readers. They really made be sit back because I can honestly say I’ve never struck this negative attitude about romance. When I say I write romance, no one blinks. Well, almost no one. I did once encounter a poetess who uttered not another word on the subject once I mentioned the R genre, and another fellow who looked at me in astonishment and asked, ‘Is there any market for that?’ but other than those two, it’s been positive all the way.
Which makes me wonder if in Australia we don’t hold the same prejudices about the genre because we’ve had less exposure to it than the US. You know, because there’s less pure romance on the shelves we don’t see as many covers and therefore don’t immediately associate romance with mulleted man-titty (to paraphrase a Smart Bitches description).
Then again, maybe we do hold the same prejudices and it’s simply that the people I talk to don’t want to appear rude. I have no idea. But I’m very grateful to have not encountered the sort of attitude I read in the comments section of that NYT article. It’s saved me a lot of ranting because what right has anyone to snigger at someone else’s reading material?
None. Something those holier than thou snobs could do well to remember.
ODDS & SODS
Despite editing my buttocks off (or on, as the case may be), I discovered lots of linky fun this week. But first, a plug to my publishers. Why? Because they're fabulous!
The Samhain Cafe is holding a Christmas Party on Saturday, December 18 and Sunday, December 19, 2010 from 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. Eastern Time (US) each day. Samhain Publishing has donated eBook and print book prizes for the Mods to award with a Kindle as the grand prize. To join the cafe (where there is always lots of activity, chats with authors, other readers, excerpts to read and LOADS of giveaways, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/samhaincafe/
The Sydney Morning Herald had an article about booksellers challenging the myth that online is cheaper, comparing local prices with bookdepository.co.uk. Perhaps on a few titles you can find it cheaper locally, but overall, I’d say bookdepository is the consistent winner in the cheapness stakes. Certainly for the books I buy.
Want to earn yourself a cool 10,000€? Then you’d better start scribbling because The Paris Literary Prize closes on the 18th December.
Carina editor Deb Nemeth passed on this link to a Wall Street Journal article, which I thought really useful. Beware the Trap of ‘Bore-geous’ Writing. As I’m discovering, no point sweating over the bore-geous stuff because in all likelihood your editor will only edit it out and you would have wasted all that time and brain power for nothing.
GOLF NEWS (because it's a perve-fest out there...honest! What? You don't believe me? Then I have one name for you: Adam Scott.)
The other ladies must have played shockingly last week because I somehow managed to win the ladies’ competition with a crappy score. Not that I’m complaining. A win is good, but I still can’t help sulking over scoring bogie on the 17th when I was on the green for two and had a putt for birdie. Hmmph. Must be something wrong with that flash putter of mine because, I mean, really, it couldn’t possibly have been due to the raucous Christmas party we attended the night before. That's just silly talk.
Did you see he-of-the gorgeous-eyes Geoff Ogilvy won the Australian Open last week? Lovely to see him raise the trophy and blinking those long lashes. Made me feel a bit gooey.
So this week’s the Australian PGA Championship at Coolum with another star-studded field. I’d like to see Adam Scott win but he didn’t have a good start and is well off the pace. So given Mr Hunka-Hunka-Burnin-Love is out of contention (unless he does something spectacular today), it appears I’ll have to go for Geoff again. Something I don't mind one bit.
Oh dear, more blog slackness from me and another missed week. This really isn’t good enough, but I’m currently snout deep in book-land and it’s hard to extract it. I’m also attempting (again) to write two books at once. They’re completely different genres with very different characters, so it seems to be going okay so far. How long that will continue, I have no idea. Probably to the point where I become obsessed with one of them and can’t bear to leave it for the other, or edits for my contracted sweet single title land. When those babies hit, I’ll have to drop everything to get them done because the upcoming Christmas mayhem will make for a tight turnaround.
In other news, I appear to have made the house inadvertently lizard friendly. So far I’ve had three of the little buggers running around – two I’ve managed to catch and set free but the last remains on the lam, having escaped my clumsy fingers by skittering under a bookshelf. They’re just little skinks, so harmless and kinda cute in a lizardy way, but I’d really rather not have them in the house.
Oh, well, at least they aren’t like this bearded dragon. There'd be no catching him with a bit of paper towel. I found this fellow on the golf course last week while I was looking for my ball, so I crept up and took a happy snap, but as you can see he didn't appreciate the attention. Impressive how they puff up to make themselves look bigger when they feel threatened.
Oh, and Three Over Par and Ritual Passion are available for download from Borders Australia. Felt a bit chuffed when I saw that!
ODDS & SODS
Executive Editor for Carina Press, Angela James posted this link this morning – A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web. It’s an article from the New York Times about a businessman who uses bad publicity to drive up his Google ranking. Extraordinary!
And Carina Press editor Deb Nemeth posted this quote the other day, which I thought was excellent. Apparently, she’s been seeing lots of weepy heroes lately. "If your characters have good reason to cry, and don't, your readers will do the weeping." - Orson Scott Card.
GOLF NEWS (because there are still too many days until football season)
Golf, I’ve decided, is just like my writing. If I can forget all my hang-ups and get on with it, then things are fine, but the moment I start analysing things it all goes to pot. Unfortunately, there’s been far, far too much analysing going on lately leading to some rather horrible rounds which I’d rather forget.
But yesterday I managed to not think too much about my swing and instead went out for a nice walk and a whack. The outcome? I played a blinder of a round and so did DB, which was fantastic because it resulted in us scoring brilliantly in the club’s four-ball-best-ball competition and whupping our nearest rivals by 7 points. Awesome!
Now, all I have to do is repeat that again this week. Sigh. If only it were that easy.
Ooh, and don’t forget the two President’s Cup captains, Greg Norman and Freddie Couples are playing in the Australian Open this weekend at The Lakes in Sydney. Chicky-babe Adam Scott will also be playing, as will he-of-the-lovely-eyes Geoff Ogilvy, and one of my favourite players, Stuart Appleby. Should be a great contest!
Smack my bottom till it’s pink and jubbly. I failed to write a blog post last week. No excuse, unless you count all those thousands of words I wrote on my work in progress. No, I’m not NaNoWriMo-ing (National Novel Writing Month). I’m just knuckling down to a new book and trying to get as many good words down as I can before I’m hit by edits and Christmas drunkenly waves its Santa hat in my face.
Had an interesting wildlife encounter this week. I don’t know if you’re meant to cut sage bushes back but mine was looking very untidy and as don’t use a lot of sage in the summer, I gave it a good hack, discovering this fellow in the process. Even though they’re harmless, praying mantises usually creep me out but this one’s camouflage is amazing.
Can you spot him? He’s hanging upside-down between the two woody stems. He measured about 10cm, so a fairly decent sized mantis.
I keep taking the camera to golf in case the club’s resident koala shows his face but he’s being very shy at the moment. The only things we’re seeing on the course are birds and lizards. Even the red-bellied black snake that lives near the 7th is in hiding. A situation that suits me just fine!
Oops, I nearly forgot. I received a lovely 4 star review for Three Over Par from Night Owl Reviews. You can read the full review by clicking here.
And this excellent article from Publishing Perspectives: Should I tweet? My wordy you should!
GOLF NEWS (because I need someone to share my frustration with)
It’s been a baaaaad few weekends on the golfing front. Things just haven’t been clicking at all. Not helped by some disgustingly muggy weather and courses comprising of mainly hills. Felt like a mountain goat on one of them. Had the temper of one too, especially when a couple of members who jumped in behind my playing group yelled I was on the wrong tee just as I was lining up my tee shot on the 12th. Honestly, what is it about ignorant old farts and golf courses? The buggers breed there, I swear.
But on a good note, darling Stuart Appleby won the Australian Masters on the weekend so that made me very happy. I’m a huge Stuart fan and it’s so good to see him bounce back after a crappy year last year.
Oh, and I have a flash new buggy for when we’re travelling.
A Smoothy micro. This baby goes up and down in 5 seconds. That’s fast, folks. Yes, I can see your jealousy from here....
And just in case you think I’ve forsaken my beloved Sydney Swans, please note I spent quite some time drooling over this shirts-off pic of my boys in pre-season training. SUCH a lovely sight!