Monday, November 2, 2009

How to NTAI in Ten Days

For those brave enough to have committed to NaNo - you're already set in to NTAI, but for the rest of us who have a sub out there/entered the Presents comp here are some suggestions:

Day One - Get a pedi/mani or even better - both. Come on you KNOW you want to!
Day Two - Get a massage (could have done it on day one, but why rush things?)
Day Three - Have a loooooooong lunch with a friend or two. And have a glass of wine or two, or three...
Day Four - Give the VISA/MasterCard a work out and DON'T feel bad about it, after all, its all in the name of earning frequent flyer points right?
Day Five - ???

OK - I could only come up with four suggestions. So tell me, how are you NTAI?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Have Writer's Block...

Ok - So it's probably the most over used phrase known to a writer, but hey, its the truth and if it weren't then I'd probably would've thought of something clever and witty to say... but i didn't, because I can't...

The situation is as follows: Logged on this morning to find an email from HM&B requesting my full manuscript for the partial I sent which included some, but not a hell of a lot of revisions.
Yeah - happy dance and all that. I AM stoked, but as I read the revisions carefully, I panic. I have to REWRITE stuff, think of new scenes AND still polish nine chapters, two of which are incomplete...

I sit down and open a file that has not seen the light of day for a good six weeks and then... nothing, nada, zip.

Maybe a spot of surfing, checking my email, visiting face book might get me in the mood? Uh no, still not a single word... After a while it dawned on me...I officially have writer's block.
Sigh. Perhaps tomorrow might be easier?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Inspiration in the strangest form

So I just got back from a trip to Hong Kong and LOVED it. But the whole time I was there I trying to find a way of weaving my experience into my existing ms. Because we were there for dh's work, I had some time to write, and one gloriously smoggy afternoon as I sat perched at my laptop with an expansive view of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour in my sights it hit me...
My existing MS is set in the Hunter Valley, deep NSW wine country. How on earth am I going to marry country Australia and the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong? The answer was born from an experience from the night before. After a night on the town, we headed to our hotel and seeing as though it was well before the witching hour, we made a beeline to the 'Sky Bar' and as the name suggests, it is situated way up there with a fantabulous view of Hong Kong at night. One of the may great things about the Sky Lounge Bar is their Wine Room. You are given something resembling a credit card and you can access their wine dispensing system (see pic). Basically, you can have a taste, half or full glass of a various selections of wines from around the globe, and for a wine lover like me, this is heaven! So I inserted my card, surveyed the selection and paused... Hmm... not many Aussie wines on the list, in fact not a SINGLE one! And come to think of it, Aussie wines were absent on many of the menus in other restaurants and bars in HK, their alternatives, bar the NZ wines, were average to say the least. And THAT lead to a light bulb moment...
WHAT if my hero, the new up and coming CEO of Australia's oldest wine empire set his sights on breaking the HK market? WHAT if he whisked the heroine to HK for a romantic week? What would they do? Hmm...

So tell me, what's the strangest way you've gotten a light bulb moment or some form of inspiration???

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back on the bench and on the fence

Last Friday I sent off baby number two into the abyss, which can only mean one thing....Back on the NTAI bench (many thanks to Jackie for coining this reference).

So, I guess the best way to adhere to NTAI would be to start my brand spanking shiny new project. But I have uno problemo....

I have two ideas floating, two heroines cast, (having some issues with my hero's, but that's another post altogether) and on the fence regarding which idea to go with. Do I tell Claire's story - A girl that falls in love with a rogue of a hero after he takes her to a football match? Or do I tell Abby's, the prodigal daughter - Ambitious, strong willed and clashes with our hero from the very first line on the page?

Funny enough my two heroines come from my latest fave show on TV - Packed To The Rafters (did I mention its my fave show??) Here are my two beautiful heroine's: Claire (Jessica McNamee) and Abby (Jessica Marais)
PS - Wonky images again because I can't work out how to resize them! Sorry...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Need A Hero...

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?

No - I cannot take credit for these wise words, they are courtesy of 80's power ballad queen Bonnie Tyler from her song I need a hero. In my current ms, the h&h are the best man and maid of honour at a wedding where the bride, amongst many things, is an 80's music tragic. The bridal waltz is danced to (The Glory of Love from the movie Karate Kid Part II).
Usually when I start an ms, I cast my hero & heroine using movie stars, models, etc... but since this ms came to me thick and fast to begin with, I had no time to think about who would play my h&h. That was until I wrote the bridal waltz scene and I had a minor epiphany (phrase borrowed from Rach's blog, thanks Rach). My hero Adam appeared as none other than Dr McSteamy himself, Eric Danes and my beautiful heroine Blair was the beautiful Katherine Heigl.
OK - I admit, I may also have been watching Grey's Anatomy at the time too, and had no intention of casting them both (felt like I was cheating because I plucked them from the same pond, so to speak) but then saw a trailer for Katherine's new chick flick The Ugly Truth and there was something about her that screamed Blair and I thought - this is my heroine. Now all I have to do is picture them with Aussie accents and all will be sweet... Oh that and actually finishing my ms...
PS - Sorry for the wonky pics. I'm technologically challenged.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Let's Talk About Sex

Despite the image that I have posted, no, this is not a blog about the 1991 hit by Salt n Pepa. This is a blog about me trying, rather unsuccessfully, to write the dreaded love scene. It's just that every time I think about writing the DLS, this song pops into my head.
I might as well be a virgin, because for the life of me, I CAN'T write about sex without sounding overly cliche (think along the lines of 'his throbbing member') or like I am writing the instructions for putting together some IKEA furniture (slot part A into part B then pound).

See what I mean? Hopeless, and full of bad puns...

I even skipped the DLS, wrote a whole chapter of what happens after the fact and now I need to go back and fill the gaping whole that is the DLS.
Maybe if I had another song floating in my mind, I might be more successful? Oh I don't know... Any advice? How do you girls get in the mood (sorry, bad pun again) to write about sex?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


After showing my dh's not-so-hero-like behaviour in my last post, he then goes and redeems himself, and in a big way...
I have been on maternity leave for about 18months and when it became apparent that I was not going back to work, I started complaining that my 'good clothes' would be stuck in a time warp because there would not been such a pressing need to update them for 'work', my stock standard excuse for buying new clothes in the past. In fact, soon my entire wardrobe will comprise of track suit pants and faded jeans.
So imagine my surprise when my dh hands me a nice little white box and within it, information pertaining to my sessions with a personal stylist and personal shopper. Session one is a wardrobe analysis (an audit of what to keep, alter, give away and what's missing) and session two is the shopping trip (identifying what suits me and equipping me with info on how to shop for myself in the future). This gift was surprising on a number of levels:

  1. The last time my dh put this much thought into a gift for me was close to a decade ago.

  2. This gift proves that at some point, my dh actually LISTENED as I spoke.

  3. Its a gift that is for me ONLY. About four years ago he booked a holiday for my birthday, which was great, but he benefited from it just as much as I did. Generally, my birthday present is being taken out to dinner, again, this benefits him too.

  4. The gift also sparked an idea for my next ms (this one is totally unrelated to the others, but surprised me how much writing has consumed my life).

Sigh, I guess there are SOME redeemable qualities in my very own hero. Now I just have to suck up the courage to accept the findings from the wardrobe audit, cause it ain't going to be pretty!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

When Fact is Stranger Than Ficton

Last Friday was my birthday and since we had a child free day dh & myself decided to go to lunch at a nearby beach side cafe. Friday was also the day that dh received delivery of his somewhat expensive 'hoon' car. Now, for all intensive purposes, it is a very nice car. It's fast, has a luxurious interior and well, looks Ok. Its just the colour I cannot get by (yes, the pic is the exact car, and that key lime green is another story all together).

Since his toy was brand spanking new, I let dh drive his car and listened politely at him gibbering all the way about his brand new pride and joy. I even refrained from making a smart comment when he insisted we park it right in front of the cafe so he could 'keep an eye on it.'

As we sat on the balcony enjoying our lunch, a three cheese souffle for me and lamb shanks for dh, I noticed him looking wistfully over my left shoulder. Since it was a cold, but sunny winter's day and we were across the road from the beach, I assumed he was enjoying the view of the rugged coastline, a view that was quintessential Sydney. How mistaken I was. When I asked him what he was looking at this was his response:
I am looking at my car thinking how about taking a photo of you draped over it in a bikini...'

Umm, WTF? I was stunned, and very confused. Should I be insulted or flattered? At my silence he elaborated.

But it has to be a black bikini, black would look the best against the green. It would look great in the garage. What do you think?

What do I think? I think my semi-intelligent husband has totally lost his mind. And even if I had a personal trainer and chef for six months, plus hair, make up and a spray tan on the day, I would NOT do it.

Note to self: Ensure that current and future heros don't say such lecherous lines to heroine.
Sigh. While I can control what comes out of my hero's mouth on paper, in reality it's a whole different ball game.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Trip Down Memory Lane

You know when you are read a M&B author's 'about me' blurb at the beginning of their book and they say how they used to read their grandmother's or mother's M&B when they were 12? Well I can put my hand up and say I too fall into that category, except they were my aunt's books.

The other day whilst reading such a blurb, it got me thinking about the different author's and books that impacted me whilst growing up, and how each book/category/author could be associated with some memory. For instance:

  • Enid Blyton & Roald Dahl books are my earliest memory of reading 'novels'. I would go shopping with my mother for the sole purpose of scoring a book. She would often leave me on the book section whilst she shopped and collected me on her way out.

  • Ruth Park's book Playing Beatie Bow was the book that inspired me to write. I loved it so much and convinced myself that I would write the sequel. For those that have read the book or seen the movie, you know that it's pretty much impossible to have a sequel, but hey I was 10 or 11 and my dreams were big back then.

  • My pre-teen stage: The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin and Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume are two standouts.

  • Then came the teen romances: The Sweet Dreams series and Sweet Valley High. These books remind me of heart fluttering first kisses and happily ever after. I so wanted to be blonde and blue eyed but the closest I came was the disastrous episode with a spray on hair lightener that left my very dark brown hair a beautiful shade of orange.

  • Then came the summer I spent at my grandparents and I discovered Mills & Boon. My uncle and my aunt where still living at home at the time and the books shelf displayed an interesting combination of books. Books about Stalin and Karl Marx on one end (for arguments sake we will say the left) and an abundance of M&B on the other. Do I have to spell out which I read? This is the only 'fad' of books that I never truly grew out of.

  • In my senior years in high school we were made to read a lot of texts no one particularly enjoyed. There were two exceptions though: 1. Pride & Prejudice (need I say more?) and 2. An Open Swimmer by Tim Winton. A vivid memory from high school was when a teacher walked into the room at the start of a lesson and found one of my friends and myself devouring Pride & Prejudice whilst the reset of the class ran amok. This is the dialogue, word for word of what happened next:

Teacher to unruly classmates: 'Why can't you girls just sit and read like Janette and Susan?'

Maria: 'But Miss V, we are not nerds like they are.

  • In my 20's there where two author's that stood out for me: Nora Roberts (particularly Birthright) and Marian Keyes (especially Last Chance Saloon).

Which brings us to my 30's and present day. The funny thing is - whilst the years have passed and morphed into themselves, not much has really changed. Still knee deep in M&B and hooked on HEA; still an aspiring author; still reading an eclectic combination of books and still a romance nerd...