Saturday, December 3, 2011

Meet guest blogger, Gary Peterson

Who is Gary Peterson?
While he was still in high school in the early sixties his family moved in an old house out in the country. The walls creaked and dark shadows abounded. This was the inspiration for his novel.

He currently lives near the small community of Yakima, Washington with his wife and dog. He has a B. A. Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. He acquired much of his knowledge about court procedures while working as a child protective services worker for many years. His hobbies include hiking, bowling, and reading a good mystery novel.

His books?

Gary has three books, The Old Miller Place, Return to Painters Island, and The Kidnapping of Olivia Hammond.
In 1961 George Peabody struggles for months to find employment. When he is about ready to give up he lands a job with a small newspaper. He likes the area and talks his wife, Elizabeth; into buying an old rundown house. Objects start moving by themselves and an icy presence permeates the entire house. Is he and his family safe? He researches the old house’s history and learns of grizzly murders that had taken place there.

An attorney is bludgeoned to death and a woman turns up dead in the back of his truck. He is accused of both murders and is on trial for his life. Has he been framed for their murders by a crooked cop, Detective Strausser, or is it someone else? Are the murders of the past somehow connected to what is currently going on?

Suddenly he is abducted by the real killer. It becomes a race against time as a retired police detective, Gary Wise, and his ex-partner, Detective Thayer, search for clues to find him.

Click here for Amazon link
Click here to buy hard copy from Createspace

"It is in the 1950's and Jim, who is almost nine years old, helps his mom support the family because his dad is too sick to work. He sometimes is allowed to escape to "Painter's Island", a magical place where he can be a kid again. Follow him as he jumps off sawdust piles, digs up buried treasure, has sword fights with his friends, and tries to fly."

Click here for Amazon link


With Blood trickling down her face and chained to a basement wall, Olivia Hammond tries to figure out why she was kidnapped. It couldn't be for ransom because she has no money or rich family. Revenge is not a motive either because she is at peace with everyone and always tried to be a good neighbor.

Her only hope is that her brother will discover the truth, but with no food or water, will he find her in time?

Click here for Amazon link
Where can you find Gary?

Facebook page

http://garypeterson32.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Welcome guest blogger, Megan Slayer!

Some Enchanted Evening...
Like the musical intro? I do. Love music. Probably why most all of my titles have song titles. First though, I wanted to thank Kiss for allowing me to guest blog. This is a fun place and I’m glad to be here. Grin.

So why on earth did I chose that title for this post? Glad you asked. ‘Tis the season to be merry. Also, there are a zillion little twinkle lights popping up. And not just on my house! But looking at the twinkle lights and thinking about Christmas makes me think of DH. I won’t get super sappy on you, but yeah, I’m a sucker for Christmas twinkle lights.

I should probably try to work this into a romance story somewhere, but part of me wonders if people would buy into it. Anyway...

Why I Love Twinkle Lights (in 200 words or less.)
When I was in college, first year, I met this guy. He laughed, made BAD jokes and was just plain nice to me. I won’t say I was an ugly duckling in school. I just hadn’t come into my own. He saw past my crazy dyed red hair and my tendency to wear flannel. He liked me as a person.
So he asks me to go with him to Walmart to buy Twinkle lights. We do and pick up this set of running lights that does like 7 different settings. Fine. He’s torn. White lights or color. Now I’m an art major. I like color. I convinced him, not sure how, to buy the colored lights.
He bought the colored lights and I helped him decorate his dorm room. The lights served as mood lighting when we had our first date. Yes, we were in college so money was about nonexistent. Had them for the faint glow when we did naughty things. Heck, when we needed light but were too lazy to turn on the actual lights, because they were across the room, we used the twinkle lights.
College is over. We’ve been married almost 12 years and have a totlet. What about the lights? We still have those lights. I’d like to incorporate twinkle lights into more of my stories as mood lighting and a guy’s version of creating ambiance. I should.
Okay, so if you were counting that was a little over 200 words. Never said I liked to stay within limits. Pill, I am. But when I think of Christmas and see all those little lights...I think of some of the steamy times we had in their twinkly glow.
Bet you won’t look at Christmas lights the same way again.
Want to know more about Me?
When she's not writing the stories in her head, Megan Slayer can be found luxuriating in her hot tub with her two vampire Cabana boys, Luke and Jeremy. She has the tendency to run a tad too far with her muse, so she has to hide in the head of her alter ego, but the boys don't seem to mind.
When she’s not obsessing over her whip collection, she can be found picking up her kidlet from school.
She enjoys writing in all genres, but writing about men in love suits her fancy best.
Currently hanging out every Wednesday and Friday at the Menagerie Authors site, hunting Hotties for the Saturday posts, and working on the next great story brewing in her head! The cabana boys are willing to serve, unless she needs them, but she always need them. So be nice to Javier or he will bite--on command.
Here’s some fun links and my latest work, Under and Over It from Changeling Press:
UNDER AND OVER IT
Rock hero Camryn Tate makes the girls scream, but his roommate, Regan, holds the key to his heart.
What happens when an artist finds his muse?
Regan Finley’s photography makes the local music scene shine. He’s four months from his final exihibition and graduation with a Masters in Fine Art Photography. But instead of preparing for the party, he’s fretting about his exhibition theme—bondage and passion. There’s one other person he wants to make his exhibition come to life, it he can convince his housemate to participate.
Camryn Tate plays the music that makes the young girls scream. he likes being a local rock hero. His time on campus is coming to a close as well. In four months time, he’ll have earned his Bachalor’s of Music degree in composition. The moment he finds out what Regan wants to do for the exhibition Cam has to make a decision. He can let Regan have his commanding way and get the pictures he needs for the exhibition or he could walk away from the best roommate and friend he’s ever known…all because of a little ball of nylon rope.




Twitter: @MeganSlayer

Friday, November 11, 2011

Welcome Historical Author, Grace Elliot!

Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives nearLondon and is addicted to cats, acting as housekeeping staff to five mischievous moggies.

Grace believes intelligent people need romantic fiction in their lives as an antidote to the modern world and as an avid reader of historicals she turned to writing as a release from the emotionally draining side of veterinary work. Her second novel ‘Eulogy’s Secret’ is a story of greed, blackmail and a stolen identity.
Thank you for visiting the Romantix blog, Grace. Tell everyone a bit about your newest release, Eulogy's Secret.

Anyone who has visited my blog http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com will know that I’m fond of historical trivia. So when Kiss kindly agreed to host me and mentioned that she enjoyed my posts on topics such as “Fat or Fiction - how heavy was Henry VIII”, I thought it would be fun to include a little such trivia here!
My second novel, “Eulogy’s Secret”, is set in Regency England. When our heroine, Eulogy Foster, falls on hard times she must find a way to earn a living - and becomes an artist’s model. In this excerpt, our hero the art dealer Jack Huntley, gazes at her portrait.
He [Huntley], or rather Chaucer, had come across the picture by chance. A few weeks earlier, to his amazement, rumors circulated in artistic circles that Tristan Farrell was painting again. Out of idle curiosity Huntley had dispatched his man to Red Lyon Square to investigate, only to have Chaucer return bright eyed and burbling on about a stunning portrait of a brown-eyed woman. It amused Huntley to instruct Chaucer to buy the painting, for an anonymous client of course, as an investment in the resurgence of a once great talent. But the moment Huntley saw the piece he knew he could not bear to part with it.

So here he stood, like a priest before an altar. Goosebumps raised on his arms as he gazed at the pale-skinned beauty with softly parted lips and enormous brown eyes, warm and alluring, staring out of the canvas as if taken by surprise. The swirling background of chocolate browns served to heighten the woman’s natural beauty. The piece was unfinished and yet utter perfection. Only an artist of great foresight would stop when he had, capturing the moment when a great artist discovers his muse. Huntley’s instincts had been correct. The model was Eulogy Foster, and the painting as divine as the woman it depicted.

So in line with our theme of historical trivia and with a tenuous link to artists, I thought to recall the story of the famous painter Whistler.

American born artist, James Abbott Whistler (1834 - 1903) famed for paintings such as ‘Arrangement in Grey and Black, the Artist’s Mother’ (and yes, that picture in the first Mr. Bean movie!) was an animal lover. Whistler owned a tortoiseshell cat, but his favourite pet was his French poodle. One day the poodle was taken ill and in a panic Mr. Whistler sought the help, not of a veterinarian, but an eminent ENT surgeon.

Arriving at Whistler’s address, the distinguished doctor was horrified to find the patient was not human, but canine. Begrudgingly he examined the animal and prescribed a course of treatment.

But the next day the doctor sent Whistler an urgent summons. Thinking it was news concerning his favourite dog’s condition the artist dropped everything and hurried over. The doctor greeted Whistler warmly with the words;

“Ah good morning Mr. Whistler, so good of you to call so promptly. I needed to see you urgently about repainting my front door.”
Don’t you just love the understatement?

Grace x

Eulogy’s Secret - a story of greed, prejudice and a stolen identity.

Eulogy's Secret
In the four weeks since her guardian’s death, Eulogy Foster has lost everything. She travels to London seeking the help of Lord Lucien Devlin, the estranged brother who doesn’t know she exists. But Lord Devlin turns her out onto the streets, where Eulogy is robbed and thrown onto the mercy of a passing stranger.

Jack Huntley - bitter, cynical and betrayed in love -believes women are devious, scheming creatures and not to be trusted. So when one night he saves a naive young woman from rape, little does he suspect how much life is about to change. Despite his growing attraction to Miss Foster, Jack has a problem: Eulogy Foster has a secret involving his bitterest enemy, Lord Devlin.

As Eulogy learns the haunting story of her mother’s past, she knows she will only marry for true love. Deeply drawn to Jack Huntley, she needs him to confess his love before she shares the secret of her birth. Caught in a deadlock, with neither able to confess their true feelings, events take a sinister turn as it becomes clear someone wants Eulogy Foster dead.
AUTHOR LINKS.

Grace Elliot (blog) a blend of historical trivia, romance and cats!

Grace Elliot website

Grace Elliot Facebook

Twitter
@Grace_Elliot

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Perfect Words...

The perfect words, what does that mean to you?

This blog has been inspired by a blog I came across recently: insearchofperfect sentence.blogspot.com by Jan Tarasovic. I tried to insert the link but failed. So, do yourself a favour sometime soon, go over and take a look at her blog.

I've had a lifelong fascination with words. It always amazes me that there is no limit to the new and exciting our ideas ways we can use the same words which everyone understands (and can be translated for most of the rest of the world). Doesn’t it blow your mind that using the same words that all the great masters of writing have used, we can craft stories that can touch every human emotion.

A few well chosen words can bring a strong man to his knees, bring tears to the eyes of a hardened soul, or a smile to the face of the sad, make the heart of a loved one race, calm the panic-stricken or soothe a broken heart. Words are such a powerful sword in the hands of a mastercraftsman/woman. Comedians, playwrights, novelists, poets, do you dare to put yourself in their class?

On offer for one week I have two prizes.

Firstly, for your best-loved but not original sentence, I have a copy of “The Quotable Lover” edited by Nancy Butler.

The second, for a perfect original sentence of your own writing, is a critique, edit and/or proofread by my humble self for ten pages of your own work.

Looking forward to your comments.

Zoe Y

Some random thoughts about getting the most from RWA membership and the 2011 RWA Conference

This year will be my sixth conference and it's just as exciting as ever. This will be a very special one, the 20th anniversary and already excitement is building. I'm taking a newbie with me this year and I guess her excitement is infectious.

Reading this again I can almost hear the violin strings in the background… but I do remember very well my first conference. It was on the Gold Coast and I went alone, not knowing anyone. I'd been lurking on the e-loop for some time and knew a few names. I'd googled those who were listed as presenters and got to look at their faces on the websites but that was about it. I was blown away by the fact that I got to meet and chat with multi-published and award winning writers Jane Porter and Debbie Macomber who were the overseas guests that year and of course all the Australians who were so kind and friendly.

My goodie bag that year was very much appreciated and loved - probably more than in years since because it was so unexpected and new. I almost wore my coffee mug out until the next year when I migrated to that cup and so on over the years. My collection of writers mugs with their sayings printed on them is very much prized.

By the end of the conference a cold which had started on the day before it began, had really hit home. I had almost no voice left and was taking antibiotics from a local doctor around the corner but, probably wrongly, I was determined to stay until the end.

Yes, there is something very special about getting together with romance writers. I've belonged to other writers groups but I learned more about writing at my first RWA conference than had in years. The RWA members have been particularly helpful and encouraging, and in my experience the RWA pubbed authors are so much more approachable and willing to talk and share their knowledge and experiences. Not that other literary writers are not approachable and willing to share but RWA members have at least to me, seemed even more so. I love every opportunity to get together with as many as I can.

An openness of attitude and willingness to learn/be taught also goes a long way. Again, in my experience, keeping an open mind and listening to and learning from the experiences of others is invaluable. There will always be personality clashes but I believe we can learn something from everyone - even if it's how NOT to do something and those aren't those lessons often even more valuable than the former?

What is also very valuable than any other though are a thick skin and a flexible attitude (like a tree which bends with the wind rather than being broken by it). I've known many writers who have become totally distraught over bad critiques or reviews and given up altogether. It breaks my heart to see this happen to brilliant writers – or any writers for that matter. Unfortunately, these are often the people who need the most help but have an 'all or nothing' attitude. While we need to learn how to critique in a gentle but firm manner, we need also to learn how to take bad news AND bad critiques without allowing them to damage us as writers, just as in our 'other' lives I guess.

I believe RWA Australia is a unique organisation. I like to think it's because our people are special. Organisations are only ever as good as their members. They can sometimes be dominated by particularly strong personalities and can be split by followers of personalities, and all that jazz. Our Australian organisation has been commented on by visitors who appreciate the wonderful atmosphere attributable in a large part to the volunteers who work so hard and are so welcoming and giving.

For myself, I work hard not to upset that balance and to give back where I possibly can by volunteering to judge competitions when I'm not entering them and offering my help wherever else it can be used. RWA usually has a booth at the Brisbane Writers Festival in September. Sitting in the booth is a great thing to do, talking to writers who pass by about RWA and writing, or even better, when the traffic is slow, sitting in the booth and talking to other members. Had a lovely afternoon, I think it was last year talking to one longtime member about her career writing Medicals for Mills and Boon. I learn so much I like to show my appreciation. Feel free to remind me of this should I forget this and get hung up on something someone said or didn't say.

As a volunteer I've been approached to carry out some lovely little jobs such as introducing speakers and looking after them when they are presenting at conference. Although it might be considered work by some, I've found it to be a privilege and an opportunity to have a lot of fun. For example, at the Brisbane conference I noticed that the audience was getting a little tired. If you maybe don't get to bed early enough or eat a little too much of the lovely food at lunchtime sometimes you can lose concentration and be in danger of falling asleep, missing valuable information. I'd won a box of chocolates and I needed them like I needed another hole in the head so when I asked the questions I had prepared about the speaker and her career, I started pegging those chocolates at those who could answer the questions correctly. The audience livened up quick smart and I've heard positive comments about flying chocolates more than a few times since.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Romantix Meeting May 2nd

I surprised everyone this time by sending out an agenda for the meeting. Ok so I sent it out the afternoon of the meeting and it was very wishy washy, basically a general outline of stuff we could talk about if we felt like it. No hand outs. No exercises. But it was an agenda, a plan of sorts. This is progress for me.

Me in LA
I spoke briefly about my time in LA attending the Romantic Times Convention. I didn’t do a lot of actual note taking at the event, or even a lot of attending the workshops I thought I would. I had a plan but when I got there I just went with the flow. Well, that is how I do things. I had a great time, anyone who’s interested in my highlights of the week can visit my blogpost here. I bought some freebie books, Sarah was particularly excited by the Sabrina Jefferies I snagged for the first historical fan to grab it.

We then went on to discuss, at my behest, the process we each use to start new stories. More specifically, how do we decide which of the many story ideas that pass through our minds to focus on? Sarah brought out a slightly OCD indicative collection of colour coded folders, each containing an embryo of an idea. She focusses on whichever characters speak to her the loudest. We’re going to see about getting her some medication.

Not really.

As writers we all know what she’s talking about. We do hear the voices, I am just as nutty in that regard. While Sarah’s voices tend to whisper about murder and mahem (actually perhaps the medication is not a bad idea after all), mine are trying to tell me why they are afraid to trust, or why they can’t fall in love with that particular person, even though they’re perfect together. Letitia’s I suspect are very bloodthirsty and full of angst just waiting to be worked through, Melita’s have momentarily gone steampunk mad, Zoe’s want her to paint beautiful pictures of their historical roots and Kiss’s are currently refusing to speak to her. Or if they are they don’t seem to be asking her to write their stories, but they will. I’m sure you’ll be ready for them when they start being nice to you again, KC. We’re all wishing you the best.

Sarah will be leaving us soon for the lure of fame and fortune in London. We’re going to take her out in glitzy Brisvegas before she flies out, because she knows deep down nothing can compare with that kind of glamour. She’ll miss us, really.

Next meeting is at Letitias on June 1st.

Cheers,
Sami

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Meeting Minutes Tuesday March 1

This month, the meeting was at my house. After a hot autumn day, I had the aircon and ice water on the ready. We had apologies from Letitia who'd come down with that horrid summer flu going around. Apparently, just about everyone at the meeting had experienced the illness directly, or indirectly...except me. Lots of incense and disinfectant spray after you all left girls. LOL Just kidding.

A huge welcome to our new member, Ainzley (not Lindzey. Sorry Ainzley, I'm really bad with names but even worse with faces). Ainzley writes fan fiction for "ai no kusabi". Please forgive me, Ainzley, if I haven't explained it correctly. Maybe Ainzley could do a blog for us explaining just what she writes! YAY!!!

There was no agenda for this meeting, just a mad round of emails a few days before asking what we should talk about. We decided to base the meeting on characters, their names and how they formed in our minds. Well, here's to say that without an agenda, six writers quickly swerve way off track.

Before Melita and Sarah arrived, Zoe, Sami, Ainzley and I talked briefly of conflict, and how we all pretty much avoid conflict in real life so find it a little difficult to write conflict scenes in our books. I actually sounded as though I knew what I was talking about when I said I based my conflict on the culture differences of the hero and heroine. Zoe so kindly pointed out that now I only have to find my goal and motivation. LOL I'll get you!

With everyone present, the conversation turned to movies. Actually, there were several conversations going on at once. Lots of noise and laughing. To celebrate the Oscars, we talked about actors. Sarah gave an excellent rendition of a scene from Vampires Suck. We talked horror, thriller, comedy, romance...and body farms. Sarah entertained us all with a story about her visit t a body farm. Hmmm That girl gets around.

Sami couldn't quite decide what movies she liked, so I asked her if she liked lovey dovey movies like The ......... (name of movie removed to protect the movie lol). Well! Sami looked at me as though I'd asked her to suck alien acid blood through a glass straw. This issue, I think, is still unresolved.

We spoke the word "character" a few times but nothing ever came of it.

If nothing else, we found out what kind of movies we all liked.

Then, Sarah dropped a bombshell. She has been accepted into a prestigious acting school in England. HUGE CONGRATS, SARAH!! Hoorah hoorah! So, she will be leaving us all in June.

Sami is travelling to the US to join in the fun of the RT Conference next month. Half your luck!

Next meeting is at Melita's house.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Always Look on the B Side of Life

As everyone who writes or loves reading knows by now, Borders and A&R are on the way out. One of the biggest book retailing chains around has gone south and I can’t help but wonder what that will mean for book selling in the future.

Years ago, when I was very young and disposable income burned a hole in my pocket, I used to spend many a Saturday morning trawling the records stores, carefully planning my music purchases. Decisions were based on the album’s artwork, the longevity of the band (I’d been burned by one hit wonders enough to place importance on that), the intensity of my love for the hit or hits that drew me toward the record in the first place and, of course, how much money I had to spend at the time. It was a painstaking process that I loved, that I never considered a waste of time no matter how often I left the store empty handed.

Then vs Now: The other day I bought an i tunes voucher and downloaded $30 worth of assorted songs from the comfort of my living room in the space of an hour—well, an hour and a half because I tunes' check out system blows harder than a north Qld hurricane. I rarely buy whole CDs anymore. This seems like a great thing--all the songs I want without any of the trash that sometimes clogs up a band's LP, the songs that just aren't as good as the hits. But I can't help but miss the thrill of discovering that song you'd never hear on the radio, the one that becomes a favourite. The experience that was lying on the floor of my bedroom, listening to an artist’s record from first song to last (always in order, this was pre shuffle function). That experience is gone. The purchase process has changed and it’s had a direct influence not only on how we buy music, but on what we buy and how we listen to it.

I have to wonder if there will be such a thing as a ‘B’ side in the future. That classic break up song ‘I Will Survive’ was originally a B side, as was the Rolling Stones’ ‘Ruby Tuesday’, The Beach Boys’ ‘Wouldn’t it be Nice’, and one of my all time fave cheesy but still great songs, ‘Maggie May’ by Rod Stewart. These were all tunes not considered hits, not good enough to be on the label. Would they even be recorded today? Doubtful. Imagine a world without Rod's husky voice growling Wake up Maggie I think I've got something to say to you? No thanks!

What does all this have to do with books? Well, isn't it also probable that we'll one day be purchasing all our books chapter by chapter, much like we now pick and choose the songs we want to purchase from an album? What will that mean for authors? Contracts based only on how many times the first three chapters are downloaded, sort of like sending queries to the masses?

Not sure if this would be a good or bad thing. After all, if the first three chapters don't grab anyone's attention, perhaps you haven't done your job as an author and don't deserve to sell the rest of your book. But then again, I sometimes enjoy books that start slow and build toward something big--in fact I prefer them. Will the readers of the future have the patience to stick with a book that doesn't have a car explosion or sex scene in the first fifty pages? Are human beings growing so horribly impatient? What will this do to us as a people--will we develop species-wide ADHD? Are the rumours true that Amazon are making plans to insert advertising in their kindle books?

Advertising, in a book. Annoying pop ups that interrupt my sacred, quiet reading experience in order to try and sell me viagra. I think someone just walked over my grave.

Now I'm in the mood to drag out my collection of obscure B sides and have a listen.

Sami

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tuesday Night's Meeting

It’s hard to believe we are into the second month of this 2010. It seems so long since our last meeting but there we were out on my deck with mood lighting even (permanent rope and fairy lights in blue and white). I love my new deck with the new lights on. But I digress – there was a lot of that this meeting… so much had happened since we last met. I sometimes think that as writers we make a good social group. I’m sure it’s something to do with the fact that our meetings are four weeks apart and only two hours long and it takes us that long to catch up socially if we haven’t spoken much since last meeting. BTW: Celebrations – this is the first meeting since our latest members joined where we all made it to the meeting. Good to see everyone in the same place at the same time. We miss you when you can’t come for whatever reason.

To get back to the meeting… life seems to have gotten in the way to a fairly large degree for most of us. I guess that’s typical for the time of year but, despite all the distractions, I was pleased to hear that we almost all got a good chunk of writing done. Kiss Carson’s writing again (sigh of relief) I thought I was going to have to administer writerly CPR there. As one of only two published writers in our group we can’t afford to lose her to the black hole.

Congratulations to Sarah who, by now should be almost finished the screenplay which has to be handed in Monday… Sly horse – here were we thinking she was writing her Regency series and she’s neck deep in World War II writing a fascinating English/German story about music composers, performers, spies and Nazi’s. Good luck Sarah. Hope it knocks their socks off.

Promises, promises of critiques for my Little Gem 2011 Garnet entry. Yes, life got in the way again, I know (thanks to Kiss Carson for her helpful comments) and I had to go without any further comments. Never mind. I know they all wish me well anyway.

Much excitement in the camp when a rumour about who might present at the RWA conference this year was spread as news… Unfortunately it doesn’t seem that many of us will be able to get there this year. Hopefully things will improve though – or we’ll win Lotto and go in style! If not, then we might just have to do the Clayton’s Conference at home. If we made a weekend of it we could have fun anyway. Now that’s a thought…

Getting back to the meeting, it seems that it was too long ago for some to remember my blog on Character Sketches. What is a Character Sketch they asked? Well, I probably didn’t describe it well because there was still confusion when we finished. I’ll try again… Like a sketch in art, it is not a portrait in such detail as say an oil painting, but a line drawing in which the subject is recognisable. It describes the things which make that person unique. It can include some physical description, stories, brief accounts of events, that person’s reactions to events, quotations, any of those things which reveal the character of the person. I was struck by some (I think) fantastic examples in “Australian Life, Black and White” Rosa Praed (free pdf download at bookdepository.co.uk) see those scattered through pages approx page 50 to 60. I was reading it as research for my Irish Australian historical.

Writing character sketches is a real art and one which I would love to develop better. Aside from one who couldn’t drag her mind away from a mental image of “battered eyelids” which came up in conversation earlier (please don’t ask) we came up with four credible character sketches despite my lack of a good description of what we were doing. We even guessed who three of them were describing. Well done Melita and Sarah who won copies of “Shakespeare and the Art of Seduction”.

We spent a little time organising our social life and the social event of our annual calendar – postponed more than once from last year and now reorganised for later this month which might be even more suitable for a romance writers group, close to Valentine’s Day.

The talk flowed on and the books emerged long after Kiss Carson and Sami Lee had to leave, but unfortunately time doesn’t permit me to report it all so just I’ll say that a good time was had by all. Looking forward to the next meeting in four weeks time at Kiss Carson’s pad.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

How do you procrastinate?

If I say so myself, I am the Queen of Procrastination. So many things suddenly need doing: de-flea the cat, scratch the bird, fill the ice cube container, check the mail even though it came two hours ago (you never know, the mailman might have forgotten something), read the back cover blurbs of every book I own, including the books I wrote...Could my procrastinating get any worse?

Happily...Yes! Well, this week, anyway. On Friday night, my insistence that my family were missing out on home baked goodies fueled my procrastination. On Friday night, I even surprised myself. I made Cinnamon Scrolls. OMG!!!

For all your yummy pleasure, I have included the recipe I used, which is a combination of two recipes I found online. Bless the internet.

This recipe needs the use of a bread machine and makes about 12 scrolls.

CINNAMON SCROLLS

1 cup milk
1 egg
4 tablespoons margarine
3 cups plain flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry yeast

Filling

3/4 cup brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
70g butter softened

Icing

1 cup icing sugar
1-3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Add ingredients to bread machine (usually yeast on bottom, then dry ingredients, then wet ingredients). Program maker for the dough cycle (1 1/2 hours or so).
When cycle is done, place dough on floured surface.
Knead dough about 1 minute, then let rest 15 minutes.
Mix brown sugar, cinnamon sugar and butter together.
Roll dough into a rectangle, about 35cm x 15cm.
Spread brown sugar, cinnamon sugar and butter mixture onto the dough
Roll dough up tightly on long side.
Press edges to seal and form into an evenly shaped roll. Carefully cut roll into 2cm pieces.
Place rolls cut side down into a greased baking pan.
Cover and let rise in warm, draft free place until double in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated 180 degrees C oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool in pan on rack for 10 to 15 minutes.

Combine icing sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla.
Add more milk or icing sugar until desired consistency is reached.
Drizzle mixture over hot scrolls

Don't wait! Eat them hot! OMG!!! Yum! I'll be making these for the Romantix get together on Saturday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Craft: Spelling

Was writing a letter to someone the other day (yes an olde style letter--it still happens occasionally), and I had to stop and ask my hubby how to spell surprise. I'd spelled it suprise and it looked kind of funny. Well it should have because there is definitely two 'r's in surprise. I had to look it up.

I had to wonder if this was a product of my dependence on my word program's spell checker, or if this was simply a word I got stuck on often. When I think about it, the latter is true. Professional writer or not, there are simply words that I always spell wrong, or have to think about how to spell no matter how many times I write or type them. Moreover there are some spellings which confound me. For instance, why is swimming spelled with a double 'm' but there's only one 'm' in coming? My hubby often misspells the word forward as foreward. Accidentally is another one I stuff up often, by spelling it accidently.

I found a list of commonly misspelled words here. Calendar is on the list, one I often find spelling calander before I realise how wrong that looks and change it. License is another. As the website quotes: "Where does English get the license to use both its letters for the sound [s] in one word?"

It's a funny language we work with, English. Don't even get me started on how mind-scrambling it can be to have books published with an American publisher and have to change all those 's's to 'z's and drop all my lovely 'u's. I was taught to spell colour not color, but that's a whole other bone of contention.

So what about you? Any words you always spell incorectly incorrectly?

Sami

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Minutes of Romantix Meeting 4th January 2011

Lucky my new year’s resolution wasn’t to be more diligent with blogging our minutes... it’s a little late. Sorry ladies, but at least I’m improving; last time I was about six weeks late, this time I’m only a week and a bit.

Apologise from Sarah for not being able to attend.

The meeting was held at my place, hence my responsibility to report our discussions - I’m much better at just providing the chocolate cake and coffee. (Even if Kiss and Sami insist on making it themselves because I don’t do it right – something about milk before boiling water? I don’t know, I was too busy setting the timer for my cup of tea so it didn’t fuse too long to take much notice of their instructions. Lucky Zoe and Melita just had water.) Anyway, with Christmas and New Year just behind us, we didn’t really have a chance to prepare an agenda beforehand, so we winged it a bit.

After Kiss Carson declined the suggestion of a writing exercise to warm us up (not enough good coffee to fuel it?) I tabled an article I’d scanned recently, (limited time and a long article means I didn’t read it word for word). I stumbled across the link on Patricia Brigg’s website recently when checking out the date for her next book ( FYI March 2011.) In her article Changing Times, the author, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, gives her thoughts about the current influences and possible future directions of the publishing industry.

It’s very interesting and worth a read, so here’s the link. http://kriswrites.com/category/business/page/3/

We then had a discussion ourselves about the future of publishing which went for a good half hour. Though none of us are an expert on what eBooks mean for the publishing industry, we all agree that despite apparent resistance from some publishers, eBooks will continue to have a greater and greater influence on it in the future. As I type this up it’s a good two weeks after scanning her article and I’m not inclined to go back and find the exact amounts to quote you, but I think Ms Rusch mentioned something about current total sales being made up of 9% eBooks and this representing about one billion dollars in sales in the US marketplace... so if my memory is correct, then that’s a quite an influence to be acknowledged.

Which brought me to my big whinge at the meeting; I don’t really whinge much, but I was on a roll over this issue because it really gets under my skin. Hubby knows me well; for Christmas he got me a $100 gift voucher to use at Angus and Robertson bookstore. So Christmas day I got on the internet to go shopping, and then I just got mad. I asked at the meeting, and nobody really could answer, though we did have lots of suggestions; Why does an eBook from Angus and Robertson (or Borders books, because I checked that out too) cost AUD$21.95 (epub format)BUT they sell the SAME mass-market paperback for only AUD$14.95?!! I can buy the same eBook from a reputable site like Amazon.com for US$8.78 (Kindle format) or from BooksonBoard.com for AUD$8.61. (epub format)

We have no real answer to that one, except advise you to shop around if you buy eBooks. It did raise the question... if the market majority switches to buying eBooks from home, what does that mean for all those big bookstores? Is this their way of trying to hold back the tide?

NOTE TO MAJOR BOOK STORES: Did you know that Ms Rusch also mentioned in her article that people who buy eBooks, also buy more paper books? So please don’t treat me like an uneducated consumer and stop trying to rip me off!

**Steps off her pedestal to continue with the minutes**

Next I tabled another two links from Patricia Brigg’s website. Did I mention I love her work? Anyway, we held a discussion on an issue that affects us all... the dreaded writer’s block. **insert scary music here**

Here’s the links to the pages I printed for the fellow Romantix members to read...

http://www.hurog.com/books/writing/writersblock.shtml (Patricia Brigg’s thoughts)
http://attackingthepage.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/dr-strangemuse-or-how-i-learned-to-quit-worrying-and-love-writer%E2%80%99s-block/ (Angela Knight’s thoughts)

As I’d printed them out for the meeting, we all sat and sipped the lovely coffee provided by the host and read, and then held discussions.

We all related to Patricia Brigg’s approach of taking a step back to find what’s not working and then move forward, but we all seemed to hold a greater appreciation for Angela Knight’s thoughts. Seems the muse doesn’t talk loud enough to a few of us... though maybe we just aren’t listening as well as we should.

So, what do we, as writers, do about writer’s block when it hits us? (I hope I’m reading my chook scrawl written notes correctly... if I got it wrong someone please amend.)

Kiss Carson – uses a technique similar to Angela Knight, she leaves it, goes away and lets the muse do her thing.
Sami Lee – keeps going until she’s mental and then leaves it for the muse to take over.
Melita – watches TV or listens to music that inspires the mood of what she’s trying to write about.
Zoe – uses a combination of the following;

  • hand write the next scene (Kiss and Sami do this too) Is that a form of automatic writing from your muse?
  • write a scene – “a day in the life of” a character – for fun. Patricia Brigg recommended this too, it’s about finding the fun of writing - because apparently that's why we do it.
  • dot point bridge over the blocked part
  • write “the story” – (summary overview of what’s going on which usually forms part of Zoe’s synopsis later on)
  • leave it and do something else – (knowing the muse will do her thing when the time is right)
  • Find some music to write by.

Letitia (me) – I go mental, stop writing, feel bad about not writing and tell myself I’m slack and useless, start something else, then ages later, I reread it because I’ve left it too long to remember why I got stuck and discover that my muse has a solution.... usually. I wouldn’t recommend this process as it’s not very productive; it takes years to get half a manuscript done.

2011 GOALS for the Romantix Members

  1. Kiss Carson – two novellas and a full
  2. Sami Lee – Finish current work by February, then two short-stories (3 submissions)
  3. Letitia – Enter RWA STALI with full manuscript completed
  4. Melita – Finish current manuscript and polish by end of year. NANO in November and Script in October
  5. Zoe – Completely polish Torn. Finish first draft of Shattered. Have an idea for third manuscript. Polish off Spice Briefs and sumbit.
  6. Sarah - To Advise

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New year. New goals. Old writer's block

Well, good-bye to 2010 (thank goodness), and a great big greetings and salutations to 2011! This year, I plan to write two novellas and a full length book. Plan. Think. Frown. Give up.

It seems the writer's block that stalked me through the last few months of 2010 has followed me into 2011. What to do?
At the last Romantix meeting, we discussed a few ways to defeat writer's block. Me? I said that "technically" I couldn't be called a writer anymore. However, I have decided to sit and wait for my muse to reappear from her little cave in my soul, to wait until the characters in my two unfinished manuscripts decide to behave themselves, to wait until my brain can function again.

How long must I wait? How long is a piece of string?

Kiss