July 23, 2010


Sometime in late July 2001 I attended a talk at the Victorian Writers Centre given by Anne Gracie. I think she was pretty much the first real live author I'd met at that point. Fired up by what she had to say (and somewhat struck by the somehow-had-escaped-me-until-then fact that authors are just people and maybe I could really be one), I finished my first novel manuscript in September 2001.

Today, about nine years later from that fateful talk, I did this...

First contract signed and about to be delivered back to Penguin! Woot! It makes it all feel that much more real and another step towards seeing my book as a real live book!

July 11, 2010


The revision is all finito. Let there be celebrations (or at least a day or two of mindless activities before we contemplate book 2!)

My first for-an-editor revision done. Feels like a milestone somehow, even though it could yet come shooting back to me for another round.

In the end it took me two months and 9 days which isn't too bad given I think I've cut at least 100 pages of old material out of it and yet the book is 90 pages longer in total. Plus every scene in the hero's POV went from third to first person (which is omg fiddly and time consuming....I'm hoping I've caught all the stray he/his/himself/they etc floating around).

But the work is worth it. I feel like it's a stronger book now and I feel like I learned some things in the process. Let's hope Jessica agrees!

And now, I shall take myself off to the movies to let the brain chill out...

July 08, 2010

On laughter

Lately I've been thinking a bit about my work and romance and the elements of a book that make it appealing to me. In particular, what makes a believable happy ending.

When I first started writing, I was writing category and my books were mostly romantic comedies. Or at least, I had a fairly snarky/humourous voice. I think I'm pretty much incapable of writing a hero and heroine who have no sense of humour, who won't occasionally crack a joke or react sarcastically something or (hopefully) be quick with the witty retort because, for me, a shared sense of humour is something that's very attractive. And not just a sense of humour, but maybe also that sense of play, the feeling that a hero and heroine can have fun together in or out of bed, that they take delight in each other's company and that's there's that matched...something...zing/wit/intelligence/world view...that click. That, for me, is a key part of chemistry. It doesn't have to always be there at the start, sometimes the fun is that the hero or the heroine will bring out that side of the other, but I do need it to be there eventually.

My urban fantasy and fantasy books are much darker in tone than my categories were and go to some dark places but there's still humour and play in them. Because, I guess, when it boils right down to it, I can't imagine spending my life with someone who didn't make me laugh and I don't believe a happy ever after where I don't at least get a sniff of the possibility of that between the characters. A man who was completely serious would make me want to brain him with a coal scuttle and run off with Captain Jack (who at least would be entertaining before he was sidetracked by the next pretty face or treasure map). My heroines tend to share that world view. So even though I have to take my characters through some darkness, I want them to end up in the sunshine. Which is sometimes a juggling act but one that I love and one that I love in other people's work (there's a reason I'm a Joss fan, after all).

So how about you? Do you love a man who makes you laugh? Would you run away with Captain Jack or Miles Vorkosigan or Rupert Carsington or do you want to be swept away by a dark and brooding Mr Rochester or Heathcliff? Smiles or silent mystery? Or somewhere in between?

July 03, 2010


I feel like I've got hold of the new shape of this book now. The weight of it is sitting right in my head and I can tilt it and turn it and see the whole picture nearly.

Sometimes writing feels like hiking up a heavily wooded trail. You get glimpses of the destination now and then but mostly you can only see what's right in front of you, the twists and turns hiding the next part of the path. And like, hiking, sometimes it's damn hard work and you doubt you'll ever get there and your mental feet hurt and you want to kick the next damn fallen log that gets in your way and everything you're carrying rubs the wrong way and all you want to do is sit down and not move and let someone else do it while you drink something and pass out.

Then you reach the top and the view spreads out before you and it's kind of gorgeous and well worth the blood, sweat and tears and it all falls away. Not sure there's a good analogy for the feeling like the end of book (or even nearing the end and feeling like it's all working out) but that one's kind of close.

And even though I'm not quite there yet, I think that's deserving of a glass of wine or two tonight while I'm out with the girls.

June Winner

So who's the lucky gal who gets to take Mr Impossible with her?

Nicola Marsh!

Nic, email me and we'll figure out the details.

July 02, 2010

July contest

Okay, so I'm a day late with this...I shall blame end of financial year and revision craziness and we'll just let it go.

This month, we're taking a swerve into Sci Fi. I read less sci fi now than I used to and not a lot of hard sci fi at all. I'm more a space opera kind of gal. Adventures and derring do in space. Aliens, space ships and giant turtles! If it comes with a hint of Jane Austen and a large dollop of true love, then all the better (sadly, this doesn't happen often in sci fi at all! Boo!).

However, this month's book has all of the above (well, you'll have to wait until later in the series for giant turtles from memory). This month, I'm giving away The Dragon Variation by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

Lee and Miller write one of my two favourite space opera series, the Liaden series (the other being something that readers of the blog can probably guess and that will possibly feature another month). The books are witty, fun, adventurous and romantic. And the world building is fabulous, the Liadens definitely have a touch of the Regency about them but in an even better way! I've read them many, many times and their heroes are some of my favourite fictional men ever.

Sadly this series had been out of print for a while (though there have been both a further prequel and two sequels out recently) but Baen have seen the light and are re-issuing them. Even better they're doing omnibus editions, so The Dragon Variation is actually the first three books of the series (bonus!). Or rather the first two prequels and then the first book of the series. (I'm not sure which order they were written in but I came to the series a bit late so read them in chronological for the characters order which is what this will be and it all works). So for one tiny comment you could get three books of Lee and Miller goodness - Local Custom, Scout's Progress and Conflict of Honors).

As usual, explanation of why the contest is here.

Rules are simple, comment on any blog post this month to score an entry. Winner has one week after being announced here and on Twitter and Facebook to get back to me to claim the prize, after which I will re-draw.