Sunday, April 30, 2006

Romance Divas Q&A -- targetting catagory romance

All this coming week, I will be answering questions for the Romance Divas website about targetting the Historical series. Jenna Bayley-Burke whose first Mod X, Just One Spark, is out in May and who is therefore a shelf mate (waves to Jenna) has organised it and has managed to get a wonderful group of authors together to answer questions from practically every line H/Sil has.
So if you are interested at all, please join Jenna, the rest of authors and me.

May 1st-4th come to the Romance Divas Classroom and ask the questions you need to know to target category romance.
* How did authors decide which line fit their voice/story?
* How do authors study their line(s)?
* What hints do they have for new writers?
* Where do they see the line going?
Scheduled to attend:
Modern Extra - Jenna Bayley-Burke
Medical - Fiona Lowe
Presents - Melanie Milburne
Blaze - Mia Zachary, Shannon Hollis & Karen Kendall & Jill Monroe
Intrigue - BJ Daniels & Dana Marton
Desire - Kristi Gold & Heidi Betts
SuperRomance - Terry McLaughlin & Carrie Weaver
Romance - Nicola Marsh
NEXT - Peggy Webb
Nocturne - Caridad Scordato
Historical - Michelle Styles

You can find the Q&A at
If authors are not on the schedule, they are still welcome to drop in and partcipate.

Now I am off to think up answers to Jenna's first questions. Jenna is very good at asking questions btw.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Gladiator's Honour in WHS

I went into Hexham today to get my haircut. Now my local WHS ever since Tesco appeared on the scene has been putting out the M&Bs when they are supposed to be published. However, before that they put them out a week early. I went into WHS more in hope than expectation, and saw the pile of Gladaitor's Honour. Other historicals had sold but there were still ALL the copies of GH. Then it really hit. The terror of the whole thing. I know most people are exhilerated, but I looked at the books and thought -- oh help, what if no copy sells.
Things to remember at times of massive crisis.
1. I am a first time author which means people are taking a gamble on me. It takes seven books to become an overnight success story.

2. It is a new time period. People have to take a gamble on that. I think eventually it will prove to be a popular time period, but it is going to take a few books (aka at least seven)

I have had some nice feedback and have seen a sneak peek at a review so I know if people buy the book, they will have a positive experience or at least I hope they will.

My mantra is that the editors saw something, so hopefully the public will.

It is also a signal to me that I need to contact the local newspapers as they have very short lead times. Hopefully that will sell a copy or two.

My photo that I took with my new phone did not come out very well, so I will go back with my digital camera on Tuesday sans children. My middle stood there with a burning red face as I moved books about to put me more in the middle, instead of out at one side.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Pink Heart Society

I have joined the Pink Heart Society. The pInk Heart Society was founded by Trish Wylie and vows to fight for catagory romance whereever it can. Trish at this moment is compiling a Hero database full of wonderful drool worthy pictures. It is a lot of fun and I am very proud to wear my heart and say I stand by catagory romance and the pleasure it brings to millions. It is free to join and if you are a catagory romance supporter, why not think about it?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Back from London

The weekend was spent -- supporting my dh in his seventh time at doing the London Marathon and getting the eldest and youngest US passports sorted.

Like giving birth, the end of the London Marathon is best forgotten in the haze of euphoria of rediscovering the loved one. I HATE crowds and impossibilty of discoveirng anyone. My mobile went on the frazzle and then my dh walked straight past us, head covered in a towel. I was not looking for towelled covered men...

We spent time in St James/Jermyn Street and I finally went into Lock's. Lock's was founded in 1676 and moved across the road when the pub lost its license in about 1762 where it has remained ever since. Among its famous clientale were Nelson, Brummell, Byron, George III and George IV,(okay really any man who was anyone in the Regency), Winston Churchill and of course the Queen. There is a special display to Nelson who paid his bill before he left for Trafalgar and something for the Queen's birthday. I loved the hat boxes. It is right next to Berry Brothers, where men used to go to be weighed. Apparnetly they stilll have the ledgers with the names written in.

I did more work on the wip. I decided that earlier decisions were causing plot problems and had to go back and rework things. The words started flowing again, so this is good. But it was really a case of trying to make things more dramatic later, but I lost some of the conflict so I hadto come up with another. Believe me there is ALWAYS another way. It is a matter of thinking it up.

Gladiator's Honour appears on the shelves of WHS on Thursday (going for the week before the official pub date thing here) I go and take a photo of it on the shelves. If anyone else would care to take a photo of it, I shall be happy to publish the photos on the blog!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

On heroes

Trish Wylie and Ally Blake are having a slight fight about who gets to use a certain very handsome man as thier hero. It is all in good fun, but it got me to thinking.
I subscribe to the Kate Walker musing that if you gave 10 different authors the same premise, you would end up with 10 very different stories.
I think that is true with the photo. It is up to the indivdual author to breathe life into the character. The two heroes may be doppelgangers but underneath the way they react will be different. Each author will describe her hero in her own unique voice.
At the moment, I know the slight inspiration of A Noble Captive --Eric Banna is inspiring Julie Cohen. I suspect he will be a different sort of character than the man I described. For one thing, we are talking different millenia here.
My next edge of the mind inspiration, James Purefoy was shared with Anna Lucia. Again, I am certain the heroes are very different. One is a Roman pirate sort and the other a Frenchman. I was sort of surprised when Anna siad -- oh but I am using him...It also means I can;t wait to read her book and see her interpretation.
My current hero has been inspired in part by Christain Bales. You have to love his voice. Quiet, calm and oh so sexy. See Howl's Moving Castle or Batman Begins. I fully expect/hope others out there feel the same way.
Besides after I have finished with my heroes, hopefully they go on to become someone else's crush...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Audio cd of Gladiator's Honour

I got my copies of the audio cd today. And staright away put it on. Simon Poland has a very easy to listen to voice. Very BBC English.
Unknowingly I had heard him before as he did the voice over for Natural World: The Return of the Eagle Owl.
Anyway, I had a very red face as I never dreamt to hear my words professionally spoken.Read yes, but spoken on a tape? Never! The experience was not as bad as I feared. Simon Poland has a good voice.
I do hope the audio cds do well as I can see uses for listening to them. I scrubbed my floor for example.
The cd is four hours and 30 minutes long.
And my proofs for A Noble Captive arrived, so I hope to have an excerpt for that up on my website soon.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Diets and updates

First of all, I heard from my neighbour. The police have found the car...abandoned that was used in the burglary. The gang had tried to rob another house further up the bank that day. The lady was at home, got the number, and telephoned the police with a description. Unfortunately the theives did not leave the digital camera's chip in the car.... My fingers arefirmly crossed that they are caught and soon. This is the first time in a very long time that there has been something like this in the neighborhood.

My sister sent me a book on eating, and body image for teenagers -- I'm like So Fat helping your teen make healthy choices about Eating and Exercise in a Weight Obsessed World. This was in response to a plea about my middle child who had started to sneak food. It makes for interesting reading. The author, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer became interested in the subject when she worked as a nutritionist and had weekly weigh ins of over weight women. She said ultimately what she was weighing was women's self- esteem. She advocated healthy eating and exercising sensibly. I look back on pictures of me in high school, college and in my early twenties. I used to consider myself fat, but guess what, I wasn't. I may not have conformed to the super thin model but I was healthy for my body type and height.
Now, of course, I need to shed a few pounds. But we won't go into that. I would be quite happy to back at the weight I was in my early twenties when I kept thinking I need to lose 10 pounds or so.
Dieting has a lot of negatives
1. It can lead to feelings of deprivation and repression that lead to binge eating
2.Over time diets tend to lead towards weight gain ratehr than weight loss
3 Dieting can lead to depression

Far better is healthy eating. making changes to eating more veg and fruit and whole grains while decreasing fats and processed sugars
Eating when hungry and stopping when comfortably full.Physical activity in moderation. I was surprised to learn that some people become over obsessed with exercise and end up getting eating/behavorial disorders that way.

The book may have been sent so I could understand my middle child better, but I ended up understanding a few more things about myself and my own behaviors.

My wip is going slowly...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

School holidays-- A visit to a new exhibition.

Yesterday was the first day of the school holidays. As my dh happen to have the day off as well, we went to York to see the new Constantine the Great exhibit at the Yorkshire museum.
On 25 July 2006, it will be the 1700th anniversary of Constantine being proclaimed emperor in York in 306. To recap the history -- Constantine was the son of the Emperor Constantinius and a rather low born woman Helena. To become Emperor, Constantinius had put Helena aside and had married an emperor's daughter. However, his eldest son remained important and was at his side when he died. The Legions then proclaimed Constantine emperor. There were other claimants. He fought for his title and famously invoked seeing a cross leading him into battle outside of Rome in 312. By 324, he was the sole emperor in Rome.
Constantine's mother St Helena was a Christian.
He is responsible for legitimizing Christianity while at the same time tolerating other religions. He founded Constantinople and presided over a golden age. With his reign lasting 31 years, he was the longest serving emperor since Augustus.
And it all started in York. In fact, the York minister is built over the Headquarters building of the Roman fort. This is not a coincidence as the acclimation of Constantine was one of the most significant events of early Christian history.
The exhibition is superb and well worth a visit. They have brought objects from around the world, including a pair of woman's slippers from the period and several mattress cover fragments. These were discovered in Egypt.
We also went to York Castle museum, Betty's for lunch and Borders Where they still had last month's M&Bs out. I was able to purchase two American historical romances by writers I had heard about...A case of checking out the competition.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What a relief

Gladiator's Honour is now available to buy at the correct price on M&B.

I can breathe again.

Sometimes you are windscreen and sometimes the bug

I had a horrible night's sleep -- a combination of too much coffee and upset at a burglary at a near neighbour's. They were completely ransacked. A very professional job. The criminals had obviously done their homework.
It made me realise how much the village has changed in the nearly ten years that we have lived here. This part of the village has gone from an area where someone was at home in 90% of the houses during the day to one where the vast majority of the house are empty during the day. From a population of young families, retirees and rural types to dual income professionals who work in the big city. Far fewer people have big dogs as well. The cars are newer and more upscale.
It made me feel glad that we have two large dogs, and the house is never left unoccupied for long regular periods. BUT I also know there by the grace of God, go I. There are unfortunately determined scum around. Other unforeseen events occur.

So today is a day for backing up the computer. The worst thing for my friends is that when the thieves took the computer, they also took all the baby pictures. Some things are priceless.

Gladiator's Honour is up on the M&B website, but the price is still wrong. The Powers that Be know about it and it will get changed eventually....
I am still waiting for the rest of the books agreed in my contract...It will sort eventually, but for the moment, I feel vaguely unsettled.

Yesterday was good in parts. I had my royality cheque from Hale (everything counts!) and my advance cheque arrived from HM&B. I also went into WHS and saw Julie Cohen's second book Being A Bad Girl and Kate Hardy's first Mod X The Cinderella Syndrome on the shelves. All the Moderns and the Historicals have an ad for audio on the back inside cover featuring the Gladiator's Honour cover and Sara Craven's Wife Against Her Will. The other lines, including ModX have blank inside covers. I did some subtle rearranging of shelves there and at Tescos.

Now I need to work on the next one. Before I can submit anything though, I need to wait and hear the thoughts on PBB. It is how HM&B works. You have to finish one contract before they will look at a new contract... And my old friends The Procrastinators go -- yippee, you have time you are no longer on a deadline. Relax, go with the flow. Don't work. And other blandishments. I hope my character's voices can drown them out.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A small annoyance

I had looked forward to 1 April because that was when Gladaitor's Honour would be officially available for order on the Mills and Boon website. Umm there is a slight problem. The historical page does not list ANY of this month's historicals except for Candace Camp's Super Historical.
Gladiator's Honour is available for purchase as an audio cd. If you do a search you can find Gladiator's Honour as a book, but the price isn't correct and so I am not posting a link until it is correct.
I am trying to tell myself that little hiccups are not omens, that these tings happen, that I won't be the first author to have had this happen to her. I simply hope things go betterfrom here on out.
My lovely editor is investigating it and I am sure it will be resolved in due course.
But I am left with the feeling -- why me? Why my book?