31 January 2009

Alpha men

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Ah, M&B Modern Heat alpha males... Gorgeous, authoritative, ruthless, sometimes tortured, often perplexed.

But do they really exist? Should they exist? Would you want to live with one? Do you live with one? Does anyone actually know a truly alpha male? Here's a lady who has some interesting views on the subject: The Romance Hero v the 21st Century

(And here's a moral dilemma for a Saturday - if a Modern Heat hero came knocking on your door, promising the sort of things only a Modern Heat hero could, what would you do?)

29 January 2009

Hearts pounding - not

Hooray! The tweaks went off yesterday. I swear, if I ever have to see the phrase 'her heart pounded' again I may just scream.

I won't hear back for a couple of weeks, so I now find myself kicking up my heels and doing things that need doing: getting a hair cut, filing, replying to emails, maybe setting up a website, signing my M&B contract...

I have an idea for the next book, but don't really see much point in jumping in until I've had a chance to chat it over with my editor and that won't happen for ages. Instead I'll do some thinking and throw a few ideas around my head. It's due in June. And this time I managed to refrain from saying 'June? How about the end of Feb?' (See, am learning.)

28 January 2009


Today I'm blogging over at the Pink Heart Society about 'The Call'.

There's been a lot of press in the UK recently about how hedge fund managers are responsible for the demise of the UK economy. Booooo, hissssss. Guess what my (fictional) hero does for a living...

27 January 2009


The revisions are due tomorrow and am head down, tweaking frantically. I've added 2000 words. Have I done it right? Is there now too much internal agonising? Too little? Is my heroine now too confrontational? Do my tweaks stick out like sore thumbs? Where's the gin?


23 January 2009


Having just about got my head round the fact that I actually sold my book, I'm now eating, sleeping and breathing revisions.

Apparently these are minor, but as I have nothing to compare them with, I've no idea whether they are or not. But Kim, my editor, says they're tweaks and who am I to argue with the person who also said that my story has 'intense emotional conflict, excellent dialogue, appealing characters and an engaging plot'? (Although personally, I'm convinced she's got my book muddled up with a proper writer's.)

So, these tweaks...

Mainly I've skipped over some of the most crucial emotional moments. Those'll be the chapters at the end that I galloped through then. Heavy on dialogue, light on emotional exploration.

At the moment the emotional events happen off stage. This is Not Good as the reader takes on the role of observer instead of seeing the action through the characters' eyes and is pulled out of the story. And that affects the pace. Now this is something I probably should have known, but didn't. Like I should probably have realised that my hero is a control freak. And known that my heroine on occasion accepts things a little too easily. It all seems kind of obvious now. As is how little I do know...

So this week, I've been struggling up that learning curve with a highlighter pen and postit notes and am working on upping the emotional ante.

21 January 2009


Welcome to my new home - which looks remarkably like the previous one!

15 January 2009


Well, the news is out! I sold my book!! My editor, Kim, rang last week to say that she loved my story and wanted to buy it. It took me totally by surprise as I never expected to hear anything so soon after Christmas, let alone that!

I have to do some tweaking in the next couple of weeks (minor revisions, apparently, although they seem huge to me - I mean, what if I do them wrong? Yikes...) but am obviously over the moon. Whooppee!!

Anyone can write a novel

Saw this on hereisthecity.com and it made me laugh, even though it's a bit harsh. I mean, we all need to start somewhere, right?

Dear Ms Robinson,

Having lost my job as a derivatives trader, I have been looking at my options and am thinking of becoming a writer since I can afford to take some time off. My friends tell me that my anecdotes are brilliant and I should write them down. They say everyone has a novel in them, so why not me? I notice you have written a number of books and am wondering if you can tell me where to start.- CB

Dear CB

Do you see Ms Robinson suddenly announcing she wants to try her hand at mathematical modeling? No, you do not. Does Ms R think she can be a plumber because she can turn on a tap?

One of the things that full-time writers hate is people who think they can write; they assume there is little skill needed and just the fact that you can read and spell equips you to write. (It's the same way for people who get Photoshop and think they are graphic designers.)

As for writing classes, the less said the better. You either can or you can’t. You might well have a book inside you, but do keep in mind we have many things inside us: kidneys and a liver, for example, and these are best kept where they are. You see my point CB?

Writing is not about sitting in a cottage overlooking the sea and penning a paragraph or two while looking forward to tea at 4pm. It’s about serious plotting, planning and dedication. The best writers cannot afford to take time off: they are at it day and night. Should you manage to pen a novel, chances are you will be thrown on the slush pile. Even if an agent takes you on, there is still a lot of work to do.

That is why writing is not something you try your hand at, it is a passion. If you had it, you would have written by now.

14 January 2009

Ay, que frio

'Ay, que frio!' is the lament here in Jerez at the moment. Annual average temperature of 17ºC, summer highs of 40ºC, but right now with yet another icy front heading our way it's apparently 7ºC outside.

No central heating + no insulation = internal temperature of considerably less than outside.

Even with my little electric heater I'm currently sporting furry boots, tights, thermal leggings, pyjama bottoms, yummie tummie, t-shirt, wool poloneck, polar fleece, cashmere shawl. A most attractive combination. What I really need is a pair of fingerless gloves to prevent frostbite and complete the overall baglady look.

I envy you guys in the southern hemisphere...

12 January 2009


I've just reread the ms I submitted before Christmas for the first time since it was sent in. And not without some trepidation. Ideally I'd have liked a couple of weeks between typing The End and hitting the 'Send' button. But my editor said 'Just send it in and we'll take a look', so I did.

It varies a bit from the original synopsis, especially the last third, which I reckon is no bad thing. While I actually quite like it, the end (as suspected) does feel horribly rushed and quite a few other bits need tweaking too. But what really appals me is the number of typos. How did they happen? I went over and over it with what I thought was a fine toothcomb, so how did missing/extra spaces, doubled words, random apostrophes and occasional bizarre word order get there? Grrrrr.

In the meantime I've started on another story, sort of based on my Nano novel. Am quite looking forward to seeing where this one goes...

06 January 2009

Locks, props and three smoking fly-halfs

All these thoughts of rugby lead me to a Question of Global Importance. As The Observer asked way back in 2003 in the midst of world cup fever, who is rugby's hottest hunk?

Here's a selection... (No locks or props as pictures of them seem to involve bad hair and blood, and only three fly-halfs because I put 'fit rugby player' into Google Images and now have to go and have a lie down.)

Dan Carter
(according to E! Entertainment the 11th sexiest man in the world)

Danny Cipriani
(only 21...)

And, of course, Jonny Wilkinson
(now, unfortunately, retired)

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Rugby and romance

Mills & Boon team up with the Rugby Football Union! Read all about it here.

04 January 2009


Spot the odd one out: eating, drinking, relaxing, chatting, charades, racing demon, Scrabble, DVDs, the Wii, reading, writing.

The answer is the only thing I didn't engage in over Christmas: writing. Not entirely surprising what with all the other stuff that was going on, and not particularly frustrating as I've long since discovered that you can't do everything at the same time all the time. But now back home I'm ready to start up again.

Since I started writing, the process (if I have one at all) has been really erratic: a fortnight of frantic typing and then weeks of nothing; repeat. This year I'm going to organise my time better, be more efficient and write more steadily. At least that's the plan...

Have you made any resolutions?