24 May 2010
It got me thinking about what makes a hero.
That Man used to accuse me of putting form above function when I admitted a liking for Rob Thomas, but I truly like his music. What makes him a hero though is more than his melodies and lyrics. I like the way he stands by his wife with her health problems.
Celebrity heroes aren't difficult to find, I'll name just a few. Glenn McGrath, Rove and Pierce Brosnan, who all have far more in common as heroes than you'd expect for a sports legend, a comedian and an actor.
I'm sure we all know of everyday heroes in the same mould. Those who can and do deal with the hard parts of love.
Of course there are other things that make a hero. Mostly far quieter than the 'in sickness' examples above.
What makes That Man a hero? Well, let me tell you about an acquaintance of mine. Let's call her Nameless.
Nameless has moved half way across the world for her man's career. Her man had a dream car he wanted to own when he got to their current location. So he bought it. Leaving them with no money for her to have a car AT ALL. They live out of town.
That Man made sure that D1, D2 and I have a reliable, suitable vehicle that was the best we could afford, that I liked, that did what WE needed it to. He drives a beat up piece of junk that he insists he enjoys doing lots of maintenance on . . . it's just one of the reasons he's a hero.
Tell me what you think makes a hero, or tell me a story about your hero or a celebrity hero. I'd love to hear everyone's stories and thoughts.
I do love a hero.
19 May 2010
It’s pure pleasure to come back to the real world and talk writing with writers.
I had that opportunity just recently when Romance Writers of Australia auspiced and sponsored the Romancing the West conference in Perth. Four accomplished writers, Fiona Lowe, Juliet Marillier, Nikki Logan and Fiona Palmer gave freely of their knowledge and experience and we learned about tension, branding, writing the first chapter, backstory and more.
It also generated new members for RWA and new critique groups that will be an on-going support to those who joined.
Now it’s time to take what I’ve learned back to my own writing.
My take away was from Juliet Marillier who said that she edited by writing three chapters then editing them, writing the next three chapters then editing all six and so on. If she has new ideas, sub-plots, characters as she’s writing then she can work them into the whole book and when she types ‘THE END’ she knows she’s close to submission standard.
I think that could work for me.
Lesley Ann Smith
14 May 2010
Thanks for taking the time to come and read Robyn's interview. So without further ado the winner of the wonderful autographed set of Outback Billionaire and Baby 2010 books is .........
Congratulations Serena. We'll get in contact with you and then arrange for the books to be sent your way.
Don't forget to keep coming back each week to read all about our adventures as we strive for publication and achieve that goal!
Shona Husk will have her debut book coming out in a few days An Elemental Tail with the Wild Rose Press. Make sure you check out her website for a blurb and when her next novella will be out!
09 May 2010
Today is Mother’s Day and I’d like wish all the mums a wonderful day!
Visiting us on the Wink Girls blog is the wonderful Silhouette Desire and Mills & Boon Modern/Sexy Sensation Author Robyn Grady, who is also a super mum to 3 beautiful daughters. Thanks so much for joining us on such a special day Robyn.
Your beginning lines and scenes of your books hit the reader between the eyes. How long do you work on the opening lines and scenes?
Ooh! Thank you. I actually spend oodles of time on the opening three chapters but particularly the first. Once I have an idea for the opening scene, I try to work it so that the reader will be compelled to turn that page! Some first pages feature action (ex: Devil in a Dark Blue Suit where the heroine witnesses her ex’s expensive car being pummeled with a baseball bat by an outraged girlfriend – or so she thinks…) and some opening scenes totally rely upon the draw of high-octane sexual tension and anticipation (read The Billionaire’s Fake Engagement for a spin on ‘a stranger’s gaze catching yours amidst a crowd’). My opening lines I will change (fiddle with) a zillion times, honing and making them just right. I’m sure I go over the first three chapters so thoroughly because it’s a way for me to really get to know the characters and get a good handle on their motivations and conflicts.
Those two opening scenes you mentioned are amongst my favourite! On average how long does it take you from when you conceive the idea to have that first draft finished?
Each book is different. Depends a lot on the deadline! I have books that have taken up to eight months from conception to final manuscript (ex: Bargaining for Baby).
I’ve also written a book in three weeks (The Australian Millionaire’s Love-Child). BTW, the three week deal is not recommended. Lotsa stress
To give you a better idea, I write between four and five books a year.
When you’ve finished your manuscripts do you let it sit for a bit or get right back into editing it?
Now this is interesting! I edit heavily as I go so that when I come to the end I’m pretty much happy with it (of course there’s lots of honing and beautifying of words still to be done ) I used to write from chapter one right through, editing each chapter to death until I reached ‘The End’. But an author I thoroughly respect and admire once gave me some insightful advice. She explained that, if she has a certain scene playing in her mind, she will jump ahead and write out of sequence. That buffoozled me at the time – how do you know how a character will be feeling, or what they will be thinking, when you haven’t yet written what’s come before? But now, working from a synopsis, I can write the final scene and middle scenes out of sequence, although I will go back again and again to trim and add and polish. That advice has been invaluable because it not only gives me a sense of freedom within my writing process but it also helps me to understand my characters better earlier!
You write for both Silhouette Desire and Mills & Boon Modern Heat/Sexy Sensation, what is the main difference between the ‘feel’ of the books? Do you find that one line is easier to write than the other or are both a challenge?
I totally love writing for both lines! I think my basic voice is the same…a regular reader would probably recognize my voice in either line without seeing the author’s name on the cover. But, yes, the ‘feel’ and tones of Desire and Modern Heat/Sexy Sensation are different. Desires have more of a classic feel. The hooks are tried and true (and much loved!) although great twists are always welcome. Some Desires are lighter reads, particularly now with a new senior at the helm. But the intensely passionate stories that don’t shy away from high drama are still a staple (ex: Bedded by Blackmail – revenge, murder accusations, there’s even a shootout!). Continuities featuring mega rich, uber influential families are a fave!
Modern Heat/Sexy Sensation are more of a lighter, sassier, but still emotionally gripping read, and are aimed at younger audiences as well as stoic Harlequin fans. The guys are still wealthy but they exhibit a sense of humor and the stories must be “feel good”/”uplifting”. Doesn’t mean the couple can’t have real issues to work out – sustainable, believable conflict is a must! But heavy dwelling on the tragic past isn’t recommended. And the Hero and heroine are absolutely evenly matched! They are very much contemporary reads, dealing with issues that affect today’s women.
You have a May US Desire release, June in Australia, “Bargaining for Baby” which is part of the “Billionaires and Babies” series. Two other Australian authors Maxine Sullivan and Paula Roe are also involved in this series. Did you work closely with them and bounce ideas off one another?
Being invited to contribute to this special series was a total buzz! All three stories share the Australian Outback Billionaire and Baby theme, but each is a stand alone story. Maxine, Paula and myself have been in contact almost daily with regard to the series website, contests, and, yes, bouncing some ideas off each other too, including titles and locations.
Did the three of you approach your editors with this idea or did your editors approach you?
Another interesting question! Maxine Sullivan pitched a series idea to Melissa Jeglinski, Desire’s Senior Editor at the time. Melissa loved the idea of some of her Australian authors joining forces again (who can forget Diamonds Down Under?!) and suggested we work on projects that would fit Desire’s already popular Billionaires and Babies series. Desire readers adore their cowboys, so the Outback became another integral hook.
The Desire series often have continuities revolving around families. Would you like to be part of a continuity like this?
Ask me a year ago and I would’ve quivered in my boots! For years I’ve admired so many of the Desire authors. Honestly, I didn’t feel quite worthy to be part of a continuity with some of these outstanding writers. But early this year I was asked to be part of a Modern/Sexy/Presents continuity along with seven other authors, including Abby Green and Jennie Lucas. I took a big breath and said, “Yes please!”
My wonderful NA editor also suggested this year that I might like to be part of a Desire continuity. Now that I’ve seen how well their bibles work (the stack of info the editors put together so all the bits and pieces of each story fit, including lots of history on each character), I’m thoroughly excited and ready to write!
I’ve always wondered about those bibles I’ve heard continuity authors talk about. One day I’ll see one myself. Have you considered writing a linked series of your own?
Uh-huh! But I would want to come up with a fabulous twist. So for now, I’ll keeping thinking
Tell us about your hero Jack. He has closed himself off to feeling love again. Was he a challenge to write?
Oh, I love Jack Prescott! It was a challenge to get his motivations versus what the heroine, Madison Tyler, saw and perceived of him just right. To the outside world Jack is rather terse, withdrawn, as well as man-of-the-land super sexy! But at his core, Jack is a family man who has been deeply wounded and needs the perfect heroine to challenge him enough to want to feel, and love, again.
What’s next for Robyn Grady?
Well, I found out last week that a Robyn Grady Bestseller’s Collection will be on Australian and New Zealand shelves in November. That’s pretty cool. My next story stars a doctor hero who featured in The Billionaire’s Fake Engagement, a book that won a CataRomance Best Desire for 2009. (Yay!) At the moment I’m writing my sixteenth novel and am daydreaming constantly about a lazy tropical island holiday.
Congratulations on the Bestseller Collection AND your CataRomance win. I’m dreaming of a tropical island holiday too! And to finish a totally quirky question. What is the quirkiest thing on your desk?
Other than numerous Pepsi Max bottle wraps with chances to win a First Class TopGear UK trip for four (I told my husband if he’s very good I might take him along), probably the quirkiest thing is a ‘Just Sold!’ present I received from a critique partner. I have a terrible weakness for shoes so Rachel bought me a purple high-heel picture holder – purple being my favorite color. Fanned out on the clip are photos of my Gran and each of our girls when they were very little, as well as a beautiful shot from my wedding day. Makes me smile every time I look across and also reminds me of what’s most important
That clip sounds beautiful with all your memories on it. Robyn, thanks again for joining us and giving us an insight into the processes of how you work. I love finding out how different authors work.
Readers, Robyn has generously offered an Autographed Set of Outback Billionaire and Baby books to the person who correctly answers this question “Who are the three Australian authors contributing to the Australian Outback and Billionaire Desire series on the shelves in 2010?” If there are more than one correct answer all names will be put into a hat and the winner will be drawn out randomly
04 May 2010
This brings me slowly to house-keeping. Of the writing kind. With one manuscript almost ready to go, I looked back at the hours wasted trying to find that scene I knew was worth keeping but has now disappeared somewhere among badly named and misfiled bits and pieces, groaning as I realise I’ve renumbered some chapters and not others, so now I have to scroll through five to find one. And when I’ve found the re-edited chapter I want, I’ve forgotten which scenes are in it. Ring any bells? Am I the only one?
I remember a Hearts Talk article dealing with logging scenes within chapters which also becomes a chapter summary. YES! When I find it, I’m going to master this trick and create more karma in the study. Experienced authors on Saturday recommended a separate file for edited bits- a sort of limbo for beloved scenes which sadly had to face the chop- removed but not forgotten in the ‘special file’. There must also be a way of combining a dozen files into a single document that’s better than the slow, painful method I now use. Ditto for removing strange lines which magically appear in bits of text and refuse to be eradicated.
Heartened and inspired, I’m resolved to clean up my act and apply method and order to the next manuscript. No more dust balls lurking in mystery files the computer has designated Scrap for some reason, progressive summaries, consistent chapter names so the GO can find CHAPTER TEN rather than chapter 10, a gentle resting place for truncated scenes and a less wild eyed sloppy writer who might even approach deep editing with calm and confidence.
It costs nothing to dream.