28 March 2012

Fall Girl by Toni Jordan

I stumbled across this book on another blog and thought it sounded really interesting. I admit I like the TV show ‘White Collar’ so the idea of reading about a con artist at work was appealing.

Della Gilmore is setting up a sting on the Metcalf Trust. There are plenty of details about how it’s done and the way Della’s family works together to pull off the various parts of the operation. But when the stakes are raised things start to look shaky, for the job, for her family and with her part-time boyfriend Timothy.
Discovering she is attracted to Daniel Metcalf and fighting it only makes things worse.
The unravelling of Della’s life was beautifully done. As was the romantic sub-plot between Della and Daniel—while I would have like the romance to end more resolved, the open ending works.
I don’t want to give out any spoilers so it’s hard to talk about the plot except to say no one is really what they seem, and finding someone to trust is as hard as finding a Tasmanian Tiger in Victoria.
Fall Girl was an enjoyable read that I’d recommend to anyone who wanted something a little different with a strong female lead.
For more information about Toni Jordan: http://www.tonijordan.com/
Fall Girl
ISBN: 9781921656651
The Text Publishing Company
‘The secret to having people give you money is to act as though you don’t want it.’
Meet Ella Canfield, highly qualified evolutionary biologist. Attractive, if a little serious-looking in those heavy glasses—but then she’s about to put her career on the line. Dr Canfield is seeking funding for a highly unorthodox research project. She wants to prove that an extinct animal still roams in one of Australia’s most popular national parks.
Meet Daniel Metcalf, good-looking, expensively dishevelled millionaire. Quite witty but far too rich to be taken seriously. He heads the Metcalf Trust, which donates money to offbeat scientific research projects. He has a personal interest in animals that don’t exist.
Problem number one: There is no such person as Dr Ella Canfield.
Problem number two: Della Gilmore, professional con artist, has never met anyone like Daniel Metcalf before.
Someone is going to take a fall.

This review has been written as part of WInk Girl’s commitment to the 2012 Australian Women Writers Challenge. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Australian-Women-Writers/176862202396763

26 March 2012

Veronica Scott - guest post

I’m so pleased to be a guest here today! I know you’ve been having quite a discussion on the blog about heroines so I thought perhaps today I’d interview Mara from my new book Wreck of the Nebula Dream.  The novel is science fiction with romantic elements and is loosely inspired by the sinking of the Titanic, 100 years ago.

Here’s what the book is about:

Traveling unexpectedly aboard the luxury liner Nebula Dream on its maiden voyage across the galaxy, Sectors Special Forces Captain Nick Jameson is ready for ten relaxing days, and hoping to forget his last disastrous mission behind enemy lines. He figures he’ll gamble at the casino, take in the shows, maybe even have a shipboard fling with Mara Lyrae, the beautiful but reserved businesswoman he meets.

All his plans vaporize when the ship suffers a wreck of Titanic proportions. Captain and crew abandon ship, leaving the 8000 passengers stranded without enough lifeboats and drifting unarmed in enemy territory. Aided by Mara, Nick must find a way off the doomed ship for himself and several other innocent people before deadly enemy forces reach them or the ship’s malfunctioning engines finish ticking down to self destruction.

But can Nick conquer the demons from his past that tell him he’ll fail these innocent people just as he failed to save his Special Forces team? Will he outpace his own doubts to win this vital race against time?

What first attracted you to Nick?

I noticed Nick right away, while we were waiting at the spaceport. He’s confident but not cocky – the kind of person you just know you can depend on, especially in a crisis. Wow, was I right about that! He and I found out during the disaster what a good team we make. (She blushes and laughs.)  And of course he’s very handsome, in or out of uniform, which he doesn’t seem to understand but I appreciate.

Before the action in the book, what were your plans/hopes for the future?

I’m in senior contracts management for Loxton Galactic. Since I was fresh out of school, I’ve been working my way up the ladder there. Most recently I was in line for a promotion where I would have been overseeing the growth of our business in several Sectors. My career has always involved a lot of traveling around from planet to planet and this new job would have allowed me to stay at Loxton’s headquarters most of the time. Even before the Nebula Dream disaster I wanted to take some time off from constant traveling!

What changed your plans?

Being on board the Nebula Dream when it was wrecked and then struggling so hard to survive all the events which happened.  Now I realize how quickly it can all slip through your fingers and I’m not putting my life on hold for a job any longer. A lot of things I thought were important right up to the second the ship crashed became nothing instantly. When you’re in imminent danger of dying, the work-related stuff just doesn’t matter. So many people perished and Nick and I lived, so I need to make good use of the years I’ve been granted.

How would you describe your personality?

I’m pretty tough when I’m doing a business deal for my employer. I can negotiate anything! But in my personal life I tend to be on the shy side. Nick says I used my work as a shield to keep people from ever getting to know the real me. Of course that strategy fails with someone as determined as he is, I’m glad to say. I’m organized, no nonsense, can take care of myself pretty well in most situations. That attribute came in handy on the Nebula Dream, after the wreck, when the challenges were nonstop.

What one thing would you take to a desert island?

Other than Nick?  I love to read, so I’d take along the device that stores my personal library. There’s a lot of downtime on interstellar journeys and when I wasn’t working or socializing for business reasons, I’d be curled up in my cabin reading. Nick is in the Sectors Special Forces, a very handy guy with all kinds of skills, so as long as I had him with me on the island, I’d be fine. Between the two of us, we could solve any problem.

What is your major skill or talent?

I have a head for international commerce.

What’s your favorite color? Favorite food?

I love blue. If I’m not careful, my entire wardrobe will be shades of blue and that gets boring. I’m very fond of sea food, no matter what world I happen to be on.

If you had to pick another career, what would it be?

Funny you should ask, since Nick and I are both re-evaluating what our next step should be. We’re not sure yet if he’s going to stay in the military. We might start our own business.

What are your future plans?

Nick and I are both basically orphans so family is very important to us. Turns out we both love kids, which we discovered on the Nebula Dream when we became responsible for getting two young children – Gianna and Paolo -  off the ship to safety. We know we want to have children in the very near future. I’m thinking four and Nick says two, so we’ll see.

Available from Amazon for the kindle and Barnes & Noble for the Nook…special 99 cent price

You can find Veronica at her blog http://veronicascott.wordpress.com/ or on twitter @vscotttheauthor

21 March 2012

How progressed is the modern heroine?

We’ve discussed already this month how far the modern heroine has come in the past 50 years...but maybe she still has a long way to go before she sets society back on its heels in the way Victorian heroines did.

Becky Sharp refused to accept her fate and went on to take a place at the top of society. Elizabeth Bennett was unrelenting in her scorn of her suitor until he reformed.

The modern heroine has developed in recent time but is she still held back by a readership and an industry that still sees assertiveness as unfeminine and unattractive?

10 March 2012

Heroines—Catalyst for Change

Sometimes when writing romance it very easy to think only of the hero. He’s the one we want to fall in love with…and yet the heroine has a very important role. She is the catalyst for the hero’s change. Without her he wouldn’t grow enough to be capable of love.

The heroine has to be someone we (as female readers) can relate to; too stupid and we throw the book, too kick ass and I start raising my eyebrows in disbelief. Unless she’s Sydney Bristow (Alias) or Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), she won’t be taking on three baddies with a 2B pencil. Too perfect is another common gripe.
Like the hero she needs a flaw, more than ‘oh my beauty is such a curse’…unless it really is a curse and men die from looking at her…where was I?
Oh yes, the heroine has to bring out the best in the hero and he has to bring out the best in her, so together they are more than their individual parts.

07 March 2012

Boys and Heroines

I understand that the majority of readers (of all genres) are woman; but riddle me this...

Why do male readers like to read about male heroes, yet woman readers like to read both?
Or am I barking up the wrong feminist tree?
I read about male heroes all the time yet male readers seem to prefer to read about male heroes.  This seems to translate to young adult and middle grade fiction.  So how do I get them to cross over and be interested in girls - in a literary way.
How do you get a male reader interested in a female hero?  And please don’t tell me she needs to look like Lara Croft.
Don’t get me wrong - this isn’t hero bashing.  Two of my favourite younger novels have male main characters; Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl.

Can you ask any male readers you know if they would read a book where the main character is female or in a female point of view?  Please let me know any information you gather by commenting.  I'd really love to know if its just me who thinks this way.  If you have any pointers that would make a female main character interesting to a male reader, I'd love to know that too.


03 March 2012

The Evolution of our Heroine

Like us, our heroine has evolved over time. Gone are the days of the waif who has been orphaned and needs a knight in shining armour to come and rescue her and her crumbling family estate. Or the sweet, innocent virgin sold by her father, to the man that will save the family fortune.

When I first started reading Mills & Boons a lot were based in England and were centered around the landed, genteel hero and heroine. A lot of the times the heroine was young, barely 20 and sometimes the hero was as old as 40. For me being the young woman that I was that seemed soooo old - now I'm that age, it's not old at all! But I struggled with the huge age gap between the characters, of course it didn't dampen my passion for romance novels, far from it!

Nowadays most of our heroines are mid 20's and have careers. They're independent women who are making their own way in the world. Some even take on the hero in the boardroom.

I like the evolution that I've seen over the years. The age difference is not so noticeable now. These days I'm older than the characters in the book *sigh* even though I don't feel it!

There are a lot of stories now, more I guess in paranormal, where the heroine is kick-ass and needs no one.

As we have progressed in our way of life, so have our heroines. But they still need that man who will make them act all starry eyed every now and then.

What do you think about today's heroines?