Monday, September 27, 2010

New Voices Winners Announced

The winners have been announced over at: http://www.romanceisnotdead.com/News/23-The-Top-Ten-Announcement

To the Top Ten: Massive congratulations to all of you. I can't wait to read your next chapters.

To all those who didn't final: I share your disappointment, but don't let you get it down. Take note of the comments you received, learn from the chapters you most enjoyed, polish your partials and send them in via the traditional route. You haven't lost anything by entering. In fact, you may not know it yet, but you've gained so much. You deserve your medals of bravery. Incidentally, if you haven't yet picked up your badges: pop on over to Lacey Devlin's blog and collect one now!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In Memoriam

Last night our family cat was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

The coward must have been driving at quite a speed not to be able to stop for a cat who had large white patches and would have been easily visible in this well-lit residential street. Our road is short and leads nowhere, so whoever thought this quiet street would make a nice race track should be hung, drawn and quartered.

Luke was born in our garden earlier this year to a wild cat who roams the neighbourhood. This was the second litter she'd birthed in the safety of our garden. After the events of last night I'm really glad we haven't managed to catch her yet to get her to the vet to be spayed.

As a kitten, when he was just old enough to be weaned, we brought him inside. He slept on my pillow and in no time at all he'd become the perfect house cat. Though his mother and sisters remain wild, eating our food but refusing to be touched, Luke (or Lucy as he was known for most of his life - until he developed irrefutable evidence that he was a boy!) was a gentle creature. He adored being cuddled, would brush up against our legs, and never got fed up with my daughters no matter how often they disturbed his sleep to pick him up or play with him. He'd sleep on their beds during the day, and between his catnaps he'd play happily with them. They dressed him up, carried him all over the house as young children do, and he never once raised a paw to them.

In less than a year he grew larger than any of his siblings, and though we gave him the freedom to rove, he always came back to us. We usually left him outdoors at night, to go hunting with his family, but just yesterday he learned to come in through the window. Less than an hour after I'd commented that he would soon be sleeping on the bed with me again, he was dead.

I won't bore you all with the gory stuff. I am immensely grateful to the good samaritans who rang our gate bell to tell us there was a cat injured in the street. They sat with me, stroking him and holding him down as he fought through such terrible pain. I'm not good with blood. I just have to see blood and I pass out. So to sit in the middle of the steet watching my beloved cat cough up blood was traumatic. The nameless couple who'd stopped to help were calm and understanding and thanks to them I managed to stay calm and collected. And thanks to them my children weren't the first to discover Luke's body this morning.

Sadly, in his short life the only pictures I have of Luke are a few blurry ones taken in twilight when he was a kitten. They're too awful to show here, but this image of his older siblings as kittens gives you some idea what he looked like. (He was very like the white-faced one on the right).

It appears that Luke's mommy is pregnant once again. As she now seems to know us and trust us, I hope she will once again entrust us to love and care for her babies. Though none will ever be able to replace Luke.

Friday, September 24, 2010

While we wait ...

So it seems that we may be waiting a little longer than expected for the announcement of the Top 10 finalists in the New Voices contest. Hardly surprising since the editors and judges have 824 entries to read this weekend, and among them are a whole lot of fantastic chapters.

So while we wait, please check out the SA Romance Writers blog for a list of South African entrants, and show your support for the burgeoning talent from this southern-most tip of Africa. I've been really thrilled to find so many entries featuring Africa or South Africans.

Over at Minxes of Romance are links to the New Voices entries by me and my crit partners, and in the most recent post you can also find out what writing romance and trees have in common.

And last, but not least, on my Rae Summers blog I'm starting a new series of posts: Cocktail Fridays. On the Friday closest to pay day each month (25th) I'll be bringing you a new cocktail recipe from the 1920s. Kicking off the series is my personal favourite: the mojito.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Reverse Casting

Today is D-Day. Before I go to sleep tonight I will upload my entry to the New Voices competition. All I need now is a title.

In the meantime, here is a little inside look into my new WIP. I'd like to introduce you to Sylvie and Valentino.



Not sure if you can tell from her picture, but Sylvie is a little uptight. She's going to drive easy-going Valentino more than a little crazy before they realise just how perfect they are for each other. I hope you enjoy their ride!

Post Script: The first chapter of Valentino's Angel is now up for the world to read and comment on: http://www.romanceisnotdead.com/Entries/632-Valentinos-Angel

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blogfest and New Voices

This weekend my other half (literally!) is participating in Blogfest 2010 over at http://raesummers.wordpress.com. There are prizes galore for blog visitors, and Rae is also giving away a DVD to one lucky folllower.

Congratulations to the 160 brave people who have already submitted their contest entries to New Voices. It's becoming very addictive reading! I'd also like to shout out "well done!" to Lorraine Wilson, the first Minx to enter so far. You can read Lorraine's fab entry, In Too Deep, here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Promotion for Authors

My alter ego, Rae Summers, is hosting author Caroline Clemmons today. She's talking about how writers can promote themselves. Please drop by and share your own tips on promotion. http://raesummers.wordpress.com

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy Spring Day!

 Here in South Africa it is officially the first day of spring. Though our seasonal rains have yet to start and the ground is still parched, the air has warmed up sufficiently for buds to be appearing everywhere. Summer is my season, but who can deny the attraction of spring? All those flowers and the green fuzz on the trees - and finally shedding all those layers of winter clothes!

I cannot believe it's only five weeks since I got back from my amazing trip to England. So much has happened that my life has quite literally been turned inside out. I won't bore you with the details, but there have been funerals, home changes, job changes, and the day job has carried on pretty much as it has all year ... manic. (Next week I'll be doing my fourth film shoot since I got back!)

My alter ego, Rae Summers, has completed her August blog tour, the winners have been announced, and I would like to thank everyone who voted for the Let's Misbehave trailer at You Gotta Read Videos. You put me in third place so my book trailer got another posting!

An Innocent Abroad, my next 1920s novella, is now completed and has been sent to the RNA's New Writers' Scheme (just in the nick of time), and I've now started on an entry for the New Voices contest. But best of all, I'm feeling ready to face whatever life is going to throw at me next. I'm embracing the changes and saying "bring it on!" to the universe. That must be the spirit of spring in the air!


So what is your favourite season, and why?