Friday, July 31, 2009

Dating the Rebel Tycoon

This is Ally Blake's July novel, published by Mills & Boon Romance. I seldom review books publicly, but this novel was just so awesome I have to share it with the world.

The reason I love the Romance line is that I tend to be more heroine-centred than hero-centred. I also have a strong preference for heroines who are feisty, mature and confident. I like the idea of heroines who've lived a little, such as Nina Harrington's heroine in Always the Bridesmaid, also this month from M&B. Ally Blake's heroine, Rosalind Harper, has her flaws. Like all of us she has doubts and insecurities, but she is also well educated, has a kick-ass profession (she's an astro-physicist!), is well-travelled, and best of all, she's sassy.

Of course I love a good hero, too. I understand their importance in a romance novel. But I'm going to confess: I don't often fall in love with them. I like them, I can see their attractions, but if I met most of them in real life I doubt I'd swoon over them. Cal is swoon-worthy. Here is a hero who can make my heart beat faster and fuel my fantasies. He's a true Alpha male - dominant, assertive, confident, but with none of the swagger or arrogance of a Modern hero. He's flawed too, but remains kind and warm throughout.

If I haven't already sold you on this novel, then maybe this will: this novel is a guaranteed feel-good read, written in a fun and flirty style. The snappy dialogue between the characters put a smile on my face, but the style is still more than that ... Ally Blake brings a lightness to this story that is reminiscent of chick lit while at the same time having all the emotional punch that the Romance line promises.

If I can some day produce a novel as vibrant, rich and un-put-downable as this one, I'll be happy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

All Quiet on the Southern Front

I would love to say that my life has been as quiet as this blog, but in fact the last three weeks have been an emotional roller coaster ride.

So much for thinking that my manuscript was done ... my on-line crit group picked up some major flaws in my final three chapters and I've had to dig deep and do some difficult re-writing. At last it looks like it might just be strong enough to withstand the RNA reader's scrutiny, but any hope I had of sending it off well in advance of the deadline is now well and truly shattered. But as one of my crit partners wisely said, it's better to be at the back of a long queue with a better novel than rush a weaker novel to the front of the queue.

These last few weeks have been difficult for me on the personal front, but I am truly humbled by the realisation that when you make hard decisions and experience tough times, life hands out unexpected gifts to help you cope. In my case, the unexpected gifts were courtesy of Nina Harrington and Wild Rose Press.

Nina Harrington ( is Harlequin Romance's debut author. I entered a launch contest on her blog and actually won something! The bonus is that I really enjoyed her novel. Her heroine is different from the norm, with a whole life lived before her story even starts. If you enjoy Harlequin Romance, check out Always the Bridesmaid.

A couple of blog posts back I mentioned that I sent off an historical short story to Vintage Rose. I hadn't received the expected automated response, so I emailed again last week to check if it had been received. Almost immediately, I received a lovely email requesting that I re-submit - and just one day after I resubmitted, I received a request for the full manuscript.

I'm floating on air - not just because they're interested in Let's Misbehave, but also because of the charm with which they replied to me. I'm really happy I chose this publisher, if they treat all queries with the same promptness and enthusiasm.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Another late night, but tonight as I finally close the laptop, I have the satisfaction of knowing that "The Playboy Duke's Reluctant Bride" is done. It's now in the hands of my crit group and then the RNA. Time to let go.

Unexpectedly, I'm heading off tomorrow for a week-end in the bushveld. Short though the break will be, I can't wait to head somewhere a little warmer, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, somewhere I can breathe fresh air and listen to the silence. Not quite as exciting as being at the RNA conference this week-end, but the trip will go a long way to easing my regret.

Have a great week-end everyone!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I've hit Send!

This afternoon I submitted the 1920s short story I wrote last year to Wild Rose Press. Another wait begins.

So far this story has been rejected by Harlequin's Historical Undone (for which it was written) and by Samhain Publishing. I'm hoping the old saying 'third time lucky' holds true.

I was planning to only send it after I'd mailed off my full manuscript to the RNA, which is a much bigger deal as it requires so much more effort than just hitting send on an email (if only!) but somehow today just felt like a good day.

The deed is done.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I'm exhausted.

What do you give up first when you want to be a published writer but need your day job? Sleep! It wouldn't be so bad if only my girls would also sleep for the same 6 hours that I do, but no, between the two of them I'm awake every hour on the hour.

Happily the long hours spent on my novel this past week are paying off. I've received crits and done some editing, finally got over the hurdle of the black moment, and all I have left is 1,300 words in my final chapter and it will be DONE.

My intention is to mail this manuscript off to the RNA before 15th July. Then I plan to take a holiday from writing long enough to catch up on some sleep. Pure bliss! I can hardly wait.

Now if only the weather would warm up, I'd be really happy. It is so freezing cold at the moment. Winter takes South Africa by surprise by winter every year and we suffer for it. Then again, why bother to install central heating for the one month of the year that it is so bitterly cold?