Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blog Changes

I've played around with some of the new template designs available now on Blogger in Draft, but I'm not entirely convinced. What do you think ... yes or no?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I love my dreams

Many of my stories start out as dreams. I'm grateful for the gift, but writing the stories down does have a tendency to spoil all those lovely dream emotions I wake with, as I then have to face hard reality. Suxh as, how to make something that seemed so plausible in my dreams, logical to the waking mind.

Most often my dreams are like incomplete movies playing out in my head, but the really precious ones, the ones that can influence my whole mood for a day or two, are those that I experience emotionally rather than simply watching them unfold. Is this just me, or do you also have dreams that take you through an emotional wringer too?

I had one of those dreams in the early hours of this morning. What was really special about this one is that this story wasn't just a snippet but the entire story; from the time the characters met, through their joy of falling in love, their darkest moments, until they reached their Happy Ever After. Trust me when I say that waking from a dream like that is almost impossible. I wanted to lie buried in the duvet and hang onto those good HEA vibes forever.

But at last I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed pen and paper and tried to capture the feeling. Only as I wrote I realised this story would never work as a category romance. The reason is the hero: he's the ultimate Player, whose bad boy days aren't all in the past. He's a man who drifts from one woman to the next, sometimes moving on before the previous woman is even out the door. And the dream opened with the heroine meeting his current girlfriend. Not at all suitable for an Alpha male in a category romance.

Even so, I fell in love with him. (If you write romance, you know that it's very possible to fall in love with someone who doesn't exist!) I really believe that this hero deserves his moment, so maybe I'll have to save him up for a Single Title. Because a man like this is exactly the type of hero you want to see brought to his knees by the heroine. He's the reformed rake and of course we all want to be the heroine who reforms him.

This dream was incredible not just because it introduced me to a gorgeous hero, but because it also opened my eyes to something I've never experienced first hand: The Proposal. In real life mine went along the lines of an offhand "so let's get married." At the time, the whole getting down on one knee thing seemed terribly outdated. But in the early hours of this morning I discovered the heart stopping magic of having a man go down on his knees to propose. My nameless hero even went a step further ... he offered to give up everything he had to be with the heroine, he loved her so much.

Now what waking reality can possibly measure up to that?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jessica Hart's "Oh-so-sensible Secretary"

I had one of those nights last night where I was too tired to go to bed. I had work to do for the day job that took twice as long as it should have. By the time I finished faffing, it was past 11pm. Then I didn't want to sleep because I knew I still hadn't really achieved anything. No revisions, no new writing. You know that feeling when you've been sitting in front of the computer screen for hours, searching Facebook for old friends you really have no intention of re-connecting with? It was one of those nights.

I have no idea why I did it, but at 11.30pm last night I picked up Jessica Hart's latest novel for Harlequin Romance. Just to read one chapter. The opening paragraphs weren't anything to write home about. The heroine was so uptight and obsessive compulsive, she'd think my anally empty office desk is cluttered.

Then the hero stepped onto the page. I finally put the book down at 2am.

This novel is (to use a highly over-used but super-effective word) awesome. It's the best HMB novel I've ever read. (Yes, I wrote ever). It's the best chick lit novel I've ever read. I laughed, I cried, I sighed reading this book.

Jessica Hart breaks a lot of the current HMB 'rules' with this novel. She writes in first person. There is no hero POV at all. The tone is light-hearted and at times laugh-out-loud funny. (Like the bit where the heroine describes her birth). Don't expect any dark, brooding Mediterranean heroes here.

Though there was no sex at all in this book, even behind closed doors, the chemistry between the characters sizzled from the moment they met right up to the very last page. Despite the chick lit tone, this novel had the intensity I so loved in Twilight.

Her hero is blond and blue-eyed, a sunny, charming personality, a ladies man, an outdoorsy daredevil with a crooked smile and a fear of commitment.  He's the hero I have a tendency to write, except that I don't do it half as well as Jessica. In fact, this novel could be my James and Ally novel if you re-wrote it 200 times better. This is the kind of novel that I dream of writing one day (and of course the crackling crows of doubt are laughing at me as I type this, saying "in your dreams!")

Even if you don't usually read Harlequin Romance, treat yourself and read this one. All I can say in parting, is that if this is the future of HMB, I want to be a part of it!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Enough with the travelogues

I haven't paid much attention to this blog lately, except to upload a bunch of pictures, and I hope you'll all forgive me. I'm very pleased though that it's given me the opportunity to spend time writing where it counts. And with my children; the only other thing that counts!

I've finally managed to push through the block I was experiencing on the revisions for Let's Misbehave and these are nearly complete. I hope to email them off to my editor in the next few days.

I've also finally managed to get a grasp on the story for my full length (Melissa and Enzo's story) and those word counts are now creeping upwards. Considering I've started this story five times, it's about time too!

Finally, I've started two short stories for a local writing contest, but they still need serious revisions. As soon as Let's Misbehave has been sent out, that's my next priority.

And what are you all working on, writing-wise?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Maxixe - Part Two

I had the rare privilege of also seeing the beach at Maxixe at its quietest, as we filmed there very early on a Sunday morning. Like any beach at dawn, there is a magical, almost spiritual quality, to the place.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Maxixe, Mozambique

Maxixe (pronounced Ma-sheesh) lies across the bay from Inhambane. The beach here is easily accessible by the traditional dhow boats and as a result Maxixe is a thriving fishing community. On weekdays, the beach becomes an informal market place, crowded with people and bustling with a jovial atmosphere.

I loved the women washing and gutting fish at the water's edge, and the children playing among the old wrecks.