Saturday, 13 November 2010

I know I write better than I navigate.

That's because my navigatory skills are non-existent.

So you see? It wasn't a boast,


I got the nicest compliment in the Penguin comp telling my I have an Austen voice...

I do so love writing those Regencies. NEver knew I had it in me until I started.

Friday, 12 November 2010

If you want to find out about omens

Look in my blog.
Why don't you check all the blogs, they're in the link.

But I am in a competition at Penguin. I received a lovely compliment. My little Regency of 1600 words had the nicest compliment. You don't have to vote. But I did receive a few compliments from people who I don't know. I didn't bother to ask people to vote for me because they are monitoring the competition quite heavily. Anyone who doesn't more or less go to read anything but one - vote and then run are being treated as suspect...

And besides, I want to know what is being felt by people reading the stories... not what my mother thinks.

But somebody said I have an Austen voice. That little compliment was worth all the tea in China. And to the person who wrote it, your little comment was like a piece of gold. Jane Austen is my hero and I'm not the only one.

The brief for the short story was very tight. It had to be for the Christmas Season. It had to be between 1300 to 1600 words. And it also had a couple of options for the basic plot. Into that I had to squeeze my little short story, give birth to characters and create the situation. The Regency desperately wanted to bust the barrier of 1600 words.

And what I discovered from a lot more than a few entries, people just don't know what a short story is. Seems they might have lost the art of it. One of the most ideal examples of what constitutes a short story is the O Henry Return of the Magi about the hair and the comb.

From comments left by people voting, on entries, the lack of knowledge of the concept of the short story is quite obvious. And some of the entries even have Chapter One or Part One or something. That isn't a short story. It's Chapter One of a novella or a novel.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Writing as an Adventure - or - Be In It To Win It

Somebody once said to me- "Oh I always meant to write when I retire."

Given the age of retirement is 65 here (recently I think, moved to 67 or something like that) that's a long time to wait to start writing. And while there are many people who don't get published until they might be that age, their motivation to write will have been with them all their lives and they should have spent many long nights writing before or after working all day in the office.

In other words a writer is born that way.

So I nod politely when people say this type of thing because they think because I can do it, anyone can. Either I look stupid, or... ah... I look stupid, full stop.

Writing is an adventure. It is painful. It is fun. It hurts. It can be triumphant. There are good times. There are bad. There are.

Advice to beginners, middlers and patient always have written hopefuls is just don't think - do. Don't plan. Just do. Don't sit down and try to plot the whole story like you were planning an overseas trip. Don't use precision and don't procrastinate. Just sit and do.

Some tips would be to carry a notebook with you at all times. You never remember good ideas. Good ideas are spontaneous little devils and like to play catch me while you can. Cheat them. Just tell them "later" and sneak it into your notebook while they're not looking.

Lucky you if you are technologically savvy. One of my writing group I am totally envious of. She puts them into her cell phone.

Another tip. Have a plot board. One of those cork jobs you can move around, throw in frustration or whatever. But pin things on it relating to a broad aim. I just tear up sheets of A4 and I can rearrange the chapters, ideas, etc. at will. This includes basic facts such as names, relationships etc.

Personally I don't do that, but some people like to answer quizzes about their characters, their aims, well... whatever it takes to motivate you, help you, grab it with both hands - every mickle makes a muckle.

Don't let people discourage you. My mother once said "oh that's just a silly romance" - "absolute rubbish". I also write and illustrate children's books and she was proud of them, but didn't realise that just because she wasn't a romantic soul, doesn't mean I needn't be one. You will probably think what sort of awful parent I have but my father once said to me "what makes you think you are so special as to anticipate you can convince somebody to like this rubbish?" again referring to my romance. Well. Given that he hadn't even read it makes it nonsense. But I don't let them discourage me because my sister once described the sort of books my father like to read then would pass them onto my mother and sister to read. She was most scathing herself. Consequently I learned to keep my own counsel as far as my parents were concerned.

Another tip. Love your characters. People don't like to read a whole book full of some nasty little nark nobody could love. You have to give them somebody to barrack for. I hope you don't hate your baseball, or footy team. Don't know about you, but Greg Norman and the old Tige got a vote of unpopularity from me because of their ego trips, leaving normal moral values hanging on the fence, forgotten.

Biggest, most important tip? Keep writing. Persevere. Thomas the Tank Engine. "I can do it. I know I can do it."

Edit, edit and edit. Make sure that what you publish will never be shamefully hidden away when you are famous. That's a bit like Marilyn Monroe's little nudie calendar done in a moment she needed some cash and haunting her once she hit the big time.

Not every day will shine for you. Good days and bad days happen. But in a way, they are good for you. Good days make you want to dance. Bad days make you (a) try harder and (b)realise what a good day you had yesterday and (c) anti ego.

Okay, enough. I'm off to write. Where are you going?

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Oh the romance of it...

Today seems to be a day of reflection. There is definitely a new story brewing in my um... head?... my fingers?... well, certainly wherever my head is at the moment.

We Rosespinners came up with a new little paranormal do do do do... did we ever say what it was to be? Well let me spill the beans....

Your job, for the next anthology, is to write approximately 11,000 words on a descendant of Phillipe Deveraux, who is presently (at the time you've set your story) in the Devon area of England. He or she has discovered the curse, and has a choice - to submit to it, or throw caution to the wind.

Stories can be set any time from 1100AD onwards, but they must be set around Devon because the land is an integral part of the curse and the family's history.

For Richer, For Poorer.
An anthology of romantic adventures through time.

1609: Nobleman Phillipe Devereaux moves to England from France after the Norman conquest. Keen to show his allegiance to King William, he takes lands in the Wessex area near Devon and sets about erecting garrisons and forts. He subdues the locals with remarkable vigour.

A local woman, Gytha of Wessex, a distant cousin to the defeated King Harold, is in desperate trouble. Her impoverished family face annihilation unless she can form an alliance with Devereaux. She approaches him with an offer of marriage – in return, she can guarantee the locals will obey her (and therefore him) and restore harmony to the land. If he refuses her, the land will rebel and she swears an oath the crops will fail.

Deveraux agrees to marry Gytha. Soon he gets her pregnant, then reneges on the formal marriage deal. In these times marriages are not a legal institution - and priests don't get involved until the 1100s - but they are binding. By remaining unmarried, Gytha's status is unsecured. At any time, Phillipe can marry someone and she could be cast out.

While pregnant with her first child, she creates a tapestry, decorating it with scenes from local life. She sews into the tapestry a curse to the Devereaux family, to last for all eternity.

Translated in today's words, the curse is an appeal to the Norse Goddess Friga (the goddess of marriage) that the richest Devereaux must marry the poorest in the land. If they do not, they will lose everything and the land will run barren.

Closest modern equivalent is 'By the will of Friga, the Deveraux lands of Wessex will turn barren and the rivers run sour, lest the richest marries the poorest.'

Phillipe ignores this curse and refused to marry Gytha. In years to come, they have four sons. Gytha dies soon after delivering the fourth. Phillipe then married a Norman woman but they have no issue. The curse is beginning. The crops begin to fail. An unusually cold winter sets in.

At the age of 18, William, Phillipe's eldest son, mounts a locally-supported revolt and overthrows Phillipe. William honours his mother's curse and marries the poorest woman in the land. Hard work soon restores the Deveraux family name to honour, and prosperity. The land produces abundant crops and the living is good.

William creates a family crest, featuring a golden dragon (common in old-English-Wessex mythology), and the motto, “Pour Plus riche, Pour Plus pauvre” For Richer, For Poorer.

William and his three brothers – Simon, Louis, and Estienne, make copies of the tapestry to pass on to future generations. To serve as a guide and a warning to future generations, showing them how they must keep the land prosperous by following his mother's instructions. If they disregard the curse, they will suffer the consequences.

In generations to come, the family name will change to Devericks and Derricks, and the ancestors will emigrate to parts of Africa, Australia and the Americas, losing their link with the Devon land and the curse.

Those remaining in the Devon area, descended from the four brothers, are the curse's captives.

Mine turned out as a rolicking Regency. As an Austen fan I came up with my own Darcy and fell in love with him.

He is itching to get published. Very itchy.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Cleaning the cobwebs

Cobwebs are those little motivational things that sometimes go missing. All sorts of reasons can be found, kids, life, work, weather, you, mental interferences, but...

there is you.

YOu have to find the times where you can take priority. Doesn't matter how long they are but they have to be about you. We all need me-time and for me that means probably putting my mind to writing. Some people have the luxury of more time than others, and probably appreciate the me-time less than those with lots of outside influences pressing them.

In the days when I had all those interferences, my time was in the early quiet times of the morning. The only movement in the house apart from me, would be the rise and fall of sleeping chests both big and small. Even the dog would be curled up fast asleep, at my feet.

Nowadays they are all grown up, and I alone have been left an eternal kid in this household. I do have more time and have to make sure I don't waste it. So what do I do?

I am finding the treadmill does create the right positive juices. It works. Really works. Exercise is good for you as a writer. We are so sedentary we writers. Our little botties can stretch to bigness unless we do and that can lead to depression. So get out of your chairs and do a few minutes of Jane Fonda like workouts. Or follow my example. Thirty minutes of mildly fast walking every day.

1,2,3,4 and 1,2,3,4...

Saturday, 3 April 2010

My To-Do List

It seems, no matter how hard I try, my to-do list never gets any shorter. If anything, it's a case of one step forward, and two steps back.

Today I had a really productive workday. I finally got all my tax stuff together, so I can call my accountant to arrange a meeting. I filled out an IRS form for one of my US publishers. I finished a proofreading job, and got my groceries ordered online. I did a load of laundry and made a scrumptious chicken stew for dinner. I had a nice long chat with my mother. A good day!

But I look at my to-do list, and for every one thing I accomplished today, there are two more waiting to be done. And it's only very far down the list that I get to something that bears a resemblance to writing my own stuff. I'm not making excuses for not doing my own writing--honest, I'm not. It gets mightily frustrating to have characters yelling at you inside your head to get a move on, and new ideas foaming over waiting to be used.

Perhaps I need to be a little less "responsible", and let some of the day to day chores wait while I focus creating for a while. I'm afraid though, how quickly my home and my life would dissolve into chaos. Sigh...I guess the only solution is to try and find some kind of balance between the two. And to realize that every day, no matter what gets accomplished, is a good day.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Juicing up on the Treadmill.

I'm trying to be good. The treadmill is behind me currently littered with dog toys. This is a sure sign that it hasn't been used for a couple of days. But I should be using it because it's good for me. When I am feeling not too hot about my writing it's because I haven't stirred up all the good brain juices that do their considerable best at making me feel better about myself... and as a consequence, like my writing.

Maybe it should be renamed what this machine really is.

A dreadmill?

Friday, 5 March 2010

When in doubt. Google.

We are so lucky in today's world of writing and writers to have the tool called Google. I used to forget it and run through my library of leather Encyclopaedia Britannica and other publications. But having finished my Securement of Greggie Donald and more recently a Regency for the anthology, I found Google so invaluable.

(Why is invaluable a word that really means valuable but as an in- word it sounds so negative???)

However, I don't rely on Google for everything. I have an extensive reference libary and in my research projects, I must say I do love my books. They sit there in physical support, hard facts and reliable. I can find things I wasn't looking for but are good to know.

But don't forget you have the internet source. It's easy enough to forget you can use that just as it's easy enough to use.

There are language dictionaries and dialect disectors. There are converters and let's face it...

if you are bored editing, then there's time to waste and waffle away the time until you get guilty enough to return to the task at hand. What is that?



Thursday, 4 March 2010

Critiquing and the art of being positive.

When I first joined a critique group, I was like a bull in a china shop. I didn't have any training for such a task and it was a frightening experience. But what really makes a good critique.

I am an author with a history in childhood publishing. It is my creating career in picture books both writing and illustration where I did learn, quite instinctively, to craft a world, a believable and credible entity, and a suitable one for an early childhood learning experience. I was learning without knowing it about GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict = Wants, because, but). I learned the story arch in a very tight situation where words cannot be wasted and illustrations cannot be mere reflections of words but actually meaningful for little the enrichment of fresh, growing, curious minds.

In my decision to jump the fence or grow up a little bit, and start writing for adults, I did it alone and innocent. Locked away in my author's tower, where Repunzel would let down her golden hair, I tap, tap, tapped away on the keys releasing characters onto the pages every day. Magical grown up people who would become my obsession and my friends.

So when I typed THE END I ventured forth into the big world and on my clumsy walk I discovered the concept of a critique group and so the story began.

I remember those early days. And what I learned in my trip through critiquing was that it is an art, between diplomacy and honesty - and a genuine desire to be helpful.

The reason I am reflecting on this is a meeting I went to yesterday. It is a network of authors which meets regularly each month to support, discuss, boast, complain, analyse and just be friends in this often rather lonely pursuit of getting published (and staying published). Yesterday at this meeting it was mentioned that a session by a panel of supposed professionals went hell-for-leather after the authors they critiqued. They were harsh, rude and took their roles as literally as possible, destroying already fragile sensibilities and that a lot of resentment had been generated in their wake.

So what makes a good critique? A good critique can only start with a good manuscript. It is not a one-sided endeavor. It is not fair to expect somebody to come up with the goods if the author hasn’t. This means that an author must basically present their best effort, in order to obtain appropriate feedback. It is not only fair but courteous. If the manuscript is not up to scratch then it isn’t a critique that is expected but should be relabeled ‘Help Wanted’ and conducted on this basis.

The critique then will be begin with a thorough reading. Looking for clarity and understanding, and flow. You should look through the m/s with encouragement in your mind. Concentrate on the positives which will expose the negatives automatically. Praise should be part of it. “Love this” can make an author feel buoyant and good. The critique should be on the lookout for ‘show not tell’, and probably also suggestions on rewording the odd sentence or two.

The trust between the critiqued and the critiquer should be very high. And not every manuscript will be identical to the next. And not every critique effort will be a compatible one.
And finally I think the self-confidence of the writer in their craft is probably important as well. This is the ability to sort out what suggestions to take on board, and what you will disregard.

It all, in the end, boils down to mutual respect.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

The Vancouver Olympics

I'm probably the least athletic-minded person on the planet, so it comes as a total surprise to me that I've actually been watching the Olympics this past couple of weeks and enjoying them. Granted, they're being held in my country, and I am fiercely patriotic, but I'm surprised at how excited I get when I'm watching. I actually had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat watching the Canadian men's team pursuit speed skaters win (my apologies if I got the name of the sport wrong) And don't even get me started on how jazzed I was to read that the Canadian women's hockey team had won gold. I actually wished that I'd caught the game (and not to sound like a bad Canadian, but I never watch hockey--I leave that to my brother.;o) ) So don't be surprised if I sit down and watch the men's game tomorrow. How thrilling--Canada vs US. I better have my tissues ready. Whether Canada wins or loses, I'm going to get weepy.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Adventures in Paradise.

Where do these characters come from? The ones inside our heads? Who are they? How much of them is in you? Or are they what you want them to be. Is that a statement or a question. As a question it's different to a statement.

It's time for all those visiting to address these thoughts and give your opinion.

Go on and tell us what you think.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

How to write a Romance Novel

I started writing romance in Nigeria when I had more time on my hands. We had a housegirl, a gardener, a swimming pool, a tennis court, a special school for our kids and for a gal that had been working her butt off to keep a husband in university, a kid in preschool so she could work her butt off, and little time to breath. Some people just sat around in this little glass bubble of expatriates. Squandering their time.

But that isn’t me. I don’t sit around doing nothing. My brain constantly buzzes and skims around for activities and thus with my trusty little blue plastic typewriter two layers of carbon paper, the pages mounted on my first romance novel. My guide was a mountain of Mills and Boon which was very popular in Nigeria for both men and women and readily available.

I also had a friend who also loved romance, and perhaps it was she that sparked the awareness of a need for writing and for the genre.

My road to romance writing halted while I took time out to study and to write and illustrate picture books for children. But, in that space of time, I think I really did learn my trade and came back to romance because by nature I am a romantic soul. And of course from the early days of little blue typewriters I was lucky enough to be part of a generation that benefited from the blessings of the computer age. Carbon paper leaves a lot to be desired.

I do love comedy and so comedy and romance sat very comfortably on my shoulders. I can watch Sleepless in Seattle and Pretty Woman ad nauseum. Love Jane Austen to distraction.

I never really thought about writing an historical novel until my brief for The Enchanted Faerie turned up. I discovered, since I have an abiding love of research, historical novels can be fun. The essential to writing historical, indeed any novel is convincing world building. The setting must be very believable. World building in any genre is terribly important because the reader must quickly forget the real world and be suspended. Next step for me is Regency. This genre lends itself so easily to my forte – comedy so watch this space.

So what are the rules of a romance? As far as I can think, they are exactly the same for any other kind of genre.

Convincing world building. . I’ve often wondered what idiot said blue and green should never be seen, only on the faerie queen. That is stupid. I’m sitting looking out the window and there’s that tree I love, and a perfectly blue sky behind it.

Lovable Characters. Second most important thing is to make characters lovable enough to want to pursue them in whatever adventure they are undertaking. Even if they really are awful, make them lovable. One doesn’t want to spend time hating the main character/s. My characters all end up as friends by the time I’ve finished a manuscript.

Consistency. Make sure your characters stay the same. I don’t mean that they can’t suddenly discover God or that they are undergoing life changing experiences, but make sure they react in a way which is believable and the way they really would behave because leopards don’t change their spots.

Be clear and precise. Plant the facts for the reader in a logical way so they don’t have to work hard to remember the plot direction. You do not want them having to double back because they’ve missed something.

Never take the reader for granted. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving romance novels. They sell more books than anything else. The reader will smell an author who is treating them like idiots from a mile. Don’t write down to the reader as if they are a moron. If you don’t like romance then don’t write romance.

All the normal needs of any novel, plot, arc and ending, goal, motivation and conflict are all important just as they are in any other kind of novel worth its salt. The basic premise of a romance is the conflict. The demands of GMC – goal motivation and conflict. This basically is translated into: He/she wants – because – but. You must have this to make a story move.

Know your target audience. If you have a specialist genre – paranormal, time travel, contemporary, comedy, suspense then of course you will have to know what publishers of that genre require. That means you should know what publisher/s you want to target. Specially important because the readers will be expecting a certain standard and they will be very tough on judging anything that doesn’t convince them in their belief systems. You are suspending belief in a believable manner and unless you fulfil this then forget writing because neither agent, nor editor, nor reader will even be slightly interested.

Probably the best piece of advice I, as a writer, has ever been given is this.

Make every work you do your best. Never just let a manuscript drift because it’s good enough. It will end up in a bottom drawer and you will cry over rejection slips. And also be your own harshest critic. Of course every time you start a new manuscript it will probably be the inheritor of your skills getting better.

Edit, edit, and edit again. Be your own harshest critic. Don’t be precious about a piece you really know shouldn’t be there. The best novel doesn’t waffle on. If you are at a party listening to a drunk waffling on about nothing you soon get bored. So what’s different about a reader?

Make sure you have a good hook system. Hooking is important because it’s grabbing the reader’s attention. First line of the novel is important, but hooking throughout the novel is also important. Between point of view changes, and chapter changes.

Which does remind me to mention the importance of establishing the main characters. I have seen some people introducing so many characters in the beginning of the novel that it’s almost like trying to remember everyone’s name at a convention in the first day.

And there’s the biggy. Show not tell. This has been discussed by aspiring writers and authors constantly. What it means is simply don’t fall into a trap of boring description. Keep the writing vital and fresh. Don’t waffle on. Let’s say the character is lighting a cigarette.

Sam wanted a cigarette so he reached into his pocket and pulled out his cigarettes and red lighter.


Sam’s craving was strong. An irresistible urge he’d been fighting since he was twenty. Fingers danced impatiently and finally gave in to the urge for a cigarette.

I don’t need to mention the pocket. That’s a given and not really important where what and how he accessed them.

So really, what I am saying is that there aren’t any special rules for a romantic novel. It is simply a genre like all novels and employing all the rules of good story writing. Weave your spell, make it magic and make the reader extremely sorry they reach the end because they love it.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Howe to Konfeuze a Speltcheker.

I am a long term lover of the development of language which is logical since I love all things written - books are very huggable.

In her excellent blog, Miss Snark's First Victim, (which you will have to Google because for the life of me, I don't know how to create an automatic link) raises her theory that there are extra vowels. I blogged on the subject myself, but for anyone reading this blog (if you aren't then you'll need a note!). Basically my comment on the extra vowels she claims as Y and W and presents her argument with which I heartily agree, I believe the rules of vowels and consonants is too one size fits all.

English is mashed potato. The rules we know today are tampered with, and made as one size fits all. They are wrong, wrong, wrong. First of all I became aware of sounds when I studied Pitman Shorthand. Without realizing it I was learning to use symbols rather than letting the printed word block my linguistic sensibilities.

Basically consonants and vowels are floating entities. Consonants are hard sounds. The ‘l’ in look is a hard sound. The ‘l’ in could is a soft sound. Of course this sound is lost on us today. But once it was a vowel sound. A crude attempt at capturing a sound it was meant to convey.

Firstly may I recommend you go directly to Amazon and order yourself a copy of THE ADVENTURE OF ENGLISH. A BIOGRAPHY OF LANGUAGE by MelvYn Bragg. He talks of English in a section on which he describes as GVS which means Great Vowel Shift. He says that printing largely fixed spelling pre GVS but that took place after the setting of words. Thus a language which is in turbulence with its printed equivalent ends in the two being out of sync.


“When properly read aloud, the fourteenth century English of Chaucer sounds strange to modern ears in a way that, on the whole, the late sixteenth century English of Shakespear does not. For example, Chaucer’s way of saying “name” would have rhymed with the modern “calm”, his “fine” with our “seen”; he would have pronounced “meet more or less as we would pronounce “mate,” “do” as “doe” and “cow” as “coo” (as it is prounced in parts of Scotland).
“In the years between Chaucer’s birth and Shakespeare’s death, English went through a process now known as the Great Vowel Shift. People in the Midlands and south of England changed the way they pronounce long vowels… (held in mouth long time) (meet, street) rather than short vowels (met, mat). Unquote.

He goes on to say on this subject that the invention of printing had an impact on language and the written word. Gutenberg in Mainz invented printing (press) in Mainz in 1453. And Caxton started printing English in 1453. The first dated book printed in England in English was Dictes or Sayengis of the Philosophres 1477. Caxton also printed romances, books of conduct and philosophy, history and morality and the first illustrated printed book in English was “The Myrrour of the Worlde 1481. Caxton worried about how to achieve a common standard. Caxton wrote “Certaynly it is harde to playse every man by cause of dyuersite & chaunge of langage. For in these dayes euery man that is in ony reputacyon in his counter, wyll vtter his commynycacyon and maters in suche maners and termes that few men shall vnderstonde theym.”

So really the vowels and consonants are loose translations for modern logics of today. They crude. Logically a consonant should be a hard sound. And a vowel a soft sound. I learned Hebrew and I find that – apart from being a neater language – its written word illustrates the vowel sounds apart from the hard sounds. Almost the way Pitman symbols do. Of course to a native Hebrew speaker they would read words out of familiarity much the same way we English speakers read and are not disturbed by words such as could, would, wrong, write etc. And understand how one mouse turns into two mice, while one house turns into two houses, but that’s another whole chapter isn’t it. Sheesh who’d want to learn English!

But basically, your suspicions on lurking vowels is very very logical and we are all heading up the garden path where the sign says THIS IS HOW YOU MUST GO AND DON’T ARGUE WITH ME. But you know better.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Graphic Novels, Mastiffs and Dribbling.

Well, might you ask, what has all of this got to do with the other?
Nothing actually, but it got you reading this hasn't it!

I've been illustrating my contribution to For Rich For Poor entitled tentatively:

L’Ermite de Blamain

My story is set in the Regency Times. I think I haven't enjoyed writing a novel more than this one. First of all, it was the first time I've dabbled in anything other than Jane Austen. And it was so much fun. And illustrating these characters was an extension of this, given that graphic novels are the new BIG THING.

The writing of a Regency is quite demanding. And I was told that Regency readers are also very fussy. Given that I am a Jane Austen fan, literature and the modern extension of her work - visual media, once I'd mastered the speech patterns, my whole concentration could fall naturally into creating authentic and believable characters. That is one of the charms of Austen. Her characters are very believable and she creates her world without using overdramatic artifice. She has a subtle way of comedy that avoids Charlie Chaplinesque overdrama.

The illustrations are being drawn in the style of cartoonists of the late 1800's. Charles Dana Gibson is an artist I absolutely adore. And as I gather my thoughts together on this day's blog, it makes quite statement on how exactly you imagine your characters when reading a novel. There is a 'feeling' of them, but you never quite see their faces. We are all used to the concept of seeing a character from our childhood experience in a picture book, but adults reading adult novels will develop that 'feel' rather than 'seeing' as one does in a movie. Of course once we have been given the picture that picture will always live with the character. Example, Colin Firth will forever be Darcy. Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh will forever be Rhett and Scarlett.

When I write I have a personal romance of my own with the characters. I fall in love with my heroes and probably put a lot of me into the one with whom they will fall in love. And, as an artist, thus being very very visual, my ability to draw will give me some added fuel in order not to desert my characters too fast once I have finished the novel.

So Estienne Devereaux, Duke of Blamain, lives on in my imagination.

By the way, in case any of you might be curious.

Blamain is an acronym for the suburb I live in in Sydney, Australia. Google the postcode and you will solve the puzzle. 2041

Damn you Colin Firth. Why couldn't you wait for Estienne. You rushed into playing Darcy so I guess Hugh Grant, you are cordially invited to...

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

belated Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day was quiet for me this year. I don't have a special someone at the moment, so no bouquets of roses, boxes of chocolates or nice dinners out. I did get a really nice card from my neighbour, who's become a good friend this past year. That was sweet. And I did get a couple of cute Valentine's emails from friends, so that was special. Oh, and my Mom called to wish me Happy Valentines. So all in all, I can't complain. I made myself a nice dinner and rented the movie "Whip It" (which sounds like a really dirty movie, but isn' It's a cute film set in the world of women's roller derby and directed by Drew Barrymore. I totally enjoyed it.

I got thinking about my favourite Valentine's Day. It was many years ago when I was young and just launched into the working world. I had a lovely boyfriend at the time, who was quite romantic. We happened to work in the same place, and he arranged a scavenger hunt for me that lasted the whole day. It started with a china rose and a note left on my desk in the morning. It directed me at break time to a cupboard where I found a lovely original poem and another note for the next break in the day. It went like this all day long. I was in a state of anticipation all day and could hardly concentrate on my duties. I found a chocolate treat at one stop, and a gorgeous thoroughly romantic card at another. My final gift was given to me that evening when my boyfriend gave me a lovely necklace I still have to this day. Unfortunately the relationship didn't last, but the memories from that exciting day linger.

Friday, 5 February 2010

turning over a new leaf

I will admit here now, publicly, that I'm the poorest blogger on the planet. I have great intentions, but somehow I always manage to drop the ball.
Part of the problem is that I have been a lifelong procrastinator. I think it's built right into my DNA. I begin projects with great vim and vigour, and at some point life interferes, or I hit a block, or my enthusiasm fizzles, and I start finding a myriad of other things that I should be doing "right now", instead of the aforementioned projects.
And thus it is with blogging. I have always been a little behind when it comes to technology. My computer still uses Windows XP, and I'm quite happy with that. I do have DVD, but not a burner. I just this year got a scanner and learned how to use it. I have a cellphone that sits in my purse, never turned on and rarely used. Facebook? Forget it. My homepage makes my head hurt, there's so much going on there. Twitter? Well, okay, once in a while I remember to Tweet, although it's hard for me to think of something worthwhile to say.
And that brings me to my other issue with regard to blogging...having something worthwhile to say. I periodically visit other people's blogs, and I am often entertained, informed, amused, surprised...And I think, I'm not near as interesting or witty as these folks. So who would want to read anything I would think to blog about?
But I'm an author, and blogging, like it or not, is one of the tools we writers use to reach our readers. So today, once more, I turn over a new leaf. I will endeavor a few times a month, to stop by and post about whatever is going on in my life at that moment...good or bad. Hopefully I won't just put everyone to sleep. ;o)