Friday, 28 December 2007

Holiday Wishes...

I'm doing this after the fact, but I did want to wish all my fellow Romance Spinners and our visitors a joyous and safe holiday season. I'm looking forward to a new year of writing challenges and triumphs.
~Judy B.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Talking about Scottish - they eat Haggis don't they?

While they might shoot horses elsewhere... in Scotland they eat Haggis.

We were having a discussion on how to make Scotch eggs in my crit group and somehow we swung around to Haggis. If you've ever wondered how it's made then I have it in my current Work in Progress. I'm working on the last chapter and shortly to write THE END. It's set in Scotland because by the time I'd written Sharra I'd all but moved there. It was still totally inside my head and I did not want to leave the highlands, though it's a contemporary comedy.

Here's the excerpt the bold is to help you with clarity only. I really had fun with this recipe, it's just too revolting to be real, although you probably don't mind it if you wear and kilt and dinna means more to you than a meal taken at nighttimes.


"Let’s have some tea,” he said. They were back in the kitchen.

“Don’t you ever have coffee?” She sat on the kitchen table, swinging the riding boots.

“Don’t you ever sit on a chair?"

"I thought you liked me sitting on the table. It brought out the best in your imagination last night. I’d love a coffee."

"Of course you like coffee. You’re American. Yanks drink coffee don’t they? Sorry. No coffee.”

“At least I’m not in a desert.”

“But lucky for me, I have been into the dessert.”

She grinned. “What are you going to do when the dessert leaves on Thursday?”

“Have a cup of tea.”

“Brits are funny creatures.”

“Yanks are funny creatures. Here let me take off those boots.” He did. Took them out to the scullery. Brought back her the one pair of his shoes that fitted with thick socks. Slipped them on her feet. It was an intimate act.

“What’s Haggis?” she asked.

“It’s what got the Scots their name for thriftiness.” He tied the shoelaces.

“Oh? What’s in it?”

“Well, Daphne, steel ye bonnie wee stomach for this…” he poured hot water into a pot.

“Why do I have a premonition that I’m going to regret asking?”

“You take the sheep’s stomach bag…”

“You mean the stomach?” she squeamished.

“The very one. And soak it overnight.” Two mugs clinked onto the table.

“Just the thought of it makes my head reel.”

“You cook the ‘pluck’.” He grinned with teasing malicious joy while he poured the tea.

“Pluck what? Feathers?”

"No not the feathers. It’s what we term the ‘lights’; the liver and heart and you know… things… And leave the windpipe hanging over the edge so the impurities dribble out into a bowl.”

“Oh no! How revolting” She gripped her mouth in mock shock horror.

“And then you grind mutton, the contents of your ‘pluck’; onions, suet and some toasted oatmeal and salt and pepper.”

Surely he must be exaggerating! “Simply disgusting!”

Milk came out from the ancient green refrigerator. It was normal supermarket milk

“And then you fill the stomach bag with the ‘pluck’! Half way to let it swell up during the cooking of the bag.”

This is just too revolting to be true! “Stop! This is just too revolting to contemplate!”

Milk back into the refrigerator

He was enjoying himself immensely – inkwell eyes teasing glinting taking mental notes as her revulsion grew. “Sew the bag closed and boil till swollen… three to four hours.”

Sugar. Two spoons into each mug.

Yew! It’d be easier to drink urine like Gandhi… “How can you eat this shit?”

“Sure can. Robert Burns wrote an ode to it…”

He stirred the tea. The mugs clanked like twin bells off key, making a sound so welcoming and homely.

“Did he also maybe write an Ode to the Commode?”

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,”

“Sonsie?” She accepted the mug from him.

“Cheerful. Great Chieftain o’ the puddin-race! Aboon them a’ye tak your place,”

“Aboon?” It was hot. She wrapped her grateful fingers around the mug.

“Above. Painch, trip, or thairm.”

She raised her eyebrows. Sipped the tea.

“Paunch.” He banged his stomach. “Guts! Weel are ye wordy of a grace worthy as lang’s my arm.”

“You feed me that and I’m outta here even on foot.”

He put his head close to hers. “Ye pow’rs wha mak mankind your care, and dish them out their bill o’fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware…”

“Skinking?” Skanking? Scots are mad! “You mean skanking?”

“No, dirty minds in the gutter – this is poetry! It means watery.” He laughed. “That jaups in luggies.


“Splashes in porringers,” he laughed again. “But if ye wish her gratfu’ prayer,

Oh how she loved to extract that laugh from him.

He kissed her forehead. “Gie her a haggis!

And the magic kiss out of the blue lingered on her skin like a butterfly…“Was that English?”

“Sure. Since when did you Yanks think you spoke it?”

Zara needs 250,000 for an Enchanted Faerie

I guess it's a bit like getting published. People often ask me how easy is it to get published. I tell them that it's very easy. All you do is get famous, and the rest is easy.

Okay, so Zara wouldn't mind getting a Clooney. Until a year ago she barely knew who the man was because she's your average BBC watcher type - read that as she's not really big on the Ocean's eleven to 9,000. But there are a few avatars in her critique group sporting his picture like a crusader flag, and the man's simply grown on her. So from a simple word looney, with a simple 'c' stuck on the front of it spells, delightfully, deliciously, downright and any other word such as a-dorable.

So how do I go about getting myself a Clooney. Easy peasy. I just do a Paris Hilton.
You see? I don't have to do much to get there. Just wear skirts that I can barely wipe my nose with. Appear frequently at anything - even the opening of a postage stamp - speed a little and cry a little at the judge - works a treat. Fame for the sake of fame. And once I'm famous:

Hillary Clinton wants me to help her get elected.
The organisers of the Melbourne Cup, the Logies (television awards), Australian Idol, want me to do a Pamela Anderson...

mmmm I could always do a Pamela Anderson. Big patootas. Botox my lips so that I'd compete with Mick Jagger and if I ran into a window I'd be in danger of remaining there under suction for the rest of my days. But then who'd want to be Pamela Anderson.

Or... Clooney Clooney Clooney ... I could do something sneaky like... Disguise myself as Alishandra when she's out shopping in the Xmas sales and when one of the other girls come in, Heidi, Holly, Lea, EJ, Cheryl, Judy and pays me $250 thousand big ones, I get my Clooney yay!

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Hypothetical: Fundraising.

In The Enchanted Faerie each woman must come up with a hundred gold coins to pay the gypsy Alishandra Orona. Back then, that was a significant amount of money.

So Alishandra approaches you in the 21st Century and offers you an enchanted faerie. This faerie will help you find the love of your life. Her 21st Century price: US$250,000.

How do you raise the funds?

Historic Heroes, Contemporary Readers, Part II


A Man's Man vs The S.N.A.G.:
Does Eleanor of Aquitaine have much to answer for?

Eleanor of Aquitaine is credited with being the one to spread the idea of courtly love around Europe. In the idea of courtly love, the lover attempts to gain the attention and adulation of his ladylove through acts and deeds of honour and kindness.

To be soft-spoken, poetic, considerate and gentle were all ideal male behaviour in courtly love. And what a contrast from the traditional definitions of masculinity: virile, strong, brave, aggressive, stoic, logical, independent.


What an accomplishment for a woman, to take the big strong manly man and get him, of his own free will and volition, to spout the words, "I wuv you, my snuggy-wuggums."

(But the man is not some blind dupe who will follow slavishly. He cottoned on that if he puts aside all his powerful masculine traits for a brief while, and approached a woman on her terms, he'd be granted access to hidden delights he previously could only wet-dream about.)

So thus was introduced a behavioural counter to all the macho grunting, scratching and thirty seconds of uninsipring sweat in bed that most men were known for. Eleanor single-handedly introduced civil behaviour for knights towards the fairer sex. Romance was born.

Since then, women have enjoyed the sense that men were courting them simply not to get under their petticoats, but because the man admired the whole woman, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually as well as physically.

Now chicks dig this, which is why so many of them write tales of manly men who abandon their masculine traits (temporarily, of course) for love of the heroine. Then, reverting back to his masculine ways (without completely losing his sense of courtly love) he proceeds to take her to bed and prove his virility, and then cuddles her afterwards. (Chicks dig this as well.)

It's not so much the abandonment of the masculine traits a woman seeks, but rather the aquisition of a sensitivity towards the feminine needs.

We like our heroes masculine yet sensitive. We like the Mister Darcies, Colonel Brandons and Leopold Mountbattens. What we don't like are the Man's men like Mister John"Don't apologize—it's a sign of weakness"Wayne. Absolutely nobody can imagine the Duke saying, "I love you, despite myself."

Then in the late 20th Century a disturbing knee-jerk reaction permeated society: Machismo. (Personally I blame the 50's first, then the 70's.) Suddenly men wanted to be Macho men with fur on their chests and engage in the preening and strutting and fast cars and their bevy of "bitches and hoes" while eschewing any and all traits that smacked of femininity. After all, real men don't eat quiche.

Now, the macho man is nothing like the historical masculine man, who was willing to embrace the ideas of courtly love and woo a woman as a whole being and not just as a convenient [censored], and the contemporary woman missed historical masculine man very much.

Then, in a knee-jerk reaction to the knee-jerk reaction of Machismo, along came the Sensitive New Age Guy (or S.N.A.G. for short--and hey, Metrosexuals? I'm looking at you too!). Here was a guy who is in touch with his feminine side. He's sensitive (of course), thoughtful, kind, considerate, weak, limp-wristed and effeminate. While he may be appealing at first, wooing us with his empathetic sensibilities, when it comes time for his to sweep us off our feet and carry us off to the bedroom, instead of consummating our hormonal desires, he offers, instead, to go with us to couple's counselling.

(Hello! We don't want counselling! We wanna be schtupped! Where are your cojones?)

So now we have Contemporary Woman who loves the old-fashioned thought of a masculine man who is all sinewy thews, strong chins and lofty titles like "Lord Devlin, Marquis of Baddington" who will be admired greatly among his peers, ride a fine horse, fight a duel with aplomb and yet have his heard and sensibilities turned by a pair of fine eyes and finer ankles. Yes, we want him to be sensitive to our needs, but not at the expense of those lovely masculine virtues that attracted us in the first place. He must take Contemporary Woman gently into his arms, then kiss her fiercely, leaving her breathless and wanting more.

So let us give Contemporary Woman a man who is strong, virile and powerful and is intelligent enough to recognise her value as a woman, who cherishes her not just for her sensibilities, but her intelligence and also her very fine pair of bazoombas. She wants the best of all worlds. Not asking much, is she?
Eleanor may have much to answer for. She introduced us to the concept of courtly love. Now we have been spoiled.
And although Eleanor may roll her royal eyes at us, I think we will draw the line at Lord Devlin calling us "Snuggy-wuggums."

Next time: Historic Heroes--Contemporary Woman's Wishlist.

Monday, 24 December 2007


Merry Xmas to all my writing friends. To my Romance Spinners, eat well fellow spinners for ye shall be working hard in your starving attics the rest of the holidays on spinning another adventure.

And to my RWU friends, for all the support, love and help you've given me through this year.

Gee I'm lucky to have you all.

And if you are just skipping by on a visit to this site...

Merry Xmas to you too!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

How much language?

Until I wrote the Securement of Greggie Donald, I'd been writing purely in the contemporary comedy romance genre. Contemporary is used very loosely here since I do have a manuscript set in 1951. But it is still modern times compared to going back to 1687.

And not only that. It was in the Scottish Highlands. Our editor, Cheryl, who had chosen us for this anthology based on previous work she'd had from us, set the theme. A gypsy, a faerie, and the fee - 100 gold coins - the time and the place.

The challenge was to make a convincing world. And look at what a learning curve I was on...

1. Faerie mythology. Thank God for the Internet. I had a vision of Tinkerbell as a faerie. Little Disneyland Tinkerbells fluttering with a wand and spreading good will. Imagine my surprise when I looked up faeries and found the most evil bunch of little beasties imaginable. Talk about choosing the best of a bad bunch! But the idea struck me when I did look them up that set the plot into it's foundations.

2. 1687. Who's lived in this period. I haven't. I have a passion for history, and the history of costume, but that wasn't for novel building. So I had to dive into research. Luckily between my library here at home, and the Internet I was able to crash course myself into 1687. When writing this story I had to make sure I knew what the political situation was, who was King/Queen, what religious conflicts may or may not be taking place at the time, what political unrest or quiet existed. What people were wearing, specially in country areas.

3. Scottish Highlands. I've been there as a tourist. My son swore he saw the Lochness Monster. So I knew what it felt like to be there. But was it enough to be able to make a convincing world set there. And then there was the question which leads to question 4.

4. How much language? We all know that when a Scot gets going comprehension flies out the window for us mere mortals. Believe me. I had a teacher once who used to get excited. Once she got going, I'd understand more of what was going on under my car bonnet, than I did of what she was saying. But how much of this should go into a story before it gets labour intensive?

Luckily for me, I'm a fan of Jane Austen. And read many of the writers of her time and before. But being a fan of Jane Austen also means that I've collected all her DVD's as well. Excellent productions such as that of Pride and Prejudice, starring Colin Firth, the quintessential Mr. Darcy. And because it's so deliciously of a strong sense of time and place, I constantly play it, watch it study it and enjoy it time and time again. So I was able to kind of pick up the sense of moving back further into history using the speech patterns of that time.

I had an excellent list of regular Scottishisms such as 'dinna' for didn't. Canna for cannot. I worried though that the flow of comprehension would be disturbed if she could not be totally understood. I decided that constancy and repetition would be my tools in making sure that the reader would understand her as I did. Thus she would eventually say things such as:

"Sing for me. I have need to be happy."

"Is that all ye'self be wantin'?"

"Aye 'tis all I be wanting."

"And what would ye'self be wantin' me tae sing?"


"Nay. Dinna tell her. She wouldn't care naehow."

"More's the pity she lets ye'self loose with ye wild ways, Sharra Akasha."

Sharra pouted.

"And who's the boy ye've decided is your one true love?"

"Greggie Donald."

Friday, 21 December 2007

Historic Heroes, Contemporary Readers - Part I

The Enchanted Faerie is a historical romance, taking place in the late 1600's. I and my fellow Spinners did a bit of research about that period in time--language and clothing, coins and kings. We wanted our details to be as accurate as possible.

Yet one thing had to remain "un-historical". We were writing for a contemporary audience. Therefore, if we wanted our heroes and heroines to appeal to them, we had to step outside of the pure historical framework and give our characters subtlely contemporary characteristics.

It's an interesting balance. Just how "historical" can one get before one loses the audience? Sure, we think about the language we use (and hope we have avoided vocabulary and grammatical structures that didn't exist until the 20th century) but what about the social mores? We pay homage to them, but do not embrace them fully.

Picking on poor Marian: first of all, if the story of Robin Hood (as told by Foz and Dom) had been an accurate historical event, she would not have been offered the choice of spouse, but Sir Edward would most likely have arranged her marriage for her, preferrably with a man who was of their social class or better.

Pre-Crusades, her marriage with Robin, Earl of Loxley might very well have been arranged. He was a wealthy lord with lands and a title.

Post-war, the matter would have been very different indeed. Robin lost his lands and his title. But all's not lost in Nottingham. There's fresh blood in town, a knight by the name of Gisborne. He may be a lord displaced by Norman conquests, but he is rich, he is ambitious, and he is now in possession of Loxley lands. Not only is he single, he's virile. (And probably the only person in RH that we know for sure is getting any action.)

Gisborne would have wanted to marry the ex-Sheriff's daughter. Sir Edward had position, status and respectability. Sir Edward may have accepted Gisborne's offer. While he may have had no family connections, he was strongly connected to Vasey the current Sheriff, was independently wealthy and looked to soon gain the Loxley lands, if not, eventually, the title.

A knight for a knight's daughter? You betcha. So what if Marian didn't love him? Who cares? Among the gentry and nobility marriages were not contracted for love, but as business arrangements, political alliances and social climbing. If it happened to be a love match, that was a bonus.

When we think of marriage, we think of romance, not business. Even Anna Nicole Smith claimed her marriage to gazillionaire J. Howard Marshall was a love match. But in historical times, everyone--including herself--would have accepted for fact that she married him for money and not bat an eye.

Now, in the 20th/21st Century, pretty much most marriages in the English-speaking Western world are contracted primarily because they are love matches (or at least lust matches, some of them). That is how the average contemporary reader of romance thinks. They want the love. They want that deep post-orgasmic satisfaction of HEA.

So, wanna write an historical romance for a contemporary audience? Get your details as accurate as possible, except for one: drop the costume-nazi concept of marriage as business contracts to second tier and be sure to include the oh-so-very-unhistorical idea of love first and foremost.

It is the one blatantly inaccurate thing you readers will completely forgive you.

I wonder... if Alishandra had given Marian an enchanted faerie, would it have led her to Robin or to Guy?

Next time: A Man's Man vs The S.N.A.G. Does Eleanor of Aquitaine have much to answer for?

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

5 Cures For Writer's Block...

Writer's block.

A horrible debilitating disease that strikes writers of every genre, of every kind, at the most inopportune times.

  • You spend hours staring at a blank screen and blinking cursor.
  • Tapping your fingers along the edge of the keyboard, but never really hitting any keys.
  • Making faces at the screen as you try to force thoughts to break through the block.
  • After several hours, perhaps days of the above you curse the computer and silently wonder if you have what it take to be a writer.

Those are only a few of the symptoms I have experienced personally. I am sure you can think of others that plague you from time to time.

Some writers don't believe writer's block exist. That it's all in one's head. I haven't decided whether this is true or not, because the block is obviously in your head. Perhaps there is some truth to that statement. Writing blocks don't occur out of the blue. They stem from somewhere, I think.

We're busy with day to day life. Family, day jobs, house work, bills, or the latest rejection letter from a publisher or agent. Take your pick. All these things, and then some, bog us down. Exhaust are bodies and brains.

Whether it's a figment of our imaginations or a real "disease" striking us out, there are ways around it. There are things we can do to try and remove the block and continue on with our stories.

I'll list a few cures that I hope you'll find helpful. If they produce little to no help, try typing "writer's block" into Google and you'll find, literally, hundreds of articles.

Cure #1.

100 Words a day- You can pick any number of words. 100, 300, 1,000, etc. After you've chosen your word count make an conscious effort to write that many words a day. Every day. They can pertain to your current work in progress or not all. The point is you're writing. They do not have to be spectacular words. Just words. Go with the first thought that pops in your head. You never know, you may just work out that road block in your plot. Or you may find a new story that has been brewing beneath the surface.

Cure #2.

Book in a week- Similar but different from 100 words a day. No, it's not actually entire book in a week. (There is a great workshop coming up January 7th, 2008 from Outreach Romance Writers on writing a a rough draft in a week.)

For BIAW you set a goal for yourself. 1 chapter, 4,000 words, outline a scene/chapter, etc. Give yourself seven days to complete the goal. This works great when you can get others to join you. You, then can report your daily progress and cheer each other on. Again, with BIAW, just write. Keep writing! You'll flesh your way though the block. A word or a sentence you type will trigger your next great scene. At the very least you purge your mind of the garbage clogging your creative process.

Cure #3.

Journaling- Everyone does this differently. Some journal by hand or at the computer, but typically it's done in the morning. If you're anything like me, your most productive time is after 11pm.- so do it then. Write in a journal for twenty minutes everyday. Morning is suggested because you can use it to start your day. Your mind is fresh and usually for most households this is a quiet time. (before the kids are awake or after the kids are off to school.)

You sit where you are most comfortable, in a zone where your creative processes are free to roam. Then you just write. For twenty minutes. Don't stop. A full twenty minutes. If you can't manage twenty minutes in the morning, then adjust. Ten minutes. Whatever time frame you choose, make it strictly writing time.

Cure #4.

An idea book- Most writers, I think, keep one of these. A notebook where you write down all those miscellaneous thoughts that enter your head that you don't want to lose. Snippets of dialogue or setting. A character name or conflict. Flip through your idea book. It may ignite your the much needed chain of words. If you don't have one these, I recommend starting one. They are great to have.

Cure #5.

Fiction generators- There are so many of these online. With some of these website you type in characteristics of a character and it spits out a name. Some are just random. Granted some of these names are a little "off the wall" but they may be just what you need to work through a bout of writer's block.

Behind the Name - Random names.

The Elvish Name Generator - Fantasy character.

Language is a Virus - This one gives you name generators, random text, poem engines and a ton more to kick start your creativity.

Try one. What have you to lose?

If the above doesn't help try Mitchelaneous. This website gives 50 cures for writer's block.

You'll work through your writer's block. I promise. It doesn't last forever. You're a writer.

Happy writing!

Until next time,


P.S. After you've pushed through your writer's block check out my other blog for 5 ways to build a character.


What makes people laugh. Different strokes for different folks. I was reading a book of comic verse. And realised that what made people laugh in 1500 is different to what makes people laugh today.
And it's a geographical thing as well.

But it occurred to me that there is a phenomena today called "Funniest Home Videos". This is a collection of the most unfunniest videos - where people are supposed to find a child falling out of a highchair, or a bride falling into her wedding cake, face first, or a woman emerging from a ladies room, skirt firmly tucked into panties to be screamingly funny.

But then thinking about it, I realised that we've always had a laugh at other people's expense. That is an essential basic element of humor. Just that some is more subtle than others. Charlie Chaplin bottled it.

Maybe there is no explanation for what makes one laugh. Example look at what makes me laugh.


Spring is sprung,
Duh grass is riz
I wonder where dem boidies is.

Du little boids is on duh wing -
But dat's absoid:
Duh little wing is on duh boid.


Monday, 17 December 2007

Bad boy vs. Good boy

George Bernard Shaw wrote the ultimate bad boy. Rex Harrison played him most delightfully. And there was a good boy too. Poor Freddy. But we all wanted Eliza Doolittle to get the bad boy. She did and she didn't. But look at how both writers handled their endings. Mitchell ended by implication. George B carefully added an addendum to his play by assuring us that Freddy got the girl. Spoiled the dream.

There is something about bad boys that attract us in fiction. Good guys don't make it. That's why the writers struggle with Robin Hood. We all have a fascination with bad boys. Of course I'm not mixing up bad boys with evil boys. Evil boys in fiction were designed to be caught and killed. Which satisfies the lust for blood.

Bad boys are bad but slightly redeemable. Fiction thrives on bad boys. Writers thrive on bad boys. Drama thrives on bad boys.

But good boys get the comedy.

Comedy loves good guys. George in Seinfeld. Everybody Loves Raymond... Frasier

Robin Hood struggles with one dimensionalism. He's like a flat diamond. All glass and no reflection. Maid Marion is left with a tragedy of 'why the hellism' and Sir Guy gets to go deeper and deeper - he's the diamond - multi faceted with lots of color to explore, shines in the dark.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Sighing after the bad boys...

It's true that there's a real appeal in the "bad boy"...the ones your mother always warned you about. I have to admit to this kind of dreamy eyed fascination myself throughout my adult life. Think of Heathcliff, for example. He really was a bastard if you look at him closely...but oh, what a delicious, dreamy bastard, at least as played by Sir Lawrence Olivier. Something about those brooding dark looks just got my engine running. :o) So yeah, I could totally see turning the bad boy into the hero in a romance. It would fulfill all those ideas that misguided women (myself included) have that they can somehow save these guys from themselves.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Sinfully Bad, Simply Gorgeous

But to be the devil's advocate, can we turn a bad man into a hero...

I say we can. That is where we can get some delicious conflict into our stories. For instance, how can we take Heidi's look here Sir Guy, he, the one Maid Marion has forsaken for want of the rather wimpish Robin Hood.

The Fair(ly dark haired) Maiden might forsake Sir Guy and everything she knows and understands, to go live in the forest with a load of well meaning hairy blokes. But all they know and understand is bad jokes. If they had television, it'd be stuck on the sports channel. Their favorite past-time is shooting arrows at trees. Like dah! There are mosquitoes in the mossy glen. In winter it snows. And she's still eating Sir Guy's deer, but charcoaled instead of gently prepared in great kitchens in the bowels of his castle... And Robin, he who she has held so close to her heart hardly ever looks at her.

THIS IS NOT the same Robin she has hitherto loved. He's a sodding selfish little wimp who complains all the time. He's not doing the rob the rich to give to the poor thing for altruism. He's a wimp and needs a crutch to show off with. And it all gets put into perspective as:

In the dark of night she remembers the flashing eyes of Sir Guy. The lust and the sheer force of his personality. And the strength of his convictions. And what she had misinterpreted as acts of brutality were, indeed, for the good of all, not just a chosen few. And...

Examine the bad guy Rhett Butler. Now we got Rhett the flashing dark eyes and the lust and the romance. We got the pheremones in soup ladels, all of which we (Scarlett) spurned for ... yes Ashley (Robin Hood). And there was Rhett all along, the ultimate bad guy.
Didn't sign up to fight 'the cause'. Gun Runner, ammunitions - made heaps of money doing it. Whoring around the place with Belle Watlins. Bribing his way out of jail by cheating at cards. Why that man didn't even come home with Scarlett and Melanie and her snottie nosed little toad. Instead the man had the hide to steal a kiss from her then dash back into the flames of Atlanta! So how do you turn around a bad guy like that?

So you see? You can make a bad hero good.

What makes a bad hero?

Heidi has given us a great list of attributes about what makes a great romantic hero.

I think we should also examine what makes a bad hero, or what kind of heroic types really don't fit the romantic mould.

Politicians. I love politics, but it's not my life. By his or her nature, a politician must live, breathe and eat politics. That doesn't leave much room for the love interest. In romance, the love interest must take over their lives because their love is so damn important everything else is cast in shade.

Sports Jocks. For the same reasons as politics. There are a few sporting types who can put a few words together, but most of them are meatheads who devote their whole lives to sports. Once again. Girlfriends and wives take a back seat.

Drug users. Even reformed ones. Again for the reason that the love interest will always come second best. A person can have sworn off the booze because they once did a stupid thing and they've since reformed. That's OK, but anything more than that turns the novel into a drugs issue, rather than romance novel.

Cruel people. Dovetails neatly into Heidi's comment about not kicking puppies. Seriously, people who hurt animals are sick.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Well today is a red letter day.

Zara Penney went up on the Authors list for The Wild Rose Press. I'm the last one. Is that good? Well the only other way would be to call myself Aaaaaadvak and the readers would probably think I'm descended from Vikings.

We are already discussing the next project.

Interesting that less than a year ago I didn't even think that we'd be linked so well and truly in life as a group on a journey of discovery with each other. I'm very glad this happened and this particular entry I dedicate to the day when this blog is read by somebody who read and was curious about us.

Welcome to you and look out for more romance and adventure.

And thankyou for visiting us.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Talking about 1678

George Farqhuar was born in 1678...

It's called TRIFLES.

A trifling song you shall hear;
Begun with a trifle and ended.
All trifling people draw near,
And I shall be nobly attended.

Were it not for trifles a few,
That lately have come into play;
The men would want something to do,
And the women want something to say.

What makes men trifle in dressing?
Because the ladies, they know,
Admire, by often possessing,
That eminent trifle, a Beau.

What mortal man would be able
At White's half an hour to sit,
Or who could bear a tea-table,
Without talking of trifles for wit?

The Court is from trifles secure;
Gold Keys are no trifles, we see;
White rods are no trifles, I'm sure;
Whatever their bearers may be.

But if you will go to the place
Where trifles abundantly breed
The Levee will show you his Grace
Makes promises trifles indeed.

A coach with six footmen behind,
I count neither trifle nor sin,
But, ye gods! how oft do we find
A scandalous trifle within.

A flask of champagne, people think it,
A trifle, or something as bad;
But if you'll contrive how to drink it,
You'll find it no trifle, egad!

A parson's a trifle at sea,
A widow's a trifle in sorrow;
A peace is a trifle today,
Who knows what may happen to-morrow?

A black coat, a trifle may cloak;
Or to hide it, the red may endeavour;
But if once the army is broke,
We shall have more trifles than ever.

The stage is a trifle, they say;
The reason, pray carry along;
Because at ev'ry new play,
The house they with trifles so throng.

But with people's malice to trifle,
And to set us all on a foot;
The author of this is a trifle,
And his Song is a trifle to boot.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

What makes a good romantic hero?

For the Enchanted Faerie, each author was given a character and a situation (the Gypsy Alishandra Orona charging each heroine a hundred gold for the use of the faerie). As these are tales of romance, that meant we had to come up with a hero.

We had to consider what elements make for a good romantic hero:

1. In the end, he must love the heroine.

That is not to say he must start out loving her. He could start out hating her, and then come to the realisation that it's not hate but love he feels. Or it could be that he loves her from the beginning but needs to convince her. Whatever happens, by the time the story ends, there can be no doubt that he recognises and acknowledges that he loves her.

And we're not talking that he's made her his lust puppy to be turfed out of bed the next morning without a second thought. We're talking the deep, abiding love. Agape, as well as eros. (Okay, maybe there's a lust-puppy moment, but we know he'll be coming back!)

2. He must have at least one quality that appeals to the readers.

And it doesn't have to be that he's extremely handsome. Rochester from "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë is a plain looking man who suffers some disfigurement later, but that doesn't stop us from wanting him to get the girl in the end. Dashing heroes may look well on the silver screen, but on the printed page, it's the other aspects of his character that come forth.

He could be deeply intelligent, he could be a risk-taker, he could be patient (or not, depending on how he is portrayed). He could have a rarely-shown sensitive side and be good to his mother. Perhaps his quality is fidelity, either longstanding or newly-discovered.

Now, we all know what makes for a good man in real life, the sort of man you want to marry and keep forever, but those qualities aren't necessarily found in a good hero. Often he'll use, abuse and lose the heroine sometime in the story, end redemption notwithstanding. You may find one or two (or ten or twenty) of your personal "Husband Qualification List" items absent in many a good romantic hero.

This is fiction, honey! We don't require that we'll know he'll be able to hold a steady job or that he'll be a good father to the children. He's just gotta catch our attention with his one good, redeeming quality and make our blood burn.

But if we can't understand what the heroine sees in him, we ain't buying it.

3. He must be ambitious.

You might not have considered this, but think back on all the romantic heroes you've read. How many of them were slack bastards? Not many, if that. Whether Duke or Doctor, Pirate or Politician, we like a hero with drive.

Our hero is a man who knows what he wants then he goes and gets is. (Hopefully one of those things is the heroine. If not, she'll convince him in the end.)

Part of that ambition is that he's off in the story doing stuff. He's not sitting around waiting for things to come happen to him. He's not a fop or a loser. We like a carpe diem-type of guy. He makes the plot move, provides conflict, intrigue and excitement.

4. He must not kick puppy dogs.

This is a given.

So it's my turn...

What are your favorite books from childhood?

Blinky Bill. Dorothy Wall.
The Gumnuts, Bib and Bub, by May Gibbs. In fact when I grew up I was on the Committee to save her house on the foreshore of Sydney.
My mother has a book, it's full of fairy tales and illustrations. We were only allowed to touch it on days we were sick and had to stay in bed. It was a bribe to stay there, but played a big part in my future direction into children's literature and creating them.
and of course -Little Lord Fauntleroy

...Cedric had gone into the store to rest, and had found Mr. Hobbs looking very fierce over a piece of the Illustrated London News, which contained a picture of some court ceremony.
"Ah," he said, "that's they way they go on now; but they'll get enough of it some day, when those they've trod on rise and blow 'em up skyhigh, earls and marquises and all! It's coming, and they may look out for it!"
Cedric had perched himself as usual on the high stool and pushed his hat back, and put his hands in his pockets in delicate compliment to Mr. Hobbs.
"Did you ever know many marquises, Mr. Hobbs?" Cedric inquired - "or earls?"
"No," answered Mr. Hobbs, with indignation; "I guess not. I'd like to catch one of 'em inside here; that's all! I'll have no grasping tyrants sittin' 'round on my biscuit-barrels!"
And he was so proud of the sentiment that he looked around proudly and mopped his forehead.
"Perhaps they wouldn't be earls if they knew any better," said Cedric, feeling some vague sympathy for their unhappy condition.

Ahhhh and there's Ceddie - little earl in waiting.

2. When did you start writing romance?

Twelve. I wrote about ten chapters of a book that looked remarkably like Gone with the U-no-wot.

Seriously though, it was two years ago. I had children's book manuscript I did not want to illustrate. I suddenly thought, I'd love to write something for big people. I want to fly and stretch my wings and not think about illustrations! So I did. And found that because I'd been writing children's books and the discipline of writing them, that I was so much better than I'd ever been. And loving it. Of course I write comedy. And I'm a hopeless romantic, who can watch Sleepless in Seattle umpteen times and Pride and Prejudice so many times without getting tired of them... of course I would tend to write romantic comedy.

3. If you ran the world for a day, what would you do?

I'd send them all off to their bedrooms for a day to think about it.

4. Who is your favorite romantic hero?

Darcy of course.
And Heathcliffe.

5. Complete this sentence... There is nothing more important in life than...

thinking of the positive.

6. How do you find the time to write?

It finds me. When it needs to be written it gets written. Life does have a way of getting in the way. And yes it's frustrating. When my kids were little, it was late nights, all my own. But now they are big. And I'm lucky enough to have a very supportive dh. So my nights have turned into day. I have a little puppy under my feet. A thermos on the desk left beside my orange juice prepared by my husband before leaving for his work, and I write.

Having said that though, internetting does get in the way. But it also keeps me company. So between my characters and my internetting activities, my day goes way too fast.

7. What books are you reading now?

Reading a few. Just two days ago I went to an exhibition, currently in Sydney. Diana's clothes and memorabilia from her childhood and Princesshood. I actually found the whole thing rather sad and poignant. And I've always admired her ability to rise above that family and survive it despite their lack of support. Especially in her ending. So I'm reading some of the books I bought after the exhibition. I tend to read history. And I'm also reading a few other books, mostly romantic comedy... I was told my style is kind of Briget Jones meets Cruisie - so I set out to read them...

8. I'm going to add a question of my own. What's my current WIP?

I enjoyed this anthology so much, the writing of it. With a brief set by our editor, we set out on adventures to find our heroines their loves... and it was set in 1678, and it was set in the Scottish Highlands, and it was a faerie story, and it was so outside of my conscious writing experience that I enjoyed it. So I didn't want to leave the area in a hurry, and therefore started a story still set in the highlands. This one is aiming at the 50-60,000 word market, comedy/mystery, and is finished but for the last chapter.

I have an appetite for another historical though.


Holly's Questions and Answers

1: What are your favourite books from childhood?

The Littles by John Peterson. As I got a little older I read novels by V.C Andrews.

2: When did you start writing romance?

About three years ago. Unless the dramatic poems of my teenage years count...

3: If you ran the world for a day, what would you do?

That's a whopper of a question. :-) I'd plan a world wide conference for today's youths and do my best to encourage and instill a sense of confidence that they can do great things to better their futures. Too ensure it wasn't a wasted conference I find a unique way to make sure they walked away with that ever-lasting feeling of self importance.

4: Who is your favourite romantic hero - real or otherwise?

Mr. Darcy in the end of the "new" Pride and Prejudice movie when he says to Lizzy.. "I will have to tell you, you have bewitched me body and soul. And I love... I love... I love you."


Matthew Perry in Fools Rush in When he says to Selma Hayek, "You are everything, I never knew I always wanted."

And Johnny Depp in Chocolat.... because well... he's Johnny Depp.

When it comes to novels, I don't think I've read a medieval hero I didn't love, my particular favorite is the MacKelter Brothers from Karen Marie Monings The Kiss of the Highlander and The Dark Highlander. And Adam Black in her The Immortal Highlander- Bad guy going good--- doesn't get any better than that.

Real life romantic hero- My hubby does a pretty descent job. :-)

5: Complete this sentence. There is nothing more important in life than......?

My children.

6: How do you find time to write?

Good question. I'll let you know when I figure it out. LOL!
Really, I usually stay awake until the wee hours of the morning when the house is quiet, TV is off and all I hear is the soundtrack I chose to listen to while writing. Other times I write bits and pieces through the day, when I can tune out the noise around me.

7: What book/books are you reading now?

Kingley MacGregor's Return of the Warrior.

Scotland: The History of a Nation (this is a "read a small section at a time" book. A lot of great info to take in.)

The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers by Christopher Vogler. (I've been milking this one for a while.- but it's a great book.)

Saturday, 8 December 2007

1: What are your favourite books from childhood?

"The Girl With the Silver Eyes" by Willo Davis Roberts has to be my absolute favourite.

2: When did you start writing romance?

When I was a teen. I'd been writing SFF since my age was in single digits, but I had to become a teen to understand the lure of Romance.

3: If you ran the world for a day, what would you do?

a. Say, "Muahahahah! I rule the world!"
b. Get down to the serious business of ruling the world for a day.
c. Ensure adequate education was freely available to everyone in the world, including financial stipends to students who might be in the position of having to choose between school and a job because they need the income.
d. Possibly use my vast global influence for my personal benefit once or twice (in a benevolent way, of course).
e. Live extremely luxuriously for a day.
f. Be glad, on the morrow, that I ruled the world for only one day. I don't think I could do it continually.

4: Who is your favourite romantic hero - real or otherwise?

Anyone here not cognizant of my adoration of Richard Armitage? I love him best as Guy of Gisborne, then I love him as Harry Kennedy in "The Vicar of Dibley", then I adore him as John Thornton in "North & South". If you haven't seen any of these, you are missing out big-time, especially "North & South", possibly one of his best performances.

5: Complete this sentence. There is nothing more important in life than......?

Realizing one's purpose in life and acting to fulfill it.

6: How do you find time to write?

When I had a part-time job and no children, I wrote when I wasn't at work. When I had a full-time job and no children, I wrote for an hour, each way, on the bus to/from work. When I had a part-time job and one child, I wrote in the afternoons. When I was pregnant, I couldn't write at all, even to save my life. When I had a part-time job, two daughters, a dozen music students and a house that needs cleaning, I have little time for writing.

I wrest it from the children from time to time, I'll time-share it from my job, if it's a quiet week, I'll steal it while in bed with a laptop and I'll often forgo watching TV or some other unproductive leisure activity. However, until the daughters are a bit older, I don't have nearly enough writing time for my happiness.

But I can be patient.

7: What book/books are you reading now?

I'm currently working my way through Amanda Quick's work. I like her style with it's touch of humour.

questions for the Spinners

Okay, here's my stab at answering the questions.
Judy B.

1: What are your favourite books from childhood?
I was an avid reader as a kid, but remember loving the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy books a lot.

2: When did you start writing romance?
Not until I was into my 40's...I wrote my first romance novel in the early 90's but it wasn't published until 2000.

3: If you ran the world for a day, what would you do?
Work hard to spread tolerance, understanding and acceptance worldwide....and throw some major support behind AIDS research

4: Who is your favourite romantic hero - real or otherwise?
Ahhhh, Heathcliff...I remember the first time I saw Wuthering Heights with Olivier...I was stunned and sat through two showings in a row...instant heart-throb.

5: Complete this sentence. There is nothing more important in life than......?
living it to the fullest and treating each day as a gift.

6: How do you find time to write?
I make the time. It's as simple as planting the butt in the chair. It helps that I'm retired from my day job.

7: What book/books are you reading now?
I just started the Golden Compass trilogy. And I'm reading the On Purpose Person. I just finished Elaine Corvidae's Heretic Sun and can hardly wait for the third book in the trilogy to be released.

Can't wait to see what everyone else has to say. J.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Some curly questions for the Spinners

Seriously, I'm not procrastinating just because I need to do a bank reconciliation...
I think our future readers would be really interested to know the following about us:
(Apologies for the Australian spelling, I can't help meself!)

1: What are your favourite books from childhood?
2: When did you start writing romance?
3: If you ran the world for a day, what would you do?
4: Who is your favourite romantic hero - real or otherwise?
5: Complete this sentence. There is nothing more important in life than......?
6: How do you find time to write?
7: What book/books are you reading now?

OK Ladies, go for it! Click on "Edit Post" and add your answers.

I'll get the ball rolling
1: What are your favourite books from childhood?
The What-a-Mess series by Frank Muir, who later became my pen-pal. He was a wonderful person.

2: When did you start writing romance?
Fairly late in the piece. I love writing science fiction, but found I wanted to explore relationships more and get to know characters. I love working out what makes people tick.

3: If you ran the world for a day, what would you do? 
Ban coal and make solar power free.

4: Who is your favourite romantic hero - real or otherwise? 
I do love The Princess Bride, and it's a toss up between Wesley (as The Dread Pirate Roberts) or Inigo Mantoya.

5: Complete this sentence. There is nothing more important in life than......?
Hugs. (I know, how sentimental!)

6: How do you find time to write?
I send everyone else away. Then I do my best to ignore the bomshell that is my house and make myself sit and type.

7: What book/books are you reading now?
Anne Oliver's The Ex Factor. Nicola Marsh's Purchased for Pleasure and Margaret McPhee's The Wicked Earl. I also want to re-read Phillip Pulman's Northern Lights before I go see the movie The Golden Compass. That was a beautiful book, truly lyrical and full of dark magic.

How great is this story?

The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense. - Tom Clancy.

It doesn't get much better than this. Missing British canoeist turns himself into police claiming no memory of the past five years. Wife has since moved to Panama and claimed the life insurance money. She's now failed to rock up to Heathrow (her plane had a brief stopover in Madrid...). Now one of the sons is missing and he's left behind a coded notebook for the girlfriend.

Yet if we wrote a story like this in a novel, people would throw the book against the wall and say "as if!" hahahahah.

Monday, 3 December 2007

As Good As Gold

I'm Heidi Kneale and I write the character Daywen Athalia of Beltane.

I'm one of the several Australians here, but I can also claim an American heritage. (American-Australian?)

I'm primarily a Science Fiction and Fantasy writer, but have a soft spot for Romance. I adore cross-genre work, so The Enchanted Faerie suits me rather well. (Now that I think about it, most of my sold fiction does deal with romance as a major theme. Who'd a thunk?) I also write comedy (with a few award-winning musical comedies under my belt), and this streak towards a subtle chuckle is evident in my story, "As Good As Gold".

I am also responsible for Lachlan the Blacksmith, for which I am very sorry (or not).

As EJ has an understandable fondness for Peter Petrelli, I confess my weakness for Guy of Gisborne (in BBC's Robin Hood), played by the gorgeous Richard Armitage, who makes an excellent romantic hero, in nearly everything he does.

It is interesting watching this BBC series. Unlike Heroes, where anything can happen, Robin Hood is constrained by a pre-existing supertext. We all know about the "Rob From the Rich, Give to the Poor", and that Robin Hood's love interest is one Maid Marian.

With the coming of this latest interpretation of the 800-year-old legend, are our women going ga-ga over weedy little Robin? No, their eyes are firmly upon the baddie, evil Sheriff of Nottingham's lieutenant, Guy of Gisborne.

Gisborne has set his sights on Marian, and for the most part, a significant number of fans are willing to support him in his ambition.

Now, had this been a standalone story without a reputation to live up to, the love story could have easily gone Guy's way.

  1. Richard Armitage plays the character very well. And yes, like Peter Petrelli, Guy gets his shirt off--several times--in the second season. (No peaches, though.)
  2. Guy is not a cardb0ard character. Sure, he started out that way, but he certainly didn't end up that way. As episodes progressed, we started seeing a softer side to Gisborne. He's actually kind to women (and honours his late mother). Sometimes he hesitates when faced with a moral dilemma. He forgives the fickle Marian (okay, maybe after burning her house down, but he does apologise for that, and other sins, later).
  3. There is the genuine potential for him to turn good, or at least, to free himself from the yoke of the Sheriff, and become his own man. There is no evidence that Guy has been mismanaging Locksley in Robin's absence, nor unduly abusing the tenants. Perhaps his sense of nobility will win out in the end. Maybe he'll convince Marian that, as a man of wealth, means and power (not to mention looks gorgeous in black leather), he'd be an ideal husband.

Or maybe not. The legend of Robin Hood just doesn't go that way.

What a shame. Because Robin is not being portrayed as deep a complex character the way Guy of Gisborne is. Robin doesn't struggle with inner demons. Robin doesn't yearn for the heroine. He and his mates run around Sherwood forest having little-boy adventures and getting in and out of scrapes with a light-hearted pluckiness. What on earth does Marian see in him?

Part of writing a romantic hero is making him appealing, and not just in looks. One must consider his character, motivations, and in the case of historical fiction like The Enchanted Faerie, of a certain position and social status.

Money helps.

As does a burning love, or at least, desire, for the heroine.

Can one believe that Marian and Robin are destined for great love? If one ignores the supertext, their relationship is nothing more than a teenage crush. Those of us with romantic hearts know that there must be more to love than the hormonally-spawned adolescent awkwardness these two display.

We want passion. We want desire. We want near-obsession, and a dead certainty that without the other, life is a bleak and desolate landscape.

So, has anyone explained how the faerie works?

Sunday, 2 December 2007


It's official - The Wild Rose Press are contracting The Enchanted Faerie anthology!

No release date at this stage, but we'll keep you informed. Oh, and in the process, they invited me to become one of their editors. How wonderful!

Keep checking back for our release date, which we hope to have soon.


Welcome to Romance Spinners

Hello everyone.

My name is Lea Schizas, one of the contributing authors to this awesome anthology. We all have Cheryl Wright to thank for bringing us together. In the process, we've forged yet another cyber connection we may never have found if it wasn't for our dear editor, Cheryl.

My contributing story is titled, "Night of The Gray Sky" and can't tell you how exciting and eager I am to see our collection published.

I am the author of the Young Adult fantasy/adventure, "The Rock of Realm", and the paranormal suspense/thriller, "Doorman's Creek". You can find more information on me and my books here:

Lea Schizas

Friday, 30 November 2007

Works for me

I'm a huge Heroes fan - I even like the second season!

Perhaps the reason I haven't noticed volume 2's slow pace, is because Peter Petrelli keeps finding ways to get his shirt off. (Do you think I could find a photo of that? Come on interwebs, help me out).

Here he is, looking like he could either make you a latte to die for, or blow up the world. He could very well be wearing one of those badges that says, "51 % friendly waiter, 49 % rogue arsonist, don't push it".

However, the real Peter - actor Milo Ventimiglia - doesn't work for me. I mean, good on you for being vegetarian. You're helping the environment by not adding to the massive global demand for meat... but *sigh* it's just not for me. 

Zooming in to Spinners

Hi. I'm Zara Penney. I'm a writer from forever. Although I have worked and been published in a totally different genre - children as a both a writer and illustrator - I am new to writing for grown ups. Well lets say, not exactly new, but my time was taken up with other efforts.

One day though, I stood in the shower and a line came through to me, it was a new muse. The grown up muse that wanted me to just flutter out of the cocoon I'd nestled quite comfortably into and flitter off like a butterfly. Which is what I did.

The first story that I'd done, was sent to Cheryl here, as an editor for the venue in which it was published - and it was love at first sight. Me for Cheryl, and (gulp) Cheryl for... well let's just say she rang and we liked each other. Waves at Cheryl to confirm above theory.

Thus encouraged, we proceeded to the anthology. And with it came my beautiful character. Sharra Akasha.

And so Sharra Akasha who is related to the gypsy Alishandra - the one who owns the Enchanted Faerie. Indeed she is Sharra's aunt. Sharra's dream is that of catching the eye of the wonderful, handsome Greggie Donald. Hence the story - THE SECUREMENT OF GREGGIE DONALD.

I do mostly modern contemporary modern comedy and because my nature is that of a romantic soul, mostly romantic.

I do love history though. And wouldn't you know it, but there was a exhibition of shoes, one pair even dated to 1680. I stood in front of this pair and thought "Wow!" Sharra might wear these - or would she since she's a young gypsy who has an indulgent granny who lets her run wild, much to the chagrin of her aunt Alishandra, since Sharra plays such an important role in the future welfare of her kind.

I enjoyed Scotland so much, I didn't want to move away from it too quickly. I had a gaggle of wonderful words, and a mood, that I've now done the last closing chapters of a book set in the Highlands. It's not historical, but somewhere in there, might have wandered Sharra centuries ago.

Romance Spinners nestled happily in our little tree, and bonded so much, we have become the spinners. We want to catch you in our web, and make you welcome, though not as dinner. No. No. No. We want you to feel as comfortable with us as we feel with each other. We want to take you on a journey with us into where-ever our little adventures take us.

So come my darlings. You are caught in the web.

Why my Scottish story is so English

Research is a wonderful thing. I can loose all sense of time when I'm immersed in history.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about life in the 1670s, but it wouldn't have been much fun living through it. So much research didn't make it into the short story, but it gave my characters a grounding and from there I could move forward.

In Scotland, things were pretty grim. Make one political mistake and you'd lose your lands and chattels. If you were on the winning side, you'd get your share of the spoils.

That's how the Beaumont family came to occupy (the fictional) Halkirkie Castle. They were English and were given Halkirkie Castle and the title of Duke as a reward for success in battle. However, the ties to England would have been very strong, so it's natural they would leave the 'miserable' winters and head south.

As the youngest of five sons, Charles would have received little or no inheritance, so he would have needed to marry a rich heiress, or find a way to make his fortune. Joining the military would have been a smart move - if he survived, he'd get a share of the spoils and could become very rich.

When Charles decides to remain in Halkirkie for the winter, he finds the castle transformed into a gambling den. Hmmm, gambling. Now there's an idea!

Putting it all together

As editor for this absolutely awesome anthology, I can honestly say the easiest part was choosing the authors to participate.

Each author was hand-chosen to be part of the anthology because of their amazing talent. And each of them brings something entirely different to the book, leaving you, the reader, with an amazing read.

I had a lot of fun developing the storyline, creating the setting, and choosing names for each of the main characters.

These six amazing authors did the rest. As editor, I got to read each story before anyone else, and I can honestly tell you I couldn't put them down.

I can almost guarantee you'll be the same.

Every story is totally unique in its own way, despite the fact each author had the exact same assignment but had to use the character name allocated to them.

At this stage we don't have a release date, but we'll be sure to post it as soon as we know.

My take on The Enchanted Faerie

Welcome to our blog!

I am Holly Greenfield, one of the contributing authors to The Enchanted Faerie anthology. When Cheryl Wright, our editor, presented this opportunity to me I was ecstatic. I write historical, parnormal romance. Two genres I love. The theme for this anthology couldn't have been a better fit. An even greater appeal was the setting. Scotland is one of my favorite places in the world, and researching the country and its history has become a hobby of mine. Celtic history is fascinating to say the least.

Writing the story of Calinda Avatar of Beltane and her reluctant search to find love was so much fun. Once I started it all flowed so smoothly. Her character spoke and loud and clear as did the hero. What could be better than finding true love right under your nose?

Working with the ladies in Romance Spinners has been great. We span the globe and yet even from such a distance our minds fell in sync for this anthology. Each of us had something wonderful to contribute and I for one have learned so much from this experience. Collaborating efforts is a fun process when your working with such a wonderful, talented group of writers.

I look forward to the release of our anthology so that readers, like you, can enjoy reading the stories as much as we loved writing them

Until next time,


You can learn more about me at Stop by anytime. I love having company.

working on the anthology

Hi Everyone.
I am one of the contributing authors to the Enchanted Faerie Anthology. I was so honoured to be invited to participate, and had such a wonderful time with my story of Jamelia and her search for true love. I generally write contemporary romance, so it was a challenge to work on an historical piece. Everyone in the group was so supportive of one another, however, that any doubts that I had were soon squashed. We've created a wonderful book that I'm sure any reader will really love.
If anyone wants to see what I usually write, my web URL is
Drop by and have a visit.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

The Enchanted Faerie - What's It All About?

This is the temporary cover for our romantic anthology, The Enchanted Faerie

But how did it all come about? We have Cheryl Wright to thank for that. She set us all a challenge to write a short story with a common theme.

Cheryl set the scene: In the highlands of Scotland, in 1678, there is a gypsy, Alishandra Orona. She has an enchanted faerie that will guide the holder to their one true love. The cost for the service is 100 gold coins.

Cheryl created the character names and provided suggested towns where they might live, but the rest was up to us. From this premise, we set about challenging our characters to not only come up with the money, but to know true love when they found it.

We shared research and had a wonderful time in our characters' heads. It's been hard letting them go, but we've had such a lovely time we're sure to be making another anthology in the future.

Soon it will be time to release our bonny lasses onto the wilder world. It's going to be a great adventure.

Come In Spinners

Welcome to the Romance Spinners blog.

We are romantic writers without borders. 

Our debut anthology, The Enchanted Faerie, is coming soon.

Stay tuned for news, reviews, and all things to do with writing.