Friday, September 30, 2005

Strawberry, Vanilla & Chocolate

A friend just gave me a whole box of giant Neapolitan Mousse Balls from Alaska. See the picture to the left, which I got off this website. Either she really likes me or she's plotting my death by sugar overdose. But what a way to go!

Sorry, not sharing. Hard-working writers need to keep up their energy levels. (And they'd melt in the post anyway so really, I'm doing you a favor by eating them all by myself) ;)

Characters in control

This weekend I'm planning on polishing a proposal so that it's ready to send off on Monday, as well as continuing to work on a manuscript that's screaming to be finished. I'm absolutely dying to know how these characters are going to get out of the situation into which they've gotten themselves. Because sometimes, even the writer has no clue what's going on.

What's everyone else up to?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Random Thought

I think writers should have the option of growing an extra pair of arms and hands at will. That way, while one set is doing the dishes or hanging out the washing, the second set can be typing away. Of course, the other way to tackle this problem is to forget that there is such a thing as housework. Choices, choices...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Banned Books Week

Thanks to the very on-to-it, MicheleK, I now know that it's the American Library Association's Banned Book Week. I don't rant much but I think this topic deserves it. Books are important, not only because they provide joy and fire up the imagination, but because they contain knowledge. Any attempt to ban a book is an attempt to nurture ignorance. And no one has the right to do that. No one.

Weird Fact Wednesday: Laws

Fact 4: Today's fact come courtesy of the folk at According to them, in Michigan, married couples must live together or be imprisoned, and in Utah, there must be daylight visible between dancing couples. So romantic.

I'm dying to know if either of these is actually true, so if someone knows, please share.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Monday, September 26, 2005

Culture Shot & Spam

I went to a lantern matsuri (festival) over the weekend. The point of telling you this was to post up a couple of pics of the huge lanterns that were pulled or carried through the parade. Unfortunately Blogger has decided not to let me post pictures today so I'll try again later.

In other news, I got spam today from people named Frankel and Herzberg (both of whom don't want me to 'expose my intimate life!'), Hoch (selling the best pharmaceuticals), the aptly named Doctor (also selling pharmaceuticals) and the very upper-class sounding Faber (who only wants to sell me software). However so far, I think Geffen is leading by a long shot in the improbable sounding name stakes (apologies to any Geffens out there). Anybody care to put up another candidate?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

It was Cherry Flavored

I’m about to disappear into the depths of another long weekend. Yes, that’s right, I had a long weekend last weekend, then had a three day working week and Friday is once again a holiday. I love this country!
Since I’m going to be cut off from the internet for the next three days (ouch) and because I’m feeling extremely energetic as a result of all this public-holiday madness, I’ve come up with an idea for a fun participatory blog based on an old writing exercise.
Here’s the deal—I’m going to give you a single line of text. What you have to do is create a 50 word paragraph around it. The line can be at the end, the beginning, the middle, but it must be there. (And yes it counts toward the wordcount).
This isn’t a game just for the writers, anyone can play. Write me a newspaper article, fiction, a commercial, anything – just use 50 words or under. If we get more than ten posts, we can then have a vote as to the most splendiferous.
Here’s the line: It was cherry flavored.
I can already see the dangerous possibilities...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Weird Fact Wednesday: Reality Shows Run Amok

Fact 3: Alas we've missed it, but until Sep 17th, there was a Croatian reality show running on the internet which featured sheep. Not metaphorical sheep. Real sheep. Apparently you could watch them 'interact' and then vote out the ones you didn't like. According to this article, the losers might have ended up eaten. While I can't read the language of the official website, from the pictures it looks like Josip won. Handsome fellow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Let's talk Addictions

I'm addicted to chocolate. This is no secret. I'm also addicted to good books and apparently, email. And I am, of course, totally and completely addicted to writing. Withdrawal symptoms? Check. Obsessive behavior? Check. A natural high. Check.

What are your 'sweet' addictions, the ones you have no desire whatsoever to kick even if you could?
P.S. If you posted on Bron's guest blog, be sure to check out the last comment. Don't say I never do anything for you :)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Long Weekend

It's a long weekend in my neck of the woods and so far I've caught up on my video watching, eaten far too many Oreo cookies, done some writing, read a book, convinced a telemarketer that I can't speak a word of Japanese (sshhhh) and come to the conclusion that peanut-butter is a food group. What are you all up to? (And what do you do when telemarketers call?)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Rescue Me by Bronwyn Jameson

When Nalini asked me if I’d like to guest-blog I immediately said yes because: (a) Nalini is such a sweetheart, how could I say no? (b) It was a next-week kind of thing, which gave me time to think about a topic, right? Right. Suddenly it’s this week and, well, here I am. Tapping the microphone nervously because I’ve never made a guest appearance before.


I have a book out this month called The Rich Stranger. A couple of days ago I googled for on-line reviews and found one which referenced that particular fantasy: a rich, gorgeous stranger swoops in to rescue the heroine who’s about to go down for the count (financially.) This stopped me in my tracks. I did not write the book with that fantasy in mind. At all.

Here’s the thing: I always thought of Rafe Carlisle (the rich stranger of the title) as the one who needed rescuing. From his grounded plane as the book opens but especially from his lifestyle. My heroine, Cat, is a gutsy, independent woman. She’s lonely, she’s hit rock bottom, and she needs help, but not the white-knight-on-a-charger kind. Being a male with alpha inclinations, Rafe (of course) does want to rescue our reluctant heroine…and therein lies some of the book’s conflict. Who, exactly, is rescuing whom?

Which brings me to my point, which is more of a question, really. Is the heroine-in-need-of-rescue (by a rich stranger, by a strong alpha, by a gallant protector) a valid fantasy in today’s world? Or does today’s heroine, for today’s reader, need to be strong enough to rescue herself? What do you think?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Mystery Guest Revealed!

Tomorrow, we'll be having an extra-special blog post from the talented and lovely Bronwyn Jameson, the only Aussie Desirable and writer of many a steamy scene. Ooooh la la. I've heard rumors that there might be some sort of a giveaway or three....hmm, wonder if I can get her to give me Seth from Just A Taste?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mystery Guest

That's right, we're going to have a mystery guest blogger on Friday. To draw out the anticipation, I'm going to taunt you with clues as to her identity. Let's see if any of you can guess correctly.

Clue 1: She lives with four men. Yes, FOUR.

Clue 2: She's Desirable.

Clue 3: And this is what she used to look like not so long ago.

But who is she????

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Of bugs and babes

In case anyone's interested, courtesy of a visit last night from the world's GIANTEST cockroach, I'm considering making my next hero a pest exterminator. I never before realized just how romantic a profession that is.

Book Roundup

I have no idea what to blog about today, so I'm throwing the floor open. Why don't you all tell me something about the last book you read? Not only will it save my lazy self, it might give us all some ideas on what to add next to our to-be-read pile. If you'd like to know about the last book I read, see the post about how some of us are 'horror-challenged'.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Comfort Zones

This weekend I was happily working away on a synopsis, congratulating myself on having it almost completed when it struck me that the story was majorly predictable ie. A + B = C. Just to be clear, I'm not talking about the happy ever after ending, I'm talking about the journey to get there.

After a soundless scream that probably reverberated in the hemisphere, I ripped apart the guts of the story until I had something that was different, unique, interesting. I was lucky - the seeds of the difference were already there - I simply had to work to bring them further out, so all's well that ends well.

The point of this ramble (and yes, I do have a point), is that it got me thinking about how much 'difference' I like in the romances I read as opposed to write. A twist on a classic plot is always fine with me and if it involves a hunky alpha male, so much the better, but sometimes authors push it too far. I'm not ashamed to admit that I like my reading comfort zone. But, and this is a big but, it can't become too comfortable. I've stopped reading a much beloved author recently because all her books seemed the same to me. Much as I love that classic story, I also want something more.

At what point does a comfort zone turn into boredom? And at what point does a little something different become too much? Are you one of those readers who loves to try new 'edgy' authors, or do you love the classic stories? Why?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Scaredy Cats Unite

I went through a phase in high school of reading horror, including the collected works of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. However, these days, it's not a genre I spend much time in...because I've turned into a chicken in my old age.

Last night, after finishing the second draft of a proposal, I took time off from writing and decided to read. For some reason, the book I was drawn to was Prophecy by Peter James. A horror novel. What was I thinking? That it had an interesting premise and the back-cover copy sounded interesting. That turned out to be the complete truth - I read the book straight through, hooked from the get-go. Then I realized it was dark. And there were weird shadows on the walls. And you know in the book, people don't 'altogether die'. Uh-oh.

I should've learnt my lesson from "the movie that shall not be named" (it involves a video-cassette that's far more terrifying than it should be). After I watched that movie, I kept looking over my shoulder for days thinking about a certain creepy image. My friends weren't any help - they kept telling me to watch the original Japanese version which was scarier.

So, what scares you? Let's tell ghost stories around the virtual campfire. On second thought...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Dreams & Magic

I read a picture book to a six-year-old student not so long ago. He pulled these two books carefully out of his bag and sat down beside me. It was clear that the books were precious to him - usually a rough and tumble kid, he'd made sure that the pages weren't bent and the edges unscuffed.

Thinking about that, I wondered what dreams he saw in those books to encourage such care, what magic. Because nobody sees the same things in a book. Ten of us could sit down and read the same story and we'd all find something different to take away from it. But the important thing is, we'd all see a dream.

Maybe that's why books endure despite the increasing technologicalization of our world. Because they give us words to interpret as we fit, they feed the imagination unlike any other media.

Email Issues

A quick note to everyone that I've been having some trouble with the email address linked to my website so if you've emailed me and not received a reply, it's not because I'm ignoring you, it's because I probably didn't get the email. So try and resend and if that fails, drop me a line on this blog. :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Weird Fact Wednesday

The storm has passed, my town has escaped relatively unscathed and it's time for another weird fact. :)

Fact 2: Did you know that there are people in the world who suffer from Arachibutyrophobia, a "persistent and abnormal fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth"? Imagine life without peanut-butter sandwiches?!

For some reason, I already knew the above fact but while trying to find out the correct spelling, I also came across Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, which is "a persistent and abnormal fear of long words".

Any takers?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Rain & Dreams

So it's raining really hard outside and I'm staring at the rain instead of working. However, I classify this under "Creativity" because I'm dreaming up stories while staring out at the rain. So indulge my nosiness - what do you all daydream about?

Typhoon Watch

My little corner of the world is currently on storm watch. Typhoon Nabi is charting a direct course across the area where I live. (A typhoon is the same as a hurricane or a cyclone - the name depends on the ocean it began in). The winds are already pretty big and we're just catching the edge of the storm zone. The main part of the storm is supposed to pass over us sometime today - keep your fingers crossed that the typhoon gets weaker as it progresses. I'll be back with an update unless the power goes out like it did last time!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Reader Party Report

So on Sunday I attended the reader party. It was a total blast. The Harlequin Japan team are just fabulous people and so super nice that I felt completely at ease. The readers were wonderful as I’ve found all readers to be – it’s my firm belief that romance readers are just generally nice people.

The party began with introductions and then they did an interview with me on a small stage with the reader guests at tables in front. After the interview, there were questions from readers, including whether I thought Japanese men would make good heroes. My answer? Of course! Lots of strong, silent types here.

And after that, I did my first ever proper booksigning and talked to readers at the same time. Apparently one of the reasons they love my work is because the books are so hot!

I can’t tell you how much fun I had. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to take any pictures but I’m hoping to get some from others who were there, so I’ll post those up as I get them. :)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Reader Party in Japan

In the super cool news department, this weekend I'll be attending a Harlequin Japan Reader Party. As well as being able to meet with some of the awesome people in Harlequin's Japan office, I'll get to mingle with Japanese romance readers and hear what they think about my books and romance novels in general. I'm so looking forward to this, I can hardly wait. (Expect a report next week).

Incidentally, the Japanese translation of Awaken to Pleasure comes out on Sep 5 - it's been retitled Atsui Keiyaku, which means Hot Contract. I like it!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

On Writing

I've just read over the last few blog posts and realized that some of you may wonder whether I actually ever write. Well this is a quick note to tell you that aside from indulging my infomania and collecting stamps on my passport, I'm currently going through the line edits for Secrets in the Marriage Bed (March '06), a book that I think will surprise a lot of people (in a good way I hope); revising a proposal for Desire and working on a second draft of another proposal. So see, I don't actually spend all my time on the internet. ;)

Is the world going to the dogs?

Okay people, repeat after me, dogs do not need a love motel. And yet one exists, apparently the "first one" for dogs in the world. Somebody wake me up now. Please.