Saturday, May 26, 2007

May Hamper! Wanna win stuff??

Now we here at the Pink Heart Society love you guys, our members and loyal readers, sooooo much that we are involving you in our evolution yet again. As well as giving you lots of free books!!!

This month, we would love you to tell us:

If you could add one question to our Sunday Spotlights to ask your favourite authors, what would it be?

Hamper Prize:

The Truth About Family by Kimberley Van Meter (SuperRomance)
Boardroom Bridegrooms (trilogy) by Liz Fielding (Romance)
Sicilian Husband Blackmailed Bride by Kate Walker (Presents)
Last Night at the Halfmoon by Kate Austin (NEXT)
Beyond Seduction by Kathleen O'Reilly (Blaze)
Loner's Lady by Lynna Banning (Historical)

Hugs and kisses,

Ally, Jenna, Natasha, Nicola and Trish

x x x

Friday, May 25, 2007

Film on Friday - The Importance of Being Earnest

This week our Natasha Oakley invites us to consider 'The Importance of Being Earnest'! If you love British costume dramas it's a must!!

The Importance of Being Earnest’, the play, is the last and probably the most popular of Oscar Wilde’s comedies. It was first performed on 14 February 1895 at St James’ Theatre in London and there’s a reason why it’s still hugely loved – it’s absolutely brilliant!

(Incidentally, if Nic managed to convince you back in March to watch 'A Good Woman' you've already seen a movie version of one of Wilde's plays - Lady Windermere's Fan.)



Seeing 'The Importance of Being Earnest' as a piece of theatre is fun but it's wonderful from the comfort of your sofa. There are two DVD possibilities and I can’t for the life of me decide which one I prefer. I own both and it rather depends on my mood which one I choose.

I suppose if modern-day production values are important to you then you should go for Oliver Parker’s 2002 version but the 1956 version is a gem.

The story is quite convoluted so I’ll probably get hopelessly confused if I don’t concentrate on one – so, on the basis that it’s far easier to find photographs of the more recent version I’ll refer to that.

The story revolves around two friends, Algernon Moncrief (played by a beautifully on form Rupert Everett) and Jack Worthing (Colin Firth) and a whole lot of lies.

Whenever Algernon wishes to avoid something in town he feigns a visit to his fictitious sick friend ‘Bunbury’, a practise he calls ‘bunburying’. Much to his delight he discovers his great friend, Ernest, is also an exponent of the art.


Jack Worthing lives in the country and is the worthy guardian of Cecily Cardew (Reese Witherspoon) but has created a wastrel brother, Ernest, who lives in London and whose profligate behaviour gives him the excuse to come up to town whenever he chooses.

In London Jack assumes the identity of the fun-loving Ernest and has fallen in love with Algernon’s cousin, Gwendolyn Moncrief (Frances O’Connor).

Following this???

Jack’s secret is exposed when Algy reads the inscription written inside his silver cigarette case.

Algy: But why does your aunt call you her uncle? [Reading cigarette case]
Algy:
"From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack." There is no objection, I admit, to an aunt being a small aunt, but why an aunt, no matter what her size may be, should call her own nephew her uncle, I can't quite make out.

Jack is forced to admit the existence of his beautiful and wealthy ward but, knowing Algy well, refuses to tell him the whereabouts of his country home. Only Algy overhears it when Jack is being interrogated by Gwendolyn’s mother, the fearsome Lady Bracknell (Dame Judi Dench), as to his suitability to be included in her list of potential suitors.

Lady Bracknell: I have always been of the opinion that a man who desires to get married should know either everything or nothing. Which do you know?
Jack: I know nothing, Lady Bracknell.
Lady Bracknell: I am pleased to hear it. I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a very delicate exotic fruit. Touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately, in England at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor's Square.

Lady Bracknell, however, finally decides against him when he’s obliged to confess he was adopted by the philanthropic Thomas Cardew after being discovered abandoned in a large, capacious handbag at Victoria Station with a ticket to Worthing in his pocket. Gwendolyn remains determined to accept him because the name Ernest inspires confidence.

Armed with the address of Jack’s country residence, Algernon makes a visit to his infirm friend, Bunbury, and introduces himself to Cecily as Jack’s profligate brother Ernest and quickly falls in love.

Algy: I don't seem to care about anything anymore... I only care for you. I love you Cecily. Will you marry me?
Cecily:
Why, of course! We've been engaged for the past 3 months!
Algy: ...3 months?

Their romance is carefully recorded in her diary and his letters, which owing to his ignorance of her existence she’d had to write herself, wrapped in ribbon. Her ambition, you see, has always been to marry a man of the name 'Ernest' ...

Algy:
Do you mean you couldn't love me if I had a different name?
Cecily: But what name?
Algy: Well... Algy, for instance.
Cecily: I might respect you, Ernest, I might admire your character, but I feel that I could never give you my undivided attention.

Only then Jack arrives home having decided it’s time to put an end to his double life and announces Ernest is dead.

Gwendolyn arrives and discovers her ‘Ernest’ is Uncle Jack. She's not happy! :)

Jack: How you can sit there eating muffins when we're in this terrible trouble, I can't make out! It seems to me to be perfectly heartless...
Algy: I can hardly eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs.

Lady Bracknell’s arrival changes everything when she recognises Cecily’s governess, Miss Prism (Anna Massey). It’s all a delightful muddle and I’ll let you discover for yourself how it’s resolved.

The 1952 version really is worth a look. One of the reasons I love it is because it happened to be the film debut of the late Dorothy Tutin who sponsored me into the British Actors’ Union, Equity, but it’s simply charming.

Here’s an interesting piece of nonsense – the initial run of ‘The Importance of Being Ernest’ was hugely popular but cut short because Herbert Asquith brought a charge of immorality against the homosexual Wilde. In a fun twist of fate, Asquith’s son Anthony made the first film version.

As to my Pink Heart fuzzy rating … Well, it’s more comedy than romance so I’ll have to give it a 7 out of 10. If we scored for watchability (and, yes, I know that’s not a word) I’d give 10 out of 10 for both versions. I love it!

With love
Natasha


This July sees the start of a brand-new series - The Royal House of Niroli.

These 8 wonderful titles are written by some of your favourite Modern™ and Romance authors, including Penny Jordan and Natasha Oakley.

The Mediterranean island of Niroli has prospered for centuries under the Fierezza men. But now, as the King’s health declines, and his 2 sons have been tragically killed, the crown is in jeopardy. Who will rule?

Natasha's book, 'The Tycoon's Princess Bride' will be in the shops in October but if you don't want to wait it's possible to buy the entire set right now by clicking
here.

Thursday Talk Time - Harlequin Romance Report 2007 Pt 4


This week at The Pink Heart Society we look at what the Harlequin Romance Report 2007 had to say about Deconstructing Common Relationship Woes and five of the Hollywood Couples who have proved that love can stand the tests of time AND life

There's no refuting it says the Harlequin Romance Report - relationships are difficult. Couples fight and then make up only to repeat the cycle all over again. And we here at The Pink Heart Society all know that relationships these days take a lot of work, right? So what did the report have to say about Deconstructing Common Relationship Woes? Well - here goes...

What You Did...

It's Friday night and you and your partner have had a long week. On your way home, you decide to pick up a pizza and a case of beer. When you walk in your partner takes one look at your purchases, turns sour and leaves the room...

What You Should Have Done...

Sure, beer and pizza are fine for the days your both agree to it, but for a Friday Night is that really going to create any romance? Most likely not. So next time, grab a bottle of wine, some pasta and sauce from the grocery store and come home and make dinner... together. You can then spend the time cooking and talking together...

What You Did...

You get into a disagreement with your boss at work. You come home in a rotten mood and want to talk. Your partner is already at home watching TV. You sit down and start to unleash your day but notice that he/she is not really paying attention and you start to get mad...

What You Should Have Done...

Did it ever occur to you that your partner mighthave been having a bad day too and all they wanted to do was come home and camp in front of the television for a while? People deal with their problems differently and while you may be the type that needs to get everything off your chest, you should survey the situation and your partner before you offload your troubles.

What You Did...

Your partner likes to go out with friends at the weekend. Despite the face that he/she always makes the time for you, you want more. You've begun to pick fights about this, which leaves your partner feeling guilty or angry about going out without you...

What You Should Have Done...

You have to realize that your partner has a life of his/her own. More importantly you have to realize that you want your partner to be his/her own person - that's what makes someone interesting. While it's sweet you want to spend lots of time together, you do need time apart. Remember: absence makes the heart grow fonder, and being apart will only make you want each other more...

What You Did...

Your partner got tickets to see a favourite band and asked you to go too. You have no interest to see this band but agree to go anyway. You then pout and sulk throughout the entire show.

What You Should Have Done...

Once you agreed to go, you should have put on a happy face and made the best of a bad situation, OR you should have let your partner take someone else. You were asked to go because your partner wanted to spend time with you and share one of his/her interests. By going to the show with an open mind, you could have developed a new connection with your partner. In the future, you should give new experiences a chance... even if you do it just for your partner...

What You Did...

You regularly chat and flirt online with someone other than your partner.

What You Should Have Done...

According to the Harlequin Romance Report Survey, 30% of men and women would NOT forgive their significant other if he/she flirted with someone else - even if it was online. So they say, let's be honest here: you know what you were doing was wrong. Even if it is just harmless flirting, chances are you're still hurting your relationship and your partner. So re-evaluate your relationship and figure out what's making you stray...

What You Did...

You suspect your partner of keeping things from you. You 'accidentally' logged into their e-mail account and read their e-mails...

What You Should Have Done...

The last thing you should have done was go behind your partners back and read their personal e-mails. If you do truly believe that your partner is keeping things from you, you need to talk to him/her. Be open about your insecurities and where your insecurities are coming from. If you feel like you and your partner are growing apart or things are fading away, you have to start making an extra effort. Start spending quality time together: start going out on dates again. Even the smallest things can reopen the lines of communication.

The Harlequin Romance Report gave us five celeb couples this year to help us re-affirm our belief in long lasting love... and we here at The Pink Heart Society whole-heartedly agree with their choices... And can't help but wonder what celeb couple will last as long... Any suggestions? Katie and Tom? Brad and Angelina? Victoria and David? What do you think gang?


Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward...

Having one of Hollywood's longest Marriages on record, this year Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward up the ante and celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary! Both admit that sexiness and beauty fade but the love they have for each other has been able to stand the test of time. Paul and Joanne cite laughter and joy as the glue to their relationship...

David Bowie and Iman...

These two break the norms and prove that even the unlikeliest pair - and English Catholic rock star and a Somalian Muslim model - can keep love burning for over 14 years. After Iman finally accepted Bowie's backstage pass to his show in L.A. Bowie fell head over heels for the model. Married two years later in 1992, they are the epitome of the graciously glamorous couple living true love...


Warren Beatty and Annette Bening...

Warren Beatty is almost as famous for his love life as he is for his movie-making, but Annette Bening was the woman to put an end to Beatty's playboy lifestyle. Beatty claims it took mere minutes to fall in love with Annette after meeting her on the set of Bugsy in 1991, and what began as a secret romance turned into marriage a year later. Ten years and four children later, they claim to be as happy as newlyweds...

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn...

The age-old adage 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' is what Kurt Russell stands by when it comes to his relationship with Goldie Hawn. Their relationship began on the set of Swing Shift, and over the last 20 years they have adopted one another's children from previous marriages, including actress Kate Hudson, and have one son together. Having both experienced failed attempts at walking down the aisle, they know what they have together works and have said no to marriage. And in fairness, after 20 years together, who can argue with them?

Tim Robbins And Susan Sarandon...

Proving that men aren't the only ones that can date younger, Susan Sarandon, who is twelve years older than Robbins, believes that the age gap opens each partner to new experiences. Life imitated art when these two, who played lovers in the 1988 baseball movie Bull Durham, began an off-screen affair. They've shared 18 years together, raising two children and proving that love knows no boundaries when it comes to age.

So who'll be here in 20 years time we wonder??? Now due to space restrictions we're going to bring you the results of last weeks Inner Romantic Test next week when we'll be visiting the Harlequin Romance Report for the last time with a look at the New Romantic Man in 2007!!!!



Thirteen Love Songs for the Romance Revolution
from the
HARLEQUIN ROMANCE REPORT 2007!!

1. Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney

2. Fix You - Coldplay

3. Never Tear Us Apart - INXS

4. Underneath It All - No Doubt

5. All I Want Is You - U2

6. Come To My Window - Melissa Etheridge

7. Piece Of My Heart - Janis Joplin

8. Cowboy Take Me Away - The Dixie Chicks

9. Thank You For Loving Me - Bon Jovi

10. Something - The Beatles

11. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol

12. Somebody - Depeche Mode

13. Tiny Dancer - Elton John

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Jenna Bayley-Burke

2. Trish Wylie

3. Elle Fredrix

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Writers Wednesday with Natalie Anderson

This week the Pink Heart Society brings you the story of Natalie Anderson, Modern Extra and Sexy Sensation author!

ABOUT NATALIE...

Natalie wrote lots of stories as a kid - mainly Agatha Chrisie rip-offs - but found studying English lit at uni put her off writing her own stuff for some time. Instead she went on her OE and travelled about 'til she met her own real-life hero and came back home to New Zealand to 'settle down'. Then, finding herself with a baby who never slept, that she put fingers to keyboard...

THE JOURNEY TO THE CALL...

My second child refused to sleep for more than two hours at a time and I desperately needed something to keep me sane. I discovered the Nanowrimo book in my local library in May 2005. Great! I thought. I'll write a novel... but what? Then I remembered all those fun days as a teen reading my Grandma's Mills & Boons. I still have her collection - it's fabulous. What's more fun than romance?

So I went to the local second hand bookstore and bought a stash, discovered eHarlequin and was soon addicted to the daily online reads (I still am, my writing day doesn't start until I've had the latest instalment). I saw there was a new line - Modern Extra - looking for twenty-something, glamourous, urbanite heroines. Hey - that's me isn't it?? (Yeah right, we're supposed to have good imaginations aren't we?). Anyway, I wrote one in June, then another and another - finding myself utterly addicted to the thrill of novelling. Eventually I bit the bullet and polished up the partial of one and sent it to Mills & Boon in London. I got the request for the full four months later. I was in the early stages of pregnancy again at this point and more than a little tired but fixed up the rest of the manuscript and sent it off and settled in for what I figured would be a long wait. Halfway through the pregnancy, at the 19 week scan, I found out the tiredness was for good reason. I wasn't having baby number three, but babies three and four. Needless to say, writing kind of went by the wayside at this point.

But then it happened.

When I was about 30 weeks an email appeared from M&B – "we like your style but…" – a five page revisions request! As I was pretty much on bed rest I thought this would be fun. I mean, it was an awesome opportunity and I was thrilled. After my preschoolers went to bed, I sat in the recliner chair, keyboard on lap, and went for it, deleting 20,000 words, rewriting them and whole swags of the remainder. Two weeks later I sent the revised book and tried to forget about it. A fortnight after that I stood up and my waters broke everywhere. I was very upset because I was only 34 weeks along and knew a stint in the neo-natal unit was inevitable. We went to hospital. A quick scan revealed the twins were transverse so we were straight into theatre for an emergency c-section. The girls were taken to intensive care – I didn’t see them until about five hours later.

My husband eventually went home about 3 in the morning and I was alone in a room a floor above the babies - and not thinking about the book at all funnily enough. But the next morning hubby came in with an email from M&B that had arrived pretty much the exact time I was on the operating table. They liked the revisions I'd done, but wanted more. They even mentioned a possible slot for publication but - and this bit was in the last line - I’d have to do the revisions in a WEEK to make that!

So there I was, hooked up to an IV, the twins in ICU, with the writing opportunity of a lifetime. My husband looked at me, and said ‘nothing is impossible’. He borrowed a laptop and said to get on with it. He felt it would stop me ‘mooning over the incubators’. And I had nothing to lose. I was up every two hours expressing, unable to truly do much for the babies for the first couple of days... why not give this a go? So I thought about it. And thought some more. And typed little bits.

After five days I was discharged from hospital but the girls were still in the unit. So at home, with my breastpump for company, I pulled two all-nighters and did my best with the book. During the day I took the printout to the hospital with me and read it over while the girls were sleeping. I sent the manuscript the following Friday - exactly a week later.

The next Monday evening I was tucked up in bed and the phone went. I answered right away, heard the English accent and I knew. That didn't stop the shakes though. And then - well you can never have a life-altering moment without some suitably atmospheric weather - it started hosing with rain and I could hardly hear her on the phone because the noise on our tin roof was so loud.

I remember feeling really stunned, and I still kind of am. It was such a crazy time. I think I shocked her a bit because I told her about the twins and doing the revisions in hospital. And then all I really latched on to was the fact they were offering a two book contract and OMG I was going to have to write another book and when would they want it by and how was I going to manage that with these two new precious babies??? I really didn't stop to savour the moment. All I could think about was what I was going to have to do next.

That's kind of the story of my life at the moment. It is very busy and I run from baby to baby and toddler to preschooler and think about my lovely twenty-something flirty heroes in between. Seven months have gone by since that fateful night and I still can't believe I now have two babies in my arms and a book that I wrote in the bookshop!

Life is pretty wonderful.

Natalie's first book, All Night with the Boss is a Mills & Boon Modern Extra out now!!! And how fabulous is that cover? Phwoa!!! You'll find it down under as a Sexy Sensation in September as well.

Natalie would love for you to visit her website at http://www.natalie-anderson.com

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Temptation on Tuesday...Life Changes

Desire author and Pink Heart Society regular Maxine Sullivan brings us a list of five things that she's noticed changed suddenly in her life since she went from being unpublished to published. Do such changes tempt you?

1. SUDDENLY... everybody wants to hear what I have to say. More importantly, they actually listen. J Of course, I DO have more interesting things to talk about these days.

2. SUDDENLY... I’m Grammar Girl. If there’s a question about grammar, everyone expects me to know the answer.

3. SUDDENLY... I’m J.K. Rowling and everyone thinks I’m raking in the dollars. I tell them that it’s like winning the lottery - without the money.

4. SUDDENLY... every single person I’ve ever met wants a copy of my book, including the pizza delivery boy.

5. SUDDENLY... everyone wants to know the secret of my overnight success. (See Maxine's Writers Wednesday to find out how she succeeded overnight...after trying for publication for over 20 years)

Maxine’s second Desire THE TYCOON'S BLACKMAILED MISTRESS is out now in North America!

(How gorgeous is that cover??)

She can be contacted at http://www.maxinesullivan.com

Monday, May 21, 2007

Male on Monday - Jason Lewis


This week our very own Natasha Oakley grants the honour of being a Pink Heart Society Male on Monday to a man who has been the focus of many a coffee morning conversation ........


Jason Lewis


Jason who????? I can hear the cries now!

Well ... you know how irritating television commercials can be??? But that sometimes there's an exception? And that every now and again the creative souls whose job is it to get us to part with our hard earned cash hit the jackpot with something we don't mind having our programme interrupted with?


Jason Lewis is the star of one such advert.

I can't honestly say the recent Aero commercial which began airing in the UK this April is politically correct but it has got everyone talking. Mostly these conversations are along the lines of 'I know I recognise him but where from?'.

So, first the advert - 30 seconds of a semi-naked man talking about chocolate - then the answer. Go on you know you want to!




It's possible you might recognise Jason from some high profile fashion shoots for Guess, Tommy Hilfiger and Hugo Boss but I bet it all falls in place if I remind you of Smith Jerod in Sex and the City. Remember? The actor/waiter who charmed Samantha??

Jason Lewis was born 25 June, 1971, in Newport Beach, California, the second of four children. His father, a superior court judge, and his mother, a nurse, divorced when he was 21.

He attended college in San Diego, California, and after leaving he went to Paris on the advice of a model scout. A little modelling later he moved to Milan and was quickly adored by the fashion industry there.

In 1996 he was nominated for Male Model of the Year at the VH1 Fashion Music Awards but these days he limits his modelling work to fashion editorials and ad campaigns - like aero - and concentrates on acting.

His most prominent acting role to date has to be that of Smith Jerrod in Sex and the City.

I hesitated to show you this mock-up poster they used in the show because I can just feel my mum looking down at me from Heaven and shaking her head. So, with the proviso that I was brought up better than this, I've included it because Jason sued Absolut for using his face on posters advertising their vodka without his permission.

More recently he's played Alex in 'My Bollywood Bride' opposite Bollywood actress Kashmira Shah and Jesse Vialo in 'Mr Brooks', a thriller, opposite Demi Moore and Kevin Costner.

Those of you in NA will perhaps have seen him guest starring as Chad Barry in 'Brothers and Sisters'. His character is a closeted gay actor and possible love interest to Matthew Rhys's character and the storyline was extended from four to seven episodes. Jason is quoted as saying that he enjoyed his love scenes in Sex and the City but didn't want to kiss Matthew Rhys as it made him uncomfortable.

What else can I tell you? He has a scar below his right eye, is in to yoga and jujitsu. He's 6ft 1" and his favourite colour is blue. In 2006 he was one of People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive.

Here's a fun quote: "When I'm not enjoying more active pursuits in my spare time, I'll happily pick up needles and a ball of thread. I surf, snowboard, mountain-bike ... and now I started knitting."

On the personal front - he was engaged to Maxine Bahns who later sued him for $130,000 after he failed to repay a loan. Since then he's lived with Rosario Dawson but they split up November 2006. From March this year he's rumoured to be dating Michelle Trachtenberg.

But only because he's not met me yet! Though the knitting bit is a strange one. I know it's useful but I'm just not sure I'd write a knitting hero ............

What do you think?

With love
Natasha


This July sees the start of a brand-new series - The Royal House of Niroli.

These 8 wonderful titles are written by some of your favourite Modern™ and Romance authors, including Penny Jordan and Natasha Oakley.

The Mediterranean island of Niroli has prospered for centuries under the Fierezza men. But now, as the King’s health declines, and his 2 sons have been tragically killed, the crown is in jeopardy. Who will rule?

Natasha's book, 'The Tycoon's Princess Bride' will be in the shops in October but if you don't want to wait it's possible to buy the entire set right now by clicking here.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Spotlight on Kathleen O'Reilly


This week The Pink Heart Society introduces you to Blaze author Kathleen O'Reilly...

About Kathleen:


Kathleen O'Reilly wrote her first romance at the age of eleven, which to her undying embarrassment was read aloud to her class. After taking over twenty years to recover from the profound distress, she is now proud to announce her career as an award-winning romance author.
Kathleen lives in New York with her husband and their two children who outwit her daily.

Spotlight On Kathleen:

Where do you get the inspiration for your books from?

I get my ideas from lots of different places, but this particular series came about from all the bloggers who were using blogs to get a book deal, and the sex blogs seemed to be getting a lot of attention. I find inspiration from the news, people I know, and stories that people tell me. My friends know that whatever they tell me is likely to turn up in a book.

What makes you mad?

Clothes shrunk by laundry, especially when it’s my fault. Also, popcorn that doesn’t pop like it should.

What in a hero makes you drool?

Exterior toughness with hidden vulnerability.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

I spent about ten years in technology, and if I weren’t writing, that’s what I’d do. I’m a closet geek as well as a romance author.

What do you do to relax and wind down?

I pull out a romance novel, run a long, hot bubble bath, pour a glass of wine and lock the door. It’s heaven.

How do you get out of a writing rut?

I don’t usually get into ruts, but I’ve found that it’s better to muddle through and then go back and fix whatever I don’t like.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

A flat in London, I think.

Who would you most like to give a hug to for a fabulous book you’ve read?

Either Nora Roberts or Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

What music do you listen to when writing?


For each book that I do, I make myself a soundtrack of songs that convey the main conflict, theme or issue. The one that I’m working on now has a lot of home issues, so I have: Home by Chris Daughtry, Homeward Bound by Simon & Garfunkle, London Homesick Blues by David Allen Coe, and U + Ur Hand by Pink (absolutely nothing to do with Home, but it fits the heroine).

Tell us a secret nobody knows about you


I nearly got arrested in Russia because of Prince Charles. I’ll never forget those words. “We have laws in this country, you must not break them.”

What have you had to celebrate in the last year?


I got invited to do a continuity for Harlequin. Thoroughbred Legacy. I’ve never done a continuity before, so I was very excited about the whole thing and it’s a fun experience.

What’s beside your computer when you’re writing?

Tons of books, including The Synonym Finder, The Describer’s Dictionary, Zounds!, and a picture of my kids. Also a Micron pen (I LOVE them), and lots of pieces of paper that are placed in no order at all.

If you could kiss anyone in the world who would it be?


Daniel Craig, but please don’t tell my husband.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a book for march 2008, a new trilogy for Harlequin Blaze.


Kathleen's latest release is book three in the Harlequin Blaze Red Choo Diaries - Beyond Seduction is on sale right now and is available at both eharlequin and Amazon!


To find out more about Kathleen and her books you can visit her Website or her Blog


Thanks Kathleen!

Saturday Surprise... Writing is Waiting



Okay, so you've got an idea for a book. Fabulous you're on your way! Here’s how easy the process now becomes!!!


1. WRITING A BOOK


For me the idea is the easiest part. I have so many pieces of scrap paper with “ideas” written on them I could write a book about coming up with ideas! (I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but this is my story so shoosh ;))


So idea is solid. You have a fresh Word file. You have a few weekends up your sleeve. Now...go!


This part, the writing of the book part, can take anywhere from three weeks - if you are Nicola Marsh or for a brief shining moment a month ago, Trish Wylie, and once, oh glorious once, me!!! - to the rest of your natural life. Truly some books take years. Many short category novels have taken people years from the idea to the end.


Think how much effort it took to write a 500 word story in primary school. Times that by 100, and remember you have to sustain loveable, believable characters, in an against the odds situation, make it unique, make it yours, make it entertaining.


My first book, THE WEDDING WISH, took me about a year to write, as I was scatty and wrote about a million things at the one time.


Okay? You done?



2. EDITING A BOOK


Next we edit. For that was only the first draft.


Now you have to go through and edit your masterpiece, perhaps keeping in mind things like word count, chapter lengths, pacing, repetition, grammar, spelling, character arcs, humour, dialogue vs internal monologues, point of view, time hero and heroine spend together on the page vs time spent making cups of tea or chatting with friends about the weather.


This can take anywhere from one read through to the rest of your natural life. Especially if you are thinking of showing the book to someone else.


You can find a critique partner. Someone to help find inconsistencies as you can’t see the forest for the trees. Or someone to correct your spelling and punctuation. Or someone to type the book up from the seventeen yellow legal pads on which you wrote it. Or someone in the business to give you a professional opinion. Or a competition to do the same.


And what if you are a perfectionist? Then the editing stage may never end.



3. SENDING THE BOOK AWAY


You must hit a point where you think, “This thing is good. I am happy with it as it stands. I know that if an editor likes what she sees she will likely still want to make changes, so I will now edit no more.”


At this point you probably want to read through it one last time ;). Then print it.


Then spend more time researching your target. Send the manuscript to the right editor or you can waste months. Find a publisher who publishes like pieces. Find the name of the editor who heads the line you’re aiming for. Address the thing correctly. Walk to the post office, hand over your gazillion dollars...


Then get on with your life.



4. HEARING BACK


It took me about four months to hear back from Richmond in the UK about my first query letter. They requested I send the partial. (At that time I had no idea I could have just sent the partial in the first place! Talk about wasting time)


It took another four months to hear back on the partial. They wanted to read the full manuscript. At that point I hadn’t finished it. Silly, silly me. If I had I could have sent it away the next day. But instead it took me another good month to go through steps one to three.


Six months after that I got a phone call. Asking for revisions.



5. REVISIONS


That phone call was fabulous. And surreal. And I still have the dodgy notepad on which I wrote big loopy crazy notes about what the editor wanted of me.


This was “not an offer to buy” mind you. Just a can you please do these revisions in the next couple of days and we’ll go from there. (HINT: Prepare to do lots of waiting, but if you get to this point, be prepared to put your skates on and type faster than you’ve ever typed in your life)


I was working full time. Nevertheless I promised her I could do anything she required of me. Fly. Triple back somersault. Turn War and Peace into a ninety minute screenplay by the weekend...


6. TWEAKING


Two days after I emailed in my revisions, cue email asking for tweaking. Wouldn’t the hero recognize her the second time they meet considering she will turn out to be the love of his life? Well of course he would!!!


Twenty-four hours later the tweaks were in.



7. SALE! (OR NOT...)


The longest wait of my natural life came that weekend.


The next I heard from her was an email asking if I was home. She sent it Friday morning her time. I got it Saturday morning my time. Thus by the time I got the message it was too late. I had to wait the longest weekend of my life, knowing she wouldn’t get my panicked “call me any time day or night” email until Monday evening our time.


10pm Monday evening, the phone rang. I let it ring three times before casually picking up the phone with a frantically shaking hand. After what felt like hours of pleasantries my editor made an offer to buy my first book. My husband claims I leapt so high off the chair, punching my fist in the air I hit the ceiling.


The contract I received in the mail was dated February 14th. Valentines Day. I thought that was kinda nice.



8. BOOK STORE


Now, you’ve sold. You are over the moon. Everyone in the world you’ve ever met now knows that you have a book coming out. And they are expecting to be able to buy it from their local Borders within oh say the next month?


Nuh-uh. Try twelve months. But what a lovely wait this part is.


You wait for a release date. Then a title. During this time you hopefully write another book or two, so that by the time you get to see your first cover you have two more books in the pipeline already! You wait for your first books to turn up in the mail. You wait for your first review. Then the book hits the shelves. Your friends and rellies read it and love it and life will never be the same again.



8. MONEY


If you think waiting twelve months until you see your book on the shelves is something, be prepared... You’ve never known the meaning of waiting until the word royalties becomes part of your lingo ;). From the time you sell your book it can be two years before any royalties filter through. So don't quit your day job!



And the thing of it is, none of this changes when you sell your first book. So if you are out there, thinking, one day I’d love to write a book and see it on the shelves, work on your patience skills right now.







Ally’s next Harlequin Romance, BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP, hits bookshelves in the UK and North America next month.


But it is available online already! Yep, right now! So head on over to eHarlequin to pick up a freshly minted, super-scented, fairy dust sprinkled hot off the presses copy today!


Check out an excerpt here...