Saturday, May 03, 2008

Weekend Wind-Down : Wanna Have Fun?


Anne McAllister, having sent off her book this week, has wound down so far she isn't even here. But her column is!

All Americans over the age of ten know the story of Tom Sawyer by legendary author Mark Twain. Tom is our quintessential All-American boy -- generally good-hearted, not given to minding very well, perpetually avoiding Aunt Polly who would like to wash his ears and neck and generally shape him up, and almost always in possession of a good idea for getting out of working too hard.

My kind of guy.

And as I've just had sooo much fun this week getting my book off to my editor this week, I'm going to take a page out of Tom's book and let you have fun for a while.

One of Tom's jobs, as you may recall, was to whitewash a fence. It was not his idea of a good time. He'd rather have gone fishin' or exploring or done almost anything else. But he was stuck until he had a brainstorm.

He started whitewashing, but whenever other kids came along, prepared to feel sorry for him or give him a bad time, he brushed them off.

It was great fun, he told them. Too bad they couldn't do it. Well, maybe he'd let them if they were really nice. If they paid him, he might just allow them to help. But they'd have to take turns . . .

Amazing how much fun they had while Tom supervised.

So . . .

I'm thinking about a new book. It has to be a Harlequin Presents (that's what I have a contract for).

But I have such an embarrassment of riches in terms of possible scenarios, I thought maybe you would like the fun of helping pick some of the main bits.

I can't decide if I want to set it in a big city or a Greek island or some other enticing spot that might require a little on site research.

I have heroes galore. I have the standard sorts of "plot contrivances" I can play with, like a poet has 14 lines and a choice of rhyme schemes when he wants to write a sonnet.

And it's one of the most fun parts of writing a book. You didn't actually think sitting there typing was all that amusing and enchanting, did you?

Of course you didn't.

So . . . I thought maybe, while I'm off playing with the 8 month-old granddaughter you guys might whitewash the fence . . . er, play with some ideas for me.

Here are some of my options for settings:

  • New York City
  • San Francisco
  • Greece (I could go, I could go, I could go!)
  • Ireland (ditto)
  • Some island somewhere
  • New Zealand (I could go again!)
  • a ranch in Montana (yes, this might be a busman's holiday for some, but maybe not for a Presents hero and heroine.)
  • your suggestion

And then I need a hero. Some of these guys have turned up in other guys' books and tried to shanghai the plot:

the Irish ne'er-do-well
the Greek troublemaker
the Greek-American loner
the Navajo rancher
the hard-edged tycoon with a chip on his shoulder
your suggestion


Who he is will dictate who the heroine is, of course. But then, I do have to come up with a starting point -- some situation or contrivance that will get them together. Unless they've already been together -- and that's a potential "romance" starting point in and of itself. So among those I have are:

  • fake fiance
  • second chance
  • marriage of convenience
  • workplace romance
  • virgin & the bad boy
  • taming of the shrew
  • cinderell
  • wounded hero
  • pygmalion
  • opposites attract
  • revenge
  • your suggestion

What every writer does with those elements is different. Some are more 'natural' fits than others. Keep in mind that anything I am likely to do with a revenge plot is even more likely to give my editor hives.

But if you've always wanted to write a book because it's such fun (it is, it is, it is!) but the authors have already got all the good ideas and you don't want to be bothered with having to sit there and type, take a shot at suggesting starting point (and people and places) for my next opus.

Who knows -- you might be my muse.


I hope so. Because otherwise I'll have to ask you to write next month's column instead!

Commenters will have the satisfaction of knowing they've contributed to Anne's R&R as well as having a chance to win a copy of her Fiji island getaway book, The Boss' Wife For A Week. A winner will be drawn on next Thursday (when she gets back from R&R) and announced on her blog.

Her most recent release was
One-Night Love-Child in which Flynn Murray, who hung around for six years (count 'em; he did!) waiting for his heroine's letter to catch up with him, finally got a happy ending. You can look at this to see if you think Dev deserves a book of his own.

And watch for Antonides' Forbidden Wife coming in November from HM&B Modern and (so they tell her) January 2009 in Presents.

And now...for some big news from our correspondent in the trenches, the fabulous BIDDY with her BOOK WITH BIDDY feature!


Break out the champagne, hang out the bunting, start putting the nibbles in little ceramic dishes, and let’s get this soiree started! Yes after waiting almost four months I have heard from Mills & Boon in Richmond and the lady she says… “If you would like to revise in line with our comments we’d like to see the full manuscript” YAY! In fact double YAY even triple YAY with a cherry on top! The comments are around making sure I don’t reveal the conflict too early and therefore lessening the tension. I can do this… can’t I?

All that happened about ten days ago and since then I have been celebrating pretty much every night… which explains the fragile state I have been finding myself in each morning. No it is not me avoiding the revisions, I have been in Tuscany with the girls and inspirational it was too. A Tuscan book is now in the plan, with a working title of ‘The Italian Stallion’, hey it is about an Italian horse breeder nothing too smutty here; but not, of course, until after the revisions for Dream Date and finishing the Artist. Which of course means I have to put ‘The Artist and The Ugly Duckling’ to one side and start the revisions. It is a bit of a wrench really as the writing for the Artist has been flowing well; I have written about a quarter of it and had a wonderful revelation about Lucas last week. But then again the wonderful Jack and Zoe from ‘Dream Date’ deserve to be polished and let loose on the world. And here are the photos that inspired them; the PR guru and the singer/songwriter or in real life, Hugh Jackman and Lori McKenna (who actually is a singer/songwriter).



In previous blogs you will remember I was having a tough time actually sitting down and writing but this last month… watch my fingers fly across the keyboard of my lovely Alphasmart Dana! This has something to do with me and transport… I have been writing on the train to the new job which works out well for bashing out a first draft it seems to be the only way I can write anything planes, buses, trains they all seem to get my creative juices flowing. I have visions of me in years to come going round and round on the Circle line as I bash out books. My dedications will be to Transport for London, London Underground and the man who elbowed me in the chest while he opened his newspaper.



But a Dana isn’t great for revisions so how can I do revisions on a train? I have been trying to figure this out all weekend (between eating and drinking some wonderful Italian fare). The commuter train I am on doesn’t have little tables to rest on and at the moment I use my Dana on my knee with me hunched over it (I see some backache in my future.) Hmmm all suggestions welcomed at the usual place.

I have given myself until the end of June to get it all done, this takes into account the day job, the radio, the voiceovers and the family member relocating halfway round the world. But as a project manager by training and profession I have actually written a programme plan which has built in a lot of “contingency” and the deadline for that is before RWA Nationals at the end of July!! Well I need time to celebrate all those little steps along the way.

Congratulations Biddy!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Film Night - Non-Romance Movies?


Paula Roe is here to talk about finding the romance in non-romantic movies, showing us exactly how love is all around us even when it's not meant to be!

Ok Paula...lights, camera...action!

When watching The Matrix for my Keanu fix the other day, an interesting thought occurred to me: for an action flick, it made for a pretty good romance. Which got me thinking - the "non-romance" movies that really command my interest always include some form of romantic/relationship thread. Not surprising, since love in its many forms contribute to the backbone of storytelling. It's the 'human interest' aspect of the story that people remember the most: Titanic would just be another navel disaster without Jack and Rose, right? And Speed would just be another action/adventure story if not for Annie and Jack (don't even talk to me about the travesty that was Speed 2... it's stricken from my memory banks.)

So I embarked upon a detailed study of my DVD collection. After weeding out all the obvious romances (Love Actually, You've Got Mail et al) I found a bunch of action, thriller and sci fi movies that satisfied my romance requirement (i.e. where the hero or heroine don't die). Here's just a selection of them:

The Matrix


Apart from the appeal of a gorgeous Keanu Reeves (despite his acting skills), he's also the saviour of mankind. Couple Neo with Trinity, a strong, feisty woman who can fly choppers and ju-jitsu her way out of trouble. She's been told she'll love a man who's The One, he believes he's not. It's a movie strong on effects and a twisty plot, so the romance is just a bonus.

Cliffhanger

Whatever you may think of Sylvester Stallone as a romantic lead, he makes a damn fine job as a tortured hero. Shouldering the guilt of killing his best friend's girlfriend, he redeems himself by saving his ex and gaining his best friend's trust again. Set against the gorgeous Alaskan snowy mountains, the action will keep you on the edge of your seat, and the romance will have you smiling at the end.

Star Wars Episodes IV-VI

Forget the prequels, the real romance of Han Solo and Princess Leia is one of the most romantic stories ever. Spread out over three movies, it goes from a love/hate relationship to one of deep emotion. Who can forget Leia's expression when Darth Vader imprisons Han in carbonite? And of course, Leia, being the kick-ass heroine she is, goes to rescue him from Jaba the Hutt. Gotta love a girl who fights for her man (and doing it long before Buffy was the name du jour!)


Raiders of the Lost Ark

Archeology teacher by day, whip-wielding treasure seeker at night (and on weekends). Indiana Jones epitomises excitement and danger, and Marion just can't keep away (well, can you blame her?) When Indy thinks Marion is dead, he truly hits rock bottom, showing how deep his feelings run. I adore this movie (especially the scene where Marion kisses his ouchies better!) and have to watch it at least once a year.

Timeline

Two words - Gerard Butler. :::swoon:::: As archeologist Andre Marek, he and his friends travel through time to rescue their professor during a French/English 14th century battle. But Marek falls in love with the doomed Lady Claire and ends up staying with her. Who wouldn't want a man who time travels and fights off the maurading hordes for you?

What non-romance movies have you seen that meet the romantic/relationship requirement? Share your thoughts!

When she's not watching TV or the movies for research, Paula's writing or designing websites.

Her latest release is Boardrooms & A Billionaire Heir (Silhouette Desire) is book 5 in the Diamonds Down Under http://www.diamonds-downunder.com/ continuity and is available now on the US (June for Australia) or as an ebook.

Visit her at website http://www.paularoe.com/ for more articles and heaps of links.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thursday Talk Time - The Allure of the Sheikh



Welcome back to Olivia Gates, with a fabulous post about the allure of the Sheikh in category romance!

Sheikhs.

Those mouthwateringly hunky, mesmerizing, uber-alpha lords-of-all-they-survey.

They have endured for decades as romantic heroes that readers evidently never get enough of. Besides the many reasons they are unique among all alpha male heroes, they are also unique in being the only kind of alpha male heroes who seem to be exclusive to category romance.

If that alone isn’t reason enough to have them featured on this blogazine celebrating all things category, I don’t know what is.

But in my case, I have another reason, since I’m writing this post on May 1st, the month when my first sheikh for Silhouette Desire is due on the shelves, (not to mention that in 2008 I’m having a total of six books on the shelves in two series, Silhouette Desire and Harlequin Medical Romance that all star sheikhs) So writing my post about sheikhs was a no-brainer.

Sheikhs.

What’s their secret?

From the readers’ perspective, I believe sheikhs offer the unbeatable and ultimate female fantasy. Sure, all alpha males are gorgeous, virile, sexy, worldly, wealthy and powerful, but only the sheikh takes all these qualities into a realm that knows no boundaries. Any other alpha hero, even a prince or a king anywhere in the world outside those desert kingdoms have limitations, bows to laws that compel even him. Not so the sheikh. He is the law in his kingdom, his power is absolute, and his entitlement is all-encompassing. Pride, chivalry, honor and majesty is stamped in his genes, handed down through generations from the days of the ruthless and overriding desert raiders. And though he has been tempered by the modernity of the twenty first century, the refinement of his extensive breeding, education and experience, he still retains that gleam of menace in his eyes, the lash of arrogance in his words and actions, and the consuming voracity in his passion, that of the predator that he truly is.

But like all majestic predators, he is also the most ferocious protector to all those in his dominion, the most single-minded pursuer to the one woman who rouses the hunter that has lain dormant inside him all his life and the most satisfying, cherishing and addicting lover when that unique woman who matches him, stands up to him, and gives him his life’s first and probably only struggle and challenge finally surrenders.

The sheikh offers a reader the fantasy of a man who is the embodiment of the best and most powerful of masculinity and manhood, a man who the most powerful men bow to, who can lay the very world at the feet of his beloved. What woman can resist the idea of finding such a man a supplicant before her, showing her his dependence on her love, his need for her good opinion and wellbeing, in effect making her the one who rules the ruler through a lifetime of wonders, wallowing in an unshakable love like no other?

I, as a reader and a woman, certainly can’t.

From the writers’ perspective (at least it has been from mine) the sheikh is an unrepeatable opportunity to go as far out as possible into the realm of fantasy while writing in a contemporary setting. My imagination is the limit. After all, I am writing about a man whose mildest murmur forges laws and merest glance performs impossibilities, who can literally do and have anything. Anything, but the one thing he needs, when need has been an inapplicable concept to him. The heroine.

And even in the situations when he does have her, it isn’t her body or submission that he craves, that he discovers he can’t live without. It’s her eagerness for the man inside the sheikh, untainted by any covetous motives for his position and power, it’s her heart’s welcome and her mind’s conviction.

It has been such a supercharged writing experience writing about such men and their tumultuous journeys of discovery, conflict, emotional pits and pinnacles and escalating sensual infernos as they surrender to the dominion of love. To add to my enjoyment is that all this happens amidst kingdoms I create with no limit to their grandeur and luxury, with so many scenes playing against the backdrop of opulence and the exotic and rich detail of costume and custom.

And now, here’s a teaser from my May release The Desert Lord’s Baby, a taste of my sheikh, Farooq Aal Masood:

You are going exactly where I take you. To my kingdom.”

Carmen shook her head, groped for breath. “I-I can’t travel…my passport isn’t valid…”

“I don’t need one to take you out of the country and into mine. My word is enough. Anyway, I’ll arrange for one. It will be waiting for you when we arrive at my home.”


“I’m not leaving my home…”

“You are. In case you haven’t grasped it yet, I’m having Mennah. Since you are her mother, this means having you too.”

His declaration felt like a slap. A stab.



A hurricane of emotions started churning inside her.


Even had he wanted her for real, she would have been in turmoil. He wasn’t just the man she loved—had thought she loved—he was a prince from another culture. She had no idea what being his wife entailed. But to have him state his intentions this way, as if she could have been anyone he’d endure now he’d accidentally impregnated, knowing it was the truth, that she was just an unwanted accessory that came with the daughter he wanted so much…

Trying to hide her upheaval from his all-seeing eyes, she tried to scoff. “Phew, I hope this isn’t how you make your peace proposals. Your region would be up in flames within the hour.”


He gave her a serene look. “I save my cajoling powers to negotiations. This isn’t one, Carmen. It’s a decree. You had my child. You will be my wife.”


So…do you like sheikhs? Are you one who can’t get enough of them, or one who avoids them? And in either case, why?

Answer me this in your comments, and I will again pick winners of copies of Book One in my Throne of Judar miniseries, The Desert Lord’s Baby.

Olivia Gates is thrilled to be celebrating the release of her first Silhouette Desire, The Desert Lord’s Baby! It got a TOP PICK from Romantic Times, and is a #1 eHarlequin eBook Bestseller!

It’s out now on eHarlequin in both paperback and eBook formats, but will be on the shelves on May 13th.

On her website you can also ogle…uh, read about the hunky Sheikhs that populate the six sheikh books she has out in 2008! You can also join her mailing list, or enter a contest to win free books.

Writers Wednesday :: Working Titles

Today PHS ed Ally Blake gives newbie writers some tips on whether or not working titles are all they're cracked up to be! (Article first seen in RWAus magazine Hearts Talk - April 2008)

I cannot begin a new book without three things: hero name, heroine name and working title.

As I get stuck into a story the hero and heroine names may well change as I get to know them. I mean a man named Charles would have a fairly different take on life and love than a guy called Rocco. Right?

But once my working title is in place it’s not negotiable. My whole story hinges not only upon the truth within those two or three well-chosen words but upon the very mood it evokes. My working title is my touchstone. My beginning and my end. It’s sums up the theme, the feel, the tone, the hidden secrets, the very essence of the tale. Heck, I even agonised over what to call this piece before I wrote a single word of it!

That’s a lot of pressure to put on so few words. So, figuring it might be healthy to find a modicum of balance on this issue, I asked some of my nearest and dearest writer friends what kind of importance they place on their working titles.

And I have been mightily surprised to find that not everyone in the romance writing world shares my perfectly reasonable view…

WE HAVE THE ‘WORKING TITLE IS EVERYTHING’ MODE OF WRITING

Some romance authors agree that working titles are a crucial part of the writing process.

PHS Ed and Harlequin Romance and Modern Heat author Nicola Marsh says, “For me, choosing a title before I begin the book is essential! I use the title to try to capture the essence of the story: a mood, a concept, a tiny fragment giving insight into the bigger picture. In all honesty, I don't think I could write the story without the title first, which is crazy considering I haven't had a keeper yet!”

Jenna Bayley-Burke, fabbo Modern Heat author and PHS ed agrees. I always have to have a working title. Can't start until I get it just right in my head."

Allison Rushby was as surprised as I was to find out that, “People really work with a title that's just the heroine's name? I could never do that! I always find that having a title I really love and think that fits gives me focus. Something to aim towards. I could never write with just a name as a title, or a 'working title' that would just 'do'. I at least need a 'proper' working title, that I think is the perfect fit (and will generally be up for discussion with my editor later on!).”


RITA winning Harlequin Romance author Liz Fielding used ‘The Journey Home’ as a working title for her recent Harlequin Romance, ‘Reunited: Marriage in a Million’. “It completely encompassed everything that I felt about my heroine’s story and kept me focussed on the heart of the book. That, for me, is the purpose of a working title.”

Though Harlequin Romance author Jennie Adams makes a valid point I would not dared have said aloud; having such avid dependence on a working title can be as much of a hindrance as a help.

Her biggest struggle naming a draft book so far? “My March 08 release which I think I renamed about five times before settling on the working title of 'Corporate Millionaire, Country Girl'. I wasn't happy with that working title, either, really, and maybe this book was just a tough one all 'round to label, because I ended up tossing around a lot of title ideas later, too, until my editor and senior editor finally came up with 'To Love And To Cherish' which I adore, and it really, really suits the book. I wish I'd have thought of it when I started the draft. Maybe it would have made the book easier to write.”


And Allison Rushby once had a story in progress she had titled ‘Possums in the Sunshine’. She says, “It became... nothing. It is, to this day, too hideous to publish! Too hideous to even give a proper title to!”

Perhaps Jennie has a fair point after all. Hmmm… Must investigate further.

THEN THERE’S THE ‘WORKING TITLE SCHMORKING TITLE’ SCHOOL OF THOUGHT

Others again find coming up with a title all too hard. Or – gasp! – irrelevant to writing a good book. Shocked and dismayed by this rejection of all things I hold sacred I questioned them endlessly about how they came to such an unhappy conclusion.

Paula Roe who writes for Silhouette Desire works along these crazy lines: “Most titles I think of on the fly - they're just something to put in the header so the editor can refer to it as something other than "book title" .”

Bestselling Harlequin Presents author and PHS columnist Anne McAllister says, “After 60 books I have given up trying to come up with titles. I just use the hero's name.”

Berkeley author Anne Gracie begins the same way, “I rarely start off with a title in mind -- I usually name them after the characters, so my computer files are called "Sebastian" and "Gabe and Callie".

Aussie Medicals author Fiona Lowe actually detests the process I love so very much. “Titles send me into a blind panic,” she says, “and make me think I am the most unimaginative person every put on the earth. It takes me forever to think of one. Before I was published I always gave my books well thought out titles. Then I discovered they discarded your gorgeous title that summed it all up eg ‘Labour of Love’ and gave it something like 'The French Doctor's Midwife Bride’.

Actually, Fiona has made a valid point there. Hmmm. Even after all the energy spent coming up with a working title, when you do sell a book there is a verrrry good chance you won’t get to keep your title anyway.

Making the best of both worlds the fabulous and entirely clever RITA and RuBY winning Barbara Hannay says, “Even though I call my document names like ‘Nell and Jacob’, I usually try to think of a title as well e.g ‘The Cattleman's Baby Surprise’. This way, at least, I can make sure I have hooks. Every so often I forget to do this and I end up with a non-hooky book that is hard to market.”

SUCCESS! OF SORTS…

Liz Fielding says, “I try to go with the “it does what it says on the tin” titles, although when I used ‘The Best Man & the Bridesmaid’ it never occurred to me that it would end up on the book. I couldn’t believe no one else had used it.”

Liz has also put her foot down when it came to title changes. I resisted, with all the breath in my body, ‘The Family He Deserved’, a title so bad that it deserved to be taken out and shot. It was changed to ‘A Family of His Own’ and yes, it was worth it.” As a side note ‘A Family of His Own’ went onto win the Romantic Novelists' Association "Romance Prize". Did the title help? I guess we’ll never know…

Jenna Bayley-Burke had a different experience. ’Driven to Distraction’ had to become ‘Drive Me Crazy’. Someone else snagged ‘Driven to Distraction’ before I had the contract! Ooooh, so close to the prize!

Anne McAllister said, “I had a Presents I called ‘Finn’s Twins’ because the hero was stuck with six year old twin girls by his irresponsible sister. Strictly a working title. And what did editorial call it? ‘Finn’s Twins!’ (Their addition was the exclamation mark).”

Though another time when Anne did fight to keep a working title the results were a little different. She fought for ’Gibson’s Girl’. She says, “It was worth it to me because the title they wanted was dire. But the sales were mediocre, so my title obviously didn't sell the book. Still I am happier with it than the other option.”

Anne Gracie found a way of keeping her chosen titles, lucky duck! With my Berkley single titles, I named the first book ‘The Perfect Rake’ and my ed liked it and it stayed. She also wanted a series, and for every book to have "perfect" in the title. They were all my titles, though, except for the last one. I can't recall what I originally chose, but she didn't like it and asked me to come up with something more romantic-sounding. I came up with ‘The Perfect Kiss’ and she was happy.

Sigh… If only it was always so simple.

HOW TO COPE WHEN YOUR PERFECT TITLE IS CHANGED

This writer usually spends a fair amount of time, which she’ll never get back, muttering under her breath about how perfect her working title really was and that she imagined readers the world over going nuts for the book because of the working title alone as, let’s face it, she is the best title comer-upper-wither on the planet ;).

Liz Fielding has her fiftieth book out this year and still finds it hard to let go. The trick is not to get so attached to it that when marketing choose something completely different it doesn’t break your heart. I don’t think I’ve ever got over a book that was, always will be in my heart, called ‘Sacrifice of the Heart’ was renamed ‘The Three Year Itch’, a title that was wrong in so many ways that I still can’t bear to think about it.”

Newbie Harlequin Romance author and PHS ed Donna Alward was so excited to sell her first book, changing her working title was the last of her worries! ’Hired By The Cowboy’ was initially ‘Wedding at Windover’ and I loved, loved, loved that title, though I expected it would get changed. And honestly I was happy enough to sell that I didn’t care much what they called it! And I trust editorial know what they’re doing!”

And as Paula Roe said: “For some, titles can be a major sticking point. But it's important to remember that just like covers, it's all about selling the book.”

SO KIDS, THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS...

If the working title gives you something solid on which to hang the spine of your story, hang on tight as you write.

But when it comes to the crunch this is big business. Getting people to read the story you love is about more than writing a good book. It’s about doing whatever it takes to get them to choose your novel up from amongst the masses bombarding them the moment they step into a bookstore. And if ‘The Magnate’s Indecent Proposal’ (the title of my next Modern Heat) translates in title speak to ‘Pick me!’ Pick me!’ more than ‘The Beautiful Stranger’ (my working title for that same book) would, then learn to love a hook!

I’ve never been able to keep a working title though I did once come up with the final title in a brainstorm with my editor post sale. ‘The Billionaire Bachelor’ became ‘How to Marry a Billionaire’’. Close right? But Harlequin Romance is a heroine driven series therefore the title had to allude to the heroine. See, clever.

Though I must add as an indulgent side note, ‘How to Marry a Billionaire’’ has been my best selling book to date. I’d like to think the title I chose has something to do with it ;).

And just for fun these are my working titles and the final titles of all of my books!

book title ~ working title

A Night with the Society Playboy ~ Hanky Panky
Hired: The Boss's Bride ~ Ring a Ding Ding
The Magnate's Indecent Proposal ~ The Beautiful Stranger
Falling for the Rebel Heir ~ The Voyager and the Mermaid
Steamy Surrender ~ The Sweetest Thing
Millionaire to the Rescue ~ The Next Best Thing
Getting Down to Business ~ Alpha
Billionaire On Her Doorstep ~ Sunsets Over Sorrento
Meant-To-Be Mother~ Come Fly With Me
Wanted: Outback Wife ~ Wanted: Outback Wife
A Father in the Making ~ Something About Her
The Shock Engagement ~ Loving Mr Irresistible
A Mother For His Daughter ~ Love, Italian Style
How to Marry a Billionaire ~ The Billionaire Bachelor
Marriage Make-Over ~ Love Schmove
Marriage Material ~ Grounds for Marriage
The Wedding Wish ~ Wishin' & Hopin'


Ally’s next book FALLING FOR THE REBEL HEIR was originally titled The Voyager and the Mermaid, not her best working title by a long shot, and one she was pretty happy to see the back of ;). It's on Australian and New Zealand bookshelves now as part of the MOTHERS’ DAY GIFT SELECTION in April.


And next month her third, and sexiest yet, Modern Heat novel THE MAGNATE'S INDECENT PROPOSAL (working title The Beautiful Stranger) is out in the UK. Or if you simply can't wait it's available online now through Amazon and Mills and Boon UK.

Check out more about the books at her brand spanking new website...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Temptation Tuesday : : Getting Away From It All

This week Anne McAllister, who is at her wit's as well as the book's end, is fantasizing about the great temptation of Getting Away From It All . . .

I am almost at the end of my ro- er, book.

You know how it is -- you start out with glee and enthusiasm. You can hardly wait to spend time with these wonderful delightful characters in this terrific romantic setting, and you're dying to watch them effortlessly (to you anyway, if not to them) achieve their happily ever after.

And then you wake up and realize it's all a dream.

You discover you're still a writer, and if the book is ever going to end, you -- not those wonderful delightful, but increasingly annoying irritating uncooperative characters -- are the one who is going to have to do the work.

You have to write the words and the pages and the paragraphs and if it's ever going to come right in the end, let's face it, it's up to YOU.

So . . . as I'm at the point now where it's Up To Me, you know I'm close enough to smell The End. I'm also tired enough to want to do nothing but sleep -- and dream about what I'm going to do after I Fin-Da-Boo.

Here's what I'm going to do.

I'm going to get away from it all.

I'm not sure where yet -- probably nowhere I'm fantasizing about now. But the fantasies are ways of Getting Away From It All before I can actually get there in person.

So, in between tweaking and fiddling and writing madly, I've been thinking about where to get away.

Do I want a spa?

A quiet, pristine, healthy slightly spartan but still luxurious few days to get my groove back, to pamper my body as well as recharge it with a mud wrap? A massage? A bit of meditation? Light but nutritious food?

Do I want to rough it?

The weather's warmed up at last so camping out isn't the exercise in grimness that it would have been a few weeks and a few inches of snow ago. And there is something about getting back to nature -- hiking or horse packing into the mountains -- taking in the view from the mountaintop after spending months down among the trees?

What about a little jetsetting? A few days in Paris perhaps? The sights and sounds and smells and tastes of France?

A trip over the Spanish border to one of my favorite big cities, Barcelona?

Or a Greek island? A little sailing and sun on Santorini, perhaps?

Or if I'm going for an island, why not really get away from it all and head for Taveuni?

I wrote a book set there and I went there in my mind -- and heart -- for months. Can I scrape together the time to go in person?

It's certainly worth thinking about. Dreaming about. Finishing the book for.

What about you?

Where would you go if you were going to get away from it all? And would you go all by yourself?

Or would you, perhaps -- as long as you're fantasizing -- think of someone to share it with?

For Anne's last book, One-Night Love-Child, from Harlequin Presents in March '08 and from HM&B Modern in April '08, she managed to 'get away from it all' in the middle of the book and take a research trip to Ireland.

Not all books are so cooperative. Her next one,
Antonides' Forbidden Wife, coming in autumn is set in Hawaii and New York -- and she had to stay home and write!

Stop by her blog this week or come back on Saturday to find out where she's really going for her well-deserved R&R!

Here's a hint!