Saturday, July 31, 2010

RWA Conference Updates

The Pink Heart Society's own Michelle Styles reports in on the action at RWA National, 2010.

The Harlequin party is very bit as fun as the rumours have it. This time it was at the Waldorf Astoria, so a number taxied together -- from Harlequin Historical authors like Blythe Gifford to Presents debut author Maisey Yates to Intrigue author Elle James.

Unlike past years, the control on the door was very strict. Your name was checked against a list and your hand stamped. Once inside, waiters greeted you with a Harlequin Heartbreaker which included x rated vodka, and hibicus juice with an orchid floating on top. The desserts had to be seen (I did take photos!) but there were chocolate logs decorated with butterflies, giant candied apples, a variety of sorbets and ice cream lollies which were made on the spot and dipped in chocolate.

A variety of milestones had been reached including Presents author Susan Stephens and Silouette Desire/ Harlequin Historical author Charlene Sands 25 pin. After the giving of the pins, the dancing started with Nora Roberts leading the way. The first song that was played and apparently always is the first song -- We Are Family.

Because the theme was Pretty as a Picture, a variety of photos taken through out the evening kept being displayed on 2 gigantic screens. Can I just state right here that Kimberley Young has the most amazing red shoes (basically ruby red slippers with 3 1/2 inch heels) and can dance in them? All the editors were amazing. Mary Theresa Hussey can really dance.

It was a wonderful evening. Truly magical.

There is just something about a Harlequin Party

Weekend Wind Down :: Favorite Movies

Tracy Wolff is winding down this weekend with her favorite movie...Good Will Hunting

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Matt Damon. I mean L.O.V.E. Matt Damon and have done so for about fourteen years—which means that I’ve seen every movie he’s ever made about a gazillion times. In fact, recently, I had a two-week long Matt Damon marathon (when I should have been writing)—including Invictus, Green Zone, The Bourne movies, Dogma, Syriana, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Courage Under Fire, Spirit, Ponyo and the Ocean’s Films (yes, I own them all, and more). And of course, no Matt Damon marathon would be complete without Good Will Hunting, the movie that I'm dedicating my weekend to...after all, it's research!

I first saw this movie when my oldest (who is now 13) was just a baby and I fell in love with it. From Robin Williams’ incredible portrayal of a psychology professor stagnating in his own life to Ben Affleck’s hilarious best friend character to Minnie Driver s the fun yet surprisingly deep love interest, I was hooked from the first minute the film popped on screen. And then, of course, there is Will Hunting.

If you’ve ever read any of my books, you know I’m a sucker for a tortured hero, one who sabotages himself over and over again because he just doesn’t believe he deserves to be happy. Add in the fact that Will is brilliant, under-achieving , gorgeous and dark and brooding, and my little heart can barely take the excitement. And when he finally gets it together in the end, finally decides that he does deserve to be happy and starts to take the steps to make that happen, I always get tears in my eyes.

Everything about this movie touches me, makes me think, makes me feel. It’s my go-to movie when I’m not sure what else to watch, and the only movie I make sure to watch at least once or twice a year. I give it an 8/10 for romance and a 10/10 for character development! This is a film I’ll be watching for many years to come.

You can catch up with Tracy and her latest releases at her website,

Friday, July 30, 2010

RWA Conference Updates

The Pink Heart Society's own Michelle Styles reports in on the action at RWA National, 2010.

Friday started bright and early with Susan Elizabeth Phillips speaking about the six magic words -- Keep the Reader Within the Story. I loved her approach including rereading the scenes with the heroine checking for her emotinal growth, then the hero and finally the scenes with them together. Her handout covers the key points but she expresses things with such humour.

Then I went to hear the owner of Trident Media speak about what agents should be doing for you in the changing publishing landscape. Totally fascinating. But really his final message about learning as much about publishing is important. Most of piracy happens when work is stolen before it is published as files for various reasons are zooming about the internet unprotected by DRM.

Jayne Anne Krentz spoke at the lunch giving her three rules for success -- know your core story, know your market, know your fictional landscape.

After lunch, it was time for Donald Maass -- Fire in Fiction part 2 where he talked about creating moments of change for your character to fix flat scenes -- basically identify what changes for the pov character in the scene, find the point where it changes and go back ten minutes to show how they saw themselves, then forward ten minutes and again write a short paragraph about they are currently feeling. How is it different? There were other exercises on finding passions and strongly held opinions. Basically it was about putting that fire and passion in your scenes through specific detail. It is the details that help create the memories and bring the connnection. He is very good in person and his books are excellent. A lot of what he was saying made sense.

Then it was on to the Unusual Historical panel where I learnt that the Unusual Historical market is opening up slightly. Avon recently bought a Regency set in the Ottoman Empire debut. Pocket has bought a Victorian set in South Africa. Berkley also continues to buy selectively. The new Harlequin Historical Undone author Ashley who just sold in Medieval Japan was also there. The point was made that you need to lower barriers -- for example exotic location but keep one of the characters as British or American. Remember the fairy tale element and that the story is a Romance.

After that, I felt so tired that I am resting prior to the Harlequin party. Wimpish I know, but last night I went to bed after 12 am, and was up at 7 am. The Harlequin party is legendary!!!!

RWA Conference Updates

Kate Bridges ,Harequin Historical Author
I'm having fun here in Walt Disney World, enjoyed the Magic Kingdom electrical parade and fireworks 2 nights ago, and gabbing with all my cyberfriend authors that I get to meet in person. Celebrating the release of my latest historical, ALASKA BRIDE ON THE RUN.

Kate Hewitt, Harlequin Presents
I had a wonderful time at the Magic Kingdom yesterday, wilting in the heat but bring revived on Splash Mountain! It's also great to meet readers and writers, and of course I have to mention my latest Presents, COUNT TOUSSAINT'S BABY, out now!

Janette Kenny, Harlequin Presents
I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Magic Kingdom with M&B authors and editors yesterday. But I'm Very glad that the majority of today's activities are indoors! I've found time to do a bit of editing, and signing copies of my latest Presents, Innocent in the Italian's Possession at the Literacy Signing last night.

Lynn Raye Harris, Harlequin Presents
I've been having so much fun at RWA! Unlike other intrepid authors, I have not visited the Magic Kingdom. As a native Southerner, my natural habitat in summer is inside in the air conditioning. It's hotter than blazes here, y'all! If it were January, however, I'd probably be out there too. :) Last night, I so enjoyed meeting readers at the Literacy Signing where I signed copies of my latest Presents, THE PRINCE'S ROYAL CONCUBINE! Right now, I'm typing this at the Mills & Boon Meet and Greet -- you wouldn't believe how many fabulous authors are here! I still feel like such a fan girl sometimes. :)

Elaine Golden, Harlequin Historical Undone author.
The conference this year is amazing. Last night was the Literacy Signing and there were so many talented and gracious authors there, eager to meet new people and talk about their stories. It was quite the crush, and one I hope to be able to sign at in the future. My Regency Historical, title TBD, is due to release early next year.

Elizabeth Rolls, Harlequin Historical Author, Rita Finalist
Here I am in Orlando after a somewhat lengthy trip from halfway across Australia. The Magic Kingdom was such a blast as we all released our inner Princesses, ending up with a Princess lunch in the Castle. I even rode Thunder Mountain - my first roller coaster ride since I lost my lunch on a fairground roller coaster thirty years ago . . .

The Literacy book signing was HUGE last night and Nora Roberts gave a brilliant keynote speech at lunch today. So looking forward to more.

Michelle Styles:
Yesterday was full on. Nora Roberts was brilliant at lunch. Carole Mortimer and others recieved thier plaque for over 100 books. Jessica Hart,and Kimberley Lang both won Reader's Choice awards. Ann Letherbridge won a Daphne for her debut Harlequin Historical. The pj party was great fun. I walked through 2 lobbies dressed in flowered pjs. Elizabeth Rolls wore her husband's 'the cat walked all over this t-shirt' t-shirt. It was so much fun. Among the people I met there was Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, and Kristie J who is a fellow North & South enthusiast. Today is workshops and the Harlequin party.

Must Watch Friday: Tivo

This week romantic thriller author Nina Bruhns waxes poetic about her Tivo...and a few of the shows she’s watched on it lately.

Okay, show of hands. Do you own a Tivo? Have you even heard of a Tivo? If not, you are missing out on mankind’s best invention since the cathode ray tube (and if you don’t know what that is, you’re way too young to be reading this). My advice? Find out what it is. Buy one. Not that I’m biased or anything. Yes, you can easily live without a Tivo (or similar DVR device), but I guarantee that having one--and using it wisely--will make your life much easier. Well, assuming you watch TV. If you don’t, go check out Writers’ Wednesday. For me, I only watch what I program the Tivo to more channel surfing and ending up watching really dumb stuff. And I can’t remember the last time I saw a commercial. Even if I am watching a show the same night it’s on, I’ll Tivo it and wait half an hour to start it so I can zoom through the commercials. Talk about a time-saver.

I’ve had a Tivo for about eight years now. Well, actually two Tivos. One for upstairs and one for downstairs. It’s great, because they can trade shows with each other, and with my computer (on our wireless network), as well as download shows and movies from Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and iTunes. This week I finally got a new HD unit. Wow, what a difference in the picture! And it has two hard drives so it can record two shows at once for those times when the networks schedule your two favorite shows at the same time. I love it.

n addition to Tivoing all my favorite TV shows (so I can watch them when I want to, commercial free), most weeks I Tivo and watch anywhere from five to ten movies. Some of these are movies I program in when they are released, and have to wait a year or more to show up on cable and my Tivo, and some I pick via the TV listings using the two-sentence blurbs. Some weeks I get lucky, some weeks everything I Tivo sucks (kinda like picking books from the back covers).

This time I got lucky.

Stories about parents are not usually my favorite—yeah, we all have parent issues and who needs to wallow in someone else’s?—but two movies showed up on my Now Playing List (it’s always a treat to open up the file and see what has recorded overnight, like opening a Christmas present every day!) with the parent/child dynamic as their main theme: The Thing About My Folks (Paul Reiser, Peter Falk) and My Life So Far ( Colin Firth, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). I’d been avoiding both for a while now, letting them languish on the Tivo for several weeks, but in the summer vacation black hole between the end of the old season and the beginning of the summer replacement season, I was that desperate to find something worth watching. I’m so glad I was!

Paul Reiser started out as a stand up comedian, but has turned into a wonderful actor and now screen writer. I loved the only other movie I’ve seen him in, a little known, touching film called Strange Relations (aka My Beautiful Son), about an adopted man who searches out his birth family in Ireland for medical reasons, and gets more than he bargained for (but then, so do they). In the funny and heartwarming The Thing About My Folks, Reiser and Falk strike out on an impromptu road trip and discover things about each other—and other family members—that changes their relationship forever. My Tivo is now set to record any film written by Reiser. One can only hope there will be more from this talented comedian-turned-writer.

My Life So Far is one of those terrific British historical films, about a ten-year-old lad growing up in Scotland just after WWI. Though it’s told through the boy’s POV, this amusing story is not a kid’s film. It is really about the adults in his eccentric but loving family. If you like Masterpiece Theater, be sure to set your Tivo to catch this one.

Family dynamics are also a big theme in some of my favorite TV dramas this past season. I have Tivo Season Passes for Brothers and Sisters (who can resist Sally Field as the meddling mom?), as well as for Weeds, Numbers, Medium, and yes, Dexter. A parent or parents add considerably to the emotional and dramatic impact of all those shows. Of course, the fabulous writing doesn’t hurt.

As for the summer season . . . well, this seems to be the time all my really favorite shows appear. For some reason, summer has become romantic suspense summer. But guess what? Even though they’re about cops, spies, bad guys, and thieves, these shows all have great family dynamics as a major part of their plots, too. I love Burn Notice, The Closer, White Collar, In Plain Sight, Memphis Beat, and the new Covert Affairs.

But the great thing about owning a Tivo is that it doesn’t matter what season it is, you can watch all your favorite shows and movies anytime you want. How great is that?

Nina Bruhns is a bestselling romantic suspense and thriller author, an unapologetic baby boomer, and a lover of happy endings. .This week book 1 of her IMMORTAL SHEIKHS trilogy for Harlequin Nocturne, LORD OF THE DESERT, hits the stands. Books 2 and 3, SHADOW OF THE SHEIKH, and VAMPIRE SHEIKH, will be out in November and February. In June, her Nikita Black novella “BINDING HER HEART” appeared in the WEDDING FAVORS anthology for Berkley Heat. Her December single title, IF LOOKS COULD CHILL, is up for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Best Mystery/Suspense of 2009, to be announced this week.

Reach Nina at or

Thursday, July 29, 2010

RWA Conference Updates

The latest from RWA 2010 with Pink Heart Society editor Michelle Styles...

The RWA signing for literacy was last night and you have to see it to believe it. The crowd stretched for a long way and the room was the size of at least one football pitch if not two.

I met some lovely people. Cara Summers who writes for Blaze was seated next to me and is a truly lovely person. Liz Talley was on the other side of her.

After the signing was over, I went to the legendary Sandra Marton pizza party. Sandra has done this party for many years and she is truly a gracious hostess. The pizza was excellent and the company even better. There is a special satisfaction with being able to speak with people of like mind.

Over the years, I've read a lot about the signing etc, and it really does have to be seen. The buzz in the room is incredible.

Today is a full day and so there will be updates when I can.

What are you reading Thursday - Stephanie Newton

Stephanie Newton joins us with her summer reading list!

What am I reading? A good question. A little over a week ago, the answer would’ve been, “My manuscript, for the four thousandth time.” As soon as that baby hit the post office box, though, I picked up my Kindle and opened the first of my list that had been accruing since the writing blitz began.

I write romantic suspense and it’s probably my favorite genre to read, too. However, this year I decided to be deliberate about keeping track of what I’m reading and trying to branch out, even though my reading time is limited. So here’s what I’ve read lately:

Elizabeth Lowell’s Death Echo: I’ve been an Elizabeth Lowell fan since I read her western historical years ago. I love the St. Kilda Consulting series, too. Always great tough heroes, always great romantic suspense.

Joanna Bourne’s The Forbidden Rose and The Spymaster’s Lady: I’d heard wonderful things about this series and I wasn’t disappointed. The writing was so, so beautiful. I’m a fan.

Tana French’s In the Woods: This Edgar award-winning novel is beautifully complicated. I can’t say that it ended the way I would’ve liked, but it was an unforgettable read!

Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: I’ve seen this international bestseller everywhere and finally, with a few hours in the car ahead of me, decided it was time to read it. It was a slow build, but boy, when the action started, it didn’t let up for a minute. I’m looking forward to the sequel and more time with the fascinating characters.

Wednesday, I’ll be flying to Orlando for the RWA conference. I’ll be coming home and buckling down to work but for the trip, I must have some reading material. I’m thinking maybe a good historical romance might fit the bill…something along the lines of Loretta Chase’s Last Night’s Scandal. Or I have Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver and Linger in my TBR pile. What do you think? What should I read next? What genre should I choose?

Award-winning author Stephanie Newton lives in Florida with her husband and two teenagers. She keeps busy running from sporting events to music lessons and drinks way too much coffee in between. Her latest book, Flashpoint, is available now. To read a chapter of her latest, click here.

Steph's giving away a copy of FLASHPOINT to a lucky commenter! Leave a comment and Steph will draw the winner!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

RWA Conference News Flashes

The latest from RWA 2010 with Pink Heart Society editor Michelle Styles...

Christine Merril, Harlequin Historical
Last night, had a fabulous supper at the pretend UK at Epcot Center. Yes, I think bangers and mash is exotic. And the waiter was dishy. Celebrity visit from the Geiko Gekko. He's shorter than I thought: approx 2", and does not talk.

Blythe Gifford, Harlequin Historical
Started Conference at the Cabana by the pool and the Blogger Bash. Felt very chic! Then on to the bluezoo for dinner with my buddies from the Windy City chapter of RWA. Beautiful presentation of seafood - almost too pretty to eat.

Michelle Styles:
I met Presents author Sue Stephens and we registered. To my delight super blogger Barbara Vey was in the queue and I finally got to meet her face to face! I then tagged along with Sue and had breakfast with Presents authors Sandra Marton and Carole Mortimer. Carole is a VIP at this conference as she being honoured for her over 100 books. Then it was over to the Harlequin Digital clinic. Eharlequin community manager Jayne Hogenberk looks like a fab advertisement for the Menopause Makeover! Lots of fabulous tips about Twitter, Facebook and managing privacy. Very handy to know...

The Librarian's lunch was great. I sat next to SSE author and RWA bookseller of the year Gail Link with the ever so lovely Blaze author Jacquie D'Alessandro on the other side. Jacquie, I can reveal, is working on a Victorian Christmas anthology with Hope Tarr and Bettina Krahn. It was really wonderful to connect with several librarians from Florida, and Las Vegas. Sherrilynn Kenyon did a wonderful talk about libraries and the importance of respecting your readers.
afterwards, it was the Librarian/Bookseller event.

The librarians fell on the books like hungry wolves! I was able to meet several more booksellers who were absolutely lovely including one lady, May Boonpitak who came from Thailand. I was also made to meet finally Kris Alice Hohls who runs the Germn LoveLetter magazine. She is in the early plannning stage of a Romance Conference for readers in Germany in 2012. She is a totally wonderful person.

I am now sitting with my feet up and getting ready to go to the booksigning -- 500 authors!!!

More later...

RWA Conference Updates

PHS Editor Michelle Styles is attending the RWA conference and will be giving news flashes every so often.

The wireless works! But I forgot my USB cable for the camera, so pictures will have to wait.

My flights were long and totally packed. I met Superromance/NASCAR author KN Casper and his lovely wife in the shuttle on the way to the Swan as well as an unpublished author from Livermore, CA who was lovely. Everyone is friendly.

The Swan is beautiful. My rooom is huge!

Michelle Willingham dragged me off for drinks with some of the Presents authors as they had had dinner at a Polynesian restaurant. I'd eaten on the plane. International still gets fed as opposed to domestic where you have to buy your food.

I met Maisey Yates, Lynn Rae Harris, Kim Hewitt, Jannette Kenny and renewed acquaintances with Jennie Lucas and Sandra Marton. As ever Sandra was impossibly glam and the other Presents authors are right up there. Michelle Willingham is just like her posts! It was great fun until I started to flag. It is wonderful just to Talk Writing.

Today is registering and then the Librarian thing. Plus later the signing and pizza party that Sandra Marton always hosts for HMB authors. Michelle Willingham and a bunch of authors (not me as I am doing the librarian thing are going to The Magic Kingdom so I will try and get one of them to do an update.

Have Netbook will ask people to write about their experience. Stay tuned....


Christine Rimmer is gracing the Pink Heart Society's Writer's Wednesay...come join the fun!

I know I should. But….

Honestly. Truly. I am really, really trying to behave.

With my current work-in-progress, I mean. Hah. Had you going there for a moment, didn’t I?

Seriously, though. All professional writers know the drill. We’ve read the best books on the subject, books like Anne Lamott’s amazing, true and inspirational, Bird by Bird. And Julia Cameron’s fabulous The Artist’s Way. And just about anything by Natalie Goldberg—especially the wonderful Wild Mind.

The drill is simply this: Show up. Get to the page every day, make page goals. Hit them—hmm. That sounds rather violent—well, and then, you know what? Writing, in its own way, is violent, on occasion. There’s a lot of digging that goes on, hitting the vein, watching the blood spurt and all that, going places within that sometimes aren’t pretty. Because there’s no getting around it. If you’re writing something you hope someone will put down their hard cash to read, you’ve got to deliver, baby. And all the clichés are absolutely true on this whole delivery thing. You may groan when someone tells you, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” Groan all you freaking want. You better be crying when you write that reconciliation scene. You’d better be taking a page from Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone, sobbing your heart out, buried in wet tissues, moaning, “God, that’s good…”

And am I carrying the whole “writing as a violent activity” a bit far? Okay, okay.

I’ll try again. Make page goals. Achieve them. Yes, much better…

And really, what was my original point?

Wait. I remember…

Funny, but behaving—in the writerly sense as defined above—used to be easy for me. When I was starting out as a writer, I behaved as a matter of course. I didn’t have all day to write. It wasn’t my actual job or anything, so when I came to the page, it was glorious, naughty, exciting, stolen time.

And even for the first few years after I began to support myself with my writing, it was all just one big miracle to me. That I got paid for the writing, which meant I could write more, because I didn’t have to spend eight hours a day slaving away at some day job just to eat and make the rent.

But slowly, over the years, my sense of the delicious, forbidden naughtiness of my work has…eroded? Degraded?

Whatever. Now, well, you know, it’s my job. And it’s become so tempting to find clever ways to make it naughty again.

This is the true scariness of the human mind. Well, at least my mind, which is a place only I go and everyone is happy about that. Just ask my family…

So. Clever ways to be naughty. Oh, like for instance, not showing up at the page for a few days. And then freaking out when I get there and realize no veins have been opened recently. I have to start at the beginning and build my story, my world, my characters’ reality. It’s very exciting, in a very emotionally violent way.

And, honestly, it is not a good idea. It is not the way to go.

So here I am on my current project, and I have, honestly and truly, been behaving. Not just trying. Actually behaving. I show up daily, I achieve my page goals.

I’ve even had a couple of beautiful, perfect, Romancing the Stone moments. The other day, there was a coronary. Seriously. My heroine’s beloved father had a heart attack. He was rushed to the hospital—we hope, in time—because my hero just happened to be there at the crucial moment, to administer CPR, to call 911. And then to wait with the heroine and her family through the agonizing hours of surgery….

I wrote that scene sobbing, blowing my nose, tossing tissues over my shoulder in my eagerness to get my fingers back on the keyboard and type the next sentence. Once, I happened to glance to the side and saw both of my cats just sitting there, watching me, looking vaguely stunned—or possibly worried about my mental health. Or maybe even wondering if I was ever going to get up and fill their food bowls. I told them, “God, this is good!” and I blew my nose again and I went on to the next sentence.

It was fabulous. It was what I love best of all about the writing life. The actual writing, when it’s all working and you’re in the zone and every word just…works!

And yes, the urge to be naughty still tempts me. And I’ve decided that’s good. I need to be naughty right there on the page. I need to always remember the miracle that is this job.

I guess I always secretly believed it would get easier. It just doesn’t. But it remains the best job I ever had.

All of which, Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron could have told me. And did.

How about you? What are your clever ways to be naughty and not show up for work? Come on. Whether you’re a writer or not, I know that you know ways you are naughty…

Oh, and by the way, here’s a cover for my latest release, McFarlane’s Perfect Bride from Silhouette Special Edition, out this month. So happens it’s my 75th published book. So even when I'm not behaving, I'm still getting books written now and then...And whether you're behaving or not, here's to the best summer ever—and a whole lot of wonderful summer reading for everyone!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pink Heart Picks - Born On The 4th of July

This month PHS Editor Donna Alward chats about the book club read for the month - the Blaze line's BORN ON THE 4th OF JULY.

I saved this read for when I was flying – it was on my ereader and I love how I can take so many books on holiday and fit them all in my purse. And what a great way to while away a few hours!

I don’t read a lot of Blaze. Actually, my reading varies a lot so I don’t read a lot of anything in particular (except Romance in general). It’s been a while since I read one and I was really looking forward to it. And I love military heroes so that was already a plus before I even went to the first page.

This book is 3 novellas by three really talented authors.

I discovered Jill Shalvis a while ago and love her writing and hers was the first story. I have to admit that I was surprised to be thrown right into the hot stuff in the first scene Wowza! This is a friends to lovers story that is simply great – a strong hero and an even stronger heroine who never pities him but pushes him, unlike everyone else who tries to baby him after he’s been wounded. I really liked the additional injury of hearing loss for this character. In some ways her heroine reminded me of my Lily in Her Lone Cowboy – the hero needed someone to be strong and steady rather than sympathetic. Jill’s heroine looks beyond the injury to the man she’s been in love with for quite a while.

Rhonda Nelson’s story had a touch of southern charm that was great, and the thing that really grabbed me was the conflict arc. The hero has very valid reasons for being angry with his father, and all that is unresolved when he goes home for his Dad’s funeral. Chase grew up never feeling good enough and finding out how much his father loved him after his death is really touching.

One particular scene was awesome after a slow beginning heat-wise, and made me laugh with the mention of sweet potato casserole in her hair (and yes, you have to read to find out, I’m not saying any more). There’s a lot packed into this short story – a great sexual relationship, a solid emotional conflict, and in particular I liked the ending. A lot of soldier stories end with the hero either leaving the military or staying stateside but this guy was Rangering on and I liked that.

Karen Foley’s contribution was great and I have to say I was reading and my jaw dropped once as the heroine was very, very naughty. I am not sure I’ll look at marshmallow crème the same way again. What pulled me out of this story a little was the politics of the hero’s job – he was a sniper and the “morality” of his job came up more than once which surprised me. You gotta love it though when you have a Marine coming across the sand in his dress blues on the 4th of July. Foley really knew how to wrap this one up.

Before I sign off and announce next month’s pick, I do want to pose a question for you readers about euphemisms. I of course write for Romance where the bedroom door is closed, but I read across most lines from Inspy to Erotica. There were 2 euphemisms in these stories that, well, I just don’t find sexy and it wasn’t down to one author either. Euphemistic language is certainly quite common especially as things heat up, so I’m wondering – are there any specific words that draw you out of the story?

Next month’s pick is the opposite end of the spectrum – Love Inspired’s   THE COWBOY'S SWEETHEART by Brenda Minton.  Join me on August 24 to read my review and discuss this book!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Annoucing the New Voices Competition

To help celebrate its cover makeover, Mills & Boon is running a competition to find a brand new authorial voice from its readership to join their glaxay of romance stars. If you are unpublished in full length book form and unagented, then this competition is for you! If you are published in full length book form or have an agent, there are other avenues and opportunities.
The really exciting part of this competition is that the public will be asked to take part.
The hub for the competition is and you can find all the rules there.
Various authors and editors will be giving masterclasses at libraries through out the UK.

Author / Editor Library Date Contact
Michelle Styles Knaresborough 1st Sep, 7pm 0845 300 5112
Heidi Rice Brent 6th Aug,6.30 – 8.30 020 8937 3400
Kate Walker Doncaster TBC 01302 736000
Liz Fielding Carmarthan 9th August 01267 224824
Caroline Anderson
& Kate Hardy Diss & Attleborough 18th August 01953 452 319 (Attleborough) 01379 642 609 (Diss)
Chantelle Shaw Dover 7th September 01304 374 726
Meg Lewis& Megan Bassett - Editors
Havering 26th August,6 – 7.45 01708 342071
Editors: Lucy Gilmour
Flo Nicoll
Anna Boatman East Sheen 7th September 020 8876 8800
Fiona Harper Bromley TBC 0208 461 7185
India Grey Nantwich 9th September 01270 624867

Still other authors and editors will be doing blogs on the website. So there will be lots of support.

The timetable is:
There’ll be FOUR stages to the competition:
Stage One
Starting 6 Spetmeber 2010 upload the first chapter of your Mills & Boon novel! It can be from any of the lines that are edited out of London (ie Modern, Modern Heat, Romance, Medical or Historical) Make sure it is there by 22 September. Only one entry per person. The best bit is that you’ll be able to read everyone else’s entry as well – and be able to comment on them too.
Stage Two
The Mills & Boon editorial team will whittle down all the entries to just ten finalists, who’ll be asked to write the second chapter of their Mills & Boon novel. The expert panel will include Presents Superstar Penny Jordan, M&B Editoral Director Karin Stoecker, M&B Managing Editor Mandy Ferguson and Sam Delaney (the editor of Heat Magazine). The top ten winners of this round will be announced on 26 September and the winner will upload their second chapter by 10 October.
Stage Three
We’ll ask YOU to vote for your favourite entry out of the top ten. Along with the judges, you’ll decide on the four finalists who go through to the next round! Thewinners will be announced by 18 October.
Stage Four
The finalists will write the ‘pivotal moment’ of their Mills & Boon novel and upload it by 25 October. Then, with the judges, you’ll decide the winner by voting for your favourite.
The winner will be annouced on 1 November!
The overall winner will get their book published as well as working with an editor. All ten authors who go on to the final rounds will get wonderful prizes, including consultations with editors and M&B books.
See the Terms and Conditions for the exact rules!