Thursday, November 19, 2009

Unforgettable November

It's been a busy, and unforgettable November so far. I had loads to do on my calendar, but there must be some slow Karma about, because I was ahead of everyone else, and things that were supposed to happen by a certain time, were late - therefore it made me late. Some things couldn't be put a hospital coming home from that to find that my editing for "Straw in The Wind" had arrived, just when I didn't feel like doing it.

Then there was a share of disastrous things, like the death of my elder sister after a short illness, my son breaking an ankle which was followed by my eldest grandson coming from interstate to visit, taking ill and ending up in hospital. That was followed this weekend by a younger granddaughter getting a ball in the eye playing T ball, which fractured a cheekbone.

However, I have started on the Christmas gift shopping and have got my overseas cards in the post - my memory jogged by two early arrivals. I've bought my own Christmas gift, too, something practical and expensive for my work - a new computer. To date I've received the accessories, but am still waiting for its arrival with some dread, since I'll then have to put it all together. I'm looking forward to the family Christmas party, when we all gather together in the back garden, get noisy, eat, drink and be merry too much. We'll reminisce about Christmases past and hope our grandchildren will remember their early Christmases with the same fondness and affection.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Harlequin America Romance

C.C. Coburn has hit the spot with her first novel, a heart-warming tale set in small town America. Will, a former ski stuntman, is a member of the O’Malley family. He is fighting to retain the historical integrity of the town in the face of the powerful resources of a development company. Will has a strong following in the town. An irrepressible optimist, and stubborn to the core, he is also a bit of a layabout in the eyes of some. All agree that the man has a heart of gold, though, and his deeds show that. He is kind to animals, the aged, and children. Only Will knows that his belief in himself has been shaken to the core and his career is in tatters.

Enter Judge Becky Mcbride and son. Her very first case, with the errant Will as the accused, is a real eye opener for her. When Will decides that the judge is the love of his life and is going to be his wife, the result is more roses than she can manage. Will doesn’t even consider defeat, it’s not in his nature to. Becky is overprotective of her slightly disabled son, but young Nicolas only wants a father, and he soon sets his sights on Will. An unforeseen event forces Will to overcomes his demons. When he risks his life to save that of Nicolas, it settles the outstanding issues for all of them.

COLORADO CHRISTMAS is a novel with a great deal of warmth and charm. The main characters are fully convincing and likeable, and are supported by a cast of well-rounded, believable characters - all interested in Will’s pursuit of his lady love. This is a case of irresistible force meets immovable object. Humour flows naturally from the characters and the situations they find themselves in. If you like snow. If you like Christmas. If you believe in happy endings (or even if your don’t like any of those things) you can’t help loving this novel!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Writing tips - Crafting rules

On one of the lists I‘m on, a writer who has completed two creative writing courses commented that she felt restricted by being expected to write within the structure of the rules she’d been taught.

I do think she was probably worrying needlessly. I've been published for about twenty years and have just been offered a contract for books 25/26. During my years as a writer I've learned not to ignore those writing “rules”.

I do believe in learning how to craft a story and to keep practising that craft. Believe me, doing a course does not make you a writer. You go on learning after you've completed any number of them, and you learn from your own mistakes and experiences mostly. Writing is like any other career or occupation in that aspect. The more you do it, the better you become at doing it.

Rules (I prefer guidelines} have come about through experienced authors/editors sharing their collective experiences. They're not saying, "You must do it this way.” They're saying, "This is a blueprint of the tried and true structure that has been widely adopted as the best way to construct a novel."

If anyone feels restricted by this notion then I'd suggest that they hadn't really practised the “rules” enough, because when they are constantly used they tend to  sink into your subconscious, and you don't notice yourself using them.

At a basic level the "rules" provide me with a structure on which I’ll hang the flesh and blood of my story. They will then help me to edit the finished product. The structure can be bent or reshaped to fit the style of your writing and the voice which is unique to each story creator.  

The "art" of storytelling flows directly from the creative mind - the insights, emotions and imaginings of the writer concerned - and is something else altogether. It’s called talent.There is no writers’ course that can teach you that. It’s something you’re born with - the ability to observe and turn those observations into words that entertain. Give ten authors the same theme and you will get ten different books. That’s the art. The talent, The X factor!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Paperback edition and readers' letters - Again!

HEARTS OF GOLD has attracted a trade paperback edition, so will be available to purchase at the RRP of £10.99 in January 2010. I’m very pleased because - although my books usually make it into large print and audio versions - this will be my first paperback edition with Severn House. So despite the post Christmas release slot, I hope the novel sells as well as it has reviewed so far.

This sort of breakthrough can often be attributed to reader demand. I’ve always encouraged readers comments. I receive letters through my PO Box and via email from readers of all ages and places. The youngest, and latest is a 15 year old from the middle east, the oldest, a lady in her late 80s from England.

A fair number of my readers come from my home town in Dorset, where I was born and grew up, and which I often, but not always, use as a setting. Quite often I’ll get a reminiscence, or a confidence, and I’m touched by this.

My agent, who is a talented author, writing as Kate Allen, suggested that I publish one or two of the letters on my blog. I have thought about this in the past and came to the conclusion then that as some of the letters are lavish in their praise, to publish them would be too braggy. Others contain too much personal information for me to feel easy publishing them. However, now and again a letter comes along that is neither. So the following is a good example of one of the truly delightful letters I receive. I’ve edited it slightly to shorten it and omitted the name

“Hello Janet,

I live on the Sunshine Coast.

I was born in the North East of England and moved to Dorset when I was 17. Dorset is a beautiful part of the World and I always recommend it to anyone visiting Britain. I lived there until I emigrated to Australia almost two years ago at the age of 39.

I discovered your books in the local library and was hooked instantly. I now scour the local libraries in search of my next read. Not only do I love your novels and find them hard to put down but I also love the nostalgic trip back to Dorset. Your stories are heart-warming and a pleasure to read. I will be recommending your books to my mum and sisters who still live in Dorset. I think they will not only enjoy your stories but also find comfort in the connection between Dorset and Australia.

Thank you for brightening my day.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ask any Author

Ask any author.

I’ve just finished writing STRAW IN THE WIND. It was one of those books that was difficult to write. Despite the straightforward plot I lost my way somewhere in the middle and lost track of seasons - one moment it was winter, the next moment the heroine was plucking a bouquet of spring flowers from the meadow.

It took me three fairly detailed edits before I got this book right. I dislike editing, especially when it’s my own work. On the first edit I usually get a little tired of the story line. On the second edit I’m appalled by the amount of mistakes still left in my work. They are usually the sort of grammar mistakes you should learn in kindergarten. Was instead of were, their instead of there, or visa versa. I’m hot on putting questions marks in the wrong place too, or not putting them in when I should...ask one of the members of my critique group. Anyway, I gave the manuscript a good rest, then decided to give it a third edit, just in case. Yeah Gods! By the time I’d finished doing it every word felt flat, I hated the characters and was ready to throw the beast into the wheelie bin. Needless to say this book is now so thoroughly edited it’s practically wearing a straight jacket!.

Am I confident it has no mistakes in it? No, of course not. All can only do is try to send a manuscript out as well-written and edited as I can make it. It will now go through a copy editor who will cast an independent and critical eye over it. Then it will have to be proof edited. I’ve never done a proof edit that has been totally mistake free! And even after all that, one or two mistakes have sneaked through into a book and has been read by the reader, who, if they happen to be an ultra pedantic type, will then write to me in righteous indignation: ‘Why don’t you learn to spell moron?’
Huh? I know how to spell that. It’s M O R O N isn’t it? Okay, okay, don’t get your knickers in a twist. What about the 99.99 percent of spellings that were correct...what about them, eh?

I have to say that editing another’s writing is much easier than editing my own. Authors can always find mistakes in another author’s work and rewrite it for the better! Ask any author!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Books review Hearts of Gold

Reviews for HEARTS OF GOLD - Janet Woods

A month after receiving a top pick review from the Romance Reader at Heart site, my current release, “Hearts of Gold” has just received a 4/5 star review from Julie Bonello at The whole review can be read at the website, but I’ll just post the comments part.

Fast-paced, suspenseful, intriguing and wonderfully romantic, in Hearts of Gold Janet Woods has once again written a captivating tale imbued with plenty of drama and emotion which will keep readers enthralled from start to finish! Set in Victorian Australia and England, Hearts of Gold is another winner from this most talented of storytellers!

Severn House UK
ISBN: 9780727867612
Reviewer: Julie Bonello

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Readers letters

I doubt if any author would deny that writing is hard work. It drains the energy both physically and mentally. However, the pleasure of writing usually outstrips the pain of frozen shoulders, carpal tunnel syndrome, dry eyes and mental exhaustion that comes with life in front of a computer. The author creates a plot and the characters, and as they take their designated journey, a struggle takes place to bring them alive in a believable way. The characters themselves sometimes put up a fight. It’s as though - once you’ve given them life - they’ve decided that they’re going to live it their way, just like real people do. This independence of character is surprising when it happens, even though it’s not entirely unexpected. Sometimes, their meddling will take the plot in a different direction altogether, so everything has to be adjusted.

I didn’t know how much work went into a book until I actually started writing one. As a reader I had my favourite writers, of course, and usually, I either liked a book or I didn’t. Either way, I never thought to contact the author. Writing is subjective, but most published books will please some of the people some of the time. Rarely will they please all of the people though.

If I didn’t like a book I wouldn’t write and tell the author. And having been hurt once by a rotten and totally unfair review I would rather not review a book at all than badly review one. But praise is always acceptable, and it surprises me now to realize that in my days as a reader only, I never wrote to an author with a word of praise, telling them how much I enjoyed their work. Rather, I took them for granted.

I do receive a steady amount of letters from readers of my books. I always answer the letters and thank them, and when I can I try and help them out with any queries they may have .A little while ago I exchanged a letter with Kath who lives in Rayburn, a farming community near Bendigo in Victoria. She borrows her books from the mobile library. Today, I received an unexpected gift of two coffee cups and a tea strainer dish in Bendigo pottery, to thank me for writing books that she enjoys reading.

I was very touched by this gesture, and it brought home to me how lovely it is to receive thank-you letters and praise from readers. On the bad days when nothing seems to go to plan and writing becomes tough, it warms me to look through the letter files and through them, get in touch with my creative self again. So thank you Kath, I’ll think of your kindness every time I have a cup of coffee. And thank you to all the readers who buy, borrow and read my books.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Salting The Wound (excerpt)

Kate reminded me that I hadn't posted an excerpt from my October 1st release, "Salting The Wound" so here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

Salting The Wound by Janet Woods
Severn House - Oct. 1st  £19.99
ISBN; 978-0727868299

Poole, Dorset 1850

Nicholas Thornton stepped ashore and took a deep breath of his native English air. His hand closed around the pistol under his coat, his glance sought out any danger that might be lying in wait in the shadows. Under his arm was a length of rare exotic silk safely packaged in a satchel made from sail cloth. The silk was a gift for Charlotte Honeyman, from which she could fashion herself a wedding gown.
It was a fairly quiet night for the quayside town of Poole, except for the faint hum of voices coming from the taverns, the occasional spill of light and noise when a door opened and spat out a drunk or two. A pair of cats exchanged insults in an alley.
The summer air was as cool and soft as a whisper of satin against his face, the dewed stillness of it broken only by the impatient slap of the rigging against the masts, the creak and squeak of timber against timber and the lap and splash of water against the hull of the Samarand.
Square rigged, and with a sharp rake to her stern Samarand averaged sixteen knots in the right conditions. She'd been built eight years previously but would be lucky if she lasted till she was fifteen, when she was due to be sold for scrap. Already she was full of worm. Nick hoped he wasn't on board when the bottom dropped out of her.
He jumped when the cats' argument became a full-blooded skirmish and the pair exploded out of an ally into the circle of light left by a gas lamp. Ears flattened, they spit and slashed at each other with ferocious cries and shrill growls. He chuckled when one broke off and ran back into the ally, the other one in hot pursuit.
Much as he liked life at sea, and much as his uncle wanted him to, Nick had no intention of sailing the world's oceans forever. There were easier, less dangerous ways of earning a living. He'd also like a bed that didn't pitch and toss, unless he happened to have a woman under him and the pitching and tossing was of his own creation. If he stayed in the career he'd grown up with he'd end up like his great uncle. No woman wanted a husband who was rarely home.
In vain he'd argued with his uncle some three months ago, which had been the last time he'd tied up at the company berth in Poole.
'We could warehouse the goods we import, open a shop and sell them ourselves.'
Erasmus Thornton had scoffed with some disgust at his suggestion. 'You want to become a shopkeeper? I suppose you intend to settle down with the eldest Honeyman girl, as well? After a few weeks with her you'll be glad to get to sea again. You're thinking with your balls.'
He grinned. Didn't most men? 'Being a shopkeeper is nothing to sneer at; I know some damned wealthy ones. Neither is having a wife and children. If Charlotte will have me, and there's no reason why she shouldn't, I'll marry her. I've known her all my life.'
'You'll come to regret it if you do. She hasn't shown any inclination to wed you so far, though she's good at keeping you on the hook. You'll be damned if she agrees, and she'll be cursed if she doesn't. Still, if you want to marry and produce a family I'm not against that. God knows, the Thornton family is thin on the ground now and you might as well choose a woman with some looks and backbone to her. But Charlotte Honeyman is as bad-tempered and as stubborn as they come. It will take a special kind of man to handle her. She'll probably need a stick around her backside now and again to point out to her who's the boss. But mark my words - it damned well won't be you!'
Nick had roared with laughter at the thought of Charlotte marrying anyone else but himself.
Erasmus smiled at him. 'The younger one is more your style. She has the looks and softness of her mother.'
'More your style, Uncle, since it was your liaison with their mother that caused the split between the families.'
Nick couldn't recall the younger girl's name, or even what she looked like come to that. She'd usually been out on the heath when he'd visited, or helping the maid around the house. Besides, when set against Charlotte, everyone else paled into insignificance for Nick. He'd wanted Charlotte ever since he'd been old enough to introduce lust into his life. Her refusal to cooperate had only added fuel to his fire.
Erasmus had sighed and passed a hand across his forehead then. 'It's a great pity that their mother died. Take my advice, lad. Never fall in love with a married woman, like I did. I'll be taking possession of the Daisy Jane soon, so you won't get me working in a warehouse or shop. We'll work both clippers for a while, and you can have command of the Samarand. She's still got some life in her. I daresay you'll enjoy life better without having me breathing down your neck.'
That fact had improved both his life and his temper. Nick had now completed his first voyage with Samarand under his command. His uncle has been right. He'd enjoyed being out from under his critical gaze, and was proud that his seamanship skills had brought his ship safely back to harbour.
He took another perfunctory look around. The shadows were still, except for a seaman rolling back to his ship. He respectfully touched his cap as he passed, grunting, 'Evenin' Cap'n. She's a fair one.'
'Indeed she is.' Nick gazed around. There had been no sight of the Daisy Jane as he'd entered harbour and docked, though his uncle was due in at any time now. Erasmus had named the ship after his sister, who kept house for them.
'It might sweeten her up a bit,' he'd said. 'Though anyone who looks less like a daisy I've yet to meet.'
Looking over her glasses at her brother, Daisy had then snorted.
Nick had been raised by his uncle and aunt from the age of three. He couldn't remember his parents, but his father had been Dickon Thornton, who'd been an adventurer. His mother was a Greek woman. According to Erasmus, she'd been encouraged by her new husband’s stepsons to lose interest in her bastard child.
It had been a strict upbringing. Blood was thicker than water with both of them. Aunt Daisy had been fond of using the stick to keep him under control when he misbehaved, but he loved her. Erasmus had always treated him as though he was his own son, instead of the son of his much older half-brother, whom he'd never got along with. Nick had been left in no doubt that Erasmus was proud of him, though. As expected of him, he'd set sail with Erasmus at the age of twelve to learn his trade.
'I imagine the Honeyman girl will have you eventually. She has nobody else to turn to and no money with which to attract a man,' his uncle had pointed out the last time they'd been in port together, and after Charlotte had turned Nick down once again. 'I'll give her an ultimatum. If she doesn't stop prevaricating I'll have her out of that house on the next tide. I don't want the upkeep of it any longer. I'm a seafarer not a builder, and the place is falling down.'
Nick smiled to himself as he stepped confidently forward. It had been a long time between ports and there was time to find a willing woman for himself before the morning. And he'd visit Charlotte in the morning and propose marriage. If Erasmus had delivered his ultimatum to her, this time she'd agree.
His smile faded as he remembered the last time he'd proposed to her. She'd been in a fine fizz of a temper and had stamped her foot. 'I've told you that I don't love you and I'll never marry you. Don't you listen?'
'My uncle has promised to give us the house if you wed me,' he'd said, then in a fit of generosity, 'I intend to put it in your name so you don't have to worry about not having a roof over your head any more.'
'I loath Erasmus Thornton. I'd rather die than take anything from him, even the house I grew up in. He ruined my mother and impoverished my father.'
'Your mother loved him. As for your father, he was a drunken gambler. Nobody made him wager the house. It was his own idea. Erasmus doesn't want the upkeep of Harbour House. At the moment he's of a mind to sell it out from under you. Agree to marry me and it will always be yours.'
'If he attempts to turn me out I'll burn the place down. As for becoming your wife, you'd make a terrible husband. You're always away . . . though that would prove to be a plus rather than a minus. You have no manners and you probably have a girl in every port.'
He'd grinned at the truth in that. 'I can learn some manners, and I intend to remain ashore in a year or so and open my own emporium.'
'Hah!' she'd thrown at him. 'You're too arrogant to learn any manners now. I want to love and respect the man I marry. And I want him to love and respect me. You're incapable of either.'
Anger had risen in him then, because he'd done both and for several years now. 'You don't know me if you think I've got no feelings, Charlotte. But if you want pretty words and gifts to prove that I care for you, then you won't get them. To my mind, love is a damned fool notion that weakens a man. But I'll be faithful to the woman I marry. I'll be back, and I won't take no for an answer. Make up your mind to it.'
She heaved a sigh and told him again, talking slowly, as though he was an idiot. 'It won't make any difference, Nick. I won't marry you.'
'Charlotte, you promised yourself to me in childhood and I'm going to hold you to that.'
'That was before I discovered who caused the death of my mother.'
He sighed then. 'You can't blame me for what somebody else did. Besides, it was only a rumour.
He watched her eyes begin to despise him when she quietly said, 'One you believe yourself. I don't want you and I won't marry you. Come here again and I'll shoot you dead.'
He'd retreated to lick his wounds, confident she'd come round eventually. Two days later he'd taken the Samarand to Shanghai, but now he was back with a cargo of tea and exotic silk, which he intended to sell at a huge profit. Despite his vow that he wouldn't prove his regard for her with gifts, he'd set a length of the precious silk aside for Charlotte's wedding gown and intended to take it to her as a peace offering. By now she would have come to her senses.
It was the middle of the night. Even if his Aunt Daisy had seen the ship coming into harbour, Nick decided not to rouse her from her bed by going home and letting himself in. Instead, he paid a professional woman for the night, for he had a raging need on him.
As it turned out, if he'd gone straight home he might have saved himself from a wasted journey.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Salting The Wound

Salting The Wound by Janet Woods
Severn House - Oct. 1st  £18.99
ISBN; 978-0727868299

When Charlotte  jilts sea captain Nick Thornton he exacts his revenge by setting sail with her younger sister, Marianne. But Nicholas hadn't counted on falling in love with Marianne, and their marriage widens the existing rift between the two families.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Writing Tip Critiquing groups.

It seems ages since I blogged anything - long enough for the last small article I wrote on getting an agent to be picked up by two other organisations for their newsletters.

Over the weekend I enjoyed a meeting with my critique group. One of those is a talented regency author whose third book ARIELLA’S LEGACY comes in electronic form, but has just been released in paperback. Sharon Milburn writes traditional regencies for Cerridwen Cotillion. For anyone who enjoys reading well-researched and beautifully crafted regency romances with a strong story line and a ring of authenticity about them, I can highly recommend Sharon Milburn’s books.

A word or two about critiquing groups. Their function is in the description, so anyone who joins such a group should expect their writing to be critiqued, and not always favourably. I’ve belonged to a group for a couple of decades, and have seen many people come and go in that time. Some people don’t want their work critiqued, they don’t want to work to improve it, they just want reassurance or praise. Critiquing can work both ways, but generally a group that critiques is troubleshooting each member’s work, and if you join such a group you should expect to receive some honest negative feedback or criticism along with the praise. Accept criticism gracefully. In my assessors’ hat, I’m not picking holes in anyone’s work for sport, but rather to point out mistakes that can be edited out. If you disagree, fine, ignore my suggestions. Just don’t accuse me of being deliberately cruel to you, as someone once did. I’ve got better things to do with my time. Honest! Critiquing the work of other writers help me to edit your own work. I’ve had about thirty books published. I still make writing mistakes, and don’t consider myself above the critiquing process. In fact, I appreciate my group pointing mistakes out because I like to have as many bugs as I can removed before I send the finished work to my publisher, and a more objective pair of eyes is extremely helpful.

Last, but not least, yesterday I received a lovely and unexpected email from a library worker from the other side of Australia - the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. The writer told me that she’s started recommending my books through their monthly “Great Reads” publication. Thanks Faye...that little gift of an email put a smile on my face.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Writing Tips - Agents

Getting a Literary Agent

Q. What they are?

A. Agents are business persons. They are usually knowledgeable about writing and make and maintain contacts within various publishing houses. Their business is to provide publishers with saleable books written by their clients. They act as a buffer between author and publisher,, sometimes advising their writer clients where to edit, and they negotiate contracts. For this service the usual charge their clients 15% of the money they earn from initial advance through to royalties, and from the on sale of other rights such as audio and large print, for the earning life of the work.

Q. What sort of work do they handle?

A. Agents usually handle longer works such as novels and scripts. After all, they need to earn money to live and book authors supply them with the means to do so on an ongoing basis. Only rarely will agents handle poetry, articles or short stories. For those who are interested in pursuing the short story market overseas, the following site will be helpful. It’s the Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau ><

Q. Which writer suits which agent?

A. Most agents specialise. Some prefer to handle crime, some fantasy, some women’s fiction. Some lean towards the literary etc. In these days of the internet, looking up agents, what they do and who they represent is easy. Be guided by that. Sending a historical category romance to an agency that handles how-to books is a waste of everybody’s time and money.

Q. When is your work ready to send to an agent?

A. How do you know when a chicken is ready for the oven? When it’s cleaned, plucked, dressed, trussed, and has its herbs and seasoning in place. So it should be with the work you are going to send. Agents are professionals. Offering them work to read is to place it before the most critical of assessors. They can spot unedited work from a mile away, and are not going to risk their own reputations and livelihood by sending out manuscripts that are not commercial.

Q. What are agents looking for?

A. I can safely say that they are looking for the same as a publisher. A great read, a saleable product and an author who is likely to be more than a one-night-stand. Also, look to your region. If you’ve written a book set in Australia approach an Australian agent first. My agent is English, because my books are set mostly in the UK and are aimed at an English readership. I do manage to get Australia in some of them. If you’re tackling the North American markets try for an American agent.

Q. How do you get on an agent’s books?

A. You approach an agent in the same way as you approach a publisher. First, consult their guidelines on line and follow them And for those who are not on line I suggest you make the transition, because more and more agents and publishers are beginning to conduct their business online, including the sending of manuscripts and editing.

The usual manner of approaching an agent is to send them what is known as a partial. That is a query letter, plus a synopsis of the book you hope to sell, and the first three chapters.

Agents prefer to read letters that are businesslike. They are going to assess your writing, and your approach to them from the very first word. It might not go beyond that.

The query letter sells the author. The synopsis sells the story. The chapters sell the writing skills.

Q. If you are writing novels can you sell them without an agent?’

A. There’s nothing to say you can’t try. Bear in mind that more and more publishers are refusing to look at work that doesn’t come via an agent. Those who don’t will probably place this information in their guidelines. There are exceptions. Harlequin Mills and Boon is one of them. Robert Hale UK is another. They do look at unagented work. You send your partial to them in the same way as you approach an agent.

Q. When do you approach an agent?

A. Remember that fowl? It’s when you are absolutely and positively sure that your work has cooked long enough to be consumed by the public. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? I signed on with my agent after I’d sold two manuscripts to a publisher. I was able to approach him with contracts in hand.

Janet Woods © 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Romance Writers of Australia inc proudly presents The 2009 Romance Roadshow


Keri Arthur
New York Times Best Seller List author

Kelly Hunter
Harlequin Romance author, President of Romance Writers of Australia

Denise Rossetti
Ellora's Cave and Berkley author,

Plus: local authors, giveways and much, much more.

Come and hear some of Australia's leading romance authors talk about the craft of writing and the industry they work in. With interactive tutorials and an author panel, it's a day no aspiring author should miss.

After a day, full of information, relax and catch up with your new friends at our post Roadshow dinner.

Saturday 23rd May 2009
Good Earth Hotel
195 Adelaide Terrace

Cost: RWA Members $100
Non-Members $110
Dinner - tba

Prices include lunch, morning and afternoon tea

For further information on presenters and tutorial topics go to:

Enquiries: Julie-Anne
Registration Nicki

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Golden Wedding

It’s odd how spanners are thrown into the works, usually when I’m flat out - or on a deadline and racing towards the finish of one book or another. It seems to me that disasters, damned disasters and dire disasters come in threes. I was going to whinge about them - things like new spectacles where the lens ended up back to front, a computer that went radically wrong and cost a fortune to repair, and a car that did the same thing when we needed it most. While I stamped my foot, breathed fire and growled about indifferent service, bad workmanship and electronic devices with minds of their own, my Golden Wedding anniversary sneaked up on me.

I’m rarely out of my office and I’m not really a party animal. But the lovely family get together was totally enjoyable, and it gave me time to reflect on a great fifty-year relationship with my husband. We were born a day apart, grew up in the same street, went to the same schools and married as teenagers – and they say teenage marriages never last! We have a family of grown-up kids (well sometimes they’re grown up, at other times my offspring’s offspring exchange looks and roll their eyes in a way that tells me that they’re not always!). Like most kids they made mistakes from time to time while in training to be adults. I’ll admit they gave us some moments of alarm and angst, and were the cause of our grey hairs and me stomping up and down on the spot from time to time. But, hey, when I look back I seem to remember only the golden moments and the many many times we laughed together. Now for the “aw, gee shucks” moment. It’s my pleasure to embarrass the lot of you by saying: I love you all and thanks a lot! Life has never ever boring, and still isn’t.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hearts of Gold

April 1st 2009
Severn House. UK
Cost £18.99
ISBN: 978-0727867612

1890 Western Australia. 14-year-old Sarette Maitland is orphaned when her father dies from a snake bite on the goldfields. Left to fend for herself by her father's villainous partner. she is rescued by wealthy adventurer, John Kern, and takes the place in his heart of his own dead daughter. Several years later he reluctantly send her back to England, to learn the manners that society expects of a beautiful young woman.

After tragedy strikes, Sarette finds herself place in the care of John Kern's heir. Magnus is a far cry from his easy-going uncle. When he learns that Sarette had been left a considerable fortune by his uncle, both his honesty and his heart are put to the test . . . as well as his courage when the man who murdered his uncle arrives on the scene, and Sarette if the only person who can identify him.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Resolutions etc

Good and disappointing news for 2009. The good is that I'm offered a two-book contract with Severn House UK, something that will keep me employed this year in these financially troubled times.

The disappointing news is that the small UK literary agency which has successfully been handling my book sales over the past decade, has decided to call it a day. I won't go into details, except to say that for the past year two hard working people have been doing tasks once shared between three. My heartfelt thanks go to them for the role they've played in my writing career, and for always being there for me when needed. I do wish them well in winding down the agency, and for many reasons will find them hard to replace. However, that said, I'll now be looking for a new agency to represent me in the months to come. I hope I find one. Or one will find me, perhaps.

I stopped making New Year resolutions fourteen years ago. Just to prove that persistence does pay off (and persistence is one of the ingredients that writers need an abundance of) that was when I achieved the object of a a long term series of resolutions that I'd quit smoking. When I did give it up (after a health scare kick in the pants) I promised myself I wouldn't become an anti-smoking evangelist. As a smoker I resented non-smokers making rude and pointed (or pointless) remarks about my addiction. It's like telling an overweight person that they need to lose weight. They already know - and know that saying it is easier than doing it.

Apart from two books waiting to be written, I had a submission to prepare for an e publisher. It was saved in the format they wanted, but couldn't be opened at the other end. They say it's because I burned the story to disk. Then again it might be a Mac incompatibility thing.

I didn't think burning to disc would prevent the file being sent as an attachment. After many tries I withdrew the submission. I also withdrew a short story after it was accepted because of the low advance. Not that I'm too proud to accept it. It's just that it didn't cover the cost of banking the cheque. I would have ended up owing the bank money.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Twenty definitions

Happy New Year everyone, especially to my one registered follower (waves hand). While waiting for inspiration, I came up with the following definitions after a discussion on a writers list about the disparaging terms applied to romance writing. I'll start the New Year off with those.

Twenty Writerly Definitions.

1) Hysterical fiction: A facetious, but usually deliberate slip of the tongue pertaining to romantic historical fiction.

2) Popular fiction: Fiction that is clearly understood and enjoyed by the majority of readers all over the world.

3) Literary fiction: In the immortal words of a former Australian politician, “Please explain?”

4) Bodice ripper: Historical fiction with a hero who rips the woman’s bodice apart with his bare hands so he can perve at her breasts and proved his sexual prowess. (sixties cliché).

5) Churning out: Usually nothing to do with butter making. It refers to the method used by writers of a certain type of fiction. They feed words into a machine, turn the handle and a book pops out of the other end. The writer keeps repeating the process for subsequent books.

6) Envy: Something keenly felt by the writer who hasn’t got one of the above book churner -outers, or is beset with alternative writerly hang-ups.

7) The Phrase: “Read one and you’ve read them all” : Gasp! A genuine mind reader is giving a considered opinion here.

8) Trash: A book too beneath the reader’s mind to bother with. Usually inhaled as a bad smell by the sensitive nostrils of the mind reader, who can be picked out by her sniffing habits at the romance bookshelves. I always imagine she’s looking for sex so she can complain about it afterwards.

9) Formula: A secret code used to write a successful novel. This code is handed out like a knighthood to a special few, who now write consistent best sellers. Sometimes it’s awarded as a free gift with the churner-outer. Yeah, I know, annoying isn’t it? I deserved to be awarded one of those too!

10) Clichés: Something churned out by non romance writers to describe romance writing as trashy hysterical fiction, or bodice rippers as clichéd, and then stand back expecting applause for their wit. Did you get that? You didn’t? Oh, come on, it’s all been done before, over and over again. Let me put it in plain words. Create a original metaphor of your own, will you?

11) Book advance: Oh . . . I thought that was reimbursement for my postage. Silly me!

12) Royalties: Ditto.

13) Rights: Something the publishers hang on to if they can, in case they can find a use for them before the author does.

14) Best selling writer 1: A writer who successfully sold cars or real estate before taking up swashbuckling with the pen.

15) Best selling writer 2: A lie in a jacket blurb.

16) Best selling writer 3: Wishful thinking.

17) Best selling writer 4: Okay . . . Okay! I’ve worked my way down to it. They’ve sold many more books than I have and I’m probably suffering from number 6!

18) Writers arse: A wide and comfortable seat that expands with regular use.

19) Phrase: "Any publicity is good publicity": For those who can get it, I suppose.

20) Stupidest question from the public, interviewers, or relatives: “You must be rolling in it now you’re churning out those hysterical ... whoops . . . historical bodice rippers . . . one size fits all crap, eh?”

Polite Answer: BONK OFF!
Impolite answer: SWAT!
Wishful thinking answer: TOO BLOODY RIGHT!

Please feel free to add your own definitions to the comments.
Cheers. Janet.