Friday, November 5, 2010

Literary Elements~Theme

Let's talk about theme. I remember when I first started writing (many years ago now) one of the first things I came across was theme. I just couldn't get my head around the subject, so I stopped trying to consciously figure out the theme for each story I wrote. I relied on the theme to emerge on its own.

Now I know far more about theme and the role it plays within my stories, I take it for granted. However, I think some of you will benefit from a quick breakdown of the subject if you so happen to be seeking this information.

Theme is the underlying meaning of the story you are telling. What your book is really about, if you like. I know some people take this to mean plots like: Secret Baby, Marriage of Convenience, Pretend Marriage, Best Friends to Lovers, Cinderella story, Second Chance Love etc.

These are not the theme of your story. They are plots/topics/genre themes. But they are not your story's theme.

Since the theme of your story is the hidden message—an opinion or statement about the plot/topic/genre theme you’re tackling—then we look for the basic emotional conflict of your story. Many writers will stick to the same message or concept without even knowing it. Do you find all your stories have something to do with the hero and/or heroine learning how to trust? Perhaps even learning responsibility? Acceptance? Or freedom? Unresolved grief? Fear of rejection?

Whatever your theme, I believe it's linked to your character's internal motivation and even your character's arc. What does your hero/heroine learn through the course of the story?

For instance, you can have a Pretend Marriage genre theme and the theme of your story can be ACCEPTANCE.

Perhaps the hero is looking to land a major contract for his company and he needs the decision-makers of the company he wishes to do business with to ACCEPT him in a certain light—that of a stable and loving married man.

While the heroine agrees to the idea of a pretend marriage with the hero because she is looking to make her matchmaking friends ACCEPT she’s off the market so they can stop trying to set her up with guys.

And in the course of the story your hero and heroine would have learned acceptance of a different kind, which finally leads to acceptance of each other and everlasting love.

Do you see how that worked? So genre theme is not the same as the theme of your story. You can relay this theme to your readers in several ways: through your character's actions and the story events; through their thoughts and feelings and also through dialogue and conversations. (I mention both dialogue and conversation because the two are not the same. Keep a look out for a future post on this subject).

Another example is, suppose you have a theme about death. Your characters will mention death in some form or other. Death will show up in other forms through the story: ie your heroine/hero is incapable of keeping plants alive. Perhaps the story might be set in winter when all the trees are bare and look a little dead. All these sorts of things help to convey theme.

Sometimes you can use more than one theme. When we use a couple of themes, we then have a major and a minor theme for our book.

I used two themes in Divorce Etiquette, a reunion/second chance story. My minor theme was fear of rejection and the major theme was unresolved grief. This meant death invariably came up through the course of the story—death of relationships as well as people. To show life and new beginnings in Divorce Etiquette I set the climax in spring and used the new green leaves on trees to symbolise life and new beginnings. No doubt this is lost to the reader on a conscious level but she'll feel the story has an added depth she enjoys. Or at least I hope so! ;)

Theme can really add depth to your story, so if you don't usually bother with finding your story's theme, please reconsider because it also gives your writing focus and saves you wandering off in all sorts of directions until you trip up, and fall into a plot hole :).

Thanks for dropping by to hang with me and garner my take on the literary theme.

Until next time~ 


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Writer's "Cheat Sheets"

Recently I happened across this little gem of a collection of writer's cheat sheets from Michele Albert— and thought I'd share it with you. The sheet consist of quick break downs on:
» Plotting
» Conflict
» Sensuality/Sexuality
» Romance Plots
» Character Archetypes
» Editing
        » 5-Minute Pitch


Polti's 36 Dramatic Situations

•01. Supplication: Persecutor, Suppliant, Authority Figure

•02. Deliverance: Unfortunate, Threatener, Rescuer

•03. Crime Pursued by Vengence: Criminal, Avenger

•04. Vengence taken for Kindred upon Kindred: Avenger, Guilty Remembrance, a Relative of Both

•05. Pursuit: Punishment and Fugitive

•06. Disaster: Vanquished Power, Victorious Enemy, Messenger.

•07. Falling Prey to Cruelty or Misfortune: Unfortunate, Master

•08. Revolt: Tyrant, Conspirator

•09. Daring Enterprise: Bold Leader, Object, Adversary

•10. Abduction: Abductor, the Abducted, Guardian

•11. Enigma: Interrogator, Seeker, Problem

•12. Obtaining: Solicitor, Adversaryor Arbitrat or & Opposing

•13. Enmity of Kinsmen: Malevolent Kinsmen, Reciprocally Hated Kin

•14. Rivalry of Kinsmen: Preferred Kinsman, Rejected Kin, Object

•15. Murderous Adultry: Two Adulterers, Murdered Spouse

•16. Madness: Madman, Victim

•17. Fatal Imprudence: Imprudent, Victim, Object Lost

•18. Involuntary Crimes of Love: Lover, Beloved, Revealer

•19. Slaying of Kinsman Unrecognized: Salyer, Unrecognized Victim

•20. Self-sacrificing for an Ideal: Hero, Ideal, Creditor, Sacrifice

•21. Self-sacrificing for Kindred: Hero, Kinsman, Creditor, Sacrifice

•22. All Sacrificed for Passion: Lover, Object of Pasion, Sacrifice

•23. Necessity of Sacrificing Loved Ones: Hero, Beloved, Necessity

•24. Rivalry of Superior & Inferior: Superior, Inferior, Object

•25. Adultery: Two Adulterers, Betrayed Spouse

•26. Crimes of Love: Lover, Beloved, Social Norm

•27. Discovery of Dishonor of Beloved: Discovered, Guilty

•28. Obstacles to Love: Two Lovers, Obstacles

•29. An Enemy Loved: Beloved Enemy, Lover, Hater

•30. Ambition: Ambitious Person, Thing Coveted, Adversary

•31. Conflict with (a) God: A Mortal, an Immortal or Holy Principle

•32. Mistaken Jealousy: Jealous, Object, Accomplice, Perpetrator

•33. Erroneous Judgement: Mistaken One, Victim, Cause, Guilty

•34. Remorse: Culprit, Victim or Sin, Interrogator

•35. Recovery of Lost One: Seeker, One Found

•36. Murder of Loved One: Slain Kinsman, Spectator, Executioner.

Five Basic Conflicts (from Polti's 36)

•01. Man against Nature
•02. Man against Man
•03. Man against Society
•04. Man against Himself
•05. Man against Fate

Ronald Tobias' 20 Master Plots

•01. Quest
•02. Adventure
•03. Pursuit
•04. Rescue
•05. Escape
•06. Revenge
•07. The Riddle
•08. Rivalry
•09. Underdog
•10. Temptation
•11. Metamorphosis
•12. Transformation
•13. Maturation
•14. Love
•15. Forbidden Love
•16. Sacrifice
•17. Discovery
•18. Wretched Existence
•19. Ascension
•20. Descension


Essence of Conflict

•Protagonist+Goal+Opposition (Antagonist)=Drama

Devices to heighten suspense(notes from David Freeman workshop)

•An obstacle or enemy interferes with a hard goal

•A enemy or obstacle interferes with a soft goal

•Hero forced to face his emotional fear, limitation, block, or wound

•Unclear motives

•Question of whether a character can pull off a bluff

•The uneasy mix, or "odd couple" situation

•The fish out of water situation

•Presence of ambivalence

•A character forced to make a difficult moral choice

•Mystery or a puzzle to solve

•A reminder of the stakes or increase stakes

•Increase stakes of the character so that this is the only way they can succeed

•Situation is out of control

•A surprise or unexpected disaster

•Foreshadowing (many ways to do this)

•Any scene in which a danger is present

•Any scene that has conflict in it

•Any scene where a seduction occurs, or might occur

•Technique of cutting back and forth between a dangerous scene and one that isn't dangerous

•Draw out a tense moment, i.e., "waiting for the other shoe to drop"

•Resolution of a tense moment


Desmond Morris' 12 Steps to Intimacy

•01. Eye to body

•02. Eye to eye

•03. Voice to voice

•04. Hand to hand

•05. Arm to shoulder

•06. Arm to waist

•07. Mouth to mouth

•08. Hand to head

•09. Hand to body

•10. Mouth to breast

•11. Hand to genitals

•12. Genitals to genitals


(from Patricia Ryan's "Pat's Premises: Popular Plots, Conflicts and Elements in Romance Novels," Romance Writers' Report, 17(4), April 1997)

Enforced Intimacy

•Marriage of convenience
•Hero as protector
•Arranged or forced marriage
•Pretend marriage or relationship
•Stranded together on an island
•Matchmaker contrives to throw lovers together
•Must share office or home

Love Conquers All

•The healing power of love
•Redemption through love

One Lover Rehabilitates or Cures the Other

•Physical disabilities
•Emotional problems
•Mental illness

Emotional Baggage or Internal Forces Keep Lovers Apart

•Inability to trust, especially opposite sex
•Fear of commitment
•"I am a rock;" emotional detachment
•Some past incident, e.g., abuse, has left emotional scars
•Lover blames other for some hurt to self or loved one
•Lover harbors a secret that threatens love
•Lover must find self or solve problem before committing
•One lover has lied to other about something important
•Lover can't forgive other for some flaw
•Fear of abandonment
•Sense of unworthiness
•Feeling that one doesn't belong or fit

The Lovers' Differences Keep Them Apart

•Lovers from different social, religious or ethnic worlds
•A difference of opinion on critical matter
•Bad boy, good girl; or vice versa
•Lovers have opposing loyalties
•Lovers are business competitors
•Lovers personalities are too different
•A large age difference
•Unrequited love

The Lovers' Similarities Keep Them Apart

•Lovers engage in a battle of wills
•Lovers share goal, but only once can achieve it

Babies and Children

•Secret baby
•Arranged pregnancy
•Accidental pregnancy
•Reunited with child given up for adoption
•Child play matchmaker or otherwise brings lovers together
•Child lost or threatened
•Heroine plays nanny

Comedy of Errors

•Heroine pretends to be male
•Mistaken identity

Evolving Relationships

•Platonic friends fall in love
•Ex-sweethearts are reunited
•Divorced spouses rediscover their love

Mythic or Fairy Tale Elements

•Kidnapping (Persephone)
•Taming of the savage male (Beauty and the Beast)
•Transformation (Pygmalion)
•Rags to Riches (Cinderella)
•Awakening, emotional rebirth (Sleeping Beauty)


(From "Heroes and Heroines: 16 Master Archetypes," by Caro LeFever, Tami Cowden, & Sue Viders.) Beyond Alpha: The Eight Male Archetypes (more info at Romance Central workshops)

•The Chief - The quintessential "alpha" male: tough, decisive, and goal-oriented

•The Bad Boy - Dangerous, but fascinating: charismatic and street smart, hates rules and regulations

•The Best Friend - The "beta" hero: kind, decent, and responsible

•The Charmer - The quintessential smooth operator: Fun, irresistible, and often unreliable

•The Lost Soul - The "theta" hero: Tortured and secretive, he's got a vulnerable heart and discerning eyes

•The Professor - Logical, introverted and inflexible, but also genuine in feelings, extremely faithful and honest

•The Swashbuckler - The Man on the Go: Action and adventure is his motto; he's physical, daring, mercurial

•The Warrior - The "delta" hero: The reluctant rescuer; dark and dangerous, driven and remote

Beyond Cinderella: The Eight Female Archetypes (more info at Romance Central workshops)

•The Boss - The "Take Charge" woman: outspoken and persuasive, confident and competitive

•The Seductress - "I Will Survive" woman: mysterious and manipulative, distrusting and cynical

•The Spunky Kid - Spirited and loyal, reliable and supportive, more of a "tomboy"

•The Free Spirit - Genuine and fun-loving, impulsive, an "original"

•The Waif - Classic "damsel in distress": Child-like innocence, naive and docile, she endures

•The Librarian - Conscientious, orderly, bright; she leads with her brain, not her looks

•The Crusader - A woman on a mission: tenacious, headstrong, courageous

•The Nurturer - Altruistic to a fault; calm, optimisic, a listener, pleasant, takes care of everyone


After the final draft, edit using the "find" function for the words on the following list. Next, read the sentence containing the offender, and either correct it or leave it be, depending. They are all valid words, if used in moderation, but are prone to misuse, overuse and abuse.

"Fine Tooth Comb and Red Flags and Snags"

•and - but (can indicate run-on sentences)
•that (unnecessary in most sentences)
•that (when you mean "who")
•nearly - almost
•seem - appear
•felt - feel
•begin - began
•would - should - could
•"ly" adverbs
•down - up (as in sit down, stand up - can be redundant)
•got - get

Look for passive use

•it - is
•to be
•there is
•there are
•there was
•there were

(My thanks to Lynda Hales for compiling this list and graciously allowing me to share it!)


(by Michelle Jerott, from Wisconsin RWA's The Write Touch Newsletter, April/May 2000)

If the thought of an editor/agent appointment at the conference has you chowing down Tums, relax! It doesn't have to be an ordeal. When pitching an idea, keep it simple and keep it focused on the romance--don't bog yourself down with unnecessary back story, secondary characters, or subplots. All the editor wants to know is if you have a good grasp of your main characters, a balance of internal/external conflict, and the story's marketing angle ("hook.") Five to ten minutes is plenty of time, so speak slowly and carefully, maintain eye contact, and allow time for questions.

If I were going to pitch my latest book, A GREAT CATCH, I'd say something like this:

"After years of working her way upward in the male-dominated maritime world of Great Lakes shipping, Tessa Jardine lands her dream job as First Mate on the passenger ship SS TALIESEN--a dream job until she meets her captain, Lucas Hall. Ten years ago, Lucas broke her young heart when he walked away from her without a word of farewell, and she can't forgive him for that--or for his more recent part in a failed rescue attempt that cost her younger brother his life. Now Lucas, the ex-Coast Guard hero, is back to complicate her life. Working together day after day, Lucas and Tessa discover the attraction between them is still hot and heavy--but can Tessa forgive Lucas, or ever learn to trust him again? And what will Lucas have to do to win back her love?"

This brief paragraph introduces the main characters, given enough back story to provide motivation, shows the basic balance of external and internal conflict, focuses on the romance, and tells the editor it's a reunion story.

Hope this helps, and good luck pitching your book!

The easiest way to create a summary paragraph like the above is to take a formula adapted from Dwight Swain: Situation, Character, Conflict, Opponent, and Disaster. To show you what I mean, here's the paragraph I wrote broken down according to Swain's equation:


After years of working her way upward in the male-dominated maritime world of Great Lakes shipping


Tessa Jardine


lands her dream job as First Mate on the passenger ship SS TALIESEN--a dream job until she meets her captain, Lucas Hall. Ten years ago, Lucas broke her young heart when he walked away from her without a word of farewell, and she can't forgive him for that--or for his more recent part in a failed rescue attempt that cost her younger brother his life.


Now Lucas, the ex-Coast Guard hero,


is back to complicate her life. Working together day after day, Lucas and Tessa discover the attraction between them is still hot and heavy--but can Tessa forgive Lucas, or ever learn to trust him again? And what will Lucas have to do to win back her love?

That's it! Not too painful, really...

Credit Info

You're welcome to share this resource with others, but please keep my information intact. The direct URL for this page is:

Michele Albert writes for Pocket. Her most recent books are HER LAST CHANCE, TOUGH ENOUGH, HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT, ONE WAY OUT, OFF LIMITS, and GETTING HER MAN. She also wrote four books as Michelle Jerott: HER BODYGUARD, A GREAT CATCH, ALL NIGHT LONG, and ABSOLUTE TROUBLE, which won the 1997 RWA Golden Heart Award for best single title contemporary romance. Michele is currently working on her next book. Please visit for more information.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Heroes in the Making

Every Friday Morning my youngest, Megyn, goes swimming with her school. Since her treatment makes her tired and her legs hurt, I get to drive her to the swimming pool, then back to school.

The class has only been attending swimming lessons for a handful of weeks and I'm happy to say Meg has come a long way. At the beginning, she wasn't very confident. And most certainly didn't like putting her face under the water.

If you've watched you little ones learning to swim you may have notice the couch spends a little while throwing weighted rings into the water then encourage the children to dive underwater to collect the rings from the pool floor. 

It was while I was watching this part of the lesson a couple of weeks ago that I noticed something so sweet and heart-warming it melted me. One of Meggie's classmates, a cute little boy, noticed she was hesitating to duck beneath the water's surface. I could see him gazing at her while she surreptitiously maneuvered so she could pick up the ring with her toes.

The part that really touched me was: the instant the couch turned her back the little boy dove down, collected a couple of rings and handed one to Meg!

Isn't that just the sweetest thing? Great future hero potential, wouldn't you say?

I don't know whether you agree, but that made me think all isn't lost with this world of ours just yet! So what about you? Have you encountered any little heroes in the making lately?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Writing with Emotional Depth

Using the senses can add emotional depth to romance writing. Most writers include sight in description. Unfortunately, they often forget the other senses can greatly enhanced story depth, emotion and tone. I know many writers speak of several more senses, but I’m focusing on the five senses here. By using all of the senses—hear, see, smell, taste, and, touch—throughout the story, we draw the reader in so she experiences the characters’ emotions which connects her to the story you are telling. Without emotion, stories are unexciting, lifeless and leave the reader cold. This will surely result in rejection since your first real reader will probably be the editor for the publisher you wish to contract your story.

Say it with me: emotion is the spark that lights the firewood of your story and draws the reader in. And strong emotions/feelings capture the reader’s attention and keeps her hooked because it adds reality to your story. Emotion is by no means all you need to keep your reader hooked, but this is what we’re speaking about at the moment, so I’ll stay on topic.

If you can weave good human emotions into your fiction, you will form connections with the reader and she'll invest her heart in your story. We all experience emotion, even the hard, ruthless alpha hero who has been hurt so badly he thinks he’s buried his emotions so deep he no longer has any.

I don't mind telling you I'm an extremely emotional person. In fact, I’ll freely admit I live on my emotions. I laugh at things most people find not very funny (if someone fall over, I might very well wet myself! There’s just something about taking a spill that tickles me hugely) and I cry at things as simply as the beauty of nature.

Emotions affect all of us in many ways, both psychologically and physiologically. We couldn’t function without emotions, so why do we think our characters can? They must have moods as we do—personalities and temperaments.  They must have feelings about the things they see, hear, touch, taste and smell.

I’m not suggesting you overload each paragraph with all five senses, merely to use them throughout the story to add depth. Each of the five senses, when used within relevant scenes will allow the writer to show the reader the story as oppose to telling her what’s happening.

Just remember to arouse all of your character’s senses and you’ll do the same with your reader. It will result in a story that is significant and satisfying. Your reader will be fully invested in your story because she was able to connect with your hero and heroine, feel as if she was right there experiencing their experiences and she'll want them to have that happy-ever-after.

So the next time you sit to write a scene, try to use as many of the senses as you can to describe your scene and add emotional depth.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

One Year On

As some of you know, my little girl, Megyn, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) last year. 

This is the most common form of childhood Leukaemia. It's when the white blood cells go into rapid reproduction and increase until they crowd the bone marrow, preventing the production of healthy blood cells. ALL needs immediate treatment since the blast cells rapidly progress and accumulate, then enters the bloodstream and spread to other organs of the body.

We are coming up to the one year anniversary of Meg's diagnosis. But before we get there, we have to pass the one year anniversary of her falling ill. It was on September 24th 2009 that I picked her up from her after school dance class to be told she'd almost fainted halfway through class. Thinking she'd probably picked up a bug, I took her home and cared for her. Normally, Megyn bounces back from any illness within three to four days, so it came as a shock when five days went by and she was still feeling unwell.

By this time, bruises started popping up on her body and I couldn't figure how she was getting them since she hardly moved around. 

I would pray over her, we would claim her healing and she'd feel better for a day or so then fall ill again. I couldn't seem to get a hold of my doctors for love or money so we took her to the out of hours doc, who calmly informed us that though Meg was covered in bruises and petechiae she was perfectly fine and if she starts to bleed from any part of her body bring her back. I know my anger doesn't translate here (and I'm glad it doesn't) but you can't know how badly I wanted to punch that female doctor!

Needless to say it was another week of praying, claiming and trying to see a doctor.

By the third week, Meg was still up and down. Then on the 17th of October she woke with blood smeared across her face where her nose had bled in the night and she'd wiped it with the back of her hand.

I can't tell you how frantic I was at this point! It took NHS Direct THREE hours to get back to me. After each hour, I'd phone them only to be told the doc was going to phone me. Finally at the third hour, they said they'd tried to contact me but my phone didn't accept withheld calls and did I know why that was? I ask you!

If I hadn't kept phoning them they would not have bothered. That also adds another heap of anger. But since I know anger is a very negative and destructive emotion, I've chosen to let it all go. As a family, we focus on God's goodness and grace. 

All of that agro ended in a trip to A & E to discover Meg's liver and spleen were hugely swollen. She was admitted and had her blood checked for Blast cells, which they found. 

From the moment we found out our precious little girl had Leukaemia, life became a massive emotional roller coaster and five weeks living at Leicester Royal Infirmary Hospital.

I think being able to focus on finishing Let's Pretend, the story I was writing at the time, helped me to keep it together.

So it's been one year since Meg fell ill, and a lot has happened in that year. But, praise God, Meg is now on maintenance chemo and is doing extremely well. We estimate she'll finish treatment around March/April 2012. She'll never be free of doctor's visits for check-ups but I know she'll always be healthy, and nothing else will touch her, because Jesus healed her in her first week of treatment!

This is Meggie on her seventh birthday last year:

And this is her on her eighth birthday this year:

She is still gorgeous! And when her hair grows back this time around, she'll get to keep it. I can't wait to post those photos!

I'll post the symptoms of Leukaemia in case it could help someone out there. My advice to anyone suspecting your child may have Leukaemia, is first, don't listen to anyone who tells you your child is fine if you know in your heart something is wrong. The medical profession still fails to recognise a mother's intuition when it comes to her child. Second, push for tests! It is better to come across as an overprotective mum than fail your child!!! And all it takes is a simple blood test.

Symptoms of Leukaemia

Symptoms might include feeling sick, fevers, chills, night sweats and other flu-like symptoms, or feeling fatigued. Some patients experience nausea or a feeling of fullness due to an enlarged liver and spleen; this can result in unintentional weight loss. If the leukemic cells invade the central nervous system, then neurological symptoms (notably headaches) can occur.

Red blood cell deficiency leads to anemia, which may cause dyspnea (shortness of breath) and pallor (paleness to the skin due to low hemoglobin). Because normal bone marrow is rapidly being replaced by a higher number of immature white blood cells, the lack of red blood cells results in a lack of blood platelets, which are important in the blood clotting process. This means people with leukemia may easily become bruised, bleed excessively, or develop pinprick bleeds (petechiae).

It is true also that all symptoms associated with leukemia can be attributed to other diseases. However, leukemia is always diagnosed through medical tests.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Zach & Maddie have left the building

I've finished the revisions for Zach's Rebound Girl and have re-subbed it to HMB! Now to get on with a few other stories. I expect it'll be a while before I hear anything from HMB, but I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

More Than a Playboy Got Five Siren Stones

Ask me where the weeks have gone. I don't know! What with getting through each block of chemo with Meggie and revising a manuscript for Harlequin Mills and Boon Modern Heat series, I've lost track of my life. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, because I have a great life. 

I get to spend my days doing a job I really LOVE. Which brings me to the reason I'm blogging. Google alerted me to this lovely review for More Than a Playboy and I thought I'd share. I've had nice reviews for my books but it's never dawned on me to share until now.

Siren Book Reviews gave More Than a Playboy five Siren Stones and had this to say:

More Than A Playboy is a wonderful and well written story. Monique DeVere’s character development and story premise are fantastic. This is a truly enjoyable story. Bits and pieces of each character are revealed slowly adding depth to a very emotionally moving book.

As the reader, you just can’t help but fall in love with Sandy and Cameron, and feel for both their plights in life. They are quite a comical couple, and I thoroughly enjoyed their witty repartee. Their encounters had me laughing out loud and crying.

More Than A Playboy has surprising plot twists and turns that will keep you engaged and unable to put it down. I highly recommend this romance story for anyone that likes a hopeful and happily ever after ending.

You can visit Siren Book Reviews Here!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Join Robyn Grady at WRQF!

I am beside myself with excitement to have one of my very favourite authors joining us at Writing Romance Question Forum tomorrow 21st August 2010. Who is this author? I hear you ask. None other than Robyn Grady, author of both Harlequin Mills & Boon Modern Heat and Silhouette Desire! Robyn is a very prolific author who started writing for Silhouette and Harlequin in 2007 and 2008 respectively. In only three years, she's written around twenty category romance novels. (pause for awed gasp)

I just love this author. I'd blindly buy anything she writes. That doesn't sound like a big deal but believe me it's big for me! I can honestly say I only do that for a couple of authors. Not only is Robyn talented, she's also down to earth and one of the sweetest people I've ever met.

Please don't miss you chance to ask this wonderful author your questions about writing the Modern Heat or Desire novel.

If, like me, you love to relax with Robyn's books, here are a few of her new ones for you to check out!

Since Blogger won't co-operate and let me place purchase links in the covers, you can visit Robyn's website for purchase information.

You can visit Robyn at 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Heard From HMB

Well it's been a while since I sent the requested complete MS of Zach's Rebound Girl (aimed at HMB's Modern Heat series) to Harlequin Mills & Boon. To say I fully expected an instant reject would be putting it calmly!

I heard from the Modern Heat senior editor last week and to my immense surprise, she gave me wonderful feedback, mentioned that if I revised Zach's Rebound Girl,  she would be happy to assess it again!

I'm juiced and petrified all at once! Afraid to make a wrong choice and excited to finally get so close to a contract offer from Harlequin Mills and Boon. If I manage to get my secondary characters under control, fix the things the editor suggested and am offered a contract, it would be a twenty-year-long dream come true. 

Twenty years sounds like a long time when I look at it but, in reality, Zach's Rebound Girl is only the fifth MS I've subbed to HMB--I pouted a lot and for a long time between each rejection! My advice to any writer targeting a specific market? Don't get so disheartened that it takes you over twenty years to reach the same place many authors do in two, three or six years.

Pouting is bad!!

To begin with, after reading the revision letter several times, I couldn't settle on the right direction for ZRG. I mean, cut the secondary character scenes and you have to change quite a bit of the story's direction.

I think I have a handle on where I'm taking Zach and Maddie now so my head doesn't hurt half as much any more.

Thanks for dropping by, I'm off to duck back into revision mode.

Will continue to keep you posted on the Zach's Rebound Girl journey.

Bye for now x

Saturday, August 14, 2010

R.I.P Daddy

In loving memory of my DAD who passed away on August 1st 2010 from throat & lung cancer. He is being laid to rest today, 14th August 2010.

Daddy, I know you're in Heaven, I saw you sail there. How amazing that your crossing would be by the means you loved best! I'm grateful for the time I had with you and for the opportunity to tell you I love you one last time.

Rest in peace, Daddy—my friend, my hero, my dad with the ever-present playful smile and naughty sense of humour. We will all miss you!

Until we meet again, I know you'll be watching over us.