Friday, October 29, 2010

The Ultimate Romantic Hero

As promised, here is the Minxy version of the poll to see which male celebrity is the Ultimate Romantic Hero. Please vote in the poll section on the right sidebar. The poll will stay up for a full week, so feel free to send your friends over to cast their votes.

To assist you in your choice, the Minxes have kindly assembled the reasons why we think each man is a worthy candidate. (Or in other words, here's the eye candy, dear blog readers).

Jo C's choice is Gilles Marini. I've decided to play it safe with this picture, but feel free to google 'Gilles Marini shower' and enjoy the view.

Jo P's choice is Josh Holloway, in his role as the delectable Sawyer.

Lacey's choice is Orlando Bloom (yum!)

Lorraine's choice is James Bond himself: Daniel Craig.

Maya's choice (no, for a change it's not Henry Cavill!) is Joe Flanigan of Stargate Atlantis fame.

Romy's choice is Aussie, Simon Baker. (And I must tell you, it was a tough choice. There are a lot of wonderful contenders out there).

Sally's choice is yet another Aussie, Hugh Jackman (and she insisted he had to be wearing nothing but a towel!)

And last, but most certainly not least, Suzanne's choice is Colin Firth, preferably as the wet-shirted Darcy.

Don't forget to check back here next week to see who the winner is.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Author Spotlight - Ally Blake

Today we are very pleased to have minx favorite Ally Blake here answering minxy questions. I was lucky enough to attend a 'writing romance' workshop given by Ally in a library in the foothills of the Dandenong Mountains, about an hours drive from Melbourne in 2009. The group of Australian writers were friendly and great fun, and Ally's teaching was fantastic. Here are the questions, and Ally's answers.

Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?

Five years ago I'd had five books published. Today I am working on my twenty-first. If you'd have told me that five years ago I would have laughed myself silly!

Where did you get the idea from for this particular book?

I get ideas from anywhere and everywhere. Song lyrics, overheard conversations, news articles, my imagination. My husband - whose idea of advice is for me to add aliens or a kidnapping or a car chase - even gave me the idea for one of my favourite stories! The book I've just written is set in Tasmania, the triangular island bobbing beneath the bottom right hand corner of Australia. Hubby and I holidayed their once years ago and it is the most stunning, varied, magical place. I wrote the first scene of this book then. No more. The characters didn't find their story until a decade later. that same scenario has happened to me enough times to know that even the tiniest idea has to be written down. You never know when it might come in handy!

Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?

In five years my kids will all be at school so I'll have more time to devote to the career I love. As to what I'll be writing? I feel like I was made to write fun, fresh, flirty romance novels. They are such a good fit for my voice I love what I do. That said, never say never. I'd be interested to know what I'm working on in five years myself!

Which was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - along with her two follow-ups - by Stieg Larsson. Just adored them! Even though they are a mile from what I write. The fact that he managed to make really difficult subject matter palatable was one brilliant move. Add characters and places unapologetically Norwegian meaning readers not from that corner of the world simply have to keep up or fall away. And lead characters who are so unique, so well-rounded, so real, and soooo likeable despite their flaws and you have a trilogy for the ages.

Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?

John Christopher was my favourite author as a kid. He wrote the Tripod trilogy as one of my favourite stories still, the Sword of the Spirits trilogy. My favourite author as I grew beyond young adult tales was Dick Francis. When I think about it I believe my heroes all have echoes of the lead men both those authors created. Something about the integrity and humour and realness beneath the bigger than life heroism.

Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy?

Neither. Not a bit. Writing romances I find love scenes simply come as a natural progression of a love story. They are no harder, or easier for that matter;), to write than the all important first meeting, the moments the hero and heroine realise how deeply they've fallen, or their darkest moments when you believe there's no hope. All need finesse and originality and truth to work. All can draw a reader right out of a story if they don't work. As an author I can only hope that readers don't find my love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy!

What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?

My kind of romance is about the small things. The everyday things that my husband does that show me how much he cares. The things he does not in an intricately thought out grand gesture, but the things he does out of love without even thinking about it. Making dinner every night. Putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Making me sleep in when he sees how much I need it. A quiet hug from behind as we watch our gorgeous young daughters playing together, and realise how lucky we are. I'm so thoroughly taken care of I'm practically spoilt. I wouldn't give that up for all the roses in the world.

What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were pubbed?

Nothing! I'm quite glad that I was ignorant to the fact that deadlines pile up, that ideas don't always flow, that one can't afford to wait for the muse to strike once you become published. I went into it for fun, for the love of writing, when my first book sold it was a complete shock. And I feel very blessed that the the one thing I always did happily for myself, without being paid or read by a soul, is now my profession. That my books have sold over two million copies around the world, that I get the most lovely letters from happy readers from the other side of the globe, that I've made such great friends within the romance writing community is all a beautiful surprise.

What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?

"You can fix a bad page, you can't fix a blank page," as once said by the legendary Nora Roberts. I truly believe it is absolutely better to write something horrible that you can fix later than to become more and more intimidated by the fact that you've written nothing as those awful spots inevitably lead you somewhere you never expected, and often somewhere magical.

Tell us about your latest release.

Come January and February I have two books being re-released in triple packs in the United Kingdom alongside books by other wonderful Harlequin Mills and Boon authors. First is my first ever Presents/Modern Heat, GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS in a collection called BOARDROOM HOT-SHOTS: REAL MEN COLLECTION. You can pre-order the book here and get 25% off the cover price! And in February comes my debut Harlequin Romance novel, THE WEDDING WISH. I am constantly asked by readers where they can track these stories down so I'm so excited everyone will once again have that chance. Outside of the UK you'll be able to grab copies through brilliant Book Depository website. I use that website so regaularly it should be considered an addiction. They ship books worldwide with FREE POSTAGE! If you can't wait til then ;), the Book Depository has a handful of my backlist available, as do eHarlequin on eBook.

What's next for you?

I am revising my next Modern Heat/Presents Extra now. It's been one of those joyous books that was a pleasure to write. Though the fact that I wrote all of it at my favourite local cafe who do a great line in raspberry and white chocolate muffins. Mmmm... Watch my website to find out release dates and title!

Find out more about Ally and read her news at her website:

"MILLIONAIRE DAD'S SOS" out now! UK Apr 2010, Sweet Romance Aus/NZ May 2010

Available from  The Book Depository and other resellers.

And here's a preview of the cover of Ally's first January release, Getting Down To Business, which is re-released in a collection with two other Mills and Boon Authors in the Boardroom Hotshots: Real Men Collection.

Thank you for joining us today, Ally!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Minxes' Favourite Childhood Books - Part 3

Childhood reads? Where to start...the beginning is probably as good a place as any. And it all started with Dr Seuss. The Cat In The Hat to be exact. It's a lovely book - has limited vocabulary (all the better to read it yourself), tons of quirky illustrations and the story is told in rhyme, so you can sing it if the mood hits you. I adore Dr Seuss even now - although my favourite these days has to be 'Oh the places you'll go...' - every word is true and it gets better with every page you turn, warning of troubles and worries that might lie ahead for the unsuspecting reader. The tale is told with wit and warmth and all accompanied, of course, by Dr Seuss's distinctive illustrations.

Like other Minxes, my childhood home library shelves groaned under the weight of Enid Blyton's works - many had belonged to my dad when he was a child. I spent hours in the company of the Famous Five and the Secret Seven (although, the boy in the Secret Seven who liked to dress up did annoy me greatly). The Naughtiest Girl In The School, Mallory Towers and St Clair's books were also great favourites.

And then, ghost stories. A gentle introduction, when I was nine, with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I loved that book and reread it frequently - even when it wasn't Christmastime. After a while, I moved on to horror - James Herbert was a particular favourite and his books were eagerly shared between my group of friends (The Rats, The Fog, The Dark...). And science fiction - I was lucky enough to be taught by a wonderful and inspiring English teacher, Miss Ferguson, who introduced us to Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon) and John Wyndham (The Chrysalids, Trouble With Lichen, The Kraken Wakes and others). This, of course, led naturally on to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, written by the frighteningly clever and sadly missed Douglas Adams.

Now I'm going to push it a bit here, because my last choice isn't a book - but I read it every single week between the ages of 10 and 15. Some of you will realise I'm talking about Jackie magazine. Fashion advice, health columns, problem pages - Jackie had it all. And fiction - it was Jackie's fiction pages that inspired my first short stories. Although these attempts were hand written, cringe-worthy and never submitted.

And what about romance? When did that make an appearance on my shelves? Well, romance has a story all it's own. And, if you're very, very good, one day I might tell you all about it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday News & A Poll

You know that show So You Think You Can Dance? Ever thought of attempting it? No? Me neither! But, for every writer out there, there’s another challenge - So You Think You Can Write? For most of us the answer is...yes, or maybe.

Whatever your response is, the lovely people at Harlequin are setting us all a challenge. In their words…

Does your imagination run wild with vivid characters? Have you ever dreamed of becoming a USA TODAY bestselling author? Well, our editors want to make those dreams come true. We are hungry to find talented new writers for Harlequin Books. Through podcasts, blogs, and discussions with our expert editors and current authors, we’re going to help you understand the appeal of the romance genre. And there’s a special daily challenge with feedback that will give some great insights into crafting the perfect story. So for the next week, come by to hone your skills and get started on the path to publication. So you think you can write? Here’s your chance to show us!

Seriously, this a truly spectacular chance to show what you can do. And, pssst! We’ve heard one of the podcasts is by friend of the Minxes, Maisey Yates! We've also heard she's got the cutest accent so do check it out!

So, sharpen your pencil, or pens, or keyboards (hmm, maybe not the last one) and prepare for this awesome event. For more details click on the link below

In other news, I wanted to chat about pitches. In case you haven’t heard (yet), I did an online pitch on Wednesday for Carina Press and I truly wanted to encourage anyone who's ever been too intimidated or (like me) too scared out their wits, to attempt one. Yes, it's scary, yes you'll shake like a leaf in an autumn wind, but believe me, it’s so worth it just for the experience. I know some people prefer face-to-face pitches where you can tell the other person’s body language, see their smile of encouragement, or hear the nuances in their voice, but for me, letting my fingers do the work was enough for me. Of course, sitting in my jogging pants and covered in biscuit crumbs also gave me comfort like nothing else, lol.

What also helps is the pitchee. In my case, Executive Editor Angela James was so lovely and put me at ease immediately. According to Rae of eHarlequin, they hold pitches for various lines every few months, so if you’ve never thought of it, I can attest that it’s a great way to get your work in front of an editor. So go for it! And if you have awesome cheerleaders on your side or an Unstoppable Force aka a pom pom waving sister high on sisterly love like Jodie’s sister Nini, do bring her along!

Romy's addendum:

What our Modest Minx Maya has neglected to mention above is that she got a FULL REQUEST from Angela James in that pitch. Way to go, Maya!

In other news, Lorraine Minx brought to our attention that Mills&Boon recently ran a survey among readers looking for the celebrity who makes the best Ultimate Romantic Hero.
The winner was an interesting choice: Simon Cowell.

However, we Minxes know who we'd prefer. (Hint: here he is!).

We're pretty sure all our blog readers have an opinion on their Ultimate Romantic Hero, so check back here next Friday for the Minxy version of this poll.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Author Spotlight - BJ Daniels

I'm very excited today to welcome one of my all time favorite authors, BJ Daniels to the Minxes Blog.  BJ is a USA Today Bestselling Author who writes for Harlequin Intrigue, and has won a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times. She has published over fifty books and more than forty short stories. Right, after that introduction, on to the Minxes questions!

Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?

Five years ago I wrote a book called Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch. It changed my life. Seriously. Harlequin picked it for a reader survey, it did well and they decided to give it away. They are still giving it away as an Intrigue promotion. That opened up all kinds of doors for me. But it also began a change in my writing. That book was more like me. It came from a childhood memory. I began to trust my own judgment about my writing. (I know it took a while, about 30 books) A year later, I began my Whitehorse, Montana series. That series reflects me, my love of Montana and the place I live and how I feel about life and writing.

Where did you get the idea from for this particular book?

The idea for the Whitehorse series began with a move to a small western town in north central Montana -- in the middle of the prairie, but a place with a wonderful history. I wanted to write about it. Now 24 books later in that series, I am still writing about it. My last three books made the USA Today bestseller list (Gun-Shy Bride, Hitched! and Twelve-Gauge Guardian). I still have to pinch myself. But I believe that writing what you love pays off.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?

Boy, that's a good question. I feel there is something "next," but right now I'm not sure what that is. I love writing Intrigues. I'd love to write a single title. Hopefully, I will know when the time is right. I'm working on several things and have something kicking around at the back of mind. :) Of course I would love to have a bunch of single titles on the New York Times bestseller list in five years. But only if they were books I loved.

Which was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?

The Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax. I thought one of my friends wrote the book. I had to meet the author at the latest Romance Writers of America conference just to make sure she existed.

Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?

I come from a family of storytellers so that is where my desire came from. I didn't read a lot as a kid. But I caught the bug my junior year in high school when my English teacher made me read Exodus. That did it for me. I've been reading ever since -- and I read everything.

Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy?

I actually enjoy the love scenes but mine are pretty tame. They completely depend on the characters. The book I'm finishing now...well, they might not get together on page. They're both a little shy and only on their third date. We'll see. Other characters, well, they are very passionate so of course they have to make love in the book.

What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?

That's a tough one. My husband is very romantic. He cooks for me, which I think is very sexy. But I'd have to say the other evening when we took the boat out on the lake and watched the sun go down. What could be more romantic than that?

What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were pubbed?

I always love this question because I think ignorance is bliss. Knowing too much about the business isn't good for creative juices. You have to believe in yourself when you write. You also need to completely submerse yourself in your story. How can you do that if you spend a lot of time hearing about how bad publishing is nowadays? The one thing I didn't know that has been so much fun to find out is that you make wonderful friends along the way. Fans, other writers, editors, publishers, actually get to know people you would never have met otherwise and these friendships are invaluable.

What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?

Write. It seems so simple but so many aspiring writers don't write. They spend a lot of time promoting themselves even before they have a book. The secret in my humble opinion is: write. Finish a book. Write another one. Work to continue to get better. I still believe that if you write a good book, readers will find it.

Tell us about your latest release.

Boots and Bullets comes out in October followed by High Caliber Christmas (Nov) and Winchester Christmas Wedding (Dec.) These are all part of my Whitehorse, Montana series as mini series: Whitehorse: Winchester Ranch and Winchester Ranch Reloaded. Whew huh. The book has a different cover which is fun. It's the continuing story of the Winchester family. A very dysfunctional family and one of my favorites. The first three books in the series are: Gun-Shy Bride, Hitched! and Twelve-Gauge Guardian.

What's next for you?

I wish I knew. But I'm optimistic there are good things on the horizon. It's just my nature. :)

Thanks so much for including me in your interview,BJ

Thank you very much for the interview, BJ!

Find out more about BJ on her website :

 BJ's books are available in the US at
From Mills and Boon in the UK at http://www.mills&


Monday, October 18, 2010

Leading Ladies Part Two

Today is the turn of Lacey, Romy and Joanne P to share with us their favourite leading ladies of the silver screen.


My favorite leading lady would have to be Julia Roberts. Julia has demonstrated her talent and versatility in every movie she’s starred in, from drama, Erin Brockovich and romantic comedy, Notting Hill to psychological thriller, Sleeping with the Enemy, and crime comedy, Ocean’s Eleven.

Pretty Woman is an all time favorite of mine and it was actually the first of Julia’s movies that I got my hands on. She was every inch the spunky, uneducated, streetwise Vivian, you couldn’t help but love.

Sleeping with the Enemy came next, and once again, Julia personified her character Laura, an abused wife, who fakes her own death to escape her husband. You can’t help but become invested in the characters that Julia portrays and every single time she has had me on the edge of my seat hoping that she’ll get her happily ever after.

Julia ability to balance her incredible career with a family life, including three children, has made her an inspirational leading lady both on and off screen.


I tend to idolise strong women. I've even been accused of writing "ball breaker" heroines. So when I thought about which leading lady I admired, it's hardly surprising that the first character to spring to mind was Linda Hamilton's Sarah O'Connor in Terminator 2. I'll admit I know very little about Linda Hamilton, but I love the concept of a woman who will do anything to protect her child, and who makes herself over in order to do what must be done. Sarah O'Connor shows us that any woman, no matter how ordinary she seems, has the potential to be extraordinary.

However, as movie actresses go, my favourites are those glamorous icons of the early 20th century: women like the sassy Myrna Loy or the classy Grace Kelly.

My current favourite is an actress who made very few movies and who is remembered not for the films she made in Hollywood (which she turned her back on) but for a couple of German art films, and that was silent movie actress Louise Brooks. Her life was as interesting and complicated as any movie. And that's just given me an idea for a story ....

Joanne P:

A favourite leading Lady for me has to be Barbra Streisand. I find her just fascinating to watch, she has such charisma and screen presence.
Although she isn't 'conventionally beautiful',  there's something captivating about her face  - her haunting eyes and her range of expressions that makes her stunning to watch on screen. 
Her performances as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl and as Katie in The Way We Were really move me - she is such a 'real' actress.  I find myself drawn in by her completely and crying buckets for her characters, even if its a movie i've  seen ten times over. 
In more recent years, she really made me laugh as Roz in 'Meet The Fockers' - how genius to pair her up with Dustin Hoffman!  
Not to mention her brilliance as a singer and song writer, and the way that she has used her fame to speak up on political issues that matter to her.
She has proper old school star quality, and for me that makes her pretty perfect as a leading lady.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Dancing!

Congratulations to our very own Maya Minx who has won the chance to pitch to Angela James of Carina Press over on eHarlequin. We're all snoopy dancing for you, Maya.

While we're celebrating, this seems like a great opportunity to give a round of applause and a huge thank you to all the editors at Harlequin. They have been busy this year! Aside from the Medical Fast Track and New Voices contest, they've signed seven debut authors this year - and the year isn't even over yet.

Congratulations to the following new authors:
  • Elaine Golden - who sold to Historical Undone in June
  • Natasha Tate - who sold to Modern
  • New Zealander Soraya Lane - who sold to Romance/Cherish in August (better known to regulars on eHarlequin as Soraya Nicholas)
  • Cat Schield - who sold to Desire in September
  • Wendy Marcus - a follower of this blog (squee!!) who recently sold to the Medical Line
  • Leonie Knight - also a recent sale to the Medical Line
  • And last but not least, Amy Strnad, who has only just announced her happy news. Congratulations on selling to Modern Heat/Riva, Amy, and thanks for the lovely comments you left on some of the Minxes' New Voices entries. We love you too! Amy is taking the pen name Aimee Carson.
Ladies - we're hoping to host every one of you in our Author Spotlights when your books are released!

If there's anyone I've left out of this love fest, my apologies - and please drop us a line to introduce yourself.  And help yourselves to a glass of bubbly.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Author Spotlight: Julie Cohen

This week we're excited to welcome Julie Cohen back to the blog and to hear all about her new release with Headline.

1. Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?
In October 2005, I was working on my fourth Mills & Boon book, MARRIED IN A RUSH. I’d sold my first title back in July 2004, but because of scheduling and line changes none of them were due to start coming out until March 2006, when my first book was going to be a lead title for the new Modern Heat line. So I was steadily working on building a backlog of titles to be published. Meanwhile, my agent was working on selling my first single title book, SPIRIT WILLING, FLESH WEAK. Though I wasn’t actually published yet, because of all this frantic activity going on behind the scenes, within a year I would have five books out with two different publishers. A level of overachievement which I hope to never have to match again.
2. Where did you get the idea from for this particular book?
I am a total sucker for twin stories. To the extent that when I ordered books for research for writing GETTING AWAY WITH IT, I realised when they turned up that I’d read several of them already. I also love, love, love writing books about deception and identity. So the idea of a story about a woman pretending to be her identical twin sister wasn’t new, but it was irresistible.
3. Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
On a Greek island, lying on a beach, being fed ripe grapes and retsina by David Tennant. Oh, wait. You mean in my career? Well, I have wild dreams of course of hitting bestseller lists and being invited to amazing parties et cetera, but really, I’d like to still be published, still be making a living by writing books. It’s been my lifelong dream and I can’t imagine anything better.
4. Which was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?
TAKE A CHANCE ON ME by Jill Mansell. Jill has a wonderful, effortless way of instantly drawing you into her characters’ lives. I love her voice, and I love how she makes you laugh and makes you care. There were some really touching moments in this book, too. Also, when I read it on a train, women who also love Jill Mansell books started chatting with me. Fab.
5. Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?
The Earthsea trilogy, by Ursula LeGuin. When I was ten or so, her richly-imagined fantasy world blew me away and I immediately started working on my own (blatantly ripped-off) version. Drew a map and everything. The map was way better than the story.
6. Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy?
Neither, really, though more giggly than cringey. As my books have got longer, I’ve found myself writing fewer and fewer sex scenes and they’ve started to be even more emotionally important. So I take them pretty seriously. That said, I may occasionally indulge in a glass of wine or two while I’m writing them, and then I might giggle. A bit. Well, okay, a lot.
7. What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?
I used one of my first advance cheques to pay for a holiday in Venice for me and my husband. As the holiday was because of romance, we agreed he would kiss me every time we crossed a bridge. And there are a lot of bridges in Venice.
8. What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were pubbed?
How the writing itself doesn’t get much easier. Sure, the experience of having written several novels definitely helps. And it helps to have professionals on my side, giving me advice. But the actual writing can still be hard work, and I’m still beseiged by crows of doubt on a regular basis. I thought once you were published, it all got to be second nature. Ha! As a matter of fact, I’m more neurotic than I ever was before—not least because I know exactly how lucky I am to be published!
9. What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?
When I was starting out, bestselling M&B Modern author (and dear friend) Kate Walker told me, “Don’t be afraid of emotion.” Like so many beginning authors, I was afraid of really digging deep into my characters and putting them in situations where they would suffer. I liked my characters too much to put them through it. But if they don’t suffer, they don’t learn. And if they don’t learn, they can’t earn their happy ever after. I still use that advice today, often in revisions where I have to uncover another layer of emotion.
10. Tell us about your latest release.
GETTING AWAY WITH IT is my first standalone women’s fiction title with Headline Review. It’s the story of stunt woman Liza Haven, whose life is shattered when a film stunt goes horribly wrong. She goes back to the village where she grew up with her perfect identical twin sister, Lee—only to find that Lee has disappeared, leaving behind their difficult mother, their flagging family business and a dangerously attractive boyfriend. What’s more, everyone in the village thinks that Liza is Lee.
It’s a book about identity, disappointment, love, danger and the true meaning of ice cream, and it’s out in hardback and trade paperback on 28 October. It’ll be out in mass-market paperback in April 2011.
11. What's next for you?
Right now I’m working on my follow-up book to GETTING AWAY WITH IT. It’s another contemporary women’s fiction novel, about a woman who gets a job in a stately home where everyone’s pretending it’s 1814. It’s sort of two stories in one—the contemporary story, and the Regency story—and it is just fantastic fun to write and research. I’ve been going to Regency re-enactment events and meeting fascinating people. That book should be out in 2011.
Thank you to the Minxes for having me again!
You can order the discounted hardback of GETTING AWAY WITH IT with free shipping here:

COMPETITION: If you’d like a chance to win a rare, exclusive early reading copy of GETTING AWAY WITH IT,
all you have to do is sign up for Julie’s newsletter. She’ll be holding a draw on her website to give away three copies. If you’d like to enter, either:
a) leave your email address in a comment to this post (to be safer from spammers, replace the @ symbol with the word “at”).
b) send Julie an email: julie at (replacing, as above, the “at” with the @ symbol) Use “contest” or something similar as the subject line, so I know it’s not spam.
This is open to anyone, worldwide..

A little white lie. A whole lot of trouble...
Coming October 2010 from Headline Review

Monday, October 11, 2010

Leading Ladies by Three Minxes

We all have favourite movies that remain unforgettable and become a part of us long after we've turned off the VCR or DVD or we've left the cinema and empty popcorn box behind; movies with characters that make us smile or LOL, or brings tear to our eyes.

Today, Minxes Suzanne, Sally and Maya bring you the leading ladies who have struck a chord with us and carved a place in our hearts.


My favourite leading lady of all time has to be Margaret Sullivan in The Shop Around The Corner. This is a gem of a film - made in 1940 and directed by Ernst Lubitsch, it's inspired an array of other works: In the Good Old Summertime (musical starring Judy Garland), You've Got Mail (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan) and the stage musical She Loves Me (I saw this years ago with Ruthie Henshall and John Gordon Sinclair - and it was fab). Worryingly, it was also the inspiration for Are You Being Served - but, thankfully, I already knew and loved the original film version when I found this out.

It's a predictable romcom, in that you know from the outset that Margaret will get her man (in this case James Stuart), but that doesn't make the journey any less enjoyable. Margaret's character is feisty and stubborn and funny. On being told by Stewart there are no job vacancies at the shop in question, she nonetheless makes a difficult sale, impressing the owner and landing herself work. In a lovely film she shines, and if you get the chance to see her in the role of Clara Novak, you should jump at it.


My favorite leading lady is Holly Hunter. She's a very versatile actress, with a great emotive range, and is able to convey so much through her eyes that I find her compulsively watchable in any films that she appears in. She's not your average pin-up but her quiet strength shines through in all the character's she portrays. I loved her in Miss Firecracker, a movie where she competes in the Miss Firecracker beauty pageant - but my all time favorite is 1995 movie, Copycat.

Copycat is a much underrated thriller in my opinion, with some great performances all round. Holly plays Detective Monahan, a tough determined detective trying to track down a serial killer who is copying famous murders, and she has to work with agrophobe Dr Helen Hunter, played masterfully by Sigourney Weaver to catch the murderer. Harry Connick Jr. is totally blood chilling as evil Daryll Lee Cullum, and if you enjoy thrillers and haven't tried this one, watch it! If thrillers aren't your thing, then do check out Miss Firecracker ... Holly's tap dance is worth it!


The Lake House, one of my all time favourite movies made me fall in love with Sandra Bullock. The film itself is extremely poignant with two people who meet “out of time” but are destined to be together. Sandra's performance is arresting to watch and I was on the brink of tears for most of the second half of the movie (something about star-crossed lovers and moving love letters do that to me, I’m afraid).

I also loved her in this movie because it was a departure from her usual funny girl routine, even though I think she’s also a wonderful comedienne. I absolutely adored her in The Proposal and she totally kicked ass in the Speed movies :).

But I think what raised Sandra Bullock to the top of my list was the way she dealt with her personal life in this past year.

Throughout the chaos engulfing her very public marriage break up, she remained dignified and strong, and that’s a quality I admire in my leading ladies.

This picture of her on the cover of People Magazine published just months after her divorce made me smile and go, “YEAH!”

For me, she’s definitely a wonderful leading lady and a huge inspiration!

We'd love to know who your leading ladies are!

Tune in next week for three more Minxy favourite leading ladies.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Time to Party!

Because it's Friday, but also because we deserve a party as a reward for our hard work during the past few month, whether we entered the New Voices Competition or held the hands of contestants.
For this party there are no burly bouncers and no guest list, just an open house for anyone who's suffering PTRSD (Post Traumatic Rose-Stress Disorder), Waitingforthelistitis or just fancies a nice party :-)

Help yourself to champagne and cake and mingle with the celebrities - Michael Weatherly and Daniel Craig have dressed up for us,
Simon Baker has gone for smart casual but Gilles Marini can't seem to keep
his clothes on and has made himself at home :-) So, get out those pink
feather boas, Ugg boots or whatever
takes your fancy. It's time to let off some steam and recharge those batteries for the next stage of our writing journey...

If anyone fancies a party game how about writing a story in ten words for Chick Lit Shorties? There are fab prizes - critiques, blog overhauls, Amazon gift cards... And we're not going to mention the 'c' word because this is about having fun. So while 'I entered New Voices and now I'm a nervous wreck' is a story in ten words and meets the requirements of the 'c' word it's not quite in the spirit of things. If you want to know more click here.

In keeping with the party spirit we also have a prize to award - Tami has won a copy of Suzanne Brandyn's 'Heat in the Outback'. Tami please pop over to Suzanne's website and use the contact info to let her have your snail mail address, the link is here.

Now, what music shall I put on, any requests?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Author Spotlight: Suzanne Brandyn

Today we have Australian author Suzanne Brandyn here to tell us all about her books, and answer the Minxes questions - take it away Suzanne!

Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?

Five years ago I had a dream, a dream to be published. I learned everything I could about writing romance. I wanted to see my name in the Romance Writers of Australia’s Hearts Talk magazine. I studied and studied ‘how to’ of romance writing. Last year I had my first romance novel published. My name not only appears as a published author in the magazine, but I’m now also a member of their editorial team.

Where did you get the idea from for this particular book?
It is based around the town I was born. I love the area; love the mountains and the wide river. So I took my heroine back home, where she faces her past and obstacles arise making her think twice about her life.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
I think a lot of authors would say a famous author. But to be sensible, I’d love to have at least another ten novels published with a bigger publishing house.

Which was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?
I had to laugh at this question. Lol. Still grinning. The Twilight Series, who wouldn’t?

Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?
Nora Roberts’s stories and style inspired me to want to write my own novels.

Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy?
I have no trouble in writing them at all. They are worthy to a story if that story requires one. Love is universal. I don’t feel it different to writing a passionate kiss scene.

What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?
I think getting married in Hawaii two years ago was very romantic. It was a perfect, romantic time. The weather, delivered on a blue platter, the music romantic. It was my dream come true.

What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were pubbed?
I wished I knew more about the promotional side of publishing. It takes a lot of writing hours away. I enjoy it though and I’m having book signings and library talks within the next few months.

What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?
Trust your gut feeling. Write what you like reading. If you believe in your manuscript, so will an editor.

Tell us about your latest release.
Have you ever misplaced something? Has it taken you ages to find where it is? ‘Usually what you’re searching for is right before your eyes.’
Thinking she has it all, the perfect life, the perfect career, and the perfect fiancé. Sarah Munro questions all when she returns to her hometown, and to the man she left behind so many years ago.
Both characters have a secret, and it’s up to them to come to terms with the past or grab onto it and yank it into the future. They try to settle their differences but a raging attraction ignites. That attraction has been smoldering for years.

What’s next for you?
I hope that my next manuscript will be published. It is set on a property in the New England Region of NSW, Australia, a property where I lived. It is a suspense novel with romantic elements, about a woman escaping domestic violence and returning to a property she inherited by her recently departed mother. She faces many obstacles. It will be a great read. I’m also about to start another. So I’ll be busy. Lol.

You can find out where to purchase Heat in the Outback at Suzanne's website,  and Suzanne is giving a free print copy to one lucky commenter.

Heat in the Outback is available now from Eternal Press, and Passion in Paradise is available from The Wild Rose Press.

Thank you so much for joining us here at the Minxes of Romance today, Suzanne!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Minx Newbie

Today’s special minx announcement is…


Lacey Devlin has joined the Minxes in all their glory, and no, I didn’t have to bribe them with money!

I’ll admit I’ve shied away from CPs in the past because I was sure that I didn’t have enough time to stop them from trying to murder me when I wasn’t able to get a critique done on time, but that was before I was introduced to the Minx system!  I’m a lucky girl and I’ve got all their emails now, so there are no “take backs”.

As this is my first official post as a Minx I’m suppose to dazzle you with fascinating facts about myself, and oh boy, where to start ;)

For anyone who doesn’t know me, I’m Australian, and in my spare time I wrestle crocodiles… or perhaps I write.  Actually, I think the more people between me and a crocodile the better.  That also applies to snakes, spiders, sharks and politicians.

Because I live such a fascinating life I struggled to come up wit a dazzling tid bit about myself that’s never been blogged before, and I came up with two tid bits.  So today I’m going to introduce you to my fur children Lucy and Zoe who are miniature Maltese terriers weighing less than 3kg each.  They are fearless in the face of a dog ten times their size as long as there’s a fence between them.  I’ve spent many hours with them balanced on my lap while I write what will hopefully become a published manuscript.
Zoe and friend.

Lucy who likes to sleep in
contorted positions best

To give you an idea of their size against a pig ear.
I started writing as a wee lassie no bigger than your thumb and those stories were fantastically terrible—a child genius I am not.  Then, I discovered the romance genre and Mills & Boon.  Thousands of books later my obsession has grown and there’s a lot less room in the house.  As I continue toward my dream of being a published M&B author I’m thrilled that I’m now surrounded by wonderful women who are willing to read my work, however fantastically terrible it may or may not be.

Fur children

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weekend Round-Up

Wednesday Winner!

The lucky winner of Wednesday's giveaway with Paula Graves is Jo Gilliver. Congratulations, Jo! Please contact Paula directly at to claim your prize!


Coming up this week on the Minxes blog, we have a very special announcement tomorrow--come back to join us for the news. We've learnt everything we know about keeping our readers in suspense from the lovely ladies at Mills & Boon :-)


This week our author spotlights highlights Australia's Suzanne Brandyn, come by Wednesday to see Suzanne's answers to our Minxy questions and there's another giveaway!


A 'pot luck' posts from one of the Minxes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Kate Hardy's Guide to the Joy of Research

First of all, thank you very much to the Minxes for inviting me back to talk about a subject dear to my heart – my favourite bit of writing a book.

Which is… (cue drum roll) research.

Why do I love research so much? I guess it’s because I’m a nerd who just loves learning new things. Better still is when I get to do location research and actually see the place I’m talking about - and it can be really important, because if I hadn't visited Venice earlier this year then I wouldn't have known that their stained glass is very different from English stained glass, and my book would have been completely wrong. (The eating of lots of ice cream in Venice was also research, albeit for a different book that I haven’t started yet and needs, um, another research trip.)

Actually doing the research is one thing; putting it into your book so it doesn’t show is quite another. It's quite tricky to walk the line between putting enough research into the book so that my readers get a flavour of the background (whether it's a place or a profession – or, in the case of my Medical romances, the patients’ illnesses and how to treat it), but not putting in so much that it's an infodump or drowns the romance. Although I’ve had plenty of readers tell me that one of the things they love about my books is that they learn something new, at the end of the day, I know that their main concern is the journey between the hero and heroine (and all the stuff I find absolutely fascinating gets in the way of said journey. I still need to know it before I write, though, because it does affect how my hero and heroine think).

My current release, Champagne with a Celebrity, has a parfumier as a hero. And you can't write a book about someone who develops new perfumes unless you know how it's done, can you? And when I discovered that there was a one-to-one course on designing your own perfume, literally 20 minutes down the road from me... Well, I just had to do it, didn’t I? I learned some really interesting things about perfume – and I did manage to work some of them into the book, when the hero guides the heroine through making her own perfume blend. (I would tell you more here, but then you wouldn’t learn something new when you read the book – and I couldn’t possibly disappoint you like that!) I also made my own bottle of fragrance; though I will admit that, despite my best intentions, it turned out to be a clone of my favourite perfume.

So my question to you is: research. Love it or hate it?

Kate Hardy’s latest book, Champagne with a Celebrity, is the second in a duo about the Lefèvre brothers. It’s available now at bookshops, Amazon or at the M&B website. Click here for the Amazon link

And in other news, we have an exciting Minx announcement here on the blog on Monday - Don't forget to pop in and read it!