Friday, April 29, 2011


Even if it's not your cup of tea, chances are you've heard of a certain high profile event taking place today (the extra Bank Holiday in the UK is a bit of a giveaway). Whether you're an avid royal follower or just vaguely interested to see Kate Middleton's dress it's unlikely the wedding will totally pass you by.
Now I'm not particularly interested in the royals, nor did I dress up as a princess as a little girl (I was more interested in toy cars!) yet I'll admit the vague thought "I wonder if William is too young for me?" has er, at times crossed my mind. The lure of crossing the line from daydream to becoming an actual princess, however unpalatable the reality might be, is an enduring one. It's why royal romances or 'grown-up Princess Diaries' sell as well as they do.

So, now William is off the market and Harry is too young for most of us are there any single princes out there in need of a princess?
Well actually yes, Prince Carl Phillip of Sweden (left) is currently single after the end of a long term relationship (according to wiki!). Placed 9th on the Forbes List of 'Hottest Young Royals' he is very sporty. If the very
idea of an arduous cross country skiing race brings you out in a sweat he might not be the prince for you.

Andrea Casiraghi (right) is grandson of the Prince of Monaco and heir to an Italian oil fortune. Charity work in Africa and an interest in international development give him a more serious edge but he's frequently papped as another 'hot young royal' when out and about.

Hmm, Andrea has left me itching with a new story idea but out of pure
dedication to the cause I'll continue with our next prince - the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, who coincidentally is a guest at today's royal wedding. The Sheikh was appointed as crown prince of Dubai in February 2008, according to his father's decree. He's another sporty
prince - known as a competitive equestrian. Now I'm thinking Riders, Polo, Jilly Cooper... Okay back from my tangent. Next up we have Prince Albert von Thurn und Taxis (right), he's been listed many times as the World's youngest billionaire (he was aged 8 when he first appeared on the list). And no, he has nothing to do with taxis but does happen to be an enthusiastic racing driver!

Or if you're thinking of writing a royal romance how about a modern Riva twist - Princess Victoria of Sweden is currently the only female heir-apparent in the world (though there are several females who are heiresses-apparent of an heir-apparent) after brother Prince Carl (above) was pushed into second place by a change in the law allowing the firstborn to inherit the crown regardless of gender. She finally married her personal trainer last year after a long courtship. Without royal blessing she would have lost the throne but in the manner of all happy endings approval was granted. Now that's a tale to stir the romance writer in me, but first I need to check out Kate's dress...

Click here for a list of Dreamy Kings and Hunky Princes (fictional). And confess, leave a comment and tell us all - we want to know who your dream princes are, fictional or otherwise. (Also if someone else feels like confessing to daydreaming about marrying William it will spare my blushes ;-)

Our honorary princess today is Ellie Swoop who is the winner of Christina Courtenay's book. Please contact us with your address Ellie and we'll pass your details on.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Author Spotlight - Dee Tenorio

Today's guest is a multi-published author, with books available through Samhain Publishing and Carina Press .... Dee Tenorio.

[PS: we Minxes are especially pleased to have Dee here today, as in her other life she is a host at the eHarlequin community forum, where we Minxes first met.]

Thanks for stopping by here today Dee.

1. Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?

I was working on my fourth book, trying to tell myself I could get it done on time despite having 2 month old twin girls and no sleep, lol.

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

Well, my sister had passed away, so I was in a very dark place. A place I’m not sure I could have survived without my husband’s enduring support.Writing was virtually impossible and we traveled the Ortega (Hwy 74) quite often to visit my mother. Most people don’t survive accidents on that road and as I was driving home one night I thought, “So what happens to the people who do? What happens to people who don’t have the support I did?” So, Shaken is a story born out of pain, showing that love really can help in the worst of times.

3. Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?

Well, it’s possibly vain of me, but I do have these fantasies of being stocked in every store, with a home of my own and a career that allows me to do the best for my family.

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

“Bonds Of Justice” by Nalini Singh. There’s such honest love, passion and depth to the passages of that book. Siiiiiigh…

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

Well, I’ve always loved writing, but I especially had a deep love for Lois Duncan’s novels and Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca”. That book inspired me greatly.

6. Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy – or neither?

LOL! Love scenes are hard work, really. I want so bad for them to be more than Tab A and Slot B and a lot of thrusting. I try my best to make them mean something to the characters.

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

Every time my husband walks towards me, that look on his face that’s intense and says, “I’m gonna kiss you and you’re going to be happy about it.” *fans self* I LOVE it when he does that.

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

How long it would take to become a published author, lol. That could have saved a lot of frustration. LOL! Also, I wish I knew as much now about editing.

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

Trust yourself. You’ll be surprised where your stories can take you.

10. Tell us about your latest release.

My last release is an erotic novella called “Shaken”, about a couple in the verge of divorce, their once idyllic life obliterated by the death of their young daughter. When the hero, Dr. Grant Sullivan, tries desperately to win his wife, Julia, back, an earthquake traps them in an elevator, leaving them no way to run from their pain and one last chance to find one another again.

11. What’s next for you?

Quite a few things, actually. I have an erotic romantic comedy anthology I’m part of coming out at the end of May, self-pubbed, and the sequel to last year’s paranormal romantic suspense with Carina Press, Deceiving The Protector coming out in August. I’m SO excited about both of them!

Shaken is available from Samhain Press here.

You can follow Dee on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, and visit her blog or her website for updates on her books. And don't forget to check her out on YouTube!

Monday, April 25, 2011

What's wrong with Brad?

I'm sure Brad Pitt would be devastated if he ever found out - but he just doesn't do it for me. Which is odd, because I've always found pretty, blue-eyed, blond men attractive.

Give me  the near identical Robert Redford (I don't care what anyone says, they must have jumped out of the same gene pool)- when he was young, of course - and I'll oblige by going immediately weak at the knees.

And as for Josh Holloway...well...I'm speechless at the very thought.

But, to me, Brad just isn't hero material. Perhaps it's the fact he did the dirty on Jen. I know it was years ago, but can there anything less attractive than a man who'll cheat on his wife? This is such a horrid thing to do I'm still not sure about Alan Rickman after he was unfaithful to Emma Thompson in Love Actually - and that was only a film.

Everything seems to be in the right place and in the right proportions, so why don't I find Brad as attractive as he should be?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Celebrating Life!

Today is Earth Day, that one day a year when we celebrate the planet that gives up all life, and hopefully do a little something to preserve it so we can keep on living here. (I don't really fancy Mars, do you?)

My passion is rain forests, the lungs that keep us all breathing. I love treed places, and that almost spiritual quiet you can hear when walking in a wood or forest.

Tsitsikamma Forest, Knysna, South Africa
I'd like to know what aspect of this amazing planet holds special meaning for you. A serene garden you love to sit in? A beach you visited as a child? The Antarctic?

Finally, I'd like to recommend a great way we can all give back to the environment, at very little cost to ourselves. Greater Good is a charity organisation with an online store that offers some really great products, made from sustainable materials, benefitting local communities, and the money goes to worthy causes. So next time you're looking for a gift for a friend, or just looking to spoil yourself, take a wander through their store.

Let's make every day Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Author Spotlight - Nikki Logan

I recently reviewed Nikki Logan's Shipwrecked with Mr Wrong over on my own blog because the book moved me so deeply, and so I am particularly excited to be interviewing Nikki here on the Minxes today. As I said in my review, this book is very poignant and will stay with you long after you've read the last page.

Welcome, Nikki.

1. Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?
Hmmm… can I answer for four years ago, instead? Here’s why… Four years ago, practically to the day of this blog I walked out of my day-job to begin six-months of long-service-leave on full pay. I decided that I would go mad with six months off and nothing to do and so I determined to write a book—a non-fiction about my crazy, cross-dressing Grandfather, lol—but I thought that I should probably start with something easier. Fiction. Romantic fiction.

Bwahahaaa… ‘Easier’….

In short, four years ago I was full of the passion of wanting to write, full of years of experience with other kinds of writing, but had absolutely no idea how the industry worked, how competitive it was, or how steep a learning curve I was about to embark on.

My own personal Everest.

Those six months were life-changing. I gave myself tendonitis because I was spending hours and hours without break fully immersed in the wonderful world I was creating, I hardly left the house (was great for the bank balance!), my dogs were the happiest I’d ever seen them, and I decided in the middle of it that writing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. In fact I couldn’t believe I’d gone forty years without realizing that.

But you know what…? Just one year before that I was neck-deep in a job I thought I loved, living with unhealthy amounts of stress as though it was normal, had given up my more creative, fulfilling role for a higher-paying management position, and I think I was slowly dying there.

So much can change in six months…

2. Where did you get the idea from for this particular book?
My books always come from things I observe or experience. Shipwrecked with Mr Wrong came from two places – one happy, one devastating.

I live in a coastal suburb and for a couple of years I watched a DIY motor-boat slowly taking shape on the verge of a nearby house—the guy was building it by hand. Then one day I saw that very distinctive boat on the TV news being hauled to shore after being found floating empty out at sea. Turns out the family went boating and got into some trouble and only one of them survived—the woman. I felt such a personal connection to her (though we’d never met) and I obsessed about how a woman would survive losing both her children and the man she loves…what that kind of loss would drive you to. And how you would ever, ever let yourself love again.

And so my emotionally and physically scarred heroine was born and I gave her a stranger’s past. And her island sanctuary (which is where I imagined the poor woman must surely have retreated to—away from life, away from all the reminders).

Then I needed a good reason for a hero to be thousands of miles out to sea and come across her island. Years ago I did a brief stint I did at the WA Maritime Museum where I worked alongside scientists who used to go diving every week along Western Australia’s ‘Shipwreck Coast’. I always thought it was so incredibly cool that they got to hang ‘gone diving’ signs on their doors. While working there I learned about the wreck of the SMS Emden which conveniently lies on the reef edge of the island that I set my book on. Australia’s most remote, uninhabited island…


And so my damaged heroine and my shipwreck hunting hero were born…

3. Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
Celebrating my 25th Harlequin Romance and maybe writing other things on the side. I’d still love to write that non-Fiction about my grandfather… and I have this idea about my dog…
So many ideas… so few fingers…
Oh and I’d love to be in a timber house deep in a forest somewhere… my partner making timber furniture and me writing books… *sigh* That might take ten…

4. Which was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?
I’m on a bit of a M.L.N Hanover binge right now (the ‘Black Sun’s Daughter’ series). I really resent having to put it down to go write or clean or to the day job… I just get so engaged. I do hope to write paranormal one day and I just love the ease with which Hanover handles exposition, world-building and action.
And I love how pointlessly determined he is NOT to make it a romance but the romance between his heroine and the man who’s not supposed to be her hero just keeps leaking through… heh…

5. Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?
All the books that sucked me into their pages..?
My father was an original ‘MadMen’ type. He came through the ad trade in the 50s/60s and was one of the leading creative directors on the west coast. He always said that he was going to write a book when he retired…’one day’… But he died at 53 and he never got to do it. So me deciding to take the risk and really focus my efforts on getting published (and staying published) is partly about not wanting to be sitting on my cloud in thirty years regretting that I hadn’t.

6. Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy – or neither?
I love to write sex scenes and I’m always having to shoulder that bedroom door closed in my books. Sex scenes flow as naturally for me as any other ‘action’ sequence, I think because I’m very visual. So no, I don’t cringe or giggle. I enjoy.

I write for both RIVA and Cherish in the UK but I always have to be conscious that the RIVAs still need to sell as ‘Romance’ in the US (in the all important bible belt) so even my RIVAs aren’t as sizzling as some others.

‘Shipwrecked’ was originally full of ‘monkey-sex’ because I wanted Honor’s sexual re-awakening to be a metaphor for her emotional re-awakening, but Kim Young (at the time Snr Editor for London’s M&B office) said ‘Nikki, this is romance, we WANT the emotional re-awakening’. After I finished a *forehead desk* moment I rewrote it without the sex but the steaminess is still right through it. Especially the underwater scene….

(Maybe I could sell the un-cut original of that scene on eBay!)

7. What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?
I have very ‘earthy’ views about what constitutes romance. Romantic dinners, flowers, jewellery just don’t excite me at all because I don’t really care about those things. But when my other half does something for me that shows that he KNOWS me, or he does something simply because he knows I’ll love it…. That’s romantic.

When I first sold to Harlequin he immediately went out and designed me the most awesome vertical picture frame which my books can be mounted in so that they seem to float behind glass. To me that’s romantic because it meant that he wanted to share what was so special to me…. And he gave me the gift of his talent and his time, not just some dosh dropped on a nice bunch of flowers.

8. What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were pubbed?
You know that learning curve on the yet-to-be-pubbed side of the fence….? The really steep, frustrating, infuriating, confusing one…? The moment you scrabble to the top of that and get ‘the call’ there’s another one EXACTLY LIKE IT on the other side.

You start from the beginning all over again, and your two-book deal looks pretty paltry against authors writing their 50/60th novels and New York Times bestsellers and people with movie deals. Ugh. And so fighting those doubt-demons never ever ends because there’s always something you don’t know.

Being an author is a commitment to continuing education… It’s not a destination.

9. What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?
A Peter deVries (Writers’ Schedule) quote: “I write when I’m inspired. And I see to it that I’m inspired at 9am every morning.”

Writing is a business. Not a right. Not a reward. And Lord knows it’s not fair. But it’s worth it.

10. Tell us about your latest release.
Shipwrecked with Mr Wrong is my April RIVA release (not yet scheduled in US as far as I know). This was the first category/series romance I ever wrote and so it holds an extra special place in my heart.

It’s about a damaged woman hiding out from the world and the sexy, younger, whirling-dervish hero who lures her back to life.

11. What’s next for you?
It’s been a crazy 2011 for me with five books released between January and July. Look out in July for Rapunzel in New York (Riva) and A Kiss to Seal the Deal (Cherish). One’s set in the high-rises of Manhattan and the other amongst the seal poop and salt water of the rocky Australian coast.

Personally I think my Cherish books and my Rivas are pretty similar so if you were thinking about popping a toe into the Cherish waters… Why not try one FREE over at M&B’s – my Cherish ebook Their Newborn Gift is there 100% free (don’t be put off by the ultra pink baby! Hot rodeo hero, reclusive heroine, outback Australia)

Shipwrecked with Mr Wrong is available direct from Mills & Boon, and also from Amazon UK. Buy links are also available on Nikki's website at

Monday, April 18, 2011

My first Frenchman!

My last book, Bound to Love, had a hero who was half-French, half-American, most especially so I could weave in my love affair with France into the story.
In my new book that I've just started on edits with my new editor in The Wild Rose Press, I've gone the whole way, so today is a sneak peak of this upcoming release!

Love On The Vine is my first ever book that is part of a greater whole, namely The Flower Basket series. This series is a group of books all set in the fictional town of Almendra, near San Jose in California. I sent for the guidelines, and received a matrix of information on the other books already out or contracted for the series. There were characters who appeared in other stories and were available to have their story written, various places such as restaurants and cafes, and events featuring characters in other stories.

The only thing each story has in common, is a scene set in The Flower Basket, a Flower Shop in downtown Almendra which is run by 3 female partners.

To ground myself in Almendra, I first read the other books - a great excuse to download!

I looked at the local businesses, and formed a good mental picture of what sort of work people might be doing in Almendra, then decided to set my story in a vineyard.

Enter the Frenchman! Etienne Durand has relocated from his family vineyard in Provence to run the St Clair Durand Vineyard in Almendra. The vineyard was run down, and he's determined to restore its fortunes, and is putting all hopes on the new vintage.
He wants to throw a launch party for the new vintage, and when he hears of Celebrate, the local party planning company with valuable links into the local community, he's determined to use their services.
Until, that is, he discovers that Celebrate's owner, Bella St Clair, is not only the woman he's caught skinny-dipping in his lake, but also the daughter of the previous owner of the vineyard. A man determined to ruin him.

I won't spoil the story by revealing anything more - except for the fact that of course he does employ Bella, and there are many twists and turns ahead! When it comes out, I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Movie Review: Blood and Chocolate

I'm an impulse spender, but even so I've never in my life bought a DVD unless I've first seen the movie - until I stumbed across Blood and Chocolate in a sale bin.

I'd never even heard of this movie or the book it's based on. For that matter, I'd never even heard of most of the actors. But Hugh Dancy's name was on the cover and since so many of my friends rave about him, I thought "What the heck". Judging from the cover, I actually thought that French actor Olivier Martinez was the hero of this film, since he looked so gorgeous and the image of Hugh was, to say the least, unflattering.

But I am so glad I picked this up, as it's definitely a keeper. If you enjoy paranormal romance, or romance with a dark edge, then you have to watch this movie!

The story is set in Bucharest, among a secret society of mythical shape shifters known as the loup garoux. The kick-ass heroine, Vivian, is one of the shifters. She falls for a visiting artist played by Hugh Dancy, and is forced to choose between her lover and her people (A no-brainer, in my opinion). Though I was concerned at first that such a strong heroine would overpower and unman an artist hero, Hugh's artist was more than man enough to match this heroine. And I think I've just become Hugh Dancy's biggest fan.

The film kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, the romance was deliciously intense, and with two gorgeous men to ogle, Blood and Chocolate has it all.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Author Spotlight - Kate Hardy

The Minxes are pleased to greet multi talented author Kate Hardy to the blog today. Kate writes for two different Mills & Boon lines, the medical and RIVA lines. Amazingly, Kate also writes local history books. The Minxes are in awe :-)

1. Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?

I’d been writing for Mills & Boon for 5 years (OMG – that means I’ve been an M&B author for 10 years, this November!) and I’d just moved to being a two-line author – my very first Modern Extra, The Cinderella Project, came out in April 2006.

2. Your current release is a continuity, so can you give us an idea of how that works?

The editors have an idea for a mini-series (which can be anything from 4-12 books). In the series, there are a hero and heroine whose story is told over the whole series (so they appear in each book), as well as the individual stories within the series. The eds then choose the authors whose voices they think will suit each particular story. They give us a ‘bible’ for the continuity, which has the synopses and character outlines in it for all the books and the continuity characters, as well as details about the setting – so we can see exactly where our individual heroes and heroines fit in. Then the authors get together – usually on email, as you can be working with people right across the globe! – and we talk about how we’re going to bring the series to life. Generally you end up sending everyone the sections you’ve written about the “continuity” characters so we’re all “on the same page”. It’s also great fun – I can remember Caroline Anderson ringing me and saying, “Can I hurt your vet?”, and we decided to give my doctor hero the stray dog who’d bitten my vet heroine. That dog owed a lot to Margaret McDonagh’s beloved Flatcoat Retriever (including her name!) – and then, in the next series, Mags and I decided to give Bramble puppies, so they ended up in several other people’s books, too. (Funnily enough, my ed wrote a dog into the story of this one. I think she knew what would happen if she didn’t…)

3. Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?

Still writing – and heading towards my 75th M&B, I hope!

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

This is a bit of a cheat as it was a re-read of an old favourite – Susanna Kearsley’s “The Shadowy Horses”. I’m not sure what I like most about her books – the characterisation, the clever plots, the warmth, the dialogue… Anyway. It’s brilliant and I wish I’d written it!

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

No – I knew from before I started school that I wanted to write. I think my earliest influences (and this is going to sound pretentious, so I’ll apologise in advance, though it’s still true!) were Emily Bronte, Madeleine L’Engle and Victoria Holt. (So the book of my heart would probably be a bit on the Gothic side and involve timeslip, but I’ve been trying and failing for four years to persuade my ed to let me write my Regency doctor book!)

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

Walking through St Mark’s Square in Venice, hand in hand with my husband, and seeing Venus rising. Or possibly standing on the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkling on the hour (also with my husband). Actually, the children were with us both times, but it was still very romantic! (And yes, I am using both settings in a book…)

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

How much of a time-suck the internet can be… :o)

Seriously, I don’t think there’s anything, because I worked on the university newspaper as a student and was friends with people who went on to become journalists, so I was realistic before I started. I knew that publishing works slowly and isn’t a “get rich quick” industry (so when you see TV programmes about people getting their first book accepted and published within a couple of weeks AND they can afford to give up their day job… er, fiction alert!!); and also that you have to put the hours in (books sadly don’t write themselves) and be prepared to change things (i.e. do revisions, sometimes more than one set).

But I can’t think of any job I’d rather do, or where I’d have such lovely colleagues.

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

Take time to refill the well – read a lot, watch films, or just go for a long walk somewhere inspiring.

9. How do you go about researching the medical detail that needs to go into your books?

The biggest trick is to keep the detail accurate without it overwhelming the reader (I do have a habit of including too much detail, probably because I used to be a health journalist!). The Oxford Handbooks of medicine are brilliant – they’re the ones that junior doctors use. I also use - the only thing I would say there is that it’s US-based, so I also tend to check out Netdoctor to make sure that any treatments I’m planning to use are available in the UK, where my books are set. Plus it’s quite handy knowing medics (among the other med writers) whose brains I can pick if I’m desperate!

10. Tell us about your book.

The Fireman and Nurse Loveday is all about Tom Nichols, a firefighter who has to balance his dedication to his job with being a stand-in father to his orphaned nephew; he’s helped very much in this by one of the practice nurses, who works as a health visitor and does all the school visits and clinics. Flora Loveday’s terribly shy and thinks nobody like Tom would ever fall for her – but Tom teaches her otherwise, and finally manages to bring her out of her shell.

11. What’s next for you?

Next is a Medical Romance set partly in Capri; then a very raunchy Riva set in an ice-cream empire in Naples; and I’ve just handed in another Riva, so I’m awaiting my ed’s reaction to see if it was too much of a weepie! I’m working on the outline for my next Medical Romance, and we’re just about to go off on a research trip so I can plan my next Riva (which will hopefully be my 50th M&B) – I can’t wait!

Visit Kate's blog at here

Buy St Piran's: The Fireman and Nurse Loveday at Mills & Boon or Amazon

Monday, April 11, 2011

Editing UK to US

First, we have a winner! Congratulations, Shazjera, you've won Christina Courtaney's book! Please drop the minxes a line on the contact link at the side with your address, and we'll forward it to Christina so she can send you her book.

Secondly - my favorite, Bill from True Blood (AKA Stephen) is not getting votes (except mine) doesn't anyone else love him? Is it just me and Sookie?

Lastly, here's today's blog post.
Every publisher has their own ‘house style’ and every editor has their own way of doing things, and as I’m just starting into an edit of my new book, Love On The Vine, I thought it might be useful to look at some of the differences between UK and US editing.

If you are selling to an American company, it’s well worth making sure that not only do you use American words, but also that you don’t get tripped up by writing UK English in general.
There’s the obvious things. Like bonnet/hood of cars, boot/trunk, etc.
And the different ways of spelling, which can be sorted by changing your word processor to US spelling, rather than UK spelling.
But there are other differences, that you need to be aware of.
In one of my books, I had a character (Irish characters, in Ireland, but the manuscript was going to an American publisher) taking something out of a hot press. (Which is what you’d call it if you lived in Ireland). I cleverly (or so I thought) changed it to airing cupboard, only to be asked “what’s this? Do you mean a linen cupboard?” Likewise a cafetiere, which got raised eyebrows in America (I changed it to coffee machine, then filed the correct Americanism which I later saw on Grey’s Anatomy, a French press.)
I always have people going towards, which of course, doesn’t work in US, as it is toward. Often I have to change forwards to forward too.
One of the big ones is the use of ‘that’. A standard sentence like:
‘He thought that she looked terrible, with her hair hanging over her eyes like a drowned rat.’
I’d have to change to:
‘He thought she looked terrible,….’
Of course, if I was doing it right, the ‘He thought’ would have to go too, as it’s an author intrusion, and that would be the case for both UK or US.
My American publisher advise searching for all occurrences of ‘that’ in your MS and removing 95% of them.
There are plenty more – what things have you had to change to sub to a publisher in another country?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Submission Calls

Two eBook publishers have recently put out submission calls.

Ellora's Cave are looking for submissions on the following themes:

The theme is tech sex: all the ways to meet and fall in lust and love via modern technology--texting, IM, Skype, online dating.
Stories release in October 2011.
Submission deadline is April 30, 2011.

The theme is love letters, cards, diaries.
Stories will release in January/February 2012 (in time for Valentine's Day).
Submission deadline is August 31, 2011.

Stories must be set in Canada, at least one of the main characters must be Canadian, and the story should have a Canadian "flavor" (slang, customs, holidays, etc).
Submissions must be received before September 1, 2011.

Further guidelines:
~ Story length 18K - 45K words.
~ Any genres, settings.
~ Must use the theme as a primary story element.
Submission deadlines are firm. Earlier is preferred.

Want to know more? Visit their web site.

The Wild Rose Press have also put out a submission call for classic comtemporary stories for their Champagne Rose line, for a series entitled The Millionaire's Club.

Champagne and Caviar. Rich and sexy. He's the reformed playboy, the corporate raider or the self-made man. He comes from old money or new money. These stories are about rich and powerful men. He's determined and has the means to get what he wants. The woman he falls in love with usually doesn't have money, but she does have power in this relationship. However, he'll have to shower her with more than the gifts money can buy. He'll have to earn her love. And he'll have to show her his love is the most valuable possession he can give her.

Submission requirements for the Millionaire's Club.
Length – 20K – 60K (not full length - these will not go to print)

Rated Spicy to Hot (see details on both ratings below). Champagne Rose stories must include a fully depicted and fully consummated love scene to be considered in this line.

Spicy: Contains detailed love scenes, including descriptions of foreplay and consummation.

Hot: Contains sizzling detailed love scenes and explicit content, which may be offensive to some. This is not erotic romance. No extreme graphic language.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Author Spotlight - Christina Courtenay

Today we have historical romantic novelist Christina Courtenay joining us on the minxes. Christina's books are lush and exotic, and she'll be giving away a signed copy of her book to one lucky commenter, so leave a comment if you'd like it!

1. Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?
I think I’d just had my first Regency novella, ‘Marry in Haste’, accepted for publication by DC Thomson’s ‘My Weekly Pocket Novel’ series, which felt like a huge step in the right direction!

2. Where did you get the idea from for this particular book?
When I was a teenager, I lived in Japan for a few years and I fell in love with all things Japanese – the culture, food, people and places. Later I started to read more about the country and its history and it seemed natural to set a story there. Since I write historicals, I decided to go back to when Europeans first ventured that far. The English were a bit slow in that respect (the Portuguese and the Spanish were there much earlier), but that helped my story so it didn’t really matter. As far as I know, no foreign women ever went to Japan though, and that got me thinking “what if ...”

3. Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
Still being published! The publishing industry seems very uncertain right now, so I’ll be happy if I can just continue to write and sell novels. If my books sell well, that would be a bonus of course. I want to continue to write historicals, but I would also like to branch out into time slips and YA stories if possible.

4. Which was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?
The “Wicked Lovely” series by Melissa Marr (I just finished the last one, “Darkest Mercy”, at the weekend). She’s created the most wonderful (and scary!) faery world, and I love it, and there is lots of romance at the same time.

5. Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?
No, I decided I wanted to be a writer because I wanted to stay at home with my older daughter when she was a baby while earning some money at the same time. My writing is influenced by lots of different authors – everything I read in fact, but some of my favourite authors are Georgette Heyer, Barbara Erskine, Susanna Kearsley, Elizabeth Chadwick, Ellis Peters and Steve Berry.

6. Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy?
Neither, they’re only cringe-worthy when I think about close relatives reading them, but in a brilliant workshop fellow RNA author Julie Cohen told us we have to “turn off our inner mother” when writing love scenes, and that’s great advice. I just try and see it from the characters’ point of view, tapping into their emotions.

7. What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?
The day I got married I think. I had just the kind of wedding I wanted, in an old-fashioned Swedish church, with a Victorian style dress complete with bustle and with a ride in a horse-drawn carriage afterwards to get to the reception. It was perfect!

8. What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were pubbed?
I’ve been a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association for quite a few years, so had heard about most of the “downsides” from other published authors, but I don’t think I was really prepared for how hard it is to do self-promotion. I’m having to learn to blow my own trumpet, which I find very difficult, and I’m doing talks and things as well, which I’ve never done before. I had no idea it takes up so much time!

9. What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?
Just persevere and believe in yourself and find a writing buddy, someone to share critiquing with – they’re invaluable!

10. Tell us about your latest release.
The Scarlet Kimono is the story of Hannah, a young English girl in the 17th century who envies her brother’s adventurous life. She decides to stow away on his merchant ship and ends up in Japan, but once there, she is abducted by a warlord, Taro, to whom she’s instantly attracted. He, in his turn, is fascinated by her, but there’s both a clash of cultures and wills and this of course stops them from admitting the attraction. With Hannah’s brother desperate to find her and a jealous rival equally desperate to kill her, she faces the greatest adventure of her life. And Taro has to choose between love and honour …

11. What’s next for you?
I’ve just finished writing the sequel to my novel Trade Winds – it’s called Highland Storms and will be published in November this year. It’s set in Scotland and since I love all things Scottish, I really enjoyed writing it. The only downside is that my hero wasn’t allowed to wear a kilt – the story is set in the years just after the Jacobite rebellion when they were forbidden. Still, you can’t have everything!

You can read more about Christina at her blog:

And The Scarlet Kimono is available from Amazon here
Or the Book Depository, here. 

Thank you for joining us, Christina, The Scarlet Kimono looks lovely, and sounds intriguing! And thanks for the giveaway, I know our readers will be very pleased!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Man of the Month Poll: English Hotties

As April is Royal Wedding month, and everyone who loves royal romances and big white weddings (i.e. our blog readers) has their focus on England, we're bringing you a selection of the finest England has to offer this month. I'll admit I was surprised to find just how many hot Englishmen are out there. If you believe they're mostly weak chinned and pale, then this lot will prove you wrong ...

First up is a man I've met in person, and I can attest to the fact that he's not just lovely in looks .... Daniel Craig.

If you like your heroes even darker and more dangerous than 007, then how about Stephen Moyer of True Blood fame?

The English do dark and brooding very well ... take your pick of Ben Barnes or Rufus Sewell ...

Or if you prefer softer and more gentlemanly, then how about Mr Darcy?

No English Hottie poll would be complete with these gorgeous blue eyes ...

Or these gorgeous green ones ...

And finally, a choice of two young adrenalin-junkies: Jensen Button and Lewis Hamilton.

My apologies if you were hoping to see Robbie Williams or David Beckham in here, but I had to be a little selective or this post would just keep on going ...

Who do you think should be Man of the Month? You know what to do ... the poll is in the right sidebar.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Word Count Challenge

Are you looking for a bit of extra motivation to finish your current WIP?  The April Word Count challenge is all about giving your writing an extra boost but in a way that doesn't end with you sitting in a corner and eating your hair.  

This isn’t a NaNoWriMo so you can factor in time to sleep and do the dishes.  Your goal can be as big or as small as you want but don’t forget to take school holidays or a certain royal wedding into account!  As tempting as it may be to set yourself a high word count you want to feel good about yourself and your writing at the end of the month, so don't make it the writing equivalent of Mount Everest unless you already have your hiking boots on.

Here are the Minxes goals:

Do you have a word count goal for April?  Want to join us?  Just leave a comment with your goal word count, grab yourself a blog badge and a word meter (you can get one here) and start bragging about your productivity!