All right, so I'm one of these hopeless romantics who believes in instant attraction and I love books and movies with the regularly used trope. I've been watching Married at First Sight now playing on free to air telly downunder and I'm loving it. The basic premise is that three professionals arrange the marriages of four men and four women using their skills on whatever their matchmaking careers are. I think there's a psychiatrist and somesuchother.
Anyway, so you have eight strangers who meet for the first time at the alter and I'm so intrigued I couldn't look away if I tried!! You can see straight away who hits it off and who has their walls up and who is having such second thoughts that they almost throw up before the I dos. It got me thinking that maybe this is one of the reasons that skeptics and non-romantics won't read our books. They just don't believe that love at first sight actually exists. I totally think it does! I fell for my hubby over the space of a weekend. Sure we were young and dumb and moved at a pace that would scare most adults (within 6 months we were living together and I wasn't even 17 yet!!) but half my life later, we're coming up for our 17 year anniversary, we have 2 kids and a house, and all that life together entails. My best friend met her husband while on vacation in India and before anyone knew it, they were planning a life together.
Is it that skepticism that keeps romance novels in the raised brow category by the more literary inclined? Is it that our normal boring non-spontaneous lives keep us in a permanent state of meh? I was a lover of romance novels well before I ever thought about writing one. Well before I even realised I had characters banging on the walls in my mind wanting out. I fall on love with the idea that the two characters are going to get their happily ever after no matter what is thrown at them in between. Are the journeys sometimes unbelievable? Of course, but you have to suspend the disbelief and just know that it's all going to work out because it's fantasy. If boy met girl, fell in love, boy cheated and girl cried, it's not a romance. If one of the main characters is dead before the end, it's not a romance. We want the guaranteed HEA. The reason I loved Twilight so much is the love story. It's why I also enjoy Vampire Diaries and Grey's Anatomy and even Bones. It's the build up that keeps you on the edge of your seat with the will-they-won't-they and then the ahhhh moment when they do even though we saw it coming from a mile away.
Is that what keeps you coming back to romance time and again. Or is it because, like my hubby who is yelling at the rugby on the telly behind me, you are lacking a little romance in your life? Some ask if it's okay to find it between the covers of a book and I say, Hell Yeah!! Smart women know what's realistic. Smart women know not to look for the kind of heroics from the books in real life guys. Unfortunately (and sorry to my hubby who really is awesome but thinks woo is when he does the dishes for me) he usually doesn't exist. If you found him, your real life Fabio, then hold onto him with one hand and have a romance novel in the other.
Escapism is the key for romance and for fantasy and even those who read crime. No one is living these things in their real lives (I am assuming) so we, as authors, create the stories for you to escape into. I'm so proud and humbled at the same time that I might be able to bring a few days of peace to an otherwise maybe tumultuous time in a life. I know romance novels have pulled me through a tough time or two when I've been on my ass and unable to get around.
So never be ashamed of watching programs like The Bachelor (another of my faves) or reading romance or loving Twilight. We all do what we can to get through and I'd rather not be bogged down with all the meh. Pick up a romance novel and take a break from reality. If it's been a while or you have never given one a go (although I'm not sure how you would have wound up here on this page) pick up a romance novel and read it from start to finish. Happily Ever After guaranteed =)
This post does contain a few F words. Mostly because I like them. And then there's just because.
Okay so my next post was going to be about the last ten years of my journey as an author, you know, kids, house, hubby, publishing anniversaries. But then I went to the movies and saw 50 Shades of fucked up.
My initial reaction while washing my hands after peeing was that I felt like I’d been mindfucked and then had the door slammed shut in my face. I’m not being hormonal emotional or over exaggerating. I seriously feel…fucked up. It wasn’t about the actual sex (I'm not a prude by any stretch) but talk about wham, bam, spank you, ma’am.
Little things put me off like who doesn’t shave right to the top of their legs? When the light hit Anastasia’s thighs, it was really distracting how hairy her legs were. Bush I can kind of understand, she is a virgin, but the second, third, fourth times? Do a little pruning for your billionaire boyfriend! And!! You’re on the BIG SCREEN!! She also doesn’t put change in the metre after getting a car park right out front of his building either. Like I said, little things. What does Christan Grey actually do for a living? Did his adoptive parents help him with his company because I have to say, other than feeding some kids in Africa (I saw the starving connection, but not the Africa connection) he doesn’t actually DO anything. Other than fuck. Hard.
I have to admit, I stopped reading the books at the contract stage. I could not get past blindly handing over control to a relative stranger no matter how many black cars or helicopters the dude owns. I know he’s hot but if he told me I had to wait naked and on my knees in the red room of pain, I’d be all “how does get fucked sound to you?” Now that I know more about the contract, I might be tempted to try to read the sequels. Maybe. But I’d have to be really bored. Or cold.
In saying all of that, the movie was actually really good. Very soft core despite the boobs and bush (apparently there is a hard version out there though?? Or maybe this was the hard version?) and the whips and chains were used well from a viewer’s point of view and not overdone.
I was surprised how many times I thought how much I was enjoying it but then it ended. Badly. Apparently there will be another one. I didn’t bloody know that! Mindfucked people! And then the door literally closes and then it ends. I need resolution! I won’t give away any more than that. I will say I’m glad I didn’t see it with my mother… That would have been weird. Well, weirder.
Even if like me you hated the books, if you don’t mind the subject matter, go see the movie. It was very well done and I reckon I’d see it again. If I was bored. Or cold.
Peace out =)
All right so I know I'm a little past the whole Merry Christmas thing but I'm here so that counts right? I've been busy over the holidays editing a couple of category style contemporary romance novels I've had sitting on the hard drive for a couple of years and looking after the kids and trying to eat, drink and be merry. For those of you who haven't got on The Road to Ruin bandwagon yet, there's still time to get your hands on a print copy in the Southern Hemisphere and of course the ebook will be out on the www pretty much forever.
My next book is in with my publisher so I'm patiently (read chewing my nails down and tearing my hair out) waiting to hear back on that. It doesn't formerly have a title but you'll love it. It's Darius's story and since he's a hot pirate with a mysterious past, it won't disappoint. Like any good romance novel there's death and deceit =)
I said I wasn't going to start the next book after that until the kids went back to school but I cheated and I'm about 6k into Anthony Germaine's story. When we met him in The Road to Ruin he was almost at the bottom of a bottle while he woe-is-me'd about compromising a lady and finding himself affianced. In the first chapter we discover where it all went so horribly wrong and why the lady herself has other plans for Anthony that don't involve marriage at all.
So that's about it for me but for now I think it's plenty to start the new year off with a bang! Be safe and if you can't be good, be good at it!
There's so much happening in my world right now, I hardly know where to start!
The Road to Ruin is out in the world! Well, the southern hemisphere anyway =) Even though the official release date is Monday, Big W, Target and some great bookshops already have it on the shelf and flying off it. I love seeing the sightings of it in other cities so if you do glimpse the pretty and you're on Facebook, please take a picture for me. Remember if you want a print version of it, most bookshops do post and Booktopia and a few other online sellers also have print.
Last Tuesday I had the honour (and huge thanks to my amazing friend Trish Morey) to piggyback a Today Tonight Interview all about romance and getting published. You'll find the story here. I had so much fun with Paul Makin and Australia got to see a little peek of my writing van too. It has gained us so much attention and I thank my little community in the Adelaide Hills for being so positive and lovely about it. For those of you who don't personally know me, I work at a supermarket part-time while I write part-time and that was some of the focus of the story. I honestly love what I do. I'm a checkout chick, I'm an author, I'm a mum and a wife. I'm also very busy! All. The. Time. Haha. And I love it!
We also had the launch of The Road to Ruin, thanks to Trish Morey again for the lovely words she said and for kicking the whole thing off. You make such wonderful friends in this industry! Thanks to Dymocks Rundle Mall for their unending support of South Australian talent, and for the wine. Thanks mostly to my Publisher, Harlequin Books Australia, for loving my book so much. It really is the best feeling in the world to see my book advertised next to the likes of Nora Robert and Robin Hobb and to see it on an actual shelf in an actual bookshelf.
That was my dream and I'm there.
Lastly, thanks to you, my readers. Without you guys, I'd be nowhere...
Here are some photos of the excitement to enjoy.
Well, if you've just come back from a third world country, an isolation unit at a hospital or prison, or maybe you just had a month long boozey binge, you might have missed my beautiful new cover! The Road to Ruin is only weeks off hitting the printing press and then only about two months off being available for you to enjoy! Now I also want to remind you all that it would make the perfect Christmas present for another reader in your life ;)
On another (not buy my book) note, my renovan is nearly finished! School holidays start in a few weeks so my dad will be at my house working on it, and technically looking after the kids, so then I can move in! I've bought all the decorations and furniture and everything. I can't wait to show you my driftwood floor and my antique bedroom chair and then pretty picture I bought for the wall. I'm getting so excited!
It is now available for preorder on @booktopia! > http://bit.ly/ZiM48k
I hope you love it as much as I do!
August in Australia is big for the romance writing community. It’s our annual Romance Writers of Australia conference, in Sydney this year. I thought I would offer some advice to the newbs attending. Just little things I’ve picked up over the years.
1. Have fun!! It should not be scary! We aren’t scary ladies, just old friends who only see each other once a year (other than social media) and we get a little crazy but almost never scary.
2. Make new friends!! I guarantee this piece of advice is one you should follow. Don’t hang out with the writer’s you get to see every other week at a meeting in your city. Get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. We aren’t scary! I have met the most amazing people at the conference, people I talk with on the phone, show my unfinished works for advice, commiserate and celebrate with.
3. LEAVE YOUR SECURITY BLANKIE AT HOME!!!! Please, please, please step out of your comfort zone. Conference is not the time to go wild, no, but it is also not the time to sit in the corner and hope someone comes and talks to you. If you walk into a room and see a table half full, sit down with them rather than at an empty one. Yes, sometimes they will be saving seats, but most of the time you’ll meet someone new!
4. Be professional in both manner and dress. Don’t wear your trackies and ugg boots to the day sessions so you can be comfortable. Dress up! Have fun with your outfits and stand out a bit. You won’t regret it! Be nice to everyone! One day we were sitting at breakfast and there was a lady sitting on her own so we invited her over. She was the Australian head of Harlequin. Another time we invited someone for dinner so she wouldn’t have to sit on her own and it was Jennifer Kloester. We had a great time! I’ve had an editor not show for an appointment but instead of cracking the shits and having a go, I waited for her for two hours and got to meet and hang out with Tricia Stringer. Turns out there was a mix up and we rescheduled. Easy peasy =)
5. Have your elevator pitch ready. If you can’t sum up your book in one sentence, get a piece of paper out as soon as you read this blog and get started! There have been authors sell books in elevators. Never in bathrooms though. And don’t laugh because I’ve actually seen a budding writer hanging outside, and then follow an agent into, the bathroom. Let the pee in peace. Please.
6. Umm, don’t drink too much. I know it shouldn’t have to be said and please, have fun, but don’t get smashed. Remember you have to sit through the next day and face people over the breakfast table…
7. Last but not least, remember we aren’t competing against each other for publishing contracts. Every writer writes differently and every editor and publisher is different. Just write the best book you can, pitch it to the right editor/agent/publisher (and send it off after!!! 80% of pitchers don’t actually send the book in). Be friends, be shoulders to cry on and high fives in the good times. We aren’t competing.
We’re one big happy family and if you follow a few of these tips, you’ll be welcomed with open arms, big glasses of wine and endless bowls of chocolates
Holy guacamole! I just keep getting worse and worse at this blogging business but I'm attempting to turn over a new leaf. I'll keep you updated maybe once a month on my journey and you keep coming back. Deal? The last few months have been hectic to say the least! I've signed a contract for The Road to Ruin which will be out across Australia, New Zealand and some parts of Malaysia in time for Christmas with Harlequin Australia. Yay!! It will be in print! Double yay! So this means bookstores people! And ebook of course for those who are desperately in love with their Kindles, Nooks and devices.
And check it out! I have a renovan! This rough looking caravan is going to be my new office since our tiny tree house has no room for all my authorly crap. I will be running a contest to name her once she's all painted and looking sparkly (metaphorically) so stay tuned for that one.
Right now, I have to get back to writing the next book but I should have a delicious new cover to reveal very soon so check back =)
Thanks for coming!
Okay. I'm going to do it. I'm going to spend the year reading Historical Romance =) Yep. There it is. My New Year's Resolution.
I'm not going to put a number on it at this stage and I won't review every book (mostly because I don't always enjoy a book but you might and I wouldn't want to put you off on account of my own personal taste). You will be able to find my favourites if you can track me down on Goodreads. I'm there under Bronwyn Stuart. You can also hit the buy links and see what I've loved and reviewed.
Good luck to the others doing the challenge! Hopefully you'll add one of my ebooks to your TBR.
I tried to think of a way to start this post without using an apology since it has been six months since my last blog post. It's not that I didn't have anything to say, I always do, it's that I was getting slammed with spam on all my posts and so I reverted back to ranting and raving on Facebook (don't we all at some point or another). But I think I have to put up or shut up. Shutting up is not something I'm capable of =) hence this Christmas post which will include a giveaway and a chance to win a critique from yours truly.
(Completely off topic... Above is the photo Harlequin sent out as a Christmas card to their authors. Isn't it lovely!)
So this being my first post in too long, I thought I would kick it off with a bit of a debate. The following picture came up in my news feed on Facebook and it got the old brain ticking along about what we accept, what we put up with, and what we expect.
I'm not debating whether it's healthier or sexier to be one way or another. I'm also not debating the fact that the above picture is degrading and offensive to both large and skinny women. Let's face it, a man would have posted this picture on facebook and the majority of the crude comments were also from men. My question to you A) authors and writers and B) readers is as follows;
A) Authors do you have a type you typically write? I always thought I did but my two historical heroines were quite curvy. One was an opera singer and the other a courtesan and they both had curves a man could really wrap his arms around. But. My contemporary (yet to be published) heroines are your perfect size 10, flawless apart from the odd sprinkling of freckles, perky packages of awesomeness. Mentally they all have a little baggage but physically, they're hot. Is it a problem? Are we even supposed to think about it like that or does it depend on the character, the story, the era? Realistically the only reason you'd put a tiny hourglass-figured 19th century woman in a corset would be if you were writing steampunk yes? Is it because we don't want to read about women who have the hassle of a facial routine to ward off toxic zits? Do you want to write that your heroine skipped lunch so her bridesmaid dress would fit rather than rip on her best friend's big day? That she can't eat that extra dessert or drink that last drink because she's watching her waistline? Probably not. Unless you're writing about a model or sport star, etc.
Which brings me to B) The reader. The most important and integral part of what we do and how successful we are. What do you want to read? How do you like your heroines? (We aren't getting started on men but might in the next post. I would of course include pictures) Do you have a preference?
Personally I have to say I can't remember the last time I read a romance (fiction) that had a plus sized or even marginally bloated heroine. She's always a nice tight little firecracker, a dynamite in the sack and almost perfect in everyway (except for the conflict and GMC). As I write this I do remember a novella I read that had an African American heroine and she was really obsessed with her booty and how big and awesome it was. I didn't get it and I found as a read on I really just didn't care about how much she admired her own ass... Just me?
Leave me a comment that doesn't involve the selling of products such as viagra and weightloss pills and god knows what else and I'll have a give away at the end of the week. One random thoughtful comment will win a three chapter critique from me (to be carried out in January and no sooner) and the other I'll send a book pack with my latest on a CD and a couple of Mills and Boon and anything else I happen to think would be awesome. Oh and the book pack will contain chocolate =)
Again, just to reiterate, this is not a debate on which one is healthy or not. You can tell me if you find curvy women hot if you want but it won't actually stand as your comment.
Winners will be drawn out of a hat by one of the kids (technical I know) and posted here on Friday night. I'll post the book pack on Saturday morning on my way to the wedding of the year.
Uh oh... I'm getting worse at blogging on time. I didn't even know that was possible! But I have been really busy working on a couple of projects. Does that let me off the hook?
I have been doing revisions. I can't say for who at this stage but it is one of my shorter contemporary style romances. I have to say, I love revisions. It means I didn't suck so bad that they said no but there were some flaws with the story or the characterisation or the plot. Or all of the above! Lucky for me in this instance the changes weren't too major and I even got it all finished on time which is also a bonus.
If you're an aspiring author and you have no idea what to do if you get revisions from an editor, always, always to what they want you to. We know as writers that you can never have too many copies of the same story on your harddrive. I end up with about twenty by the end of the process. With these revisions, I saved a new copy of the document and then made all the changes in track changes. That way, when I went off in the wrong direction, I just rejected all changes and then started again. Twice. Also, sometimes the editor wants to know that they can work with you, that you are open to change and that you're not so attached to your baby that you'll get your knickers in a knot when they suggest huge changes. Remember that you can always undo what you've done.
With my last historical, I had to write out a character, change another character's standing in the entire 90k and make so many changes but in the end I had a book that people wanted to read with all the loose end tied up and all the awkward sentences removed or smooothed out. I sold to Carina Press after receiving a revise and resubmit request. They weren't saying they wanted to take the book at that stage but they were saying, make these changes and we'll reconsider. Awesome! I would have been stupid not to have gone along with it.
After all is said and done and sometimes before, ask someone to take a look at it for you. I had some great help with this book and I won't name names because I wouldn't want them inundated with critique requests, but needless to say, I am so grateful they took time out of their busy schedules to help me. I'm grateful the editor saw something in the book and my voice and asked for more. Mostly I'm grateful for the process. Editing and having some direction while you're doing it is so valuable. I wish all writers got to go through it more often...
So the lesson here? Don't ever get too close to your book that you won't part with pieces of it. Don't ever get too close to your characters that you won't kill one if you have to. Eloisa James said they are not your babies, This is a business and that book is your key to success and fame and fortune (okay maybe she didn't say all of that but it was along those lines).
Editors are your friends, not your book's enemy!
I'm a published author but I'm still mostly stumbling about in the dark looking for the right paths so this blog is about that, though sometimes something will give the me the shits and I'll have a bit of a rant. I'll try not to be offensive but occasionally my mouth opens without asking my brain's permission so I'll apologise in advance.