Friday, August 28, 2009

Night's Cold Kiss - Tracey O'Hara

I'm excited to welcome my special guest this week, Tracey O'Hara, another Aussie author whose debut book is hitting the shelves this week. I first cyber-met Tracey a few years ago on a RWA paranormal loop we're both members of and have been looking forward to reading Night's Cold Kiss for ages!!

Tracey joined the RWAus in 2004 and writes dark urban fantasy for Eos, an imprint of HarperCollins

Hi Tracey it's great to see you here! Can you tell us a little about your book?

My husband describes is as about 7 inched high with pages and a cover.

(Christina: OMG! That's so funny. Just like something my husband would say!!!)

But if you want to know what is about:

For centuries war raged between the humans and Aeternus vampires—until courageous efforts on both sides forged a fragile peace.

But the rogue Necrodreniacs will never be controlled—addicted as they are to the death-high . . . and bloody chaos.

Since witnessing the murder of her mother, Antoinette Petrescu has burned with fiery hatred for the vampire race—even for Christian Laroque, the noble, dangerously handsome Aeternus who rescued her. Now an elite Venator, Antoinette must reluctantly accept Christian's help to achieve her vengeance—even as he plots to use the beautiful, unsuspecting warrior as bait to draw out the bloodthirsty dreniacs.

Yay! I love vampires. How did the idea for the plot come about?

The idea started with a visual image of a tomb raider type girl creeping through a dark warehouse with a male vampire watching her from the rafters. And then Night’s Cold Kiss was born.

I love that visual. I also love sale stories (ok I am just nosy!!) so can you tell us about your road to publication - and your call story?

After a late night drinking champagne at the 2008 Melbourne RWA conference, I woke at 6:30am to several emails on my smartphone - including 1 from my agent with the subject headers of "Urgent!" and another with a really heart stopping subject of "OFFER!!!" That one caught my attention, as you can imagine. I was lying in bed at this point. I sat up. The blood drained from my face. And I said, "Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, My God."

My room-mate immediately sat up. "What's wrong?" "I think I have just SOLD." I couldn't feel my lips - my eyes couldn't believe that I was reading I had an offer from Diana Gill of Eos Books for a three-book deal. (Eos is the sci- fi/fantasy line of HarperCollins and published some of my favourite authors like Raymond E Feist, Kim Harrison and Vicki Pettersson.)

Three books. Not one, not two, but three books. There must be some mistake! There must be some other Tracey O'hara. But it was no mistake, it was all real as my agent reassured me when she rang my hotel room about an hour later. It was one of the most excruciating days of my life - I couldn't tell anyone yet. I had to sit through the lovely Margie Lawson's workshop, not taking in a word she said. I apologised to her later and she so understood.

I was able to tell some of my friends, thank goodness or I would have burst. Anyway, the next day I had formally accepted (no-brainer there) and I was able to tell everyone. Anne Gracie announced it. It was the absolute best conference.

Wow, that is some sale story! It must have been torture to keep that fabulous secret to yourself for a whole day!!!

Now onto the nuts and bolts. Do you write every day? Do you give yourself daily/weekly goals?

I try to write every day, or at least something writing related like editing. And yes especially when doing the first draft I set a daily goal, keeping track of it on an Excel spreadsheet.

So would you describe yourself as a panster or plotter?

A little of both, I plot the main story line then pants a lot of the in between. The characters tend to reveal how they react to things as I write. I guess I subconsciously know how it will go but sometimes I am still surprised to learn things about my characters.

I know that feeling only too well!! What keeps you motivated when the writing gets tough?

Well at the moment having a book due in real motivating.

Is there any advice or light bulb moment you'd like to share about getting/being published?

I really don’t have any light bulb moment - I still feel like such a babe in the woods with all this stuff. My first book has just been released so I am still learning new things every day.

Do you have critique partners (CPs)? If so can you tell us how you met up and your process?

I have my husband who is doing a copyediting course and I a close friend of mine who isn’t writing at the moment, but as soon as she is I will be so there reading for her. And I also have a beta reader. That’s it for the moment.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Conference Photos

Here's Sara Hantz, doing a fabulous job as emcee for the conference weekend. President of the RWNZ, Pat Snellgrove, is standing on the left.

Pat and Modern Heat author Natalie Anderson

Sitting next to Flux author Sara, the lady in red is Sandra Hyatt, new Desire author who discovered she'd just sold her third book over the conference weekend. Yay! Next to her is Jan. The turquoise fairy is Giovanna Lee and Sue Knight is chatting to President Pat who was dressed as a rather gorgeous witch!!

The view from the conference room. Ten minutes before I took this picture the sun had been shining and it looked even more gorgeous!

Here I am with Shelley Munro!

Amanda Ashby, Kylie Griffin (who won the Clendon Award, yay Kylie!!!) and me at the Harlequin Cocktail Party on Friday night

Nalini Singh, Christina, Amanda and Sara

Barbara Clendon of Barbara's Books and founder of the Clendon Award in her fabulous devil wings outfit for the Touch of Fantasy dinner on Saturday

Saturday night Awards dinner - Executive Editor for Silhouette Matrice, Desire author Yvonne Lindsay and Mira/Berkley/Silhouette author Fiona Brand. Then we have NAL & Puffin author Amanda, Cristina Lee, Sales, Marketing and Publishing Director at Harlequin and Presents author Annie West

Here we are, Christina, Amanda and Sara aka The Tiara Girls!

Here's our room - fantastic for brainstorming!!!

Amanda and Sara's workshop - Getting Your Manuscript Out the Door- it doesn't show up too well here, but the slogan on the whiteboard says:


(Sara actually wanted us all to sing this but thankfully Amanda and I talked her out of it!!!)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back from Conference!

And what a fabulous conference it was! It was so great to meet up with Sara and Amanda again and catch up with writer friends I only ever get to see once a year. I also met the very lovely Shelley Munro for real this time!

I do have photos, and they may well be incriminating, but much to my disgust the damn camera cable has gone missing so I can't upload anything. My husband said it's on his desk but since his desk is in an even WORSE mess than mine, it's like looking for the proverbial needle. I live in hope he'll be able to put his hand on it when he gets home!!!

Anyway! Back to the conference. Our room was fab as Sara got us a suite (although no strawberries and chocolate were in sight, yes Suz I am looking at you!!!) And for once it wasn't raining when I arrived in Auckland! In fact it was sunny!! What a difference the weather makes.

On Friday best selling author Mary Jo Putney took three workshops including one on brainstorming that sparked lots of ideas in the witches, ie that we should get together in cyberspace and actively brainstorm!! Nalini Singh also took a couple of workshops, one on Friday on world building (I love world building) and the other on Sunday, on writing the paranormal. I had a major light bulb moment at that one, not so much that I hadn't thought about the point raised but that I had kind of poked it into a corner and tried to forget about it. Well, that won't work!!! So lots of brainstorming in my immediate future (see above. Yeah I'm crafty!!)

Agent Melissa Jeglinski from the Knight Agency gave an illuminating talk on the role of an agent and Mary-Theresa Hussey (aka Matrice) Executive Editor for Silhouettte Books talked about the various Harlequin lines.

Oh and one last thing before I go search for the cable again. On the back of my placemat at the Saturday night Awards dinner I was lucky enough to get a pic of the gorgeous Hugh Jackman in all his (sem-) naked glory! Yum!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Clive Owen and Henri Castelli

Well my desk is tidy and polished and looks very alien to me without all the dust and rubbish *cough* I mean important research notes scattered across it, but I thought I should make the effort since I'm flying off to conference tomorrow. Yay! I'm very excited in case you didn't guess!!

I'm also very happy as I don't have to cook dinner tonight. The kids have volunteered (no I really didn't twist their arms. Well, not much) as it's my birthday and I have turned twenty-nine. Again. but we won't talk about that anomaly!!

Tomorrow I'm scheduled to be interviewed over at the lovely Marianne Arkins blog, where among other things I'm talking about tomatoes and tattoos! OH! And I managed to sneak in a mention of the gorgeous Clive Owen (I know I'm flighty, what with my not-so-secret-obsession with the ridiculously beautiful Henri Castelli (who is a total dead ringer for my current hero, omg) )... where was I... anyway, would love to see you over there even though I won't be able to join in the fun as I'll be winging my way to Auckland!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Djinn-tastic News!

Woot! I'm so excited! My very good friend and crit partner, Amanda Ashby, has just signed a three book deal with Puffin for her mid-grade series! Here's the scoop from Publisher's Marketplace:

Amanda Ashby's untitled middle-grade series about a girl who accidentally gets turned into a djinn (genie) the day before starting sixth grade and has to learn to deal with her new powers without her mom finding out, to Karen Chaplin at Puffin, in a three-book deal, by Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency (world English).

And all I can say is what fantastic timing since I only meet up with Amanda and Sara Hantz once a year at the New Zealand conference, so in just three more days we'll be able to party for real! Hooray!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

His Ship, Her Fantasy - Emma Lai

Please welcome my special guest today, the lovely Emma Lai, who's celebrating the release of her debut Faery Rose, His Ship, Her Fantasy, which is available from The Wild Rose Press!

Here's a little bit about Emma:

Emma has not always been a writer, but she has always been interested in relationships, not only between people, but also between countries. She has completed her studies for a Masters in International Relations and has plans to pursue a Doctorate.

She uses her writing as an outlet for the myriad of thoughts that crowd her overactive mind. In addition to Mates of the Guardians, a series of short stories focusing on a mysterious group of individuals on a quest to save the universe and their search for love, she is working on a contemporary romance book and a science fiction/fantasy book series. She also has more plans for the Guardians. However, there is no telling what else she will literally dream up.

Wow, Emma, Mates of the Guardians sounds an awesome concept. Can you tell us a little about the first short story in this series, His Ship, Her Fantasy?

His Ship, Her Fantasy is a short story (about 7500 words).


Ellie Woods is in love…with a ship. When an argument with the ship results in a bump on the head, she finds herself in the strong arms of Alastair. But, who is he, and where did he come from?

Alastair has loved Ellie from afar for years, but duty has kept him from revealing himself to her. When a grave threat reveals his true identity, he hopes that Ellie will choose reality over fantasy.

This blurb has intrigued me from the moment I first read it! How did the idea for the plot come about?

I had this scene stuck in my head of a woman arguing with her spaceship. I started with that and it evolved from there. It actually took a slightly different path then I originally pictured, but who am I to argue with my characters?

Very true! Our characters can be very stubborn, can't they!

I love sale stories (ok I am just nosy!!) so can you tell us about your road to publication - and your call story?

After I finished the coursework for my Masters in International Relations in May 2008, I decided to take the month of June to relax. For me, relaxing means reading. I got to get caught up on the pile of books I’d been accumulating.

Sometime during all my reading, an idea started to form, and it just wouldn’t go away. I’d close my eyes at night and find myself in this whole other world. I decided the only way to get it out of my head was to put it on paper, and that was the beginning. It seemed once I opened the door it refused to be shut.

Suddenly all of these stories demanded to be told. I ended up with the beginnings of two books. My mother-in-law, who happens to be familiar with the publishing industry, came for a visit in July. She read what I wrote and encouraged me to start sending things out to work on getting publishing credentials.

I had to put writing on hold for a few months so that I could study for my comprehensives, but after I finished them at the beginning of November, I couldn’t resist the call of my characters. I ended up writing His Ship, Her Fantasy in two days. After having my trusty readers critique it and a few edits, I sent it off to The Wild Rose Press. They immediately requested the manuscript and within a month, we had completed edits and I had my first contract!

What an amazing sale story! As you know, we 're all about the love here, so please share your fave books, movies, TV shows or current fantasy squeeze (it's all in the line of research!)

I read a lot of books in all types of genres. I tend to fall in love with series. My current fantasy series is The Malazan Books of the Fallen by Steven Erikson. My current mystery series follows Pepper Martin and is written by Casey Daniels. For fantasy romance, I’m reading The Nine Kingdoms Series by Lynn Kurland. For time travel romance, I’m working on The Time Guardian Series by Skyhe Moncrief. I also like Regency, Victorian, and Western romances, and my list of authors is long.

I also watch a lot of movies. My favorites include Princess Bride, The Little Mermaid, Starship Troopers, The Lord of the Rings, Love Actually, and White Christmas.

Lots of my favourites in there too! Can you give us a teaser as to what you're working on now?

I’m still working on finishing my two original stories, which are a young adult fantasy and a contemporary romance. However, His Ship, Her Fantasy inspired a slew of other shorts. I’ve contracted the next short in the series, His Hope, Her Salvation, and have three other shorts that need to be finished. There is also a novella/novel inspired by the series that is in progress. I’ve also got a fairy tale, a paranormal, a contemporary, and a Regency time travel all started.

Lots more for us to look forward to! How can readers keep up with your writing and books?

Readers can find updates on my books at my website… They can also see what I’m reading and thinking about by following my blog…

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Bit of Sinful Fun

I had to pass this one on because it's sooo much fun. My friend Anna Campbell is holding a contest today to give away her one and only copy of an ARC for her upcoming Regency, Captive of Sin. All she wants (!) is a little rhyme about your fave hero, over at the Romance Bandits

Only a week and a half until conference! I suppose I should start packing soon. Did I mention I've already pinched my daughter's tiara? Well the Saturday night dinner theme is Fantasy and I've always had a fantasy about being a princess!! I'm so delusional, it's sad really!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Kilt Worthy - Catherine Bybee

Today I'm very excited to welcome my lovely friend Catherine Bybee, who is celebrating the release of her debut story, Kilt Worthy, a Scarlet Rose from The Wild Rose Press!

Thanks for having me today, Christina.

You're very welcome, Catherine. Can you tell us a little about your book?

Yeah, I could, but then would you buy it? I mean, if I went on and on about how there’s this woman named Jane who has about as much self esteem as a piss-ant… okay, she has more self esteem then a piss-ant, but not much. If I went on and on and explained that on her way across town to capture a stellar picture to enhance her portfolio she stumbled on a hottie wearing a kilt and a smile who offered a wonderfully scandalous erotic night she tosses caution to the wind as says “What the F#@k!” and runs off with him. If I told you all that would you want to read more? Okay, watch my trailer and that will tell ya what you want to know.

You want a sample? (Christina: Yes please!) Geeze, Christina… you ask for sooo much! Grin


Dragging my gaze up to his, I swear he could read my thoughts yet again. His cocky grin grew larger when my eyes traveled back down his hard torso and I saw a twitch beneath his kilt. A really big twitch.

I dug in my heels, shook my head and started to back away. “Maybe this is a mistake.”

His hand reached out and caressed my cheek, his eyes glued to mine. One more step back and the brick building stopped my retreat. Mr. Kilt leaned in. Heat, mixed with his strong male scent, surrounded my quivering body. His other hand came up and rested on the wall behind me.

Boxed in, I watched his lips move, his breath quicken and something that looked like concern stream from his eyes. Every nerve in my body called out, wanting his touch. I forgot about the alley as my attention narrowed to him and the rapidly shrinking space between us.

Phew! Steamy. How did the idea for the plot come about?

This is such an easy question. I was bored! Really bored, and I asked one of my CP’s to send me inspiration to write something. She sent a picture… this one ---- And said the words “Moment in Time”

I started writing and when I looked up, Kilt Worthy was born. Four days later, I sent it to Aithne to critique and within a week sent it to The Wild Rose Press.

Wow! I'm not surprised you were inspired!!! I love sale stories (ok I am just nosy!!) so can you tell us about your road to publication - and your call story?

Do you have a year? Seriously… this road is long and hard!

Okay… you read my above answer, right? When I’m bored I write. When I’m happy I write!

When I decided to submit my upcoming full-length novel, Binding Vows, I had a lot of waiting to do. Several revisions etc. In that time, I wrote six more books… no, make that seven. Kilt Worthy was number Seven. I subbed four of these books and WHAM… three contracts in eight days… the forth to follow one month later. One minute I thought I wasn’t talented and didn’t think I’d ever get published then WHAMO… contract after contract.

There is more to the story, of course, but hey… I’ve got three more books coming out this year. Gotta save something for later, right?

I totally remember when that happened, Catherine! It was crazy, but a great crazy. Do you write every day? Do you give yourself daily/weekly goals?

Yes, but not always in my books. If I’m not writing romance I’m writing blogs, tweeting, facebooking ( if that’s what you call it) looping. I write reviews for Affair de Coeur under an assumed name. LOL. ANOTHER ASSUMED NAME. So yeah, I write all the time.

Do I have writing goals? Yes and no. When a plot is thick in my head, I’m like a mad woman to get to my computer and get all my ideas down. If I’m in-between projects or waiting on edits or some such thing, I give myself some slack, or write something short. I do think writers need to write as much as possible. When I’m writing a full length novel I want to get down several K a week, otherwise I feel like I’m slacking.

Panster or plotter?

Pantser… but I’m trying the other side. I’m told that some of those big NY houses like a plot so I’m playing with plots. In the end, I’m a panster!

So what keeps you motivated when the writing gets tough?

Ohh, this is two questions really. When the publication road is hard, you push through and keep on truckin’. NEVER GIVE UP!

If the story isn’t working out the way you want it, then your characters are acting out of character. I suppose you have to be a writer to know what that means, but I’m not one to believe in ‘writers block’. Your CHARACTERS are blocked. They aren’t acting like themselves and the writer (me) is messing with their heads.

Is there any advice or light bulb moment you'd like to share about getting/being published?

Certainly when I received my first contract that moment occurred. But I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. At least not the publishing light bulb. Now, the writer light bulb went on during my quest for an agent. Those first couple of rejections bit big time, but then I received a request for a partial and a full and wow!!! I was jacked! Someone in the literary world wanted, WANTED, to read what I wrote. Needless to say, ultimately my book was rejected, but by then my confidence elevated and really had me stoked to do this whole publishing thing!

Do you have critique partners (CPs)? If so can you tell us how you met up and your process?

LOL. Do I have CP’s? Not only do I have CP’s but I also started up an entire loop dedicated to CP’s. And I help moderate over at Coffee Time Romance with their critique groups. I have two video blogs dedicated to this subject so feel free to stop by my youtube page and view them.

Critique partners are a must have. I met Aithne Jarretta on myspace and then met Angel Martinez via my critique group. Then there is Kaye Manro and Nancy O’Berry who’ve also helped. There are others of course, but these ladies have seen entire manuscripts of mine and helped me in so many ways.

Ever writer, published or not, can help in some way. Even the greenest author will see something you didn’t.

That's so true, I'd be completely lost without my CPs! What are you working on now?

I’m working on two things… No, make that three. *can you say multitask?* I’m working on the third book in my time travel trilogy. I’m working on another erotic story titled “Batteries Not Included” I’ll let your mind consider the title and therefore content. LOL. And I’m trying that whole plotting thing for a new paranormal series I’d like to pitch to Harlequin. So, I’m busy. Ohhhh and my boys are out of school, so I’m “working” on not pulling my hair out until they are back in the school room. LOL

You can keep up with all my antics on the web all over cyberspace.

I’m also on Manic Readers, Goodreads, Amazon, Coffee Time Romance and more… Feel free to friend me, tweet me, tag me. LOL.

Thanks for having me here today, Christina. It’s fun to skip across cyberspace and visit the land Down Under!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Hot Summer Sale!

Even though I'm in the middle of winter. Not that I complain about it much. Well OK maybe I do...


The Wild Rose Press are holding a Hot Summer Sale with 10% off all titles, including Foretaste of Forever (sale price $1.35) and Touch of the Demon (sale price $1.80). Bargain!!

And I am a happy bunny because there's no cricket tonight which means we get to watch some more episodes of BSG!!

Monday, August 03, 2009

I'm in the Menagerie!

Today I'm visiting with the lovely Kealie and ladies over at The Menagerie, where I'm chatting about drinking, thunderstorms and the last movie that made me cry (won't be going to see that one again, and I'm completely avoiding going to see My Sister's Keeper too!!!)

On Friday I was in Big W when I stumbled upon... ta da...Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5. OMG. I was so ridiculously excited I grabbed the DVD and might have squealed. Out loud. Thankfully my daughter was down the PC aisle so didn't have to disown me.

I couldn't wait till my husband got home so we could watch it because seriously, I've been gagging for this to come out so I could finally follow what was going on!! Anyway, can you believe it. He wanted to watch the cricket instead. Now, I know England is doing amazingly well, I've even been watching some of it (it has nothing to do with the hotness of certain players!) and yes it does make a huge change to actually watch a game where England isn't being ritualistically slaughtered by the Aussies!!! But still, we're talking about BSG here!

So I was secretly pleased when they had to abandon play on Saturday due to rain, since we ended up watching four episodes. *Happy Sigh*

I am very easy to please.