Friday, July 31, 2009

Single Father, Wife and Mother Wanted - Sharon Archer

Please welcome my special guest this week, another debut Down Under author, Sharon Archer whose Mills and Boon Medical Romance, Single Father, Wife and Mother Wanted, is about to hit the shelves!

Sharon is a qualified medical scientist who has swapped test tubes and microscope slides for a pencil and a word-processing package. As a child, when she wasn't horse riding, she lived with her nose in a book. She's always enjoyed writing but it didn't occur to her to try to do something with it until she saw a television interview with Valerie Parv. The idea of writing romance stories for Mills and Boon fired her imagination. Her writing “apprenticeship” lasted many years but in September of 2008, she got the “Call” from Mills and Boon. She's just had her third book accepted for the Medical Romance line.

You can visit her website at

Hi Christina, thank you for asking me to visit! I'm thrilled to be here! You said I could feel free to send a picture of a 'hottie' so I thought I'd offer this one of Gerard Butler that I found on I love his pensive expression in this photo and the little curl at the corner of his mouth.

Well, we’re always more than happy to have Gerard Butler visit!! Sharon, can you tell us a little about your book?

SINGLE FATHER: WIFE AND MOTHER WANTED is Matt and Caitlin's story. They meet at a motor vehicle accident – a truck towing a horse float has run off the road. In the float is a heavily pregnant mare. Small-animal vet, Caitlin, swings into action and, with Matt's help, she saves the new-born foal.

Caitlin is a life-long nomad whose heart yearns for somewhere to call home. She's travelling to a small town in western Victoria to look for her family's roots.

Matt, is the town's GP. After a disastrous marriage, he's got his hands full making a home for his son so the last thing he wants is to fall for Caitlin. But she captures, not only his heart but his son's as well.

Caitlin longs to fit in to the niche that seems to be made just for her. But before she can belong, she needs to reveal who she is and why she's really there.

Christina, I was going to cut and paste an excerpt here, but then I remembered that Mills and Boon UK has a whole chapter up online so I thought I'd suggest this link instead.

Ooh, great chapter! How did the idea for the plot come about?

The idea for this story developed out of a love for horses and genealogy – which sounds a bit bizarre for a medical romance, doesn't it! I live in country Victoria and I love The Grampians area so I made up a small town near there for my setting. My heroine's background actually grew out of my first ever manuscript – that manuscript was rejected but the idea of a heroine wanting to find her roots after the death of her father stayed with me. When I started the “what if” game, I got more and more excited about the possibilities. “What if” the heroine was a veterinarian? And “what if” she was put in the position of working with large animals when she'd always worked in a small-animal practice? And then what if... LOL

At the time, I was unpublished, so I could indulge myself and play around with the more unconventional idea of having a veterinarian as one of the protagonists in the story.

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

SINGLE FATHER: WIFE AND MOTHER WANTED took two years to travel from the slush pile to “The Call”. It went through three lots of revisions in that time. And I have to say it was the most marvellous experience to work with suggestions from an editor.

I've written six full manuscripts now. The first one was truly awful – apart from that idea about the heroine's background. Chronologically, SINGLE FATHER was the fourth story that I completed. The first three manuscripts plus a couple of partials got well-deserved rejections.

“The call” came at about 4.30pm after I'd been outside for much of the day burning off on our five-acre property to prepare for the summer bushfire season. I'd only just come indoors – if I had raked leaves for another five minutes, I wouldn't have caught the phone call! Anyway, the phone rang and it was the editor in the London office. It took a while for the reason for the phone call to sink in and once it did, I went completely rubbery. I think my side of the conversation was mostly “omigosh, omigosh, omigosh” I'm sure I made a great impression on Lucy!

It was a huge relief when she followed up with an email because as soon as I just hung up the phone, I was thinking... “did she really say what I think she said??!”

I love that sale story! Who or what inspires you and why?

Story ideas are everywhere – it's a case of being open to them and playing the “what if” game. Which sounds rather grand.... as though ideas must be swarming to get into my head! Sadly, this isn't true and I'm still learning to be more open to the “what if” game. But I'm enjoying the process.

Because I'm writing Medical Romance, I spend quite a bit of time researching and sometimes that inspires an idea for a scene. Often it will be for a completely different story line to the one I'm working on. There's nothing more tempting to a muse than something new. Still, some of those ideas.... you never know when they might be handy...

There was an interesting blog recently by Josie Metcalfe on the e-Harlequin Medical Authors Blog where she talked about a writing exercise that she uses. She randomly picks a newspaper article and then gives herself two minutes to work up a story line about it. It really resonated with me so I've decided to prod my muse more often and get it doing some stretching exercises.

I find going for a walk can get my thoughts flowing. Sitting on the back of the motorbike can really help me there too – I think my muse is a biker chick!

Where do you see yourself as a writer five years from now?

My writer wish list is...

--- that I'll still be writing for Mills & Boon

--- that I'll have heroes and heroines lining up to have their stories told

--- that I'll be a much much MUCH faster writer than I am now! And MUCH more disciplined!

--- and lastly, I'd really like to see myself perfecting the art of being a “hobo writer” so I could combine two things that I love – seeing new places and writing. We've just been travelling for three and a half months and I found fitting in manuscript time was a challenge. We stopped in Broome for three weeks so I could complete the revisions on my third manuscript. I'm pleased to say that the revisions got finished, I fell in love with Broome and I was reminded all over again why I fell in love with my husband. Without his patience and support, I'd have been tearing my hair out to try to do the work on the road.

Your trip sounds awesome. What's the best, and worst, things about writing for you?

The best thing about writing is the opportunity to indulge in day dreaming and to be able to call it working! What other job gives you that sort of permission!

The worst thing for me is starting a new manuscript – that 50,000 words still seems huge. I'm a tortoise with an over-active internal editor so I squeeze words out slowly. I'd love to be a hare with an internal editor who knows how to look the other way – but then I guess that would come with its own set of issues – I'd have to delete more words!

Which brings me to the second worst thing for me as a writer - having to push the delete button! That's painful for my tortoise! But revising and editing are such an important part of the polishing process.

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

The first bit of advice stems from being a tortoise because I'd say don't be too impatient. Use the time while you're unpublished to learn, to make mistakes, to perfect writing craft, to try different things.

My second piece of advice comes from my time working with a Romance Writers of Australia scheme to help newer writers --- learn how to accept constructive criticism of your work. Often the feedback that makes us wince is the stuff that will help us move ahead with our writing. And adding to that, I think it's a great idea to put feedback aside and come back to it when you've got a bit of distance from your work.

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

Yes! Yes! YES!

(Christina: LOL, that’s a yes, then?)

It is! I have fabulous critique partners who are also very dear friends. They read my manuscripts and give me wonderful feedback . And I don't mean that they've told me what I want to hear.... they've accorded me the respect of telling me what I NEED to hear. It's always lovely to hear that someone thinks what you've written is marvellous – but it's pure gold to have someone tell you why a scene isn't working or that a character isn't behaving logically or that you need more emotion.

I met my writing CPs through Romance Writers of Australia. The RWA and RWNZ conferences are great places to talk to other romance writers and find out if you “click” with them. And of course, now, we have the terrific Critique Partner Scheme that Rachel set up with RWA and RWNZ.

I also have non-writing friends who have read and given me feedback and encouragement along my writing journey too – including my husband who was my only reader at the time I completed my second manuscript.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lovely Blog Award

Sticking my head out of the revision cave, I want to give a big thank you to my two lovely friends, Helen Hardt and Susan Macatee, who awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award! It's so pretty!

I now have to send this award onto three other bloggers.

The rules are simple. Copy the award image above and choose three blogs you enjoy! Write a blog post to let everyone know who they are and why you enjoy them. Then let the lucky bloggers know you've chosen their blogs as "One Lovely Blog".

I'm going to send this award to my three CPs. Over the last month, and the last week especially, those girls have gone above and beyond! Seriously, they keep me sane (although my definition of sanity probably shouldn't be too closely examined, but moving on!!!)

Amanda Ashby

Sara Hantz

Pat Posner

Friday, July 24, 2009

Having the Billionaire's Baby - Sandra Hyatt

I'm very excited to welcome New Zealander Sandra Hyatt today, whose debut Silhouette Desire, Having the Billionaire's Baby, is out now in the US and hitting the Down Under shelves in August (just in time for conference!)

Hi Christina

Thanks for inviting me to blog with you.

Thanks for visiting, Sandra! Can you tell us a little about your book?

How did the idea for the plot come about?

I'm so excited that Having the Billionaire's Baby is finally out there on the shelves. It's the story of 'good' girl Callie, who's always played by the rules, but who, on the night of her ex-fianc├ęs wedding, makes one impulsive 'bad' girl decision. Her actions that night land her in hot water with billionaire, Nick, who plays by his own rules, and her carefully ordered life is turned upside down.

The story went through some major incarnations. I first started writing it with a rancher hero who'd been a secondary character in an earlier (still in a box in my office) story, and it was set in New Mexico. Over time the hero changed to Nick, and the location changed to Australia and New Zealand. The only thing that stayed constant was the heroine's motivation – a 'good' girl, dealing with the unpredictability of life who makes one rash decision and then has to deal with the consequences.

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

Like the song, my road to publication was long and winding. I wrote for ten years before finally getting The Call. I'd tried my hand at different types of romance—sweet, suspense, paranormal—trying to see which I enjoyed the most and which my voice best fit. Over the years I'd had some contest successes, and many, many, many rejections, varying from straight out form rejections to some 'almost, but not quite' rejections. My last rejection before selling was on revisions on a full manuscript (and though by then I looked on rejections as a normal part of this business, I have to say, I'd really got my hopes up on that one, and it hurt).

Then I posted a comment on a blog being run by the Australian and New Zealand authors of a Desire continuity series called Diamonds Down Under. These wonderful authors had organized, as a prize for a random commenter, a full-manuscript critique by the then Desire editor, Melissa Jeglinski. I won that prize! I duly sent my manuscript off, and then—having no idea how long the critique would take—I pretty much forgot about it.

Just a little over a month later I was attending the Romance Writers of America national conference in San Francisco, and rooming with fabulous Desire author Tessa Radley. Tessa had left the room to send some emails from the hotel computers and suddenly came bursting back in, saying she'd been in contact with Diana Ventimiglia, and mentioned she was rooming with me, and that Diana wanted to call me.

Tessa was certain there could be only one reason that Diana wanted to speak to me. Me, I wasn't so sure. Surely it couldn't be the manuscript I'd sent off only five weeks earlier? That was way too soon. Happily, Tessa was right (she always is), I was wrong, and Diana bought Having the Billionaire's Baby. And now, one year later, it's a real live book, on real shelves (including cyber ones), in real shops, not just in my imagination.

That's an inspiring sale story and a good reminder to never give up, no matter how tough it gets. Do you write every day? Do you give yourself daily/weekly goals?

I write every week day, and most weekends. Sometimes, like these last few days, it's not new writing but working on edits on an earlier book (I've sold my second one to Desire too, due out in January).

I try to write a minimum of one thousand words a day. It's a very manageable target, but it's the consistency that quickly builds the totals up till I have a whole story.

Congrats on your second sale! Pantser or plotter?

By nature, definitely a pantser. Generally speaking, I start with two characters and other than the fact that there will be a happy ending, I have no idea how their story is going to play out until I write it. That's part of the fun for me.

And that used to be a fine way to work. But in the interests of not wasting a whole lot of time writing a book my editor may not want, I'm working at having enough of a plot to give her so that she can give me the go ahead on a story.

What keeps you motivated when the writing gets tough?

Deadlines have always helped me. Initially that was part of my reasoning for entering contests, it made me finish things, or start new things. And now I've have contractual deadlines.

The other thing I've learned about my process is that the writing always seems to get tough at around the one third and then two thirds point. Now that I've accepted this as normal for me, and not the demise of what I'd once thought was a fabulous idea, I can push through.

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

If it's what you want, you have to believe in yourself, against the odds and even against the evidence.

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

I consider myself truly blessed in my CPs—Abby Gaines, Karina Bliss, and Tessa Radley. Their support, knowledge and friendship are hugely important to me. We first met at a Kara Writing course, run by Daphne de Jong and Robyn Donald. We clicked and stayed in contact and have grown together as friends and writers. Abby, Karina and Tessa all sold within a couple of months of each other back in '06. Once it was clear that I wasn't going to sell first, or second or even third I was sure I'd be a close fourth. It took me another two years. One of those little lessons life likes to teach me.

We don't have a set way of working together, but we get together regularly and try to help out as it's needed eg bouncing story ideas off one another, helping work out story tangles and plot holes etc. We each have different strengths and different ways of looking at things that we bring to the mix. But we all enjoy each others work.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Countdown to Conference!

I've just heard back from my wonderful agent on the novella, and she loves the erotic scenes (phew). I'm now working on some revisions which I'm very excited about, and have sent her a partial of another wip for her feedback.

I realised this afternoon that in four weeks and one day I'll be off to the New Zealand conference! I can not BELIEVE it was a whole year ago since the last one. It only seems like four or five months! Can't wait to catch up with everybody again and of course hang out in the real world with two of my CPs!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Opening Chapters & Awesome CPs!

Well I hope blogger has got over its hissy fit of the weekend! Thank you to everyone who hopped over to MySpace to read the interview with Susan.

I've just started a new book, and as always the first chapter is tying me up in knots. I'm never exactly sure when I should start. Usually it's too soon and I end up chopping heaps in the numerous read throughs, but lately I seem to have been starting too late in the story.

Anyway, I sent off the first two chapters to my CPs, knowing there was something a bit off, but unable to put my finger on it. Thankfully, as always, they came through like the sterling troopers they are and sent me back to the keyboard with strict instructions to up the angst factor!

Of course!!! That was it. I hadn't shown the tortured soul of my hero, even though it was all there but for some mad reason I had forgotten to pour it onto the page/screen. I don't know what I was thinking but I do know one thing. Thank god for the Witches!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Erin's Rebel - Susan Macatee

Today I'm interviewing the very lovely and patient Susan Macatee, whose time travel romance, Erin's Rebel, has just been released by The Wild Rose Press.

For some reason blogger keeps eating Susan's interview, no matter what I try!! So please hop over to my MySpace where the interview posted no problem at all!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vampires & Reality TV

I can't wait to get my hands on Amanda Grange's new book, Mr Darcy, Vampyre. I've heard from a Very Good Source this book is very gothic and right up my street, plus it's a Regency so what's not to love!

Amanda is holding a competition to win a signed copy over at her blog (for some reason I linked to it above, what can I say, I'm shattered!)

The other week my CP Amanda suggested I get my son The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I had no idea what it was about until I picked it up in Big W. Here's the blurb:

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When her sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place.

It's a YA for ages 12 and up but I tell you what. I couldn't put this book down once I started it. And my 14 year old son couldn't stop talking about it. Love it when that happens!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Her Maine Man - Sylvie Kaye

Please welcome my special guest this week, Sylvie Kaye, whose latest release, Her Maine Man, is out today over at The Wild Rose Press!

Thanks for stopping by, Sylvie. Can you tell us a little about your book?

One weekend a year to bare your soul and your passion. He couldn’t believe the sweet deal she was offering. No commitment, just pure release.

A deathbed promise takes Jon from his consulting desk to a remote island in Maine, where he becomes entangled with one of the loose ends.

As one of the island’s first family and a target for scandal, Maddie longs to share her body and her secrets. The sexy, visiting consultant seems perfect for a clandestine, once-a-year affair—until once isn’t enough.

Although the story and the love scenes are steamy in places, they're also light-hearted and funny in places. My editor said the one love scene was the funniest she'd ever read.

How did the idea for the plot come about?

The concept came from the old movie, Same Time Next Year...but the next generation. And the setting came from a trip to Maine.

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

Oh, that was a long time ago. About ten years ago. I wrote short story called Never Dare A Cowboy for the Kensington Precious Gem line which they phased out not long afterward. I was on holdiay in Las Vegas when my husband called from home to tell me the editor from Kensington phoned and offered me a contract. I called back immediately and accepted. The rest of the vacation, even in Vegas, was a downer after that!! I couldn't wait to get home and watch the mail box for my contract.

We are 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!)

My favorite book is Sandra Brown's SLOW HEAT IN HEAVEN. The hero is to die for! I love everything she writes. I want to be her in my next!! Movies, I love the Big Chill. I think because of the music. It's from my era. I also like the holiday movie, Love Actually. Lots of happy endings in that one! It's a real, feel good movie. Movie heroes, I love Brad Pitt and Hugh Jackman and....well, I'll stop there. Too many men, too little time.

Love, Actually is one of my fave movies too. And as for Hugh Jackman, what's not to love?! Can you tell us what are you working on now?

I'm revising a story titled, Tantric Touch, which takes place in New Orleans. It has three interferring aunts, some Vood Doo, and lots of superstitions.

When a harried caretaker with no spare time hires a soulful builder who’s willing to take the time, he fixes more than she bargains for.

Jilly is a New Orleans daycare aide by day and by night an errand-running caretaker to the three quirky aunts who raised her.

Zack is a brawny carpenter who works for his father’s construction company. He’s attracted to Jilly but wants a deep, heart connection when it appears that all she has time for is a slam-bam-thank-you-man relationship. Through his Tantric touch he intends to win her trust and eventually her heart.

I'm also working on a story that's more mainstream, entitled, For the Greater Good of Mann. Mann is a fictional town and also a metphor for humanity. The story attempts to answer the age old question of Why we are here?

I have a short erotic story, Widow Reed, under consideration with the Scarlet Rose line at Wild Rose Press. Older woman, younger man, happy ending :-)

How can readers keep up with your writing and books?

My website is

Thanks Christina for your time and for the opportunity to tell your readers about myself!

Sylvie Slip under the covers with Sylvie Kaye
Banned in Texas ~Available The Wild Rose Press, Barnes&Noble, Amazon
Wrong Side of Love ~The Wild Rose Press
Contest and Excerpts at

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Visit me at Whipped Cream!

I cleared out my desk drawers today and judging by the stuff I found I don't think they've been emptied since we bought it about eight years ago!!! Anyway I chucked all the rubbish and rearranged all my essentials *ahem*.

I'm being interviewed by the lovely ladies over at Whipped Cream today where I'm chatting about erotica and porn and the mysteries of tying a cherry stem with your tongue?! Then tomorrow I'll be on the Whipped Cream chat loop if anyone has any questions! There's a copy of Touch of the Demon up for grabs too.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Novella & Blurb

Oops not sure where this last week's gone. But I'm glad to say I finished my novella and sent that off to my CPs. I also spent a couple of hours hammering out a blurb. Why are those things so flaming hard to get right? For some reason I fare better with pen and paper when it comes to blurbs but it was a real struggle tonight.

I've also heard back from my agent on another project and am Very Excited that she thinks it not only has good bones but has potential to be an entire series! So at least I know what I'll be working on next week!