Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Twenty-Ten!!!

MySpace Glitters

It's hard to believe another year's come to an end, another decade in fact! So, do you do New Year's Resolutions? While I tend not to, I do like to make lists (then again, I have a weakness for making lists at any time of the year!)

When I look back over 2009, I still can't quite believe how two of my most cherished dreams concerning my career have come true. 2009 will always be special to me, for signing with my dream agent and for my darling Roman finding a fabulous home with Berkley.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy and love-filled New Year! See you in 2010!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ritual Passion - Cathryn Brunet

Please welcome my special guest today, the lovely Cathryn Brunet, whose debut erotic fantasy romance Ritual Passion is released today by Samhain Publishing - just in time for a happy hot Christmas!!

Cathryn, thanks for stopping by! Can you tell us a little about your book?
Ritual Passion is an erotic fantasy romance containing jungle-hardened warriors, a capricious goddess, corrupt priests and some seriously hot sex.
A passion to appease the gods…or call down their vengeance.
The jungle-wrapped city of Challas is dying, crumbling under the weight of its corrupt priesthood and degenerate new gods. But an even greater threat looms on the horizon. Outside the city walls, a pestilence breeds. Unless stopped, it will crawl through the city’s decaying streets and destroy everyone.
Phalandria wants to see her magnificent city reborn and freed from the perversion of the priests who murdered her father. And she wants Massilis, the man who has stood by her side since childhood. The man who’s developed into a magnificent, jungle-hardened warrior…and ignites her unquenchable desire. Although Massilis has always protected her, only once has he allowed his hunger for her to show.
Now the water oracle has called for Phalandria and Massilis to perform the Concubitia, a sexual rite to propitiate the gods. But the priests suspect a conspiracy and will do anything to protect themselves. And Phalandria realizes that the priests are not the only ones sabotaging the ritual.
The man she loves has an agenda of his own.
Degenerate gods, corrupt priests and a jungle hardened warrior! *Christina fans self* I can't wait to read this book! How did the idea for the plot come about?
Ritual Passion started out as a combination of writing exercise and a half-hearted attempt to write a Spice Brief. As an experiment, I decided to write in first person. Suddenly I discovered this new voice coming through. A voice I liked. A lot.
I know it might sound strange but I had no idea of the plot. I simply wrote the first line and from there the words flowed as though I’d been thinking about the story for months. It was if the city of Challas, sexy narrator Phalandria and gorgeous, muscled warrior Massilis already existed and I was just a conduit for their story.
I’d never free-written to that extent before. But since then I’ve used the method on another erotica and I plan to try it again in the future. Though, given I have the next three writing projects already decided, that won't be for a while.
I love sale stories (ok I am just nosy!!) so can you tell us about your road to publication - and your call story?
The first version of Ritual Passion was just over 15,000 words. After sending it off to some readers (who universally loved it) I submitted it to Spice Briefs and promptly forgot about it while I worked on a single title. Six months later I received a rejection. I wasn’t surprised. Having read several Spice Briefs I didn’t really think it would fit the line, but I loved the story and thought it was worth a try.
I’ve had a great interest in e-publishing for a while now and Samhain always struck me as a serious player in the industry with an excellent reputation. So, on the 15th December 2008, I sent Ritual Passion to them. On January 6th, I received a rewrite and resubmit. The editor, Deborah Nemeth, loved my voice and the setting but wanted some changes. Quite extensive ones, it turned out, and I admit they damn near did my head in.
I wasn’t confident I could nail the rewrite but decided to persevere because 1/. I absolutely loathe not completing things and if I dropped it, Ritual Passion would forever remain unfinished business, a sort of “what if” hanging over my head. And 2/. If, in the end, nothing came of it, the experience of working with an editor would still be invaluable.
It took me until April to complete the rewrite, partly because I had other things on the go and partly because I found it so hard. By then, Ritual Passion had doubled in size with a lot more focus on the characters’ relationship and an expansion of the overall plot.
In June, Deborah came back to me with another rewrite and resubmit, and I gave serious consideration as to whether I would keep at it. I’d already spent an inordinate amount of time on the project - I could have written, at minimum, another 90,000 word single title in the time – and there was no guarantee I would be offered a contract at the end of the second rewrite.
But then I thought, “Don’t be an idiot!!!!”
So I worked my bum off again and sent the revised manuscript off on June 30. One month later, more than seven months after that first submission, Deborah offered publication.
And then the editing process started!
What a fantastic sale story, Cathryn. Do you write every day?
The short answer is, bar weekends, yes. I’ve always treated my writing as a business that’s open Monday to Friday. I sit down at the computer sometime between 6-30 and 7am and work through until approximately 3pm at which time I wander out for a couple of hour’s walk (I find walking fantastic for plotting and sorting out characterisations etc), a bike ride or, if I’m really lucky, golf. Anything that takes me out of the house and away from the computer.
Do you give yourself daily/weekly goals?
Sometimes but not often. My goals are more of the “just finish the book” type. I do, however, really enjoy writers’ groups where you post your daily totals. I find them an excellent motivator. The Romance Writers of New Zealand run a great loop called Book In 50 Days and even though my goal isn’t to write a book in that time period, I love posting my total to it. It’s a wonderfully supportive group.
LOL, yes I constantly tell myself to just finish the book! So would you call yourself a panster or plotter?
Umm....sometimes a panster, sometimes a plotter.
The first 4 or so books I wrote I pansted, although I did have a solid idea of what the stories were about, where they were going, and the main characters. I simply started with the idea in my head and sat down and wrote.
But then I tried plotting, and did that for the next two single titles. Ritual Passion I completely pansted, same as the manuscript I’ve just handed in to my editor. With my current work in progress, Pureheart, I’ve had to plot because it’s a complicated fantasy. And I’ve already plotted my next project, although only quite broadly.
I prefer pansting because it’s exciting. You never know where your characters will lead you, which means if you want to discover what happens next, you have to keep writing!
Yes, that's what I love about pansting, although sometimes it would be good to know what was supposed to happen next! What keeps you motivated when the writing gets tough?
As I said, I adore writers’ groups like the RWNZ's Book In 50 Days and, of course, I have my brilliant critique partners, but mostly I rely on sheer determination. Plus I loathe not finishing things. Half done projects, whether it’s housework, crossword puzzles or anything, make me twitchy. I’m disturbingly anal like that.
I'm with you on hating to leave things half finished. Except the housework, I don't mind about that!! Is there any advice or light bulb moment you'd like to share about getting/being published?
Find yourself some good critique partners. That's an absolute must, in my opinion.
Never give up. Believe in yourself and your writing. And never be afraid to try something new. Who knows where it could lead!
Great advice. Do you have critique partners (CPs)? If so can you tell us how you met up and your process?
I have some wonderful and extremely talented ladies as CP’s. Our initial group was formed three years ago after we hooked up on the Romance Writers of Australia loop. We all write in different genres and with different styles so we receive an excellent cross-section of opinions.
At the start, we all sent out one chapter a month for critique and did line edits on those. That didn’t quite work out, so now we send out 3 chapters or around 50 pages and rather than line edits we look at big picture type stuff – plots, characterisations, motivations etc.
Sadly, a couple of the original members have left but we still keep in touch to share triumphs and tribulations. Earlier this year we welcomed a new member and we’re on the hunt for one or two more.

Check out the trailer!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

10 Survival Tips for Writers & Other Things

If anyone's in need of a good inspirational talk, then hop on over to the fabulous Jenny Crusie's blog where she's listed Ten Tips for Writers. Awesome. I love it, it certainly perked me up! I was lucky enough to attend the RWNZ conference a couple of years ago when Jenny was keynote speaker, and again with the awesomeness!!

And because I like passing on good things, here's the scoop from UF author Erica Hayes's blog:

"Each day up until Christmas (starting today, that's Sunday for all you weekend blogreaders), I'm giving away a signed copy of SHADOWFAE to one lucky person who drops by.

And (yes! but wait, there's more) on the last day, the winner will also receive my very first SHADOWGLASS ARC! Be the first person in the WORLD to read my smokin' hot March 2010 release... well, except for my agent. And my editor. And my cat (he loved it, of course). And possibly a pile of reviewers... But you can be the first REAL person to read it. You know what I mean."

Pop over to Erica's LJ to enter this fab contest!

And on Wednesday (although if the links go live I'll post it up late my Tuesday!) I'm interviewing the very lovely Cathryn Brunet, whose debut erotic romance Ritual Passion is being released by Samhain. Now that would make a scorching hot Christmas pressie!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Delicious Debuts #3

Very slowly working my way through my tbr piles - only problem is I keep adding to them so I'm not exactly making any headway!!! Anyway I've read a couple of fantastic books over the last couple of weeks, so I'm showcasing them here!

First up, Cari Quinn's debut, Full Disclosure, published by the Wild Rose Press:

Thirty-eight-year-old divorcee Holly Burrows has had enough of battery-operated love. Prompted by an ad left at her law office, she investigates Hunk Du Jour, a website designed to foster ‘adult connections’. After weeks of sexy emails and phone calls with surf hunk Kent, she's ready to test their chemistry in person. But first she has to get through lunch with her colleague Alex, a man with a brain as agile as his body. When their consultation ends with a bang, she barely remembers the man she'd lined up for dessert. Now she thinks she's juggling two hot young guys. How can she choose between her two gorgeous cubs – and why do they remind her of each other?

This is a complete scorcher! Sexy and erotic, I loved the emotional intensity and fireworks between Holly and Alex. I'm also a sucker for a hero with a sense of humour and several times I giggled at the interactions between Holly and the sinfully hot Alex! I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series about Holly's little sister, Haley!

Tracey O'Hara's Night's Cold Kiss, published by Eros an imprint of HarperCollins

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.

Night's Cold Kiss is the first book in the Dark Brethren series and I am hooked. Dark and powerful, I love the way Tracey pulls no punches . As an added bonus Tracey's just uploaded a prequel onto her website - Dante Rising - that shows the scene where Antoinette watches her mother's brutal murder. Chilling!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cover Art

My editor is going to be discussing cover art with the art department very soon (squee!!!) so she wanted to know what ideas I had. I emailed my agent for a bit of a brainstorm and was completely blown away when she told me what she had in mind - it was almost exactly the same vision I had for FORBIDDEN!!! I'm taking that as a sign!

So I've just sent the email off to my editor, and seriously it took me about two hours to hit Send. Am I the only one who has trouble hitting that Send button? Still, at least it's a bit easier than trying to find and post an envelope, I suppose!!

Anyway, in between stressing about hitting the Send button, I signed onto Goodreads. That was fun. I have three friends so far!! When I figure out how, I'll put a link on my sidebar.

And I'm afraid that sex scene still hasn't been consummated!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009


I received a lovely email today from my editor *squee*! She suggested shortening the title His Forbidden Princess, which might give the wrong impression of the book, to Forbidden.

After I thought about it for a few moments, I realised she was completely right. Much as I love the previous title it doesn't immediately conjure up the essence of the story, whereas Forbidden sounds dark and powerful and sexy! When I told my husband (who generally offers no opinion on such matters!!) he made a point of telling me that he really liked it.

What do you think?

And also I'm thrilled that Berkley are bringing forward the release date to September 2010! OMG. That's not far off at all!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Writing Sex

I haven't come to a standstill on the wip, but it's slowed to a painful crawl. I'm lucky if I can squeeze out an entire page just lately. And the reason? Because finally my hero and heroine are acting on the scorching lust that's been driving them crazy from the moment they met.

I love writing love scenes. I really love reading them back afterwards. But I find the actual writing of them incredibly challenging. Okay, exhausting! I've been on this one for the entire week and by the look of things it won't be fully consummated until at least Sunday!

So it was serendipitous when I came across this link on Twitter - writing love scenes by Jill Sorenson. Well worth checking out!

And funnily enough there's a post up on Romancing the Blog today about awkward sex scenes in romance novels. I found that fascinating because I have a strong inkling that if I get the chance to write book 3 set in my Roman world, the sex between the hero and heroine is going to be fraught with problems due to my heroine's traumatic former marriage.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Claiming His Bought Bride

I sent the edits back to my agent last week, and today hit two words short of 25k on the wip. Another 5k and I'll be a third of the way through!

Back in October, Eleni Konstantine hosted the fabulous Eleni-Fest. I not only won a very cool mug and matching pen from Eleni but also a copy of Rachel Bailey's debut Silhouette Desire, Claiming His Bought Bride.

Because Rachel's book doesn't hit the shelves until January 2010, I didn't think my copy would arrive until the New Year. So imagine how excited I was when it turned up yesterday! And oh wow, it's a smoking hot keeper. I'm not going to give anything away just yet as the lovely Rachel is guesting on my blog in January when we'll be chatting about the book. But I will say this. I managed to write only one sentence on the wip this morning before my resolve cracked and I had to read the rest of Damon and Lily's story!

And just look at that gorgeous cover. It's so romantic and perfectly matches a scene in the book!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Line Edits Have Landed

Yesterday morning, in fact! So I've been knuckling down addressing my agent's comments and suggestions. Luckily she loved the proposal and it's more a question of tightening up sections and paying closer attention to clarity. This is something my CPs are always pointing out to me as I do tend to forget not everyone is currently living in my own world and things do need to be explained!!

My aim is to get these all finished and back to her within the next day or so and then we'll be on track to send the partial to Berkley!