Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekend Fun with BSG!

I can always rely on my great mate Eleni Konstantine to find fabulous YouTubes! The latest one involves Battlestar Galactica which is good enough for me on its own, but! There's more. It's set to the tune of the classic Queen hit, Bohemian Rhapsody but the lyrics - OMG. The lyrics slay me. You can find them here. I've been driving my family nuts by singing them for the last two days (my son and husband thank you for that, Eleni!!!!)


Thursday, January 28, 2010

IP, IE, FF & Some Great Advice!

Computer is driving me a wee bit insane today. I keep trying to comment on blogs and none of them are taking, then Firefox kicks in asking if I have the right addy. Really, Firefox ticks me off no end sometimes, behaving like an over-protective nanny-goat. I changed from IE to FF because IE had Issues, but my god, FF has plenty of its own!

And I'm not even going to start on about my internet provider, who are driving me nuts. And then after an unsatisfactory exchange of correspondence sent me a survey to fill in to let them know what experience I had when dealing with them *snort* I don't think they really want to know what I think!

Apart from that, book 2 is coming along and although I'm behind in my word count (I wanted to hit 60k this weekend but it's not looking feasible) I'm loving where my characters are taking me.

Finally, if you haven't already do pop over to the amazing Shelley Munro's blog where she's had Brenna Lyons give some fabulous info on the Pros and Cons of Writing for Different Publishers Part One and Part Two Excellent advice!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chariot Racing in Camulod

Forbidden is set in AD 50 in Cymru (present day Wales). The book I'm working on at the moment starts off in Cymru, but Morwyn and Bren travel to Camulod (Roman Camulodunum), present day Colchester in the East of England. During the very early years of occupation Camulod was the capital of Britannia, and Londinium (London) only became the capital after the Boudiccia rebellion razed Camulod to the ground in AD 61.

Colchester has a unique heritage with visible remains of the Roman walls, the Temple of Claudius, the Roman theatre and other sites. In a bid to preserve another piece of recently unearthed Colchester Roman history, a consortium is trying to buy the Victorian Sergeants Mess building on the former Cavalry barracks - and the gardens under which lie the starting gates of Britain's only discovered chariot racing circus. This is the only one in the Roman Empire discovered north of the Alps.

I found out about the circus from this site, and there's a lot of fascinating bits of information over there. If only I could go visit Colchester and explore all the ancient sites. Why didn't I appreciate this history more when I was living in England??

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Good Sex Guide Mk II (But Strictly no Sex)

While tripping innocently through the blogosphere earlier today, I found the most hysterical post over at The Pen and Ink. Now, I have to say I'm not sure whether it's based on reality or a spoof (rather like the Good Sex Guide I laughed about a few months ago!!) but either way it's good for a laugh. Though actually if it's true, it's not so much funny as bloody chilling.

The following guidelines apparently come from a 1954 article on how to write stories for boys and girls. You may need a stiff drink to calm your nerves!
"Dad should always work in an office or to a responsible job like a fireman or a policeman. Fathers should never be an unemployed loafer or a union organizer. Mothers should always be homemakers. Mother’s who work in offices set a bad example for impressionable girls."

Yeah, OK...

"Boy characters should have healthy, manly hobbies like playing baseball, collecting bubble gum cards, and outdoor camping. Girls should like sewing, cooking and talking with other girls about like clothes and boys. Activities that keep boys inside like reading, writing or thinking are not suitable role models for young men. Those are girl activities. On the other hand, too much physical exercise by girl characters would be unrealistic and your reader would lose interest. If your story has a Tomboy, make sure she is not a major character. Make the Tomboy a supporting character who longs to act like a real girl."

I don't even know where to begin with this one. Leaving aside the whole sewing aspect for girls, is the author of this piece seriously saying boys should not read, write or think?! And then goes on to say they're girl activities. Hmm so girls can think and boys can't, but when it comes down to it men rule the world and the women have to stay at home... oh yeah! Makes total sense now!!

And as for the tomboy character. OMG!
"Dress your characters in appropriate clothing. Boys: short sleeve shirts (only puny boys who spend too much time reading in their rooms wear long sleeve shirts), loose, comfortable pants with pockets and Keds sneakers with tied laces.

"Girls: ankle-length skirts (absolute no pants), Mary Jane shoes (only girls with loose morals wear high heels unless attending special occasions like a funeral or a wedding), hair tied in a pony tail or neatly trimmed.
"If you follow these tips, your story is sure to be a delight to boys and girls everywhere, and stand the test of time just like the classics you read as a youth.

"End your story with a good, hearty laugh at the dinner table. Perhaps, Skippy the family dog runs through the house chasing Fluffy, the neighbor’s cat.

"These are a few tips for a good writing and wholesome reading."

OK so what's the verdict? Could this have been pulled from a genuine article written in 1954 or is it a send up?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Sexy Spartacus

Thanks to Eleni - who posted this clip on her blog the other day. It's the trailer for a new series called Spartacus - Blood and Sand. It looks very bloody and very sexy and I can't wait to watch it!!!

OK - well, phew! I enjoyed that!!

Well it seems discussion about promo is in cyberspace at the moment as I came across another interesting post over at Fangs, Fur, Fey where Jennifer Estep asks - how much is too much when it comes to blogs/interviews to promote your next book? Very interesting question.

And finally Query Tracker are holding a contest for romance and urban fantasy authors on Monday, 18th January. You need to get a one-paragraph blurb about the book and the first two pages of your completed MS into them asap!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Promo - Love it or Hate it

Over the last few days I've been thinking about what promo I should do for when FORBIDDEN hits the shelves, and basically freaking out. Luckily, the awesome Amanda Ashby calmed me down with great advice, which basically amounts to this. Do what you're comfortable with doing, and concentrate on writing the next book.

Strangely enough, Nathan Bransford has a post on his blog today tackling the same question. And basically his advice is this. "do what you're best at. Don't make yourself miserable doing what you think you should be doing, do what you enjoy doing."

Do you enjoy promo? What do you think works/doesn't work? And what do you think of book trailers?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winners of Rachel Bailey's Contest!

Here's a note from Rachel!


Thanks to the trusty online random number generator, the winners are:

Shayne &

Helen Hardt!

Thanks everyone for commenting, and Shayne & Helen, can you let Christina know which book you'd prefer? =)

See you all around!

And because I love spreading good news around, Rachel has recently joined up with six other awesomely talented Harlequin authors to start up a new blog called Lovecatsdownunder and for their opening week (this week!) they are giving away heaps of free books every day! Definitely worth a click over to check out!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Forbidden & Reviews

Hoping to hit 40k on Book 2 by the end of the week, which always feels like a great milestone. I also had to revisit Book 1 to check up some facts for Book 2 - and ended up reading the last 100 pages. What a relief to realise I still love the ending as much as I ever did! I've also been doing some research on what my druid princess heroine might wear on the cover of FORBIDDEN - So Exciting!

Anyway to change the subject slightly (!)I should think most, if not all, writers have faced at least one not-so-great review of their book. They might sting but really the best way to cope is to just move on. The other day I came across this blog post over at Katiebabs where she discusses the phenomenon of authors asking particular review sites not to review their books. Personally I'd want my books talked about rather than completely ignored. How else is anyone going to even know it exists? What do you think?

(Haven't forgotten about the contest - results coming up soon!! Watch this space...)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Claiming His Bought Bride ~ Rachel Bailey

Please welcome my special guest today, debut Silhouette Desire author Rachel Bailey, who's celebrating the release of Claiming His Bought Bride in January, and The Blackmailed Bride's Secret Child in February.

Rachel was instrumental in setting up the inaugural RWAus Bootcampers 101 and the RWA/RWNZ CP Register. Not only that, but she's also editor extraordinaire of Hearts Talk, the RWAus monthly newsletter!

Rachel is generously giving away a book to two lucky commentators today! The winners have the choice between CHBB or TBBSC - just leave a comment to enter! (Contest will close Tuesday evening, Oz time)

Hi Rachel! Please tell us a little about yourself!

I’ve always loved stories and I adore having a big, luscious pile of books to immerse myself in. I live in Queensland, which is the north eastern state of Australia and spend my days writing stories about heroes and heroines. Pretty lucky, hey? J


  1. I've been lucky enough to read your debut book already, and I absolutely adore Damon and Lily. Can you give us a taster of what this book is about?

It’s about Damon, who’s driven by some forces from his childhood, and Lily who has left him once already because he couldn’t prioritize her in his life. They come back together because they need each other – Damon has a chance to finally get his father’s company back from his uncle, if he produces a legitimate heir for the uncle to leave his fortune to; and Lily has found she’s pregnant (from when they were together before). So they both lay down their conditions and strike a deal for a marriage of convenience. Of course, Damon’s pretty keen to turn it into a ‘real marriage’ and when he sets his mind to it, he can be pretty persuasive!

Excerpt Here!

  1. How did the idea for the plot come about?

I was lying in bed one morning in that half-awake state (where you know you’re awake but the imagination is freer) and I was thinking about this man (very sexy, naturally) attending a party thrown by his father, but he didn’t want to be there. And then he runs into his ex-lover. Once I was fully awake and started plotting it, the father changed to his uncle and all the other elements fell into line. It was a fun one to plot!

    1. I love when that happens! We also love hearing about sale stories here! So can you tell us about your road to publication - and your call story?

I’d been writing for a few years, but pretty much all over the place – whatever took my fancy at the time, from quirky romantic comedies to category romances. Then, after one of my critique partners, Robyn Grady, sold to Desire, I started reading that line more and found I loved it. Loved the stories, loved the authors’ voices. This was a place I could see myself. So I wrote a story for Desire about Damon and Lily and polished and polished it.

When I was ready, I queried my dream agent, Jenn Schober from Spencerhill. Fortunately, she liked them, took me on and then sent them on a trip to New York to meet Diana Ventimiglia. For company, she also sent three chapters of another story, about Nico and Beth, with them. They all sat in the waiting room at Desire for a few months while things changed a little at the line, and then Diana read Damon and Lily and sent them up to the then senior editor to read.

Then Jenn emailed me to say they wanted to buy the manuscript, and lots of lovely things, including that they want to pay me actual money for it, and that they want to release Damon and Lily into the world in early 2010. They also liked Nico and Beth too and bought it soon after.

My husband saw the ‘call’ email—from my agent, Jenn Schober—when he booted up the computer in the morning (because I’m in Australia, the email had come in overnight). He came racing up to the bedroom to wake me up and dragged me down, still groggy, to see the offer. I woke up pretty quickly. J I emailed my critique partners and friends and we opened a bottle of champagne that night.

  1. LOL on paying you actual money! That's a fabulous sale story. Do you write every day? Do you give yourself daily/weekly goals?

I do write every day, but some days more than others. Some days are ‘writing days’ and they’re the ones I try and get as many words down as I possibly can. On days that aren’t ‘writing days’ I still always do something towards the book, be it polishing up earlier chapters, or brainstorming in the shower. I don’t set goals, but I’m thinking maybe I should…

  1. Panster or plotter?

Plotter. Though if a new twist emerges that will have flow on effects, I’m happy to change the plot.

  1. What keeps you motivated when the writing gets tough?

Deadlines! J And knowing that I worked hard to get where I am, so I don’t want to squander it by giving in when it’s tough. I want to keep moving forward, writing the best stories I can.

  1. Yes, deadlines are a very good motivator!! Is there any advice or light bulb moment you'd like to share about getting published?

I think for me it was when I stopped trying to sell hats to shoe shops. Amy Andrews wrote a fabulous article a few years ago titled, “Give Them What They Want” and she had some great wisdom in there that I haven’t forgotten. I realised if the editor is looking for shoes, then no matter how pretty my hat is, she/he will have no place for it. But show her/him a nice pair of shoes, and the game is on.

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

I treasure my critique partners. Melissa James and I met online. Robyn Grady lives an hour away and we met at a writer’s lunch she organised. Barbara Jeffcott Geris and I met through a crit group we were both in. Sharon Archer and I were email friends first and then began swapping work. My process with each cp is different, and also changes over time depending on needs. But we read work for each other, brainstorm and generally provide support and a cheer squad.

Thanks for having me, Christina!

The Blackmailed Bride's Secret Child

~ Silhouette Desire
North America – February 2010
~ HM&B Desire
Australia & New Zealand – March 2010

ISBN-10: 0373730117 ISBN-13: 978-0373730117

Nico Jordan is about to face the woman who ripped his heart out. When he was twenty-two, he loved Beth utterly and completely – and she left him without a word, for his older, richer half-brother. In the intervening seven years, Beth has borne his brother a son, and Nico has become wealthy in his own right, and a renowned playboy. But the torment of knowing she belongs to his brother, Kent, has never dimmed.

Beth Jordan is relieved when Kent, the man who blackmailed her into marriage, dies – she’ll finally be free. Unfortunately her freedom won’t extend to reclaiming her lost love. Seven years ago, she left the only man she’d ever loved, Nico, to protect him. But now Nico has arrived on her doorstep, wanting to see his nephew for the first time. How will she face him once he realizes he’s the father of her son?

Excerpt Here!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hot Romans & Sydney Booksigning!

Do I need a reason for posting Clive Owen kitted out as a Roman? No, I didn't think so... hehehe...

For anyone who's going to be in or near Sydney next Thursday, 14th January, the lovely Nalini Singh(bestselling author of Blaze of Memory and Angels' Blood) is doing a booksigning at Galaxy Books - details here Have fun!!!

And don't forget to pop by tomorrow when I'm interviewing debut Silhouette Desire author Rachel Bailey. Fabulous prizes are on offer!!!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Kreativ Blogger Award

Thank you to the lovely Cari Quinn, for this fun award! I need to share seven fun facts about myself and pass the award on to seven other bloggers. Of course my mind is a blank! I blame the weather. It's been so hot over the last few days it's like sitting in an oven in my office... even now, 11 at night, it's like a sauna!

OK here we go.

1. I'm allergic to perfume, scented body cream and prawns. I'm especially peeved about the prawns, since I was perfectly ok with them up until last Christmas when for some reason I started to swell up like a balloon!!

2. The best finale of a fave series was Battlestar Galactica. I know some people hated it but they are wrong, wrong wrong! It totally rocked. I loved it soooo much. Does this count as a fact about myself? I'm not sure, but since I'm still obsessed by the series I'm sticking with it.

3. While going through security at Singapore airport, my shoes set off the alarms. We didn't figure out the culprit was my shoes straight away *sigh*

4. I am still slightly obsessed with Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf. I bet that one's a big surprise!!

5. My first crush was on Les Mckeown from the Bay City Rollers. Bye, Bye, Baby!!!

6. The very first thing I noticed about my husband-to-be (from across the crowded room - ok it wasn't that crowded but it definitely was a room!) were his fabulous blue eyes. Even now I have to fight the urge to give every single one of my heroes amazing blue eyes.

7. I can no longer drink alcohol. I discovered two years ago even a couple of sips made me grumpy and sent me off to sleep, which is pretty annoying as I really love the taste of bacardi and coke. So now I'm a Chardonnay girl through and through! (yeah I'm fussy on the wine front too!!)

I pass this beautiful award on to:

Amanda Ashby

Sara Hantz

Eleni Konstantine

Mel Teshco

Suzanne Brandyn

Nell Dixon

April Vine

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Crawling Back into the Saddle

Well, it's very hard getting back into the swing of writing!! This always happens when I take a few days off (OK, it was more than a few days... nearer a week and a half!) Anyway, I managed 1k yesterday which got me back into the story, and another 1k today which is a huge relief since this scene was very sticky. And probably the reason why I left it hanging on Christmas Eve!!

The week leading up to Christmas was very exciting, with emails flying between my agent, editor and me regarding back cover copy for FORBIDDEN. As soon as it's all finalised I'll post it up here and on my website. I also hammered out a brief bio (why are those things so hard?I never know what to put in them!!) And hopefully it shouldn't be too long before we have a cover!!

I stumbled across an interesting blog post this afternoon - Top Ten Questions Dutton Editors Ask Themselves When Looking at a Manuscript. Although aimed at children's writers the points are pretty universal for all writers, I think!