A Little Update…

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been just over a month since I last blogged! So sorry folks! My excuse is that I’ve been busy finishing my WIP for Harlequin DARE and trying to understand the amazingly busy world of publishing/marketing/you-name-it-writers-do-it. Between that and life in general (November is incredibly busy in my household, birthdays galore!), there hasn’t been much time left for anything else. Even sleep has been a struggle, my head permanently filled with ideas for scenes, tricky plot dilemmas and the like.

But in spite of the craziness, I’m still loving it. Absolutely, wholeheartedly loving it! I think you have to in order to put in the blood, sweat and tears required to get a book to the finish line. That’s just getting THE END typed. I don’t know yet if it’s going to come back with a stack of re-writes required, that’s a terrifying but very real possibility. Will definitely let you know how that goes!!

So yes, I’ve been busy, but here’s a summary of the exciting things that have happened since my last blog post:

  • My signing with Mills & Boon was circulated on the SYTYCW site with my THE CALL story, if you haven’t managed to check it out yet, you can see it on their blog still. It’s more of me rambling I’m afraid, but hopefully it’s an enjoyable ramble!
  •  I met up with two wonderful authors in the flesh, Jenni Fletcher and Rachel Burton (see pic above!). This was such a treat and I must confess to behaving like a giddy idiot but I don’t think they minded too much. I hope!
  • Oh and I have nearly 200 followers on Twitter, I know that’s nothing in comparison to most out there but for me it is HUGE. Especially considering I hadn’t really a clue what twitter was just a couple of months ago.
  • And I guess more importantly from a writing goal perspective, my completed MS for DARE is now sat with my editor, the gorgeous Flo Nicoll, who has to be one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of being in contact with. Even if it’s rubbish, I know she will phrase it such that I don’t hide beneath the bed covers crying for hours on end! Thank you for you being you, Flo!

I think that’s about it for now, but before I disappear, I previously promised the low down on some of the writing craft books that I’ve used to help me along the way. Today’s star is Jean Saunders, author of over 600 short stories, 80+ novels writing under her own name as well as under Rowena Summers, Jean Innes, Sally Blake and Jodi Nicol…

The Craft of Writing Romance by Jean Saunders

My edition is from 2000 so it’s a little dated now but it still has lots of relevant advice and is written so well, it truly is effortless to read.  

In her opening, Jean puts forward what she feels is the biggest challenge facing romance authors of the wonderful HEA novel:

“The reader must always be in some doubt that all will turn out well, even if, deep down, she knows that it will! That’s the stuff of which romantic novels are made…”

And her book is written to help us achieve just that.

Her advice from structuring your book to characterisation to nailing not just the start and end of the book but every chapter, are excellent. She also tackles the sometimes tricky love scene construction.

She makes great use of examples throughout to back up her advice and help get her message across. I particularly like her take on creating the right impact in chapter one and how to avoid too much “telling” to ensure you engage the reader and immerse them into your imaginary world.

Her section on characterisation is great. She offers guidance on how to describe voice, expression, behaviour and movement to make your characters believable and consistent. She also says to beware of scenes where no matter what you do, the dialogue just doesn’t work and you end up thrashing it around forever. Her belief is that it’s likely you know your characters so well, they themselves are telling you they would never speak or react that way so give up and do something else.

Her notes on dialogue, in particular the use of adverbs and active verbs, are somewhat contrary to Marcy Kennedy’s advice (see her Busy Writer’s Guides Sets 1 & 2 which I will cover in another blog post) but on this, I think each to their own. Personally, I like to use them as and when necessary, just not too frequently.

There is a great “Beginner’s Questions” section, the majority of which is still applicable in today’s market and is broken down into readily digestible bite-size chunks.

As I said, my edition is quite old and in putting together this little review, I’ve discovered that Jean has since released an updated version, Writing Romantic Fiction: The Essential Guide. I haven’t looked at this one personally, but I imagine it will be packed with the same fab advice, in the same easy reading style.

And that’s me all rambled out…for now anyway! Hope you’ve enjoyed lovely peeps. I promise to be back before Christmas!

Happy present buying!


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